Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mary Poindexter McLaughlin: Even Just Breath

I recently met with my poetry professor, Myung Mi Kim, for a conference about my work.  When she asked to see my journal, I panicked.  “Here it is,” I said sheepishly, producing the small plain black book I carry around with me most everywhere.  “But I don’t have time— it’s not—I’m not—“

She wasn’t buying.  “Let’s see.”  I handed it over, and stopped breathing as she flipped through so many, so MANY blank pages.  I just had to explain.  “See, I’ve got three teenage kids and I barely have time to do all the coursework and I end up just writing down ideas in the notebook I use for class notes instead of a proper “journal” and…”  I trailed off.  Pathetic.

She stared at me, shook her head in sympathy, and talked to me as though speaking to a small, fragile, academically challenged child.  “It doesn’t matter where you write it down.  Slips of paper in your pocket will do.  All that matters is that you do it.”

So, here are my various “notebooks":


And here is a poem that was inspired by a dream I had, which, when I awoke from it, my husband insisted that I write down.  Which I did.  In my journal.  (This was before I started grad school.)   Thanks, Amy, for inviting me to share it as part of this conversation!


Mary Poindexter McLaughlin is a playwright, an Improvidancer, and a brand new poet (!?!) who lives in Western New York.  She’s also a mother of three with a soon-to-be-completed Masters Degree in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University at Buffalo.

In honor of Mary's notebook keeping, I will give away an Ultra Collection of Post it Notes to one commenter on this post.  Please leave your comment by Sunday, April 6 to have your name entered into the drawing.  

16 comments:

  1. I'm a little late coming over to visit, but so good that I did. Mary, a lesson for you first from a professor, then from a dream? And now to us! Each part is an inspiration to keep writing, in a journal, for ourselves. Thank you, and thanks Amy for having Mary to your table!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved all of this .Especially the we reach the end with laughter. Exactly.

    ReplyDelete
  3. " Slips of paper in your pocket will do." A napkin, an old envelope, a dried leaf. Just remember to bring a pen! Thanks and best wishes, Mary and Amy!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anything will do except leaving it in your head. My head forgets stuff so easily. Wonderful post. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I like laughing too. Yes I do! Beautiful MPM.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh Moj (Mary): How wonderful for me to HEAR YOU and READ YOU even though we haven't been able to connect in months. Inspiration. Thank you.

    -Net

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wonderful story and wonderful poem. And all so true. Very inspiring.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Is there a way to subscribe to this blog by email? I can't seem to find it if there is. It also isn't allowing me to become a follower.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love running across scraps of thought at the bottom of my purse or in winter pockets when I wear a coat again for the first time the next year!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Such a relief to know that someone else has several notebooks but leads much of their writing life on little scraps of paper that sort of accumulate everywhere. Every few years, someone gives me a beautiful notebook, but those are way too intimidating as receptacles of the junk I write, so I usually just put them in a drawer to save for when I become a real writer or poet. I'm glad I'm not famous, so no one ever asks to see my writing "notebook."

    ReplyDelete
  11. That's so true about writing on anything. The late, great Etheridge Knight once wrote a poem on a paper plate. There was even a picture of the plate as proof.

    ReplyDelete
  12. So true! I've written poems, lines, and ideas on everything from napkins to receipts.

    ReplyDelete
  13. love all the slips of paper and the quiet encouragement to get it all down!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think I could use the same excuse...I don't have time. Great lesson for me - it don't matter where you write it down...all that matters is that you do.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  16. OMG- I just found your blog through Reading Sage and what a goldmine I have discovered- not that I'm a writer and would never claim to be, but I am a teacher and have fallen in love with your blog. I can't wait to share with my teacher friends and students. I especially like the inspiration for writing this poem can instill in my students. I can 't thank you enough for sharing your awesome talents so freely. Again, I am going to dig deeper and discover all the wonders this blog contains. Good luck finishing up your master's degree!

    ReplyDelete