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The Memoir


Pearls and Knots

​​Pearls and Knots ​lived behind the scenes... hidden  for a time, originally framed as a collection of a few essays written over a period of twelve years.  The writing stopped, the words didn't come, until they had fermented under the surface, tightly enclosed.  Then, once the possibilities of my writing project opened, and the year of workshops were attended, and writer events were inhaled, word spices woke my senses, and it all came together.  


       Early one morning in April, the month of my mother's birthday, around four o'clock a.m., Pearls and Knots bounded forth from the universe, the poem almost fully developed, its bouquet capturing the memories, with many images bound and held in my mother's pearl necklace.  While still in bed, I grabbed a notebook and I wrote furiously, letting the words escape from my fingers.  Edited a bit.  Only when I finished this first draft of the poem did the question hit me.  Did the pearls really 'exist' in the photo of my mother, probably taken at high school graduation?  I froze to the bed, immobile of spirit, too frightened to risk going to the living room to check. Oh, I falsely assured myself that it would be all right, even if the pearls weren't in the photo.  The memory would be enough.  Yes, of course, the memory would be enough...  


       I waited.  Finally, I could wait no longer.  I raced to the living room, not daring to send a prayer to ask for something not life-threatening.  And there it was - the pearl necklace around her neck, anchoring her day of celebration, at that coming of age moment, her stunning beauty so fresh, so fragile, so ageless.  It couldn't have been a more exciting moment in my life.  I had viewed those pearls every time I looked at that photo over the years, yet I hadn’t really seen them.  On this day, that wonderful string of pearls was truly in my viewfinder, both the pearls - luminous in appearance and importance - and the knots, holding them all together.  From that early morning thought right before my 55th high school reunion to the strong image of the pearls, to the printed word and the sliver of an idea to bring my previous writing together in a meaningful whole, took less than an hour.  Yet, it took a lifetime.