Whether we are religious or not, our spirituality is often rooted in the writing we do. We observe things around us and in nature, and we write about them. We write from the heart, and in doing so, we enter the space of others.
Through our writing, we face our challenges and losses. Initially, in writing about them, it’s as if they slap us across the face. But later, we find that this has been a healing exercise.
During the pandemic, we have learned that there is much to be grateful for. We look for a happy moment or two each day, and we can usually find one.
As creative writers, we value telling our stories through poetry or other genres. Each one of us is unique in telling our story. Our writing is often empathetic. We provide hope for the future and share with readers to face the uncertainties that preoccupy them. We allow them a diversion, or even to experience fun through our writing on a serious theme.
While we shelter at home, we are making more use of writing and reading books, returning to a simpler way of entertaining and enriching ourselves. We need the arts now, to feel the beauty of the human spirit through creative expression.
I miss traveling, and although it’s a cliche, I can often travel anywhere through a book.
Of course, writing and reading is escapism, as we get lost in the activity that requires our full mental attention. We need distractions from pandemic news of the growing number of people infected. Although we don’t visit friends, thankfully, through technology, we can visit them and other friends made on social media, so that we don’t lose total human contact.
Today, through a Zoom program with writers, I am reading a poem that I recently won an award for. It is about one of my favorite artists. And like the poem’s title, we should all capture the moment.
Capturing the Moment (In Memory of Vivian Maier)
by Charlotte Digregorio
Tall, plain with cropped hair,
in and out of eyeshot, she cradles
a box camera, savoring
Chicago’s street theatre.
On a gritty sidewalk, sitting alone,
worn laborer with dusty hands
eats a sandwich from its torn wrapper.
A carefree boy rolls a car tire
without a wobble.
Plump woman, hair in curlers, walks
with poise among passing strangers.
Smug and nifty, another woman,
azure eyes, color of her necklace,
flaunts her orange hat, matching coat.
A man buries his face in his knees
with his arm over his cap,
cocooned from hunger
and perhaps, shame.
Ready for a fun outing,
six kids laugh, crammed into
a station wagon with Grandma.
On the bus, old husband and wife
in their orbit, doze to the wheels’ hum,
her head on his shoulder,
face hidden under his wide brim hat.
With a cast of the 1950s and 60s,
the artist tells strangers’ stories,
dawn until dusk, through her keen lens,
when not sustaining herself as a hurried nanny.
She captures ordinary ironies
idling by, lost to others in their daily blur.
Copyright 2020 by Charlotte Digregorio.