“The brightest heavens of invention,” as Shakespeare called them, have shed their light in rural Roy.
In a cottage beneath a canopy of tall fir and cedar, Lindy Blodgett, 32, courts her Muse, combining poetry and prayer.
It’s a matter of the heart, and it has become a business.
Blodgett wrote her first “prayer-poem” last May.
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“I wanted to write 100 days of prayer poems,” she said last week. “It was the way I processed the world for myself.”
She posted a few of her poems online.
“I wanted to share them,” she said. “My purpose was not to write for show, but to write prayers for my own life. I was aware that I had an audience, where before my only audience was God. Those prayers changed my life.”
Each day she asked herself: “What do I really want to say to God today?”
God was not the only one listening.
Blodgett soon began hearing from readers.
“I sit down. I put pen to paper or my fingers on the keys. I write. It just happens,” she said.
Last July, within the 100-day project, she said, “I asked myself a question. How can I be more on-purpose in my life? The answer came as fast and clear as any answer I’ve ever gotten in my life. It was like a voice. I got out of bed. It was 11 p.m. I sent out an email saying, ‘Hey, I am in this poetry stream. I’d love to write one for you.’ I got 10 or 11 responses in the first week.”
She wrote a poem for a 30th wedding anniversary, a wife to her husband.
“I was nervous. I still get nervous sometimes,” Blodgett said.
She has so far written some 30 commissioned poems — for weddings, memorials, a house-blessing, births. There was a couple dealing with challenges of past relationships, a failed business in need of healing.
“It’s anything from ‘help me deal with a broken relationship’ to ‘a wedding poem that celebrates love,’ ” she said.
“At first, people just started paying me. They just started writing checks,” she said.
The first check was for $60.
Blodgett also began mentoring people with their own writing, helping to edit manuscripts and enliven websites.
“Someone contacts me, we meet face to face or online,” she said.
She receives between $75 and $200 per poem.
One of the most challenging aspects of the job, she said, is telling people, “I write poems for money.”
“I like making money so that I don’t have to think about money,” she said.
There are other satisfactions beyond being paid.
There’s the writing, the flow, like dipping into a well and drawing out inspiration, engaging in a conversation with the Muse. The process of writing, Blodgett said, “is so joyful. It gives me a sense that we can do what we are most in love with. We don’t have to struggle. There are ways to live in alignment within our own gifts.”
There’s also what her poetry does for clients and readers. “Often, people cry. People I’ve never met,” she said.
“This is not hard,” she said. “Hard is marketing.”
“She would always feel things more deeply,” said Kathy Blodgett, Lindy’s mom. “People were drawn to her as a kid. Her first-grade teacher pulled me aside and said, ‘She’s the helper.’ She’s touched people deeply.”
The News Tribune contacted a handful of Blodgett’s poetry clients.
“I commissioned her to write something for my memorial service,” said Theo Skogsberg of Olympia. “It’s her way with words. It seems so positive. That’s what I wanted. She has written it. I wasn’t sure if I was going to put it away and leave it sealed for the family. I let the idea simmer. I decided I had to read it, and I did. She wrote stuff that I didn’t even tell her. She’s very spiritual. I did have some tears.”
“When she decided to do commissioned poetry, I just jumped on it,” said Leslie Demich of Olympia. “I commissioned a poem — a very dear friend met the man of her dreams and was preparing to get married. I wanted it to be something that really was a permanent expression of my joy for her. I couldn’t finish Lindy’s poem without starting to cry. My husband couldn’t speak after reading it.”
Demich is a member of South Puget Sound Rotary Club and had invited Lindy to attend a meeting and listen to a speaker.
“She was so moved about what Rotary does, she wrote a poem. I’d like to make her the club poet. I especially value that in her commissioned work she does not insert herself into the story. Her poetry is a channel to the beauty in life, the messiness, the sorrow, joy and truth.”
For Ava Waits of Olympia, Blodgett is a writing mentor who has helped with the construction of a nonfiction book on women and entrepreneurship.
“We’ve been working with each other for about five months,” Waits said. “The book is so much more interesting because of Lindy’s support. She has helped me pull out ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of. She helps me get excited about the writing.”
“She’s sort of like a spirit-daughter,” said Pamela Favro of Olympia. “She is absolutely one of the most magical people I’ve ever met. I think that her biggest (asset) is her deep ability to listen. I think that is a gift that not everybody has. We talk to each other in a way that I’ve never had an opportunity to share with another individual.”
“I have moments of fear when I give someone a poem,” Blodgett said.
She fears “that it won’t do anything for them,” or that it will “say something they didn’t want to hear.”
“I do feel greatly serious about it,” she said. “I do know that my poems don’t do something for everybody. Some I don’t even like.”
The Muse can be capricious in that way.
Blodgett quotes English poet David Whyte: “Poetry is the language against which we have no defense.”
“It was really challenging when I was a kid and a teenager,” Blodgett said. “The depth at which I felt things was different. I could feel people’s emotions. That was really confusing.”
A graduate of The Evergreen State College, she has designed gardens and worked in AIDS prevention and outreach.
“I’ve got to have a sense of purpose, and within purpose is where I feel most alive,” she said.
“No matter where I was, I always ended up writing,” she said, and that writing ranged from preparing grants to “editing someone’s job application.”
“Wherever I went, I ended up in conversation about people’s inner lives. When I built gardens, I knew at that point that the heart of my work was this sense of connecting to what was most meaningful to people. That’s what’s most interesting to me. That’s why I love poetry, that’s what I love about art, knowing what truth is, knowing what goodness is.”
In writing poetry, she said, “there’s a sense of everything that’s insignificant slipping away. For a moment, for an hour, time stops. It’s like a gate opens.”
“I’ve got to have this sense of purpose, and within the purpose is where I feel most alive.”