Lessons from the Sea

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Just before I left for a much needed vacation in the sun, I found out that my second manuscript of poems had been accepted to be published. I hardly had time to process the news before leaving, but the time away from the frigid winter gave me an opportunity to think and plan carefully for the next couple of months.

I reflected upon where I was 4 years ago, when my first book was published- and how little I knew then. I’m more comfortable in myself now, less tortured and broken. The stereotype of being the “tortured, heartbroken writer” was one I bought into. I believed I would have more profound material if I sought out ‘brokenness’. But I don’t care for that now. Now it’s about mending what has been broken.

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Between writing notes and scheming plans for my book, I was also reading a wonderful illustrated book entitled “Keeping A Nature Journal” by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth. The book is a colourful, inspiring guide to creating your own nature journal- and that’s exactly what I did. I paid attention to the little things around me- the whorls of a shell, the chirping bananaquit, the prisms of sunlight in the water. Each object was a poem in itself.

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The activity of nature journaling allowed me to visually document my observations without having to come up with the perfect words to describe them. I was just drawing what I was seeing, and there was no pressure to be profound. The profundity was in the experience.

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Before leaving the sand swept shore, I wanted to do a simple offering to the ocean. Throughout my trip, I noticed the level of noise created and amplified by fellow travellers.  I couldn’t help but wonder how the incredibly loud music on the pier affected the creatures living in the water. Every day, all day- boom, boom, boom. Even on vacation, we need distractions. The sea’s hum is not enough, we need portable stereos we can stand with in the water (I kid you not) and 3 different soundtracks playing in the space of  a few meters.

The sea keeps us still and reminds us to take deep breaths, but we can’t hear it over our own madness.

As a result, I decided to offer the most fragile, gentle objects I could find:  fallen flowers.

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When I returned to Canada, I came home to a pile of boxes on my desk. My new branding materials have arrived, and it is time again for me to make an offering.

 

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For information on creative writing workshops and performances, contact me.

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