April 3: beneath your feet
walking & noticing
I went to get my hair cut on Friday and ended up a bit early, so I did a couple extra loops around the block. (My hair stylist is in Old City in Philly, where it’s very beautiful, so even on a surprisingly frigid, windy day, the bonus walk was nice.) It’s easy, in Old City, to admire beautiful storefronts and big windowboxes, and I did, but I also found myself looking down, trying to notice the things I don’t usually notice beneath my feet. I discovered, for example, that the manhole covers have a little bell on them, presumably to evoke the Liberty Bell. (Maybe literally everyone else knows this about Philadelphia; it was my first time looking with the right eyes to see it.)
Go for a walk. Go slowly, and notice what’s beneath your feet. What’s growing? What’s been discarded? What surprising beauty can you find?
You might take your phone with you capture some pictures you can use for writing later (but no googling/texting/tweeting on the walk!), or you could leave your phone at home and just focus on the pleasure of your eyes and brain untethered from a device.
When you’ve got something, write a page or two about what you noticed. You could also set a timer for 7 minutes and write continously until it’s up.
a quick note and a preview
A reminder: what we’re doing in this practice is just writing snippets, rather than producing a poem a day. Don’t worry about what you’re writing or if it’s a poem yet or if it fits into the bigger book you’re dreaming of. We’re just getting started.
And a heads up: tomorrow’s newsletter will contain the prompt for the first poem. I’ll give you some suggestions for how you might shape some of your notes and scraps from the first three days into a poem.
And an invitation: if it helps you to share, you’re welcome to post a sentence below, or email me, or put your sentence on twitter or instagram. I’d love to know what you’re up to, and sometimes that little bit of accountability can help you keep going. And if you have a friend you think would benefit from a little more writing in their life, I’d love it if you would share the newsletter with them. It’s been such a joy writing with you all these first couple days, and I’ve loved the work people have reached out to share.