This past summer I was in Wisconsin, Dells vacationing with my family, my sister's and my mom and dad. While the "cousins", my sister, brother in-law and parents were on a "Duck Tour" my hubby and I visited the local library (I know big surprise) and also perused a local book store that was going out of business. I purchased a book and a couple of journals (writing focus- poetry and creative writing) along with "The Writer's Chronicle" Magazine. Got a great bargain on all of them because the store was going out of business.
Fast forward- I'm finally digging into the "The Writer's Chronicle" May/Summer 2014 edition. I come across an article "Chronicler, Risk-Taker, Breaker of Silence An Interview with Camille T. Dungy" by Leslie McGrath. I started reading and within the first few lines I knew I was reading the whole article...
Camille T. Dungy moved during her childhood to Southern California and then Iowa City, Iowa as her father, an academic physician, taught at a number of universities.
This is where I live, this is where I work, healthcare is my profession. So I read on. She is an author with three collections of poetry: What to Eat, What to Drin, What to Leave for Poison. Suck on the Marrow. Smith Blue. Now I'm not a poetry fan, I'm trying to read it, but I don't always get it. However, reading this interview I very much was grateful that the beginning line of the article drew me in. Here is why...
Favorite lines/responses from Camille T. Dungy
What we don't say or write is nearly always as important, often more important, than what we do say or write. this is a lesson we need to learn and learn again. (pg. 15)
It's a balance of what needs to be said and what doesn't. (pg 16)
Every word ought to be worth something in a poem (pg 16)
Howard Nemerov (said) 'Some poetry, not necessarily the most interesting sort, has the clear intention of communicating-meanings. Other poetry has the clear intention of deepening the silence and space about itself"(pg 16)
Everything might not always be factual, but I always strive for truth...'Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story" (pg 18)
Wherever I was, there were books, and books were friends. Writing was a thing people did, early in the morning, late in the night. (pg 18)
This is a description on what Camille Dungy witnessed one day when on the streets of her city in adult life. She was observing this little girl reading a paperback book, holding her father's hand, while waiting to cross the street.
This little girl I saw could immerse herself in the world of her pleasure, in her book, and her father would take care of the dull business of getting them across the street safely. That is the ultimate gift the father was giving that child. I know because I had such a gift given to me.(pg 18)
The thing about me is that I like writing. I reckon I am like a person who really likes running, who can't go more than a day or so without at least going for a little jog. They may run a race now and again, but that's not so much the point as a rational use for all that training. The point is to run one day and then the next and then the next. It's not that I always like writing in the moment that I am sitting down doing it. Ith' just that I really notice if I have gone too long without sitting down to write. I get cranky and my thought are backed up and sluggish.(24).
Then it hit me- not until the last page- it hit me. This was Dr. Dungy's daughter. One of the pediatricians that retired a few years ago from our Department of Pediatrics. I knew him, I'd seen him in the flesh, and now I had met his daughter through type, words, writing. Life is really utterly strange sometimes. So many of her words and answers to questions form the interview really spoke to me- as noted above.
I had planned to write a funny and spiritual take on Ash Wednesday and National Celebrate Wine Day tonight, but instead I came across this beautiful author's words and found she had graced the city I now live in with my kids. Her father was a retired pediatrician who likely cared for some of the kids I may see at times in my own clinic. Life is strange, but I have to think not coincidental. Think the Ashes and the Wine worked well for me today!
Life is really sometimes too surreal.