My plan for my life when my family moved to Ann Arbor was twofold: finish my first book and learn how to sew. I had no plan for how to go about accomplishing either except to write everyday, check out a book or two on sewing basics, and hope I didn’t rip apart or hurt myself too much in either endeavor.
My daydreams are so much more vivacious than the nuts and bolts of their pursuit. I imagined dropping my girls off at school, walking home to a freshly brewed pot of coffee, writing all morning, and after a short (but delicious) lunch), diving into my latest sewing project. Perhaps pillowcases, stockings to hang on the chimney mantle, a pair of shorts for summer.
I went as far as taking a trip to the library downtown where I learned patrons can check out sewing machines. We can check out telescopes, musical instruments, and even paintings to hang on our walls for a time. Libraries are amazing places, I thought to myself as Hadley, Harper, and I made our way there. That day I believed I would fulfill my dream of becoming a seamstress.
That was the same day the girls and I found a fairy village on the corner of 4th and William. They live right across from the bus top, and we would soon learn that fairies lived all over Ann Arbor — their doors inconspicuous on the sides of pubs, ice cream shops, in library bookshelves, next to the stationery and fancy purses in boutiques. The fairy village, though, isn’t hidden, and the day we found it, I was humorously baffled. Who in the world would not only come up with but follow through on the idea to create fairy doors and a village in Ann Arbor? And not just any town. A town that houses the biggest college football stadium in the nation. A town with a university nicknamed “The Harvard of the Midwest.” How do fairies fit into Ann Arbor?
Nevertheless, I liked the idea that small, mystical, imaginative beings flew and shimmered among the maize and blue football boys and the academics, where the big and the small, the loud and the quiet, were equally strong, creative, smart. And necessary.
I never checked out a sewing machine. That day I checked out loads of Young Adult literature, design books and cookbooks, and the girls and I had a bit of a walk back to the car, so I wasn’t sure how I’d carry it all.
I didn’t finish my first book when I thought I would, either. My path to publication was more zig-zaggy and twisty (some might say the path twirled now and then).
But whether I meander or follow a straight line, there are many different ways to dream, if I keep dreaming.
This week, consider a dream you’ve had (or one you have), and write about it or the path you’ve taken (or are taking) to get there. Try your hand at an object poem. In this form, the subject of your poetry takes the form of the poem. Perhaps the path of your dream is more of a tidal wave, or maybe it’s a trail in the woods. Maybe your poem takes the form of a microphone on a stage, a bouquet of flowers, a firetruck. Or maybe you’re not sure. Just begin and see what shape your dreams take.
Thank you to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here’s one from Sandra we enjoyed:
After the girls finish their rice and beans,
I help Chilanchi lug a heavy pail of water down the hill,
my right hand and her left grasping the handle.
She sidesteps and holds her right arm in front of me
like a crossing gate to steady me in case I trip.
A barefoot boy in a holey shirt-gown, its stretched
neck hanging down one shoulder exposing his scapula,
pulls a makeshift car across the dirt path
by two lengths of string tied together
and attached to a piece of cardboard,
its empty snack bag driver
hunched over the imaginary steering wheel.
Three girls share crumbs from a torn-open,
cast-off Cheez-It bag, pass it around so each
can lick off any remaining salt that clings.
Ivelor and I break chunks of chalk to draw
flowers and trees and write names on concrete.
Kids photo bomb a camera session
with a couple chickens and peals of laughter.
Singing pours from one
of the green concrete houses.
“I love you, Sandy,” says Sophonie.
“Mwen renmen w tou,” I say.
I love you, too.
And the brightness of the sun blinds me.
— Sandra Heska King
A Writer’s Dream Book
“Callie Feyen has such a knack for telling personal stories that transcend her own life. In my years in publishing, I’ve seen how hard that is—but she makes it seem effortless, and her book is such a pleasure. It’s funny, it’s warm, it’s enlightening. Callie writes about two of the most important things in life—books and clothes—in utterly delightful and truly moving ways. I’m impressed by how non-gimmicky and fresh her writing is. I love this book.”
—Sarah Smith, Executive Editor Prevention magazine; former Executive Editor Redbook magazine