Sunday, April 21, 2019

#100 Backstory of the Poem "How Do You Know?" by Stephanie

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***This is #100 in a never-ending series called BACKSTORY OF THE POEM where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific poem and how the poet wrote that specific poem.  All BACKSTORY OF THE POEM links are at the end of this piece. 

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#100 Backstory of the Poem
“How Do You Know?”
by Stephanie

Can you go through the step-by-step process of writing this poem from the moment the idea was first conceived in your brain until final form? I wrote for a church newsletter and the theme was “how do you know God loves you?” Immediately, I was mentally transported to the first time I was asked how do I know God loves me.” 
I remembered the question hitting me like a punch to the gut. I was nine-years-old. I didn’t want my friend to know that my parents were getting divorced but I didn’t know how to explain God’s love to her. I just remembered feeling the wind. The wind was like a kiss. God’s love is like the wind for me.
When I wrote this poem, (first time in 1999) the thought entered my mind like a gentle breeze, and then like a storm I had to write it, the hurt, the anger, the abandonment. 
        It was three years later (at age 11)  before I saw my earthly father again. This poem is the first time I shared my story.

Where were you when you started to actually write the poem?  And please describe the place in great detail. I usually write from my couch. The television is always on at my house rather I’m watching it or not, mostly not. I enjoy reading and writing. I received the email for the writing assignment which led to the birth of this poem. Before starting the assignment, the first thing I did was open my Bible and randomly turned pages and read. Whichever verse resonated me, I wrote it and then I prayed on it. 

There is a curio in the corner of the living room. I can see my reflection from the couch but it is not what I focus on. I focus on the imaginary thought bubble I see in my mind’s eye. My feelings appear as words and then I write. Next to the curio is a window where I look through the curtain at the neighbor’s willow tree. As strange as it sounds, this is where my writing begins and ends. The mirrored curio and window are my external inspirations.
What month and year did you start writing this poem? This version of the poem was written in March 2015.

How many drafts of this poem did you write before going to the final? (And can you share a photograph of your rough drafts with pen markings on it?) This poem was never meant to be shared. Each and every time I wrote this poem, I kept it for only a few days. The only reason I still have this poem is because I typed it directly into the computer and never deleted it.
Were there any lines in any of your rough drafts of this poem that were not in the final version?  And can you share them with us? I’ve told this story only to myself. If there is a different version, it lies deep within my mind.

What do you want readers of this poem to take from this poem? This poem is written from a nine-year-old perspective going through the separation of parents. Divorce divides a person’s world from what was to how it could have been. No matter what the new normal is, people of divorce always reflect to the what if my parents had stayed together and we always painted it to be rosy and better than what we have. 

I want people to know that children need to have a faith-base. They need to be able to believe in something. For me, I have God and his Son Jesus. I was able to get through that terrible time without being destructive. So many children and teens rebel in one way or another. Whoever reads my poem, I hope they believe in something or see the strong nine-year-old who knew she was loved even through the doubts of others.

Which part of the poem was the most emotional of you to write and why? “I held onto the belief that God loved me so much, He sent His Son Jesus to die for me. My father did not love me as much as God did. He was not capable.” This was the first time I realized that there was no one on earth who could love me as much as God. I cried then because I thought I would have to die to feel loved. It took a while to accept that God’s love was all I needed. It was later I learned the difference between God’s love and world love.

Has this poem been 
published before?  And if so where? It was published online and then deleted. It was never submitted to the newsletter

Anything you would like to add? I think finally I can share this poem with others.

How Do You Know?
            The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit    John 3:8

            “How do you know God loves you?” I was asked this question when I was nine years old. “I can feel Him like I can feel the wind.” I answered but my friend rolled her eyes. I held onto my belief because my world had falling apart. My parents divorced because of my father’s infidelity. When I caught my father cheating, he lied and told me it was his first only time. When I caught him the second time, I told my mother. My parents fought and a few weeks later, my father told me he was moving out. He asked me if I wanted to live with him. I told my dad I loved him but I did not believe he loved me because if he had, he would have not done what he did. I ran outside to my swing set. I swung as high as I could. The wind blew against my face and dried my tears as more continued to fall. I held onto the belief that God loved me so much, He sent His Son Jesus to die for me. My father did not love me as much as God did. He was not capable. I forgave my father by the time I went inside. Days later, I watched my father leave from the opened door. The wind blew and kiss my face. The kiss came from God. I knew then as I do now. God loves me and He always will.  

