Monday, January 28, 2013

Wrapping our Words in a Container Lining

Today we address the final and most personal source or consideration for writing ideas—the container lining.  (In previous posts, we have addressed the first three—context, content and container)

By container lining, I mean all of the lenses we wear as we look at our own lives and the larger world.  The container lining is the unique perspective from which we see and understand everything, including all that we read and write.

In the image of a basket of bread on a table, we are able to see all of the starting places for writing ideas that we have already considered.  The set table, including the condiments, flatware, other utensils, and table cloth, is the context.  The container is the basket, and the content, of course, is the bread.

The container lining separates the bread from the container and the context, and from us, as well.  The bread –the content or meaning—is wrapped in our personal perspectives, seen through our individual lenses, coloring how we see the bread itself.

We each wear at least one lens at any given time.

What are mine?  I am African American, female, short, with short hair, and I love jewelry. (I wear lots of it.) These are all lenses that you can see.  I wear other lenses that you cannot see.  I am a Christian (Episcopalian), Democrat, a retired teacher, a wife, a stepmother, a graduate of The Ohio State University, and the list continues on and on.

All of these lenses color what I read in books and in the world, and also everything I write.

What are the lenses that you wear?

This year’s inauguration poet, Richard Blanco, wrapped his ideas in a container liner that is distinctly his.  His lenses in part: the first Hispanic, first gay male and the youngest person to join the select group of inaugural poets.  Others inaugural poets include Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.

His poem,One Today, could have only been written by him. His unique view of our world is the container lining through which he wrote and presented his work to us. 

Our own lenses are the individual ways in which we hear and receive his words.

Today’s Deeper Writing Possibility

Write a poem about your America wrapped in your personal container lining. 

Look back at your poem to identify your lenses after you have completed your work. 

What lenses did you wear?

Did any surprise you?

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