friday roundup: take a shower, in defense of Mama Bear, and Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings

embarrassing but true: I wore this outfit for years

Reader, I rocked my to-do list yesterday. The one I’d been avoiding. The dentist appointments are made and I am a happier woman today because of it. Now, on to the roundup:

take a shower There is another book out on creativity: Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. The author was interviewed on NPR recently, and talked about what to do when you hit the wall during the creative process. According to Lehrer, brain researchers have found that being in a relaxed state helps us get to creative breakthroughs when we’re stuck. When you hit the wall, he says, “the best thing you can do is probably take a very long, warm shower.” Sounds good to me. Read more and listen to the interview here.

in defense of Mama Bear  You may recall the news of Jan Berenstain’s passing at the end of February. Well, sometime during my recent bouts of procrastination, I came across this article in slate which wishes Mama Bear “good riddance.” I am shocked, Reader, shocked! I have always loved Mama Bear: her no nonsense approach, the way she holds the hapless Papa Bear accountable, her clarity while helping Brother and Sister navigate childhood in a tree house down a sunny dirt road deep in Bear Country. Amongst other things, the author of the article is bothered by Mama Bear’s outfit: the blue and white polkadot house coat. I feel moved to speak out in defense of Mama Bear. She helped me figure out some clear and direct ways to talk to my children about things: nightmares, too much TV, baseball tryouts, and mean girls. As for the housecoat, I took comfort in that housecoat! I thought, Well, thank goodness I’m not the only one who’s worn the same outfit every day for years (in my case: a purple t-shirt and yoga pants, as pictured above. Rest assured they have now been recycled and are no longer part of my life). Also, she may not have left the house often enough (what mother does??), but Mama Bear still had an active intellectual life. To wit: her lively discussion with Professor Actual Factual in The Berenstain Bears Don’t Pollute (Anymore). I say, thank you, Jan Berenstain, for Mama Bear. Despite her omnipresent housecoat.

Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings  California has a new poet laureate by the name of Juan Felipe Herrera. Here is one of his completely awesome poems:

Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings
Before you go further,
let me tell you what a poem brings,
first, you must know the secret, there is no poem
to speak of, it is a way to attain a life without boundaries,
yes, it is that easy, a poem, imagine me telling you this,
instead of going day by day against the razors, well,
the judgments, all the tick-tock bronze, a leather jacket
sizing you up, the fashion mall, for example, from
the outside you think you are being entertained,
when you enter, things change, you get caught by surprise,
your mouth goes sour, you get thirsty, your legs grow cold
standing still in the middle of a storm, a poem, of course,
is always open for business too, except, as you can see,
it isn’t exactly business that pulls your spirit into
the alarming waters, there you can bathe, you can play,
you can even join in on the gossip—the mist, that is,
the mist becomes central to your existence.
I love that this poem is executed in just one sentence. I love the way the speaker interjects him/herself (e.g., “imagine me telling you this”). I love that this poem uses leather jackets, “alarming waters,” bathing, gossip, and mist to talk about what a poem brings. What objects and activities would make an appearance in your poem written under this title?

4 thoughts on “friday roundup: take a shower, in defense of Mama Bear, and Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings

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