Saturday, July 30, 2016

Writers' Obsessions: Kristen Lindquist

After I wrote my post "Turtle Moon: Genealogy of an Obsession," I put a call out to some of my writing buddies locally and internationally to find out about their writing obsessions. I'll post them over the next couple of months. --Linda

Kristen Lindquist

Since I was a child spending summers and vacations at my grandparents' saltwater farm in Lincolnville, Maine, I've had recurring nightmares on this basic theme: as I watch, the ocean rises in a storm surge or a freak high tide to break over the front lawn in huge destructive waves that eventually wash us away, house and all. I still have dreams involving big waves breaking where they aren't supposed to--even still washing away my grandparents' house, a place that no longer exists as it did. 

I guess it only makes sense that I have tried to decipher my recurring dream over and over in various poems. In some, I try to draw a direct metaphor between the dream image and loss of childhood, loss of my grandparents, and/or loss of the only place that was really home to me as a child who lived in over a dozen different places before college. In others, I just describe either the dream itself, which has variations, or describe it as an imagined reality. I've tried writing about it in essays, too, to parse out its significance and why those dreams keep coming to me.

The wave has become a motif for me--like Hiroshige's Great Wave--in my writing and in my life, as I try over and over to embrace what I fear, to embrace that lost child(hood) of the past, to embrace the unembraceable, the overwhelming, the stirrings from the deep subconscious.

Last year at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts' special exhibit of Hiroshige's work, I stood for a long time before his Great Wave wood block print, mesmerized. The image is used everywhere, it's almost a cliche at this point. But for me, it's personal; when I wear the baseball cap with that wave image on it that I got at the MFA gift shop, I feel as if I'm representing my own inner team, the one with the intimate imagistic relationship with deep water, with the amoral power of the sea.

Kristen Lindquist is a freelance writer, poet, and naturalist living in midcoast Maine. Garrison Keillor has read three poems from her poetry collection TRANSPORTATION on The Writer's Almanac; she writes a monthly natural history column for the local online paper, Pen Bay Pilot.

Website: (where you can find info on how to order her book TRANSPORTATION)
Daily haiku blog BOOK OF DAYS:

No comments:

Post a Comment