Friday, September 30, 2011

Mother Teresa Meets Lady Diana

Photo by Robyn Beattie
I’ve had Mother Teresa on my mind ever since I discovered writer Liz Brennan four years ago. Liz keeps a jewel of a blog, each post a wisp of haiku length reflection, titled Perhaps, Maybe.

Liz is the primary reason I’ve been able to keep writing the last four years; we meet weekly to lend one another books and discuss drafts of our poems. Every once in awhile, I have the pleasure of reading Liz’s Mother Teresa prose poetry. A construct of Liz’s imagination, this alternate Mother Teresa struggles as a single mother, attempting to be saint of the mundane whether she’s surviving an exchange with a bad clerk at the post office, eating noodles from her take-out container while driving, or sprinting to intercept the meter maid.

In turn, I’ve subjected Liz to my drafts of She Dressed in a Hurry, for Lady Di (along with a number of other personae poems) until mercifully the poem was published at Salome Magazine and parked at The Mom Egg in its micro-movie version, leaving Liz free to move on to dissecting drafts of Nefertiti.

This summer, while attending A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Summer 2011 retreat for women writers, I had the opportunity to get closer than ever to Mother Teresa through Mary Johnson’s spiritual quest memoir, An Unquenchable Thirst: Following Mother Teresa in Search of Love, Service, and an Authentic Life. Johnson, after serving 20 years as a Missionary of Charity, found reasons to leave the sisterhood. In Unquenchable Thirst, she lets us in behind the scenes with the real Mother Teresa.

Which brings me back to Liz Brennan’s Mother Teresa poems (one of which recently appeared in ZYZZYVA, hardcopy only, sorry--I'd love to give you a link to her poem). At one point in Unquenchable Thirst, Johnson describes a meeting between Lady Diana and Mother Teresa. Liz and I, with that hopeless kind of hyper-synaptic, associative observation that tends to dog writers, were tickled the subjects of our individual poems, Lady Diana, and Mother Teresa, met between the covers of Mary’s book, in real time, once upon a time, not so long ago.

On a more serious note, my review of Unquenchable Thirst appears here on the AROHO Speaks website, as well as on Mary Johnson's site where she hosts a salon and invites us all to join a thriving discussion focused on the book (with changing topics, most recently, on faith and sexuality).


Liz Brennan said...

Who knows what other strange coincidences await us!

Unknown said...

Tania - just one more of the strange "coincidences" from AROHO!