And that’s just one of the important life lessons I’ve taught my children. The other two are “Life isn’t fair” and “Air is the greatest enemy of white wine.” All three lessons are key to a successful life, don’t you think?
Sometimes a poem or story takes on a life of its own and almost, but not quite, writes itself. That happened to one of my pieces recently. I call that kind of writing effort “soaring” and the rest of it “plodding.” Both are important, and we must keep slogging through the mud to get to the beautiful ocean. Sometimes the universe gives us wings and off we go, above the power lines and into the smiling face of the moon. For me it’s always been a mix. I never know what’s going to happen when I start my writing time.
After completing a few drafts of my poem, “Carousel,” I showed it to a reader I trust. He gave me one simple suggestion, and I knew it was perfect for the poem. I worked with it for awhile and finally decided it was ready to be set free. Nothing is ever finished, you see, it just gets to be the time to set it free.
I heard about Todd Boss’ project for the St. Paul Union Depot and was intrigued. The idea was to create Motion Poems (Poems made into compelling videos) to be projected across the entire facade of the Depot building. The theme was “Arrivals and Departures.”
My poem is about a garish carved horse, doomed to travel the round forever, never winning the race, never arriving or departing. It struck me that “Carousel” would be a perfect fit for this project. I sent it off hopefully.
Months later I was told that my poem was one of 11 finalists for the project. I was extremely happy to be included. The next phase was for the film makers to choose the poems they wanted to work with, and that would serve to eliminate most of the finalists. In April I found out that my poem was one of only four chosen to become an “Arrivals and Departures” poem.
It felt like I had won the lottery, without money, but who cares? I was and am totally thrilled about this huge honor — to work with film makers and the once-in-a-lifetime experience to see my work projected onto a huge building. I believe there will be some official announcement at the May 22 airing of the current set of Motion Poems at the Walker Art Center, and the projection at the St. Paul Union Depot is scheduled for the beginning of October. It should be quite amazing.
So, dear writers and poets, keep writing and don’t give up. You never know when you’ll soar. And you’ll never know which of the pieces you set free into the world will come back to you with great rewards.