Saturday, May 18, 2013

Green is All

Cool wet grass
leading down the hill
to the river.
Rice in the meadow,
trees swaying,
mountains still
like paintings behind the mist.

Vivid green
into blind eyes seep,
at least when shades of gray disappear in sleep.

Green remains,
like memories of running, climbing,
being loved,
and Mama who calls...
rice and daal for dinner!"

All the rest
were washed away
till trickling streams 
of reds, golds, and blues
ran together,
falling into fever's flames
and lost forever.
Mama cried,
thinking I was lost, too,
trickling away with the colors.

But I came back to shades of gray
and memories of green
that still remain.

terri reinhart - fall 2012

I wrote this poem for Sita, who became blind at age 5 after having Typhoid fever.  Sita's daughter, Ishwori, is the subject of my short prose/poetry biography, Ishwori.  When I began writing this story, I found it very difficult to write in prose.  This poem is what got me started and helped me to find the proper storytelling voice for Ishwori.  
The profits from online sales go to help support Ishwori and her young cousin in Nepal.  Through the end of May, you can get a 25% discount on the paperback edition when you order directly from Createspace.  This is our way of thanking everyone for their support.

"Ishwori is a story of trials and challenges, of light and darkness, of love and perseverance - a story that needs to be told - a story that needs to be heard!"    Susan Perrow                 DISCOUNT CODE - MHVSK4YH

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Why I Write

One of my least favorite classes in high school was the required Essay Composition course. As our school was very large, these required courses were always full. There were somewhere between 100 and 120 students in my essay class. We sat in alphabetical order, which meant I sat right behind my sister. She was a year ahead of me and got A's and B's on each paper, while I had straight C's.

There wasn't anything personal in this class. The teacher lectured to the entire group, then assigned our work. She didn't even read the papers herself, but had professional paid graders reading them. If it hadn't been for an amazing poetry teacher, my writing may not have ever gone beyond grocery lists and notes to the parents in my kindergarten class.

I never planned to be a writer.

After I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2007, I began journaling to help process this new challenge in my life. At the same time, I had a friend who was helping me to see the humorous side of everything in life, especially our challenges. This led to a few crazy articles which another friend showed to my neurologist. Eventually, I put them altogether in a blog I was still self-conscious about my writing and so my blog, or journal, was hidden in the middle of my website about art, craft work, and teaching.

Though, to me, having a blog is mostly just a place to store my writing in case my computer crashes, I've had a few letters from other people with Parkinson's disease or other challenges write lovely letters to me, telling me how inspired they were by my articles.

Last summer, something else happened and this has sent me on a new path. A friend of mine does a lot of volunteer work in Nepal. Through him, a young woman contacted me and asked me to write her story. She is one of the many women who were forced into prostitution as a child. How could I say no? She sent audio recordings to me, telling me her story in her broken English. I listened and spent a lot of time researching her country. The result is a short biography in a simple prose/poetry style. The profits from the book, Ishwori, go directly to this lovely young woman in Nepal.

As soon as Ishwori was being printed, a young woman from Kazakhstan contacted me and asked for help telling her story. Then, a young man from Uganda contacted me, again, asking for help with his story. These two will do much of the writing themselves, but what a privilege it it to work with these young people and hear their stories!

The internet has given writers an opportunity to practice writing and share our work. This is a fascinating time to be a writer. Through the internet we can connect with people all over the world. I can have Facebook friends who live in a shack village in Kathmandu. Through the internet, one friend taught me to speak some Nepali.

My diagnosis of Parkinson's disease has not limited my life, it has given me the motivation to write and has stretched my world to include many more people than I ever imagined knowing. It was also challenged me to constantly improve my writing.

In the process, I've discovered something nice. I write because I really, truly enjoy it.