A List to Listen By

I can’t think of a more powerful way to begin the 2022 Open Write than with poetry written by Stacey Joy and Kwame Alexander – two of my favorite poets to read! Stacey challenges us to write list poems to start the year. The link to her prompt is below. Beginning 2022 with a list poem reminds us that poetry can be free of rules and forms – it’s breath and thought and heart all blended in expression.

My one not so little word for 2022 is listen, so I made a starter kit of some ways I’ve discovered I can listen without using the word hear.

A Starter Kit of Ways to Listen 

  1. Pray
  2. Meditate
  3. Observe 
  4. Watch 
  5. Read
  6. Write 
  7. Tune in 
  8. Think 
  9. Reason
  10. Heed
  11. Feel 
  12. Look
  13. Worship
  14. Mind
  15. Consider
  16. Pause
  17. Follow
  18. Sense 
  19. Play
  20. Concentrate
  21. Anticipate 
  22. Dream 
  23. Hug 
  24. Reflect
  25. Notice
  26. Ponder
  27. Plan
  28. Embrace 
  29. Teach
  30. Learn
  31. Change
  32. Travel
  33. Obey
  34. Care
  35. Empathize
  36. Believe
  37. Seek 
  38. Attend
  39. Consider
  40. Accept 
  41. Reach  
  42. Wonder
  43. Imagine
  44. Reimagine

Today’s Open Write link:

For the Love of Lists

Band Director

I was the band director and the chorus teacher for two hours today at the high school. Overall, things did not go so well.

First, I can’t read music. Second, I can’t sing.

I went from a morning of covering a high school history class and testing preschoolers’ Literacy skills to an afternoon of sheer cacophony surrounded by brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments I knew nothing about.

In the midst of this surreal assignment, I looked up and smiled and thought of my one little word I’d chosen for 2022: listen. And as I did, it occurred to me that others might want to listen, too.

I texted a few 15-second audio clips to my closest people with no accompanying explanation.

“Wow, what was that?” my husband replied.

“It’s my band class. I’m directing,” I informed him.

“Oh my goodness, that’s hilarious,” he texted back.

“What in the world?” from my daughter.

“It’s my band class. I’m directing,” I told her.

She was amused. “Hahaha! Directing? Or do you mean telling the band to play something reminiscent of a Disney movie set in the Great Depression that was decades before their time?”

Another family member was so concerned that he tried calling, but I couldn’t answer in class.

“I’m busy directing the band today. I’ll have to call you when I’m headed back to the office,” I told him.

“Oh dear,” another replied. “I’m going to need video evidence.”

And so I got it.

So that for the rest of 2022 when I need to think of the most unusual way I listened on the 13th day of the year, I can revisit this experience and be ever mindful that the words we choose for the year can truly take us to some places we never dreamed we’d be.

Today, I was a band director.