Mission 1226 – a writer's blog

where I occasionally share about inspiration, songwriting, screenwriting and my faith journey…

put your lips to the world…

Is it even possible I’ve not submitted a post since May??? Good lord…

I have no rational explanation. I’m not even sure if I were to set my mind’s eye on a back-looking trail that I’d even sort out the why.

So I won’t.

And I don’t exactly know where today’s rambling may lead as I am simply sitting here, with a cup of coffee between my forearms and P.J. perched in lamp light to my left, in a quiet, chilly, peaceful abode on the first weekday morning of the last seven and a half weeks on which I’ve NOT needed to leave my comfy confines.

I’m going to enjoy today……

Not that I haven’t enjoyed these last seven and a half weeks. I have!!

I wish I could share photos from the classroom across town where I’ve been hanging my hat since mid-August but that, of course, is against the rules. Suffice it to say — the photos would likely be of smiling seventh graders, engaged in a Socratic seminar, perhaps… or hamming for the camera with one of the Welcome Back creations they’d just made. Or maybe it would be 8th graders — up at the front of the room, reading some just-written spooky tale to their classmates.

Yep, I’ve had to great fortune of participating in a long-term substitute teaching gig at a middle school on the east side of town … and enjoying (nearly) every second of it. [Truth be told: some of the “professional development” stuff? Not by cup of tea… And I shit you not: every time, in some meeting or another, when I hear yet another unfamiliar-to-me acronym? I have to hide my grinning mug…]


I’ve learned a TON since mid-August. And thank goodness the kids have tolerated me during the long learning process. My babbling, my goofy stories, my inability to correctly pronounce a few names, my interruptions, my upwardly sloping handwriting on the white board, my constant reminders about project due dates, and my “how are we not getting this?” which arises over grammar concepts they were probably first taught several grade levels ago. And, of course, my “alright I need to broach a subject with you guys……. it’s a little awkward…….. let’s see…….. how should I—-“

Yep, they tolerate me. Thank the lord.

If you’re wondering what the heck the blog post title has to do with any of this about substitute teaching, let me tell ya: I’m not sure it does.

Oh, I could square peg — round hole it for you. But I won’t.

I will tell you this: just being in “an English classroom” has sparked an even greater fire in me about my love of words. This amazing language of ours.

You know how sometimes people talk about how there are only 12 basic musical notes and yet, just think about how much music has been written with them?

Similarly, we have just 26 letters in our English alphabet.

alpha plus one

And yet……

Just think. All the words. All those spoken and written and signed and sung and painted and espoused and whispered and otherwise communicated words….

All the stories and books and poems and plays and love notes and song lyrics…….

My mind reels.

And I find myself of late, sidling up and lapping at various bowls of words — some song I play over and over and over, delighting in some turn of phrase. Or a play I’ve been meaning to immerse in. Or poems.

I’ve been on a bit of a Mary Oliver kick. I haven’t had a lot of free time, mind you, but I find moments here and there where I wander reverently into the midst of something she’s written. Like this, from a poem called “Mornings at Blackwater”:

What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
darling citizen.

So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,
and put your lips to the world.

And live
your life.”


There are soooooo many powerful, provocative, prodding thoughts in those lines, I can’t even begin to unpack it all.

So, for today, let me leave you with this: what exists in the river of your imagination? What bobs along atop the water in the harbor of your longing? If you were to put your lips to the world, what desire/dream/destiny might you kiss?? Or is it even a kiss? Is it, rather, something you have yet to say which your lips will gift you?

That is all. For now. I must go…. I have more words to toy with today…

MOliver 15


One comment on “put your lips to the world…

  1. MermaidofthePlains
    October 11, 2017

    Love. Not only do I love and appreciate this post, I so love how you are enjoying your teaching gig. You and your students are blessed to have one another.
    And the M. Oliver quote? Beautiful. Maybe not a kiss, maybe a long cool, thirst-quenching drink. No sipping from the harbor of your longing.

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