Further shifts

Shifts are necessary now and again. Here are a some I am undergoing.

For example, readers of this blog will notice that the writer’s focus tends to move from interest to interest, month to month, year to year. And yet there’s poetry to consider, always. During the past year, I have read more non-fiction books than poetry books. More history. More memoir. More science. I have been pursuing the consciousness and neurology and physiology texts.

I have learned a great deal from all of this reading, and it is inspiring. I find, however, that it’s taken its toll on my writing poetry.

My shift now: Read more poetry.

~

But what about my love for difficult books?

Well, there is no doubt in my mind that poetry can be difficult. Difficult to write, difficult to read, difficult to understand. Time to go there, further and deeper.

~

~

Another shift: in the spring semester, I will be teaching a more advanced course in writing comp and rhetoric, one that will be more challenging for the students and especially for me. One of the arguments I will be making to them is that they recognize the need for credibility in the sources they use as evidence.

Making that case runs rather counter to the way US society operates. We shall see how well I can make my argument to these young people.

~

One further shift–certainly not the last. There’s my constant inquiry into consciousness…because sentience and human beings–and their brains, and their mind-body problems, and their relationships, and their stories and metaphors and art forms and pains–intrigue me endlessly, I turn to books and art for understanding. I do not expect to learn what consciousness is, where it originates, or how it came to be. But I ask because asking is interesting.

The reading has been enlightening. Philosophy, yes, and neurology and cultural anthropology. Oh, and evolution, religion, and medicine. Not to mention texts on death and dying (and the unanswerable “is that the end of consciousness?”).

My shift here lately has been to read less and to encounter more. I have been volunteering as a hospice companion/caregiver relief assistant, sometimes in the home but most often at the inpatient hospice unit at a nearby hospital.

quanyin

There are bodhisattvas among us, and I have met them on the ward floor. This particular shift does not mean I will never read another book on consciousness, but it has reminded me that kindness is a constant act and that kindness is conscious and aware. It does not reside in a book but in the daily world, which is all we have.

~

I have to work on that in my own relationships, the ones that don’t take place on the hospice wing.

~

May I prove resilient to these shifts. The days are incrementally longer now. Time to read poems.

 

 

Advertisements

7 comments on “Further shifts

  1. Looking forward to hearing about the poetry that intrigues you in 2017, Ann!

    Like

  2. KM Huber says:

    “But I ask because asking is interesting.” It is, isn’t it?

    The course you will be teaching sounds quite interesting– and challenging–in what people are calling a “post-truth” era. You may have written something about this, and if so, and I will find it, as I’m a bit behind in my reading. Nonetheless, I hope you will post a bit about what you find in teaching the advanced writing course in rhetoric.

    Karen

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sigrun says:

    My shift (the shift I hope to make) is to take better care of my hours of morning work, taking care not to let the humdrum of ordinary tasks steal away the few precious hours I give myself every morning to read and write.

    Wish you a creative & happy new year!

    Like

  4. […] Read more poems, I advised myself. At first, I thought I might scout around for some writers whose work I am unfamiliar with–writers new (say, Ocean Vuong) and less new (say, Alberta Turner). I have the week off from university work, however, and am lazing about at home…no trips to the library. […]

    Like

  5. […] of difficult books…and I know I told myself to read more poetry (and I am, really, most recently Michael Burkard’s Fictions from the Self)…I am […]

    Like

  6. […] Yes, I’m sticking to my determination to read more poetry. And it is helping. Most recently, re-reading early Li-Young Lee, Mark Doty’s Deep Lane, Dave […]

    Like

Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s