The distinction is important. One approach invites appropriation, the other introspection.
That said, I’m delighted my essay The Shell of your Ear appears in Oh Baby!, a new anthology from Creative Nonfiction.
The essay explores my reaction to my daughter’s diagnosis, and the long, sometimes rocky road to acceptance.
Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking back to my daughter’s early days and the moment I found out she was deaf. My first coherent thought was that she’d never hear poetry. I was inconsolable, even though I knew, in my more rational moments, that few people consider poetry essential in life.
But that was the point. I wanted her to have more than the prescribed essential. I wanted her to have art and literature and music; to have moments that transcended the ordinary, moments of ‘glad grace’. I wanted her to experience language as something more that pragmatic. I wanted her to experience it as sublime.
In the sixteen years since her birth, I’ve been busy re-evaluating my concepts of ‘glad grace’ and sublimity. (The kids have been busy laughing at me.)
I’m embarrassed that I once paid so much attention to the written word, so little to the unspoken.
Mostly, I’m mystified that I thought any of my children would grow up to love poetry.