River of Awkwardness
During our recent renovations, I came across a tub of junk I’ve been saving since high school. Until just a couple years ago it was safely stored at my mom’s house, where I didn’t have to confront the piles of awkwardness and teen angst that filled its plastic depths. But alas, part of growing up is getting all your shit out of your parent’s house and so the tub moved to my attic until a lack of storage spaced forced me to open it.
Lucky for you that I did, because today I present to you a PRICELESS GEM of 16-year-old brilliance:
The marbled scrapbook paper! The pinking sheered edges! Every poem in a different crazy font!!!
The clip art!!!!!!!
I’m pretty sure the assignment was to find 20 different poems on a topic (say, LOVE, which would have taken exactly 2.4 seconds in the school computer lab, even in 1998) but because I was SUCH A LOVER OF POEMS I refused to conform to such a simple and foolish instruction. My introduction:
For some, creating an anthology of poetry is a real trial. Having to find twenty poems by different authors is a hard assignment. It was a trial for me as well, but for a different reason. How could I ever limit the poems I wanted to put in this anthology to only twenty on one topic? I have an extensive collection of poems that I like, and some that I truly love as well, but to put them all under one single heading was a real challenge. What I created was a title of “Learning Life’s Lessons” and then stretched all my explanations of poems to go under that title. That is why some of the poem summaries are so strange and disjointed. Even with such a broad topic I had a hard time forcing some of my poems under it, so I broadened my horizons and found some new poetry to add. While looking for new poetry I found that by structuring my anthology around life (i.e. starting with childhood and then ending with death) I could create a sense of growing. So I divided up the anthology and my explanations of the poems made sense. The whole experience was very educational as well as enjoyable. I learned to appreciate poetry more after my attempts to write some, I learned what kinds of poems I liked more than others and I learned that poems really can teach you life’s lessons.
As 16-year-old me might say, gag me with a spoon. The “extensive collection” of poetry I owned included one Edgar Allan Poe book and the complete works of Lewis Carroll – which explains why Annabel Lee (the OMG MOST ROMANTIC POEM EVAR), The Raven, The Walrus and The Carpenter and The Jabberwocky (to be fair, still one of my favorite poems) are all in this sad little project.
The teacher also let us include song lyrics as 2 of the poems because, as I’m pretty sure I loudly and annoyingly pointed out, writing songs is just like writing a poem and, like, totally emotional.
My two songs? Family by Dar Williams (because I was OH SO EDGY) and Cold Day in July by The Dixie Chicks (because I’m pretty sure some boyfriend I can no longer name or remember had broken up with me).
To be fair, both cd’s were in the tub too, and I’ve already put them in my car’s cd player. Don’t judge me.
Anyways, in my beautiful and incredibly well written anthology, I took great care to explain each poem’s meaning very carefully, just in case my English teacher was both blind, deaf and dumb as a rock.
Can you read that? There is a miracle possessed in a baby! Someone call an exorcist! I know it is hard to understand but the poem is an adult talking to a baby and the baby in answering. Crazy! Babies can’t talk! That must be while it’s, like, Art.
Guys, our society, here in high school…it’s like, SO HARD. And just because some boy kissed you at the Homecoming Dance doesn’t mean you’re going to get married some day. NO REALLY, IT DOESN’T. STOP THINKING IT RIGHT NOW.
For your reading pleasure, here’s the poem this summary is about. I think you’ll find the page it’s on to be a PERFECT example of why I loved it soooooo much when I was 16.
Side note: I can’t remember ever hearing or reading this poem before in my life. So obviously it wasn’t really my favorite poem OF ALL TIME, unless time officially ended with graduation. Which I was pretty sure it did when I was 16, so, there’s that.
Of course, what anthology about life’s lessons would be complete without a poem about Abraham Lincoln?
Obviously the lesson here is: don’t go to the theater or you might get assassinated. Duh.
And because I love you, here is the poem I wrote, River of Time:
No I am not typing it out. If you can’t read my blurry photo then OH WELL.
I think I should point out that in high school I felt Very Strongly that poetry was meant to rhyme. VERY. STRONGLY. Of the 20 poems/songs, there is only one that doesn’t rhyme. I think I passed over a lot of really good, meaningful, high quality stuff just because I wanted wabes with my outgrabes and Lenores with my befores. So I considered my beautifully rhymed poem to be the very epitome of good writing. My little dig about how I “hoped it wasn’t going to make me fail the assignment” was just me being modest.
So really, I think the life’s lesson I learned here is: Hanging on to crap from high school may give you a migraine from all the eye rolling you’ll do when you find it again some day. Or maybe: Try harder to come up with things to blog about or you’re going to end up intentionally embarrassing the crap out of yourself.