Diving into the deep end

Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but I’ve been quiet this summer. Hard to blog when a son gets married, parents celebrate a 62nd wedding anniversary, a granddaughter turns three, book deadlines loom and there’s yucky stuff to manage on top of all that good. But then again, nearly every summer, I’ve gone quiet here, taking time off to ponder the value of blogging, etc. etc. I do have a lot going on in my life. Maybe I should stop.

The thing is, I LOVE Friend Friday, where I shine the spotlight on friends’ new books. As a passionate quote collector, I adore sharing favorite quotes every Wednesday (a feature I so cleverly call Wednesday Wisdom). And, the past several years– because I don’t think they get enough love–I have devoted Tuesdays to celebrating teachers and others who work so danged hard to connect kids with books.

I think it’s important to offer something different here, or why blog? Tthough my hipster friends tell me NOBODY blogs anymore.) And I do like having this venue to stay in touch — thanks to all who have commented in the past. You are great. So, for a variety of reasons, I’m going to give blogging a go — dinosaur that I am– for at least another year.

But I’m going to move in a different direction, connecting with teachers — and kids!– in a different way, inspired by a journal I found in a drawer in my office at our beach cabin, which we call Shangri-Lar. I had taken it with me on a writing retreat with dear friends Mary Nethery, Ann Whitford Paul and Vivian Sathre in 2008, when we gathered at Helen Ketteman’s magical home on Sanibel Island, Florida. I used that journal to revive a discipline I had kept some years prior with my friend Meg Lippert. Every single day for nearly two years, Meg and I wrote poems — unedited, rough, raw — emailing them to one another. We did this religiously as a kickoff to our work day. We didn’t start by answering emails. Or checking Facebook or Instagram or any of the number of other creativity-sucks out there. Before anything else– except maybe brushing our teeth –, we wrote poems and emailed them to one another. Meg and I did not miss a day in those years. That’s a lot of bad poetry. But a lot of good writing.

Julian Felipe Herrara doesn’t have to fear for his US Poet Laureate laurels. I am no competition. But I do agree with Judy (J.A.) Jance that a writer is someone who has written today.

So for this next school year’s worth of blogging, I intend to post Tuesday poems (day poems is too huge a commitment right now). They’ll be awful. Nothing you’d want to memorize or memorialize in any way. But by posting them, I’m inviting you to join me in this weekly discipline. I’ll still post a quote on Wednesday and a book shout-out on Fridays; and, because I’m inclined that way, there will be the occasional Throwback Thursday. But every Tuesday, if the creek don’t rise, I’ll share a day poem. Even though Ann Whitford Paul, Sylvia Vardell, Janet Wong and other wonderful poets will shudder, my day poems have no rules. They don’t rhyme. They probably don’t scan. And they certainly aren’t revised or edited. Or titled. But maybe, just maybe, my efforts will inspire you and your students to give it a go. I certainly hope so.

To kick us off, I’m posting the poem that inspired this insanity. I wrote it 1/16/2008, the day we were leaving Helen’s home, when our wonderful writing retreat ended:


Hellos are

fresh-baked snickerdoodles

rosemary vegetable soup

a hot cup of tea.

Goodbyes are

cold oatmeal,

dried out bread,

a worm in the lettuce.


And we’re off! See you here next Tuesday. I’d love to see your day poems, too.

No Responses to “Diving into the deep end”

  1. Rosi Hollinbeck

    I, for one, LIKE your poem. It speaks to me. I think it’s a great idea to write a poem every day. Maybe I’ll try that as well. Thanks for the post.

  2. Nancy

    Now this is a challenge I might have to accept. Not that I’ll post my piddly poems, but I’ll certainly commit to writing at least one each week. It’s a start, isn’t it? Thanks (always) for the inspiration . . . and the nudge.