It is the end of National Poetry Month today, and while I wrote not a single poem for the month, I have been busy chiseling away at my memoir-in-essays, which has its own sort of lyricism and poetic turns, and that totally counts, right? I have done much to celebrate poetry in April, however, giving readings and talking enthusiastically about iambs and line breaks to ever-patient audiences.
I’m also celebrating the end of the spring semester today. There were many leaps forward made this semester in the Ashland MFA Program for me. I even have the first draft of my memoir-in-essays all saved in one Word document. This is a slight hazard to my health, because every time I make a change in an essay, I then have to go in and make a change in the book-length document, which drives me slightly batty.
I was thinking about “book-length” the other day. A few summers ago, I posted to Facebook or Twitter how daunting the idea of writing a book seemed. I told myself, better to write a sentence. And then a paragraph. And then maybe a couple of paragraphs. And then maybe an essay. And then start over. And then see what happens from there.
So that’s what I did. Little bites. Just like every single other thing in the world, just take it in little bites.
More things happened this month– I went to my best friend’s Orthodox Church for a service during Holy Week that was lovely and refreshing; the kids and I tagged along with Brandon to South Bend, IN for Easter weekend; I spent a hilarious weekend with writer friends in Grand Rapids at the Festival of Faith and Writing, where I twisted my ankle dancing to American Pie; I read loads and loads of poetry to people.
And I’ve been thinking about a lot of things. I’ve been thinking a lot about bravery and bearing witness in writing and the power of vulnerability. I’ve been thinking about how my garden needs to be tilled. I’ve been thinking about how I’d really like to write some poems again someday. I’ve been thinking about how I’d really like to go to yoga or maybe even exercise again. I’ve been thinking about how I am changing to a nine-month contract beginning June 1 and what that means for our family financially and what that means for our family’s health. I’ve been thinking about how we teach our children faith and hope and love and mercy and patience and how those methods differ from teaching them to study the Bible. I’ve been thinking about budgets and patience and stability and contentment and when you feel called to a place and how to tell when you’ve been released. I’ve been thinking about friends and community and large backyards and sandboxes and neighbors. I’ve been thinking about grilling out and being barefoot. I’ve been thinking about what a great winter and spring it’s been, and how the tree outside my office window is sucking up the precipitation and pushing out leaves right now, right this minute, dripping and growing and greening up as if it takes nothing at all to do these things, nothing at all to recover from winter, to grow and to thrive.