My midwestern friend, the one whose marriage we celebrated with dancing last summer, is good. After three years of separation, three years of poetry-writing, slaving over images and words and form, she has become a poet.
Our senior year, as our friendship was forming, I remember wanting desperately to have her gift. Her sensitivity to acknowledging the small, her ability to work within structure. I thought she knew what she was doing then, but now?
Now, I see growth and shimmer where there was only the hope of it before.
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[I bought two copies of a friend’s book of poetry last week, and they arrived in the standard yellow mailing envelope. Two, thin chapbooks. A Bow from My Shadow, it’s called, and my pride over knowing such gifted and hardworking poets makes me give that extra copy away, a gift and an acknowledgement of artistry.]
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For two years after college, I wrestled with what to do next. I wanted so badly to get my MFA, to write and stay in the world of creativity and critique. Part of me still wants this – still longs for a group of people who will force me to put thoughts on paper and shape those thoughts into something remarkable.
[I go to my writers’ group every other Thursday. I read to them these things I’m hoping are poems, and I eat up their praise and critiques alike. Better writing is happening because of these thoughtful, diligent friends.]
When I listen to my friend talk about her program, I am proud and jealous, happy and wondering.
Did I make the right choice?
[The same friend whose book I just bought said to me: “I write best when it’s not all I do.” And I knew this was true of me, too. I didn’t do my best writing in college, when it was forced from me. Sure, the revising and peer editing helped, but now? I am inspired by so much. When I doubt, this is what I cling to.]
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And so, on this gray February Sunday, I watch as my friends blossom into themselves. I read their words with quiet joy and a pen. I write that poem that’s been bouncing around, and I begin the research for my Classroom Management class, because my path is shaped differently than I ever dreamed.