In Wordsworth’s Preface to “Lyrical Ballads” he defines poetry as this: “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” I’ve always liked this definition and held to it to keep me from very bad poetry. Very bad poetry is the sappy kind written in the throes of emotion, and without the tranquility part. Just felt and written.
Who do I write for? Myself primarily. Second Audrey. Third Dan.
What will I write? Thoughts- whatever will help give birth to the invisible grief inside.
When will I write? Probably late at night when you are asleep Audrey.
So, my first fear on beginning to write as a means of processing my own grief is that what I will produce will be something similar to bad poetry, sentimental songs written by a teenager, or even a Hallmark card. No, I’m not writing for an audience. For myself, perhaps for Audrey one day, and yes, in honor of Dan who was always telling me to write. So, for all three of us, I do not wish to write poorly. I must try to find time or space for that recollection and tranquility- even this soon into it. Because I don’t feel I can wait to write.
The second fear I have on beginning to grieve through the written word is one that many writers encounter when writing about past events. I’m certain my thoughts will take me through many memories I have with Dan and I don’t want to lose them to the words. Somehow writing changes memories, recreates them, and takes me one step further from the actual event. So I’m afraid of that. The same way I want to keep talking to you Audrey about your dad, showing you photos and videos of him so you have some recollection of your beautiful relationship with him…but…am fearful that as you grow you will be remembering me telling you about him, the photos, the videos, not the actual memories. And yet, that is all I have to offer you, and I think, much better than nothing at all. While childhood’s strange amnesia takes him away from you completely- I will deepen the trails in your brain where memory lies to help you find your way back to him.