See Clearly


After an hour in Target–
Mind buzzing–
The cold parking lot air slices through me, and
A low sun bursts through my brain.
I look up and find
I am not alone.

What Details Know

What Details Know January Series of Small Stones by Elizabeth Howard Coming in January, I will be participating with Fiona Robyn and Kaspalita on and at least 500 more people worldwide on “The River of Stones.”

Daily this January we will be writing “small stones”.

What is a “small stone”? Here’s from Fiona:

A small stone is a short piece of writing (prose or poetry) that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment. The process of finding small stones is as important as the finished product – searching for them will encourage you to keep your eyes (and ears, nose, mouth, fingers, feelings and mind) open.

Anyone can join The River of Stones… you only have to pay attention, use your senses and notice the details of the world.

If you’d like to know why I am doing it, read my post here on “Why the Details Matter.”

Look for small stones here on my site, and also on The River. Enjoy!

Featured on Writing Our Way Home

I’ve been doing a far bit of writing and contributing at Writing Our Way Home, a writing community created by Fiona Robyn and Kaspalita. This is a wonderful place  for poets, novelists, and any budding writer to find prompts, friendship, and support. I love it.

In the last few months I’ve had some featured blog posts, including:

Hiding in Plain Sight

We Want to Be Heard

Ask Questions, Talking More

Storm

A Bullet Point List of Things I am Pretty Sure I am Passionate About

Compassion Kitty, Who Are You?

Today I Said I Love You

Sharing Good News: Drinks, Jokes, Love

I am grateful to Fiona and Kaspa for this generous community where I can share and contribute.

Demand Poetry, Live in CT

 

This  October 2nd, I’ll be live at the original Harvest Festival in Stratford, CT for my third annual Demand Poetry appearance.

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If you haven’t had the chance to experience Demand Poetry, this is a great way to see me in action.

When I do Demand Poetry live, I bring the Olivetti Lettera 33 out in public, to a beautiful spot like Paradise Green in Stratford.

Then strangers and friends alike request a poem from me on the spot. I ask them what they’d like a poem about, or who. We exchange a few ideas and I ask some questions. I take notes.

Then I send them off to browse at the fair.

I write the poem for them, edit it, then type the revised version.

All whilst surrounded by curious 8 year olds asking “What is that Mommy?” “Is that an old computer?”

Come to the green on October 2 and Demand a poem.

Bring the kids. They’ll be amazed.

See you there.

Original Demand Poems = $25 each
All proceeds donated to support the Social Justice Work at UUCGB

Demand Poetry at 35th Annual Harvest Festival
Sunday, October 2, 10-4
Paradise Green, Stratford, CT

On With Valentine

Demand Poetry on Instagram via Dyana Valentine
I met an amazing women via Tara Gentile (natch) … Dyana Valentine. She popped up in a circle on Google+ last week and I followed her over to her video blog, a post called “You Will Survive.”

We are all nothing short of normal and boring, it is true– however, that flip side of that veritable life coin is that we are each, also, nothing short of a miracle. Our lives and and our talents, such as they are.

I love that I keep stumbling over such wonderful people like Dyana and Tara out here in the universe. Because over and over again I keep getting this belief affirmed.

Over there in the photo you can read the Demand Poem that Dyana ordered from me. Tomorrow she and I are going to chat about my process of writing it via Skype.

Meanwhile, you really should get to know Dyana, early morning wake-up call and all!

Here’s what she had to say in that first video post that grabbed me, which is way more worthy than anything I have to blather on about around here.

Peace out.

Writing About “Craft” at American Craft

My essay on “Why I Make” went live today on American Craft’s blog.

I was so happy to write this piece, since I really believe that good writers need a “physical” outlet– something to give them the chance to get away from writing mentally.

I was super glad that some commenters and readers found it funny and related to it– this is my goal in writing many of my blog posts. Vivid writing that makes you laugh and gets you to look at the mundane in a new way.

My post is part of their series “Why I Make.” I submitted to them after I heard the prompt via their Facebook page, which I “like.” This is one great way to find writing opportunities,  finding writing work in an area in which you:

  • are interested
  • have working knowledge of the topic
  • know the lingo (so yes I DO know what a “bind-off” means in knitting, though its abbreviation “BO” is like say what?)
  • Might already have a few connections on Twitter, etc. who will like and read and share it.

I am grateful to Elizabeth Ryan at American Craft for spotting me in the email abyss. Every essay is another chance to flex those muscles.

Three Truths Teaching Taught Me

I work with university students.

Yes, I do “teach” them — but let’s be accurate here: in the teacher-student relationship, it’s work for everyone.

This is one of the key concepts that I teach my freshman, along with many other revelations on life and writing. How to learn to work efficiently and effectively.

The Symbiotic Relationship of Work

Teachers also continuously learn from their students.

I have learned three crucial truths about from my freshmen about people. These truths affect the way I  conceive myself and the way I believe people learn to relate to each other.

This, naturally, affects thought, and the way I write.

1. Age is meaningless. Biological age gives certain historical context and often means we exist within certain cultural frameworks (texting culture vs. rotary phone culture, for example). But with my students, it is easy to forget that they are, in fact, our future Obamas and Maya Angelous because they are doing those often moronic teenagery things we all did when we were 18.

Age is like a rubberband– depending on the day and our moods, we expand and contract into the time and experience we have learned. Wrinkles cannot impact the soul’s experience of memory and the moment.

You might be 65. You might be a respected leader in your field. You might be screaming at me at this moment because something I said touched a raw spot and you contracted into a memory.

I have no problem expecting young people to be capable of complex emotion and critical thought.

I have no problem with all people, then expecting them to experience hurt and joy, equally.

“Everyone is the age of their heart.”  ~Guatemalan Proverb

2. We are all alone. This is easy to forget. This is not easy to accept.

My young students, however, arriving away from home as young freshmen, remind me of this every year. They run desperate rites of passage in sweatpants through the halls in order to reestablish their link to “community” — this is the universal desire we all have isn’t it? To banish loneliness and push down that truth: despite our biological and even emotional similarities, our relationships, teams, and families cannot stop the truth that each of us is an island.

The moment we stop being “young” is the day we realize that we can never conquer that aloneness.

“Life is for each man a solitary cell whose walls are mirrors.” — Eugene O’Neill

3. “Revision” never ends, but it always has to.  Freshmen writers don’t want to do any more work than they have to, by and large. Teachers always want them to do more and make it better.

The symbiosis is reflected in the “final product,” in being done with something.

We are constantly being bombarded — in life — with new things: new ideas, new technologies, new friends, new everything. These intrusions into the status quo constantly ask us (like the teacher does) to reevaluate who we are. To re-see (re-vision!) our viewpoints, our approach, our demeanor — our everything!

The end of revision comes when we stop. Walk away. We stop processing or refuse to change. Meditate and choose to not enter into that particular conversation. This path or that one. We choose to not make that friend or not return that call or not revise that webpage.

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” —Anton Chekhov

The end of revision comes when you walk away. You stop processing; you refuse to change.

You don’t enter into that conversation.

You don’t make that friend or return that call.

Because you can’t do everything all the time and you shouldn’t.