While on medical leave from gall bladder surgery, I have been trying to write daily. By my nature, every practice I take up requires that I first or simultaneously buy and read 6 to 59 books about it. Sometimes I even take a class. When especially motivated by some new enthusiasm, I rush around and get another college degree in its honor, thereby periodically turning my life upside down and trapping myself in a demeaning life of abject studenthood. Enough. Usually I just bury myself in a bunch of books. So, Saturday I bought a used book of short meditations to spark writing--basically a CW textbook of writing assignments by someone named Fred White. The book provides one prompt for each day of the year, and I am now on Jan. 4. (I skipped the 3rd, which was even more confusing than one would think--being January in July, after all--since it had something to do with making a New Year's resolution [on the 3rd?] to write every day, from this day forth, and didn’t seem to be a writing prompt at all--except in the very broadest and I guess truest sense.) Anyway, today I was assigned the writing of a poem or letter to my “fellow citizens.” The goal is to describe in as much detail as possible a change I wish to see those fellows undertake. This was a lot of fun to write. It’s not great art but I thought the 2 or 3 people who look at my blog might enjoy.
Letter to some fellow citizens
I beg you, my fellow, my sister:
Pray for less.
Pray for possession of smaller, simpler homes.
Share one car with four neighbors.
Walk to the neighbors’ and sit and talk and eat pie or blueberries on their front porch.
Share your porch and grill and lawnmower and iced tea with your neighbor.
Give them your time.
Own fewer things.
Destroy your stereo and locate your old harmonica.
Banish the Amazon.
Take your books out of boxes. Breathe on them.
Reread all the books you already have, that you claim to love but don’t remember.
Or put your books in a tiny, colorfully painted house in the front yard.
Erect a sign: “Free books.”
Start using “free” as a verb. Be imperative.
Share your neighbor’s videos and CDs.
Host a video night. Make it a pot-luck.
Start with a discussion. End with a prayer.
Pray for fewer things.
Strive to reduce your intake.
Strive to reduce your output.
Work less. Earn less. Watch your time grow.
Endeavor to paint with one brush and six half pans.
Paint the same canvas over and over.
Share the canvas with your neighbors.
Play with someone else’s children.
Let them fly your trick kite.
Mend your kite when it torpedoes into the earth.
Make a new kite with pages from your old books.
Write long, illustrated letters to your friends.
They have your heart and your time. Give more.
Fire your lawyer and accountant and hair stylist.
Replace your dentist with floss.
Re-use your floss.
Remove no more hair. Stop washing it. Grow your eyebrows.
Nudge your financial planner out the door.
Or, bake a boule of bread and walk it over to her porch.
Break bread with your financial advisor.
Learn that she plays the ukelele.
Form a ukelele-harmonica duo and perform free concerts on her porch.
Try on new philosophies.
Combine argument with giggling.
Try on silence.
Smile more, talk less. Laugh as much as possible in your belly.
Make your eyes laugh constantly.
Remove the horn from the car you share with your neighbors.
Pray for less texting worldwide.
Run over your cell phone with the lawnmower you share with your neighbors.
Put your alarm clock in the dishwasher. Disable the dishwasher.
Have fewer surgeries. Take fewer medicines.
Pray to live more livingly, to die more dyingly.
Strive to swim in fresh water and salt water.
Strive to climb mountains. And gape at trees. And at run at prairies, arms akimbo.
Sit in the sun. Sit in the sun. Sit in the sun.
Sniff a lot when rain hits hot pavement and fresh cut grass.
Plant some dill. Gather it by the handful. Breathe dill all day.
Feed the ground squirrels.
Cry less. Sleep more.
Run in every park in town.
Feel the air on your legs. Feel the air ripple through the hair on your legs.
Stop buying new running shoes. Wear your old shoes.
Stop wearing shoes.
Eat whatever you like. Share it with your neighbors.
Waste less, save more.
Eschew plastic bags. Eschew bags.
Acquire one thing at a time.
Pray less, play more.
Strive to live more livingly.
Strive to strive less strivingly.
Laugh constantly with your eyes.
Stop interrupting the writing of poems to apply for RapidRewards credit cards.
Practice what you preach.