Archive for December 4th, 2009

The Articulate Conception: Making a Braid

By Sage Cohen Sage Cohen and Theo

I remember standing, swollen and sweaty, in the doorway to Theo’s room. I took in the cozy, friendly-feeling space we had outfitted and decorated with care to receive a person I had never met, whose spirit I could not even begin to imagine. Days later, our son arrived and began to fill the blank pages of our future with his story.
Today, Theo is 13 months old. He claps, dances, walks and proclaims everything he loves to be “kitty.” He climbs, crouches, throws balls and hugs everything, including (most amusingly) the bathwater. His gusto for culinary delights is rivaled by his ability to cut a mean tooth.
As I’ve become more rested and more proficient at discerning Theo’s needs and how to meet them, the threads of my day job, family life and author responsibilities have all come into focus. Most of the time, all three threads are even within reach.
Fluidity is the name of this game. And surrender is its secret sauce.
To give my child and my marriage what they deserve, my clients what they demand, and my book the visibility it needs to offer readers a greater joy and connection to poetry, I make a braid. I count each thread of responsibility a blessing and determine what it needs to be most effective each week – and how much juice I have to make it happen.
Through this ever-changing pattern of time and intention, I lead and I am led. I set goals and achieve many of them and let others go. What was meant to happen one week may happen the next, or never. Yet, day by day, work gets done. Step by step the confluence of identity and productivity, home life and public life has progressed from crawl to stumble to the first feeble twinges of dance. I am in service to all that I love most.
These days, I spend a few evenings and a weekend day or two each month teaching, lecturing or reading – both locally and around the country. I teach an online poetry class. I run a reading series. I am a volunteer editor on a wonderful literary collective called VoiceCatcher. I write fast and furious (and of course fabulous) marketing communications content and deliver it on-deadline.
And in tandem to all of this doing and accomplishing runs the love-line of my being-time with my family. During the workweek, I typically spend the first six hours of Theo’s day with him, as well as the last two, with frequent visits throughout the day. We share the endless incarnations of daily ritual, from the sweet stickying quest of appetite to the warm washing away of the day’s accumulations.
Every day, Theo and Jon and I belong more and more to our life together. And paradoxically, every day takes each of us incrementally further into the streams of our own stories. I find myself braiding and re-braiding the threads of love, responsibility and gratitude. The threads of family, marketing professional and author. Sleep, work and adventure. Motherhood, marriage and self.
A writer’s work is never done. Nor is her play. I am blessed.

Sage Cohen is the author of Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry (Writers Digest Books, 2009) and the poetry collection Like the Heart, the World. An award-winning poet, she writes three monthly columns about the craft and business of writing and serves as Poetry Editor for VoiceCatcher 4. Her poetry and essays appear in journals and anthologies including Cup of Comfort for Writers, The Oregonian, Oregon Literary Review, Greater Good and VoiceCatcher. Sage holds an MA in creative writing from New York University, co-hosts a monthly reading series at Barnes & Noble and teaches the online class Poetry for the People. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and awarded a Soapstone residency. To learn more, visit


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