Thursday, April 15, 2010

Community Poem: May

If there was a punctuation mark that defined grief, I would definitely pick the question mark. I had so many questions after my daughter was stillborn, not least of which was simply, "Why?" Immediately followed by a quick, succinct "Why not?" And thus the first lesson of our losses, there are no answers, just more questions. Even with answers, we often still have the overarching questions to which we cannot put a voice.

There is a famous scene in the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead where they play a little question tennis. And well, I thought we could make a little question poem. Send me a question that came up for you after your loss or during your grief. There are only a couple of "fouls" in this one. Please no "why" or "why not".

Send your question to me via the still life 365 email address at stilllife365days (at) gmail (dot) com.


When I was a young twenty-something woman who worked in a restaurant and lived on a pittance, I had a friend who was the son of rich people. He graduated from college, and then moved to the middle of nowhere to focus on playing guitar and sleeping past noon. From what I could discern, he never had a job. He often wore stained designer clothes and Tevas.  And he always seemed to be looking for someone to have a beer with. Whenever I met up with him, he would sit down and look vaguely depressed and downtrodden. Inevitably, I would bite and ask him what was up. And he would always give me the same answer, "The well is dry, dude." And he would go on to tell a depressing tale of his parents impending decision to cut him off his money/trust fund unless he found a job. Of course, the next week, he was still in his apartment, still drinking expensive microbrew beer at 3p, and still somehow, playing the same Stones song in his stairwell without a little hat overturned. I am sort of feeling like that guy these days.

I have received a wealth of amazing work in the last 105 days. And I do recognize how amazing it is to be surrounded by creativity, bravery and art all the time. You give me that gift by submitting. Hopefully, you feel it is worth it, because I share that art with all of you, and we take the time to explore creative projects like the mid-month challenges and the community poems. I think this space is inspiring, not just to me, but to others exploring creative outlets for their grief. That is why I keep asking for work. That is why I keep getting that nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach when I see a date without a post. Oh, I have some work in the queue from those amazing people who send me a number of pieces at one shot. I spread those out a bit, even though I open some emails and think, "I have to get that up there right now this very minute."

Still, after tomorrow's post, and I really mean it this time, uh, the well is dry, dude. I know I said that last month, but then people sent me awesome work. You know, you were there. You saw the amazing, courageous work that came from the last call to submit. And so, I am asking again, in that begging, teenage whiney voice for submissions. Please check out the how to submit page for the very few rules we have. And please consider anything and everything that got you through your grief, that helped you process an aspect of your loss or just a good diversion.


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