I had an opportunity to see some friends from New York today; they usually come down to Florida once or twice a year, and this time, my family and theirs got to have a one-day reunion in St. Augustine. My mother always insists that I bring my poetry notebooks and most recent publications for her friend, Diane, to see.
Diane has always liked my writing and remains an encouraging reader. She confesses that she knows little to nothing of poetry and literature, but somehow she always understands where I’m coming from, and what I’m trying to convey. One of her favourite poems of mine is “Mumford Street,” a four-stanza rhyming poem I’m ashamed to say I wrote at the age of 12. (Maybe if I wrote it at age 6, I’d be more proud of it. )
Anyhow, Diane spoke with me for hours about what inspired me to write such a thing, why I loved Schenectady so much when everyone who lived there loathed the place, and whether or not I was saddened by the shortage of friends I suffered from living in such a dangerous place.
These are all questions I hadn’t thought about in a while…growing up in a crime-ridden neighborhood had taught me a lot, I suppose. I spent thousands of hours alone, and was saddened at times by my lack of genuine friends, but in those hours, I could think about life, and what it meant to me, and what I wanted to do with mine. I had time to write, and learn from the writing of other writers before me; (the library was my haven from the domicile). I loved Schenectady for these reasons, even the dangerous parts of it; I used to climb the tallest tree in my yard and just stare for hours at all the lights of the city and cars and people walking by. The atmosphere inspired a great deal of my writing.
Diane begged me to publish the poem. “The people here need to see their community through the eyes of a child,” she told me, referring to my home in New York. And then she told me to send it to the Times Union.
A promise is a promise. I told her I’d do it, so I did. I sent an e-mail explaining the purpose in publishing the poem and asked whether they would be more likely to publish it on the Schenectady blog or in the actual paper. (Or neither, hm…)
I will certainly update you if they respond. If not, well–maybe I’ll publish it here on the blog. *shivers*