My girl Dorothy Parker had it right.
I don't consider myself a writer. In fact when I took a poetry class in college, I was almost embarrassed to tell people, not because I don't love poetry, I do, I just felt pretentious calling myself a poet.
For not calling myself a writer, I have written for as long as I can remember. I started writing when I was a kid. I kept diaries and wrote two short stories in grade school that my parents keep in a box in a storage unit. One was about a young Native America girl who was forced to walk the trail of tears, the other a story about a young Jewish girl during World War II.
My first grade self, apparently troubled with injustice and genocide, wrote from the perspective of girls my age living through it.
Here I am, a thirty-one year old woman with dozens of journals stored inside rubbermaid bins in the same storage unit my parents put their Christmas decorations in.
Since May, I have been carrying around 7 of those journals as I have traveled between New York City, Chicago, Seattle & Salida.
I have wanted to put together a chapbook of poems from my 7 journals but have been completely and unequivocally terrified of the entire process.
The first of these journals I have been carrying around was started after I cancelled my wedding and dissolved a 7 year relationship in 2014. I thought about putting together a coffee-table book made for girls about a relationship headed towards a wedding that was fated to never make it.
But someone already wrote that book.
I decided to face my fears of deciphering my own handwritting and spend the weekend completely alone in the woods, going through my 7 journals and mining them for poems for this hypothetical chapbook.
This blog post is about that experience.
Driving into the fog
crossing the Verrazano bridge
Manhattan standing in the mist
I came here to drop my chest
punctuated by cosmic calamity
let them all fall into the Hudson
I'll emerge my very own
no one can live my life for me.
record my reality
choose to believe
this life was meant for me
that every single person I meet
is divine underneath
spirits starved for kissed cheeks
for whatever love feels like
in this time of unprecedented deficiency
I will not be asleep to my humanity
determined not to let anyone see fear in my eyes
build myself up and someone can burn it all down
but I’ll be ablaze with Dopamine
smoldering with all that I love and all that I have seen.
Reading each of the 7 journals and thinking about someone else reading them was enough to make me want to burn them all in the woodstove & pretend that I never wanted to write them down for any reason.
But I brought some of my favorite poets to read in-between the bouts of anxiety that convinced me that my words are useless.
Throughout the weekend I unplugged with no wifi or cell service. I read, wrote and recharged and let the voices of my favorite women poets move me.
Even if I never finish this hypothetical chapbook, I will never forget the journey of showing up to meet myself this weekend.
I also took the opportunity to do yoga everyday.
During shavasana I discovered an alien smiling in the wood grain of the ceiling.
I unfortunately ripped my shirt like the Incredible Hulk in one overzealous chaturanga.
I also had to use a walkie-talkie like a tin can if I wanted to communicate with my boyfriend
and I was gifted this carnelian egg from my friend Vanessa that arrived the day before I left for this journal sabatical.
I also serendipitously found this rabbit container to charge my crystals in with these Colorado wild flowers I picked on a walk.