Posted by: Kate | November 26, 2008

Hate is Such a Strong Word…

…perhaps I merely strenuously dislike poetry. In any case, we have had some progress in the realm of poetic expression and the inspiration thereof.  I repeated my thoughts and concerns to Emily, and told her that if she was able to show me her sources of wording and inspiration, so that we could talk about it all in an honest and positive way, then I would help her type it out and decorate it on the computer so that she had a nice copy to bring in to school.

And that if she wouldn’t/couldn’t document her inspiration, then I was going to refuse to allow her to submit it to the school publication, and would call her teacher on Monday morning to make sure everyone was on the same page. (The trick, here, was to keep it light and calm – a quick chat while we brushed our teeth, a follow-up in the car. Nobody got angry or defensive. Amen.)

Emily thought about this for a while, and soon enough was talking about a book about deserts in the school library, which is where she got the line, “where the tall green cacti sway.” It wasn’t part of a poem, but she liked how it sounded. In the same book was a section about sandstorms, hence “the wind blows sand away.” She thought it was cool that the two sentences rhymed, even though they were in different parts of the book.

Later, at home, she was reading a book about the ocean. A book of poetry about the ocean. And she thinks that may be where she got the “ocean color tan” bit, although she thinks the ocean book’s poem used another color.

So, progress. Both in solving the mystery and in trying to get across to Emily that it is perfectly fine to be inspired by something, and even sometimes to memorize a sentence you really like. It is just not OK to stonewall your mother and pretend to be a child prodigy. I don’t consider it entirely resolved, yet, since none of the purported source books have actually materialized, but I feel like we’ve reached a good compromise and understanding, thus allowing us to otherwise enjoy each other without that underlying grumble-grumble-grumble of unresolved conflict.

Does this put anyone else in mind of the incident in Anne of Green Gables where Marilla thinks Anne has lost her amethyst brooch and Anne makes up a false confession just to be allowed to go to the church picnic? Perhaps I read that book juuuuuust a few too many times, myself, but it’s why, until I see at least the ocean book (since I consider breaking into the school library for the desert book to be ill-advised), I remain skeptical about the whole thing.


  1. You’re so funny! I read ‘dessert’ book in the library and was wondering why a school library would have a recipe book on the shelf! (DOH! It’s been a long week!)

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