Friday, January 12, 2018

LET GO. SIMPLIFY. (and Book Giveaway!)

Howdy, Campers ~ Happy Poetry Friday! My poem(s) and the link to PF are below.

This round, each of us at TeachingAuthors is considering How do we want to challenge ourselves or our students in the new year?

Carmela kicks us off; she believes lessons learned from her new book will help in a revision of her next (her post includes our book giveaway of CWIM 2018); Esther talks about Next Steps in a writer's journey.

My challenge to my students and to myself this year is to LET GO. SIMPLIFY.

This is from a poem by the Spanish poet Antonio Machado:

Wanderer, your footprints are

the path, and nothing else;
wanderer, there is no path,
the path is made by walking.
to read the rest of this poem, click here

His poem reminds me of who I was and what I am becoming.

In the past, I was a puppy chasing after her tail, looking for my PURPOSE in life, and trying to write my stories in the EXACT RIGHT WAY. I was looking for that green button to push. I knew it was somewhere. I just had to find it.
I ran from award-winning-writer to crazy-wonderful-workshop to must-attend-conference to the-ultimate-guru to she-will-fix-my-novel-mentor to they-will-lead-me-out-of-this-quagmire-critique group (at one time I was in three critique groups, which is categorically insane).

I don't chase my tail much these days (probably due in equal measure to wisdom and hormones).  And this year, because I was ill for several months, I had to--BAM!--blow up my tidy schedule: no weekly silent writing group, no critique group, no exercise classes, no hiking group, no folk music circles in our home, and almost no political activities. I had to unplug from those little boxes on my calendar.

Where did that leave me? On a deserted island. No one could find me. I couldn't find myself.


For my poem on October 26th, I was inspired by a sentence from a meditation I listened to that day:

by April Halprin Wayland

You may feel lost,
like a chick on the prairie.

There will be times
like this.

there will be feathers:

on bushes,
in dust.


This is how you'll find yourself.

(The sentence that inspired me was: "You may feel lost at times, but that is how you find yourself.")

LET GO. SIMPLIFY.  When I let go of everything, I'm free to choose what serves me going forward.

Searching through my daily poems for the tag word "Lost," I see I've been here before, witness my poem for August 17, 2012:

by April Halprin Wayland

We writers,
we've been through Hard Times.
Dry times.
The Long Drought.

Dry?  Oh my.
We place our plates upside down,
glasses bottom side up,
so the winds won't blast dust into 'em.

Our typewriters go thirsty on parched parchment.
We've got scrawny stories—or none at all.
Ideas simply

We hear that on the outskirts of Amarillo,
crows built a nest from barbed wire—
the only thing they could scavenge
from burned-out fields.

Those birds made a nest
from barbed wire?
Well, Sir, then so can we.
And then: we'll crow.

both poems © 2018 April Halprin Wayland.  All rights reserved.
There will be feathers. I can make a nest from barbed wire. Or from absurd and glorious ideas. They don't have to make sense to anyone else. They don't even have to make sense to me.

So how does LET GO. SIMPLIFY. translate for me this year?  I use the app My Affirmations; here are some of them:
  • I radiate vibrant health.
  • There is no need to compare.
  • My writing sings.
  • I submit one book this year. (If I submit more, I get bonus points)
  • I am present.
  • I am kind.
I know this post wanders. But today I accept I am a wanderer. May you accept yourself and your own writing in all it's absurdity and glory in the coming year.

What writing (and/or non-writing) challenge will you take on this year?

Remember to enter our Book Giveaway for a chance to win the marvelous 2018 CWIM. Click here for details.

Thank you, Jan Godown Annino at Bookseed Studio for hosting this week's Poetry Friday! 
(I love this joyful PF image. Makes me smile. )

posted with hope by April Halprin Wayland with the help of Eli-the-dog, Snot-the-cat, and Monkey-who-doesn't-know-he's-a-stuffed-animal.


Sally Murphy said...

April, I love the honesty in this reflective post, and your poems,too.Hope your health is better in 2018. My writing goal in 2018 is to find joy in the writing process,which matches my word for the year, 'flourish'.

Kay said...

Oh...all these poems are lovely. I've already shared the wanderer one with my daughter (who is wandering through London this weekend). The idea of our footprints making our own path resonates with me right now. And I can relate to the feeling of being lost and parched. My goal for the new year is to develop the habit of writing every day--so far so good--and to be BRAVE by trying new forms and by submitting writing for publication. I hope you time of forced rest brings better health this year.

jan godown annino said...

