I thought of my own experience, as I choose poems to send out in packets to journals that might accept them. It's a mix of memories of where I was when I wrote the poem and what I was trying to do with the poem. Occasionally, enough time has gone so that I can be struck anew with wonder at the poem, as if I'm reading a poem written by someone else.
Like my writer friend, my memories are strong even with much older work, and I remember much more than just the writing of the poem. I remember the other circumstances of my life too--where I was living, what I was teaching, the friends I was meeting, the other creative work I was doing.
Reading her post, I got nostalgic for my teaching days, the days when I taught more literature. I've had more than one teacher friend tell me that they miss reading poetry out loud in front of a class of students. I miss that too. I was always inspired by the literature I was reading, in a way that I am not inspired by the administrator documents I'm writing and reading.
I miss the communal nature of studying literature together. I don't feel the same about writing, the teaching of how to write a piece, whether it be a poem, a 5 paragraph essay, or a resume. But reading a poem or a short story and analyzing what works or doesn't--yes, I miss that. I miss having the language of good literature echoing in my head all day.
There are all sorts of communal things I miss these days, like singing Advent songs together in church, watching similar TV shows all at the same time (well, some of you are still doing that, but I'm not), holiday travel (maybe not). I was delighted all week to see people's photos of Jupiter and Saturn coming closer together before the Great Conjunction last night. We've been going out to look when the evenings are clear.
Last night we went out to map running routes and to look at Christmas lights, and we looked to the southwest to see the Great Conjunction. My spouse said, "How neat."
Yes, yes it was.