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  • Writer's pictureSue Schleifer

My Sister Is a Poet

My Sister Is a Poet

Sand Dunes and Clover, my sister’s latest poetry book, arrived on our doorstep on Monday night. On Tuesday I sent an email to let her know I had received the gift, and to remind her I would read it slowly. It takes me a long time to delve into a poetry book, whether hers or someone else’s.

I read a few poems that night and the next morning I sat down in my reading chair to read a few more. I couldn’t put the book down as the poetry hit me deeply. It awakened emotions of love and sadness. The poems are powerful, devastating, as well as beautiful.

I’m constantly reminded of how art, whether it be poetry, theater, music, or a painting can both evoke emotion and awaken action. My sister’s hope is that the readers of her book of poetry will be motivated to make a donation to their local chapter of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) or to seek their resources and counsel.

On Sunday night we drove to San Francisco to hear Bach’s Mass in B Minor performed by American Bach Soloists and American Bach Cantorei and to show our support for a neighbor who sings in the choir. I hadn’t expected to be so moved by the music. It was beautiful and I received it like a gift.

On Monday night we drove to San Rafael to hear a reading of Lucy Kirkwood’s play, The Children, performed by Actors Reading Collective. A powerful and sometimes disturbing play that explores relationships and social responsibility in the wake of a nuclear disaster. One character’s mantra “If you’re not going to grow, don’t live” seemed to change meaning as the play came to its conclusion. While I would not describe it as beautiful like the Bach Mass, it was thought-provoking and beautifully performed.

What I know is that creativity is important. It is important for me to write, to cook with the fresh vegetables from my garden, to sew from scraps of beautiful fabric. It is important to my fellow playwriting classmates, to our Creativity Group members that meet weekly on Zoom, to most of my friends and family, and to many of my coaching clients.

What we have discovered is that when we take time to ask questions and reflect, often deeply, on our past and our present, and then express ourselves through our chosen medium we gain greater understanding of ourselves, our relationships, and our world. When we share our work with others, magical moments might happen.

Sand Dunes and Clover cover art painting, titled Zen Garden, is by Alfredo Arreguin.


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