Pumpkin Spice Lattes: A Poem

A picture of a coffee mug that says, "pumpkin spice everything" surrounded by pumpkins

My daughters are pumpkin spice lattes.

October-born with cloves and cinnamon, they fill autumn with change. A new birth, another year older, the anticipated benefits of age–“When I’m five years old–”

Leaves the color of nutmeg and ginger shower their heads as they play in festive canter. They laugh as they gallop around the yard, chasing their youth like squirrels stashing acorns.

Fall in New England is a caffeinated season. Eagerly awaiting frosty celebrations, they sparkle with excitement as they snuggle in warm blankets and drink from warm mugs.

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Creative Spaces

Creativity demands space–space to digest our experiences, reflect on emotions, contemplate the human experience. This space provides us with opportunities for introspection, a necessary component of artistic processes. Without such space, we find our muses have left us and the distractions of our daily lives leech beyond their usefulness and rob of us any creative impulse.

This is the old trope of writer’s block. There is nothing new about “letting life get in the way” of creative processes. The creative experience and the creation of art in its many forms provides a window to our soul and insight into our worlds. Yet, it also exposes us to critics and criticism. Sometimes it is simply feels safer to succumb to the “busy-ness” of our lives than it is create a space for vulnerability.

 

Writing in April

Writing is hard.

It is especially difficult when managing the unyielding demands of a three-year old social butterfly who demands the limited emotional life-force that survived from a day of constant civil interactions that stress the introverted self.

It is notably difficult when April does not just bring rain showers, but snow, wintery mix, and icy roads that restricts any out-of-doors excursion such as shopping in crowded grocery stores where the produce is not quite seasonal and the ring of the cash register, not matter how calculated, tightens the chest.

It is extraordinarily difficult when distractions, like the children in the front yard of the apartment across the street howl “yard sale,” shift focus from the opportunity of writing mean poems and super short shorts to the present fantasy of the kind of financial security promised by degree, job, homeownership.

Writing in April is hard.

Leaves below the stoop

 

My Reading Group Adventures

This past summer, we started visiting the local library on a regular basis. Our toddler’s reading selection seemed to be growing thin and the steady two-or-three-books-a-night made the circulation tight. With the additional expenses of homeownership, we were on a mission to find ways to save money and take advantage of the resources in our new community.

As couple of weeks ago, during our last “refuel” of children’s and adult literature, I noticed a flyer for the library’s “Reading Group.” This month, they were reading Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, which was on my growing list of books to read this year. Eager to join a group that would discuss the books we were going to read, I grabbed a copy from the circulation desk with the plans to read it before the next meeting and check out this group of readers in this community.

The Reading Group

At 4:25, I showed up at the library, armed with my read Patchett novel and ready to discuss the complexities of story ownership that was a central theme within the book. When I walked into the room, which usually held art and photography exhibitions, there was a circle of chairs and a couple of the members already catching up with the events of their lives.

As the room began to fill, I began to wonder if I was in the right space. I was easily the youngest person within the room by at least one generation. As I listened patiently to the other members critique elements of the book and provide their own insight, I considered getting up and excusing myself. I could give myself the excuse of “at least I tried.” I could justify it by telling myself had put in a good effort and could return comfortably to my introverted life.

However, when the reading group promptly wrapped up at 5:30, I lingered for a few minutes in my chair as I tried to not look too eager to leave. At this time, a couple of the group members began to talk with me, about both the book and about the history of the reading group. They encouraged me to come back next month as they were eager to attract younger members.

Building Community

One of the many critiques of our generation is the lack of traditional community involvement. For me, the reading group–I believe it is intentionally not called a “book club”–provides an opportunity for social entrance into our new community. It also provides me with an outlet to engage outside of my work and family lives.Since completing my master’s, I’ve been looking for something to “work on” while I’m at home, in addition to the traditional mother-homeowner responsibilities.  Finally, the reading group encourages me to do something that I have neglected over the last decade–to read for the joy of reading. 

When moving to a new city or town, finding outlets like a reading group can help you connect with new people within the community. Even if your move is only one city over–like ours–each community has its own characters and story. Learning the story of your new community can help you find role within it.

People walking on a street