Stephanie works as an occupational therapist by day and a writer at night, weekends and whenever the bug strikes. Windows and everything in nature provides her with inspiration. 


001  December 29, 2017
Margo Berdeshevksy’s “12-24”

002  January 08, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “82 Miles From the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Café”

003 January 12, 2018
Barbara Crooker’s “Orange”

004 January 22, 2018
Sonia Saikaley’s “Modern Matsushima”

005 January 29, 2018
Ellen Foos’s “Side Yard”

006 February 03, 2018
Susan Sundwall’s “The Ringmaster”

007 February 09, 2018
Leslea Newman’s “That Night”

008 February 17, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher “June Fairchild Isn’t Dead”

009 February 24, 2018
Charles Clifford Brooks III “The Gift of the Year With Granny”

010 March 03, 2018
Scott Thomas Outlar’s “The Natural Reflection of Your Palms”

011 March 10, 2018
Anya Francesca Jenkins’s “After Diane Beatty’s Photograph “History Abandoned”

012  March 17, 2018
Angela Narciso Torres’s “What I Learned This Week”

013 March 24, 2018
Jan Steckel’s “Holiday On ICE”

014 March 31, 2018
Ibrahim Honjo’s “Colors”

015 April 14, 2018
Marilyn Kallett’s “Ode to Disappointment”

016  April 27, 2018
Beth Copeland’s “Reliquary”

017  May 12, 2018
Marlon L Fick’s “The Swallows of Barcelona”

018  May 25, 2018

019  June 09, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “Stiletto Killer. . . A Surmise”

020 June 16, 2018
Charles Rammelkamp’s “At Last I Can Start Suffering”

021  July 05, 2018
Marla Shaw O’Neill’s “Wind Chimes”

022 July 13, 2018
Julia Gordon-Bramer’s “Studying Ariel”

023 July 20, 2018
Bill Yarrow’s “Jesus Zombie”

024  July 27, 2018
Telaina Eriksen’s “Brag 2016”

025  August 01, 2018
Seth Berg’s “It is only Yourself that Bends – so Wake up!”

026  August 07, 2018
David Herrle’s “Devil In the Details”

027  August 13, 2018
Gloria Mindock’s “Carmen Polo, Lady Necklaces, 2017”

028  August 21, 2018
Connie Post’s “Two Deaths”

029  August 30, 2018
Mary Harwell Sayler’s “Faces in a Crowd”

030 September 16, 2018
Larry Jaffe’s “The Risking Point”

031  September 24, 2018
Mark Lee Webb’s “After We Drove”

032  October 04, 2018
Melissa Studdard’s “Astral”

033 October 13, 2018
Robert Craven’s “I Have A Bass Guitar Called Vanessa”

034  October 17, 2018
David Sullivan’s “Paper Mache Peaches of Heaven”

035 October 23, 2018
Timothy Gager’s “Sobriety”

036  October 30, 2018
Gary Glauber’s “The Second Breakfast”

037  November 04, 2018
Heather Forbes-McKeon’s “Melania’s Deaf Tone Jacket”

038 November 11, 2018
Andrena Zawinski’s “Women of the Fields”

039  November 00, 2018
Gordon Hilger’s “Poe”

040 November 16, 2018
Rita Quillen’s “My Children Question Me About Poetry” and “Deathbed Dreams”

041 November 20, 2018
Jonathan Kevin Rice’s “Dog Sitting”

042 November 22, 2018
Haroldo Barbosa Filho’s “Mountain”

043  November 27, 2018
Megan Merchant’s “Grief Flowers”

044 November 30, 2018
Jonathan P Taylor’s “This poem is too neat”

045  December 03, 2018
Ian Haight’s “Sungmyo for our Dead Father-in-Law”

046 December 06, 2018
Nancy Dafoe’s “Poem in the Throat”

047 December 11, 2018
Jeffrey Pearson’s “Memorial Day”

048  December 14, 2018
Frank Paino’s “Laika”

049  December 15, 2018
Jennifer Martelli’s “Anniversary”

O50  December 19, 2018
Joseph Ross’s For Gilberto Ramos, 15, Who Died in the Texas Desert, June 2014”

