I have never lived alone.
I lived with my parents until the day I was married. Except for two brief separations (perhaps a week or two) I have always lived with my husband since we were married in 1989. I am rooted in my home life and love my role as wife and mother. I am there for my family in every way that I can be. I see myself as a caregiver, and in that role it is easy to let my wellness suffer for others.
I used to suffer from chronic insomnia and as excruciating as it was, it had its benefits. Nights were mine. I wrote furiously for years in the wee hours to better myself as a writer when I could work freely without many interruptions. Sleep has come more easily, so as a result, my awake time has been shared with other awake humans. This has left me with little alone time.
Last year, I took a short retreat to celebrate the completion of the manuscript for “Eating the Heart First,” to reflect on that and really let it sink in. It was a wonderful, meaningful time and I was happily able to go on another brief retreat this year.
I have been posting raw and edited excerpts from the Retreat Writings from 2011 and 2012 to this page. I plan to work these into a little chapbook.
Retreating to write has become vital. Actually leaving my home and going somewhere to be alone purposefully to write or read is a way to recognize the importance of my own wellness and life as a poet. Living the Writing Life has helped me do something beautiful and valuable.
Creative writing saved my life. After great losses, I have turned to it to heal. So much of the matter of my life has been channeled into art. As a result, my burden is lightened, my understanding has deepened. I give to the work to be greater than myself— poetry-making is prayer.
Retreating to meditate, pray, create is necessary for me. My grasp of myself as woman, as wife, lover, mother, daughter, truth-seeker, artist, as well as vulnerable, flawed and mortal human has sharpened—
I know myself better, which is the point, isn’t it?