Photo Credit: Jennie Anne Benigas



January 2011

"I wish I knew you. I wish I could stand in that corridor of craft and doubt where you will spend so much of your time. But I don't and I can't. And given the fact, in poetic terms, that you are the future and I am the past, I never will. Then why write this? It is not, after all, a real letter. It doesn't have an address. I can't put a name at the top of it. So what reason can I have for writing in a form without a basis to a person without a name?"

Eavan Boland, "Letter to a Young Woman Poet" By Herself: Women Reclaim Poetry.

Why Blog?

Dear Reader,

In her letter, Eavan Boland speaks to a nameless, faceless poet, and sets out to describe what it is like to have carried the weight of a poet's pen. A renowned poet, Boland has the authority to write her letter. And here I am, a poet and artist who sits down once a month to emulate her in a small way. Her model was Rainer Maria Rilke, whose Letters to a Young Poet is a classic text for poetry.

It seems that some of us have the urge to teach and to share what we have learned about our craft and process. I believe that an urge to teach may be the answer to why I blog. Teaching was my profession. When on-line courses were first being discussed in department meetings, I was puzzled. Teaching implied the presence and response of students I could see and hear, students whose interactions with each other were exciting to watch, students whose thinking-out-loud statements and questions were back-lit by their facial expressions. Teaching was a living art.

Then came that day when the bulging briefcase, the cramped office, and lively classroom were not part of my intellectual landscape.

What would I do when I had the urge to teach? I love to write. I love to make art. I love to reflect on my process, whether it be in the studio or at the keyboard. My letters to you every month give me the opportunity to respond to my urge to share what I am learning, in case you might find it useful or interesting. I make up my own course of study. I am constantly on the lookout for a new idea, a fresh insight, a question I can step into every month. Soon after was launched, my web manager, Patsy McCowan, "You know what you're doing when you write Judy's Journal? You are writing a blog!" It's funny how something that I have done since October 2004 is rooted in memory with that statement.

Happy New Year! Remember this, as you struggle to maintain your creative self: Art may not help you to make a living, but it will make your life worth living.