051 December 23, 2018
“The Persistence of Music”
by Anatoly Molotkov

052  December 27, 2018
“Under Surveillance”
by Michael Farry

053  December 28, 2018
“Grand Finale”
by Renuka Raghavan

054  December 29, 2018
by Gene Barry

055 January 2, 2019
by Larissa Shmailo

056  January 7, 2019
“The Seamstress:
by Len Kuntz

057  January 10, 2019
"Natural History"
by Camille T Dungy

058  January 11, 2019
by Brian Burmeister

059  January 12, 2019
by Clint Margrave

060 January 14, 2019
by Pat Durmon

061 January 19, 2019
“Neptune’s Choir”
by Linda Imbler

062  January 22, 2019
“Views From the Driveway”
by Amy Barone

063  January 25, 2019
“The heron leaves her haunts in the marsh”
by Gail Wronsky

064  January 30, 2019
by Terry Lucas

065 February 02, 2019
“Summer 1970, The University of Virginia Opens to Women in the Fall”
by Alarie Tennille

066 February 05, 2019
“At School They Learn Nouns”
by Patrick Bizzaro

067  February 06, 2019
“I Must Not Breathe”
by Angela Jackson-Brown

068 February 11, 2019
“Lunch on City Island, Early June”
by Christine Potter

069 February 12, 2019
by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum

070 February 14, 2019
“Daily Commute”
by Christopher P. Locke

071 February 18, 2019
“How Silent The Trees”
by Wyn Cooper

072 February 20, 2019
“A New Psalm of Montreal”
by Sheenagh Pugh

073 February 23, 2019
“Make Me A Butterfly”
by Amy Barbera

074 February 26, 2019
by Sandy Coomer

075 March 4, 2019
“Shape of a Violin”
by Kelly Powell

076 March 5, 2019
“Inward Oracle”
by J.P. Dancing Bear

077 March 7, 2019
“I Broke My Bust Of Jesus”
by Susan Sundwall

078 March 9, 2019
“My Mother at 19”
by John Guzlowski

079 March 10, 2019
by Chera Hammons Miller

080 March 12, 2019
“Of Water and Echo”
by Gillian Cummings

081   082   083    March 14, 2019
“Little Political Sense”   “Crossing Kansas with Jim
Morrison”  “The Land of Sky and Blue Waters”
by Dr. Lindsey Martin-Bowen

084 March 15, 2019
“A Tune To Remember”
by Anna Evans

085 March 19, 2019
“At the End of Time (Wish You Were Here)
by Jeannine Hall Gailey

086 March 20, 2019
“Garden of Gethsemane”
by Marletta Hemphill

087 March 21, 2019
“Letters From a War”
by Chelsea Dingman

088 March 26, 2019
by Bob Heman

089 March 27, 2019
“Clay for the Potter”
by Belinda Bourgeois

#090 March 30, 2019
“The Pose”
by John Hicks

#091 April 2, 2019
“Last Night at the Wursthaus”
by Doug Holder

#092 April 4, 2019
“Original Sin”
by Diane Lockward

#093 April 5, 2019
“A Father Calls to his child on liveleak”
by Stephen Byrne

#094 April 8, 2019
by Marc Zegans

#095 April 12, 2019
“Landscape and Still Life”
by Marjorie Maddox

#096 April 16, 2019
“Strawberries Have Been Growing Here for Hundreds of
by Mary Ellen Lough

#097 April 17, 2019
“The New Science of Slippery Surfaces”
by Donna Spruijt-Metz

#098 April 19, 2019
“Tennessee Epithalamium”
by Alyse Knorr

#099 April 20, 2019
“Mermaid, 1969”
by Tameca L. Coleman

#100 April 21, 2019
“How Do You Know?”
by Stephanie

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