Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Gather

My oh-so-delightful writing teacher Maureen (who you can find at WordPlay) gave us an exercise she calls "The Gather" the other day in class.  (It's in her book, Spinning Words Into Gold, which I highly recommend for anyone who is interested in developing their writing for any reason).

The Gather works like listen to a poem being read one time through.  You then open your notebook and draw a box in the center of the page on the left hand side with plenty of room around it.  You listen to the poem being read a second time and this time, you jot down any words or phrases that strike you as interesting or resonate with you on the paper in the space outside of the box.  The next step is to set a 3-minute timer and begin writing, using the words you gathered from the poem into your own piece.  It might be a poem, a (short) short story, a simple reflection, or complete nonsense...but you have to keep writing and work fast.

This is a really cool exercise.  When in a group of writers, it is fascinating to see how the same poem elicits such different pieces from different people.  And since I'm making an effort to both write more and share more, I thought I'd put my "gather" out for inspection.

The inspiration:

What Kind of Fool Am I?

He sang with abandon,
combing his black, black hair.
Each morning in the shower,
first in Arabic, rivery ripples
of song carrying him back
to his first beloved land,
then in English, where his repertoire
was short. No kind at all! we’d shout,
throwing ourselves into the brisk arc
of his cologne for a morning kiss.
But he gave us freedom to be fools
if we needed to, which we certainly
would later, which we all do now and then,
perhaps a father’s greatest gift—
that blessing.
--Naomi Shihab Nye

My reflection:

Isaac's Folly

What kind of fool am I?
That I would abandon
my older son
by the short-handed
trickery of Jacob
who showered me with
deception while
Esau was back to the land.
How brisk this realization,
I shout in anguish
My father's gift--the blessing
Why does God give us
freedom to be fools?

For context, see Genesis 27.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sweet Sunshine

My friend CSO from My Convertible Life is a blogger.  Like a real blogger.  She writes post more often than every other month, goes to blogging conferences, has blog friends, tweets about her blog and all that jazz.  I've written before how I feel like a blogger imposter.  And yet, CSO tagged me in a recent post as one of her recipients of "the sunshine award."  She rightly pointed out that I don't blog "nearly enough."  Quite fair, CSO, quite fair. :)  I'm flattered...and inspired.

Here's how this thing works...
1) Include the award logo in a post or in your blog.
2) Answer 10 questions about yourself.
3) Nominate 10 to 12 other fabulous bloggers.
4) Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blog to let them know they are nominated.
5) Share the love and link the person who nominated you.

And the questions are...

Favorite color: Black. Really.  I like black.  And white and light blue and red.  But black is my favorite.

Favorite number: 7.  In the Bible, seven stands for completion and nothing in my world ever seems complete, so seven makes me feel hopeful.

Favorite animal: I used to really love dogs...before I had three other beings who constantly wanted me to hold them, feed them, take them pee and needed cleaning up after.  I still love dogs.  I just have no energy for them anymore.  But dogs are great.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Water.  Can I say water?  If water is an unacceptable answer, then my second answer is a Starbucks Grande Decaf 2-pump Vanilla Non-Fat Latte.  Say that ten times fast.

Prefer Facebook or Twitter: Facebook.  Because despite my real effort, I still just don't get Twitter.  CSO, I need a professional lesson at the beach this summer.

My Passion: Holy Yoga.

Prefer giving or getting presents: Yes.  :)  I like presents of all kinds.

Favorite pattern: Currently I have a little obsession going with with Suzani.

Favorite day of the week: Sunday afternoon.  It's the only day/time of the week that we don't have to be anywhere to do anything.  It's even better when it is football season.  (Go Panthers!)

Favorite flower: Daisies. And hydrangeas. And snapdragons.

And now--drum roll, please--on to some of my favorite bloggers...many of whom I suspect will not play this game, but I'm giving them the award anyway! :)
  • Simplify Your Life (one of my dearest pals who was also nominated for her other blog Living Life Well by CSO, a blog which I  happen to love also).
  • Courage & Curls (who I met through unfortunate circumstances yet love that our stories intertwined).
  • The Little Way (who reminds me that I'm not alone in the ups and downs of life, parenting and faith).
  • Amanda Keen Martin (clever, funny, perceptive, sometimes pensive essays...written by someone else who does not blog as much she should. And by should, I mean as much as I would like her to).
  • Tuning This Life (who is very smart and has way better taste in music and literature than I do.  She is also a kind of modern-day Psalmist, if you ask me).
  • Write With God (a reflective and insightful prayer blog that makes me think, even if it is written by my Dad).
  • Pastor Jonathan Martin (not at all what you might expect from a Pentecostal Pastor in Charlotte, North Carolina).
  • Your Daily Dose of Chi (fresh and funky health and wellness).
  • Brad's Drift (a childhood friend whose adult contemplations make me glad we're still connected).
  • My Thousand Words (who prefers to use pictures to convey what's beautiful in life).
  • And, of course, My Convertible Life (how this conversation got started.  But seriously, her blog is one of the best around).
Go give them some blog love.

And thanks, CSO, for this sweet honor. xo