‘If you were to write 3 poems this week, what would be their titles?’
~ Maya Rachel Stein, poet and creative adventuress
– Saying Thank You 100 times as if It’s the Name of God
– What Space Looks Like
– We Don’t Have All the Time in the World
Maya and I are friends. We met nearly a decade ago, tho it seems weird to think it’s been so long because we both confess feeling a special bond despite seeing each other only twice. I discovered her poetry through a mutual friend. When I heard she was touring the country to meet some of the 600 people who subscribed for her 10-line Tuesdays (poems in our inbox!), was holding writing workshops in living rooms, that Charlotte was on her list of stops, I called her up. ‘Come to Asheville, stay with me,’ I said. ‘Asheville loves poets.’ I still have friends I made in my living room that day. Peeps I didn’t know who drove hours to sit with us. And Maya. Watching her adventures putting poetry and creative arts into the world, and her very special relationship with Amy. I couldn’t attend their wedding, but as I said in the sentiments I sent, I know there’s fun where-ever they are.
Maya and me. We share belief in the power of words and art. There are a dozen Thank You’s I have for Maya.
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I found a poem I wrote for my husband Art on our 24th Valentine’s together. I don’t think I ever gave it to him. Yesterday was our 31st. In the beginning he gave me a dozen red roses. Always. Until I fell in love with the raucous color and dance of cut flower bouquets. Something only rare florists master. We may have gone out to dinner, too. Until I decided the crowds & bad food of restaurant rush weren’t worth the money, either. There were cards and candy, all the other ways Valentine’s defined for couples. In that poem, I snuck from bed, placed foil-wrapped lips on a stick in his toothbrush holder with my heart filled with tenderness. Today, him in NC, me happy here in Santa Fe, I think that’s what Valentine’s really about. Tender hearts. For a loved one, for friends, family, humanity, the planet, for ourselves.
There are a thousand Thank You’s for those 31 yrs. with Art. I put one on the Acknowledgement page of my book:
I wish to thank my husband Art for the space and his willingness to see me through
years of creative pursuits. His insights during the times I needed a different perspective
made me a better writer, coach, and person.
I have multitudes more for tender hearts, our beautiful universe, and moments on this earth.
At the post office they always ask, ‘Need any stamps?’ My usual response is I’ve got plenty. Then I saw Wonder Woman. Of course I bought a sheet. I heard other women bought sheets when they didn’t need more stamps, too. An artist-healer friend in New Zealand wrote, asked for a note with the stamp. It’s been a very tough year or two, she said. ‘I’m sending you four, one of each image,’ I told her. ‘You’ll do something creative with them, and place it where you’re reminded what a Wonder Woman you indeed are.’ In the bigger sense, I believe Wonder Woman is women claiming the space we’ve always held.
I could talk for years about space. My Thanks to Art in my book mentions it – the space to create. Now, the space of solitude to flow with my life rhythms, commune uninterrupted with my imagination. The space out my windows to far horizons and mountains that always imply more on the other side. Like the space I used to feel when I looked out on the ocean. ‘What do you see,’ Art used to ask. The world, I told him. It’s the same when I look at those colors in the shot above. Because color in all forms gives us space.
I was in Santa Fe three days when I ignored my ragged face, the 8* weather, and dressed to go out for a Women2Women lunch. The agenda – introduce ourselves & hand out cards, have good food & good conversations, and hear someone in the community speak. I (very) briefly connected with a gal there. We met for brunch two weeks later. ‘Where do you live,’ she said. I told her the neighborhood. Then. . . which street? what number? Turns out she’s a neighbor and one of her best friends is my landlady. Exactly how I fly in Santa Fe, with magic. But honestly, we really don’t have all the time in the world. We gotta show up, say our Thanks, and find the space between us.
Because Life can shift in a heartbeat. Less that that, a breath. To the good, and not so good. I know because I’ve been there. . .chance meetings, a poem accepted, house on fire, husband run down by a car. Yesterday was a hard day. A brief, gentle dressing down for doing something that comes natural to me. A reminder the clock’s ticking on something very important to me. At the end of the day I felt myself in loosely-glued pieces with thoughts of failure, while every bit of me wanted space to give what I do well: support empowering writers & creatives to move forward, live their best creative life. Because I think they hold our Voice when we can’t speak, and Vision when it’s hard to see. Our conscience when we get snarled and tied up. But at the end of the day, all I could think was author Mary Anne Radmacher’s famous words: “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’ ”
I had Thanks on my lips and a deep belief in restored space on the morrow when I went to bed, even knowing we don’t have all the time in the world. Despite feeling small. Because what I know is I’ve cracked the code to help people live their best creative life and that’s something grand. Sometimes it’s just hard doing for ourselves what we do for others.
Another Small Journey. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
Tell me. . .what would the titles of your three poems be?
I’ll tell you a secret. . .we really don’t have all the time in the world.
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