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Patricia Caspers
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There was a time when I could write only after midnight surrounded by candles and incense, scattered books and wrinkled pages, Linda Ronstadt’s “What’s New” album spinning softly in the background.
Adulthood forced me to adapt, but I still require some peace while coaxing the words, even if it means I plug in earbuds and blast orchestra music while the dog barks, the pans clatter and the children giggle and argue in the background.
And yet, I have now proven to myself that peace is not necessary for creation.

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I carried guilt about my lack of playfulness for probably the first 10 years of my daughter’s life. I’d try to get over it. I’d sit on the bedroom floor with her intending to play Polly Pocket dolls and within five minutes I’d try to switch things up with the “Let’s Clean Up the Bedroom” game.
Everyone lost.

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When I told a friend I didn’t believe in God until my daughter was born, she thought I was referring to that specific and painful time of labor and delivery and asked, “And did you believe God hated you?”
That funny friend made me consider what I had believed.

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A few people – with various levels of annoyance – have asked me why I write about myself so darn much. It’s a fair question.
Here’s my answer: I want to talk about the bad stuff, the human stuff. If I write about that time I didn’t want to live anymore, or when I was a terrible parent, or when I was smug and disrespectful, or how it feels to love someone who’s deeply flawed, you might see a little bit of yourself there, too’s-me-trying

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Kitty wrote about the car she received as a gift from her parents for her 16th birthday. Her poem ended, “Three words: My new BMW.”
“Is that three words?” Our poetry professor joked. “My new Bavarian Motor Works?”
In the bar afterward, my poet friends and I mocked Kitty cruelly.
“Three words,” we sang over our chili cheese fries. “My shiny new red BMW with leather seats and a sun roof.”
Oh, we were smug – and maybe a little envious.

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My full-length poetry collection, In the Belly of the Albatross is now available directly from the publisher, Glass Lyre Press.

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Poetry: A Meal Served at the Table of Resistance:

If I die, my husband will become an alcoholic, lose his job, lose the house.
No one will walk the dog and as a result he’ll bite people and have to be put down.
If I die, I won’t be here to see the glorious defeat of evil.
I want to see the glorious defeat of evil.
Finally, the fact that I choose whether or not I continue to live is my white privilege.
It’s highly unlikely that another person is going to take my life because of who I am, and I understand that there are so many who aren’t given the choice to stay alive.

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I was thinking about all of this, when it occurred to me that I could get a tattoo of a golden ginkgo tree that covered my entire back. I wouldn’t have to hide it at work, and I wouldn’t be able to see when the tree grew wrinkled and saggy.

Well, that’s silly, I thought. I wouldn’t be able to see it.

But I would know it was there, I argued with myself, a permanent symbol of strength and hope.

I also reminded myself that just because I can’t see something, like faith, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

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I was more likely to drop out of high school, more likely to become a criminal dependent on alcohol or drugs, and I once I reached community college, I had a one-in-five chance of transferring to a four-year college.
But I did it. I took out big, fat student loans that I will never be able to re-pay, and I even went to graduate school.
(column In which I reconsider my own bootstrap story)
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