This is one of those posts where I am not sure where I am heading. Bear with me.
Throughout April, each morning, I was writing poems. Inspired by images put up by Bud Hunt at his blog site (Bud the Teacher) and by Mary Lee Hahn at her blog (A Year of Reading), I worked to be inspired by the media they had chosen to write poetry, every day. I’d sit down with my cup of coffee, stare at the image chosen for the day and just write, and see where it took me. Some of the poems were magical; Most were just ordinary and quickly forgotten. You just never knew, and that was part of the gift of it.
I’ve been doing this with Bud for a few years now. Mary Lee just started her month of media this year (I think) as part of lessons around how to use Wikimedia Commons in the classroom. I know, and admire, both Mary Lee and Bud, I should add. Both are wonderful educators and writers, and I am grateful to have them in my network and community, and as friends.
In years past, at Bud’s site, a small group of others, including Bud, would be writing poems each day, too, so I always felt like I was part of a writing cadre, and I held on to this vision of us, in different places in the world, looking at the same image that Bud had chosen and writing from different viewpoints. It is a fascinating thing to read what someone else has imagined from the same photo that you just used for your own imagining. There grows this thread between writers.
This year, for whatever reason, no one else wrote at Bud’s site. (Not true, Bud posted one or two poems early on). But for the most part, my words and lines were the only poems on the page. It felt rather lonely, to be honest, but I kept writing because I was writing for myself as much as for Bud and the world. I even did some podcasting with Soundcloud of poems, but then realized through hit counts that only four or five people were listening. (It’s possible that other folks were writing in other places, but I never saw where).
I came to Mary Lee a few days late into the mix, and joined in a bit reluctant. Did I really want to write two poems every day? I did. And I did, and it was wonderful. Here, with Mary Lee, there was a small writing community in play, and the very things that I missed at Bud’s site this year – other writers — was in bloom at Mary Lee’s. A handful of poets were using Mary Lee’s inspiring media (images and videos) to write poetry, and even offer up some reactions to each other (I didn’t do enough of that every day, but I did some). It was lovely to come back later in the day and see how the post unfolded, with Mary Lee moving poems from the comment section to the main post as a showcase of sorts. I felt very connected as writer. There was an audience and a gathering of friends, all rolled up into one experience.
I can’t say I did not enjoy writing with Bud this year. I did. I always love the images he pulls out, and I appreciate that he does it, even if this year it felt like he was only doing it for me. (Thanks, Bud!) But it didn’t emerge as a writing network and by the end of the month, I was less inspired than at the top of the month. Mary Lee’s project did have those elements of connections, and that made all the difference in the world for me as a writer. I am thankful for both of my friends, but I wonder where all of the writers with Bud went to.
I told you I was going to meander, and so I did.
Peace (in the reflection),