Bienvenidos! Welcome!

Thanks for visiting Daughter of Corn. I hope you enjoy the essays and thoughts about the journeys of a writer in San Miguel....who ends up in Iowa City!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Reflections on My New Blog and Women Writers

Friends and Readers of Daughter of Corn,

Thanks for emailing me about my new blog!  I am inspired to continue with my essays, and will be posting the second one very soon.  For now, I want to comment upon the Iowa landscape and how the pale yellow corn stands stiffly in the fields, waiting for the harvest.  When I asked my wonderful friend, Angie, to help me set up the blog, she offered to take a picture of me next to the cornfields.  Neither of us gave thought to the seasonal garments of the corn plant.  You can almost hear the plants crackling as you drive by, so dry and crisp are the leaves.

When I lived in Davenport, Iowa, I drove almost weekly to Iowa City, hungry for the literary readings at my favorite bookstore, Prairie Lights.  After working with inner city middle school students, I was worn out with issues relating to classroom behaviors and sorry family upbringings.  Iowa City was like a bright light to me, a reason to pick up and enter the world of words sung from the tongues of famous poets.
So, as I drove the hour on  backroads parallel to Interstate 80, quite often words began to sing inside my head, particularly about the changing seasons of the prairie. After spending all week in the Quad Cities, a wide area of traffic and businesses humming and honking in noisy disarray, to be traveling down a road with streams and woodlands off to the side of the highway was a healing relief.

I think constantly about landscape and writing.  Presently I am reading a novel that has gripped my heart and made me weep, for it is about the Bronte sisters and their lives on the moors.  Romancing Miss Bronte by Juliet Gael is a well-researched novel that puts into perspective the challenges that women writers faced in previous centuries.  Can we possibly worry and fret about our own minor concerns when we read about the courageous, talented women who wrote Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyer while battling consumption and freezing, primitive conditions?  These greats developed authenticity as authors and their characters leap from the page.  The lives they led is almost foreign to our present age of workshops and fellowships.  Nothing kept them from writing.  Nothing.  Is there not something fierce about such women?  For that matter, can we use the word "fierce" to describe ourselves as women writing to tell our stories?

A poem from Breathe into the Knowing, which I wrote on my weekend trips to Iowa City:

The Fields of Autumn

I travel from the five rivers
   toward a city of  trees.

Here, under my left breast, 
   a tear awakens.


Yesterday the wind flailed her arms,
a gypsy twirling over the land.
Today, nothing.
The dry, crisp fields
hold empty spaces in stillness.
I marvel at the ochre leaves.
I yearn to know
the secret message of form.           


The corn is cut.
The land is flat.
A lonely sound murmurs
across the vast blue.
Inside my chest
a soft clapping;
wings ready to take flight.


Fall tolls a warning,
shaking leaves into lonely sentinels.
I look through smudged windows
for a sign of sun.
Somewhere a child sleeps
in near abandonment.  Somewhere
she traces the moon’s mouth.
Somewhere she calls a name.  It echoes,
a tiny chime in the wind.

 Corinne J. Stanley, copyright 2010

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