In Retrospect

When I started my work on Life Poems, I wanted to explore my life in a unique way that I have never thought about before. For each year of my life I am writing a poem that is based in something significant at that time. It’s fascinating to look at myself in this way; to sit down and type out 0-45. Zero is birth and 45 is the next step; 1-44 are the traces of each year I have lived. I figure I’ll be ready for 44 and 45 somewhere in the Fall, once I know what this year will certainly bring.

My last Life Poem jarred me, not because it was shocking or difficult. It caught me off guard that I had not shared all the details of my grandmother in years. I hadn’t really even spoken of her. It’s sad because she was and is one of the most important and influential people in my life.

The experience of writing that poem made me realize that my memory is soft. I often can only recall generalities. I lose the details that are so utterly important. I don’t know why. I asked myself recently to think a specific experience that was special to be about a loved one. A white washed picture came to mind. I was searching through the fog and could not find any specifics. It was incredibly frustrating. In this poem the details of my grandmother are vivid as if they happened yesterday so why are these more recent memories so faded. How do I explore that?

I would say the memories become cloudy somewhere through college or just after. I have many details from that time, not as clear as I would like but they are full. I know how, where and when I met my closest friends. I remember key shifts and changes in my path in art and theatre. I in fact remember many things I would actually like to forget. Somehow thereafter I fell asleep.

If a memory it isn’t incredibly close, it’s faded. I know it’s there in the back of my mind somewhere I can literally feel it, but the clarity doesn’t come. I count on my husband and friends to remind me and fill in the cracks. I don’t want to be asleep any more. My life is too amazing. There is too much to accomplish, too many people to love. It’s time to be present, not just sometimes but always.

It’s time to wake up.

Nichole Donjè

Author: Finding True North

Nichole Donje is an interdisciplinary artist, activist, and leader. A philosopher and self-exploration addict, Nichole is currently working on two books of art and poetry FINDING TRUE NORTH and LIFE POEMS. She is a visual artist and photographer. Nichole founded and ran the highly regarded New York City based independent theatre company TAPT from 2006-2016. Serving as TAPT’s Artistic Director, Nichole worked diligently to support new and forgotten works that help shape the way we view the world around us. A recognized leader, Nichole served three terms as Vice President of the Board of Directors for The Players. Currently, she chairs both the Communications and Theatre Committees which she established. The Players celebrates the rich cultural life of New York City with exclusive member-only events that include live performances, readings by leading authors and playwrights, film screenings, and dining in its famous Grill Room. More information about The Players may be found at A key influencer of the Players current revitalization she has become an advocate for the art and livelihood of a social club. The Players not only honors yesterday’s and today’s luminaries of the performing arts but also reminds us of the necessity of building face to face relationships. Nichole is a member of SAG-AFTRA, LPTW/League of Professional Theatre Women, LeanInNYC, and The Players.

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