Pulses

 

ew (1)“Childhood’s learning is made of moments. It isn’t steady. It’s a pulse.”

~ Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginnings

 

 

 

I can remember random moments from childhood and now wonder, were they learning moments?

I remember when I was five being frightened of the man next door, the father of an older girl I played with, who pushed his wife down as she was ironing. She already had a cast on her leg. He knelt down to try to comfort me, to tell me it was okay. I knew not to trust him.

When my older brother and I got in trouble and were banished to our separate bedrooms, we got our little brother to be a messenger, passing notes between us. These notes consisted of stick figures doing silly things. I learned my brothers would be my friends for life, though not without a few rough patches.

Fast forward to fourth grade and the learning didn’t feel like a pulse. Long division felt like a long, slow drip-drip-drip in a bucket. A bucket with a hole in it; for just when I thought I was finished with a problem, I’d discover my numbers weren’t lined up properly and I would have to start all over again. Recently I think some of my students have fely this as they have become friends with the seam-ripper in thier efforts to make pillowcases and aprons.

Many of my learning moments came through books. The horrors of the Holocaust came through the eyes and words of Anne Frank and Corrie Ten Boom; the horrors of child abuse from A Child Called It and Sybil. But before these books, there was Little Women, where I first got the idea that I’d like to write. I wanted to be Jo. That desire has waxed and waned over the years, as motherhood and making ends meet took precedence. I know many have been able to work, mother, and write concurrently, and I did to some extent, in pulses like my childhood learning.

But now the writing flame has been fanned and I need it more than ever. I don’t want it to go out.

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Netflix/Amazon Summer

 

 

The summer is gone and along with it a lot of my free time for movie watching.  But, I did get some viewing in and here are some of my brief reviews.

 
A Girl Like Her ( PG-13)       

I’m not sure why I picked this one, but I think it is one that  could and should be shown in  middle schools. It is a much more realistic portrayal of bullying, girl style, than movies such as Mean Girls. You may actually end up with some sympathy for the bully, like I did.     

 

 

Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)    

 I just enjoyed this romance, as much for the the lovely clothing as the sweet story line. It also gives a beautiful view of Rome.     

 

The Great Gilly Hopkins (PG)    

In view of becoming  a foster parent, I wanted to watch this movie. (We are now offically approved foster parents.) I also have great respect for Katherine Paterson, who wrote the book and has a bit part in the movie. There were a few plot points that needed to be fleshed out, but overall it was good and it did move me to a few tears.  

 

 

That Sugar Film

This documentary will make you really rethink how you look at sugar, unless you already have given it up.

 

 

Paper Man

My husband stumbled on this and it was a hit with me! “A washed-up writer forms an unlikely friendship with a teenager from Long Island.” It stars Jeff Daniels and Emma Stone.

 

 

Almost Famous 

Another movie  dealing with a writer, but oh so much more. And I sit here wondering, how did a kid in 1973 gets offered $35 for his first article and here in Alabama in 2015, it was all I could do to wheedle $25 out of the editor of a local magazine for my articles, pictures included?

 

 

Mothers and Daughters

Watched this at an emotional time. I cried .

 

Now, between teaching, fostering, and hurricanes, I haven’t had as much time for movies. I did, however, see May It Last, the Avett Brothers’ documentary, at the local theatre. That’s deserves another post all on its own.

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Merge Ahead

After more than three years of keeping up with two blogs, I feel it’s time to combine them. My other blog, Carry Me Home, was originated to help with our transition to Birmingham. I later tweaked it, still keeping the focus local when possible. I think it has run it’s usefulness, so over the next month I will attempt to combine them. This will include reposting some entries from the the other site to this one.

Thanks to all who read and encourage me!

 

Why I Write Poetry

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“Prose: words in their best order; poetry: the best words in the best order.” ― Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Like Robert Brower, the editor of Poetic Asides at Writer’s Digest, I began writing poetry in high school. Some sappy love poems, some nature oriented, some expressing my love to God. Years went by and I wrote on occasion. But, then I began more serious dabbling in poetry when I became involved in the PAD (Poem a Day) challenge that occurs in April via Brower’s column online. I also taught poetry to 6th graders and saw many of them blossom into poets by the end of our time together.

