Preparing for this month’s Guac & Chips interview (Oct. 1) and Ripen Your Writing teleseminar “Masking & Unveiling the Writer” (Oct. 10), with Lola Haskins (http://lolahaskins.com), I’ve been considering masks.
How I’ve spent most of my adult years discerning and discarding my social and psychological masks. How I have no impulse to write in any voice but my own. How no fictionalized characters live in me seeking expression via a short story, novel, or persona poem. How three out of five elementary-school theater experiences ended badly. How the last mask I wore—literally and full-face—was a smirking witch, in kindergarten.
But as the song goes, whatever Lola wants, Lola gets, so I’m game for donning some masks if it means accessing my authenticity toward better writing (and living).
Lola’s Castings is a series of monologue poems in women’s voices, particularly the voices of three women who lived in 19th century Florida. This poem, in multiple voices, opens the book:
In each of my fingers is another woman.
The hairs on my head
belonged to someone else.
Their ends are split with their long history.
Sometimes my feet carry me
where Jane wanted to go, where Ann
dreamed in her tower.
I am Ellen out of her century.
The way girls bare their legs
shames my thee-saying heart.
When I speak, I hear harmonies
I do not understand.
But other ladies flow in me like blood.
Their other lives swell
the veins on the backs of my hands.
Their stories scatter like black bees
from my mouth, and return
to lie with me through the dangerous night.
Who resides in each of your fingers? Share in the comment box below.
*Image courtesy of Grauer Codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net