your own words

While on my blogging break, I was surprised to find a rest in writing more, not less.  My new journal stayed close beside me, ready to take on my words at any given moment.  Multiple times a day I found myself jotting down words, thoughts and feelings in the moment, along with quotes I liked from books I’d been reading.  The paper and pen could meet me, could be there for me, in a way the keyboard on a computer cannot.  And where opening the computer to write often comes with a feeling of guilt or neglect for children or duties, opening my journal seems a much more present and natural light.

“Watching, listening, learning, I begin to feel at ease where I am, come to know the language of the wind, the daily path of the summer sun, the proximity of stars.  And so it is that the contours of this landscape slowly inscribe themselves on my heart, on all our hearts, as sense memories accrue by layers, one day blending seamlessly into the next.”
~Katrina Kenison, The Gift of an Ordinary Day~

You see, when you look into the eyes of an artist long enough, you begin to understand an inner world outside of your own.  Your eyes become like the hand of a neuro-surgeon, carving a pathway to the inmost being in ways man only thinks that he knows.  The artist makes an imprint on your heart, a change in your perspective, and ultimately, a change in the way you live your life.  His life shows up in the presentation of your life .  His art becomes the inspiration for your own.  The artist becomes a part of you.

This is all just a meandering way of getting around to our school work.  In an imitation of former teachers, the big kids were given the task of writing a two page paper, on any topic of their choice.  They each chose to write about an animal.  This was a good excuse to hunt through the various sets of hand-me-down encyclopedias, bored on the bookshelves, hoping at length for a chance to be used. I asked this of them knowing full well how much I hated writing papers, for I’m still learning things myself. I’m reminded of many a frustrated and blank-staring minutes, my desk piled high with library books and words galore, waiting for my own words to magically appear out of nowhere.   

I saw the same frustration this morning.   The kids hovered over the paragraphs of lions and coyotes, worried their own words had come to an end.  They only had enough words for one page, not two.  Straying from the familiar words of using your own words, I offered a suggestion, hoping to renew their hope for the next full page.  I told them they could copy what they read in between the black and white lines.  Read and write what you see.  It’s not plagiarism, plagiarism is stealing.  It’s work, copy work at differing levels.   You copy the words, not to claim them as your own, but to borrow them for a time, but only for a time, when the time will surely come to give them back with joy.


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