Monday, October 19, 2009

Our Secret


Photo by Dana Graves 


I love Marcus ??


That's what is printed in round, girlish letters on the top of the built-in dresser in the guest room here at the cottage we're renting this fall.  The tiny room with its sloped ceiling used to be the bedroom of a young girl who is now a teenager and whose parents sold this wee cottage to move to a bigger house across the island.  The signs of her childhood, though, are still imprinted upon the room: the pencil slashes on the door jamb, marked with months and years to measure her growth; the caterpillar coat rack bolted to the wall; and little bits and pieces of graffiti that the cottage's new owners have not yet covered up with a fresh coat of paint.  I hope they never do.  On the ceiling's slope above the bed is a tiny pink heart, and, of course, there are those words on the dresser.  She loved Marcus.  And then she didn't.  And then, as it goes in life, she wasn't sure whom she loved.  


When I was a girl, around the age of what is now called a tween, I used to write the name of my current crush on the wall inside my closet: I love Bryan George Jeff Bryan David Joey Bryan.  Four facts about me can be deduced from this habit: 
  1. I was fickle.  Yes, I loved a lot of boys.
  2. I really, really loved Bryan.
  3. I felt a strong need to write down what I was feeling.  It wasn't enough to just feel the emotion.  Writing it down made it seem more real, more powerful to me.
  4. I didn't particularly want other people to see what I had written--at least not about those feelings. I loved to write as a kid and I liked people to read what I wrote, but this was different.  This was magic, secret, special, as visceral as painting on cave walls.  There was a bit of witchcraft to it, almost like casting a spell.
Much has changed since those days.  I'm no longer quite so fickle; I've had a crush on the same boy for nearly two decades.  I no longer love Bryan.  I also no longer write things in my closet.  I do, though, believe in the power of written words to conjure up truths about ourselves and our lives.  When I first saw those words the girl had written on her dresser, I felt a deep kinship with her.  My own heart ached thinking Marcus had broken her heart or she had broken his, and then she was left with that empty unknown feeling that hurts, but is also rich with possibility.  Her words were secret, hers, and yet now they were mine, too.  


Each time I pass by the dresser, I always glance at those words.  They remind me of why I write poetry.  With each poem I write I give a secret piece of myself to the page.  At first, like those words in the closet, it is mine alone, but eventually it belongs to anyone who chooses to read it.  It is our secret.


28 comments:

  1. Writing is cathartic/cleansing and emotional, especially if it is coming from our own life experiences...so glad now you can share it with us Gigi! xo*

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  2. Oh that is wonderful. I hope the new owners never paint over it, it is so lovely to have the history of the occupants left for you to ponder. I want you to find her, to talk to her, to find out what happend to Marcus and to her, go now and look for her...please. Ha ha wouldn't it be wonderful to know?

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  3. How sweet and how beautifully you share it with us.

    Sue

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  4. So charming. In my office here in our home, on one of the windowpanes is scratched the name, "Stacy B.". As we happen to be acquainted with the family who built our house years ago, we once asked them about it. Seems the autograph belongs to the daughter, rather elderly now, of the first family to live here. We have redone lots of the house, but we'll never change that windowpane. I like to feel I share my office with Stacy.

    Funny, I only wrote Paul McCartney's name over and over...and never on the furniture!

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  5. I can totally relate to this story, Gigi....wonderful wonderful story....Have a peaceful evening! :)

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  6. Gigi,

    As I read this post, my heart filled with such excitement and awe because every word seemed to resonate so deeply with me. I understand what it is like to feel the need to put it in words, right it down, make it last forever. Letting it escape the caves of our mind, or the chambers of our soul, allows it to become real and puts it out there for the universe to hear and see. It comes alive.

    And now I must ask because I have been searching for your book of poems via Amazon, google, etc. - where can I get it? Do share this secret with us all, please.

    Bisous,
    Melissa

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  7. Everywhere I go in the blogworld right now, I keep coming across posts that relate to the latest book I was avidly reading, The Girl With No Shadow by Joanne Harris (the sequel to Chocolat). This post, also, relates! The curious power of writing a name,a word, in something familiar.

    I didn't carve or scrawl the names of my (many) early infatuations in anything. But I have always felt that my first love was sacred, and unrelated to anything that came after. First love is a species unto itself. I treasure it still, even though it resembles in no way (nor should it) my current and permanent partnership.

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  8. Oh, Gigi,
    I did all of those things as a young girl.... I even drew a witch on the drawer liner with 'I hate Mum' after I had done something naughty and she had told me off !!!! It became a family joke and was always brought up at Christmas !!!!
    We have always lived in old properties and have found many scrawled messages, written on walls. It's a lovely reminder of who has lived there and that you are just taking care of the property until the next person moves in. XXXX

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  9. Oh gosh I feel incredibly misty for some reason. Is it the fragile nature of youth or young memories, I don't know.

