These two pieces are my personal celebration of National Writing Day.
The first piece is written by S., one of the many talented and interesting women I met when I was working as writer in Residence at a women’s prison. These women later inspired me to write my novel Paulie’s Web.
The second piece – inspired also my prison experience – illustrated my own reflections on the connection between writing with freedom, whatever the confinement.
Writing in Jail by S,
When I came into prison I wanted to send a poem to my partner to let him know I was thinking of him and my family. I looked around the library but couldn’t find any poem which suited how I was feeling. I decided to write my own poem and found that word simply spilled onto the paper.
After being here six weeks I now have a varied collection of my own poems which are going into my own little book. Not that I want any kind of souvenirs of my time in prison but this book represents a period of my life. It is also a collection of my thoughts and the feelings I have gone through over this time.
The poems are in order from the first ones I wrote at the beginning of my sentence and through to the end. The beginning has poems that show the love I have for my family members, my mum my daughter. In the middle are poems between confusion and anger about the status of my soon to be ex-partner. The last poems are to friends and family. I found that writing these poems down on paper relieve the stress and anger I was feeling. I also felt proud to have produced an end product which made me feel happy in myself like I’d achieved something for myself
Writing is the Sound of the Soul Breathing. WR
Writing is the sound of the soul breathing –
it is measured, shapely, intended;
every breath out predicates every breath in;
each sentence brings forward another one –
every word a platform for the next jump in meaning
We breathe in and out, in and out
in lines, in paragraphs, in pages, in volumes –
the writer’s life laid out in a million words –
each one separate, elegant, leaping off the page
instinct with meaning
Writing is the notation of the quiet soul –
not blasted out by clarinets and trumpets –
rather it is dark smoke rising in the air;
in the end the words lie there
just waiting for your eye.
They lie on the page in ranks and lines
waiting for you to add your sound
to my notation on the page –
creating a mutual world
new to your soul and mine.