September 11

How Did I Get Myself Into This?

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.