While I was reading Georgia Heard’s Heart Maps yesterday, I remembered a technique I learned from her to move through writer’s block. It was taken from her book, Writing Toward Home. In it she recounts a moment after her ninety-year-old grandmother died. Staring at an onion on the table, Georgia began to write and reveal insights made between the layers of an onion to the “soft, papery hands of her grandmother.”
Following her advice, I sat down at the kitchen table in full view of the backyard. I was working on my writing homework for one of my workshop sections through Teachers College Summer Institute. It was still bright enough to see outside on that summer evening. Suddenly a robin came into view, criss-crossing through the yard. I took pen to paper, and here is what I wrote:
The next morning, Georgia Heard gave the keynote on the Columbia campus. Afterward, I found the nerve to approach her to share my discoveries and gratitude for the idea. With a poet’s eye, she was genuinely intrigued. Although that breakthrough helped me to draft a writing piece, I decided to return to it today and try my hand at poetry.
On a Wing and a Prayer
The robin moves with purpose
and appears to know her worth –
Seeking, searching, scampering
great treasures beneath the earth.
Sustenance to feed her young
who wait inside their nest –
entwined in bits of twigs
created for their rest.
Mothers move unknowingly
though appear intent on course –
Kneeling, knowing, nurturing
unknown truths within the source.
Faithfulness to rear her young
intent on leaving home –
instilled with strong beliefs
no matter where they roam.
Thanks to the Two Writing Teachers for providing the opportunity to engage with this amazing community of writers!