So now I’m into selling my idea–introducing what it is exactly that I do, and why, and how much would I like to charge for such a service? I’m discovering how hard this is–some days, anyway. Actually, the hardest part is making the call to someone who does not know me. Who am I? If I’m lucky, I at least know someone that they know. What do I want to do? Journal? Using poetry? As soon as that word–the “p” word–is introduced, I feel the freeze. People’s bad memories of English classes and boring verses, and tests–they all come back. And I get the blank stare. Actually, last week I was visiting a class of writers I helped start several years ago. I had figured out that I shouldn’t try to push the “p” word on them, but I did use it once. One woman — new to the class since I had been there — walked out. Yes, picked up her notebook and walked out. Oh, dear, How Did I Get Myself Into This?
The answer is simple. I got into this because of the magic. At my work in a rehab facility, I started to bring in poems. I was going to say “modern” poems, but the first one was by a 13th Century Muslim mystic–hardly a modern poem. But at least in the translation, it has the feel of a contemporary poet. One woman jerked her head back as if physically hit. The next week, she said, “That poem saved my life.” I knew that I was onto something. I am in this Poetry for the Journey thing because I can’t help myself. My first eight-week session is titled “Happy and Healthy,” and indeed this is not an exaggeration. When people allow themselves to meditate on a poem (a carefully chosen one, I might add) and talk about it leisurely, and then write about something that this conversation has generated, self-discovery often occurs. Sometimes, it’s magic.