I had some dreams ... they were klowns in my koffee.

(With apologies to Carly Simon)

This is my journey through job transition from a toxic environment to a better life. Join me for a few thoughts and a few laughs along the way.
What are "klowns in my koffee"? They are the factors large and small that make you less than you are. A "klown" can be a grossly incompetent boss,
a short-sighted policy or a moronic coworker. They won't kill you, at least not immediately, but they abrade the soul
as you scrape past them to get through the day. Sometimes it's best to dump them out of the cup.


Day 62 - Poetry Klass

Last week I took a poetry class from the Loft, a prominent local writer's group. It was a step outside my comfort zone, but what good is an envelope if you don't push it once in a while?

It was a small class of mostly older people. It's been weirdly satisfying to be the youngest person in the room. We seemed to come from a wide range of backgrounds and levels of writing experience. One woman named Dolly had completed a memoir of her childhood called, appropriately enough, "Hello, Dolly." Can't make this stuff up.

The instructor was Clem Nagel, an older man who began writing poetry twelve years ago when he says that poetry "just showed up." He had an unassuming manner and a gift for active listening.

We warmed up by randomly pulling a small handful of words a la magnetic poetry from a basket. For some reason, all the words were related to nature and the outdoors. I suppose that topic yields a greater chance for success than — say — a list of words like carburetor, taco, ukulele and bandsaw.

My little pile of word arranged themselves into this:
Language can be sharp like Spring yard tools,
Snip words, green and full,
Dig and prune,
By Fall, dieback worn and dull to rest.

We moved on to haiku. Some chose to engage heavily in metaphor, while I followed Clem's advice to write about "whatever you were doing before you came to class." I'm not sure that he meant it this literally.
Upstairs Neighbor

Sought winter refuge,
Bold raccoon in the attic,
Evicted this Spring.

For the final exercise, Clem took a blank sheet of paper and made a fold bending inward (as opposed to back and forth like an accordion) about every inch from the bottom to the top of the paper. Flattening the sheet, he handed the paper to the first person with the instruction to look around the room and write a line about something in the immediate environment. The first participant hands the paper to the next person, who reads the line and then adds another line below it between the next set of folds. The paper is then folded so that the next writer sees only the contribution of the previous writer and not anything that came before. This continues with each contributor seeing only the last line and then adding the one more line until everyone has has had a turn.

While the paper circulated, Clem entertained us with his poems and stories about the writing process.

This is what the class produced:

Blank boards call out to hidden poets,
Words rise from the heart to the page,
From the page into our hearts,
As we stride down the hill,
Slipping, greasy footsteps in our path,
Holding onto your arm, we support one another.

I left the class both a little braver and awed by the poetry hiding just below the surface of a group of eight common strangers from every walk of life brought together on a sunny afternoon.

No comments:

Post a Comment