Reasons for Loving Bellybuttons
Because it is fun to say.
Because everyone has one.
Because when I was a baby I liked to play with it.
Because it is fun to poke.
Because I like to draw a happy face on it and make it talk.
— Kenzie, age 10
I have been buzzing about town with a group of lively 10, 11 and 12 year-olds. It's Summer Camp at Seashore Family Literacy and this week we are collecting words, observing life, and writing, writing, writing.
We are never without our journals, and just occasionally without smiles (when, after several hours, exhausted with words, we retreat to solitude and food).
Today we were lucky to have poet Ann Staley visit us from Corvallis, Oregon, an hour-plus drive from valley to sea. Ann has taught writing and poetry for over 40 years, and she spent the morning leading our group through a variety of poems and prompts.
The driving force of the day was lists (Things I Love), reasons (Reasons for Loving . . .) and instructions (How To . . .). From these lists, we generated pages and pages of poems.
Just as with gratitude, the more you appreciate, the more you see to appreciate. The Things I Love lists grew from 10 to 20 to more. "It's kinda fun once you get the hang of it," said Kenzie, as she reached 50 items.
How to Make a Friend
First, you start by saying
Hi, my name is . . . .
What's your name?
Then be nice to them.
— Chrisanda, age 11
Writing with children is almost always invigorating. Today I felt especially grateful for their willingness to try new things and to write about the silly and the sacred — from birth moms, to bellybuttons, to barbecue ribs.
How to Love
Pick a weed
Admire its long stalk and strong pull
Its roots bound to bad soil
to gloom, rain and hard scrabble
Find a flower with a delicate bloom
Examine how it
bends to sun
shakes in wind
How it needs tending and care
water and light
How it needs so much more
than you can give and
still, and still, it lives
— Drew Myron