I learned some of my favorite words from Poe

I’ve recently started my MEd, and I feel like a child wading through a foreign language – but a foreign language almost-learned, concealing ideas that promise to illuminate and inspire.  I finally started a makeshift glossary, full of words once known but forgotten, half-known, and brand new.  Some of the best so far – Black BoxZone of Proximal DevelopmentAutopoeisis… each word holds a delicious idea.

I remember a similarly profound experience when I was a teenager, consumed by Poe’s The Raven.  I felt my heart and mind swept up in the perfect music of the language, and I devoured it, greedily looking up each new word and the world it held.  Surcease, obeisance, nepenthe – beautiful words that have almost never come up outside of this poem, have become a part of me.  I learned panacea while looking up nepenthe.

And still, over 20 years later, this poem thrills me, fills me with fantastic wonders never felt before.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;

I swoon.

This.  I must chase this feeling.



Then Again… (Good Bones)

Lest we get too chipper about the future…


I read this years ago.  It struck me then.  I read it the other night, now that I have a daughter, and more fear.  It was punishing.


About a year ago I made up a story for my kid, and it was wonderful.  Now, of course, I remember it like a dream.  Why didn’t I start this sooner?

  • One character had a piece of fabric that looked like the night sky one one side, and the day on the other.  When she shook it out, it would suddenly bring her back and forth between the day and the night (alternate magical dimension).
  • At one point she was running to escape something.  She dropped something on the forest floor, and it fell into the soil.  She shook out her fabric and in the night dimension it grew into a tree that went into the sky.
  • Or maybe it was the tree that grew a nut, and inside the nut was the fabric?

Last night I finished reading “Lucky Break” by Roald Dahl to my daughter, who was very interested and patient despite being four.  He describes his little book of ideas, some of which grew into his wonderful stories.   Continue reading