I have several thoughts as I look at the year's writing all in one place. One thought is that I often write when I'm sad, and boy, can I be self-absorbed and angsty! I spend much of my life reading writing by teenagers, and honestly there are times when my own resembles theirs more than I like to admit. More and more, I realize that those big feelings of 13 and 14 year olds don't change that much; you just get more experience in dealing with them.
Another thing I notice is how often I have written around a topic again and again, circling back obsessively until I bore myself to tears. But sometimes I end up rewriting the ending, writing myself to a better way of seeing something, to acceptance of a situation that's been bugging me. How wonderful when that happens! It makes the angst worth it. When I see the squirming and obsessing as part of the solution, it helps me be less impatient with myself and my process of figuring things out, and it also helps me do the same for my students.
But sometimes writing works completely differently; it helps me focus on something else besides what I'm worrying over. Here, for example, is a poem I wrote this summer after visiting the Art Institute of Chicago with my daughter and seeing this Monet painting.
The wind blows colors:
Patches of white in clouds, sails, skirts,
A pink parasol,
Blues of sky and sea,
Greens and grays of the cliff.
The wind blows lines:
Piles of still movement.
The wind blows ideas:
Cleans out the head,
Sweeps away the worries and words,
Carries away yesterday and tomorrow,
Flying over the waves and out of sight.
Ruth, from thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com
You can see the painting more closely and learn more about it in this video:
(Speaking of things I worry about, here's a quick update on the situation in Haiti. Thanks so much for all your concern last week, Poetry Friday friends. Although many schoolchildren in the country are still staying home, our school re-opened on Tuesday and we had a calm, peaceful week. Perhaps three quarters of our students showed up for school; some had left the country during the riots. Many NGOs and international organizations asked their personnel to leave, as did the US Embassy. Haiti's travel advisory was raised to a level 4, putting us in the same category as countries like Syria and Afghanistan. We are concerned about the possibility of more unrest, because the underlying issues have not been resolved, but we're encouraged to have had a nearly normal week.)