Friday, December 9, 2011

The Write Gift

I received former student Lindsey's holiday card in the mail yesterday.  Along with being a gifted poet and person, Lindsey creates and sells handmade paper products.  Her card was hand-stamped (read her process here) and included a postage-stamped postcard to tear off and send someone (Lindsey, by the way, was the inspiration behind my post about postcards earlier this year).  How wonderful is a gift which comes with a gift you can turn and send someone?  Pretty niftily wonderful, I should say.

So I thought about gifts of writing and their value.  And about how low cost they are but also how difficult they can be to produce.  Which, nevertheless, should not deter you (despite the fact that I haven't been able to write here on this blog for the past week and a half, due in part to my obsession with Friday Night Lights, and to various and sundry life events alternately inspiring stress, relief, and mental zombiehood).  Creativity often requires a nudge, a nugget.  Thus I am offering you an idea for writing to and for someone you love. 

Personally, I feel a personal letter written on weighty, significant, or beautiful paper with a pen you love, and stamped and sent, is a simple, lovely, and all-too-rare gift. 

Poems win, though.  And one of my favorites to use as a template for writing a tribute to someone is Sandra Cisneros's "Abuelito Who."  I once posted my own version about Big Sis on her birthday, and here is an example I wrote about a former student:


Jared who is a silent redwood in a willow forest
And asks who is a true friend
Who is songs and docks
Who is camp and a green jacket
Whose smile is genuine
Is writing a story
Who tells us to listen
Who tells us be gentle
Whose eyes are pleading
Is making friends
Remembers summers and boats
Is hopeful
Is a cathedral of joyful voices
Is sad give him a hug
Has moved one time too many
Who hears chords in his head
Is adjectives and verses and tenors
Who soothes and serves and serves and soothes
Is the teaching tree in the listening forest
Asking who is a true friend
Who is a true friend who?

Try it.  I know I'd much rather have a poem (like my husband's wedding vows to me, which are framed and memorialized) than a new water heater.

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