Thursday, January 26, 2023

Starting the Morning with Poetry

Once upon a time, I would read and write before I did anything else.  In terms of reading, it might have been something inspirational/spiritual.  In terms of writing, it was most likely some form of journaling, followed by poetry writing or working on a novel I was writing.

It will not surprise anyone to find out that back then, I wrote more, and I read more works that are longer than a website page.  So this year, in this blog post, I created a new plan for myself:   "three mornings a week, before I go to the sites that I know are huge consumptions of my time (see above), I will turn my attention to writing poetry first. Not typing poetry into the laptop, but putting pen to paper or pulling lines out of my list of abandoned lines and composing poems on the laptop."

This morning is the first morning that I followed my plan.  There have been a few days when I did poetry writing in addition to having tabs open on my computer, so I haven't abandoned my plan.  And I gave myself permission to wait until this week to begin, because last week I spent half the week visiting my parents.

This morning, I woke up and thought, well, if I'm going to do this, I need to do it today.  So I did.  I gave myself permission to read first.  I turned to A. E. Stallings' This Afterlife and read some poems from her first collection, Archaic Smile.  Then I picked up David Graeber and David Wengrow's The Dawn of Everything:  A New History of Humanity, a book that Ann E. Michaels' blog post  prompted me to buy.  It's a book that purports to look at ancient civilization a different way, less of a forward march towards cities and inequality and more a patchwork of approaches to how to live in community.

I wondered what time it was getting to be.  Maybe I wouldn't have time to write before my 5:30 appointment leading a Facebook church group through a brief morning devotion.  

My glance fell on the scraps on the side table, and I thought about what we tell ourselves about quilts, the kinds of quilts that end up in museums like the one I went to in Williamsburg last week:  made by women!  made by thrifty people who cut the useful cloth away from the clothes that are too tattered to wear anymore!  I thought about a future historian who might assume I had owned a lot of clothes, judging by the scraps I stitched into a quilt.   I thought about my quilting friend who brought me a box of cloth remaining from projects that she had finished.  I thought about my own collection, which includes some bits of various quilts made for the babies that have been born in the last 17 years and a scrap from a dress that my grandmother made for me back in the late 1990's.

And voila!  A poem.  I'd have been happy to capture some ideas, but it was one of those poems that arrived closer to fully formed.

Now, if I can do this two more mornings I'll be on track.  For the purpose of my writing goal, each week will start on Monday, so I have 3 more opportunities.

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