20 Things Juniper Taught Me

1.     If I had to choose between lists & questions, I couldn’t. Both are essential.

2.     Engaging with what makes you uncomfortable is always fruitful.

3.     Square One: I exist, We exist.

4.     While I was waiting for a transformative moment, I was transformed.

5.     A cup of Coca-Cola is not an adequate stand-in for coffee. Neither is aspirin.

6.     Chronic amazement begets gratitude. Can be found in clouds, in bumblebees, in the first opening of eyes each day. Also good for not quitting writing.

7.     Comparison is the thief of joy (Already knew this. Bears repeating).

8.     When caught in a rainstorm walking uphill on a foreign campus, catalogue the smell of wet asphalt, the greening of grass, the tiny pricks of joy on your skin.

9.     Reading by flashlight in a dorm bed until 1 a.m. is strangely exhilarating but also physically discomforting if you are no longer a college kid.

10.  There is such a thing as too many desserts, but almost always no such thing as too much coffee.

11.  Sharing creative work in a room full of strangers is a radical act.

12.  Ditto for trust. Trust of process & people & all of this.

13.  Ditto for saying “this matters.”

14.  Language is both the barrier & the bridge.

15.  Slicing through clouds with thin wings as we descend to earth provides chronic amazement (see #6).

16.  I don’t like going anywhere without Hank.

17.  What is home? I ask the shock of mountains as we drive headlong into their beauty.

18.  The poem is the question & the question is the poem.

19.  My teachers are in my head, edging me onward (Thanks, Tim).

20.  Also, my teacher is me. Now. Always.



*with thanks to Harryette Mullen & Orion Magazine & Everyone