“I don’t want to do that.” She says, meeting my eyes through impossibly long lashes. Her look, direct, strong and almost fierce, isn’t disrespectful. I can’t quite place my finger on what it is, but it pulls at my heartstrings.
I smile her way, touch her shoulder, lean closer. “You have to try.” I whisper, “And we can talk about it after.” She looks down, slumps. Not the reaction I was going for.
I’m sitting with my daughter’s Brownie troop. A group of girls that I’ve grown to love as my own as their pink cheeks and chubby fingers have given way to spaghetti straps and knobby knees.
They’re stunning in all the right ways – they laugh loudly and share kindly, their friendships criss crossing like finely threaded braids. Strong, thick, glittery.
They’re turning nine this year, going into the third grade. A year edged so tightly between little and big, how can they not lose their footing a titch?
My co-leaders, my friends, and I know that they have to feel this kind of fall, in order to sore.
So we fill them with as many experiences and adventures and successes as we can, in the hopes that if (when) they feel that unbalance, that discomfort of being something new, it won’t shake them. It’ll build them.
So tonight I sit in front of these girls, at the edge of my slick black leather seat and look into each of their eyes. Varying shades of earth and grass and sky look into mine.
I tell them about my own spark. The place where I feel the most vulnerable, and the most within my skin.
“We’re going to paint pictures and write poetry.” I say, breathing words into my passion. Most of them sit straighter, tilt their chins higher, fine tune their listening further.
“To be published in a real book!” I add. They look at each other, cheeks raised, eyes bright.
Except that one.
Her eyes are down, wavy locks brushing bare knees, pink tipped fingers threading through nubby beige carpet.
“I’ll keep your poems for just a little bit.” I say, placing my thumb and my forefinger close together. My wedding ring glints silver in the just setting sunlight streaming through the window.
They groan; she keeps her head down.
“So I can type them up in short lines, just like the ones in this book.” I show them Love That Dog, my favorite poetry book that I’m about to share.
I hold the spine between the fingers of one hand, running the thumb of the other across the fore edge. The cover snaps open, its pages tickling my finger as the poems splay.
My eyes are on the book, the pages, the words, as they speed magically by. The girls blur and smudge and blend together.
But I do zoom in on the girl sitting in the front, the one with her head down. Because, for the first time since I whispered to just her, she’s listening to just me.
Her head snaps up, her hair falls behind her shoulders, her eyes light. “You’ll type them?” She asks. “On a computer?” She adds. “So they’ll all look the same?” She explains.
She finally smiles when I nod. Her eyes and her heart and her already-been-felt shake on display.
And she writes. They all do.
They lay shoulder to shoulder on their bellies with their bare ankles crossed or leaning against cold, bare walls. They crinkle their foreheads and bite their lips.
They write and they paint and they share and they find their lift.
And that’s the goal of tonight, and this anthology that I’m so ridiculously proud to be a part of.
It’s exactly what I want for my children, and yours.
I want them to hold something they’ve created between their own fingertips – whether they’re muddied or glitter-tipped or snagged or finely manicured – whatever breath of life they’re in, and feel with every fiber of their being that new is good and endless possibility is right there, ready to be grasped.
Here’s how you, and someone aged 6-18 that you adore, can be a part of it:
Call for Submissions!
Who: Writers and artists, ages 6-18.
What: Original poetry and artwork inspired by the theme DREAM.
When: Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis. As soon as we have enough content for a complete anthology, submissions will close.
Every writer and artist will be responded to, and everyone whose work is accepted will receive a contributor copy, because PUBLISHED AUTHORS need to hold their books in their hands.
How: Submissions should be sent to me (the series editor!) at galit breen @ gmail . com
More How: Submissions should include-
- The full text of the poem or a jpg photo of the artwork
- An author photo
- A two-three sentence “About the Author”, including age
- And a permission sentence such as, “I (name of parent) am the parent of (named child) and grant permission for (title of work), created by (named child), for the Dreams vox poetica anthology to be published by unbound CONTENT.”
So I have to ask, who are you going to push to submit?
Who are you going to tell to think DREAM – waking or sleeping, nightmare or inspiration – just DREAM?
Who are you going to tell that it’s their story, and that we’re all listening?
I absolutely can’t wait to hear from you, and your favorite poet and painter!
This is an original World Moms Blog post by Galit Breen. On any given day Galit can be found juggling one husband, three children, one puggle, and one laptop. Galit can be reached regularly at These Little Waves, by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter, and Facebook.
Photo courtesy the author.