Monday, March 12, 2012

Love letter to Lynda Barry's mind



This morning I typed Lynda Barry's name in at YouTube, looking for her brief explanation of how one can keep a diary in four minutes a day.  But I found this instead.

Giving us lots of time to prepare, the Academy of American Poets has sent out reminders that April 26 is "Poem In Your Pocket Day."  As they describe it,

"The idea is simple, select a poem you love, carry it with you,  and share it with co-workers, family, and friends..."

WHAT IF  we had poems in our pockets AND had memorized them?  I know this is not new thinking for many of you and I ask your patience with me, still breaking in my poetry shoes, trying to remember that I can wear them for every day and not just save them for good.

Lynda Barry's mind, as expressed in this video and her various works, ought to be declared a national treasure.  That she is aware of the mind, generally, as a pearl of great price makes me feel as though I just woke up from a mediocrity-induced coma.  It is not just what she says, but the uniquely plain-spoken AND sort of revolutionary way she says it.  Poetry traveling to us through time.  My embarrassingly low-brow response is, Duh.

We are encircled by fires, asked to extinguish the minor blazes of how to fix this, how to heal that, where can we find the money, time or energy for at least nine minor-to-major situations on what seems a daily basis.  Behind those pesky and attention-demanding fires are the others, the real fires, the ones that are not meant to be dampened but fanned.  They are our sources of light; they are our light.  Here we are, back again, caught by the inexpert attempt at balance that is life.  How do we keep our small worlds from falling into the chaos of under-attended ordinary existence AND continue to be flames, or at least embers, of all that is soaring, expanding, contributing and becoming?  We just do because we must. 


18 comments:

Angela Recada said...

I love this video. Thank you for posting it!

Angella Lister said...

you are a modern day philosopher, a wordsmith with deep thoughts. you help us make sense of it all.

no pressure!

xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Angela - I love it, too. Every sentence seemed to pull more nails out of the most closed parts of my mind. My pleasure to have found it. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Angella - Thank you. And no pressure felt. With Lynda Barry at my elbow, I may find my way. xo

beth coyote said...

Marylinn-I'm SOOOOO glad I stopped here today. Lynda Barry is a prophet and a sage: a voice for the arts and for all of us who need that kick in the butt. I have memorized a few poems but now I'm inspired to be more diligent. (Good choice-Emily Dickinson, she's short!). i mean my own poems.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

X Beth

susan t. landry said...

you rock; she rocks.

i just love this. (stole it & posted it on FB as one of my contributions to March as the month of women...or whatever they call it. i hate that ridiculous kind of token recognition: but, what the heck. i'm all for Lynda Barry month--every month.)
xo

Melissa Green said...

Oh, how wonderful! Finally someone has said aloud the absolute truth about poetry: that it is essential, that it keeps us alive, that it lives forever as long as people are reading it. Memorizing is hard going for those of us who grew up on this side of the Atlantic, because we are lazy and fussy and don't want to work so hard. But having a poem or a line deep within your brain and having it whisper in our ear in a trying time--there is no substitute for being befriended by language.It is fluid, it speaks for us when we are mute, it never breaks apart or deserts us. It 'burns with a hard, gem-like flame" and it can keep your heart from breaking completely.

Antares Cryptos said...

The Arts and Sciences bring order to the chaos of life.

Lisa H said...

Massive Injection of Inspiration. Almost as good as a conversation with YOU.
....almost.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Beth - You are so welcome. I loved the serendipity of finding this video while in search of something else and it could not have been more perfect, more indelible. "...and we ignore them at our peril." Would really like to hear you recite - or read - your poetry. Maybe recording on your blog? xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - Thank you. I'm right there, the cricket on the log with her, singing poetry to a Gershwin tune. Since I mostly just pretend it's still the 60s, I'll say, "Man, how cool is this?" Lynda Barry month, every month. Count me in. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Melissa - I couldn't wait for you to see this. There scarcely seems room on all the paper in the world to list the ways in which poetry is essential, for being and becoming us, for sanity, for redemption, for enlightenment, affirmation, expansion. Being befriended by language, there it is. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Antares - Yes, and how clearly she tells us of it...the art of the words and images, the other side of the brain with the tempo of matching music/math. Rejoicing in voices such as hers is certainly the antidote for chaos. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Lisa - Always your too-kind words, thank you. Isn't she AMAZING? Why not shout? Indeed, massive inspiration and pure fun. xo

beth coyote said...

marilyn-go to my blog and the first two on my list of poems are me reciting...

Marylinn Kelly said...

Beth - Thank you so much for directing me to your recitations - more than two. Don't you feel that the voice in your writing is enhanced when one is able to read AND hear the words? The power seems so amplified to me. I'm glad to know I can go back and listen as often as I wish. xo

molly said...

i struggle with that idea you so eloquently put down in words here. thank you.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Molly - It feels like a salmon's life sometimes, the upstream odyssey of remaining true to our mission and not being lost in minutiae or distraction.