Monday, June 29, 2009


I am starting this blog because on May 17 of this year, I lost my best friend Jamie to sudden, acute myelogenous leukeumia (AML). There are hundreds of facets of my life that feel affected by this loss--our shared love for our gardens and our homes, our shared appreciation of a good fig and a great olive, the way I turned to Jamie at every crossroads in my adult life and gained perspective, and on, and on.

One passion we shared was for the written word -- for the power of poetry and language to enhance, shape, give meaning to and sometimes make sense of a life, our lives. Over the past 2 decades, we had shared the particular journey, challenge, obstacle course, of staying connected to language and our own words while living in a world that doesn't always nurture that. Once, I came up with an exercise which involved sending other several lines of poems on a postcard that asked for the other to fill in lines as pairs to the first lines, without worrying about final narrative or sequence. The point was to respond to language with more language, and to let the process continue for a series of postcards. I recently found the collaborative "product" transcribed in my computer , and will post it at some point. Another time, Jamie created a website where we could each post short poems or writing in response to assignments we gave each other or ourselves. Again, the aim was to provide a context for writing, and then to provide some forms and an audience in each other to nurture these parts of ourselves. We didn't publicize that website, although it's still public and available.

The line about the wheel (in the title of this blog) comes from the collaborative postcard poem; I don't know anymore who wrote the line, but it seemed to speak to my need to let the ink move on the page (I still start poems with ink, and edit and revise later with a keyboard). I do not know what wants to be written, these days, but I do know there is language for the emotions I feel and the experiences that I'm inside (and that feel like recursive lessons in my own voice, since Jamie's death). So I am building a place to write more, and a place to write freely, about grief, friendship, love, and anything else in my heart and mind. I am certain that I wish Jamie was still in my audience; she was my first reader when I was working on a poem and wanted to start seeing how it sounded in the world. I had been working on a poem named January (her birth month) late last year; I wish I had shown it to her. Creating this spot here is one act of nudging myself a little further, taking a little more advantage of the time I have alive, demanding that I experiment with sharing writing sooner, rather than thinking there will be time for it to reach others later. It is also an attempt to relearn about audience.

I keep turning, not knowing.