#NewThisDay Writing From My Photo Stream
MO: I wrote this incantation in a workshop a few years ago and I call on it when I’m feeling small in relation to the work ahead of me:
May I come to the page unafraid, or if I am afraid, may I come willingly.
And if will is still lying in bed, may I come with acceptance of what emerges, able to say to the unclear image, to the tired noun, Welcome. May I pull out a chair for the same old words that knock at my door day after day, their shoes worn. May I fill their cup with manzanilla, knowing that they are not the only guests, that if only I welcome them to my table, others will surely come.
~ Michelle Otero, Albuquerque, NM Poet Laureate, from an interview in “Plume”
Another arrival on this wonderful trip, just north of Santa Fe, and I walk in the later afternoon. In Los Lunas (near Albuquerque), I woke to banana bread and fruit with my friends and a lingering, long lovely talk. Then Cherie took me to find hiking boots and sunglasses. Which gave us a chance to talk – for me to listen – to the challenges she’s managing taking care of Max who has Parkinson’s and louis body dementia. I shared some about my father’s Alzheimer’s, and I was glad for this time alone together. At breakfast, I said to Max, do you know who my father was really fond of? He said, who? And I said Cherie. Because he was so fond of both of them. And Cherie got a little teary eyed - she seemed surprised, and I was stunned to realize she might not have really known that, and it meant a lot to her. I think she must have known, but when someone you admire so much believes you’re special it means so much. And people felt really special to be loved by my father. So, I got my fondness fix too, from Max, who feels that way about me, ever since I was a kid. And he knows my name and he knows my birthday because we have the same one. This is a very troubling disease. He can still make us laugh. When I got here, where I’ll stay for a week and write, I went out for a walk, and the sun was hot, very hot, but not as hot as Scottsdale, and there was a lovely, dry breeze. I stayed out for a long ramble and admired the gold chamisa and the purple and yellow sage and the low clouds and the blue mountains and being quiet and listening to my own thoughts. A reader wrote to me today, in response to the hat prompt she’d requested, and tonight I wrote back some comments on her lovely writing about her hat. Mostly I want her to give herself permission to play, to experiment, and NOT WORRY about grammar or punctuation or, as Michelle Otero above says, “not worry about the old words.” I had to look up manzanilla, as Michelle used it in her incantation. Chamomile. Tomorrow, may I write and fill my drafts of poems with chamomile. And sage. I will want sage too.