Friday Favorite: Helen Keller and Poetry

 

It’s Friday–FINALLY!   🙂  🙂  🙂   Hope your week has been productive, and fast.  Mine was a bit chaotic with both hubby and son home sick for the past few days with colds.  I had a MRI done on a shoulder, and the results were positive–no surgery will be needed.  Just more physical therapy, but that I can handle.  🙂

Can’t help though but to feel a tad frustrated since I hadn’t done any writing this week.   It’s not that I’m feeling unproductive, but if a day or more pass by and I hadn’t created anything, that’s where the frustration lies.  I feel like an addict in that if I don’t get my fix (in the act of creating), I feel pent up, and agitated.

Sounds familiar?

Anyhoo…

A question popped in my  mind earlier this morning when I began thinking about Helen Keller (one of my favorite inspirational writers): how did she feel about poetry?

Reason this question came to mind is that I’ve been doing some soul-searching as I start to make plans for a memoir (which will be written around a series of poems I wrote throughout various parts of my life).  A realization struck me in how important writing poetry was to my healing (and dealing with losses), and I’ve begun to look at the role of how poetry therapy played in other people’s lives.

I knew Helen Keller had written at least one memoir, and several essays, but I wondered if she ever wrote poetry.  So, I hunted online to find the answer.  Although I did find it, I also found this particular quote by Keller that I’m considering to have framed and placed on my writing desk:

 

Poetry is liberating.   Writing poetry enable me to delve deeper in emotions and experiences that have been too painful to voice orally, and even openly about.

What about you?  Have poetry been instrumental in certain aspect or time of your life?  Do you have a favorite poet or poem?

 

 

The Power Of One’s Imagination

Photo Credit: Pixabay Free Images

 

I’ve met countless writers and creatives from various artistic backgrounds who hailed how one’s imagination and dreams have enabled them to heal from painful and traumatic experiences.

Can a mind be that powerful?

Personally, my answer to this is Yes!

With the number of violent incidents increasing in our nation, I believe that having art of all kinds (music, drama, writing, etc.) included in all schools and colleges.  To go one step further, we should also have Art Therapy in schools.

With everything being so structured these day (structured play-if any, structured classes, structured lunchtimes, video games are also structured, and on and on), for a kid to utilize his own imagination to create play, a new game, an imaginary place or person, is becoming a lost and untapped ability.  An ability that will become crucial at various events of one’s life.  The ability to transfer oneself out of a stressful circumstance and into a place of magic, safety and love.  Even if only for the briefest of moment this will allow one to reset the mind (and emotions) and be better equipped to deal with the current situation.

Meditation. Strumming on a guitar. Singing.  Journaling.  Doodling or sketching.

Children and adults who’ve been abused, or had a traumatic experience tend to heal better through Art Therapy. There’s also Poetry Therapy.  Music Therapy. Journal Therapy.  The list could go on. These types of therapy enable one to express the pain and abuse in other ways where words may have failed.

For me, journaling and writing poetry have been cathartic and healing as I worked through the various losses I’ve experienced.  Without them, I don’t think I’d feel as emotionally and mentally whole as I do today.

What about you?  Have any of these above helped you through a challenging time?

 

 

An Outsider (How I Became a Writer)

I was a 70s child, and spent the entire preteen and teen-aged years during the 80s.   There are some things to be said having grown up in the heart of Adirondack mountains during this period.

One, you only got four channels on the television, if you were lucky.  So, I didn’t experience MTV until much later in life.

Two, really good doctors were few and far between.

I was born seemingly healthy, in all appearance-wise that is. By the time I was about two years old, it became apparent to my parents that I wasn’t developing normally.

I startled easily.

I wasn’t responding to stimuli like a “normal” child would.

I got frustrated over the simplest things and threw frequent temper tantrums.

My speech development was on par, for an one-year old.

For the next few years, they took me to see various specialists across New York and Vermont, but no one could tell them what was really wrong with me.  One particular specialist blatantly told my parents that I had serious behavioral issues and should see a shrink.

On I went to Kindergarten.

It was probably a few months into the school year when the teacher, Mrs. Siglin, pulled my Mom aside and said that I was practically unteachable.   I wasn’t listening to anything she was saying during class.  I was abruptive, and rude to the other kids.

Mom, in tears, had to pull me from school.

As a last resort, my parents took me to see an audiologist, Ms. Audrey.

She put me through a series of tests, and then had me sit in a sound-proof room, with a headphone on. She then amplified the sound of my voice.

Something happened that hadn’t happened before.

I began to jabber incoherently at first, and then my words grew clearer and concise.

Ms. Audrey turned to my bewildered parents and explained that I had moderate hearing loss in both ears.

Nerve deafness. 

I was almost six years old, and for the first time in my life, I heard the sound of my own voice.

 

So, I was almost six years old when I was diagnosed with nerve deafness.  I received my first behind-the-ear hearing aid shortly after the initial visit with Ms. Audrey.   The device helped as I was finally able to hear the sounds around me more clearly.  I could finally hear myself talk as well as whoever was trying to talk to me.

I was now able to understand and learn in school.

It certainly was not a “cure-all” as I was still very much a loner.  An outsider.

I spent the next two or three years attending speech therapy at a distant school.  About twice a week, a transportation vehicle would come and pick me up at the tiny private school I attended, and took me fifteen miles away to a moderate size elementary public school where I met with my speech therapist for our one-hour sessions.   Then I would board a public school bus with kids I didn’t know which took me home.

The speech therapy sessions helped, but I still spoke funny.

My accent was odd.  Out-of-place.

People, kids looked at me with strange expressions.

I felt very much alone most of the time.

Imaginary friends helped me through this period, as they would throughout my life.  Even as an adult, I still have imaginary friends.

Does that make me strange?

An outsider who’s not quite all there?

Hmm…yeah, I guess so.

And you know the funny part about all this?

I’m fine with it.  Totally and completely.

Why?

Because I have an excuse to be strange and odd, and what’s that word that a coworker once used to describe me?

Eccentric.

However, by the time I was eleven I’d developed a slight problem with having imaginary friends.   I started to act out some of the things they wanted me to do or where they wanted me to go.

Adventures in other lands.  Or, more like misadventures.

Like this one time when I was playing with my various superhero friends when one of them convinced me that I was Wonder Woman and could leap over a line of six chairs.   I almost cleared them all.  I ended up straddling a rocking chair and spent that evening in the ER.

When I was eleven my best friend was Melanie.  She was a red-head with a fiery temper.  I can’t remember what sparked the idea but she put out a challenge to see who could write the best short story.  I took the challenge and wrote a story about a haunted house where a girl went in to explore and found a decapitated head in the fridge.  Pretty morbid, but this particular challenge altered my life forever.

That day I learned there were other ways of participating in adventures with my imaginary friends; not to mention, much safer.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the writer within me was born.

 
Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.”-Margaret Chittenden

Writing and Mental Health

mental health

* Journal of Life-“A piece of fiction from Carrie Ann Golden; written as journal entries of a young lady struggling with mental illness/family.” –GFT Press

I wrote a short fiction for GFT Press which was published late last week.  I took various experiences from my past, and wrote them into this particular story of a young woman.  It doesn’t work for everyone, but writing can be used as a therapeutic tool while working through life challenges.

What about you?  Has writing helped you through various dark and troubling times in your life?