These thoughts are good medicine, April!
I've saved the Antonio Machado Proverbs and Songs 29 poem, especially the first lines in my Quotes file for when I doubt my own steps. (And I want to look up that last unusual word - stele - related to seas.)
I didn't know about your bout with lengthy illness & am glad that is past. You are a soothing self-care doctor!

Carmela Martino said...

LOVE your challenge, April! LET GO. SIMPLIFY. is something I want to do, too.

Linda B said...

My OLW of a few years ago was "wander" and it still feels like one I want to keep. Things, like your poem by Machado, keep popping up, reminding me that I can continue to wander and find good things in most unlikely places. I love your inspiration here, April. Sometimes it does feel like making a 'nest from barbed wire', but if you can, I will try! Happy New Year for all your affirmations.

Esther Hershenhorn said...

I've added "let go" and "simplify," April, to the list of Challenge Actions our readers expressed in their comments.
Thank you, as always, for your HONESTY.
Remember what Emily wrote: "Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul..."

Carol Varsalona said...

April, your post was filled with inspiration and links for me. As we wander, we notice, wonder, explore and discover. I am on that journey this year with the #oneword hope as my guide. Sometimes my "Ideas simply evaporate" as you said. May you build your health back as you sit still and let go.

Books4Learning said...

I love your poem LOST AT TIMES. Thanks for for the encouragement to slow down. I have to constantly keep myself in check to not take on too much too.

Mrs. Wyman said...

You had me at "wanderer!" My blog is Wondering and Wandering because I do so much of both. While it isn't my OLW, simplify is truly admirable. As my blog's inspiration, Henry David Thoreau said, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.” My best to you. -- Christie @

Bobbi Miller said...

O my! I love this wisdom! I do feel like a chick lost at times on the prairie. Thank you for the reminder to sit still. ❤❤❤

GatheringBooks said...

Very wise words about letting go and simplifying. I just read Mary Oliver's Devotions - and it also conveys the same sentiment. Happy New Year, April!

CS Perryess said...

April -- Lousy health is no fun, but it looks like you've made the best of it. Thanks for the poems, the thoughts, & the inspiration. May you continue to radiate vibrant health.

mbhmaine said...

I so enjoyed wandering through your reflective post and took several leisurely side trips to explore related areas. I love the Machado poem and both of your poems resonate with me as well. Feeling lost, wandering, can lead to such rich discoveries if we're open to those possibilities. Here's to absurd and glorious writing and to radiant health!

Mary Lee said...

One foot in front of the other...keep moving! Good luck on your journey this year!

Margaret Simon said...

I love the random path of this post. I am like this. I need to just accept my randomness and move on. Your poem was just right, with feathers to build upon. So far I've written a page in my notebook every day. If that is all I write, it is enough. Thanks for this post.

Jarm Del Boccio said...

Thanks for this, April. Simplicity is my word for 2018!

Linda said...

Simplify was my old a few years ago. Last year, as I prepared to retire from teaching, I thought I would have more time to write and my life would be much simpler. It didn't quite turn out that way. So many of the things you mentioned like trying to find my life's purpose has been an ongoing challenge that complicates everything. My very wise son tells me to stop chasing, and I'll find it. That's so hard for me to do, but maybe he is on to something. Thanks, April, for this inspiring post.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Wow - I didn't know that poet but I feel I'll be returning more than once to that poem. Thanks so much for sharing. I DO know that other poet (you!) and appreciate your kindnesses and wisdom shared so very much. Love and light to you this new year, April! XO

April Halprin Wayland said...

All ~ thank you for your attention and thoughtful comments. One of my friends, is unlike me in that no matter how many comments she may get on her wonderful (and near daily) instagram posts (and she often has more than fifty), she responds to each and every one personally. Oh, how I would like to be like her! And oh, how I now and finally know that I am not like her.

With love and love,

Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

April, I hope you do submit that book. I hope you continue writing, each word simple, dry and purely you.

Michelle Kogan said...

"Let go." what a good idea and grand advice" Wishing you many "feathers: on bushes" and time to "Sit," Happy New Year April, Cheers!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thank you, Brenda and Michelle <3

Keri said...

Your poems are so candid. Thank you for being the trailblazer you have always been, and best wishes for an Elsa-like time of letting go!