Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Finding the right words

Earlier this year, I made a list of the WIPs that I wanted to finish writing. My challenge was to take 12 of the books I was currently working on – books that the first drafts of were not yet completed – and finish writing them.

This month’s book to finish writing was a poetry book on the subject of grieving.

When I write poetry books, I don’t exactly have a timeline to finish writing them. I figure out which one will be published next, work on it more than the others, and just work on the others whenever. However, I recently put together a schedule of when ALL of them will be published, and since the grieving poetry book was coming up next, I decided to finish writing it this month.

Grief is most certainly a subject I can relate to. I have lost my parents and other loved ones. All of my grandparents are gone (that is, the one on my side), and I’ve also lost dogs (the poem I wrote about losing a pet was written in a way that it can be for any kind of pet but, yes, I wrote it after my dog died). I have been affected by the grief of losing aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, and also from another person’s own suffering as they endure their grief. Some of the poems were influenced by them. Their pain became my pain too. And as for a type of loss I could not relate to – such as losing an unborn child or losing a spouse – I have tried to think about the people I know who have been in such situations and tried to think of how they might feel or what they might say. If anything. I would at least hope such a poem would offer comfort.

There was, however, one poem I struggled to write. It was on a subject I could actually relate to – it’s something that anyone grieving the loss of a loved one could relate to – but I just couldn’t get the right words for the poem down onto paper. I tried typing it, but that didn’t work. And when I’d try to write it on paper, I would not be satisfied with the words and crumble up the paper then throw it away.

On the day I wanted to finish writing this book, however, I wanted to really get this poem written. It was not a good day, though. I became ill. But even as I was sick, it was like inspiration struck. And so, while I was sick and feverish, I opened my notebook and wrote the poem. The poem I had been struggling with. The poem I could not find the right words for.

The last poem for this book. And it was perfect.

I am glad this poetry book is complete now. Happy it is finally finished. And I’m glad I got it done in time, too. It took getting sick to get that last poem written, and I guess that is a reminder to trust the process when it comes to writing. The right words will come in time. They always do.

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