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k%27stable2.jpgStill rough, but shot with light when polished and cut by an audience and set by publication. The poet can build a meandering path to insight like glimpses through the trees to a lake in sunlight. ~ From “A Poet of 20 Carats” by Alex Wind

As soon as I cleaned my kitchen table from cutting, pasting, and laying out this month’s Museletter (Floyd’s longtime homespun newsletter), a new project began to spread out. I’m sorting through my friend Alex’s poetry for a collection, which will be included in an upcoming art show in her honor.

I met Alex nearly 20 years ago at a woman’s circle. She attended a poetry workshop I presented at Woman’s Wellness Week, a retreat held in the Indian Valley part of Floyd County. Inspired, she got hooked on writing poetry from that workshop, she would later tell me.

We drifted apart, but came together again a couple of years ago, after I learned that she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. We enjoyed a Scrabble game once a month, or whenever she could schedule a game around her cancer therapy and her travel plans. Traveling became an expression of her decision to fully LIVE every moment she had left, and she lived large, traveling to Iceland and Greece last year with her husband.

Alex died this past December. Over the course of her life she expressed her art in many mediums, such as painting and making jewelry. For her fine arts master's thesis she produced a black Madonna and Child that incorporated her creative skills in mosaics, crochet, sculpture, and fabric. She was also a talented poet.

While it feels strange to be leafing through Alex’s personal poetry journal, mostly I feel honored to have been asked to do so by her husband. Reading her handwritten poems and typing them has been a reminder of what attracted me to her in the first place. I knew, but I now I know on a deeper level that Alex loved animals (especially horses), was a feminist, was in love with her husband, had a sense of humor, was a loving mother to her daughter and a thoughtful, caring human being.

Coincidently, there’s also a project spread out on my friend Kathleen’s table. At least there was when I was over there on Wednesday. Kathleen, Mara, and I have been going through Elliot’s poetry in preparation for a chapbook in his honor. Elliot, who was a member of the writer’s workshop we each belong to, passed away in November of 2005.

I can’t think any better way to spend my time than on these two labors of love.

Post Notes:
The photo is of Mara shuffling through Elliot’s poetry spread out on Kathleen’s kitchen table. The title Moonlighting comes from what I’ve been telling my husband I’m doing when I go upstairs to the computer at night when I should be off duty and type Alex’s poems with the moon shining in my window. HERE is Roanoke Times story about Alex and her art.


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So sad to hear of the loss of these two richly talented people. How lovely that their thoughts and words are being preserved.

sounds like a great way to honor her memory... what an honor for you, too!

It is always good to remember and reflect.

I know how hard it is to lose a good friend. You are a good friend to compile such a body of work.

Alex always sounded like a beautiful soul....how wonderful that you are doing this!

Colleen, that must be both very rewarding and very difficult for you...but I praise you for it. I'm sure her husband will be pleased with your result.

It was a honor to be chosen for that project, Colleen. Everytime you post about your fellow Floydians, I think that everyone who lives around there must be an painter, potter, poet, photographer or some other form of artist.

I appreciate the way you honor your friends, Colleen. It's a rare gift!

If you ever do another poetry workshop, please let me know. I must just jump on a jet plane and head your way or have a pilot husband fly me out. :-)


What an honour to do this for 2 special people who are so dearly missed.

Floyd sounds like a blessed mecca for the Arts! You fit in there perfectly.

That is such a wonderful thing you're doing for your friend's husband. You are a good friend.

Here from Michele's.

As a writer, I've always said I hoped my words would be my legacy. It's something very tangible that we leave behind. How great that Alex's words are being compiled by you and will be around forever. She certainly sounded like a magnificient person. And I'd say she proves it's "quality" of life.....not "quantity."

Mine is just the first step. I'm sorting through and typing a collection of about 15 of her poems of which I will then send to her husband and he and Alex's daughter are going to create the booklet they will go in.

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