Member Monday: In the Gaps by Jennifer Phelps

Jennifer Phelps

Welcome back to Member Monday!  Please help me welcome my friend and talented writer, Jennifer Phelps.  Jennifer writes at Naked Notebook, an “online notebook” (the word “blog” just sounds so clunky!) featuring writing that is spontaneous and minimally edited (this is why it’s “naked” – get it?) Posts are transcribed directly from the pages of Jennifer’s wide-ruled spiral notebooks that she buys on sale for 70 cents and dutifully scrawls in before bed each night or upon arising in the morning (or, on a particularly good day, both).

In the Gaps

I’m focusing on living in the gaps. It’s been a little over two months since my mother died,and when she was sick everything was gaps. She was hanging in a gap as if suspended over a gorge, halfway between earth and sky. Nothing was clear-cut when Mom was dying, and oddly, that somehow made sense. As if that’s what dying is: slipping into the gap.

Here’s what I mean by gaps.  Recently I e-mailed a poem to someone. The poem was called “Trying to Raise the Dead” by Dorianne Laux, one of my favorite contemporary poets.  My reader replied, saying that he found the poem, like most poetry,  “cryptic.”  I have never been of the mind that Laux’s poetry is circumspect or obscure with a difficult-to-delineate meaning. This reader was hung up on the details. The narrator is at a house. “Whose house?” my reader demanded. She’s at a party and she doesn’t know the people that well. “Why is she there? Why doesn’t she know them?” She’s outside, and the others are inside, singing. “How come? Why doesn’t she go back inside with them?” (To this, I answered, “Maybe she was smoking a cigarette.”  Geesh.)

Poetry leaves gaps. I’m comfortable with them. Not the esoteric, overly academic puzzle poems people love to praise, probably because they figure something so convoluted must be intelligent. Laux’s poetry isn’t pretentious or overworked. It just leaves open space so that when I read it, I can make it mine.

My mother loved poetry, understood the gaps, was in her element in them, actually.  But she loved music more.  She used to say that music speaks to that for which there are no words. So does poetry, I say. Good poetry, anyway.

Now that Mom is gone, I’m left trying to articulate to people what made her special, what it is that I miss. What I miss is that she knew a deep truth. That knowing was her unique gift. I will miss her facility with gaps.

I suppose my mother can be found only in those spaces between things now.  Wherever, if anywhere, the essence of her exists, it is not on this physical plane. At least, this is what I tell myself so that I don’t keep looking here. I look there – in the gaps. I listen to song after song, read poem after poem, trying to find one that makes me feel just the right way. Makes me feel like she is still here.

A Note from the Webmaster: Writers Forum has the author’s permission to publish this work. The author retains full copyright ownership and protection. This work may not be reproduced or used in any way without the permission of the author.  If  you’re a member in good standing, please consider submitting a piece of your work to share.  Essays, poems, songs, articles and any other stand alone pieces are welcome.  To submit your piece, please e-mail it to webmaster, Alicia McCauley, at writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com.   Members featured here are guests in our Writers Forum house.  Treat them as such in the comments section and enjoy this beautiful thing we call writing.

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Member Monday: Big Girl Shoes by Marisa Shadrick

Welcome  back to Member Monday.  Today it’s my pleasure to share a piece from Marisa Shadrick.

Author’s Note:  Marisa is a Christian freelance writer with articles appearing in local, online and international publications.  Born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, Marisa understands the challenges women face in the workforce, nurturing a family and finding personal fulfillment. Women often find their identity in what they do; it can backfire and lead to illness, depression and even bitterness. Through her writing and public speaking, Marisa encourages women to find their true identity in God.

Big Girl Shoes

by Marisa Shadrick

Now and then, God leads us beyond our emotional limits. It’s like wearing oversized shoes with four-inch heels. Instead of moving forward, we worry about falling and playing the fool.  We become self-conscience, uncomfortable and sometimes it’s painful. We feel vulnerable.

Obedience makes us feel vulnerable. Godly choices are often unpopular, because it puts us in a place of weakness. But, as we step out-of-the-way, God’s strength and power flows.  Then, He occupies His rightful place to reign without our interference.

Weakness means we are dependent on God. Whatever the result, we can trust His sovereign, perfect will. Later, we can give Him glory when we realize that our shoes were a perfect fit.

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me (New American Standard Bible, 2nd Cor. 12:9).

Have a blessed week.

Marisa

Works Cited

New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.

A Note from the Webmaster: Writers Forum has the author’s permission to publish this work. The author retains full copyright ownership and protection. This work may not be reproduced or used in any way without the permission of the author.  If you’re a member in good standing, please consider submitting a piece of your work to share.  Essays, poems, songs, articles and any other stand alone pieces are welcome.  To submit your piece, please e-mail it to webmaster, Alicia McCauley, at writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com.   Members featured here are guests in our Writers Forum house.  Treat them as such in the comments section and enjoy this beautiful thing we call writing.