Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What if . . .? a collective list by Tuesday Morning Writers

Here is another "What if …?" list — created just a few hours ago in the Tuesday Morning Writing Circle.

What if peanut butter glued your mouth shut?

What if there were two Fridays in every week?

What if I actually had boundaries?

What if I climb that huge sycamore tree?

What if I never eat the crust, will I still have curly hair?

What if I got a puppy so my dog Daisy could lick it all day long?

What if we entered the "Amazing Race"?

What if I had a giraffe for a pet?

What if my brother and I could return to the closeness we used to share?

What if it snows this week and I actually need my snow tires?

What if I skipped rope all the way to school?

What if I write in pencil, will it last forever?

What if I could remember the plot of every book I ever read?

What if I could carry a tune?

What if I were not such a nudnik?

What if I can't write anything new?

What if we have to move from our current home?

What if I learned to take naps?

What if my dog finally learned how to obey?

What if the blue heron stayed by the pond?

What if my garden were weed-free?

What if I died my hair red?

What if I always knew exactly the right thing to say in any given situation?

What if I get my period again, when I turn 80?

What if my barrettes don't match?

What if I could just find my own voice and it turns out to be beautiful?

What if I'd been smart and made a drawing of where we put all our plants when we moved the garden — would I know what's coming up?

What if I moved to a place where no one knows me?

What if a meteor hits my house in the night, sending us all to the stars?

What if there were only one kind of salad dressing to choose?

What if we all stood up in the middle of a boring sermon, speech, movie, or lecture, and shouted "It's time to dance!"?

What if, when I wake in the middle of the night, often more than once, I could simple count "1, 2, 3" and fall back to sleep before even reaching the number 4.

What if I run with my eyes closed?

What if I remember to do one small creative thing each day?


Gabrielle Vehar
Grace Celeste
Linda Keeler
Marty Blue Waters
Nina Miller
Sara Robbins
Sue Norvell
Zee Zahava

Monday, April 20, 2015

What if . . .? a collective list by Monday Afternoon Writers

Last week I posted a "What if …?" list compiled by members of the Thursday Morning Writing Circle. Today I'm sharing a collective list created today by some of the members of the Monday Afternoon Circle. 

What if crows hadn't influenced my life?

What if computers really were friendly?

What if they made Joan of Arc dolls instead of Barbie dolls?

What if I'd never found that mysterious stone that granted my every wish?

What if I hadn't been the first born?

What if I had married a different man; had more than one child?

What if my grandmother had finally shared her molasses cookie recipe with me, something I had longed for all my young life?

What if I could remember all the names of the wildflowers that grew in the woods next to our house?

What if all things were equal?

What if I were taller?

What if I said "no" more often?

What if we live long enough to discover that drinking Diet Coke makes you more sincere?

What if my cats could tell me what they think?

What if I had been allowed to express anger when I was a child?

What if old age didn't end in death?

What if I never felt sad?

What if we all offered words of praise and encouragement to each other, instead of criticism and hatred, starting in infancy?

What if we settled territorial disputes as birds do, by out-singing our rivals?

What if men always behaved well?

What if I always spoke the truth?

What if I had nothing to worry about?

What if I had things to worry about, but I just stopped worrying?

What if I had learned how to use my father's chainsaw?

What if I had learned to jump Double Dutch in the third grade instead of taking two years to master it?

What if every stranger I meet becomes a friend?

What if I had to choose the loss of one of my senses; which would it be?

What if I had been born a platinum blonde?

What if the sky was yellow at night and purple in the day?

What if we could tell time accurately without needing any sort of timepiece?

What if horses had their own bank accounts and could sign checks with a hoof print?

What if all people had access to equal health care — (really)?

What if I never dreamt of my father again?

What if for one day there was no war anywhere in the world?

What if my memory got stronger each day instead of weaker?

What if we stopped judging each other and accepted differences with joy and admiration?

What if it isn't all about me?

Deirdre Silverman
Donna DiCostanzo
Leslie Howe
Nancy Gabriel
Nancy Osborn
Rainbow Crow
Zee Zahava

Friday, April 17, 2015

What if . . . ? a collective list by Thursday Morning Writers

Yesterday, at the end of a splendid Thursday Morning Writing Circle, we had a few minutes left before noon — so we created a collective "What if ….?" list. Here are some of the things that popped up:

What if my story were written in ink on my skin?

What if we made music together until the sun waved good-bye and sank below the horizon?

What if spiders had jaws and teeth like wolves, and a hankering for human feet?

What if I had potatoes for hands — how would I function?

What if there were no wars?

What if the 1% at the top owned only 1% of the world's assets?

What if the temporary butterfly tattoo I put on the inside of my wrist turned out to be so temporary that it flew away?

What if you were a giraffe but you only had 3 necklaces when obviously you would need at least 174 if you were going to the Queen's Garden Party?

What if your roller skates were made of chocolate and after you rode down Buffalo Street you could sit in DeWitt Park and eat them?

What if we really all do have magic words inside us that make things come true when we say them, but we don't know what they are because they are different for each person?

What if I had stayed in Philadelphia in 1993 instead of moving away?

