A caveat: I trust no one will misinterpret this post to be a shameful self-serving one.
Please allow me to summarize “passion and purpose,” as a writer in a few humble sentences. The terms passion and purpose mean to live. To live means a way to express oneself. To express oneself shows a passion to write. A passion to write is a measure of God’s call on one’s life. This measure of God’s call is a vital part of life. This vital part spurs one on to completion. This completion is a mark of one’s passion and purpose.
A vital part of my life as a writer is the grief of grandparents who mourn the death of their grandchildren. These days they are a focus of my writing. The February 2021 post introduced this focus as a book I am writing called, “Plant Them a Garden: A Reflective Work of Grief, Faith, and Poetry.” This project has challenges, but I will persevere.
People often misunderstand the role of poetry in life. When people ask what genre of writing I am involved in, I tell them my current genre is poetry. Most often I see their eyes glaze over. They may reply with noncommittal comments like, “Oh, really? That’s nice.” These responses no longer discourage me.
From what I understand, poetry is not marketable. Does it have to be? Poets do not make a living from their poetry. Must we make a living from writing poetry? Even other writers warn me there is no money in poetry. There may be no hope of earning a living, for instance, but I write poetry from a passion. Anything else is but a bonus.
My primary focus of poetry right now is for a particular audience prone to allow other voices than their own to be heard. Grief poetry is not something people seem to be drawn to, yet those I write for say they need a voice. This need for a voice also implies the need for those who will listen to their voice.
My current primary project focuses on grandparents who grieve the death of their grandchildren. They often suffer their grief in silence. This is not a fact in life people flock to know about. This is also not a reason to put one’s passion aside.
Many grieving grandparents convince themselves to “be strong” for their families in times of grief. I hear this from almost every grieving grandparent I communicate with. Few people listen to their grief. My approach is to listen to their stories, then write poems to capture their grief and hope. Most grieving grandparents keep their grief hidden. They are our forgotten mourners. They do not speak a lot about their grief. They use few words when they do. Their words are poetry.
My passion is to write for those who need a listening heart. This includes the grief of grandparents as they live life without their grandchildren. In all humbleness a hope is, “Plant Them a Garden: A Reflective Work of Grief, Faith, and Poetry,” will be a voice for those who mourn in silence.
Note: A photo included in this post shows the garden I planted in memory of my five grandbabies in heaven.
Alan lives in Deroche, B.C. with his wife, Terry. He contributed stories to Good Grief People by Angel Hope Publishing, 2017 and Story by Story: The Power of a Writer, Unstoppable Writers Publishing, 2018. Alan has also written articles for FellowScript Magazine. Blog: https://scarredjoy.ca. Alan is the Provincial Rep. Liaison and BC Rep for InScribe.