{writer’s almanac}

I have decided that I need to be exposed to more poetry.  I was only exposed in High School, like everyone else, and it did nothing to help me foster a love or even a real appreciation of poetry.  Of course I was not taken with what little I was exposed to.  I don’t think that a love of poetry is like a love of opera in that you either LOVE opera or you can appreciate it, but it will never be a part of your soul.  I think that poetry can be different in that there are infinite styles, subjects and levels of complexity and you can find a poet or poem that speaks to you, it doesn’t matter where you are in your life.

I have found a website that is exposing me to a different poem everyday.  It is really exciting to me to expand my knowledge and appreciation of the world just a little bit everyday.  I was searching for a way into poetry and this is giving me a way to find that road.

Writer’s Almanac

Today’s poem about knocked my out of my chair, so I thought I would share.

Questionnaire

by Wendell Berry

How much poison are you willing
to eat for the success of the free
market and global trade? Please
name your preferred poisons.

For the sake of goodness, how much
evil are you willing to do?
Fill in the following blanks
with the names of your favorite
evils and acts of hatred.

What sacrifices are you prepared
to make for culture and civilization?
Please list the monuments, shrines,
and works of art you would
most willingly destroy

In the name of patriotism and
the flag, how much of our beloved
land are you willing to desecrate?
List in the following spaces
the mountains, rivers, towns, farms
you could most readily do without.

State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes,
the energy sources, the kinds of security;
for which you would kill a child.
Name, please, the children whom
you would be willing to kill.

“Questionnaire” by Wendell Berry from Leavings. © Counterpoint, 2010. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

{brotherhood 2.0}

I was going to go to bed before 12:00 last night.  I promised myself I would.  Then I made the fatal mistake.  You know what I am talking about, the one that takes well laid plans and turns them into so much future guilt. I was in the mood for the Vlogbrothers.

The Vlogbrothers are Hank & John Green. Hank Green is a YouTube media guru, wizard rocker & founder of Vidcon (a convention/conference for Youtubers and and new media).  His brother John is a New York Times best selling author whose latest book The Fault in Our Stars is about to become a movie that both Keith and I are fairly vibrating with anticipation to see (please, please, please just let them do it justice!!!).  Together they are the Vlogbrothers.

We are relatively new converts to John & Hank and of course as I have said before the converted are always more zealous than those born to it. After all we are nerds and the very definition of nerd is that we unironically , enthusiastically like stuff!  Hank & John have formed a organization that is called the Nerd Fighters.  The mission of Nerd Fighteria (yes, this is a word. It is a word because John wills it so.) is to decrease world suck and increase awesome.  They do this by explaining complex subjects (like what is happening in Ukraine) in a way that can be understood, raising money for charities via The Project for Awesome, a youtube centered event that challenges nerd fighters to create videos for their favorite charities.  Last year they raised over $721,696 that was divided among 20 charities.  There are other various projects and craziness as well.

So, yeah I made the mistake of looking over at the play lists at the Vlogbrothers youtube site.  What I found was the beginning.  The initial idea was a project  that these two brothers would spend the year of 2007 in textless communication.  No email, no texting, no letters, nothing.  They would only communicate via phone or Vlog.  They would alternate days (nothing on weekends) and post them on youtube.  The Nerd Fighter community grew out of this project and still thrives today.

I can’t tell you how exciting it was.  How many goose bumps I got watching.  Knowing where things were going and saying “There, right there that was the first time we heard the word Nerd Fighter” or “That is the first time Hank played his own music on the internet.”.  It was an awesome trip backwards.

The downside is envy.  Why couldn’t we have known?  What was going on in my life that I didn’t get to participate in this wonderful maddness?  I personally don’t know how to answer that, my memory is horrible about last week much less what was going on in 2007.  What sort of person would I be if I had accepted my nerd long before I did?

All the speculation is useless of course.

I have found it now and I am excited by it and it gives me joy.  Even at 46.  You never get too old to be a nerd.  Never.

{my freak flag is misspelled…it says geek}

I have always been a geek.

I have not always known it.

I wasn’t an outcast in school, but I was on the D or E list.  The person you talked to because you sat by me or because no one else was around.  I was the girl who had guys develop slight crushes on me because of my personality.  Yeah, I was THAT girl.

I had curly, fuzzy hair in an age where there was no mousse.  I have school pictures that are the stuff of nightmares.  I had learning disabilities that put me in “special classes”.  I read quite a bit and had anxiety disorder that cause me to sometimes end up in the office before school started because I would plead not to have to go.  All things that label you for life, that and we didn’t have a lot of money so once in a blue moon I could take part in a clothing trend (guess jeans any one?) but I was late to the party so it made little impact.

Coming late to the party would be a pattern in my life.

I take comfort in the fact that the converted are always more zealous than those born to it.

Elementary school, Middle school and most of High school don’t hold alot of fond memories.  It wasn’t until high school and I found drama class that things changed.  I was in all the special choirs for PTA programs and such in elementary, and I was in 1 year of choir in middle school.  They put me in a special class (yet again) in my 7th grade year that I REALLY didn’t need, so choir was not possible that year.  I am still bitter about that (the teacher even questioned why I was in that class.  I was leaps and bounds ahead of everybody in the room).  So choir was not the gateway to acceptance that you might think.

That gateway was drama.  Let me be clear, even in this I was a geek.  I would have cut my throat before I sat foot on a stage in front of an audience (mandatory stint as a nun in the chorus of Sound of Music not withstanding). Yes, I was in Technical Theater class.  A stage hand.  A crew geek.

I had found my tribe.  These people, with exceptions of course, didn’t really care what other people thought.  We were allowed to be weird.  In the terms of mid-eighties suburban Texas anyway.  I was inducted into the Thespian society, but if anyone asked, it was explained to them that we were being abducted by the lesbian society.  The stories I could tell, but what happens backstage, stays backstage.  In short I was accepted in a way that I had never experienced before.  I was beginning to recognize that although I passed, I was not quite the automaton that others were.  I was just on the inside of acceptance.

If I knew then what I know now, I would have been a full blown bohemian.  Art and writing and bad poetry would have been abundant.  I did write poetry, that is how I know exactly how bad it would have been.

The point of all of this is that I have been longing for something all my life.  We all do I know, I just didn’t know that it would be tardis blue.  Or making stories about other peoples characters.  Or realizing that I am not alone in all this wonderment.  That now, at 44 (again with the party and arriving late) I am finding out that I have a tribe, a vast, welcoming, exuberant tribe.

And the fact that I can sit and have a serious conversation about Harry Potter for 3 hours is not a waste of time.  That discussing the core differences between Batman and Superman and how the latest movies makers did or did not get it is a valid use of an hour.  And passionately telling you that Joss Whedon changed my life is not only not pathetic, it is a sentiment that is shared everywhere.

I have always been a geek.

I have not always known it.

Not only do I know it now, I revel in it.

Avengers made 200 mil. this weekend.  Now we’re the ones that are cool.