Friday, December 18, 2020

ho ho ho the scarlet force!

I got lucky, yes I did!  My Winter Poetry Swap elf turns out to be my own critique partner Margaret Simon!  She knows me well and so my gifts are perfect.

I love this fresh new/old journal made by Marcie Melancon,
the illustrator of Margaret's book SUNSHINE.

And I love this distillation of my True Essence!

Here's the Annie Dillard quote included:  

“One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”

Margaret may or may not know that for 3 months in 1986, I walked each morning from my off-campus house in Middletown CT to Annie Dillard's on-campus house, through the front door and to the key rack hanging near the kitchen. I took the keys to her taxi-yellow sedan and drove to my job at the daycare center in town because it was too far & too cold and icy to ride my bike.  Annie had answered my message-board request to borrow a car during the day, and I neither paid for this privilege nor did I attempt to capitalize on the opportunity to get to know her. We both had our jobs to do, I guess!

And here's the text of the poem, which takes a few pieces of my own writing.
 I feel seen, heard and loved!

Essence of Heidi

There you are rolling playdough balls,
placing them onto a fake birthday cake,
lighting each candle
deep breath in, then screen-blow--
a ritual of celebration, exclamation
of You Matter!

There you are creating a caterpillar's undoing,
how it digests itself 
to become something miraculous,
shouting the great wonder--
a ritual of changing, shedding the old,
in silence.

There you are writing words,
passion-pulsed onto the page
to a inspire a child or grown-up--
a ritual of reading aloud, praise
for turn-the-page, frosted ice
melting into a poem.

--Margaret Simon, 2020 Winter Poem Swap

Thank you, Margaret, and thank you Tabatha who organized the Swap and all these opportunities for JOY.  Today's round-up is dusted in stardust by Michelle Kogan at her artful blog.  


  1. I did not know the Annie Dillard connection. Wow! How cool is that coincidence. I so enjoyed putting this gift together for you. You are Noticed, and you do Matter, especially to me!

  2. Wow! What a perfect poetry partner swap. I had a peek at this poem before today and I love that you now have it. You are an inspiration, Heidi. And, Annie Dillard's borrowed car? I think we need to have some more writing about that...hmmmmmm?

  3. Wow! That Annie Dillard quote is absolutely perfect (and I'm learning more and more how true it is), and the fact that she loaned you her car shows that that's how she lives her life, too!

  4. I had read those last two sentences before (about opening your safe and finding ashes) but hadn't read the whole thing. Marvelous, and I love your story, too, and that Margaret is so spot-on with her poem and gift. Shouting the great wonder, indeed.

  5. I do love 'serendipity' as in this time Margaret gifts you a quote from Annie Dillard & does not know your special connection of years ago. What wonderful gifts for you, well deserved for your thoughtful ways, Heidi.

  6. I recently read A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki and a character also had a new/old journal! I love this idea and the poetry swap. Thank you for sharing!

  7. So many intriguing connections floating through this post, gift, and words of Annie Dillard… Enjoy your journal Heidi, and all the journeys that await you–but better scribble some words in there soon.

  8. "Passion-pulsed" is exactly right. Margaret's poem captures your essence so well. You are always an inspiration to me, Heidi. And I love the Annie Dillard connection!

  9. How cool to read about your connection to Annie Dillard! (Driving Annie Dillard's Car definitely sounds like a title worth writing about!) Margaret's gift is spot-on. I love the affirmation of the repeated "There you are..." You're a marvel, Heidi, and this poem shouts out your "great wonder!"

  10. "These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water." Such a wonderful inspiration, and a beautiful post, Heidi. Happy holidays.

  11. Love this! What a surprise for both of you1 Margaret being your poetry swap elf and you actually having a connection to the person who's quote she used. Serendipity at its best! Oh, it's a wonderful time of year! Thanks for sharing! Carol @ The Apples in My Orchard. (blogspot won't let me post my URL link). Thanks.

  12. Oh, my gosh, what a gorgeous poem! And that story of your using Annie Dillard's car. Amazing. Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

  13. There you are...a wonder, Heidi. The Annie Dillard is amazing. What you bring to your little ones is sheer delight. Thanks for being you as Margaret so aptly portrayed in your swap poem. Enjoy your gifts and have a wonderful holiday.

  14. This is a perfect swap gift. I am going to check out those journals. Wow, Annie Dillard, driving her car. I will forever remember the play doh candles.
    Margaret has capture you. Have a wonderful holiday.

  15. You borrowed Annie Dillard's car?!?! I'm gobsmacked.

    Margaret totally captured you in her poem!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!