Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I only need to organize it

The in-box is never empty

She is in my dreams again, as you know, whipping up healthy meals and storyboarding our book. Life and what we’ve already written keep getting in my way of this next assignment.

Can’t you cut me a little slack now? It’s all there; I need only to organize it.

Laura J. Morefield and Daniel Morefield
It took more than a year for Dan to clear up what you had yet to organize. The week before you died you put bunches of trip photos into a plastic tub so you could make a book out of them – a photo journal of sorts.

How I wish I could paste all our days into a book, savor each moment, each laugh and caress, the bells in Gubbio, watching you sleep at night, breathing your breath.

Laura, I feel like I’m running out of steam now, and just now, when I’m running out of steam, life keeps coming on – requests for me, my brains, my words.

Write Out Loud is reading “Dancing Out of Time” October 8, your birthday, and I won’t even be there, but on a plane returning from my 60th high school reunion in Chicago.

A USC grad student is singing Winter Roses on her American Composers-themed recital December 2. I plan to be there. How I wish you could go, too.

All this transpires amid production meetings in regard to our theatre piece, The Warriors’ Duet. The director/producer asked me in our recent meeting why I wrote Warriors and what purpose I hoped it would fulfill.

Laura J. Morefield and Mom
heading for St. Petersburd and the White Nights

I wrote it for us – so that we could be together again, for the first time on a stage; so people could hear your faith-filled celebrations of life and love and adoration; so they could know you and your diction of courage; so they could know it is possible to go on despite the ache that never goes away.

What I hope it does is to imbue them with courage for their own battles; allow them to mourn the loss of those they loved; and most of all to allow them to know you as I did – obstinate, intelligent, warm, scornful (were you ever that?), caring and most of all funny.

Our relationship was not always easy, but it was always worth fighting for; we never stopped admiring one another. So here I am, challenged by all these assignments and recognitions, and with no you to urge me on.

Miss Mommy, you know you can do it.

Thelma, Chuck and Charlene Stube
I've had a few requests for "Motherwit," which I wrote at midlife regarding my own mother, Thelma Marie Stube.

So here it is:


If I could bring her back,
Now that I've matured;
If we could really talk...
Perhaps I'd be reassured
her disapproval was imagined;
the pattern she had in mind
was not perfection.

I do not discard
Nor do I hate
The what-I've-beens.
They are part of me.

Instead I begin
Fragments I found
After I forgave.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Luminous creatures

Ever since my daughter Laura Jeanne Morefield, also a poet and writer, died at 50 in July 2011, I have devoted myself to several "assignments" she gave me. The first was made during the final weeks of her life.

"Mom, do me a favor. Please read through my post-diagnosis poems, select the best and edit them. Make a chapbook. I think they're my best work."

The Warrior by Charlene Baldridge
I made the collection and titled it The Warrior's Stance after an image in one of her poems. It received gratifying response on its maiden voyage, named a finalist in the nationwide chapbook contest to which I sent it. I'm in the throes of having it published now. 

The second project involves a dramatic interchange between mother and daughter titled The Warriors' Duet, which was read at ion in May 2012 and is to be produced next spring. Details are yet to be announced. 

The third project has to do with the revision of my memoir titled Wilmette 223, something Laura had long urged me to do. I haven’t done this exactly as she wanted, but it is, after all, my work, and I am Taurus. The first chapter is with a small press publisher now (hard to get anyone to even look these days; impossible to get an agent). I am hopeful.

And next, I plan to write the book Laura and I always wanted to write, about the healing and maintenance of the mother/daughter relationship. We knew how we did it -- lots of hard work and difficult discussions and travel together each year -- but we were both so busy we never got around to writing it. Now it falls to me. This book is tentatively titled What Next, Miss Mommy? I'm just now figuring out the content. 

Laura and mom, December 2008
Working with Laura's wondrous words over the past year plus and receiving dark, "unfinished," never--to-be-shared poems from her journals (sent to me by her husband, Dan) has been a privilege. I'm not sure I've mourned "properly" because I've been so engaged, and I am still looking for Laura in my dreams, where I receive encouragement from shining others who do not appear to be Laura. The raiment of these entities is silver. They are perhaps -- as she wrote -- "myself as God sees me." That is a comforting thought. Last night I was encouraged to "storyboard" the new book. It sprawled all over the place.