Monday, August 2, 2010
The Writing Life: Myra Albert Wiggins
Many years ago I believed that writing prose was easier than poetry. It was the hubris of a newly minted MFA that had me believing this. What a great misconception to hold onto. My ignorance allowed me to write an article on the coming of the trains to the Northwest, "Train Time", which was included in Best Essays Northwest. Now I'm working on an article about Myra Albert Wiggins (pictured on the right) and finding it rough going. I've written over a dozen poems about Wiggins, her husband, her grandmother and her art work. And yet my essay is resisting being written. Maybe this is one of the steps in writing that I tend to forget about. How even when you know your subject intimately (I've been writing about Wiggins for several years now) it is never "easy".
My yet-to-be-completed article focuses not only on Myra's unconventional life, but also on the process of writing poems from photographs and historical documents. One thing I love about writing (after the fact) is that I learn things I wouldn't have been able to articulate without the writing. If anyone has questions on writing poems inspired by visual art, please feel free to email me or leave a comment below.
Oh yes, the photograph? That's Myra in costume while on her "Cruise of the Christians" en route to the 4th World Sunday School Convention in Jerusalem with her friend, Mrs. Park. The women are in costume and Wiggins is the photographer as well as the woman on the right.