Ohhhh, friends. I am beginning to love this weekly sit-down at my computer, thinking of all you readers and non-readers and sometimes-readers, and composing something that makes you think, or smile, or possibly laugh. This website started out as a blog about books, and telling you of what I learned after reading one every single week. I feel like now, it has morphed into something different: a journal of attempts, of trying to do something I realize I'm incapable of doing. It's not that it's impossible, but rather that I'm learning I don't have to be perfect, I don't have to do this. My goal has subtly changed; the change wasn't at all premeditated. I just sort of. . . stopped reading so much. A poem here, half a book there, a single short story in the interim between Thursday night and Friday at ten in the morning. And this is just: life. I'm doing my best.
How am I supposed to take it all in, you know? Lately I've been overcome with: change. A new city, a new apartment, a new (singular) friend to hang out with and semi-rely upon. (That'd be Dave, and Dave, you are a blessing!) Add to these changes a brand-new job, no, two jobs, and finding a church and finding time to eat and finding time to jog--to recenter myself, regain the knowledge of how my blood flows, and getting it all the way to my brain. There are so many places to go--to run to, to walk to, drive to. I am overcome.
It's more than my brain can handle. Which is why I've let myself relax, especially with this book challenge.
This is what it has become: touching a new book every week, opening its pages, getting a glimpse of another person's world, and what they've created.
This week I chose two books instead of just one. The first was "The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective," by Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert, (published by Crossroad Publishing in 2001). The other was a volume of poetry by Linda Hogan, entitled "The Book of Medicines," (published in 1993 by Coffee House Press).
For the sake of not confusing you, I'll skip explaining the Enneagram volume and speak to the poetry, instead. (If personality models interest you at all, however, I do recommend that you check out the Enneagram typology. Link to it here.)
So. The poetry. Linda Hogan is a prominent poet writing from the Native American perspective. Her poetry touches upon themes of rebirth, regeneration, healing and human survival. (Taken in part from reviews by Barbara Kingsolver and Joy Harjo).
Water grew between two lands / that once were one. / That was the first breaking, / and the stories in each grain of sand, / older than we are, / come apart, / not even a trace of the first ones, / no jawbone turning over / in the great salt of blood and brine, / no finger, mountain / or splinter of leg. / How does water do it, / strip a world to its bones, / how does it dance that way / without feet, / sing without a voice, / caress with no hands / and follow the moon / without a single eye?
I'm not a poet, friends. And I don't review it very well either. But I'll tell you these few things I gained this past week from reading poetry aloud:
1. Rhythm. It starts to get into you, the beat of words and sounds. Reading to the end of stanzas, to the end of the verses. . . you truly start to feel it, rather than just see it.
2. Thinking. It's like you can't do it--or you'll lose the rhythm--but you also HAVE to think. (Some poems are super clear and pristine, the images are just laid out before you like a table setting, but....Linda Hogan's stuff? Not so much. It's kinda deep. You have to push yourself to get to the heart of it.)
3. Time. It takes some time to read poetry. BUT, that said, you can just read one at a time! And it sits with you. Yeah, it can niggle you too, if you let it. And that's awesome. That a small set of words can pull away the corners to a world you'd never pictured or dreamed of before. That's the gift of poetry. Give it your time, and it will give you insight.
Alright, everybody. It is late. And you have blessed me with your time, reading through this and considering things alongside me. Hope you're well. Be truly blessed.