I did something this morning that I haven’t done for a long time. When I was teaching, I created what I called Journey Stones. They were polymer clay in lots of variegated colors, flattened into somewhat round shapes, and each had a word carved into them, before being baked to stone-like hardness. I used them in class to help people get on the page and stay there.
I made a lot of them. It was a quiet, comfortable past time, that was very relaxing. I still have many of them in a large tin in my library, but also a small basket on a bedside table. When I woke up this morning, I knew I had to come here and create a new post. Problem was, I’ve been doing mostly poetry of late, and it was hard to wrap my head around a prose essay that might be meaningful. Every time an idea would pop into my head, it would start dancing around and forming itself into poetic lines and phrases.
I looked at the basket on the bedside table and went for it. The word I pulled from the basket was learning. Have certainly been doing a great deal of that lately. Thought about maybe writing something about the learning process, like the four steps involved, but I’ve done that already and its here, buried somewhere in the archives. Also considered writing about the two ways of knowing that contribute equally to the learning process, but again, have already covered some of that in another essay.
Then realized that it might be interesting to just list some of the things I, myself have been learning while writing all of that poetry. Some of it is relearning, revisiting what one has already come to know, but that might have slipped away into the darkness that borders awareness and can become forgetting. This will be a mixture of the two, maybe a bit more.
1. Misunderstanding is very easy when one has only words read on a monitor screen. There is no tone of voice to give inflection, no face to reveal expression, and no hand, body, or head movements to offer some sort of emphasis.
2. Poetry can be found in everything: images, sounds, tastes, and touches. The world is full of all of these and more. One but has to be receptive.
3. Poetry can be found even inside of well ordered and thoughtful prose. A dangling phrase, a particular sound that two words make as they rub up against one another, that makes the ear tickle and begin to whisper.
4. Words can be healing, soothing, strident, and even dangerous, arousing feelings long dormant or buried. They really do have power and a certain aura of magic about them.
5. That magic within the words can be compelling, seductive, and terribly addictive. My name is Elizabeth and I am a Wordaholic.
6. A few words of praise, sprinkled around can brighten a rather dull cloudy day, and open doors that have been locked for years.
7. And one negative intonation can sweep all of that out the door with one swift swishhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
8. I can survive on less sleep. But, doubt the same is true for less ice cream.
9. The world inside my computer is not the same as the world that exists outside my window, and certainly not the one outside my door.
10. I like writing letters, but get antsy waiting for a reply.
11. People get moody and quiet when you are enjoying something they don’t understand and don’t care to.
12. There are an infinite number of very good poets and writers out there. That one is humbling.
13. Everything, every last jot and tittle of a written piece, says something about the writer.
14. That means I can’t hide behind a wall of words. Damn.
15. I can and often do read the spaces between the letters and the words, without always being aware of doing so.
16. My journal pages are getting shorter of late, in a rush to get to more important things.
17. I should be worried about that.
18. I am.
19. I love writing poetry.
20. I hate doing dishes.
21. I now have a lot of poetry, and even more dirty dishes.
22. It might be a good idea to make a list of priorities.
23. It is fun to learn new ways of doing old things.
24. There is no new way to do dishes.
25. I can probably write a poem about ice cream: a list of the flavors.
26. I could possibly write a poem about washing the dishes.
27. This list is getting too long.
28. There might be a letter in the mailbox. You’ll be disappointed if there isn’t.
29. Creativity is a flow of energy that affects every molecule of the being.
30. Happiness is writing a poem after doing the dishes, and topping it all off with a dish of ice cream.