It was my first trip abroad in 32 years. For two months I wandered solo from Paris to the French countryside and attempted time-travel. In my computer was a half-completed novel called Looking Glass Girl.
I’ll start my story near the end, with a poem I wrote in the final days of my artist residency at Camac Centre d’Art in Marnay-sur-Seine, population 236.
The real story is that I struggled with my novel and its painful subject matter.
It’s funny how a poem can capture a particular moment, so that when you read it years later that whole period of life comes back. Here’s one I wrote when my kids (now grown or nearly grown) were little. I’ve never shared it, since I didn’t consider it a “real” poem and probably intended to revise it. Here it is:
I should be rewriting a children’s story. It’s due today and my son has set a buzzer on the stove for when I have to leave for an afternoon meeting.
I don’t know why I’m so bummed about it this time. Maybe I relished the challenge of approaching a controversial topic in a way that builds bridges rather than walls. And no, I won’t name the school, so don’t ask. I’m not mad at them. I understand the pressure they are under and they stood to lose a lot more than I would if some lawsuit-happy parent got their knickers in a knot.