Saturday, May 29, 2010

Of Missals and Missives and E-mail

Last week I got an e-mail which promised that the e-mail would be "the last missal" on the subject. Obviously (to me at least), the writer meant "missive." A missal is a prayer book, and so far, I've seen very few e-mails that utilize the language of prayer. They may inspire prayer (usually of the "help me, deliver me from this" variety), but I wouldn't use them as a prayer book.

I've spent some time thinking about e-mails and missals and missives and missiles. I've had poems swirling around, but have only been partially successful in capturing them. One of them wanted to be a pantoum, and I thought about how the pantoum form, with it's swirling, looped repetitiveness, might be the logical form to describe what happens in meetings in my institution.

Yesterday, during a particularly long meeting which seemed largely to consist of people talking about subjects they'd already covered in e-mails, I tried to write a pantoum. I found it impossible.

When I was in high school, creative writing was my solace activity. I could write in any setting, and I didn't care who was sitting beside me, and I wasn't distracted by whichever boring person was droning on and on. Yesterday, I just couldn't concentrate on the pantoum I was trying to write.

I'm paid good money to sit in meetings, so I probably shouldn't complain. I'm younger than the folks in charge, so I have different ideas about how to run things. Some day, I might be in charge, and a younger generation might shake their heads at the activities I think are important, but they see as inefficient.

I shall try to adopt a spirit of gratitude for all the poems that wouldn't have come to me, had I not experienced this life of an administrator.

No comments: