Thursday, November 27, 2008

Some Realities About Writing to Heal

I've often written about the importance of writing to heal: from keeping a pen and paper near the sick bed to writing down your concerns and complaints for your caregivers. My recent hospitalization and nursing home stay (a total of nearly six weeks) should have provided an excellent opportunity for me to practice what I've preached.

It didn't quite work out that way. For one thing, I did not have easy computer access. I did, however, have a pen and a notebook. So why didn't I write much? Yes, I had a roommate and nearly continuous TV. However, there are other reasons, too. For me, writing is a reality of my life, and I seemed eager to escape from reality. I drifted into the routine of the institution, not thinking much about my "real" life. Writing was something I planned to do after I got home.

Did I write anything while I was in the nursing home? Yes, I wrote down a few notes for future writing, and then I wrote three rictameters. For me, an experienced user of this odd poetic form, this was tha perfect way to express myself. My three rictameters were "Kindness," "Patience," and "Painful." All three appear in my two blogs, this one and "Never too Late!"

So what is the message here? Poetry can be brief, direct, and meaningful (see "A Good Review Brings Cheer," below). When illness or injury makes one reluctant to write, a short poem can express a lot. As I look back, I notice that my three rehab rictameters tell the story of my experience better than more extensive writing might have.

If the thought of writing at length, especially in difficult times, is depressing, try writing simple poems: rhymed, unrhymed, free verse, or whatever. I found my magic in the rictameter, but there are many other possibilities. The idea of most poetry is to say a lot in a few words, and that's what I did. I seem to have redefined my understanding of writing to heal.

Copyright 2008 by Marlys Marshall Styne

1 comment:

magnolia said...

Hello Marlys,

I've not been around lately, but have thought of you often.

I hope you are well. Are you at home yet? Have you moved into your new apartment yet?