The Long Long Green of Writing

I’m bursting to share my happiness about two pieces of good news about writing that came my way yesterday.

In 1974 I wrote an essay called “The Motherbond” published in Women, A Journal of Liberation when my son was four years old. Today, forty-five years later, I received a thrilling email about it from the son/trustee of one of my most important writing mentors and models: “I’m Adrienne Rich’s son Pablo, and also her literary trustee. W.W. Norton is publishing a volume of selections from her prose in 2018 and I’m writing to you for permission to reprint the four paragraph passage from “The Motherbond” that Adrienne quoted in Of Woman Born.” Then yesterday, when he sent payment for the reprint rights, I laughed with uproarious pleasure to read: “Does $250. sound all right for you? It’s pretty much in line with what Wallace Stevens and Emily Dickinson will be paid, based on number of words or lines. But they’re not alive as you and I.”

Also yesterday, I opened a local publication here in Ajijic Mexico where I live, to find a complete reprint of the speech I gave in the lakeshore amphitheatre for the Women’s March 2018. The speech, “A World That Works for Everybody”, included poetry by Ellen Bass, Yehuda Amichai and myself. And, it happens that just this week I received from my son the youtube of that speech, and finally figured out how to upload it onto my website,

These two pieces of good news about writing leave me feeling bookended by the span of my own long and steady writing life. How in heavens name I got from there  to here in time is a mystery, but it’s easy to see from here, that writing has been the road of my life. In 1984 I enacted a Writing Commitment Ceremony with my friend Martha as my witness. The typewritten words of the signed ceremonial document recently surfaced in my papers, as follows:

This pleasure I choose
coaxing something live
into sound’s shape.
I turn to face my fears of power,
I choose the craft
because my power crouches in its grass,
the long green of writing.

I embrace what I already know,
I step truly to the virgin path.
I choose a way that’s made of words,
for my power crouches in its grass,
the long, long green of writing.

Today I give great thanks for the writing path.

photography by Susa Silvermarie