Artifacts

Easter eggs

I think a big part of my motivation as a writer is that I love making things. Truth be told, I still dye Easter eggs every year (sometimes with a niece and nephew to legitimize the process, sometimes not), and it brings me joy. Artwork I’ve done at every age still hangs on the walls in my parents’ home. Something Don Revell said in a recent interview on Here Comes Everybody reverberated with this idea:

Q: How would you explain what a poem is to my seven year old?

A: A poem is something made of words that you enjoy.

I like the Q; I like the A. One positive aspect to being this kind of writer is that it helps me to finish projects. If I am, say, washing the dishes, that drive is not there. But with art, photography, writing, and other creative endeavors, I tend to wrap things up. And when I’m done, I tend to feel pretty good about the process. Which is not to say that I consider my work masterful, necessarily, but if nothing else, art reflects something meaningful (a conflict, emotion, obsession) that felt important to me at that particular time.

Today I’m leaning toward a not-so-intellectual perspective. In Houston it’s a rainy day. I’m glad to be home. My baby is taking a nap. And it is still no less than amazing to me that I could be typing words and seconds later you will be able to read them on the world wide web. Blog on.

How to Stay Curious

I’ve been considering the possibility of starting a blog about all-things-poetry for many months now. It’s not that I think I have the answers. Or even the questions. I’m not looking for a soapbox. But I am interested in the blog as zocolo, as town square, a place of exchange and conversation.

I attended two grad programs in creative writing, and the thing that struck me then and now is that the conversations both in class and outside of class were sensational. I can remember sitting in the private room at the Brown Bottle (Iowa City) listening to my friends Stephanie Brown and Jeff Hamilton talking about Lester Bangs, People magazine, and the new formalists all at the same time and thinking, This is really something. Twenty years later I feel exactly the same way.

Great conversations are getting rare. In her book, turning to one another, Margaret Wheatley argues for a renaissance of the conversation. She outlines the norms that must exist for honest conversation to take place. My favorite one is, “We must stay curious about one another.”

There’s so much to talk about. Let’s begin the begin.