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.