I’ve been thinking that I accomplished very little in 2022, but that’s why I engage in an end-of-year review: to differentiate between reality and belief.
Fatigue and grief have dominated most of my 2022 due to my parents’ decline in health and their deaths. Mom passed away on July 31 at 96 years and Dad on September 30 at 97. Why each chose to die on the last day of the month is beyond my ability to know. It’s a striking aspect of their end-of-life experiences that suggests the closeness of their marital bond.
The entirety of 2022 involved a gradually moving away from the church we belonged to. Bob and I attended a few Sundays early in the year, then stopped. Before 2022 ended I told our pastor to remove us from the church roll. It’s not that we were unhappy with this particular church or stopped caring for the people in it. It’s that we no longer considered ourselves to be Christians, that is, believers in the Triune God.
Bob and I have been faithful and affiliated church-goers since 1984, when we learned that attending church was a requirement for a church wedding. Since then I’ve gone through phases of greater and lesser religiosity and all I can say is that I sincerely tried to believe. I know that this admission will disturb many friends and sadden others. I’m sorry, but it feels like the burden of living a lie has been lifted. Does this development relate to my parents’ deaths? Perhaps, because I no longer have to worry about their reactions. Did I negate my own inner truths in order to please them? Perhaps I could discover these truths only after attempting to replicate my parents’ habits and beliefs.
I seem to remember feeling that the church offered some safety from the forces of bigotry, sexism, and homophobia. That I would not be as easily targeted if I were a Christian. I remember being a single young woman. How ripe strangers seemed to find me for their evangelism, their insults, their projections. Imagine a lifetime of being vulnerable to strangers who wanted to convert me. No wonder I sought shelter in the form of marriage, family, and church. This disappointed my younger self. It was the cusp between the seventies and the eighties. I thought the world had evolved enough to let me live freely.
As far as writing goes, I wanted to get another chapbook out, but simply lacked the emotional energy to pursue it very far. I hope to create something united by theme or form rather than a simple collection as in The Joy of Their Holiness.
Because I failed to accomplish this goal, I assumed that my writing life had achieved very little, but that was not so. In 2022
- I published 30 poems (a personal best) in fifteen journals
- Was accepted at four journals/anthologies new to me;
- With Emilie Lindemann, organized and hosted Poetry Alive! 2022 at the Manitowoc Public Library, an event in which seven poets wrote original poems in response to the poems selected by their partners, seven local leaders
- Participated in Art is Poetry is Art, sponsored by the Lakeshore Artists Guild
- With Emilie Lindemann, presented a workshop at SputnikFest on Writing SciFi Poetry
- With Nancy Austin, was a featured reader in June for Poetry Unlocked at the ACOCA Coffee House in Appleton, Wisconsin
- With Chris Liebich, completed an interview with Nan Webster for the Two Rivers Ladies of the Round Table
- Participated in Poetry Postcard Month by writing thirty postcard poems and mailing them to thirty poets
- Changed blog platforms to WordPress
- Renewed my memberships in the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, the International Women Writers Guild, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association
- Attended workshops taught by The Loft, Lighthouse Writers, IWWG, Marj Hahne, and John Sibley Williams
Another thread in my life was the study of core shamanism, a long-held goal (since I majored in anthropology as an undergrad). I’m grateful to the Foundation for Shamanic Studies for making this possible. I took eight classes total in 2022, attended several Journey Circles, and was privileged to be part of the global online conference sponsored by FSS Europe: The Spirit of Nature. Additionally, I received a shamanic healing from respected Wisconsin shamanic practioner Ana Larramendi.
Bob and I took lovely trips within the western Great Lakes region: to the Copper Culture Museum in Oconto, Wisconsin; to Northville Michigan for the NHS Athletic Hall of Fame dinner, to St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie; to Good Hart, Michigan and Mackinac Island; and to Thunder Bay, Ontario. Though I missed my 50th+1 Class Reunion due to Mom’s funeral, it has been wonderful to reconnect with classmates from the class of 1971. Additionally, I appreciated the comfort and support of family members as we faced Mom and Dad’s final weeks and deaths together.
Writing this reminds me of the importance of making use of the time we’re given. I’ve been pleased that 2022 gave me opportunites to explore, read, study, practice poetry, and enjoy my life. May 2023 be equally as beneficent.