"There is something in me maybe someday
to be written; now it is folded, and folded,
and folded, like a note in school." -Sharon Olds
Sharon Olds, the first woman to win the T.S.Eliot Prize for Poetry wrote that. It made me think of so many grubby folded notes I confiscated after having rescued them from the dirty clothes pile. Max, especially, was an avid note collector. Out of self preservation, I never read any of those confiscated notes. Not because I was respectful of my children's privacy, but because I was protecting my innocence. What I didn't know couldn't hurt/worry me. . .
The award was for a poetry collection entitled "Stag's Leap." (Yesterday, Nov. 19th, is Sharon's birthday, which is how the "folded notes" came to my attention--a Goodreads gift) She's a California girl, too, born in San Francisco, maybe that's why she feels familiar.
A Guardian article noted the title refers to "her husband's leap for freedom." (If you Google "Stag's Leap," even with the possessive, a link to the winery of that name--sans possessive--pops up. I have a sign about that too, it reads, "No good story ever started over a bowl of salad".... I'll leave you to take that leap.
Stag's Leap was also awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Penned while/after going through her own divorce. Fab interview about it in the Huffington Post.
Did Sharon dash off notes before? Scribble them during? Crunch them in anger? Frustration? Maybe even hurl them in anger? Were they--those reminder notes--tear stained? How many other ran through the wash? Dryer Confetti?
While searching for the origin of that Sharon Olds quote, I googled "folded note" and up popped a post by John Findura called "Simple Twists of Fate." The "note" in it turned out to be a folded doctor's note in his father's pocket when he went for his induction physical. His father didn't want to go to Vietnam and fight, he wanted to be a teacher. Though the contents of the note wasn't revealed in the post, I imagine whatever was in that note determined his fate.
Notes of mine that spring to mind are not all on paper. Some are: to-do lists, story ideas, groceries to buy. Others are piles of stuff mounded and waiting on my desk, the work bench, heaped in the basement closet. More are "want tos" "bucket list" items, waiting...
The mounds of stuff, the lists, the bag of notes can be promises...but are also, often weights. Grounding? Or pinning us down? To keep us from flying? Or keep us from flying away?
What if we pick one from the pile. Uncrinkle it. Spread it out flat. Consider it, and then . . .