I met D. A. “Daisy” Hickman, a poet and prose author, through her blog focused on writing, memoir, and spirituality, SunnyRoomStudio, a “creative, sunny space for kindred spirits.” The author of a trade-published book on the American prairie, she founded Capturing Morning Press, which reissued that book and has recently published The Silence of Morning: A Memoir of Time Undone. This new memoir tells the story of her son, who struggled with substance abuse and took his own life, and recounts her grief and healing.
When I read The Silence of Morning, I was struck by Hickman’s response to her grief, which she calls “the world’s teacher in disguise.” Such a phrase is distillate. It comes from her wide perspective, which was slowly earned in the magnitude of her suffering and through her enlightened actions: reading widely and reflecting on society, herself, and her son, Matthew. These seem unusual acts, perhaps because they’re simply private. Or maybe it’s simply that a serious writer took time to convey them.
Anyone who grieves or is touched by death or illness cannot fail to notice the world’s steady preference: mindlessness. And America seems to want suffering out of sight, its impatience palpable with the sick and dying. Amidst Hickman’s inquiry into this indifference, she gives us glimpses of Matthew—the boy with the fishing pole and paper route, the struggling young man devouring books while incarcerated, the hopeful farm hand in jeans and scuffed boots seeking a fresh start.
Hickman holds a master’s degree in sociology from Iowa State University, and earned her bachelor’s degree in legal studies at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. A member of the Academy of American Poets and South Dakota State Poetry Society, she’s at work on her first poetry collection. Previously, she worked with nonprofits in the areas of organizational development, fund development, management, and strategic planning.
She answered some questions for Draft No. 4.