Susie Whelehan offered a group on May 12.
Susie taught young children for over 30 years and focused on kindling in them a love of language, reading and writing. Having attended several AWA workshops and loving the process, upon retiring from teaching she immediately took the training and has facilitated workshops for 9 years in her home and out in the world, working with seniors, adult literacy students, refugees, psychiatric survivors, book clubs, authors, poets and people completely new to writing.
Susie co-authored with Rebecca Cunningham Meditating Mamas: A Spiritual Guide for New Mothers. With Anne Laurel Carter she co-edited and contributed to My Wedding Dress: True Life Tales of Lace, Laughter, Tears and Tulle. Her poems and essays have been published in several journals in the US and Canada, major newspapers, anthologies and has had several scripts produced for children’s television shows. Most recently, and most happily, her first collection of poetry, The Sky Laughs at Borders, was published in the fall of 2019 by Piquant Press. Woo HOO!
To learn more about her work, visit her website: https://writersoasis.ca/
We thank Susie for her leadership and the following writers for sharing their work with us! Both writings are based on the prompt: what I want to remember from this time.
by Stephanie Burnett
I want to remember the consideration of my sons —
errands run without complaint,
spring flowers sent just to brighten my day, and
my first taste of cauliflower-crusted pizza delivered contact-free.
I want to remember the cape-less heroes —
exhausted front-line medical workers,
courageous grocery and drug store clerks, and
an army of minimum wage earners soldiering on.
I want to remember the seniors
trapped in infected nursing homes
bravely spooning salty soup into their sagging mouths
waiting for family to come to their rescue.
I want to remember the hospital beds set up
in tennis courts, soccer fields and sports stadiums
in New York City, Madrid, San Paola and Manila
repurposed arenas of hope for the sick and dying.
I want to remember Mexico City’s crematoriums —
black smoke rising in tendrils of finality
reminiscent of the stench of Auschwitz-Birkenau
creating mountains of grey ash.
I want to remember the singularity of it all —
a crisis crumbling demographics into dust
and the tears I cried for unmet brothers and sisters
pooling in the reservoirs of my heart.
by Mary Ella Magill
I want to remember walking to the river through the park in the wetness of early spring.
I want to remember the skunk cabbage poking through the barely thawed marshy ground.
I want to remember the sound of the river rushing toward the lake, gurgling over rocks and winter-wind-downed tree limbs.
I want to remember the forest floor sprinkled with bright white trillium faces lifted toward the sun.
I want to remember stepping carefully around the creamy yellow trout lillies.
I want to remember the white swan, still, nested near the pond’s grassy bank close to the roadway.
I want to remember thinking, “There will be cygnets.”
I want to remember walking the entire labyrinth in the park singing softly to myself, “Let It Be,” unsure of whether I was thinking of the virus, my mother whose name was Mary, or my beloved cat, Holly, who was sick.
I want to remember the sound of cardinals whistling their wake up calls, redwing blackbirds singing perched on last year’s slender grasses, and wood ducks and geese reclaiming the air in the absence of motor vehicles and planes.
I want to remember walking on beach sand feeling each step sliding with the trickle of the granules underfoot.
I want to remember the joy of seeing and talking with my son and daughter-in-law even at a distance when they dropped off our groceries, and the pang of missing their hugs.
I want to remember the weekend in late April when we went to the cottage with Holly and saw her enlivened face while she sat in the warm sun on the deck.
I want to remember the way she leaned into me as I carried her upstairs and down the last night she lived.
I want to remember her gorgeous silky coat of amber, grey, white and black.
I want to remember all the facets of nature – living, growing, dying – a singular sign of normalcy.
Thank you for joining us to Write Around the World!
For the rest of the summer, watch our blog! We are sharing writing from AWA’s yearly marathon fundraiser, which happened this year all-online throughout the month of May.
We offer this series in appreciation for the incredible community of writers and workshop leaders that sustain us. If you’re inspired and would like to be part of the fundraiser, please donate!