Sherwood Anderson said that the object of art is not to make sellable pictures but rather to save oneself. For me, the “pictures” are poems, and what I’m saving is my own history.
For various reasons – unpleasant episodes or maybe it was the drugs – I am unable to clearly remember large chunks of my life. That inability to remember my own history, while unnerving at times, can be a good thing. There are certain windows into my past on which I prefer to pull the blinds so that even I cannot look in often or well.
All that changed about thirty years ago when I met Papabear. Since then, although we had a tough start, each year has grown happier, more productive, and more filled with gratitude. I don’t want to forget these years, not the last thirty nor what I hope will be thirty more going forward. Therefore, I write.
Given the happy life I now live, I don’t know for sure that I would forget much. But I’m not willing to take that chance, and these poems are my living record of a life that has been so enhanced by love and grace that what I write here can only be a poor reflection of my happiness.
But a poor reflection is better than a forgotten history of joy. So this is how I save myself; this is how I save my own history, the history of a life well loved that has made me what I am and, I hope, will continue to change me for decades to come.