The Tin Woodman as illustrated by William Wallace Denslow (1900) in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
I’m back after end-of-the-school-year madness, an awful stomach virus, and a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy. I hadn’t intended to take such a long break from writing, but one thing after another made it difficult to focus. I don’t know about you, but after breaks like these I find it hard to get back to work. I feel like the Tin Woodman rusted and stranded in the forest. Where’s Dorothy with that can of oil? I was going to write that there is no Dorothy. I have only myself to get these rusty joints in motion. But that’s not entirely true. There are quite a few Dorothy’s out there. The two I turn to most often are Laura Purdie Salas and Miss Rumphius. When I’m stiff and need to get moving, I go to them for a squirt of oil.
This week Miss Rumphius prompted her readers to write a list poem. Her model was a list of all the reasons she hasn’t been able to write lately. Here’s my reply:
Things to do with Poems
Read them out loud.
Read them when you should be reading something else.
Read them to remind yourself you’re not alone.
Copy them out, in your own hand, fold them into little squares, and stuff them
in your shoe.
Tape them to the mirror, the wall, the dashboard, your forehead.
Write them when the spring breaks ground.
Write them when you fear your chest will burst with all you stuff there.
Etch them on your brain.
Ink them on your arm following your veins.
Write them on the sidewalk in thick pink chalk.
Watch them dissolve and run off in the rain.
Pick their cotton shreds from your lint screen.
Recite them so the clock on the back wall can hear you.
Hide them in books and backpacks and pillowcases so someone else can find them.
Whisper them in the dark.
Yesterday, Laura Salas posted a mysterious blue image on her 15 words or less blog. Here’s my response:
blue blood flows
through sweeping skies
to weary eyes
Ah, much better. I think I can move my arm again.
So, fellow poets, what do you do to get back to work after a break?
For more Poetry Friday visit Keri Recommends.
See you next week.
(c) 2013, Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved