Friday, December 2, 2016

A couple of days ago, as you may remember, I told you that a reporter at the Bangor Daily News contacted me to ask permission to quote from my TLS essay and to encourage me to contribute a response piece to her forthcoming article. Yesterday I heard from her again, suggesting that loss as it relates to geographical place might be a good theme for a personal essay.

I didn't have any trouble writing that piece: it took me an hour to finish, from conception to final draft. Apparently I have some feelings about loss as it relates to geographical place.

Here's one small bit from it. I will share the whole piece with you once it comes out.

Although every human deals with loss, the pain of losing or leaving a geographical homeland is not a universal sadness. Many people thrive on change, on hopeful ventures into the unknown, and it’s been hard to explain to faraway acquaintances why I have clung to a place that can be so hard and lonely, that is so distant from the lives that they have built in cities and suburbs and university towns. Yet as my friend Angela points out, some of us thrive on hard and lonely. Some of us see hard and lonely as true life. 
Angela has lived in Wellington for longer than I’ve lived in Harmony. Her house is off the grid; so for her, every drop of water, every ray of sun matters—not romantically but practically. But even for country dwellers with electricity and a septic system, a rural homeland often doesn’t connote beauty or relaxation so much as a physical and emotional engagement with difficulty and duty. As I once wrote in a poem, “we don’t think / ski but shovel, don’t think flowers but floods.” Trouble sustains us, even as it breaks us down.


Tom said...

I very much look forward to reading this, Dawn!

Ruth said...

I too am looking forward to reading this.
There IS a certain kind of pride in living, and I do mean fully living, in an environment that is not easy. Facing challenges and figuring out how to either live with them or overcome them gives personal satisfaction.

Maureen said...

I concur with Tom and Ruth.

I also can imagine you writing a series of essays on this subject from poets' perspectives, especially poets who have been exiled or imprisoned or otherwise persecuted in their homelands.