Last year, after With Spring Comes Hope came out, I started the long task of compiling my next collection of stories and essays. Named Of Hearts and Sea Glass, it went through several different identities until I realized it needed to be put aside for a while until it made more sense to release it.
After Ludo was born in July last year I went through a time when I couldn’t stop writing. While I have always written a lot, I literally felt like I was overwhelmed with ideas and thoughts, words were flying around my head constantly, stories born in the early hours of the morning through the haze of my sleep deprived mind. I made lists in order not to forget the themes I hadn’t had a chance to get to, and wrote and wrote and wrote. November rolled around and suddenly the fog descended, and while I continued to write, I struggled to make it through each day in one piece, wondering where my energy and my natural positivity had gone to. I used to drink my depression into the abyss before motherhood, but now I kick her away with more permanent measures, one of those being to slow down and accomplish one thing at a time. Rushing through another collection of essays that are a huge part of me became too daunting of a task, and one that required a stronger mental capacity than I could offer at that point.
In the meantime I unpacked my box of journals and miscellaneous writings, and as I read through I started to think back to the collection of poems I had haphazardly compiled in 2016, shown to probably two people and then hidden away again. I’ve never been confident about my writing, and I still get the shivers every time I share something I have written on social media. It’s not a question of actually being worried about what others may think, or the thought of someone calling me out on some inconsistency in an article, I’m really not bothered about that. Most things that I write are a part of me, and writing has always been my preferred form of expression, easier than speaking in any case. And every time I write I feel like I am exposing myself to the world, when all I really want to do is hide away from it. There are also levels of intimacy involved. A thought piece on something like gun control, or racism, or feminism doesn’t worry me so much when I put it out there: I am very much confident in my opinions and also open to being corrected if I’m full of shit. Then comes the more personal thought piece or story, death or sobriety or depression, and the ones on motherhood, strong and fragile. After that come the short stories, and then finally poetry. These words that I stitched together in one frantic swoop are lifted from an experience, sometimes a moment, sometimes a long period of time, and transposed into a string of words and punctuation. And even though I have a graduate degree in English Lit I have never followed traditional poetry rules. I know for some that is of utmost importance, and if that is your preferred form of poetry you will probably not enjoy mine. A kind of freestyle, a freedom in writing that I love, and an interpretation that anyone can have. That’s why I have always loved poetry, what it means to me may be completely different to what it means to you and what it meant to the poet.
I will always remember being assigned a poem by Louis MacNeice in my second year at university, and feeling that dread in my stomach at the prospect of having to stand in front of people and dissect the poem (the speaking aloud being the problem not the dissection). But I read the poem (Sunday Morning) on the tram on my way home and in the 20 minute trip had scribbled 4 pages of ideas down. MacNeice, Auden, Plath, Hughes, Yeats, Sexton: from that moment onwards they opened so many doors in my mind, and pushed me to believe that it was OK to write poetry that didn’t resemble classic poetry. Those random things I had seemingly thrown together in my journals could possibly be considered poems, even if the meter didn’t match the sonnet and rhymes were nonexistent. But I have always considered myself a writer but not a poet, so I continued to have random bursts of poetry inspiration, just to hide them away, forever.
But then I decided that it was time. It was time to dust off the poems and give them new life. I picked up the ones I had previously compiled and then painstakingly ran through my journals, typing out all of those others that were hidden in the pages. And then I thought that a few of my newer pieces had a place amongst the poems too. I had a different title in mind but it never felt right, and then suddenly I noticed a general theme that runs through my writing appearing again, the theme of looking for home. So the collection became Home, and after a few more additions and subtractions, a few more commas and a change of font, and a lot if hesitation the collection is ready for you. Well it will be in a few days!
Here’s a little peak inside my collection... Some of the poems were written in 2000, some in 2017, and all the rest at some point in between. I can tell you exactly when and where each and every one were written, in a place that I considered home right then. So here you go… Home. I hope you enjoy this new collection, and thank you for reading.