strong and clear

To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” Buddha.

Today began with my body telling me that it needed some attention. I awoke stiff and cramped and tight despite a good night’s sleep, so I listened. A three-mile run and an hour of yoga, although they don’t seem like writing exercises, certainly helped me to work out the kinks and leave my mind strong and clear for the work of the day. (I’m glad I spent the morning outside as it is now gloomy and rainy, perfect for sitting at the window and writing.)

Before I got started, I had a chance to visit the studio of my apartment-mate Trudie  Treijink, and I was amazed. Her hand-embellished prints blew me away. She is using a variety of media – large digital print of photographs, paint, pencil, Japanese fibers – to create peaceful and astounding images. Check out her work online. This certainly got me in the mood to create something new today, so I went to work on the prose poems about “the girl” that showed up the first day I was here.

I looked back in my idea notebook and saw that my students had challenged that I probably never used any of their vocabulary words in any of my poems, so I decided to use that as a starting point for writing about the mysterious girl. So far, she is loquacious, anachronistic, empathetic, and holistic (as well as tardy and frightened, even though those are not vocabulary words). Each draft is showing definite rhythm and even some internal rhyme within the prose blocks, which I have never done. In their rough draft versions, each one of them makes brief mention of “her parents”, and several have references to religion. I have no idea where or why they are coming, but I want to see where they go.

[Here I take a break to go eat zucchini bread and rhubarb cake with my fellow residents – there was a farmer’s market today that contained more baked goods than produce. I did get a couple of giant kohlrabi to cook for dinner later this week, however.]

Okay. Good conversation and really good rhubarb cake have left me ready to get back to work this evening before knocking off for the day. I believe I will be working on revisions tonight while I watch/listen to some TV, so I will leave you with a couple of thoughts from our conversation. First, all of us have had great success with “experiments” this week, things we weren’t expecting to work on that have somehow intrigued us. Second, we all recognize the need to put the brakes on a little and pace ourselves – the first few days were extremely exhausting. And third, homemade cake makes everything seem just a little brighter.

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4 thoughts on “strong and clear

  1. Connecting! After the long winter and spring, I’m calling this the summer of the body. Swimming, walking, taking the summer session of my exercise class. Also, now, I want it to be the summer of rhubarb cake.

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