Date: 2010.05.30 | Category: Imagining Love, The Art of Writing | Tags:



    Nothing like a four day weekend to let off steam, to entertain some of life’s diversions in a whirlwind of emotion, and then, satiated, empty, still have a few hours to do what it is you want to do, to write, without actually needing to, but because you’ve created a space, although somewhat obsessively and what some may call dysfunctional (shopping, eating, gambling, drinking, smoking—no I’m not confessing to any or all of these), to allow creativity a place to sing.  Now there’s nothing like singing, except maybe dancing, even if one, such as myself, can’t sing or dance—well, can’t sing or dance well—, there’s nothing like singing or dancing to be happy (and there’s nothing like not singing or dancing, especially when one desires to sing and dance, to not be happy).


    I’m in the heart of soulful creativity. Cutting and pasting, sorting through images and words, treasure mapping.  (Sipping champagne and eating chocolates.)  Alone.  Not where I want to be but enjoying every quiet moment being.  Then, a muse spoke, a little too loudly. I had to listen.  The muse said, what your friend said about having to work twice as hard, be twice as good—you know the story, your mom told you the story—the muse said it’s a myth, it’s trash talkin’, it’s double jeopardy.  The muse said, write that poem.  I did.


    Note:   recently at a writing retreat I wrote a poem so abstract, so against, be specificAddiction is the Language of Love.  Isn’t it the details that allow readers to connect even if their stories are different?  A former student recently recited to me what she said I taught her about concrete and abstract images and that a rug is a rug, keep it simple.  I was horrified that she might not have understood or I might not have explained that a shag rug is more specific than rug or that a shrill scream is more than anger, yet it’s not just adjectives I want to address, but that one noun can be more specific than another, more descriptive, and that the important thing is to remember to give witness to the sight, the smells, the sounds, etc. of the story.  I digress. 


    I don’t abide by rules.  I take words out of context.  I challenge the norm.  Why not? (Okay, sometimes I just don’t know better.)  Students do love me for “no rules” —most not hearing there is “craft” to think about, but I want them to think about what works for them, what is their voice, who is their audience, what is their story.   I digress.


    Today, Sunday, has been a respite from anxiety.  No, the reasons I have been anxious of late (like the last year or two or three) have not disappeared, but Friday and Saturday the frenzy of release by shopping, by eating, by gambling, by other things has exhausted me.  I am worn down enough to be contemplative.  I thought about what my friend said recently, that we have to be better, twice as good and this phenomenon of working so very hard to be equal because we might have a chronic illness or we might be a Chinese Black woman who grew up white, or, or, or….and I thought, no, this is a myth.  We must change this story.  Yes, I have always tried to live it, being better just to be good.  But, I wrote yet another abstract poem, It’s not true, because I could because I have  the luxury of a four day weekend to exhaust my anxiety so I can think clearer and so I can be creative and so I can make up my own rules, and create my own myths.



    Sherry Quan Lee

    May 30, 2010



    Aha!  I did not write this post over my lunch hour!  However, for qualification, and in defensive of error or sloppiness, as always, this posting is basically a first draft, as are the poems.  This posting is also a surprise, to me, that I have just written something.  Woo hoo, as my friend Lori would say!



    It’ not true

                (to all of us who live the myth)


    we don’t have to be better


    whose far fetched idea came tumbling came

    pouring into our determination


    to survive prejudice; doesn’t everyone

    have truths to hide? why does arrogance


    rule?  a privileged view, not mine, secrets

    don’t come with windows


    pride is not the same as truth, if humility

    was respected no one


    would have to hide or seek revenge and

    someone’s views would just be views


    and you and I could stop dancing

    on each other’s feet; no-never-mind


    I’m just going to be who I am and

    stop working twice as hard to be equal


    to you who could never dance like me

    even if you tried twice as hard without


    a view.



    Sherry Quan Lee

    May 30, 2010



    Addiction is the language of love


    “There was a woman here who was loved.”—Joy Harjo



    of lovers.  I am lover, I am addiction, I am loved.


    Sorrow is displaced by obsession, who is to say


    what a word means or the extent of it.  It is my


    story I am telling.  I could die from the loneliness / the


    anger and I have or I can live with the gifts I give myself.


    I am a woman who tolerates diversity, no two lovers


    are alike, though they are all expensive.  I don’t let


    the lovers overwhelm me, a lost paycheck a small price


    to pay for salvation.  The more I am addict the more I am


    love.  Lovers, I will not name you; you are my secret





    Sherry Quan Lee

    April 24, 2010