Monday, August 24, 2015

On Writing #70 : Susannah M. Smith

On Writing
Susannah M. Smith

I. Reading

Wonder and joy.

Two years old, memorizing The Night Before Christmas.

Having poetry read to me.
Reading poetry myself.

The Illustrated Treasury of Poetry for Children.
A Child’s Garden of Verses.
Time’s Delights: Poems for All Seasons.
A Child’s Book of Poems.

Treasure chests of cadence, language, imagination.
Illustrations lofting the text.
Always delighting and transporting.

While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads…

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

Closeness of damp air on my face
sound of foghorns in the bay
misty halos around streetlights at dusk.
Carl Sandburg, baby.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave a luster of midday to objects below.

Since I slipped through the wardrobe into Narnia, things have never been the same.


II. Writing

Eleven years old, tucked up in bed scribbling in notebooks.
I didn’t like going to sleep.
Writing eased the path.

During the day, I sat on the floor with scissors and glue
surrounded with words and pictures
collecting and arranging
cutting and pasting
playing and making.
This is what I did and this is what I still do.

Writing is collage.

And the notebooks.
The smell and feel of the paper.
The smooth glide of the pen.
Carrying around a world that belongs to you.
Knowing that you are the shaper, the magic maker.

Lately, writing is not publishing.
Manuscripts tumble and grow fat.
Secret compartments cascade.
Towers upon towers.

Writing is a pleasure palace.

III. Rising

Frances Glass.
In my early twenties, when I introduced myself to strangers as Franny.
J.D. Salinger and his crazy mysticism, baby.

There isn’t anyone out there who isn’t Seymour’s Fat Lady.

I like. I like. I like.

The story. The story. The story.

This is a thought experiment.
This is the joy of receiving.
This is the story told, the story growing old, the story told fresh.

Writing is architectural.
It is a practice of vaulting
of rising up and out into the world and beyond.
There is no staying small.


I like.
The story.
Writing is.

So much about living.

Susannah M. Smith is the author of How the Blessed Live. She lives in Vancouver, BC.

Photos by Susannah M. Smith. Author photo by Paul Sinclair.

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