FAMILY AND THE WRITING LIFE

The happy nostalgia I feel for my childhood can be attributed to my mother and father who made every effort to stir interests in good things of the world, and teach us to use our talents in ingenious ways to live a full and rewarding life.  

From an early age my mother directed our attention to the world around us.  Her love of nature, the natural landscape, Louisiana history and her own family history taught us to be attentive and observant. We took many car trips and to entertain us she pointed out a multitude of things through the car windows, making a game of visual training.  We played “I Spy,” watched clouds for flocks of geese, or power lines and gold-lit fields for hawks. We jumped out of our seats if we saw a deer or rabbit or even a turtle crossing the hot asphalt on a summer day.  

My mother is a storyteller. She will recount family history and stories of her childhood to anyone within earshot. She was and is a constant reader. She taught my brother and me how to read at a very early age. I was reading at four years old, before I started Kindergarten. My mother wanted to be a teacher but health problems cut her college career short. Her desire to be a teacher was manifest in the way she taught us at home and encouraged our education in the world. My father was a storyteller of a different sort. He didn’t talk of his past very much, except for a few stories of his childhood but many of his stories were made up funny ones which enlivened our sense of play.

One of the first things that attracted me to my husband was how tuned in to reality he was/is. He is one of the most observant people I have ever met. He is a gifted seer. On our first date I was driving and he heard a sound coming from the car that I didn’t even notice. The next day he arrived with tools and parts and changed the U-joint in the car. Ok.  Well, he is observant and a good guy too–a real, honest, and caring person, who has become my main muse.  

My deceased son, Adam, and my daughter M. are the reasons why I dedicated myself to The Writing Life. I was always a writer but lazily so. When Adam died I made a commitment in his honor to live fully as a writer. I also dedicate my writing to M. in order for me to be a source of inspiration to her to pursue her own dreams. My writing is a love-gift to her so that she will have something of me to hopefully cherish and share with her loved ones throughout her life.

So, of course, family is important to me and I am appreciative of the support I receive from them, especially the support of my writing life. I feel as though my family and friends are the net beneath my aerial act.  Also, they appear in different guises within the poems themselves, and such treatment is fine by them.  I am able to create because I am in the right headspace and I am in the right headspace because I am in the right life for me.  

I write poetry that is inspired by my own life and the lives of others. I write poetry about what I see, feel, smell, taste, touch and know. I am inspired and informed by art, music, food, the body, my experience as a woman, my family history and relationships, dreams, death and  my spiritual life, and of course love.  I aim for language that is seamless, clear, interesting, meaningful, accessible and true.  

For me ‘poetry is experience and experience is poetry,’ although I am not necessarily a confessional poet.  I write poetry to thrive in life, to exert creative control over words and capture something of experience with them.  I write to survive sufferings, to celebrate joys.

Without the support structure of family I am not sure I would be able to fly mid air as I do. The struggle would likely be so much greater.  As life is now, I am grateful for the ability to flourish creatively.  I am grateful for a loving foundation that inspires me to be in the fullest sense.

Blessings,

Clare

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