From Ireland

When I received the post card from you I was sitting at my desk flipping a pen between my fingers.  It was a foggy morning.  Between sips of bitter coffee, I watched a blue jay perched on an empty branch, his head darting in different directions. My computer screen was a white and gray blank on my grandfather’s oak desk.  I brushed my hair out of my eyes and pulled my robe tighter around my body.  A squeak of a hinge and the blue jay was gone.

At my front door, an array of white envelopes scattered the hardwood floor.  The one with your writing I picked up first:  “Real Ireland.”  I leaned against the door, smiling. A blast of warm air from a vent rushed over my feet.  I flipped the card over:  A lone farmer hoeing, and his dog, each looking in different directions.  Behind them a countryside of green and brown edges held by mountain slopes.  I glanced to a photo of us on the brick fireplace, embracing years ago.  You had just returned from India. You wore a bright pink sari and your face was decorated in bindis. I was still wearing my work uniform; a pressed blue suit and starched blouse. I wore little makeup.  Even then, I was always the worker; you had your sights set out into the world.

Returning to my desk I removed my robe and begin to type: the screen filled with many black letters. I sat for hours, while sunlight spilled across my fingers. Later, I stood and stretched, and moved slowly to the kitchen. Standing at the sink, I nibbled on cheese and bread.  I glanced out a small window-

In the sun

Each looking in different directions,

Two jays perched on a branch.

My start into writing, haiku, and more…

About a year after I had my daughter (and FINALLY she started sleeping through the night), I began to realize I needed a change. Becoming a mother is certainly change enough, but I needed something completely different for me.  Slightly panicked, I came back to my work as a personal trainer and found that although I loved and had done it for years, my heart just wasn’t into it anymore.  Don’t get me wrong, I was completely grateful to have my business and clients to come back to, but the drive and energy I used to have in running it wasn’t there any longer.  My body felt so exhausted and my mind felt restless.  I also had just come out of a deep fog and depression after having a very difficult birth with my daughter.  It literally turned my world around so I realized that continuing work as a birthing doula was no longer for me at this time (although I hope to revisit in the future) .  Right now I had to come back into the birthing world in a different capacity.  I felt I had to communicate, to speak my mind, my experience to others.

I finally began to see some light while having wine with my very good friend who was literally gifted to me right before I had my daughter (and she had her’s).  We were connected through Facebook after many years past.  We grew up in the same community in Oak Park, Illinois. After birthing our daughters, we emailed like crazy over the following year.  We laughed, cried, got angry, felt scared as we journeyed through having newborns together.  Our emails were real and raw; sometimes bordering on hysteria.  Not ones you would expect to see from two women with young babies (or would you?!).  Through a series of ironic events she ended up moving from our home town an hour away from me in the San Francisco Bay Area.

So there we were on that early summer afternoon when she suggested making a book out of our emails.  I practically spit out my wine, I had JUST been thinking the same thing that week.  So we agreed and clinked our glasses to this new endeavor.  From that point we sorted through our emails together, and began writing.  As I painfully struggled to get through writing my birth story I realized two things: one,  I still needed more time to process this experience and two,  I felt like I needed a major brush up on my writing.  It had been years since I had been in an English or writing class.  So I decided to do just that, go back to school.  I registered for a writing and composition class at a local community college and after discussing with a counselor, decided to pursue completing my BA in English. From a suggestion of a good friend, I ended up taking the class with a professor who was very highly rated among the student body.  I had no expectations and upon the first day of class, I was blown away.  My mind and soul felt like it had woke from years of being asleep.  We read a lot of poetry, “The Odyssey” , “Sir Gawain And The Green Knight”,  Hemingway, and Shakespeare.   I was taken back to my love of English (I loved the subject from an early age) and how much it made me feel inside.  I was lucky to have a professor who had such passion for the subject and opened my eyes again to literature.  His classes were filled with humor and I admired his own accomplishments as a writer.  I loved this class and more importantly,  I felt alive again.

I learned to be a better writer and a better reader.  It was so refreshing.  After completing the class I knew I wanted more.  Fortunately my professor also taught Creative Writing.  I was ALL over it.  Once starting, I had to shift my mind from being a critical thinker and writer to one that was more open.  I had taken a creative writing course years back and had forgotten how freeing it was.  We started with poetry and read a mixture of poets dating centuries back to more modern like Billy Collins (who I LOVE!).  I NEVER considered myself a poet, but after we began learning craft points of the art and I began writing, I saw this new piece of me emerging.  One craft point in particular I felt really resonated with me was the art of noticing.  I am a very sensitive person and have always been since I was young.  Some areas where my intuition was necessary I found it a gift, others areas I despised it. For writing though it was a gift.  I could literally find a poem everywhere I looked.  It was exciting.

After poetry we began writing fiction.  I found fiction to be a bit more challenging, but never the less I was up to the challenge.  Fiction didn’t seem to come as easily as poetry for me, but what I was needing to do was read more.  I remembered my English class the semester prior, I really liked reading Hemingway (much more than I did in high school I might add!).  Perhaps it had to do with being an Oak Park native myself, but I now felt I could connect to his writing style.  His way of writing with such concreteness, such simplicity, and his dedication to his work I really liked.  I promised myself to read more of his writings.

By the end of the semester, I had two portfolios:  one of poems and the other of short stories. I felt proud of myself and my work.  I was excited to continue writing and also get back to working on my book.  As the last day of class neared, I realized that having it to go to weekly kept my mind working: being creative and wanting to write.  With the summer off what was I going to do?  That is when I learned of haiku poetry.  My professor told me about it as he recently started a Twitter account where he only wrote it.  He explained the syllabus of traditional haiku being 5/7/5 and that they made a reference to nature and season.  “It was a juxtaposition of two concrete images where the reader should arrive at a sudden emotion or insight.”  Haiku was objective and simple: a moment in the present tense.  He also talked of  senryu: a type of haiku that dealt with human experience and human nature.  As I listened to him, a poem I had loved and read earlier in the year immediately came to mind:  Ezra Pound’s “In the Station at the Metro”


THE apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.


Pound’s writing:  so simple, yet implies so much more.  Just like a haiku.

The following weeks my mind exploded and my love of haiku began.  Fortunately having a smartphone paid off as I was able to jot down a quick line or two while keeping up with my very busy toddler.  That’s when I decided to join twitter, and to my surprise people liked what I wrote!  My haiku was being retweeted and favored.  I quickly gathered a following.  I liked seeing how others were writing, it helped me to tighten up my own style and explore new ones.  I felt honored to have others enjoy my writing and it also gave me confidence that I was moving in the right direction.  I felt very excited.

Many of my friends suggested I start blogging, and actually had been telling for quite a while.  Truthfully,  I was daunted by it.  What could I possibly have to say that would be so interesting for others to read? Would anyone even want to read it?  I sat on the idea for almost a year.  One thing that kept fueling the notion was wanting to share the difficult birth of my daughter.  To have a space that would allow the huge disappointment and slight bitterness be released fully.  I wanted to reach out to other women who had similar experiences.  I also wanted to remind women to communicate, to be informed, yet feel secure in themselves with their own choices of birthing:  To feel empowered.

So I just recently decided to take the plunge and start a blog.  I’m nervous and feeling a bit vulnerable about letting my voice be heard, but I’m still going to take a chance.  I hope all that read will enjoy and I welcome positive feedback and comments.  My blog space is linked to my twitter account so please feel free to follow as I write small poems daily.

Thank you so much for reading!