Book Talk: Meditations on Gratitude by Charles E. Taylor
One of the paradoxes of life is that enough is never enough. But when you look at the moments in your life to see how far you’ve come and feel thankful despite the imperfections, challenges become lighter. Gratitude affirms goodness.
In Charles E. Taylor’s poetry book titled Meditations on Gratitude, he shares the path towards fortitude and surrender notwithstanding the trials and adversities. He describes how the book started off as a one short poem two years before the actual writing began in earnest. When he had finished his first book, he had given up on teaching part-time and was winding down from work in general. He and his wife decided his time for work was passing. He was 58-years-old. One day, his memory began to fail; the week after, he had trouble driving and finally, he couldn't even dress himself. This was seven years ago.
Sometime in May of 2011, he entered observation at a hospital which he now recalls as life-saving. He was reacting in an awful way to a psych drug which was producing a build-up of poison in his system. He was weaned off the old drug while being eased onto a similar mood stabilizer. Even then his situation was terrible. He was very sick. Eventually, he was transferred to the Behavioral Health Hospital. There, he went through a psychiatric evaluation, and it was then determined that his previous diagnosis, which he had lived with since 1974, was entirely wrong. I'd been given a new life at age 60.
Charles adds, “On October 3, 2011, I drove to this same Behavioral Health Hospital, and as I was being situated into my patient room, my duodenum burst from two ruptured ulcers. An ambulance drove me across town, where at around midnight a great GI surgeon operated in ICU and saved my life. This meant ten units of blood, four of platelets in a five-day period. Sometime later I was discharged. Finally, the following April, I contracted renal shutdown followed with four more days of hospitalization.”
He mentions that these times brought about a reexamination of that original poem and several journals kept during his hospital stays. At first, he wrote to an old professor friend, and with his encouragement, he began to write poems which fell naturally into a sequence. In about two years, by spring of 2013, he was adding photographs to the original manuscript which had been uploaded to the publisher. The poems and his original photographs formed a sequence from disability to eternity in Meditations on Gratitude.
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Charles E Taylor lives in Hartford, South Dakota with his wife Marjorie Remacle-Taylor, their dog Cinco, and their cat Pepper. Charles and Marjorie moved to the Sioux Falls area in 1993 and had lived in their home in Hartford for twenty years. A graduate of Grinnell College, The University of Iowa, and Colorado State University, Charles holds a BA in English and history, an MA in English, an EdS in college teaching, and an MFA in creative writing