Monday, July 21, 2008


So I had a lot of fun with the high schoolers and their advisers, and the keynote went really well, EXCEPT... in my initial nervousness I forgot to include part of my speech!

The speech was titled WINDMILLS AND OTHER POTS OF GOLD, but it could have been titled EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED FROM POETRY.

One of the things I did was share poems that have guided me on this whole writing journey, and I was so annoyed when I realized I had forgotten THIS one, because it is one of my most favorites ever:

Secret Life

By Stephen Dunn

Why you need to have one
is not much more mysterious than
why you don't say what you think
at the birth of an ugly baby.
Or, you've just made love
and feel you'd rather have been
in a dark booth where your partner
was nodding, whispering yes, yes,
you're brilliant. The secret life
begins early, is kept alive
by all that's unpopular
in you, all that you know
a Baptist, say, or some other
accountant would object to.
It becomes what you'd most protect
if the government said you can protect
one thing, all else is ours.
When you write late at night
it's like a small fire
in a clearing, it's what
radiates and what can hurt
if you get too close to it.
It's why your silence is a kind of truth.
Even when you speak to your best friend,
the one who'll never betray you,
you always leave out one thing;
a secret life is that important.

For a really really long time, writing was my secret life. I wrote all sorts of stuff but I just shoved it inside a drawer. I didn't share it with anyone. Even my husband says he didn't know at the time that he married a writer. I'm thinking maybe that's a good thing? Kind of like boiling a frog? :)

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

- Aristotle

1 comment:

  1. it surprises me to learn that writing was your secret life. You are so talented and sure of yourself now...I kind of feel that writing is my secret life now also.

    I have something for you...come over and see!!


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