I am SO honored by my friend Miriam Sagan’s offer to write a guest post today – here’s a bit about her:
Miriam is a poet, as well as an essayist, memoirist and teacher. She is the author of over a dozen books, and lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is a founding member of the collaborative press Tres Chicas Books.
A graduate of Harvard with an M.A. in creative writing from Boston University, one of my favorite books of hers is Searching for a Mustard Seed: A Young Widow’s Unconventional Story, which won the award for best memoir from Independent Publishers for 2004. I also love her poetry collections Rag Trade, The Widow’s Coat, The Art of Love and Aegean Doorway, and a novel, Coastal Lives.
She and I used to be colleagues at Santa Fe Community College; these days we connect via Facebook and occasionally in person. The following is a wonderful musing written by Miriam about her love for all things bling –
I was once sitting around with a group of friends, feeling alienated as they talked about femininity and beauty. I wasn’t raised with much emphasis on this, and although I’m proud to be from a line of intellectual women, I sometimes feel insecure. I told my friend Ana this, and she sad, “But Mir, you express your beauty in your poetry and in your jewelry.”
This meant so much to me. It made me see how all the details that spark through my writing are an extension of that. And I love jewelry—funky costume jewelry, particularly earrings. I love beads and bits from around the world. I buy wherever I go—craft markets, museum shops, pow wows, airports. I’m a magpie, and the desire for glittery objects goes beyond even wearing them. Here are just a few bits from my collection, to the right.
I also find the wearing of jewelry to be protective. Something doesn’t have to look like an amulet to be one. My friend Elizabeth Lamb—the extraordinary haiku poet and one of my favorite people—left her jewelry to her daughter Carolyn, who kindly gave me some. I think those pieces are from Thailand, circa 1960. They aren’t rare or expensive, but they bring Elizabeth’s protective spirit into my sphere.
If you see me wearing these, I’m either very celebratory or in need of an extra level of strength.
(Here to the left is one of my favorites).
Lost earrings haunt me. Where do they go? Do their widowed partners miss them? I wish I was the kind of person secure enough to wear mismatched earrings, but I’m not. Here is a little poem about being an independent thinker—and accessorizer:
two earrings in one lobe
emerald green one
cut from glass,
my best friend tells me
you tell yourself
I’m still grieving the loss of an enameled earring shaped like the goddess Isis that I lost at a Red Sox game when I was in my twenties.
But I still have George Eliot, and other talismans to protect me. (shown here)
Many thanks to Miriam for sharing these thoughts and wonderful collections with us. Do you have your own stories to share? If so, please comment below! In the meantime, if you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy Jewelry and Feminism and Shiny Objects.
Until Next Time,