I haven't posted for a while because I have been so intensely involved with my writing. I spent a week at the BYU Writing for Young Readers conference, which was a great high and a great low. I came away from it with renewed confidence, determination and creativity. So I've been trying to capitalize on that energy and get some of these ideas down while they're still warm.
Here's a miscellaneous dump, then, of my life in the last month or so:
Summer is here! I had fresh cherries, blueberries (homegrown), watermelon, lettuce (homegrown), radish (homegrown), peppers, onion, carrots all on the same day! Is that bounteousness, or what? My only regret about summer (besides the fact that my kids are in school) is that I have to stay up later than is good for me to really enjoy these summer evenings. I'm loving the early light, though, because exercising with a friend on an early summer morning is pretty close to heaven, I think.
I guess I'm getting old. I went to a "Career Mothers Retreat" which was planned by my intelligent and talented friend, Mary Ann, but I found when I was there that I no longer hunger for the same kinds of things in my parenting. I don't want any more great ideas, hints, or how-to's. I don't want anymore ideas about goals to set, mission statements, and plans. I used to be so hungry for these things. Now I just want help in learning to be. I need serenity, acceptance, patience with the unfolding souls in my household, faith in God's work with them instead of being so bent on doing it all myself.
My favorite part was the yoga.
Possibly I could blame my lethargic response to the (actually quite good) ideas being represented on my too-recent weekend at BYU's Women's Conference. I got idea-ed out there, I suppose. (To tell the truth, even Women's Conference is losing its charm for me. "Been there, done that," I guess, or the same thing--boredom with so much "do better! try this!") The kind of retreat I need most these days is one like the writer's conference, where I can concentrate on some other aspect of myself than parenting, or the one like I had with the book group gals a few weeks ago: not much agenda, just some fantastic women hanging out together. Women tend to automatically uplift each other in just the right way, I think, given enough time to relax a little.
So, I think that the Career Mother's Retreat was a great success, especially for younger moms who are still looking so hard for ideas. I was just tired.
If I had money, I'd take a yoga class. It's calling to me.
But don't get me started on what I'd do if I had money.
(BTW, my friend Cheri can take classes from BYU for FREEE!!!! FREE!!!! I don't think she'd believe me if I told her how much money I have spent and plan to spend on classes in my lifetime.)
Classics Book Group read "Leaves of Grass," or, well, excerpts of it, this month. This is the group in which we read "books we always thought we should read but could never make ourselves." I've always enjoyed "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" and "Noiseless Patient Spider" but hadn't read much of "I Hear America Singing," "I Sing the Body Electric" (hoo-boy!) or "Song of Myself."
So here's my response to Whitman:
1. I'm so, so, so, amazingly grateful for what he did for modern poetry. I love free verse. I love the detail, detail detail. It blows my mind to think that he was writing during Joseph Smith's time, or Laura Ingalls's.
2. ENOUGH ALREADY! It was interesting and powerful and awe-inspiring--for about two pages. (I'm thinking of "America Singing" and "Song of Myself," mostly.) After that my brain got kind of mushy and my eyes glazed over and I felt like I was reading a catalog or phonebook. I think he could have fit the same idea(s) into a few shorter, zinger poems, instead of going on, and on, and on, and on.
3. It did inspire me to write my own poem in response, which was my own "Song of Myself" more than a direct response to Whitman. I'd put it here, but I think I may pass it along to Segullah and see if they'd like to print it.