Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Emily's Poetry - The Hollow Knight

The restraints placed on young Emily’s childhood by her father is eased somewhat by her expressions on paper. Young Emily uses her vivid imagination to draw and create a more palatable world. In the confines of her drawer, she keeps a pad of paper in which to write poetry. Painting and writing releases her frustrations and provides a voice to her pain. She writes freely and without measurement, and then tucks it away without reading it again. What she doesn’t realize is that her writing predicts her future, if she would only look at it. In Pages in the Wind, confused about her relationship with Reid, she wakes up from a dream and grabs the pad to release the anxieties in her heart:

Robed in gilded armor on a throne of flames,
He penetrates the brooding darkness to slay my sorrow,
But then in haste with dread of shame,
He fades into a cloud of sullen tomorrows.
To pay tribute to an honor not due,
And penance not owed,
Without a glimpse of pleasure you flew,
To bless the walls of hollow gold.

Her need for escape and fertile imagination fuels daydreams, drawings, and poetry. How far she escapes into her imagination to counteract the effects of a grueling past is crucial to her future. Emily learned at a young age to use her imagination to create the world that matches her spirit. Will she learn to temper this as she matures? Will reality live up to her imagination?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Broken Heart

Break ups are painful. Broken hearts have been the subject of literature, poetry, and music for centuries. A broken heart without the back up of a strong self-image can be devastating. This short passage from Pages in the Wind illustrates how detrimental a break up can be. As Reid ends his relationship with Emily, she feels an emptiness that only her imagination can cope with.

Reid shut the door unceremoniously, without a glance back at me. I slowly dropped to the floor as I felt the oxygen drain from my body. When he closed the door, he took my life with him. It was a life that he no longer wanted, but I gave it to him to keep or discard as he pleased. How strange that I can feel my heart beating inside my chest, when I know it has been shattered. I don’t want to feel this pain. The warm tears running down my face feel like lifeblood flowing from my body. As the tears flowed, I shut my eyes and imagined that the blood-tears were being channeled into a calm and peaceful abyss without the pain of a life without Reid.

This is more than a break up for Emily. Reid was her hero, the dashing prince in her fairy tale that would always have a happy ending. She thought he would be her past, her present, and her future. Now he is gone, and with the sting of a rejection that she did not anticipate. What will the rejection do to her self-esteem? Will she seek another man to fill the void, or will she begin to look inward to find her strength and self-worth? Will Reid come back to Emily, and will this be good for her? How Emily copes with this devastating loss will become paramount to the story. Can you relate to how she feels?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Heaven's Blanket - A Metaphor for Change

I wrote this passage this morning for Emily.  It is a metaphor for change, and for hope.  As Emily watches her first snowfall, she is first mesmorized and then disappointed.  In looking beyond what is front of her, she senses the beauty that the future may hold - if only she has the courage to see it. 

I pulled my chair next to the window to watch the falling snow. The snow looks like tiny dancing flakes floating down from heaven to land softly on earth’s floor to form a smooth white blanket. This is nature’s show sent by God, I thought, to calm with sweet serenity what lies beneath the heavens. I could stay here forever watching the white circlets twist and turn with the wind in the direction of heaven’s blanket.

My peaceful trance was interrupted by Robert and his friends. The boys trampled over heaven’s gift with their heavy galoshes, screaming with delight. They bent down with mittened hands to scoop clumps of heaven’s blanket to toss at one another in joyful play. The white shower continued to fall from heaven, but as it landed, the boys continued their gleeful play to run on heaven’s blanket, distorting the smooth surface. As they continued to run and play, bits of brown earth were tossed on the white blanket and it lost its purity and peaceful beauty. I looked upward to see that the falling snow had lost its tempo, and was going away. I looked out the window, disappointed that my peaceful feeling was gone.

As I started to leave, I moved my eyes to the distant field where no one ever played. The snow had covered the barren field with the glory of heaven’s blanket. The old leafless trees that once stood tired and unimpressive were now fascinating structures covered in white snow ornaments. Each branch reached out with different shapes formed by the virgin snow. I stared at the scene for hours, feeling the peaceful joy of God’s gift. All I needed to do was look up from the trampled scene in front of me, to see the beauty and peaceful bliss that stood untouched in the distance.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Loss of a Lifeline

A child forms his self-image based on what is reflected back to him by his parents, close family members, and a few close friends. His sphere of influence is narrow which elevates their importance to him. A young child lacks the wisdom of time, so when words are spoken about him, he stores it internally as truth. He believes the reflection of himself that is shown to him by the important people in his life. A positive person can be an important buffer in mediating a negative self-image. If the positive person leaves the child’s life, a critical lifeline is lost. We see this in Pages in the Wind, as Emily is forced to move to New York and leave her grandma and best friend behind:

Emily gazed out the window of the big jet as she flew away from her life. The vast tufts of white clouds seemed to float endless without destination, as she few in the direction of a new life. She felt a fluttering sensation invade her chest as she thought of her grandma. The memory of her last vision of Reid leaning stoically against the fence was etched in her mind. She looked at her mother reading a book, and her father pointing out the window and talking to Robert. Emily felt an intense sadness, and as her eyes started to tear, she closed them. She shut down her heart which felt as empty as the seemingly endless sky that took her away from her life.

Emily defines herself based on two visions, the vision of her parents, and the vision of grandma and Reid. What has not developed in young Emily’s heart is her own vision of who she is. From birth, she looked into the eyes of her father and saw ugliness, and when she looked into her mother’s eyes she saw indifference. When she is with her grandmother or Reid, she sees an entirely different picture of herself. This is her saving grace, her lifeline. When she looks into their eyes, she sees the person that she wants to be without realizing that this is the person that she is. She is too young to challenge the reflection that she sees when she is with her parents. In losing her Grandma and Reid, she will lose the reflection of herself that she needs to feel worthy. The loss of the positive people in her life is heightened by her negative self-image. In losing her grandma and her best friend, how will young Emily cope with the prolonged abuse of her father, and the indifference of her mother?