Mostly we use poetry to inspire and jump start our Wild Writing classes over here at 27 Powers, but the other day I came across a letter my then 10-year-old Zoe wrote to her friends at school telling them why they should vote for her for student council. It captured everything I love about being a human being; these sometimes feeble, sometimes heroic attempts at love + living.
I tell my students that they will get so good at Wild Writing that they can use the back of a cereal box to write from, and write something beautiful. So why not the plea of a 10-year-old girl who wants to run for office?
“My name is Zoe Wagner and this is why you should pick me for student council…
1. I am not afraid to talk in front of the whole school.
2. I want to help everybody
3. You can trust me
4. I’ll work hard
5. I’ll make everything right”
This is my riff on it in class this week:
Why You Should Pick Me
1. I make an awesome cup of coffee
2. I don’t hog the blankets
3. I keep coconut, black sesame snacks in the freezer
4. My mother says I’m very beautiful when I cry
5. I’m learning to make a solid fire
6. I still listen to Joni and Neil
7. Cowboy boots are never the wrong choice
8. Lately I am drawn to difficult conversations
9. I carry my Grandmother’s kerchief
10. My Father left me a pair of his old reading glasses
11. My Mother and I threw two shivas a day when my Dad died
12. Each evening shiva turned into a cocktail party
13. I once dreamed that my cat and I french kissed. When I woke up I realized that I needed to become a vegetarian
14. I understand the complexity of loving someone and knowing you don’t belong together
15. I am learning how to say no
16. I drop a lot of balls these days.
17. I once dragged a fully decorated Christmas tree down the hall of our house and pushed it down the stairs of the basement – tinsel, balls and all – because I heard that the cantor of our temple was dropping his daughter off at our house any minute
18. One time I saw Neil Young on the beach and in an attempt to impress my little Sister I shouted, “Hey Neil!” and when he turned around I gave him a thumbs up and shouted, “Rock on baby!”
19. I know how to handle brussel sprouts
20. I’ll make everything right