What if I had moved to Portland, Oregon instead of Ithaca, New York — and what if only the details were different but it was all still basically the same?

What if all carpets were of the flying variety?

What if I'd taken the time to learn to swim?

What if we hadn't left the party separately?

What if you had paid attention?

What if I could fly like a bird?

What if I were a girl?

What if Dad loved me as I am and not how he wants me to be?

What if I could live inside a book or a television show?

What if haiku poets were treated like international rock stars?

What if I could actually open the drawer in my kitchen that keeps getting so stuck I have to remove the drawer above it every time I need something?

What if I planted some vegetable seeds this year (that actually grew)?

What if I changed my living room furniture?

What if there were orchard trees between the street and the sidewalk, instead of maples and oaks?

What if my thoughts are instantly deliverable to the members of my family?

What if I become a cat lady in old age?

What if I up and move to Ireland?

What if we could all go back to junior high school (or middle school as it is called these days), knowing what we know now?

What if I had the chutzpah to e-mail that lovely widower out of the blue and ask him to join me for coffee?

What if when someone says hello to me I say "pistachio" to them, and if they say "You look so nice this morning" I reply "petunia" — what if I only speak in words that begin with the letter P?

What if there were no words "what" and "if"?


Barbara Cartwright
Liz Burns
Mike Schaff
Molly Sutton
Rob Sullivan
Stacey Murphy
Sue Crowley
Susan Lesser
Zee Zahava

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Poetry for the People: 2 group list poems

On Wednesday morning, April 8, 2015, I led a workshop at the Tompkins County Public Library, called "Poetry for the People."

We wrote a number of collective list poems as well as individual poems.

It is a pleasure to share some of the group's writings with you here.

= = =

The Collective "I" — a random glimpse into who we are and what we are thinking about at a particular moment, in a particular place

I am grateful for my Uni-Ball Signo pen, smooth and ready to roll

I remember seeing a pair of shiny tap shoes on my own two tiny feet

I lose track of time when doing things I love

I used to be taller

I try not to be inhibited when I write, and yet I don't want to share all my intimacies either

I wish I had a green thumb

I wish I were perfect

I have walked in my grandfather's, and Gandhi's, footprints

I wish I could remember baseball statistics

I intend to be bolder from this day on

I used to think I was an outsider

I added a wish to a stupa

I forgot I was supposed to be sad

I breathe in order to find myself

I am in awe of the power of the waterfalls today

I wish I were a butterfly

I am grateful because spring is trying so hard to visit us

I am aware of the lotus heart

I am grateful for the lobby of the hotel Ithaca where I found shelter from the rain this morning

I remember my great-grandma looked so small sitting in the rocking chair, when she handed me a shiny penny

I am processing February

I remember crying out in my sleep

I worry about the fate of Islamic treasures

I love the sound of Formula One racing cars

I wish I could cook; or that I had a cook

I wish it would only rain at night

I am afraid of parking garages

I wish my gardening efforts amounted to more than pulling weeds

I often dream of my father, who passed away two years ago, and wake up happy, until I remember he is gone

I remember wearing red rubber galoshes and using my red plaid umbrella

I talk to animals; they understand

I have never worn lipstick

I am so nearsighted that I mistook a squat red fire hydrant for a small child (waiting for the school bus?)

I enjoy paper dolls

I remember my first kiss

I don't care much for "I" and "I" is getting quite bored with me

= = =

A Happiness Poem — inspired by the writing of Japanese poet Tachibana Akemi (1812-1868)

Happiness is when your dear friend's laughter lingers in your memory

Happiness is a hot cup of tea just when you need it

Happiness is a child kissing you on the cheek after you've read to him for an hour

Happiness is is walking — looking and walking

Happiness is sitting quietly all evening, waiting for the candle to burn itself out

Happiness is discovering that the lilies-of-the-valley survived the winter

Happiness is having a good hair day

Happiness is finding the perfect word

Happiness is the smell of sausage and peppers

Happiness is hearing birdsong every morning

Happiness is silence, deep and unbroken

Happiness is coming home after a challenging day, to the comfort of cats

Happiness is chocolate studded with hazelnuts

Happiness is walking out the front door and discovering the lilacs have bloomed overnight and are filling the air with their purple fragrance

Happiness is going to the mailbox and finding a real letter from your best friend

Happiness is not caring what people think

Happiness is going for a walk in the winter and not once slipping on the ice

Happiness is waking, but then realizing you have two more hours to sleep

Happiness is when the delicate flat sheet of chocolate cake is willing to make itself into a roll

Happiness is climbing into an electrically heated bed on a chilly night

Happiness is wearing a wide-brimmed hat that keeps the rain from dripping into your mouth

Happiness is gathering with a group of writers and, in a short while, knowing them a little bit better

Happiness is knowing that you have finished

Thank you to all the workshop participants!

Barbara Brazill
Barbara Kane Lewis
Carol Miller
Gabrielle Vehar
Helen Spanswick
Louise Vignaux
Mary Beth Tierney
Nancy Osborn
Patti McLary
Zeke Perkins