Try This! - Write from a Big Emotional Life Change

From Mark Kehl:

My writing tends to come from strong emotions.  It also comes from events or people who are close to me.  I write because sometimes I feel like I can express myself better and that feeling will last longer. Things I don't want to forget!  I used to always write poetry in rhyme, ever since I was in high school-writing to the girl I never got.  I continued to write sporadically when the emotions struck me.  

It wasn't until recently that I broke from the rhyme pattern form and started playing with line breaks, repeats, patterns, etc.  I think it came from exposure to these styles that naturally pressed me onward.  Writer's workshop classes certainly opened my eyes.

I always write my rough draft longhand to get my ideas down. Then, when I type, I can play with position and who my audience is.  

This poem is slightly different than the one my daughter actually read because the readers of this blog are different from my daughter.  The poems are close, but there were some things I left out in the version below.

For my daughter, I printed a typed copy and put it in a large scrapbook. I think my purpose for writing about strong emotions, feelings about people and events, is that I can go back and remember and reflect on those times, those memories and smile. 

Try thinking about an emotional life change.  You can see that I wrote about my daughter's graduation, but there are all kinds of life changes: moves, deaths, sicknesses, births, new friends, new pets... Think of some changes from your life. Choose one, let it inspire your notebook entry. You may write prose, or perhaps you'll try a free verse poem as I did.

Here's mine:

I awoke with the sense 
that this day was going to be an emotional one.
I could only be described as-
edgy, sensitive, teary.
It was my wife's 50th birthday-
a great milestone.
It was the anniversary of our 
marriage blessing.
Another great milestone.

These (although momentous) 
were not the cause 
for my level of emotion.
The source…
my daughter Allyson.
Today she graduates from college.
This day, 
she truly seems to be an adult.
This day, 
she has achieved Magna Cum Laude in political science.
This day,
she begins her journey to law school.
There is an overwhelming sense of pride
in my baby girl 
who entered the world at 6 lbs. 13 oz.
The world traveler - Greece, Italy, Ireland, and Vietnam.
Although she is physically beautiful,
it is her inner beauty that captives.
Her love and compassion for others-
especially children-
that kind of goodness 
can't be hidden.

Being the first to make me a father,
the first to lead the way for four younger siblings,
the first for my wife and I to try our best
with no previous experience-
She has turned out pretty remarkably.

Now she is independent-
an adult 
with her own friends and relationships.
Although I have watched her grow
and reach this point in her life-
adulthood.
I wasn't prepared to let go-
to see as her as something other-
than little.

I pray that she has 
seen, heard, felt and known-
how very much I love her.

Yes it's an emotional day.


Mark Kehl is a husband, father of five, primary teacher, Catholic Deacon, small farmer.  He has always been a person of strong feelings. Tears of joy!

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