From a Newtown Literary contributor: Suzanne Austin-Hill
Writer Suzanne Austin-Hill’s work was featured in issue #15 of Newtown Literary. Below, she reflects on her writing workspace and the inspiration behind her poems published in our latest issue.
Two of the photographs I’ve provided amply describe where I am in life—retired and somewhere between organized chaos and absolute serenity. The photo of my workspace in a home office I share with my husband (retired twice), shows exactly where I am on that broad spectrum. (Believe it or not, I straightened things up for the picture.)
My multiple on-going projects always “expand to the size of the container.” Neat, thick piles of paper are triaged on my crescent-moon, glass and faux-wood desktop, in plastic stackable inboxes, on the floor underneath and surrounding the desk and until recently, on top of my printer. Using my printer top for storage became so prohibitive to making copies that I’ve stopped resting papers there even for a moment. (Note to self: As soon as I get home, I’ll put that file folder and Shen Yun program in their rightful places.)
It was at this desk that “SubURBANescape” and “Adieu” were born. Both are memoir pieces that flowed most freely as poems. The former ends where the latter begins—my beloved childhood home in St. Albans.
It was at this house, wrapped in white aluminum siding and adorned with green trim around the windows and under the guidance of loving, hard-working parents, an older brother with an infectious laugh, and a sage of a maternal grandmother, that all good things in my life began. But with the sweet comes the bitter. In November 1992, my mother lost her battles with colon and liver cancers at the age of sixty-seven in this house. Now some twenty years later I’ve retired and have discovered that soulful, poetic expressions ease my mourning.
My first book of poetry, Sixty-seven Pages from the Heart (Kindle Direct Publishing, December 2019), is dedicated to her. My mother loved me enough to show me how, through her death, I could live to the age of sixty-seven (and beyond). With well over one hundred pieces written at my desk (some published and/or award-winning), poetry continues to be an ointment, an elixir, and a tonic that pours out from my heart.