Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Solace of Words and the Natural World

Earlier this week I got this email:
Dear Ms. Lodge, I am pleased to inform you that your poems, "And one day you remember," and "When I go Home Again," have been chosen to appear in the forthcoming issue of Clapboard House. Please forgive the delay in responding to your submission.

Keep Writing
Jonathan Moore
Poetry Editor

It was a much needed email. It almost reaffirms my faith in the life I’ve chosen.


Something I’ve been thinking about the last few weeks: choice.

We all make choices that have led us to this exact moment in time. Circumstance and chance are part of it too, but really, choice makes us into the person we are today.

I think about these choices that brought me to this place mostly when outside; either biking, running or hiking with my dogs. I live in a beautiful landscape of mountains and sage. I watch storms approach from the west from my front door. Also from my front door, I can hike and ski. Choice. I chose this.

But chaos comes unwelcomed and I question all these choices. And, when choas comes I go to my words and the stories, quotes, poems, and articles, in the three ring binders. A few days ago I came across a photocopy of The Full Catastrophe by Laura Pritchett. I’ve heard Pritchett speak at writing conferences and have read every article she has written in 5280. I’ve also read her novel, Hell’s Bottom, Colorado and Sky’s Bridge. The Full Catastrophe is written for graduates, but it’s completely applicable to everyone going through a life change.

Here are my favorite excerpts:

1. Your life will be a catastrophe. Catastrophe is good. … the sooner I realized that catastrophe was the norm, the sooner I could dive in and embrace it. ..My point is to try to love the full catastrophe that lies ahead. .. Embrace the mess.

3. Choose your mate wisely. ….. try to pick the right person, because nothing in your life will feel right if you've picked the wrong one.

7. Simple stubbornness can take you a long way. …When I graduated, I set out to be a writer, and I became a writer not because of any great gifts. No, I became a writer because I am stubborn enough to believe I can do what I want.

8. You will meet failure. Because you are human beings, you are going to find disappointment, injustice, betrayal, and irreparable loss. You will find you're weak where you thought you were strong. You will experience times when you feel very alone and very afraid. Probably you already have, and you will again. I hope you will be able to live there, in the dark place, to embrace it for the full catastrophe it is, and to wait it out.

10. We live a full catastrophe, and then we die. That means that, in the meantime, we must be honest and true, raw and real, and honor our fundamental connectedness. ….we must believe in curiosity; we must believe in the power of beauty.
I wish I could remember her advice so sharing this story makes me hopeful that I will remember these things when catastrophe hits, again. For now, I know the solace that words and the outdoors can bring. I’m heading out for a hike right now, maybe in moonlight.

1 comment:

  1. Hello!

    I'm wondering if Mr. Moore gave you a date for publication. I also received an email from him, stating that one of my poems would appear in a forthcoming issue of Clapboard House, but, to date, I haven't heard or seen anything.