Initially I closed my comments a couple of months ago to have the time to write new poetry and have time to read the poetry of others. However, the best laid plans of men etc, etc. I have written nothing. I can say that I have had the pleasure of reading the poetry of others leaving a comment or not. This period of time was nonetheless very productive. I finally nudged myself with the assistance of several autobiographies and biographies to that place where a decision had to be made, write or not to write? For a long time I have wanted to write about my mother’s WWII scrapbooks. They tell a story – but what story? Sometime after reaching that conclusion I knew that I had to incorporate my own story into my writing. There has been no movement except for a niggling little voice saying, “who do you think that you are, who would wish to read about you?” I know, I know, childhood stuff of which I should let go. Then I started reading an autobiography of Ivana Lowell (Lowell as in the poet Robert). My library is filled with biographies and poetry. There is not much fiction. Ivan Lowell is a member of the famous Guinness family as in “dark stout,” something that my grandmother used to give me with a steak when I came into New York for a weekend from prep school at fourteen. I clicked with Ivana! I felt a real identification. I have also been reading about the Bouvier sisters and was fascinated to find that our childhoods had similarities that made me identify with them too. Please understand that for me to be able to identify with anyone at all is a real coup. This identification process comes at the age of 66 years. Not feeling good about oneself is always the result of numerous accidents of fate and planned developments in ones history. I think that the most difficult thing in my life has been the fact that I have never identified with a soul. When I say identify, I am speaking of that feeling of having something in common with another so that you get to say hmm, there are other people in this world like me. It is the process of being able to look at another’s life and feel “wow, she is just like me.”
Reading the autobiography of Ivana Lowell has given me the permission that I have needed to begin the story of my own life. I have lead a strange life not however as unique as the lives of my sister or my brother. I was the normal one in the family, something each of my siblings shied away from. Does this mean that when writing I will have to “change the names and places” of everything and everyone about whom I write? Being a very literal person to whom authenticity is exceptionally important, the idea of changing names and places does not appeal to me at all. The other aspect of that is that I plan on using a lot of photos including those of my sister and brother. Can you see I am already worried about a lawsuit from them? And yes, they have attempted to sue me in the past. The result of that legal debacle was that they lost money they didn’t have and I lost money that I did have. Just one more thing, I stated that I am the normal one in the family, in the entire family including my parents. I knew that when I left home at eighteen I was escaping. I had no skills. I had no training and I had just been kicked out of college. I headed for Greenwich Village. I believed that I was escaping a long history of mental illness. And so I did. But you can’t really escape mental illness can you? No you cannot. I spent the next twenty years in physical pain. There was nothing organically wrong with me, I simply placed the family mental illness into my physical body.
So, my comments are open again and I shall begin to write. I don’t yet know where to begin but I shall figure that out.