Sunday, January 31, 2010

Workshopping Poetry

I don't have a copy of it.

I wish I did, but I am pretty sure I can give you the gist of this whole thing, This mystery solved 20 years later. I hope you are reading this one, Dad.

I won the county writing contest my junior year in high school. WON it. With this poem my teacher hand picked out of my journals and had me workshop and focus and straighten out. Poetry is like that for me. Some wicked stream of consciousness that I may later work and rework and mold into something others could want to read.

I was good at it. Especially if I tried.

Anyhoo, the poem was this whirly twirly confusion and hate and kicking and screaming and there was someone at the top of this tower and I was at the bottom and I was screaming "Daddy" and something was throwing things in this vortex of freaky and trying to kill me.

After it was workshopped, it was magnificent.

But it made my Dad SUPER uncomfortable. It sounded like he was mean or terrible or no good in some way, and really that is not at all what the stream of consciousness beginning was about, but I guess with all this intention of words and stanza and imagery it turned into that.

I kept telling him it wasn't about him, and that I didn't know where it came from, but I don't think he believed me. I think he just squirmed about it.

And imagine his horror when it won the freaking contest and EVERYONE got to read it on showcase.

Anyhoo, I had long forgotten this poem and the contest, and my dad probably put it aside too.

Then the other day I was watching "The Little Mermaid" with Madee, and it all came back.

In the end of the movie, Ursula the sea witch has won, she has parted the waters into this crazy tower and Ariel is at the bottom of it and Ursula is throwing lightening bolts at her and trying to kill her. She's screaming "Daddy" because her dad has just given his life and his soul to save hers, and has been turned into a small seaweedy looking creature to the side of the tower.

I just sat there in goose bump shock as I watched and processed what was happening in front of me, and that it had happened before - that I could literally see my poem form out of this scene.


I scrambled to grab the movie jacket and flipped it over looking for its original release date - 1989.
I am pretty sure my poem won in 1990 or 1991.

I know I always resonated with Ariel. That long red hair, the adventurous spirit - but I never knew how far she had gotten into my psyche.

Anyway Dad, if that poem ever still bothers you, this should make you feel better.

I guess I am not as creative as we all thought!

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