Recently, I took the train to Toronto and immediately felt nostalgic. The sun was rising like a bright orange globe hanging over Hamilton and glimmering just.. ‘so’ through the windows. This was the first time I’d been on a train since I returned home from galavanting through Europe with my family this summer. I felt that old familiar ache you get in your chest when you’re ‘happysad’:
adjective: your gut is clenching because you’re just so giddy and every experience is flashing past your eyes as if it’s just happened. But your heart is also sinking because it won’t happen like that again.
It was wonderfully peaceful, being on the train, and made me reflect on how lucky I am to have had that time to travel with my family– a gift that not many get to experience.
On the way home I stumbled upon the poem “Dead Poets” , by Lang Leav. The story goes that a young girl pledges her life to the poetry that lives among the shelves of an old library. They are filled with authors that have now passed. The poets are sad for her as she doesn’t realize she will now relive heartache as it happens to her throughout her life. She ends the poem concluding that “poets are among the damned… having hands that do not know what they seek”.
I resonate with this. It seems that people who experience hardship somehow make beauty out of their lives. It’s incredible to me and I want to do the same. However, this hardship can become a safety blanket. A warm space to crawl under when the world seems a bit smaller and darker.
There seems to be some preconceived notion- through media, books & films that the main character must overcome great sorrow, heartache and hardship to make the story riveting. There was a big part of me that romanticized hardship as a child. I used to put so much weight into yearning for a tragic beauty. For a life that threw me around, beat me up, and spit me out a strong independent women who could take on anything. Realistically, that’s exactly what I got, but is it romantic?
Much of my poetry is quite sad, or reflects on hardship that I have experienced or witnessed. Sometimes I wonder what I would write about if those events where not part of my life. What will I write about when I get to a point in my life when there is no sad or heartbreaking poetry left? Why is poetry better when it’s sad? Would I be the person I am today had I not been able to persevere? Probably not.
I started a new book the other month and in the beginning I wrote “I want to fill this with book with happiness.” A harder feat than I expected considering I spend a great amount my time during the day actively seeking out good. Why is it easier to dwell on the bad, rather than zero in on the good? It seems to me though that we need more celebration of happiness. To make a choice to consciously know it, see it, feel it and remember it.
I want to romanticize happiness.
Perhaps if poets are meant to re-experience as they create their art, they can then relive the good as well.
Wishing you all a lot of good & a lot light this Monday morning.