This afternoon was my first reading from The Truth About Death. I felt anxious and churned up a good part of yesterday, and this morning, yet I wouldn’t have said I was anxious about the reading. In fact, a friend I visited last night asked me if I was nervous about the reading and I said no. Which was true — doing poetry readings doesn’t make me nervous. And in my head, I was assigning the agitation I was feeling to another issue.
But driving over to the reading I could feel that I was holding myself still against some subterranean morass, a deep well that I could see I was about to fall into again.
And I did fall in. As I read the poems from the book, the room got very still and I could feel the honesty of the wrenching grief the book chronicles holding people’s hearts, holding my heart again. Many people talked to me after the reading and told me how moved they were by the poems, how powerful the reading was. My friend Anne, who came with me and David told me later, “I could feel the energy you had while you were writing the book today, while you were reading.”
I came home exhausted and yet relieved, feeling like I’m doing what I set out to do with this book — make art out of sorrow, and tell the truth about death.