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Thursday, March 31, 2011

OK, this is it!

Okay, this is it.  The new plan, that is, to meet a 30 day challenge by national
poetry writing month (, to write a poem a day during April,
which is, fyi, national poetry month.  We can do this!  You can too!  You can
read my poem a day right here in my blog, but there are ever so many poets
signing up to meet the challenge at the website mentioned in brackets above.
Welcome spring, welcome poets, welcome poetry!

And please note that the Rice Creek Writers and Northwords Writers' Groups
of the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts in Fridley, MN, will host a public
reading of member work on Friday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m.  The center is about
a mile north of 694 on East River Road, in Fridley.  Yours truly will be
the emcee that night, as well as read a couple of poems (already written and
vetted by peers).  It'll be fun. Be our guest!!

Hmm, now what shall I write tomorrow's poem about....

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How's Lent?

So, how's Lent going for you?  This year I seem to have defaulted into not giving up
anything. I have embarked on a six lesson Interpersonal Communication unit at my
Toastmasters' club--nothing I've not heard before, but the process forces me to
'own' such skills even more intentionally by giving a speech and role playing in a
spontaneously assigned scenario, on each of six topics.  I suppose you could call
that my lenten discipline, although the way things are scheduled it'll last well into
the Easter season... May my learning continue beyond that!!  The way my
communication slips into 'Cherry Pitfalls' (sorry, Candyland) from time to time,
the discipline can use constant upgrading.  So, help me, God!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Of course, plans are ideal....

But reality and too much inertia often have their own way(s). I compose in my head ad infinitum, but getting it on paper is 'hit and miss.' My goal is to write everyday. Well, if you count grocery and to-do lists, notes scribbled on previous writings, sticky notes, calling cards, page margins, and printed program, I might come close. (Of course, e-correspondence puts it over the top. But will I ever go back and actually record highlights of my extensive correspondence???)
The last six weeks have brought fresh motivation, in the form of adequate rest, familiar surroundings, an extended period of silence, daily meditation, writing discipline somewhat renewed, enquiries from accountability peers (You know who you are, and I love you!), the freeing-up that accrues from physical exercise, and faithfully organizing/discarding SOMEthing, most every day...even a little bit frees up space in the mind (not to mention the desk!)
'THE play' has enjoyed a read-through. Unfiled notes are being processed. Poetry writings are now organized (whew)  in a single file. (I notice the pun in that...the second seems to be a reminder to get those MSs moving out!...) Old unused files are being deleted and single-side copies relegated to a 'paper drawer' in order to be used for printing draft copies. My (realtime) voice is finally finding itself again. It's nearly spring.
This blog calls out for renewed effort...and recently told me the direction it wants to take. Lordwilling, I'm ready to roll with it.  Stay tuned, and I'll tell you what the direction is. Promise.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Today's Thoughts on Corruption, Weather, and Storytelling

By God's grace, and careful, at-home eating etc., we are well. Even as unseasonal
rains make us soggy AGAIN this week, and a deteriorating house is constantly being cleaned and just kept up enough to manage through it all.  (I'll spare you the details for now!)  It has rained for 3/4 of the last 36 hours, with no sign of let up.  Evening falls, hardly a different from the level of  daylight all day...More rain on the way.                                                                                                                                                                                         We're hoping it will clear enough for a safe ride to Rajupalem next weekend..In rural areas, the problem of washed-out roads is so common, there's a name for it, waaagu.  And there are some, in that direction, this week....'hope we can make it for our secular (trying to remember that your average Indian English speaker does not understand the word correctly, mistaking it for sectarian--oh my!!!  Evidently the politically correct term is social project) project's teacher workshop on Saturday...I'm not used to giving such presentations, but should be able to do so, lordwilling...wish me luck                                                                     
 Our computer is down again, so I'm at the corner shop...all orange and blue inside, soft ambiance, with music in the background...It's glassed in and air conditioned, but the door is open today, we hear all the rain and traffic sounds right outside the door...a sleepy old building across the street with old fashioned fretwork on rooftop balcony, fanciful second floor windows (half-covered by a huge, blue sign with a photo of a 'hunk' proffering a Pepsialong with Telugu letters saying "Lord General Stores and Fancies," above a jam-packed shop, hardly the size of a single car garage, opening onto the street.  A bright red telephone on a stool outside the shop is available for public/pay use. .                                                                                                         
Rain moved our little Nirmal Hriday class to an upstairs verandah this morning.   I trod carefully, leaning on the low, shiny stainless steel railing of the children's winding, outdoor ramp to the second floor, reassuring my fragile bones with the realization that it has a non-slip coated surface. A dozen children at the far end of the verandah were singing softly and gazing out over the dripping garden.

Most Precious whooped upon seeing me, called for chairs, and  five other children joined us, forming a tight semi-circle literally at  my knees.  An older teenager who has grown up in Nirmal Hrudays lifted MP into the last chair, and she promptly propped her elbows on one of my knees. I've been
priming them to think beyond the listen-and-repeat and stock-answer methods so common in Indian education (fastest student often dictating the pace and the responses) ,  I ask who will tell a story today, a new story, not one they already know.  (Belatedly aware that I do not know the Telugu words for 'create,' or 'make up.') MP of course is the first to say she doesn't 'know' any, and John wants to repeat a story his sister has taught him, which he has already recited at least four times.  With a bit of prompting and reminding that everyone is to share in the story-telling, we come up with a reasonably satisfying story of a little girl overcoming several little dilemmas.The children are pleased, and ask to hear it again.  I write it down in English, promise to type and print copies, and challenge MP, particularly, to re-tell it tomorrow. She is glowing as she shrugs and says, "Maybe," but I suspect she is up to the challenge.

Too soon, it is their lunchtime, but the children press me to stay and open one of the books I've brought along today. Their lunches have been brought up from the kitchen, and waft delicious curry smells our way, but the children are adamant.  We close with the reading of familiar Telugu rhymes, MP and John peering into my book and Ramya good-naturedly slowing her pace to match that of the beginning readers.

I am glowing too, never minding the rain, as I descend the ramp in the rain and crunch across the watery gray crushed-rock yard, to the unobtrusive brown painted gate, 'Good bye, Auntie' ringing in my ears.