Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Emerging from the Blanket

I'm writing this in response to a friend, Tim Gels, who wrote a blog about how nature wins.

A week ago snow fell like a heavy blanket over Arkansas.  We were buried and many of us hunkered down beneath that blanket because we had little choice.  This was not a pristine blanket either, because while we may have not been able to venture far, life still went on.

Just as I filled my notebook with inked words and pictures, I could also see the evidence of life and play across the expanse of snow outside my window.  The small pits made from stomping through the snow.  The splashes of yellow indicating where I had finally convinced my dog to pee outside instead of on my carpet.  The hints of staccato steps dotted near branches and porches -- birds hopping along as they sought the sprinkling of seeds left only for them.  

Now it's in the 70s and the evidence of activity isn't as easy to see with the rapidly disappearing snow.  But as I drove to school today I noticed the signs of winter clinging on all the same.  The patch of snow slipped between the shade of trees.  The silver sheen of ice along a pond where two geese are determined to cross the expanse all the same, even if they can't swim.  The hints of bird song, source unseen.

I remember being so enamored last week when I took a walk through winter woods, but as the snow melts and I turn my attention to spring, I'm reminded that while I may have to look harder into the depths of nature to find evidence of life and play -- it's there all the same.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

A Collection of Poems: Ethical ELA February 2021

Every month I try to participate in Dr. Sarah Donovan's Open Write hosted on EthicalELA.  Despite getting wonderful feedback for this writing, I never thought to collect it in one place until now.  Since this blog will be dedicated towards my writing -- especially of the poetry and narrative nonfiction variety -- I thought it best to start things off with my poetry from this month's Open Write.  

While I did not post every day, I have collected for you the two poems I did share, as well as links to the original invitation so that there is some context for what I have written here.

Sonnets (Don't Run Away)

The Ace’s Valentine Sonnet
I always hated that English has one word for love.
How do I capture the differences?
A love that varies in scope, scale, and even texture:
From the tiny, hard seed tucked away to the hearty, warm bowl of soup.

I always hated that Valentine’s was for couples.
What happened to passing cards through card board slits?
My love expressed on chalky hearts and candied puns.
From your best friend or from your mom, spilled out and sorted later.

But this is what it means to be Ace on Valentine’s Day.
A quest to reclaim a holiday for all expressions of love —
A love not limited by sexual attraction and romantic entanglements,
From red and white to purple and black.

I am not your normal Valentine, but I am still valid.
I will not deny my asexuality any longer.

Let's Meet Somewhere (Diction)

When Asked Where to Meet Next 
Let’s meet somewhere
below the gentle shade of giant
tomato stalks and zucchini vines
the dirt cool on our backs as the sun bursts overhead.

Let’s meet somewhere
along the crooked cliffs of the creek
chalk lines drawn before a storm
on the precipice of childhood.

Let’s meet somewhere
among the black-green weeds
of twilight farms giving way
to fireflies or stars we captured in glass.

Let’s meet somewhere
that slips between our toes
filling cracks unnoticed and unseen
a heart warmed like two hands around your favorite mug

Let’s meet somewhere
between the playground woods we explored
and the backyard wilderness we dismissed
that time between early snow days and midsummer nights.

Let’s meet somewhere
under your next dream or perhaps
behind the gap in my memory
as long as it’s sometime before soon.

 Alternate Names (a List)

Alternate Names for a Writer
1. that peach pit anchored between your heart and gut
2. a pen twirled restlessly between chewed nails
3. scratch, scratch, scratch to find the words, words, words
4. a pillow behind the back, easy now
5. the spider pulling threads at the center — to create and catch
6. eyes bright reflecting flickering candles
7. cracked fingers, cracked spine, release

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

New Blog Who This: A Reflection on My Blogging Journey and How I Got Here

As we quickly approach March and the upcoming Slice of Life challenge it seems as good a time as any to switch blogging platforms all together. It's funny, but while I believe Wordpress was my first "professional" blog (and I use that term loosely), it was not my first time locating an online platform to use for my writing needs.  

That honor belongs to the days in high school when I flitted back and forth between platforms like Xanga and LiveJournal.  Those were the days when keeping an online journal was THE thing to do for nerdy high school girls.  This was before the days of places like Tumblr.  I thrived there, shared my thoughts there, and posted some of the most dramatic, purple prose you can imagine.  And by that I mean fanfiction.  Mostly, however, Livejournal was my first online diary.

I don't blog like that any more.  At least, I don't feel the need to keep a semi-public online diary (one could argue places like Facebook and Twitter have taken on that role).  However, I am trying to get back into the habit of blogging.  

For awhile I tried my hand at Wordpress -- hoping to carve a place for myself on the internet to share my thoughts as a teacher.  That's how the Wordpress blog started -- the name of it should be indication enough of that.  I thought I would use it as a place to record teaching ideas and moments in the classroom.  

That didn't last long.  Very quickly, my Wordpress blog drifted away from teaching and, instead, became a place to host my nonfiction writing in general: mostly poetry and slices.  

However, even that fell by the wayside for a variety of reasons.  It didn't help that Wordpress itself began to feel unwieldy and unnecessarily complicated.  I abandoned ship, but instead of switching to a new platform I just abandoned blogging all together.

I thought I was done with blogging, but I will say I do get some pleasure from challenges.  My writing community has helped with that one and I found myself wishing I had a space dedicated to sharing my writing, but also a place to house writing I do for other blogs.  

This week, it's EthicalELA -- I have posted several poems each time there is a challenge and would hate to lose those to the internet.  Keep an eye out for an upcoming post where I share those.  Soon, it will be the annual month-long Slice of Life challenge I mentioned at the start of this post.  

I'm sure there will be other opportunities as well.  The point is I needed a fresh start, a fresh blog, and a renewed purpose.  I think this platform and blog can serve those needs nicely.