Barbaric Yawping


This post is going to be weird.

Perhaps you all are used to weird by now. The Rambler variety of weird, that is. I mean, you wouldn’t keep coming back if you weren’t used to weirdness. And you probably don’t read this blog unless you’re just a little bit weird yourself.

Today I am speaking to those who don’t mind thinking outside the box every once in a while. This will involve a bit of self-exposition—self exposition to a degree that doesn’t usually happen here. I mean, the very nature of a blog, any blog, is self-exposition. Rarely, however, do I let this blog descend to this level of unfiltered self-description.

I’ve been reading this book called Poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge. Almost every chapter has a short practice section that gives you ideas to help you write better poetry. The end of chapter 14 asks you to describe yourself to yourself in terms that perhaps you’ve never thought of before. Every get-to-know-you survey at the beginning of elementary school years asked kids what animal they would like to be, but how often have you been asked what car you would be? Or food? Or tree? Or natural element? What sound? What color?

I found this idea fascinating, so I gave it a go. I’d like to encourage all my summer-bored readers out there to try it, too, because, well, it’s kind of fun. Forgive me this moment of very Whitman-esque self-exposition, and remember that I’m mostly doing this so you, too, can think through these questions about yourself.

If you were a color, what color would you be?

I would be purple. All the shades of purple. The thoughtful purple mist over lavender fields in the early morning. The sunny purple of mountain wildflowers. The wacky purple of teacups in kitschy gift shops. The deep purple of ripe grapes.

What shape would you be?

I would be a curving line. A line can become anything. A knot. A Celtic trinity knot. This line favors knots.

What movement? (I’m not kidding—the lady asked what movement I would be.)

I would be the first step of a waltz. The first step of a waltz done by someone who doesn’t dance very well, and with someone she doesn’t know.

What sound?

 I am the sound of running water: the rain on the roof; the creek outside a cabin window; the declamation of the ocean; the discordant splash of water from a vase shattering on the floor; the bland hiss of a drinking fountain.

What animal?

A white tiger, living alone in the cold forest, hunting wild things, watching the stars, washing my face.

What song?

This one was a doozy. About ten songs crashed together in my brain at once when I read this question. The last one standing was Beethoven’s “Pastoral Symphony.”

What number?

I am the number 8. I am infinity twisted sideways. I could be so much more, if only I could get my life together.  

What car?

It was hard to be original on this one. I’m not a car person. She asked for make and model and year and everything. So all I can say is that I am the car that I drive—a Subaru Forester, forest green (mine is more of a sage green, though) with a sunroof. It doesn’t look it, but it was made for adventures.

What piece of furniture?

I am a massive wooden roll-top desk, stained a honey-oak color. The writing surface, as well as every cubby hole and cranny, are filled with little scraps of multi-colored paper covered in doodles and notes and random words. There are pictures of exotic places stuck all over the inner walls with gobs of white sticky tack. It used to be the rolling top was always closed, locked, with the key hidden away. Now the lid stays open most of the time, with all the bits of paper blowing out into the world.

What food?

I am whole wheat bread. I go well with tea and jam.

What musical instrument?

I am a violin. They are made for spritely sounds, but, when played properly, they will make you examine yourself. The sound of a violin wants you to think, to laugh, to sigh, to dream, to dance.

What place?

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany.

What natural element?

Earth. This means plants as well as dirt and rocks. This means trees and tussock. This means rolling green hills and gaping canyons. No matter who you are, you will find yourself at home, somewhere.

What kind of tree?

I’d like to think I’m one of those great grey trees that grow in the Battery in Charleston, SC. They do not break easily. They are tall, but their limbs reach to the ground, so people can climb them to get a better view of the sea. They don’t seem to fit in among the tall trees who keep their branches to themselves.

Alright, enough of that. Enough of me writing about me. How about you? What would you be, reader?


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