Saturday, September 8, 2007

Uncovering former talents can embolden current ones

When I was in my early twenties, I loved to write poetry. While I still love to write, poetry has been a medium I have pushed to the back burner over the years. Since I always seem to have a plethora of projects going on at once (i.e. knitting, blogging, songwriting, reading, fitness, qigong, etc.), I do not worry about becoming lazy or passive about my creative urges, or about letting one or two fall by the wayside.

Yet, it is important to revisit these talents that we once nurtured, whether it is from 5, 20, or 50 years ago. Everything we do leads us toward something else. We may retire old talents or hobbies, but they will always stay with us and continue to influence our current projects and interests. When I read the poem I have featured below, I remember the young woman I was then. At the same time, the person I am today is reflected in these words as though I am looking at an old photograph of myself. Ironically, Fats Waller is an old-time jazz musician that I have listened to with my father since I was a child. So the influences in this piece (and all our creative endeavors) are innumerable and timeless.

I have not modified this poem or its structure in any way. This is exactly as I had typed it 5 years ago:


Fats Waller has been my
soundtrack since the days got balmy.
I feel he would sing
about the cottonwood spores floating
as he walks down the lane with me;
about the wheat fields growing
and churning as we drive past
farms of joy.
He’d say “You’ve got it good here,
Sister, ain’t no other place like it.”
As the sound of his twinkling piano
tickles me something, I shed
my skin for another summer.

Summer on the Palouse Prairie, Idaho
©Larissa Chace Smith

Tell me, what are your hidden or forgotten talents, interests, and loves?


Ryan said...


Despite being with you everyday, I have seldom heard any of your poems. I love this one because I see you driving past those flowing wheat fields on the Palouse with the wonderful sound of Fats ringing in your ear. I feel a little tug at my heart as I reminisce about all of our joyous experiences in Idaho.

Thanks for the thoughts and the lovely memory.

Larissa said...

Ryan, I'm glad I could share with you a fond memory! Funny how you find things out through my blog that you may not have known about me.

Russell A. Spinney said...

Hey Larissa,
Hidden talents
and passions put away
your words inspire.
I am putting up a blog for my upcoming travels to Central Germany.
I want to share my explorations
archival work and
writing toward my dissertation on fear and politics.
We are also holding an open mic night for poets and musicians here at our house on Friday, 21 September in State College at 401 Keller Street. It would be amazing if you could make it. You and Ryan would be welcome to stay the night. Meanwhile, I am going to look for my paints in the closet as soon as I go back to my parents house.
Shout out
from the north!