Monday, March 12, 2012

Attractive reading...

I have been reading stories and poems lately on, a site that allows people to publish work they want to have others read and to solicit readers’ comments.  I have been a “lurker” so far, just reading some of the “Daily stories” that come to me in email.  Yesterday’s poem, about the fragility of everything around us, made me think how much my mother would have enjoyed the freedom and access of the Internet.  Writing was a very personal, intimate thing for her—I don’t think she would have put her work up for others to read very easily at all—but she would have loved not having to wait for a book to arrive in order to read new work. 
One of my mother’s most treasured affiliations, in her later years,  
was a membership in The Poetry Society of New Hampshire.  Their “round-robin” poetry letter circulated among members, each one putting a poem into the mix and sending it on to the next member.  It came a couple of times a year, full of new things to read and think about, and began a week or two of extreme preoccupation.   I was supremely uninterested in the whole thing, as a teenager with other fish to fry, and she did not involve me, although I knew I would have been welcome to read the things that came.  She understood very well that doing something you find interesting yourself brings others in, if they are inclined to come in at all, and that individual readiness is very important.  By the time I was ready, she was no longer writing, but I don’t think that disappointed her—when she was writing, she wrote for herself.  As she stopped writing, she began to think about sharing her poems with others and at that point I was interested and read eagerly.   She published a book of her poems, Starlight, in 1996 when she was turning 86 years old.  It’s an amazing, extraordinary legacy for her to have left for me and others to enjoy…

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