Friday, February 10, 2012

Oops--you missed Children's Authors and Illustrators Week...but you didn't miss my DECLUTTERING poem for Poetry Friday!

Howdy, Campers!

My poem about clutter and the link to Poetry Friday is below.

But first...have you scampered to Carmela's post and entered to win Barb Rosenstock's The Camping Trip That Changed America in our latest book giveaway contest?  No?!?!  Then for heaven's sake, click here or scroll down now.  I'll wait right.

As Carmela noted in her post, I'm a card-carrying member of the Children's Authors Network (CAN!)
 photo credit: jessamyn via photopin cc
This isn't April. 

I lied.  I AM a member, but there are no cards.

In 2000, eleven members of CAN! created Children's Authors and Illustrators Week (CAIW).  CAIW was invented to encourage communities to discover and to connect with local authors and illustrators. It's celebrated the first week of February, but never fear! The CAIW webpage (which includes a wonderful poem about books by CAN! member and poet Joan Bransfield Graham --scroll to the bottom) includes Tips for Children's Authors and Illustrators Week which teachers, parents, librarians and even Martians can use all year long.

Plan on connecting with local authors and illustrators 
to celebrate CAIW next year!
(In fact, I'll bet one is lurking next door to you right now.)
photo credit: Fr Antunes via photopin cc

Okay, on to Poetry Friday!  I'm deep into the topic of clutter this week.  Which got me thinking about my three Clutterbusting Heroes:

1) My husband's client who moves his office and all his staff every two years.  "It keeps them from cluttering," he says.  

2) My friend, author Bruce Balan, who, you may remember, lives on a trimaran with his wife and sails around the world.   When Bruce goes to a conference and someone hands him a business card or a brochure or, well, anything, Bruce gives it his full attention, then gently hands it back. Even the business card.  "I don't have room for this on the boat," he explains.  

3) My friend, Brooks Palmer, professional declutter guy, who I interviewed last year about his first book. His quiet question, when working with clients, is "Do you need that?" or sometimes, "Can you let that go?"

All three of these guys (do you think there's a reason they're all guys?) are my heroes.
photo credit:
Heroes deserve a medal.

I have a new declutter plan for the New Year and I know you're dying to hear it.  Every month I'm going to hire my down-the-street neighborly handyman, Greg, to paint one of our closets or cupboards.  You know what that means I'll be doing the night before, right?  

This week he painted my home office closet.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I'd saved so many file folders, art paper, and recycled mailing envelopes, I could open an office supply store.  It was very embarrassing to look at all that stuff out of the closet, spread across our college kid's bedroom.

Greg prepped and painted my closet while I went off to a coffee house to procrastinate and finally to write.  When I returned, VOILA!  An clean closet! A blank page!  

Eli inspects the freshly painted shelves.

My rule is that I can only put back the things I actually need. Wish me luck.

by April Halprin Wayland

It started with one manila folder
holding just nine words:
ethereal, mellifluous, clink, crisp, apple, baby, shoulder, drool, listen.

Then five colored folders 
in a beautifully braided basket.  

Before long, 
my file cabinet was jammed so tightly 
with recycled file folders filled with words,
it was hard to pull out puddle, excellent, toasted, 
or even a single shard.

I hired a handyman to build special shelves in my closet
for oversized ones like warmheartedness,
tall ones (tate, titter, colossal), 
words without spines like pithless,
that need to be stacked
or stood up against dividers.

One day the words came tumbling down.
My room was filled with overconfident, noodle,
kleptomaniac, global.

The carpets were ruined.
I cried as I threw out onomatopoeia.
The walls were scratched by 
aquamarine and nincompoop.

Today, my shelves breathe.
One shelf has only the word, now.
Another, air.
The top shelf had bird
but this morning it flew out
past open and window.
poem (c) 2012 April Halprin Wayland, all rights reserved

Eli approves of the shelves (and waits for the OK to retrieve his red toy)

~ Magical Realism--the Game!

In the poem above, I substituted the idea of individual words for file folders, papers and notebooks.  

It feels a bit like Magical Realism to me.  According to Wikipedia, 
"Magic realism or magical realism is an aesthetic style or genre of fiction in which magical elements blend with the real world." 

1) Write a simple poem about an ordinary chore...maybe walking the dog or making your bed. 

2) Now, go back and substitute a more general concept for the noun.  Instead of "I made the bed," perhaps, "I made the friendship."  Instead of "I walked the dog," perhaps "I walked the war."  Sort of like a game of Mad Libs (play a version of Mad Libs online for free here).  

3) Roll around in the odd wonderfulness of not having to make sense.

Thanks to
Laura Purdie Salas at Writing The World For Kids
for hosting Poetry Friday today!

Remember to write with joy!  
(And remember to enter our book giveaway!)


Linda at teacherdance said...

I like your tips about clutter. Maybe I should post them with your lovely poem in each closet/cabinet/drawer? And I love the poem & your way of saying goodbye to the words. It has a rather wistful feel, but celebrates at the end with the bird. I will try it. Thanks for the inspiration.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thanks, Linda. I'm slowly going through the stuff in my kid's room now...oy!

Sheri Doyle said...

I love how the decluttered shelves made room for the word 'bird' and especially the word 'now.'
I have been on a declutter mission for a few years. Good luck with the process. It's hard knowing what we actually 'need' back on those shelves.

Carmela Martino said...

What a great idea--having painting deadlines to force you to declutter. Good luck!
And I LOVE the poem, especially these lines:
>>Today, my shelves breathe.
One shelf has only the word, now.
Another, air.<<

Ruth said...

This is really a wonderful poem. The last stanza took my breath away. I wish I could declutter my mind that much!

Irene Latham said...

April, this post is effervescent! And the exercise is brilliant and fun. I will try it with my homeschooler right away!

laurasalas said...

What a beautiful poem. That last stanza made me pause and just breathe for a minute. Love the single shard--ha! And your other words, too!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Ruth, Irene and Laura...I am so honored by your comments!


Tabatha said...

Enjoyed your poem (and your photos)! Sorry it took me so long past Friday to find it :-)

April Halprin Wayland said...

Tabatha--you're sorry it took you so long to find this post--are you kidding? I haven't caught up on Poetry Friday links from last year!!! Glad you came by!