Susan Polis Schultz and the poetry of Blue Mountain Arts were a big part of my junior high to high school years. Like Rod McKuen, her words often went to the heart of what I was feeling (lost, broken-hearted, dreaming of something just out of reach or deeply in love with my current boyfriend or crush) My mom and I didn’t always get along and back then she didn’t understand (or I didn’t think she understood) my overwhelming obsession with words, with poetry, with telling stories on paper. Being a writer was never taken seriously as a career option; it was something you did “on the side” after your normal job as a teacher or secretary. I wanted her to understand my need to write but I feared she never would. But one year for Christmas I received this poster with a poem. It was about 24×24 and packaged against a hard piece of cardboard and shrink-wrapped to keep it from bending. It was a glimmer (for me) of hope that she understood, or was trying to understand me. For all all I know she bought it on a whim and didn’t study the verse at all but I took it to mean it was okay for me to focus on my goal of writing.

For years (and I mean YEARS) I didn’t take the plastic off. I leaned it against the bookcase in my mostly-purple bedroom so it was the first thing I saw in the morning and the last thing I saw at night. When I got married and moved, it went with me, getting a little bent around the edges. So off came the plastic and I had to trim a bit around the edges to fix the broken parts. Over the years, each time I moved, something got ripped or bent a little more. It was, is, by now, just a faded piece of paper reduced to about 12×12 from all my cutting around the edges. It has a home now, in a frame under glass, and sits in my office.

If you have a goal in life
that takes a lot of energy
that incurs a great deal of interest
and that is a challenge to you,
you will always look
forward to waking up to
see what the new day brings.
If you find a person in your life
that understands you completely
that shares your ideas
and that believes in everything you do,
you will always look forward to the night
because you will never be lonely.
Susan Polis Schultz