Miriam Sagan's Writings

Note: Miriam Sagan was a participant in Salem Art Works Writing Residency. Below are a few pieces of what she wrote during her time here. 



She is the author of over twenty-five books, and lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is a founding member of the collaborative press Tres Chicas Books. She is a graduate of Harvard with an M.A. in creative writing from Boston University,  In 1982 Miriam moved from the Boston area to first San Francisco and then Santa Fe, where Miriam has made her home since 1984. Her books include including Searching for a Mustard Seed: A Young Widow’s Unconventional Story, which won the award for best memoir from Independent Publishers for 2004; her poetry collections Rag Trade, The Widow’s Coat, The Art of Love and Aegean Doorway; and a novel, Coastal Lives. Miriam directs the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College.  


Check out her blog here: http://miriamswell.wordpress.com/


Here are some notes from my blog I kept at Salem Art Works.
Miriam Sagan

Working on a piece called “Diurnal Diary.”
My daughter, artists Isabel Winson-Sagan, provided me with suminagashi. I am making one piece per hour for a total of 24–poetry or journal entries on the marbled paper.

Materials:24 suminagashi poems1 suminagashi with stamp art/photoshop1 page of raw diary writing just for fun1 embroidered hankie with an acrostic of my name1 embroidered doily1 “flag” I made of stamp art and embroidery on an old laced hand towel
possible add ons:antique crocheted doily2 antique embroidered crocheted squares
I started writing the poetry links in blocks of hours, so there would be some continuity. Then got out of whack, and am now missing 7 pm, 4 am, 5 am, 10 am, and 11 am! Need to get them done and put on the paper in slightly over 24 hours. And somehow keep the flow.


Sample text:

10 am
I know those crowsmust be marriedby the way she scolds himeven about the weather

10 pm
hard rain walkingthis isn’t Zunihow could I have forgottenisland of Manhattana million umbrellas


I was able to complete the text and have 24 pieces to hang in the Pop-Up show on Friday night.
After that, I recorded: So now my thinking is changing about the outdoors piece. I’ve got a new version, with text typed. And did something that looks quite interesting–did only 12, pairing the hours, 1 am and 1 pm and so on. Currently I like the effect. Will see.
The Diurnal Diary piece looked great hung in the pop-up show, but is illegible as it is in my handwriting. So I did a fast and dirty one typed and hung it on a laundry line in a little glen as an outdoor version.

Got some interesting suggestions:
taking the paper out of plastic envelopes—this makes sense, although sometimes people encourage me to preserve the sheets—I’m really unsure
stamping the text
embroidering the text
hanging more “laundry” (little antique-y pieces) interspersed—or hanging my own embroideries etc. Great if there is time
hanging the pieces scattered 


What Have I Learned?
I’m unclear about destruction
I can’t work ONLY quickly
You’re always/never really working in public
You don’t have to be aware of a threshold to cross it
Time is moving in more than one direction, but it is moving
“Get over your fear” is not the final piece of advice
Creative stress requires carbs