Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Quick-Takes Vol. 6


This morning is a non-quiet quiet day. School today is an outdoors thing, lessons with Dad as the three boys help him split the last of the seasoned oak before Keith's brother comes to fetch his splitter tomorrow. So while outdoors this November morning, the splitter roars and splutters, ripping wood apart, and as boys hand unsplit logs, guide, stack split wood to season, I sit inside, in relative quiet, surrounded by Word and words--Word to drink in, ponder, apply--and words to birth, arrange and rearrange as I attempt to learn, attempt to write, attempt to stretch into this gift of word-wrangling. So it's a non-quiet quiet day for me, one that will bring us warmth throughout winter days as wood is stacked high, as boys work muscles instead of brain cells this day. They can make up math later....


As I read the newest Culture Post ("The Work of the Poet") on High Calling, I was struck by the selection from Ordinary Genius that L.L. Barkat quoted in her post, and I copied it carefully into my quotation journal. It seems eerily fitting for this month of writing daily poetry--a reminder and a challenge for us who desire to write:

Did you think writing great, or even good, poems would be easy? What feeling of accomplishment would you get from doing what is easy, what anyone can do without trying? Athletes train relentlessly to become stronger, faster, better. Dancers attend class every day, and rehearse long hours in the studio....If you thought poetry was different, this is your wake-up call. — from Ordinary Genius

Wow. What an incredible reminder and challenge for us (me) who merely "dabble" in poetry. "Dabbling" isn't enough--it's not going to make us great poets, or even good poets, or even poets at all. We (I!) need to develop this craft according to this "wake-up call" and be more deliberate in how I approach reading and writing poetry.

I'm "awake" now.


Speaking of poetry, you may have noticed that I'm a wee bit behind in writing a poem a day for the November PAD Poetry Chapbook Challenge at Poetic Asides, so I'm using this morning as a catch-up day. I spent the last two days buried in a teetering stack of essays to be graded for my co-op writing classes for high school students, so this day I emerge (before I have to offer feedback on incoming MLA research essays today for Brave Writer) to write a poem or three. In fact, you may find one buried here in this post. One never knows... (she hints mysteriously).


And still speaking of poetry, I have been overwhelmed by the response this week to my poem "Do You Remember?" I posted it on Poetic Asides on Writers Digest for the Challenge and linked to it at the Culture page of The High Calling as a response to a call for catalog poems. I have rarely received so many comments here, and rarely such positive ones. I'm sure people are simply being polite, but I'm thrilled that they would comment at all. I also took "Do You Remember?" to our small town's Writers' Workshop meeting on Tuesday, and one of the poets there said it's the best work I've done so far. I'm thrilled, and I pray that God will continue to nurture the growth of this gift in me as I take up the challenge to truly WORK at becoming a crafter of words.


Today (or at least this weekend) I need to scrape together the younger two boys' grades for our first quarter of home schooling. We've been enrolled in Heritage Christian School since we started this journey in 1997, and I appreciate the accountability they offer us, as well as the fellowship, the high academic standards, and the social aspects of school especially for the high school students. I only have to submit semester grades for my high schooler from which the school creates high school transcripts, another important service HCS offers. Yesterday we attended our co-op Class Days in which I teach two high school writing classes, one college prep and one honors, while our high schooler takes biology lab (a double-period class) and fine arts. Our middle schooler is attending classes is General Science (mostly a lab class), chess, and PE, and our elementary schooler is enjoying Lego Engineering, PE, and California History (a class required by the state of California). It makes for a busy day, but overall, I feel that our young people have an excellent balance between the academic and the social aspects of school through our at-home school and the Class Days.


My kids can barely wait for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 a week from today. I've been able to watch a few snippets from the film on Mugglenet (which E of course forces me to follow on Twitter!). E has tickets to the midnight showing next Thursday evening with a bunch of girls in her dorm. Since she is working on a large MLA research paper on Harry Potter for her Freshman Comp class, she could call attending the film "research," but we all know she'd be there in a heartbeat anyway. The boys and I are taking the slow track approach, planning to see it on Friday morning while most students are at school. I'm buying tickets today. :)

The looooong wait is almost over!!! Yay!!!


And, finally, last but not least, I thought I'd post my Nov PAD Day 10 Challenge here as it's a short but sweet little tanka. We were told to compose a love poem, and as I felt some trepidation on posting something so personal online, I'm keeping the longer poem I wrote in my files rather than sharing it publicly. But I also wrote this tanka which is not so personal, so I don't feel weird about posting it here where students, family, friends, and others read my work. So here's my little love tanka for my husband who cooks for us when I can't (which is 99.9% of the time):

As you set down plate,
fragrance of roasted garlic
rises to my nose--
hunger twists my heart wildly
and I know that I am loved.
So have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wishing you all precious autumn days,


Marcus Goodyear said...

If only my kids were old enough to see the new Harry Potter. We read them, and they decided not to watch anything past the Goblet of Fire. I guess my wife and I will make it a date!

Susanne Barrett said...

Thanks for posting here, Marcus. We weren't sure about allowing our youngest (almost 11) to watch the later HP films because of the darkness and violence, but then his brothers showed him the three LOTR films and he didn't bat an eyelash. Those filsm give *me* nightmares! So we figured he's okay. We've read the books already as a family, so he knows what's coming....


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