Poetry Friday & NPM: Writing Wild, Day 16

I discovered Rebecca Solnit many years ago when I spotted her book, Wanderlust: A History of Walking on a shelf at my local library. As a passionate walker, I was intrigued, and Solnit’s expansive perambulation from ancient Athens to today’s suburban sidewalks and treadmills didn’t disappoint. Kathryn Aalto describes Solnit as “a writer, historian, and activist who links ideas and places like string to thumbtacks.” (p. 161)

Because walking is what drew me to Rebecca Solnit’s work in the first place, I expected to write a poem about my daily walks, and thought a Golden Shovel would be a good form. My plan took a few detours. To begin with, I couldn’t find a quote I liked well enough to use as a strike line in Wanderlust. Searching through Solnit’s many other works, I found one I liked, but it was long. So I shortened it. (I have no idea if this is allowed, but I did it anyway.) Here is the original quote from A Field Guide to Getting Lost.

Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go.

Finally, this poem took an unexpected turn away from walks through my neighborhood and into a semi-autobiographical realm that was influenced by the fifteen writers highlighted in my previous Writing Wild posts. Writing is full of surprises!

Photo by Jan Tinneberg via Unsplash

Please be sure to visit Jama Rattigan at Jama’s Alphabet Soup for the Poetry Friday Roundup. You can also read previous Writing Wild posts if you’d like to learn more about some amazing writers.

Day 1: Dorothy Wordsworth
Day 2: Susan Fenimore Cooper
Day 3: Gene Stratton-Porter
Day 4: Mary Austin
Day 5: Vita Sackville-West
Day 6: Nan Shepherd
Day 7: Rachel Carson
Day 8: Mary Oliver
Day 9: Carolyn Merchant
Day 10: Annie Dillard
Day 11: Gretel Ehrlich
Day 12: Leslie Marmon Silko
Day 13: Diane Ackerman
Day 14: Robin Wall Kimmerer
Day 15: Lauret Savoy