It was in 2011 when Ray Hinst, owner of Haslam’s Books, immediately told Maureen McDole that he was not a fan of poetry, but because she was local, she still agreed to store her. two pounds. Weeks later, Hinst confessed to him that he had picked them up and read them, and that she had made him a convert. He loved her poetry.
“It’s probably the best compliment I’ve ever received,” McDole says.
Never doubt the transformative power of the written word – not only can it do impressive things for the reader, it can be a form of healing and catharsis for the writer.
This is the great advantage of Maureen McDole in keeping a journal, which she does religiously, and in writing poetry. His third volume, Feast, is published this week by St. Petersburg Press.
“Life is difficult,” said the 46-year-old. “We’re all in one existential crisis after another, if we’re being honest. If we want to evolve and grow. So I write my way out.
Feast comes a decade after its predecessor. It’s been a hell of a decade, she says – the first ones, anyway. It has all been a cumulative period of tremendous growth and fulfillment for her.
Ten years ago, McDole worked his way into a marriage that was going nowhere quickly. Many poems by Feast talk about betrayal, hurt and loss.
An equal number, however, are optimistic. On the one hand, raising her daughter, Lily, has become a priority for her and a huge source of pride.
And she invested in her writing. “I write three pages in my journal every day,” McDole says. “I’m just processing my life. I am a researcher. I’m still trying to locate myself where I am in the universe right now.
“I am a creative and I am very passionate. And I’m still trying to figure out what my role is.
Shortly after the divorce was finalized, she found her role. A native of St. Petersburg, McDole wanted to give something back. “I manifest whatever I want. It might not be exactly as I see it, but I write it down as a way of placing myself in the world. Be intentional.
She created Keep St. Pete Lit, a nonprofit organization with a singular purpose – to give resident writers, readers and literary types a cohesive regimen of available classes, groups, readings and events. To keep the written word where Maureen McDole firmly believes it should be, front and center.
It’s because she knows how powerful it can be.
Feast is a recognition and celebration of his personal rebirth. “My whole life is different,” she says. “Most of my friends, ninety-seven percent of my very dear friends now, came after the divorce. My whole career with Keep St. Pete Lit, after that. All.”
Every now and then she thinks back to who she was 10 years ago: “A single mother with a degree in English, heavily in debt and living with her mother in Seminole, driving a car with no air conditioning, and the window on the driver’s side.” would not stoop. But it was my life.
Keep St. Pete Lit resurrected like a phoenix from the ashes of what she left behind. “I had no nonprofit experience and no money. And I didn’t know anyone with money. But I tried it, and it was fun. I needed to have fun. And it was cool not to be crowded. This is really what the transformation has been.
Maureen McDole and fellow poet Sara Ries Dziekonski to read and celebrate Feast (and that of Dziekonski marry Maracuyá) Thursday November 4 at studio @ 620.
Feast is available from St. Petersburg Press and Tombolo Books.