NCTE has been sending me these lovely Inbox E-mails for almost a year (since I became a member last fall), and one of the things they mentioned in recent E-mails is the National Gallery of Writing, which is taking submissions right now in preparation for NCTE’s National Day on Writing on October 20, 2009. I like the idea a lot, especially the emphasis on a variety of compositional formats (not that I’m surprised that NCTE would take such a stance), and I’m thinking of contributing.

Here’s the catch: I can only contribute one piece.

So, faithful readers – help!

The composition can be a variety of things, including blog posts. If I were to choose right now, I’d probably pick a poem I wrote recently, mostly because it’s on my mind:


Tonight I will write
Of all the things
That have never been thought before.
The beginning is tricky.

Let’s rule out those common things:
Grass cuttings on a summer’s afternoon;
The music piped into grocery stores,
Elevators, shopping malls;
The whining of impatient children
Wanting satisfaction;
The crumpling of paper in a writer’s head
As she rejects another thought
[Which, having never thought itself unworthy,
Has nobly inserted itself into the stream of consciousness]
Into the void where thought lies dormant;
The sound of a Frisbee flying past your ear,
The product of a toss gone awry;
The smell of baked goods, fresh and soft;
The feel of a cotton shirt,
With its tag so incessant and obstinate;
The warmth of a small child’s hand
Wrapped in the cocoon of your own palm.

Yes, these things are thought of often.
They shall not suffice.

Nor shall the pictures which hold memories,
The frames which hold lifetimes,
The calendars marking new days,
The lists denoting new tasks,
The envelopes enclosing new obligations,
The pages which hold new ideas,
The ink that will mediate them.

Not the turning doorknobs,
Hinges, doormats,
We are always thinking of these.

Neither the coughing madness of life,
Nor the sputtering spiral of dying,
[Are these distinct? Different?]
The uncertainty of separation,
The certainty of change,
The fearful awe of the beloved.

Thinking of unthought things is difficult.

Elusive creatures, I am not unlike you,
For I have wished to be thought of,
To be acknowledged, esteemed,
And to end this dire internment.
I have wanted to find connections,
To grow roots beneath me,
To stretch out limbs toward sky and sea,
To catch – or be caught.

I shall try a new approach.

Come to me, solitary thoughts,
You who have never crossed the paths
Of prodigious minds:
Come to me in dreams,
In brief glimpses;
Come to me,
And you will be born,
And I will give you my name.

I’m open to other options, though, and any of the blog posts I’ve written here on Docere would of course qualify as well.

I’ll probably make my decision in the next few days, so leave me comments with suggestions.