Whew. Teaching 30 or so kids about poetry—all under the age of 11—is much harder than I ever imagined. . .
Ruminate teamed up with two churches here in Fort Collins (Grace Presbyterian and Agua Viva) and every morning for a week we held a "poetry workshop"--helping kids write poems and then collecting these poems into a book for each child and concluding the week with a poetry reading. It was very interesting, and exhausting, to say the least. And it makes me look forward to the year when we'll offer year-round online writers workshops--hopefully soon!
But mostly I was just amazed at how these kids could tell such lively stories about God--with no sense of any boundaries or irreverence. Their metaphors and connections were so unexpectedly inspiring. When I asked them to write a poem beginning with the prompt "If I were a..." they came up with lines like "If I were a scientist then God would be the potions and chemicals and cure every disease..." and "If I were a RAW wrestler" (not sure exactly what this is) "then God would be the crowd cheering me on to win the fight." Or when writing poems with hyperbole, they wrote lines like "My God is so huge that he could run across the Atlantic ocean in one step and not even break a sweat."
I loved hearing what they came up with. And even more, I loved seeing all of them get the chance to call themselves poets (admittedly, some of them enjoyed this title more than others).
This week reminded me of the Pixar movie Ratatoullie, where the main character, a little rat who also happens to be a wonderful chef, discovers that his culinary hero's motto "anyone can cook" doesn't mean that just anyone can pick up a sauté pan and be a great chef, but rather, that a great chef can come from anywhere--even from the rat species. I think the same is true of writing. Great poets can come from anywhere--even a little 5th grader named Reese who dreams of being "either a scientist or a writer, or maybe a writing scientist" as she put it.
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I love that idea, that we are pilgrims on a journey through time. I love that we humans try so hard to find our places on that long road. And I love that you and I are ineffable, numinous pieces of some great mystery we will never fully understand.
I wake with a kind of jolt in my stomach: I know where I am, but I do not know when I am. When in time am I? Are my children both sleeping in the other room? Will I hear their small feet pattering on the floor as they come in to wake me? Will they tumble into bed with Eric and me?
As a witness of thought, it struck me deeply that I must be something much more than what had been running through my mind. I was so identified with thinking that I truly mistook thought for who I was.