earth's torso a hot beast in august
scorched and pregnant
her feet want rest
with ice packs underneath
but she's up over there in her garden
worrying over silver buffalo berry
and curlicue sage
her nursery hours never close
mother of a million young-old-ancient darlings
arctic whales who live beyond two hundred
thousand year old trees
flies who live an eye's blink
all on her watch
as nanny-mama-hospice worker
as we throw grass at her and stamp our feet
as we rip her apart
she's planting new green
her aching spine
scattering red hot pokers now
her cloud dreams pour floods
that drink are drunk and wipe us clean
so she might find a nap
but it's always sowing-washing-harvest season
as time rolls into ink on my fingers
betraying my eyes' dark spots
from lost sleep spinning on to-dos
so you too dear mother: be still
among your hummingbirds and mint
burnout's not worth your sweat
someday all of us will fly
to the middle of sun
we'll raise tired arms
and dive toward flame
someday I'll just be a playwright
someday a pile in the ground
ashes blowing all around
someday I'll grow up past my face
and be a stronger version of me
someday I'll carry a stack of books in prairie jeans
and drop half of them
and my little brothers
will help me restack
they'll do a messy job
and I'll throw their bindings up in a roar
and they'll build a castle of words
in a world with giants and small folk
some are magic
and we all need a timeout
In February, for the first Refilling Your Creative Well workshop at The Cabin, we created medals for ourselves, wrote the ceremony speeches and presented ourselves with our awards, as inspired by Andrew Simonet. Below is my medal and speech.
This medal is for Heidi, for enduring the little things.
For sustaining at her everyday job when she wasn't always sure she wanted to be there on campus, rules changing moment to moment, frozen bike rides, students absent more often than present, in two worlds at once: Zoom and in person, coworkers going maskless, policing students on safety, getting Covid and working from home while sick, exhausted, depleted.
For learning a new class, a new system, a new platform and modality every semester since spring 2020.
For showing up. To the email inbox. Oh that dreadful box of doom. What will today bring? A mini-heart attack with every open. And the eye twitches! Good gawd. After six months of online classes, she didn't think either eye would stay still again.
This medal is for Heidi getting students to laugh, cry, spend time with each other, offering every flexibility possible. And whenever she could, she gave herself time. To write. To be. And one Sunday every few months to do nothing at all but be human. She learned not to work or take meetings on Sundays. Learned from her panic attacks, from days she felt as much aversion going into the classroom as she did on her worst years in high school. She stopped checking email after 6pm. Started checking once a day, even -- at least the personal email.
So this medal is for Heidi. For learning to love herself a little more. Learning that she needs travel, creative well being and a supportive community to sustain her. And declaring that she's gonna make smaller steps to get to those bigger goals, dammit, because
a little something is possible
of forward movement can be made
toward giant impossible dreams.
So this medal is for Heidi. For going after joy.
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Process notes on a work in progress (me). This mostly contains raw rough content pulled out of practice notebooks. Occasional posts also invite you into the way I work, with intermittent notes on the hows and whys on the whats I make. Less often you may also find prompts and processes I've brought to workshops, as well as surveys that help me gather material for projects. Similar earlier posts from years ago can be found on: