Ars Poetica Pt. 1

Let’s start with why a blog. Everything else feels overwhelming. Bits and pieces feel kinder and organic. It aligns well with an essay model. Poetry doesn’t capture what I want to do. The ability to hyperlink feels like a good way to organize the research I’ll be doing, or at least a good start. And also, it’s public.

There’s a lot to unpack in the public aspect of this. This is…hard. This part of my life journey. The logistics of what I’m attempting. The questions/confusion/anger I’m trying to acknowledge and explore. The truth I’m hoping to find. The man I’m trying to know better.

There are things that will be revealed that will piss people close to me off. That will piss people I don’t know off. That piss me off.

There’s the man who was my dad who I love, but who I have an more complicated relationship with now that he’s dead. Things I don’t want to reveal because they feel like a betrayal. Things that involve people besides myself. Things that involve just me but that I haven’t fully accepted.

I process everything out loud, and typing is a version of out loud. A blog I can also share with many people at once – for now, people I choose, but later, people I don’t know.

That’s the beautiful and terrifying thing about publishing. Once you’ve given birth, once you’ve taught it everything you know, once your baby is out in the world and you’ve hit “publish” you can’t control how people react or what people do with it. It, your beloved work, that which is born of tears and time and who knows what all. (I think I just thought of a new lens through which I want to read Beloved by Toni Morrison – isn’t there a quote about all writing being about writing? Help, I can’t remember).

Why do I want to be public and take the risk of someone misinterpreting or judging or – heaven forbid – trying to talk to me about my work? Because I don’t want to do this alone and maybe there’s someone out there who is on a similar journey and reading about mine can help. So yes, I do want this to be published. I want to add to the body of work that is about grief and bereavement, the importance and power of story, and reconciling your relationship with a deceased loved one. About abuse and confusion and distance and closeness and memory and joy.

Oh, well, there it is then.

To do: Read

Books I’ll probably maybe hopefully read during this project. In no particular order.

  • The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion – recommended – memoir – purchased
  • Where the Past Begins by Amy Tan – stumbled upon – memoir – purchased
  • Rage Becomes Her by Soraya Chemaly – stumbled upon – non-fiction – purchased
  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers – recommended – memoir – purchased
  • Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey – stumbled upon – non-fiction – read, need to reread
  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty – stumbled upon – stumbled upon – memoir – purchased
  • From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty – stumbled upon – travel writing – read
  • The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD – stumbled upon – non-fiction – need
  • The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr – recommended – memoir – need
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith – recommended – memoir – need
  • The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell – have needed to read for a long time – non-fiction – purchased
  • The Women who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkman Estes, PhD – stumbled upon – non-fiction – started, need to return to
  • The Study of American Folklore: An Introduction by Jan Harold Brunvan – google search – non-fiction/textbook – need
  • American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osbourne – on this list – non-fiction – need
  • Spirits of Place by Alan Moore and Warren Ellis – on this list – non-fiction – need
  • The Lost Words by Jackie Morris and Robert MacFarlane – on this list – poetry/children’s book – need
  • The Telltale Lilac Bush and Other West Virginia Ghost Tales by Ruth Ann Musick – Amazon Search – non-fiction – need
  • Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths and Outright Lies by Mary Hamilton – Amazon search – non-fiction – need
  • Tales from Kentucky Lawyers by William Lynwood Montell – stumbled upon – non-fiction – need
  • Tales from Kentucky Funeral Homes by William Lynwood Montell – stumbled upon – non-fiction – need
  • Hitchhiker: Stories from the Kentucky Homefront by Bob Thompson – Amazon search – memoir – need
  • Wish you Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel by Loren Rhoads – article I read? – memoir – need
  • The Life and Death of Floyd Collins by Homer Collins and John Lehrberger- Amazon search – non-fiction – need
  • Poetry Will Save Your Life: a Memoir by Jill Bialosky – idk – memoir – need
  • The Ghost: A Cultural History by Susan Owens- idk – non-fiction – need
  • Ask Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday Troubles by Taisia Kitaiskaia – idk – non-fiction – need
  • What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng by Dave Eggers – book for class – novel – read
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien – book for class – novel – read, need to reread
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