April: is it spring?

April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.


View from my window – the last day of April

WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich  licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;



It’s the last day of April and the snow continues to fall here in Colorado  – another big spring storm just as we start to be optimistic. We can take comfort from the poets who promise us that there will be flowers and new growth from this.Please leave a comment about your favorite April quotations on this post.

April is a transitional month, a time of re-birth – and a short month.

So on the last day of April we have an opportunity to review where we are now.

Journal Prompt: What do you need to finish to prepare for new growth?

Journal Prompt: What is the view from your window right now?

Talking of birth….We were all born. What do you know about your birth? What were you told? What have you inferred or even made up?

In my Adult Adoptee Group we were thinking about birth. One person wrote about being left on the steps of an orphanage in a distant country, another wrote about being a twin, someone wrote about the sound of trains. Everyone wrote deeply and movingly. Sharing these stories was powerful for each one – listening was profoundly affecting.

Adopted person or not, everyone has a birth story composed of what they know (facts), what they were told (family stories) and what they’ve imagined (autobiography). What is your birth story? Adoptees often know less about the circumstances of their birth than other people – some do not even have a known birth date.


Journal Prompt – The Story of my Birth

Adapted from Maria Antoniou: “This is a story of my birth” in Writing Works (eds Bolton, Field & Thompson)

Write the story of your birth – write in the present tense, write in the first person. Include anything you remember, have been told or imagine.

Who was there? Who was involved? Where? When? What are the sensory details? The feelings? Whatever you write – it’s your story. Is there anyone you’d like to share it with?

Please share you birth stories here or contact me privately.




The first few pages…….

Sometimes you may read a book which you wish you could have written – because it tells your story or it doesn’t.  In Why be Happy when you could be Normal? Jeannette Winterson has written  a memoir of adoption which is both universal and utterly unique.

Unique: Whilst she is not alone in having a violent and abusive mother and a silent, disengaged father (“He had never talked much, him being clumsy and unsure with language.”    “….he didn’t fight for me”), her adoptive mother, Mrs Winterson, with her sadistic blend of violence, withdrawal and Pentecostal religion is monstrous beyond belief,  ‘she was a monster but she was my monster’.

The one good thing about being shut in a coalhole is that it prompts reflection.

Universal: The adoptee’s fear of abandonment, of never being loved enough, of never really, really being wanted (“How do you trust another person to love you? I had no idea . I thought love was loss”). She speaks of having 2 failed families – the birth family and the adoptive family –   “the first one was not my fault but all adopted children blame themselves”

Adoption begins on your own – you are solitary. The baby knows it has been abandoned

And literature saved her life: It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place. Fiction and poetry are doses, medecines. What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination.

It’s a quest story but ultimately a redemption story – of becoming ‘because’ not ‘despite’

Journal prompt

“We need better stories about adoption”

Do you have an adoption story to tell?

Adopted children are self-invented because they have to be….adoption drops you into the story after it has started . It’s like reading a book with the first few pages missing…..The feeling that something is missing never, ever leaves you…..

BUT  The missing part, the missing past, can be an opening, not a void.

What are the first few pages of your story?