It’s been a minute…   2 comments

First off, Happy New Year!! (because it’s been several since I’ve reached out!!) Happy summer, because we all need more Vitamin D.  Happy surviving, getting through, breathing and thriving (however brief or long), though that process isn’t necessarily a happy one.

To that end, I’ve in hiding, or on hiatus, or if I’m being honest, had given up on my poetry.  Not poetry in general, never that.  I kept ingesting it, and listening to/reading it. But just because poetry can be comforting and inspirational doesn’t mean that I could continuing writing my own.  It sounds cliche, but I lost my voice in the sea of amazing poetic voices.  I thought, Can I really keep writing about my body, about disability and dysfunction, and childhood and love gone wrong?  That doesn’t feel like enough in our current political and social climate.  Which translated into my work is not enough, which meant I wasn’t either.  Plus, there are so many talented disabled writers and performers, it felt like it was time to step back and let them shine in the way I used to.  (To that end, I’m going to do another blog post of poets I know and want you to check out.  I SWEAR, like before the end of June.)

Of course, this was mostly my depression talking.  There is more than enough room for all of our voices.  I recently attended the Capturing Fire 2017 slam, and one of the top poets did 6 poems about his mental illnesses and body shaming and each one was unique and important and well-written and engaging.  He wasn’t boring or a broken record capitalizing on his life experiences, and neither am I.  Neither are you.

Recently, I put together an updated, full-length manuscript for publication.  I’ve done this before, in 2011, in 2012, but it wasn’t an earnest project.   I always thought I’ll write I book once I’m done performing.  I’ll sit down in my late 40s, or early 50s.  Once I’m tired of a microphone, or once I drop it.  Haha.  Now I know how naive I was.  We don’t get to choose when our bodies stop being capable of the road, or when the stage is too high to climb on.  My body is older than my will.  Which doesn’t mean I’m done performing.

But what it does give me is a sense of urgency.  Why not write a book and love it as much as performing the poems in it?  Why not turn the page into a different stage.  The current manuscript contains 17 years of poems, some of them new?  If I wanted to, I could go back further (but those poems really do suck!!)

So, I’m submitting it to contests and publishers this summer and fall.  I’m crossing my fingers someone will see it as valuable enough to publish without my needing to crowdsource or go (further) into debt to get it “out there.”

And I’m still singing with All Her Muses (you can follow us on our Facebook page.  We still love rearranging covers, but we’re moving forward with original music (and hopefully an album in 2018!!)

Writing lyrics is hard, but I’m slowly strengthening that muscle.  Coming back to poetry is a different kind of hard, but that muscle hasn’t atrophied.  It’s the kind of hard that comes from tough love.  It’s the longest relationship I’ve had, and though we were in a trial separate, we’re back together again.  And it’s going strong.  Even on our bad days, we never go to bed angry.  Because, especially in the uncertain and dark times we are living in, what’s the point of that?

Because what’s the point of punishing yourself and giving up on what you love the most?  I know you know what I mean.  And I encourage you to keep diving into the wreck and soul of it, and keep finding gentleness and compassion where ever and whenever you can.  It’s still out there.  More soon, I promise.

Much gratitude for still following this blog, Natalie xox

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Posted June 13, 2017 by Natalie E. Illum in Uncategorized

2 responses to “It’s been a minute…

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  1. Good to read your words. Now, how do i find my way back to performing…..i’ll take your encouragement to keep diving into the wreck of it etc. i may even send you a short love story about a trapeze trick i once had an affair with. xo nat, glad to hear you are looking up and forward.

    • Yes yes yes. Email me more and I’ll do whatever l can to help. Good to hear from you!! Don’t be hard on yourself. You’ve been busy with family and business and taking care of all those four-legged ‘s Handstands forever!!

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