Sunday, May 1, 2011

"Words Have Wings"

(Title is a quote from Jorge Argueta.)

Thanks to our friend Christina, I have some great pictures from our Creative Writing workshop this weekend with El Salvadorian poet Jorge Argueta. He was wonderful, inspiring individual creation with his own experiences and approach to poetry all around us.

He has written lots of books; one is "Arroz con leche" (Rice Pudding) in which he presents a recipe for rice pudding as poetry. Irresistible... of course we made some before he arrived, so that the cinnamon aroma set the mood for the workshop. Reading the poem and making the pudding also captured the essence of his approach to poetry, seeing beauty in everything. Suddenly, we did, too!

We had nine great kids and felt blessed by the day, by the experience of working with Mr. Argueta, and to know so many great people.

Though the workshop was great, K was in a bad mood. No, I mean BAD! Maybe it was because I'd taught all morning and just rushed back in time for this, maybe she needed more sleep, maybe she didn't like interrupting play just begun to listen. Regardless, her poetry was nothing like that of the other kids. Writing about being a mango, she began with "go... crunch, crunch, crunch, squish. Delicious - me." But then got into a story - her preferred narrative outlet - about being picked up by a dog who confuses the mango for a ball. It was all about feelings of fear and disgusting (though apt) images of drool. Imagining that the dog's teeth cut her (as a mango/ball) she wrote, "I felt like my brain was ripped out. Blood dripped from my cut like sap from a tree."

On the one hand - ugh! On the other hand, we all feel frustrated and angry; maybe being able to express it helps resolve it. Though she may not have a future writing mainstream children's books, she might find her niche in the Horrible History or Lemony Snicket models. Reading that did challenge my New Year's Resolution to try to let her be who she is, but after reflection I am (uncomfortable, but) pretty certain that I did the right thing in not editing or censoring her gory contribution.

We had a wonderful long walk later that afternoon, just the two of us. From the house, we went through neighborhoods and forests to the top of a nearby hill. We were gone for nearly three hours, exploring and talking and being silent together. The bad mood was gone and replaced by a young naturalist, full of information and inquiries, joy and expressed love.

The contrast in just a few hours - drool, blood, and anger to simple and energized joy makes motherhood so... oh, I'm searching for words. So ALIVE. Feeling such authentic solicitude toward another, knowing that my well being is intrinsically tied to hers, is the essence of being alive, with all of the exhaustion and joy, sadness and passion that goes along with it.

My life since they are born is like... [to be completed when I sort out the many metaphors that come to mind.]


The Babby Babes said...

I'm looking forward to you sorting out your metaphors (in your copius amounts of spare time-right) as you have quite a cliff hanger going here...;)

Therese said...

Still struggling. "Pregnant" comes to mind. I feel like... wherever I go and whatever I do, I am still in a sense pregnant, carrying with me great responsibility, overarching love, and a way of being that defines my very soul.