    You write so well my darling Gigi,
    xoxo

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  10. Lenore: Yes, writing can be cleansing. It isn't always for me, but sometimes!

    Kim: It's funny, I actually know her mum, but haven't met her yet!

    Sue: Thanks, my friend!

    Pamela: I love that you share your office with Stacy. So perfect.

    Thank you, sweet Cathi!

    Melissa: It's from a small university press, so it's not widely available. You can either click on the image of the book on my sidebar, which will give you contact info for the press, or, even better, just email me with your mailing address. Thanks for the support, my friend!

    Wanderer's Daughter: I'm going to pick up that book today! I loved Chocolat. I love what you said about your first love. That is exactly how I feel about mine.

    Jackie: I did almost the same exact thing! I wrote 'I hate Sue' once on the kitchen wall when I was angry with my sister. It happened at Christmastime, and we all still joke about it decades later when we're together for the holidays. My sister, who was older and far more mature about these things, actually forgave me very graciously. I doubt whether I would have been so nice!

    xoxo

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  11. Oh, DJ Attic! I was writing my response as you were writing yours, so I missed you. You know, I felt a bit misty as I wrote this piece, too. Thank you so much for your lovely words.

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  12. Such reverberations I'm feeling here too...from secret love to writing it all down. :o) This post is so sweet... I had a crush/unrequited love for a very cute boy named James all through grade school and middle school. The summer before 8th grade I found out he & his family moved away and I never saw him again. I often wondered where he went and what's become of him. My hubby & I have been together nearly 10 years--I still have all the crush feelings! And I still write it all down. :o) Happy Day, Gigi ((HUGS))

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  13. how i love this post! please go write the name of the one you love in the closet, just for a smile on grey day!

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  14. I love your way of thinking about poetry - a shared secret...perfect, xv.

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  15. Only today, I was wishing for my old school desk with all the things I and many others had painstakingly carved into the wood. I think writing something down externalises it, and gives us something more concrete to consider than a thought in our heads. Adult confessional diary-writing goes too far, I feel, but I might just start writing on my dressers now. "I love this mug of tea and the sound of the rain". But that's not Aristotelian enough compared with the Marcus dilemma, is it?

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  16. I think I TOO love Marcus now, by proxy. Who wouldn't?
    Oh young love, to us it comprises all the Universes and all the stars, when it was pure and just that, LOVE.
    xo

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  17. Oh..I had to come by and read your heart story (after reading your comment on my blog) and what a wonderful story it is!

    This fills me with memory of old crushes and how fiercely protective of my privacy I was at that tender age.

    Your writing is wonderful...I can't wait for a quiet moment when I can return and delve into your poetry.

    xoxo

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  18. I loved reading this Gigi-so sweet and poignant. Thank you for my birthday wishes! Happy birthday to you (and Oscar) too!

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  19. I love this- you do conjure up memories for me. Our diningroom table was a courtroom table years and years ago. There are drawers all the way around with some fascinating notes written inside. This story is really beautiful Gigi.

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  20. Gigi, what a beautiful story. Gosh, it all felt so overwhelming back then. The thrill of the dreamy boy who asked to walk you home, or the heartsinking feeling when you realised that that other handsome fellow barely knew your name. My diary was pink with a silly lock that didn't lock and I guarded it with my life. Funny, I have no idea where it is now. I would have loved to have read it now.

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  21. I love this. I was the same way. I still have a box of journals where I would write and write and write. Usually about my crushes from 7th grade til senior year. They are so fun to go back and read. A lot of things were forgotten. And sometimes it's funny to see how silly it all was, but regardless it's special. Those journals are what I would put in a fireproof safe. :)

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  22. you are my enchanting friend. who always takes me by the hand, and leads me to the most beautiful places. xo

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  23. ...It is interesting how many young girls have written a boy's name on the wall...I had written a name on the flowered wallpaper above my bed...difficult to see in the sea of purple and blue flowers but every once in a while someone would spot it..."Dave".

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  24. loved this post! so timely for me too. i recently found my teenage journals...oh how i was in love with so many boys and new we would end up together forever! i was quite embarrassed with those entries...but realize every girl is fickle in her love at that age! glad i finally found someone who i truly can love forever, and he will love me forever.

    such a cute post!

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  25. I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoy and so much appreciate the secret pieces of yourself that you share on this page.

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  27. my favorite post ever.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, anonymous. I'm glad to hear it.

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