looking through me

Tag: art

writing music

This morning I popped in my headphones and found an album I haven’t listened to for seven years.

The last time I played it the lights were off and thirty-some squirrelly fourth grade students sat stone still in anticipation. They had earned the opportunity to listen to it, and they didn’t want to blow the chance.

I remember scanning their faces as I prepared to hit play and thinking, “I have done many things wrong as a teacher, but this right here is sweet victory.”

For the third year in a row I had nine and ten year olds begging to listen to Mozart.

The lights are on today. I’m standing at a desk three hundred miles away and those students are (hopefully) juniors and seniors in high school. And the first students—the initiators of the classical music reward system—should be high school graduates.

My teaching days are behind me, but my reason for listening is the same today. It’s time to write and words have been few. Life has been loud and unruly. Stillness has been elusive. I need inspiration. I need to be transported by beauty to another place. I need music written hundreds of years ago to create fresh imagery once again, and it will. It always does.

In my classroom, classical music taught us how to listen and find our words: how does this make you feel? what do you see in your mind when you hear it? what story is it telling?

And, today, I am still finding words and exercising my writing muscles under the tutelage of Mozart.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

cushioning the hard

Some days are hard. The intangibles of the world’s incivility, the crescendo of chaos in the news, the crashing waves of heartache—they all pile on at once.

And when those days thread together to weave weeks of discomfort one after the other, the air itself begins to feel heavy.

This is one of those months . . . one of those seasons.

Under this weight, words seem so inadequate. They slip unformed off my tongue and elude my fingertips. My usual method of working out all the thoughts and frustrations falls away. Yet I notice my hand involuntarily reaches for the words of others, for the inky stanzas of hope painted by poets past and present.

I didn’t know how much the words meant until I glanced above my laptop and saw a wall of poetry framing my workspace. The unintended result of weeks of accumulating words—printed and jotted down on scraps, pinned and taped—to cushion all the hard.

And there on the corner of my desk—the place I store the books I slip into my purse each morning for stolen moments of reading while walking or eating—a Bible and a slim volume of poetry.

I don’t know when my words will return. I don’t know if civility will claw its way out of the ashes. I don’t know if love will overwhelm the hostility. I don’t know.

But for the first time in days I took a deep breath. A crack of light cleaved the darkness. A moment of peace shattered the noise.

Because beauty finds a way.




Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.