My mother taught me to read with a big illustrated childrens' bible and an illustrated dictionary. When I started kindergarten, I was the only one in my class who could already read. When I was eight I started writing. But I didn't start writing poetry until my junior year of college and only by accident; I needed a credit and a poetry class was open.
When I first got sick I was right in the middle of my masters thesis and the timing could not have been worse. It was fall going into winter in Chicago, I was cold and I was sick. My apartment was freezing; I slept in sweats with the oven on 400 degrees. It was a small program, so pretty much everyone in the program knew I was struggling with completing the thesis, but not why I was struggling. Because I was raised to conceal every sign of pain and discomfort, I didn't tell any of my schoolmates what was going on. Looking back, I wish I had.
Somehow, or more likely, with divine intervention, my thesis was completed. For two years after I didn't write anything. I wasn't too sick too write, although I was quite sick. I just didn't write. Then, out of nowhere I started writing again last month.
I feel badly sometimes because I move so slowly. One of my schoolmates has published three chapbooks and a collection and writes nonfiction too. At first I tried to schedule work times, but the unpredictability of my symptoms put a swift end to that. So, as much as it galls me, I just work as often as I can. Surprisingly, I can get a good amount of work done this way if I pick up my yellow pad whenever I have a spare moment. Best of all, it has a snowballing effect: the more I do, the more I want to do and the more I get done.
Because I started my thesis at the same time I was getting sick, I have a lot more material to work with than I would have imagined; there was no major change in theme between then and now. The idea of this chapbook is the illusion of control we have in our lives and the tentative title is "The Queen Constellation."
I really hope I'm able to pull it off.