Friday, October 7, 2022

Be Amazed by Something Little

Stamps in My Notebook
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Whenever I go to the post office to purchase stamps, I always ask to see all of the available designs. I love looking through the plants, cartoon characters, movie stars, sculptures, and scenes from history, imagining which ones will decorate my future envelopes. Our eldest daughter does the same thing, and this week she came home with a couple of sheets of beauties. Stamps are small and curious, powerful and storied, and this week I found myself thinking about how sending mail...feels like magic.

I probably also wrote this poem last night because in yesterday's mail, I received the below book from my friend Elizabeth who is a grand letter writer and package sender. She had saved this treasure from a library discard pile many years ago, and generously decided to share it with me. THE FIRST BOOK OF LETTER WRITING was published in 1957, so it is now 65 years old, and still full of charming ideas and truths about sending letters. I'll share more about it here one day. Thank you, dear Elizabeth!

A Book from a Friend
Photo by Amy LV

I didn't start writing about stamps last night. I started writing about crows and ravens and had a good draft going, but then, I shifted gears. As writers, it is important that we know it is good and important to shift gears and change directions when it feels necessary and right. I turned the page of my notebook, and those first two lines - A stamp is a sticker/and you do not have to lick it - tumbled out. The ending took some tinkering, but I do like tinkering.

My writing advice to you is the same as it often is - read your poems aloud as you write them. I sat on my bed and read this one over and over, with each new line, feeling it in my blood. And when I moved to the keyboard, I read it aloud several times more. 

Stamps are small, and the world is full of small, wondrous things. Keep your eyes open!

Below you can see my cat Winnie (named after the character in Natalie Babbitt's book TUCK EVERLASTING) helping me write today's poem. She had just come in for bedtime and was very silly and cuddly and purry.

Sarah Grace is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at Sarah Grace Tuttle with a fascinating peek into her process of writing metered poetry. Please know that all are welcome each Friday as folks share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship.

Take a look at the stamps that come to your family's mailbox this week. What stories and poems are hiding in there? Which words might you tuck into an envelope to brighten someone's day? What other small objects will cause you to wonder?

Lots of joy to you, my friends.


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  1. Stamps are getting to be a thing of the past...along with telephone books! I once design a stamp through Zazzle, but it appears that places don't do design your own anymore or not that I could find. That was a fun thing to do.

  2. Oh yes to stamps and art and poetry. Glad to be here visiting again. I think Winnie is just the best poem-writing buddy. I do love kitties!! All best to you. Janet Clare F.

  3. Hooray for stamps! I'm the same way-- I love seeing what all the designs are. I have ones for each season, some special holidays, and even some that I got for writing to specific people! Your poem made me smile... and remember I need to work on some cards this weekend! Thank you so much for sharing Amy. :)

  4. I love to know that you shift gears sometimes. It's super fun to see a poem come to a writer...great poem, great post. Thank you!

  5. This poem is such fun, Amy. Like you, I love to check out the stamps when it is time to buy them. Last time I went, I was amused by a fun monster collection. Then I went into the lobby and realized I was mailing a sympathy card and maybe it wasn't the best stamp. Ha! Maybe I was overthinking it. As always, I enjoyed your poem and your process. The title of course, seems full of possibilities.

  6. Here's to all the amazing little things in life!

  7. I listened last night to the great Kate DiCamillo who advocates (both) "Be rigid. Be loosey-goosey." Which sounds very much to me like, "shift gears when the feeling strikes!"

  8. Maybe I'm good enough now at focused Butt-in-Chair writing, and it's time to set a timer and interrupt myself in order specifically to shift gears. That could be productive, in the same way this piece of poetry advice I saw once is useful: "If you get stuck before the poem feels finished, change the subject." I'll have to try and rediscover that--I remember thinking that the example poem was exquisite! Happy October, Amy!