Shall I wear mascara, should I shave my legs?
Will I allow a man to fertilize my eggs? ...
~ from the Love Song of Lucy Lament , In This House Are Many Women , Goose Lane 1992 and 2005.
I was in my twenties when I penned that verse along with the other Lucy's in the book. My audacious attempt at some Dorothy Parker levity I hoped. I wanted to to lighten up the corners in a pretty dark book of poetry with some playful verse for adults. Unthinkable. But I had an editor who urged me on and a publisher who dared to let me. Lucy took on a life of her own. A few years after the book was published Graham Pillsworth caricatured Lucy and she became the heroine of a weekly cartoon in the NB reader. Juno award winning friend Colleen Peterson wrote her a song. Lucy was performed on stage by Michelle Daigle. The book's still in print and today I'll be reading from the Lucy suite as well as others to around 200 hundred women. We'll be talking about the empowerment of women. We'll be doing yoga and writing our stories.
Empowerment. I'm still not exactly sure what that means. I'd like to edit some of those poems I wrote in my twenties, sure I would, but I see the work as part of my younger self ---I was speaking my truth best I could. I'd also like to find the gumption to write more. Seems I've lost my certainty. I know only that I do not know now you know? The questions I asked then-- as a woman, as an often lonely single parent, as a plate-spinning human dancing on the moon half the time, trying to survive in my own way, well, many of those questions are no longer relevant in my life. And yet sadly, the book is. See no matter how many people tell me they love LUCY, I still get letters from women thanking me for the first section of the book. The first suite of poems were voices of women and workers in a shelter for victims of domestic violence. Those poems were, to me, about community and the shelter we can and do provide for each other. Keep Dancing towards the Light despite the dark, Lucy, but where are you these days? Sure wear your mascara, shave your legs. Obsess about your thigh size. But I'm 54. Energy is precious. I'll turn to you to cheer me up tomorrow, maybe. Today, I'll be remembering :
Women on the Ivory Coast who were murdered as they marched for peace
Paula Gallant from Halifax Nova Scotia, teacher, mother, victim of violence
My friend Colleen Peterson who died too young
My friend Isabelle Scott who led me to a new faith
My friends who still take time from busy lives to take me to the movies or endure a real voice chat on the phone or meet me face to face (not face book) for tea
In our busy lives is good to be still and hold hands and recall the grandmothers and other women
PEACE God-sisters, galpals and the men we love who love us--- gentle