Tag Archive: philosophy


Wreck This Journal: Time

One of my favorite pages in Wreck This Journal gives directions to document the passing of time. There are so many different ways to play with this prompt and so many interesting directions in which it could wander!

When my Grandma and I completed this page, we took the obvious route in some respects, but in others we offered our own unique perspective on the passage of time.

Grandma pulled out her scrap box and cut up an old calendar to express days, months, and a year. Then, she drew an alarm clock, which is something that cracks me up. She had an alarm clock that she really loved because it lit up when it went off in the morning. The only problem was she never heard it ring (she was a heavy sleeper) and therefore she hardly ever got to see it light up.

However, my favorite part of Grandma’s page are the trees she drew along the side. A baby tree growing into a taller sapling is such a beautiful way to document time. It reminds me of something she and my Grandpa did for my sister and I when we were kids. One summer, we planted baby pine trees and then stood beside them to take a picture. Every year, when we’d come to visit for the summer we’d stand by the same trees and take our picture to see how much all of us grew. The trees always grew faster than we did! I don’t know if those trees are still growing (the house has new owners), but I like to think they are still reaching for the sky.

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Grandma’s take on time passing.

As for me, I geeked out as a history teacher and stole an idea from my Grandma, (it’s only fair – she stole my pyramids). I drew a clock and pasted in clippings of time from an old TV guide. Then, I doodled symbols from various eras of World History. My favorite is the boat, because never in a million years did I think I could draw something like that! One of these days, I’d like to continue this page to include the eras I wrote in the bottom corner of the page.

My job as a history teacher has me thinking about the concept of time on a daily basis – Is it always moving forward or is that simply how we perceive it? Are we that different from people who lived centuries before us?  What was it really like to live in a time other than my own? Time it seems is a riddle that will keep me guessing until my time runs out.

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My take on time passing.

The quote I wrote on my page has never meant more to me. I had 35 years with my Grandma and yet it only feels like  five minutes. I’m grateful for the moments we had, what I wouldn’t give for more. Every day with her was precious,  but there those moments where I wish I had more awareness of how fleeting time can be. If anything, reflecting on these pages reminds me to treasure the time I have with those I love. No matter how many years pass by and how much time we have, it will never be enough.

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c.b.w. 2014

Flutter

Leaves dance to and fro,

follow the music of a summer breeze.

The sun plays peek-a-boo with impish clouds,

casting pools of light and shadow

This erratic collage plays tricks on the eye,

yet somehow soothes a place inside.

Flitting silhouettes along for the ride,

carry the joys and pains of being alive.

Black and white, green and blue,

the air is clear,  painting hues

Sway with the lifts and dips,

or sit still and  miss all that matters.

The game goes from morning ’til afternoon,

until twilight declares a tie between the two.

Beautiful trees in Northern Wisconsin
Photo by: c.b.w. 2005

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c.b.w. 2014

Building a Chapbook

After participating in the Writer’s Digest November Poem A Day Chapbook Challenge, I found myself with thirty poems and a deadline. The second phase of the challenge involves narrowing thirty poems down to twenty and arranging them into a chapbook. For a newbie such as myself, this is utterly terrifying as I don’t know the first thing about formatting a poetry manuscript.

Aside from the technical logistics of formatting the actual print manuscript, I have a bigger fear that stems from one central question: In what order should the poems be arranged? During the challenge, I chose not to lock myself into a particular theme or type of poetry. I simply followed my muse when responding to each prompt. Thanks to my willy nilly approach, I ended up with everything from multiple stanza poems to haikus.

While not ideal, I decided the wide range of poetry I wrote was more of positive than a negative. Seeing as they are all rooted in my voice, they already had one common thread binding them together. Somewhere in the madness of irregular pieces, my story was waiting to be found.

I printed all of my poems and cut them out. Squares of all sizes lay scattered across my dining room table, each one a small piece of a bigger tale.

I started by making three rows of randomly placed poems so I could see how they “reacted” with one another. From there, I just started moving poems until a timeline of sorts began to appear. Without even knowing it, I had written 20 poems describing a journey I had taken two years prior.

My last trip to London changed my life in so many ways. Everything inside of me shifted and nothing has been the same since. It was a trip that taught me I had more strength than I ever could have imagined. As it turns out, that strength has been an incredible ally as life has tossed a number of challenges my way since my return. Sometimes I wonder where I would be today had I not discovered that piece of myself.

Fragments of emotions and thoughts still wander through my mind, all of which reach back to my days of wandering London streets and soaking in a new environment. All that time alone in a country so far away changed my default settings and forced me to see my world in different way. While I recommend this experience to anyone, it is not for the faint of heart. It’s easy to lose yourself and your footing when attempting to change your perspective.

In honor of an experience that uproots any sense of foundation, my chapbook carries the title, “Finding Gravity.”

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FYI, the deadline for the chapbook challenge is January 7, 2014. Good luck to everyone who submits!

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c.b.w. 2013

Symmetry

Pendulum swing,
carves unknown routes
Symmetry’s map,
shows hidden grooves
The deepest rut,
a compass rose
There is no wrong,
seldom a right
There is what is,
forward and back

The Great Mosque, Xi’an China
Photo by: c.b.w. 2005

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c.b.w. 2013

The Dirt Road

A smooth road just isn’t my style. Steps are too silent, too easy, there’s no mystery.  Blacktop streets are made for more than just one traveler. They are meant for followers, for those who like a solid ending. No harm in that. There’s something to be said for a clean path that leads to a known place.

I like the sound of gravel beneath my feet. The crunch and grit remind me to feel the earth and know my place.  My steps are small, but full of wonder. When stones bounce off my toes, I watch them roll and skip across the ground. Did fate choose their resting place or did chance?

Blurred edges blend the dirt road and wild borders. It’s easy to wander in the shade of leaves or challenge the blocks put forth by trees.  It’s just me with the wind and my pulse running wild.

My dirt road is not aimless, for it always leads somewhere. Whether a dead end or a side street to well-trod tar, the gravel must end, too.  Regardless of the twists and turns, it follows me wherever I go – a standing invitation for when life gets too quiet.

A dirt path near Minocqua, Wisconsin
Photo by: c.b.w. 2013

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c.b.w. 2013

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