My Own Personal Poetry Week
Today, I took the day off from my new job to teach a series of poetry workshops via Skype for some tenth-grade English classes in Houston, TX. It was a really interesting experience. The kids were delightful, and other than a few technical glitches, everything went really well. This was the first time that I’ve used Skype for teaching workshops, and I realized several things: One, that I lean more heavily than I realized on my ability to “read a room”, to pick up subtle cues, to gauge what’s happening to the collective energy in a group. Teaching over Skype was in some ways like working blind, because I couldn’t rely on my normal spidy-sense and adapt accordingly. I had to pay very close attention to visual and verbal cues, which usually don’t hold as much weight for me as the energetics of a group.
And secondly, I realized that somehow, somewhere along the line, I think I’ve actually become a poet.
My days are astoundingly busy. I rarely have time to think or reflect on what I am passionate about. But today, words came out of me that filled me with a sort of peace and calm…yet, a passionate expansiveness, too. I deeply believe in the creative process as a means to heal. I want each one of those kids to be able to understand the value of their creative expression; their ability to hone that expression and use it to make sense of themselves the world around them. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I think that I am just playing pretend at all of this, that it’s not really a real thing. I belittle my own value as a creative being. I buy into the same cultural crap that those tenth-graders are being fed on a day-to-day basis. Today, I was reminded of what I am really here for, and it was very real.
In between sessions, I did a little writing on my own, which felt good and right, if not particularly brilliant or productive. Shortly after I finished teaching the last session, the doorbell rang and opened my door to find a box full of my writer’s copies of my new chapbook! And, I finally managed to finish reading a chapbook I’ve been toting around with me for a month, and haven’t had time to pay much attention to. It's called, "Recurring Dream" by Avra Wing, and it's fantastic!
Acupuncture for Fun and Failure
I’ve never figured out if I am naturally anxious person, or if I am a naturally calm person who simply adapted early to a chaotic, unsafe environment by generating massive adrenaline responses that I never learned to de-program. Either way, as an adult, I default to being a nervous, hyper-alert, anxiety-prone person. (I also have a calm, relaxed, happy-go-lucky hippie chick residing within me, but I’m worried that person will never get anything done, so she doesn’t get to come out to play.) I love my new job, but the stress of these first months has been beyond anything I could have imagined. And I can imagine a lot. It came to a head last week, and I realized that if I don’t start in on the self-care ASAP, I was headed towards a world of hurt in the mental health department. I went to acupuncture this week, and I think I’ll keep going. It’s simple and relaxing and I’ve been assured that will improve my memory, help my chronic shoulder pain, and make me all loosey-goosey and The Dude-like, ala “The Big Lebowski” Who knows? Maybe my super-chill inner hippie will get her day in the sun after all.