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Showing posts from February, 2014

Say Goodnight Gracie

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Sometimes when I lose something, it's not the pain of "I never appreciated what I had"---instead it's the pain of "I really valued this connection and now it's broken. Or at least it will never be the same." So it was with a tiny teaching job I had at an addiction clinic. Since September 2010, I've showed up there most every Wednesday, barring illness, travel for poetry readings and visiting family, and the holidays that fell on the Wednesdays when they were closed. Before the tiny teaching job, I worked there as a full-time addiction counselor from May 6, 2009 to July 30, 2010. Yes, I still remember the exact dates.

In my most recent capacity in the tiny teaching job, I went there to teach patients about trauma and its strong link to addiction for 1 hour per week. I used a curriculum I wrote, with the help of my wise and trauma-literate therapist husband, and went through the 8-part series numerous times, refining it and adjusting it for the patien…

La La La, Doo Doo Doo Doo

Music. It's music that sustains me. It's been this way since I was young, when starting at age 6, I would beg my parents to borrow their transistor AM radio so I could listen to Top 40 songs. Music poured into my ears. Music to drown out the yelling, the kitchen clatter of slamming cabinets. Music swam into my brain, passing through the caverns of stalagmites and stalagtites to quiet the elephant stampede that rocked from left to right.

Music rendered me helpless in the best possible way. Helpless as in lost in the sweet cacophony of melody, harmony, guitars, piano, drums and lyrics, all dancing in my head. Better than sugarplums, music was the salve for nerves frayed early on. Like a warm butternut squash soup in winter, music spooned itself into my anxious chest, soothed me and stimulated my creative dream world all at once.

Audre Lorde, I think, said that poetry saves lives, and many have testified to the truth of that statement. Besides books, music saved my life, seeing a…