The three-pound box of bees fizzed with movement, hundreds of little insect bodies churning and buzzing. Tanya held them in gloved hands and inhaled the spring air. The smell of back garden leaf litter and May mud filtered through the gauzy veil she wore to protect her head and face from these creatures. Her creatures now– and somehow she had to dump them into their new home, a clean wooden box neatly filled with blank frames awaiting propolis and comb. “It’s easy,” all the beekeepers had said at the classes she took. Tanya thought of the summer she’d walked into a forest on another continent and found, like a fairy tale, an old man and woman who greeted her with a bowl of golden honey and a loaf of homemade bread. She tried to imagine herself that way as she pried out from the box the small cage containing the queen. The queen fidgeted, as if she was anxious to get to business. Tanya carefully placed the cage between two frames, angling it to give the queen enough air and the workers access to the candy seal that kept the queen caged. Then she opened the box. Bees rose into the air and swirled around her as she dumped them into the hive. She breathed out, and made efficient work of closing the hive. As she walked back to the house, she paused, looked back. For three days she would have to wait, to see if she had done everything wrong, or if these creatures would have made the hive their home.
That’s something I wrote during our exercise in the third session of the Creative Nonfiction class I took. It’s over now, sadly– last Saturday was the final session, where we were able to show the beginning few pages of our projects and get feedback. I left feeling pretty confident that I have the ability to write the story that I want to write, which is… a refreshing feeling after years of self-doubt.
I’ve also been doing lots of poetry this first week of February. I went to Mahall’s and thoroughly enjoyed hearing some poetry from Ray McNiece backed by guitars. I’ve never seen a poetry reading like that– well, there was one or two with drums in Denver– and the vibe was so different from just reading. I think there’s something about music that makes the audience feel like participants, even if they’re not actively doing anything but listening. I read at the open mic after, and the encouraging comments I got from other poets afterward honestly fueled me to want to write more.
And despite how nervous sharing my poetry makes me, and all the self-doubt I mentioned earlier… I was born for the stage, baby. I just remembered how, in like fifth grade or something, my class had to perform poetry for a school St. Patrick’s Day show. So we had all these poems about St. Patrick and March and shamrocks, and we had to recite them in this boring singsong. I got so bored practicing at school that I came up with the following weird idea, that somehow (probably with the help of my very persistent friends) I convinced the teachers to let me do: I dressed up as the wind and danced around on stage while the rest of my class recited a poem called “Old Man March Wind”. Seriously. I wore white overalls, white tights, a white button-up shirt, and my mom helped me pin a bunch of gauze onto all of it. This idea saved me from boredom as well as from having to wear shoes during the performance. But looking back, it blows my mind that I had the guts to be like, “Yeah, I’m just gonna pretend to be the wind in front of the whole school and my middle-school peers”. I just did not think anything I came up with was “too weird” back then, and I was not afraid to totally embrace my ideas. (My mom also helped spray the gauze with silver sparkles, so I think I can credit her ok-sure attitude for my own weirdness-embracing at the time.)
Anyway. It’s weird to be creating and sharing my writing again, but weird in a good way. Weird in an embraceable way? OK, sure.