Notes from the Shelter: In Which We Make Plans for Sanity’s Sake

Topics: Poetry
National Poetry Month Poster

I told myself I’d post every day this week for spring break. Today, I’ve got nothing to say but will make something up anyway. Watch this.

Here’s the writing plan for April and the long weeks at home in the early morning hours before I switch to my day job computer and teach online.

  1. April is poetry month. I figure I can use my poetry prompt book to post something once a day week for that month. (I decided to take it easy on us all with the once a day thing.)
Smash Poetry Journal Cover

I make no promises that the poems will be good. In my mind I’m just ‘throwing pots’ like that story from Art and Fear by Bayles and Orland.

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”.

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

 

The idea of throwing pots keeps me moving and less paralyzed. Besides. It’s way more fun to keep playing than agonizing over each and every word–each and every sketch or project.

2. I also owe another revision of my picture book draft to my SCBWI-WA mentor Curtis Manley who started working with me last fall. We were able to have a very helpful Zoom conference meeting today, and I got so much from him that I needed to move forward.

After this latest round, my fingers are tightly crossed that it will be submission-ready at long last–as in taking-the-leap-and-sending-it-to-agents ready. Throwing pots does me more good if I pick a favorite every so often, rub off the dust, and share it with the world even while moving on to the next pot.

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

Andy Warhol

And that’s it! Not bad for having nothing to say, eh?

May you throw pots. Many pots. And may they bring you more joy than not.

Karrie

 

About the author: Karrie Zylstra Myton is a blogger, essayist, and aspiring author who writes for the wild joy it brings on the best days and the hard lessons she learns about life on the worst. After crafting stories in the ridiculously early morning hours, she chases her two sons, cuddles with cats, and laughs with her husband about how crazy life can get in middle age.

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