It is rare to ever feel that you have triumphed in life. That is how I feel—triumphant and profoundly grateful. I made something real. It was just a wisp of an idea which came on a wind, a small spark that became a fire in me. The work of 8 years and a lifetime went into Eating the Heart First.
I had a baby when I was 15. He was born premature. Adam’s life is a long story that I cannot tell here. What I can relate is that after a life lived beyond the doctors’ predictions, a life of joy and pain, Adam passed away in 2004. When Adam died, I made a conscious decision to honor his memory by committing myself to The Writing Life. Because the focus we had given to Adam’s care was suddenly not necessary any more I thought, “Beyond what I need to give to and be for my family what can I do for myself?” I needed to write to feel as though I was not giving up on a long held dream. I also made the promise to my daughter, who needs me to succeed; she needs me to set an example for her so that when she dreams she will believe that she can make her dreams real too.
I choose to live without regret. To live without regret we must follow our better instincts which lead us to the Good. The first task was to read, read, read and write, write, write with the focus that I would get better and better and better. I got out of bed to write. I wrote while driving the car. I wrote my dreams and memories. I wrote what I believed was in the heads of strangers. I sought out other writers to be a part of a community and began submitting my work.
I took on my Writing Life as though it was a business. Being a poet was my job. I had a professional background in public relations, marketing and sales. I decided these skills would be necessary to have any success at writing.
In the 8 years since Adam’s death, sixty poems of mine have been published. I have read publicly about twenty times. I am a Teaching Artist with the Acadiana Center for the Arts. I just founded the “Voices” reading series and I have a forthcoming book.
Writing has saved my life many times. Creating this book gave me not only the satisfaction of making something beautiful and lasting but marks a true high point in my way of living. I will spare you the clinical details, but I have struggled for decades to be well, to recover from bad breakdowns that left years in ruins.
Being able to claw myself back to a real and rewarding life is thankfully possible because I have good caregivers, a strong family and wonderful friends. I have not beaten the disease but I have beaten it back–
The making of the book (the writing of it) has come to completion and is outside of me now. So much energy is freed. I will get behind the book when it is published in the fall in every way I can. I am looking forward to the new challenges that selling a book will present.
Eating the Heart First, my debut poetry collection, is slated for a fall 2012 release as a Tom Lombardo Selection from Press 53. You will be hearing much more about it. I must self-promote because I want to move you with my poetry.
I invite you to read me here. And do keep your eye on this site for news of new adventures in my Writing Life, readings and new publications and such. Thank you.
“Come, come, be transformed. “