It took me twenty some years to find out that my mother had a major love for baseball. Twenty years of no games on the television and seemingly no interest and this woman sits and sketches me a diagram of a field, rules and all. I remember the first time sitting and listening to her talk about baseball. REALLY talk; I think my jaw fell open. Who is this? A completely unknown form of poetry in itself, America’s “favorite pastime” that was unbeknownst to me.
As I share parts of my book, I am inclined to stress that, though much of my childhood was a shattered mess, there is a reason I am still here. There are positive and beautiful memories I can look on that help remind me that every moment has its purpose.
Today’s segment, while short, still makes me teary eyed when I think on the memories it invoked.
“I have always known I was a writer. I have my mother to thank for that.
My first inspiration. A poet herself, her love of poetry was recognizable by her book collection as well as the books she surrounded us with. Her favorite poet was Emily Dickinson, but it was always her other collections that held my eye more. The obscure writers, Black and White, from the sixties and seventies whose pain and transparency bled crimson from each page; a rhythmic manifesto for a generation’s angst. Writers with such rich descriptions and overwhelmingly strong capabilities of waking up parts of my heart that I did not even know were there. Admittedly, I was too young to understand most of what I was reading when I first started pulling these books from the shelf, but I would learn. I was a motivated spirit when it came to words, I loved the way with which poetry painted the human condition, and I wanted to learn to do the same.
No parent read a book like her; a master of voices, my mum always read aloud like a conductor, with precision and ease. Each character had their own specified voice, some of them I still recall to this day. High voices, deep voice, squeaky and silly voices, transitioning from each one with a small grin. By the time the books were finished, her voice was always slightly shot yet, we always wanted more.
I remember loving words so much as a kid that I would memorize large sections of children’s books that she read to us. I even went so far as to then “read” the books to my baby brother, which impressed her greatly, until she saw I was reading Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham upside down.
As soon as writing sentences made some semblance of sense, I found a way to weave thoughts, stories, and poems together. I got as much use as humanly possible out of my mother’s clunky, late-eighties, electric typewriter when I was seven years old and I never grew tired of it. I can still hear the tapping sound the keys made and the “snap-snap-snap” of the machine pounding the key letters one by one as it printed onto the paper back and forth across the bar. Writing and books were the first things in life I remember losing time to. Endless hours of words on a summer evening and seconds later it is three in the morning and my light would be the last on in the house. Eventually, I realized I was better at writing than I was at speaking.“
~ For No One, by A. L. Stippich
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