It’s hard to believe it’s been a month since I retired. Weirdly, I feel as if I’ve lived a year already.
I’ve been able to spend quality time with family and friends, I’ve enjoyed seeing my poetry made into art, and Parkher, my 2019 Ford Explorer, and I have traveled more than 5,000 miles. We’ve seen sunsets and storms, sunrises and sprinkles…and a lot of beautiful country between Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota.
It still feels a little like I’m on an extended vacation, but I’m embracing the change. I even took an afternoon nap a few days ago, something I could never do before.
Like a migrating bird, I’ll start traveling south in the next month just as my retired parents did. I am my father’s daughter in so many ways, and I feel his presence on this nomad journey…”Be sure to log your mileage and the cost of gas. And how many miles to the gallon you get.”
On it Pa!
Writing Myself Home
I don’t know if I could
or even if I should
dig through the debris
of buried memory
to get to the place
where I can face…
I wrote the above poem in the late 1990s and when I wrote it, I suspected it had to do with my mother’s mental illness and my fear it would happen to me. I had a good life with a husband who loved me and the daughter I’d always wanted, but something was always gnawing at me? I never felt satisfied, and my mother’s memory hung over my life like a grey cloud. I quit writing shortly after when work and family life took priority.
I came out to myself 12 years later. It would take another 6 years to come out of the “having a mentally ill mother” closet.
Last Fall after moving back to North Dakota, I read a call by the BisMan Writer’s Guild for a collaborative touring art show called The Art of Writing, sponsored in part by the North Dakota Art Gallery Association. Artists and writers were to submit samples and if an artist selected a piece of writing (or vice versa), they would create pieces of art inspired by the other’s work. I wanted to submit my poem, but it needed a title.
After having spent two years drafting, rewriting, excavating, and shaping my memoir, I realized the poem was a way to express what I could not. It was the beginning of “coming home” to myself. Then a year ago September I moved back to my home state of North Dakota. I literally and figuratively had come home, thus the title Writing Myself Home.
Today The Art of Writing touring show opens for a month at the James Memorial Art Center in Williston, North Dakota where I spent the first six years of my life. My poem, in word art, will appear with the piece of art created by the artist who was inspired by it.
An Artist’s Reception will be held on Friday, September 17th from 7:00 to 8:30 PM, one year from my first full day as a North Dakota resident again.
Life truly has come full circle.
I’ve tried to incorporate into my life more of what Julia Cameron calls “Artist’s Dates”. Life gets busy and it’s sometimes hard to take time away to treat yourself to a solo outing for some inspiration.
I’m grateful to have a day job that invests in employee training and lucky for me the training was in beautiful Saint Petersburg, Florida. Thursday after class I felt a little “peopled out” so I caught a Lyft to the Dali Museum. I had seen photos of his iconic melting clocks but really wasn’t very familiar with him as an artist.
Sadly I only had two hours to tour the museum but the docent leading the tour convinced me of his brilliance despite his eccentricities, and some say madness. Surrealists see the world so differently and I enjoyed a sneak peak into that world. Embrace the irrational. Explore the symbolic.