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Last week for Write After Reading: Living the Life Poetic, Laura discussed Chapter 27 . Pop on over there if you missed it.

I'm going backwards a step this week, to chapter 26, because I think the lesson in it is important one for me to remember and perhaps for you too. (I have a feeling Laura already has a habit around this idea but I'm working to develop one.)

This chapter is all about small stones. Now that caught my attention right away because I am forever picking up stones. When we removed the lawns from our yard I had a field day collected little tiny no bigger than your thumb pieces of smooth stones. I have a pile of them in the yard I keep adding to.

The other thing that spoke to me in this chapter is that it is all about doing something that I am trying to get better at doing, slowing down and being in the moment so I can notice what is right in front of me. I am really trying to make the effort to do that because every single time I do, poetry and words just spew forth. It's like they were just hanging around waiting for me to open my eyes.

This very short chapter talks about how another writer, On that website she says, "a small stone helps me pay proper attention to one thing every day. I hope it will help you to do the same.:
I have tried more times than I can remember in the past to keep some kind of regular journal or something to record my daily thoughts and outside of this blog, that doesn't work for me. But small stones, poetic fragments, perhaps that's doable.

She suggests trying for three thoughts per day. 1, something in nature. 2, observe yourself in a relationship with someone or something and 3, seek out something you might not otherwise notice because you're unconsciously filtering it out.

I really like this idea because it fits in with my idea of slowing down and being in the moment while also trying to train myself to observe the ordinary around me. It also goes hand-in-hand with the other habit I am trying to cultivate, ala Beth Kephart, which is to write 5 metaphors a day.

I invite you to share your three poetic fragments for the day in the comments below.

And a note from Laura about next week's conversation. She'd like you to start thinking about a song whose lyrics really touch you. You''ll want to have one in mind for her post next week. 

Okay these are quickies. I want to come back try to add to these fragments but here's a first pass.

1. something in nature.

Wasps building holey huts under the eaves.
They work as hard as the bees but for much less credit.

2. observe yourself in a relationship with someone or something

Letting paint spill across the page makes me feel like I have just taken a humungous breath of fresh air.

3. seek out something you might not otherwise notice because you're unconsciously filtering it out.

Dust on the white moldings reminds me beach sand.
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 12 comments — Leave comment )
May 5th, 2011 01:15 am (UTC)
I liked this chapter, too, Susan. I find myself wishing life away by looking forward, impatiently wanting something else and not enjoying what's going on right now. Perhaps I don't think what's going on right now is worth anything, but it could be if I'd give it some attention.

1. Swallows skimmed the tops of the weedy field, flashing color as they dip and rise, twist and turn, dart and soar.

2. I write quiet. He sleeps in his recliner, chest rising and falling in rhythm to his dream.

3. Silence sizzles. It buzzes and hums, quietly, of course. But it gets too noisy if I give it attention.

May 5th, 2011 04:40 pm (UTC)
Oh Cindy, I love all of these, the alliteration in the first and third one but the second one really got to me.

My March month of play was all about trying to enjoy what was right in front of me but dang, it is so hard sometimes. I just keep racing forward.

May 5th, 2011 02:34 am (UTC)
How easily children can become immersed in the moment, but for adults, so often when we quiet our minds, the current to-do list gets replaced with another. Still, in the spirit of rock gardens and contemplation, here are some observations that fought their way out:

1. something in nature.

Fog dripping softly off new leaves can sound like rain.

2. observe yourself in a relationship with someone or something

On each visit to the flowers growing in my garden, peace grows within.

3. seek out something you might not otherwise notice because you're unconsciously filtering it out.

When the kitchen is full of happy chatter, I am content even to wash dishes.

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May 5th, 2011 04:43 pm (UTC)
Ellie, I love the reminder that it is in the spirit of rock gardens. I had planned a rock garden for my yard for the longest time for just that reason. I have something else instead but several places that are perfect for contemplating.

I like all of these observations. The third one is my favorite. Just that simple line brought a whole picture into my mind.

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May 5th, 2011 04:43 pm (UTC)
Jone, I love that Naomi suggests that as well. Sigh. Such good suggestions coming from so many talented people, I REALLY need to cultivate the habit.
(Deleted comment)
May 5th, 2011 04:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Laura's 3 Stones
Laura, yours made me smile. Love the gardener observation. We had a guy who cut bushes like that once.

And the embroidery book...yes, a time capsule. I have opened boxes like that in the garage and felt myself instantly transported.
Fiona Robyn
May 5th, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC)
small stones....
Hello Susan - I just found this post about the chapter in Sage's book about small stones - what a lovely thing to find! So glad you enjoyed it and I did enjoy reading your stones. I'm commenting as you might not have heard about our project, 'a river of stones', which encourages everyone to pay attention to one thing every day during July and write it down - there's plenty of information here http://ariverofstones.blogspot.com - let me know if you'd like to do an interview/piece for your lovely blog. Good to meet you :)
May 6th, 2011 10:56 pm (UTC)
Re: small stones....
Hello, Robyn,
I missed notification of this comment. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and our discussion. I will definitely make mention of your upcoming project!

I think the small stones habit is such a good one. I just hope I can make it stick!
(Deleted comment)
May 6th, 2011 10:52 pm (UTC)
Jone, I love that "thronk thronk!" What a great descriptive sound.

Nothing like a puppy tail wag to say hello and ugh ugh ugh on that pollen dust!

I am going to try and do more today. I missed yesterday.
May 6th, 2011 06:25 pm (UTC)
Poetry issues this week. Me and poetry issues.

1. Is the tree in my yard conscious of its roots or does it just stand.

2. Do my stone thoughts merit making a pile?

3. It's my own fragments, pieces of poems, moments of insight that I refuse.

I'm headed out of town. Maybe I'll have a chance while I'm gone to join the conversation.

May 6th, 2011 10:54 pm (UTC)
Ooh, Dori, I love that first one. I'm reading some Ram Dass right now so it feels very fitting. :)

#2 I want to shout YES!

#3 is something I have to battle as well. I don't know about you but I often wonder if my moments of insight are worth sharing and while I know that they usually are it's that doubt that makes me hesitate and then makes me miss recording them. I'm trying to retrain my thoughts. ;)
May 9th, 2011 04:03 pm (UTC)
Hi, Susan! I've nominated you for an award on my blog this morning. I hope you have fun with it :)

( 12 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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