Sunday, February 8, 2015

The poem my husband inspired

Six years ago a friend was planning a Valentine's concert. And she told me, "Leanne, I want you to participate. I want you to read something you've written."

Flattered, I wrote a short story that I thought would be suitable and shared it with my friend. 

She said, "Not good enough." Because friends can say that. "Not good enough. It's not romantic. I want you to write a romantic poem. It's Valentines."

"But I don't write romance," I told her.

"Aren't you married?"


"Well, what's the problem then?"

"But I'm not a poe--" The look she gave me convinced me not to finish that sentence. Instead I went home, clicked my pen and started to write. But everything I wrote was crap. I needed help. A search engine directed me to this page about Elizabeth Barrett Browning's How Do I Love Thee. I learnt that, inspired by her love for her husband, she wrote that poem and an entire book. Well, I figured, if her husband got a book my husband deserves at least a poem. Twenty minutes later I finished writing. I called my friend and read her my poem.


"It's just the first draft," I explained. "I can improve it."

She used the same tone loan sharks and bank robbers use. "Don't you change a word," she told me.

This is what I read on stage at the Agricultural Society Hall, on Mayne Island, six years ago...


She'd never been in love before
She feared it would never come
She feared she would spend her life alone -- heart withered and deformed
No eye would fill with the sight of her
No heart would beat for her alone

But then, but then he had found her
He -- the sight of him makes her yearn
He comes to her and her pulse races
His velvet voice stirs her blood
He draws her close and they are alone in the universe
The love for which she has sought
For which she feared would never come
Is born, breathes and engulfs them

Lessons learned:  
-It's good to stretch your writing muscles by trying your hand at a new genre -- even one that intimidates you.
-When stuck, look to a master for help.
-Seek inspiration from someone you love.

Sharing my author journey...
Six years later, I plan to read this poem during open mic night at the Agricultural Society Hall on Mayne Island
Friday, February 20th 
doors open at 7 PM
Always a fun night for musicians, poets, storytellers and listeners, alike.

Last week, I climbed a steep hill and slid down into a bed of daffodils. Or at least that's what it felt like. I was presented with an opportunity. Capitalizing on this opportunity meant digging in and working hard. Editing -- lots and lots of editing. That was the steep climb part.
Some writers don't like to self-edit. I love it, because it teaches me to write better and to know what this better writing looks like. 

During the latter part of last week, I worked on my WIP. And I found that as I worked a type of magic began to happen. The perfect word seemed to fall out of the sky onto the page. The plot drove on, without me. I was merely the secretary -- taking dictation, as I was captivated by the story. That was the bed of daffodils part.

And next week? Who knows what that holds...?


Darlene said...

A wonderful poem. Yes we do need to stretch ourselves. Sounds like your WIP is coming along. All the best!

Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you, Darlene.
My WIP is coming along. In fact, on Sunday, I passed a copy on to a first reader. And on Friday, I'll give it to another. Much thanks to these kind people for their help.
But I know you know as well as I do, Darlene, that passing a copy to a first reader doesn't signal the end of work -- it's just a pause.
Hope your writing is going well, as well. : )

Laurie Buchanan said...

I love this:

"The plot drove on, without me. I was merely the secretary -- taking dictation, as I was captivated by the story."

That's what it's all about :)

Leanne Dyck said...

Absolutely, my friend, absolutely. It's so sweet when it happens. : )

Anonymous said...

This poem is delightful, loving and romantic. Belated--heck let's tell the truth--late Valentine's Day.

Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you, Tess. And there are some who never stop celebrating this special day. : )