I find poetry fun and freeing; comforting and challenging. I enjoy word play, so rhyming and formulaic poetry serves a purpose for me there. I also find I need the outlet that poetry provides. I can express myself when no other way will do. Poetry also challenges me to find and arrange “the best words in the best order.”

 

And Repeat

 

clocks hands so slowly move

on across the minutes

twenty-four and repeat

 

quiet dawn to soft dusk

and moments in between

at last the lovers meet

 

that raven evermore

returns time and again

dark and quiet to mind

 

until death do us part

in faded lace and white

oft times love is so blind

 

5-9-17

Enthusiasm

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Since it was 41 years ago today that I graduated from high school, I’ve been walking down memory lane all afternoon. It’s the only exercise I’ve had all day.

I found the newspaper clipping with a few quotes from our commencement speech, given by a Dr. Paul Mori. One thing he said was,

“Enthusiasm is more important than professional skill.”

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I think he must have both, because when I googled him, this is what I found:

Dr. Paul Mori Jr, MD is a radiology doctor who practices in Jacksonville, FL. He is 92 years old and has been practicing for 69 years.

That is just amazing to me! To find your calling and passion and stick with it for 69 years must take a whole lot of enthusiasm and commitment.

He also said:

 

“The single most important tool you have is the knowledge of the English language and the ability to communicate.”

 

I feel like I left high school with this tool dull and rusty. Over the years I have tried to sharpen it and use it so it would not stay rusty. I don’t think it was just me from my school, but many students in many schools in the seventies graduated without a lot of fundamentals. Today I can skillfully use verbs like google and tweet, but I wish that I’d been more like Napoleon Dynamite back then. I wish I’d followed my heart into journalism.

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Instead, I headed off to college to major in marketing. Eventually, after four kids, I graduated with a degree in education and had the joy of sharing my knowledge of English with children. Now, however, I’ve come full circle, back to where my heart was my junior year. I write. I don’t do it for a living, but I do feel enlivened and purposeful when I’m writing.

 

I don’t remember Dr. Mori’s speech. But, I think we all went out into the the world that afternoon enthusiastically. Oh, to go back 41 years and grab some of that now!

The First of May and The Poet

The First of May 

 

So, the last day of PAD arrived with a prompt of “The _________”  . I went with the theme of the whole month. I love this poetic marathon every year; I just hope to keep at it. I hope to polish up a few poems and submit some for publication. Perhaps THIS will be the year!

cold bell

2017

 

The Poet

she breathes the air of yesterday
infused with memories sweet and clear
outside her window, falling rain transports her
to childhood afternoons
or to the coast of Ireland
or to a washed out hope

she dreams of possibilities and regrets
possibilities give her words that soar
regrets form melancholic stanzas
and so she writes
into the night
on tear-stained paper

she walks through days alone
gathering images and syllables
saving them in her pocket
hiding them in her heart
until they spill out
unrestrained and satisfying

Word Pictures

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Today I’m going to share some lovely sentences – just for your enjoyment.

ove“The slightly porky man on the other side of the Plexiglas has back-combed hair and arms covered in tattoos…Is that something an adult person in a healthy state of mind would consent to? Going about with his arms looking like a pair of pajamas?” from A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

light“She expects fustiness, an elder funk, but the room smells mildly of soap and books and dried seaweed.”  from All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

welty“It is because people are mostly layers of violence and tenderness…” from One Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora Welty

crosswick“I mourn for the loss of dreams and the presence of nightmare.”  from The Irrational Season by Madeleine L’Engle

“It’s the things we don’t expect that just rip the scab off,” – said Grandpa from Stand Tall by Joan Bauer

“Every lavish home contains people who have seen disease. Every lawn that must be maintained is attached to a marriage that also must be maintained.” from God of the Mundane by Matt Redmond

“…soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees…”  from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

tglpps“He was a mean little runt. The two of them together benasties the mind.” from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer

“… I could see how quickly I might become a woman gnawing on a chicken leg over the kitchen sink for her dinner,…” from The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg

mr-p“She’s wearing a green cardigan with a neat zigzag pattern and dusty blue mom-jeans…” from Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

map“… shriveled like a chickpea with the cold.” from Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck