Monday, July 20, 2015

The Storialist Turns Seven!

While I was thinking about this post, I remembered a poem I’d read in a workshop in grad school by one of my classmates, Heather Kirn Lanier. It was called “Ode to Seven,” and was about the mysterious recurrence of the number seven in folklore, religion, and medicine (and also a beautiful tribute to her father). I remember learning from her poem that our bodies undergo cell regeneration every seven years.

That’s a pretty amazing fact, isn’t it? Poetry teaches such wondrous things.

This post marks the seventh anniversary of The Storialist. For seven years, I’ve been posting poems, art, videos, interviews, and links. This online space—and the space I include in my life in order to write—remains one of the kindest gifts I’ve given to myself. My work here directly feeds the beast that demands that I write; it also soothes that beast, somehow, when I get too hard on myself.

I constantly battle to balance the urge to create with the urge to feel PRODUCTIVE (this is also a Virgo-Leo cusper thing, I’d wage). I’ve learned in the last couple of years that sometimes, creativity demands a certain slowness and patience. The most valuable creative moments might actually be when I’ve seemed the least “productive.”

I wonder if anyone else relates to this. I often think about this in regards to teaching writing. I like to talk with my students about how helpful it is to identify the ideas already on the back burner in our minds. It’s not about waiting for the perfect moment or concept—it’s more about letting an idea IN, and letting the mind mull it over. This might look like procrastinating (and maybe it’s one form of it!) in that very little is happening externally, but internally, there is PLENTY happening.

Lately, I have more and more of an appreciation for getting out of a task mentality when it comes to creativity.

I know that the next year will bring new ideas, failures, and changes (as always). One enormous change—my husband and I will become parents in December. We’re so thrilled to be expecting (it’s a boy!). Many of the (terrific) poets I know are (terrific) parents, but I know that parenthood dramatically changes our experience of time, and our seeming control of it. Already, I’ve experienced this—I can’t believe that I’m at the halfway point of pregnancy right now. It’s absolutely FLOWN by.

Right now, I just feel full of gratitude. Gratitude for the little human coming to meet us, for having a supportive partner and family, for the artists/writers/readers I’ve connected with over the years, and for the balm and tonic that art and creativity continue to be in this life.

Thank you for reading this. I so appreciate you, reader. In the next year, let us all experience the desire to make and the ability to luxuriate in creative stillness.

On to the next seven!

Previous anniversaries:
July 2008
July 2009
July 2010
July 2011
July 2012
July 2013
July 2014

In my natural habitat


  1. Congratulations Hannah on seven magnificent years. I can't count the number of poems and posts of yours that have changed me in some way. This post has special significance in that I discovered your blog shortly after I started my own. I remember you riffing on photos from the sartorialist, and thinking how cool and unique it was to narrow your vision to fit THAT form. I've watched you since then expand your visions and your forms (to the point where, as you suggest, the good stuff happens invisibly). Along the way you managed to philosophically ambiguitize virtually every daily act we humans engage in, from talking philosophy with copy machines to seeing God in germs to listening to the sound the dead make in wind chimes. Throughout it all, your wistful air of wonder breathed life into even the most unpromising of themes, always asking questions in a way that was as gentle as it was deep -- a rare thing.

    Your notice is personal also because I was born on the 7th (of December), my first-born (son) emerged on the Leo-Virgo cusp (August 23), and because your cameo of Seurat's Sunday Afternoon along the Seine (always with the painterly touchstones too!) brought Delmore Schwartz's great poem "Seurat's Sunday Afternoon along the Seine" into dialog with what you write as well as where I was/am as a writer with children. Yet another fitting magical connection.

    Thank you for sharing what you do.

    1. Thank you so very much for these kind words, Bill! What's really funny is that August 23 is also my birthday, and my sister-in-law's birthday is Dec. 7th...we're hoping that the little one makes an appearance on that day! Dates can be good luck :).

      Thanks also for sharing that poem--I'd never seen it before. Hope writing and all things are going wonderfully!

  2. Congratulations on your seven year anniversary, more importantly on the new member of your family. I agree with you on creativity and productivity...I think it is the same in every field...even in sports...the progress our body makes comes after a plateau and requires plowing through.
    I did not know about cell regeneration every seven years, and so I am going to search that...there is always something to learn or marvel at in your blog.

    1. Thanks so much! Isn't that seven years rule amazing?? :)

  3. Hannah! Happy anniversary and happy baby-on-the-way! I am always inspired by your wonderful poems and posts and images. Often, I print out your poems, carry them in my pocket or purse for a few days to re-read--then I leave them out in the world--on a coffee house table, tucked inside a library book, that sort of thing, with your site address written on the bottom. I love the idea of another lucky reader stumbling over your wonderful writing this way. Congratulations and I hope to read The Storialist for many years to come.

    1. You are too kind. It makes me very happy to imagine you scattering a poem of mine into the world--how lovely!


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