Have you ever heard the saying "the eyes are the window into the soul"? That is exactly what came to mind when I came across this photo within a recent Facebook post, written by my husband of 30 years. He rarely posts, but when he does, it is important. He tagged me in the post and upon seeing it, I realized there was much more to the picture than meets the eye (definite pun intended). For me, this picture holds two hidden meanings. Bear with me while I elaborate, I think you will find it worth your next 3 minutes!
On one our family outings, my daughter decided to take and an extreme close up "eye selfie". Not only did she wind up with an awesome picture, she captured the essence of our family who can clearly be seen in her eye's reflection. Now, humor me by putting your finger on the picture. Move it from Hubby (8 o'clock) to Sarah's hand (to the right of the pupil) then to me (directly to the left of her pupil, and then to my son (1 o'clock). Your tracing is a jagged line within the unbroken circle that is her iris. Once again, bring your finger back to the picture and this time move it from Hubby, to Sarah's hand, to my son, to me and then back to Hubby. This time you have created a circle within a circle. I believe the tracings depict how we are forever connected within an unbroken circle. It doesn't matter whether the line is jagged or circular, it simply matters that the circle keeps the line safely within its boundaries.
NOW PRESS PLAY
The stem is meant to represent the growth of a family over time. It starts at the base and moves up, leading directly to the beautiful bloom. Few families are able to boast of avoiding an occasional thorn. It is more likely that most families are better represented by a pattern of growth that moves straight up at times, but then takes an hard turn, represented by the jaggedness of thorns. My belief is that because we are able to hold each other within our personal souls, at the very same time we are in the midst of plucking a thorn out of our family finger, the soul of our family is able to survive.
I set out to write a book that would tend to a family's garden, one that would fertilize the family and individual soul so that the family's growth line could trend towards the bloom. To do this, I had to create a literary environment that would enable an older generation to be in the same room as its younger counterpart, while also creating a means for them to engage in meaningful conversation, conversation that moves beyond "how was your day", followed by "fine" (end of conversation). I did it! The challenge I face now is bringing my novel idea to the masses, particularly when the masses are unable to come within six feet of another. There is hope, though. I only need to bring my novel solution (a weak pun, since a book of poetry is not a novel by definition) to one person at a time with one condition! That person needs to share the book with a younger person. The rest is a snap! Then, Grow with Me Poetry will facilitate the pair reading together and learning about each other. The actual content of the poetry taps into what faces our youth within the bubble of their world, while also encouraging them to discuss what their counterpart has already experienced. "If you aren't part of the solution you are part of the problem"; an adage I took to heart.
If I may...
The specific format of Grow with Me Poetry offers an adult a means to communicate with today's youth through the use of guided activities tailored to the poem that precedes them. Those activities include prompt questions as well as mini art activities. No need to seek out a journal or a canvas because each are supplied within the book. Since the poems' content mirrors the maturation of a child, the book becomes a timeline of their growth and more importantly, a reflection of the souls that read it.
If I may (twice)...
I used the picture of Sarah's eye as a muse for the following poem so that I could demonstrate the format of the book; a peek inside, if you will.
It was that last contemplation that had my train conductor blowing his whistle, compelling my emotion locomotion into high speed. You see, my children's stop motion video's plot is all about a plague in the times of kings and queens, more specifically, how the kingdom survives. I think you all know where this is going. In short, it is about face masks. Since I write poetry specifically for children, I wrote a Haiku story and then made it into a video poem. It was only afterwards that my thoughts flew off of the rails. What if people think I am writing a political piece, a statement of condemnation of those not wearing masks? What if people think I am stepping on their personal freedoms by even suggesting that masks "saved a nation". What if people think I hate our democracy and don't love my country? What if I offend 40% (give or take) of my readers??????
!These thoughts must STOP!
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can stop these thoughts!
Finally, I screeched my emotion locomotion to a halt. I wrote my Haiku story for a reason. Much of the nation (and the world for that matter) is trying to acclimate to a new normal and that normal includes wearing masks in certain situations. Whether or not we agree with the mandates/strong suggestions or practice is beside the point. My worry is that children are caught in their own Thomas the Train emotion locomotion. If a simple video poem can help stop or slow down their runaway train, then I pray the gamble is worth the risk of stirring up some adult emotion locomotion! However, If you think I might, then I am going to try to redirect your locomotion. Watch the video poem first; come at it with the mindset of a child who is trying to process what they are seeing in this new and strange COVID world. If you see fit, be a Sir Topem Hat, the Thomas the Train conductor, and direct yourselves to "A Peek into Poetry" so that you and your child might enjoy the video, along with the ensuing activities.
,And please, remember that: the content of the following video is not meant to reflect the opinions of its author. I will post the video poem below for your preview and will also post it on the "A Peek into Poetry" page. There, it will be in the typical format used on that page and will include children's activities and guided questions to promote introspection and quality family conversation. Enjoy this apolitical video poem written for the benefit of our children and their emotion locomotion.
My goal for our childrens' emotion locomotion...
THE QUEEN SAVES THE DAY!
Video and activities for families found on "A Peek into Poetry" page