Monday, July 25, 2011

Bearing Witness: One Voice in Time

“I love to write! Words are my constant and faithful companion.”
-Camille Gray, PhD
I have just completed the last of the changes required for the release of my latest poetry collection entitled, “Bearing Witness”. That it has been a labor of love is an insufficient cliché; the labor is minimal while the love is infinite in each of my literary undertakings.

My sister once described the whimsical and piercing anthems of her infant son as his “testing the range of his voice”. “Bearing Witness” is an anthology of my own vocal development; a chronological testimony in verse as to how the art and my craft utterly and wholly changed my voice and my life.

Perhaps the most challenging element to preparing this collection was resisting the temptation to edit my previously published work.

After consulting with writers of varying genres and experience, I concluded that, except for the slightest of corrections, I should preserve the voice of my past. It was the purest voice for that moment; any change, no matter how noble the intention, would violate the authenticity of my own lyrical narrative.

To be certain, a few of the old poems were tough to read in the present; some made me blush; others reminded me of times that are happily and firmly behind me. Still more have positively reminded me that I have used the power of my pen for good.

“Bearing Witness” reflects four and a half (!) stages of my personal and writing progression. I am not the protagonist of every poem. I am, however, a witness to time and emotion in the global economy of the human experience.

The poems that make-up “Talking to Myself, are not punctuated; reflecting my once undeveloped, puerile voice. As dictated in many immature acts, I seemed more concerned with saying what I wanted to say with little regard for how I wanted to say it.

“Alive, but Unconscious”, was written during the time when Oprah issued an invitation and a challenge to women to live their best lives; that so many of us had been walking through our lives, hardly aware of ourselves and oblivious to any palatable reasoning for our largely predictable actions. These poems opened my eyes to perceptions of my own insufficiency and left me on the fringes of finally feeling and being “enough”.

By the time I completed “Pillow Talk”, I was in love with the sound, the range and the color of my own voice. More important, I was completely pleased and hopelessly in love with…me!  Self awareness and appreciation is the honeymoon that never ends. I may not have known exactly what I wanted then, but I knew what I did not want, and that was half the battle.

“Dallas Rain” was written last fall during a few days of much welcomed beautiful, but frightening thunderstorms. Love touched me slightly during that time; evaporating and falling elsewhere almost as quickly as the rains visited upon and withdrew from my abode. Another love, newly defined and free of most ego-driven attachment (I am a work in progress) showers over me; it is a nourishing, steady stream; pooling me into a reflection of balance and awareness. It is a generous, unconditional muse.

“In the Alaskan Fog”, is my “present”. It is only as complete as each passing moment. These poems are my reward for living in the “Now”. As I let my life “be”, my poems…“become”. Poetry written in the moment summons every one of the senses to attention; and I endeavor to faithfully record all that touches, flavors, perfumes, glances and reverberates in this world.

“Bearing Witness” is my humble offering. I pray that I have been a gracious steward of my muse

…you know who you are.



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