I think I have a girl crush. There, I’ve said it out loud. Mind you, I don’t know her personally; I listen to her voice and read her words. Krista Tippett, according to her bio, is a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and New York Times bestselling author. She is the founder of On Being, a radio show and podcast. The story behind this worthy mission is…
On Being takes up the great questions of meaning in 21st-century lives and at the intersection of spiritual inquiry, science, social healing, and the arts. What does it mean to be human, how do we want to live, and who will we be to each other?
I subscribe to Tippett’s On Being podcast and am reading her latest book, Becoming Wise An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living. She interviews remarkably thoughtful, intelligent people for her publications. I find it difficult to absorb all the information at one sitting. I’m left with snippets such as these:
Episcopal Bishop, Michael Curry posed this question during his interview—“What do you plan to do with the dash on your tombstone? We have little control over when we are born or when we die but we do have control over how we use the dash in between those times.”
Author Katherine May described her book Wintering. “Wintering is a season of the natural world, a respite our bodies require, and a state of mind. A pausing.”
Rabbi Ariel Burger, a student of the late Elie Wiesel, asked, “How are you a blessing?” Tippett and Rabbi Burger discussed the importance of listening to our souls whisper and paying attention to the space between words and the white on the paper.
The interviewees and the interviewer, speak with such eloquence and poetry. There is even a tab on her website menu labeled Experience Poetry. “Poetry leaves room for silence and makes room for questions that are unanswerable and allows them to sit there.”
She interviewed John Paul Lederach, a mediator who spends months each year on the road mediating international crises. He has worked in more than twenty-five countries. Lederach said he valued the connection between poetry and peace-building, particularly haiku poetry. He noted, “To some degree the haikuist is constantly trying to capture the full complexity of a human experience but in the fewest words possible.” He helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland about which he wrote the following haiku:
A Haiku consists of three lines, with the first and last lines containing five syllables and the second seven. This is called the 5-7-5 structure.
Lederach said the borders in Central Asia were created by Joseph Stalin. Every country has a minority of every other country’s majority.
The precise poignancy of these poems moves me. The structure also makes me think about the Six-Word Story format I like so much. The Six-word Story allegedly originated with Ernest Hemmingway’s “For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.” story. The process of carefully choosing each word (or syllable in the Haiku format) and imbuing it with meaning, renders additional words superfluous.
The anniversary of public awareness about COVID-19 occurred last month. Pause to ponder the impact of the pandemic on your life this past year using either the Haiku or Six-Word story format. I’m sharing a few I’ve read and written as a starting point for your own compositions.
Work from home? Now? How?
Miss Office space, colleagues’ faces
Boomer learning Zoom
A pause has been given
How will I give it meaning?
Words reveal the way
6 Word Stories
- She’s forgetting the feeling of hugs.
- Messy hair, messy room, messy thoughts.
- I regret saying, “I hate school”.
Use all the punctuation you desire just limit the syllables or words. Your stories do not need to be restricted to the pandemic. Whatever is taking up real estate in your brain will make an excellent story topic. Happy composing….