poetry wednesday : new year’s poem

New Year’s Poem By Margaret Avison  The Christmas twigs crispen and needles rattle Along the window-ledge.              A solitary pearl Shed from the necklace spilled at last week’s party Lies in the suety, snow-luminous plainness Of morning, on the window-ledge beside them. And all the furniture that circled stately And hospitable when these rooms were brimmed With perfumes, furs, and black-and-silver Crisscross of seasonal conversation, lapses Into its previous largeness.              I remember Anne’s rose-sweet gravity, and the stiff grave Where cold so little can contain; I mark the queer delightful skull and crossbones Starlings and sparrows left, taking the crust, And the long loop of winter wind Smoothing its arc from dark Arcturus down To the bricked corner of the drifted courtyard, And the still window-ledge.              Gentle and just pleasure It is, being human, to have won from space This unchill, habitable interior Which mirrors quietly the light Of the snow, and the new year. (Photo from here)...

book stack tuesday : my best of 2014

I read a lot. It all started when I was a kid. Under a quilt with a flashlight, staying up far past my bedtime, I cheated sleep for the love of the word, those pages I longed to touch and move, one by one, from the front of a book to the back (in magazines, however, I read from back to front). Pippi! Daddy Longlegs! Biographies with soulful pencil portraits! Mrs Piggle Wiggle! And, at a preternaturally young age, Ayn Rand; I shudder to even admit that, and I have the owner of the local bookstore to blame for it–she wanted to recruit me to the Dark Side, I believe, and invited me to her Ayn Rand book group at the tender age of 14, an age by which I already wore bifocals, my eyesight having failed under those quilts, according to my mother. Luscious, tactile, books. Oh, the smell, nose in that crevice. Those words, ciphers of black ink on white, so ripe with meaning and emotion. The true creation of a world. From small town America to everywhere, late at night, alone in the dark, an orb of light showing me the way 2 round inches at a time. I grew into a mantra I thought I created myself, and perhaps I did: Never leave home without a book, a sweater, an index card, and a pen. For the past seven years, I have hosted a book club at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC, focused on “Bridging Differences.” Some of my favorite books from this year were read for that group. Others were public library discoveries (ah, the...

entering a new year

There are a lot of words of wisdom about starting a new year–choosing a word for the year to represent your intention, for example (we all need some way to make decisions, and a word is as good as any other metric). Pinterest is full of pins about organizing your life in 2015. Organization is important, indeed. So is messiness. There are exercises to make sure you are living your best and fullest life. I’m also a big fan of living your average and ordinary life. All this advice is out there, waiting for you to discover–something will resonate with you, I’m sure. The others will show the ways they do not fit your life by the speed with which they are forgotten. I’ve narrowed my New Year’s exercise to two questions over the years, questions that if I ask them honestly and truly, can create great direction of intention for me in the coming 12 months. They are simple questions: 1. What do I want to create in this new year? 2. What do I want to let go of? That’s it. These are questions that deserve our attention. There is a flow to life, of in and out, and these questions allow for that. In order to create new things, we must let go of others. What are you willing to let go of in 2015? An outdated story about what you can and cannot do? Toxic people? Procrastination? The “stuff” that keeps you from creating? What is it you want to create? It need not be epic. It can simply be a deeper quality of engagement...