“I did not trust it for a moment, but I drank it anyway, the wine of my own poetry. It gave me the daring to take hold of the darkness and tear it down and cut it into little pieces.”
~Lad Ded quoted by Alan Larus
My writing arises from within. No monitoring of content. Whatever happens is not of my own doing. I wish I could see that clearly in other areas of my life. When I think I have failed and want to blame myself. When I feel unloved and want to draw love to me. Oh, yes, that is the way of the ego.
But when I write, I do cut the darkness into manageable bits and pieces. Otherwise the terror would overwhelm me. I wake up, having dreamt of Bob not being dead yet. I am angry with him for leaving me or I am jealous of another woman (death, perhaps?)
I murmur the Jesus prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy,” over and over. I surround myself with white light, for I do not have these dreams consciously.
My mental scissors go to work and I have the scraps laid out on the table to form an essay. “Laurie,” I say to my little girl in the hospital, “You are going to be with Jesus soon.” (I had been advised by her Sunday school teacher to prepare her for her death.) She looked at me in full silence, not happy with this bit of ironic good news. She died and I was left bereft. An unread newsletter.
Bob is dying and I am so tired, so weary of his long, slow departure that I begin numbing myself, constructing a wall of “No more, no more.” He looks at me with disgust, as if I had turned traitor on him. Not on him, on what was being asked of me. “Help him live until he dies and then pick yourself up and dust yourself off.” I did. He would be happy to know that. I am strong in the midst of my neurosis.
I go for eight years without seeing my mother, who is in a nursing home in Pennsylvania. I see her once in that period. Eight months later she is dead of lung cancer. She never knew she had it. But she had a full life, almost eighty-eight years of it. I am glad I saw her before she left. And I go on.
My life is made of bits and pieces of darkness through which I see the light. You can feel the silence around the edges of my mosaic. I know you can.
More in my book,