Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sharing Journal Entries

In journal workshops some people enjoy sharing their entries and read often. Others never do. Either way is OK. Usually once somebody reads something--and we all get to enjoy the meander from the writer's particular perch--others want to read too.

Sometimes it's like watching a scene in a new movie or looking at a bizarre landscape. I particularly enjoy hearing folks read about everyday objects. (I give prompts about them.) What people read can change the way I look at amd feel about stuff: my kitchen sink, a watch, backyards. My world view stretches and I like that. Poetry does this too.

Here's an example.

I abhor coupons and am always annoyed when the person in front of me in line uses them--especially when the check-out clerk has to call a manager because something is WRONG with the coupon--as if being a coupon isn't wrong enough! Having read the following poem earlier this week (check the archive) in poetry daily I have a new relationship to coupons. Phew.


The cashier leans forward
to examine the expiration date.
Here's my mother's squinting face

in silent concentration and memory,
adding up my father's paychecks,
subtracting the bills,

scissors and newspaper close by,
my mother's thrifty face
as hard and bright as Formica.

Tim Skeen
The Southern Review
Volume 41, Number 4
Autumn 2005

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Eavesdropping's Joys

Sitting in restaurants, waiting on line, passing people on a walk, I often find myself nosing in on other people's business. I can't help it. Sometimes, when we're out to dinner, my husband will say, "OK, what are those people behind us talking about?" I can be talking to him but I'm also listening to other tables--and he can tell.

The other day I was having coffee with a few friends. I became aware of the woman sitting at the next table. She was with a man. They weren't talking but they weren't uncomfortable. I glanced over again. She was drawing--I could see it was an interior. It was her view of the restaurant, from where she was sitting.

She put her drawing away and started to get up. I told her I couldn't help but notice her drawing. She showed it to us, told us what she was doing--interiors this month--and gave me her blog. She posts her drawings almost every day.

I want to borrow some of her ideas, like focusing on different subjects for a month at a time. OK writers. Let's spend the rest of the month writing about interiors.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Jane Kenyon Poem about Writer's Block

Not Writing

A wasp rises to its papery
nest under the eaves
where it daubs

at the gray shape,
but seems unable
to enter its own house.

Jane Kenyon

This poem speaks to me right now as I look around my desk area. I see stacks of manila files in need of file drawers, piles of papers in need of sorting--and filing, bills that need paying, notes to self that need attention, car rental agreements for upcoming trips, forms to fill out. I move one pile, add to another. I am convinced I will be unable to write until I tidy up, unable to enter my house of writing.