Sixteen uses for a lamp – meditation-poem


Back in the 1980s, writer Marion Winik wrote an unusual essay about her relationship with her father.  It’s called “Sixteen Pictures of My Father.”  It’s a memoir essay told through sixteen individual scenes or pictures.  We read this essay last week at my conference.  Below is a excerpt; click on the title to read the full essay.  I’ll wait!

Sixteen Pictures of My Father (Marion Winik, Chicago Reader)

1. A small, square, black-and-white photograph with a scalloped white edge on which the date, May 1959, is printed in small type. I am the curly-headed baby in a white party dress sitting up on Daddy’s shoulder eating a strawberry. Boyishly handsome in his crew-neck sweater and grown-out GI haircut, he smiles up at me, squinting into the sun. He is 30, I am one, we are in love.

2. Twenty-five years later. My father and I at my younger sister’s wedding, a beautiful summer day at the golf club. . . .

Are you back?  Great!

My take

Sketch by Theresa Barker.

This week I took my one of my “sketch-a-day” projects – to draw a lamp – and I combined it with ideas from Winik’s “Sixteen Pictures” essay to create a new meditation-poem.  Here it is.

Sixteen Uses for a Lamp

  1.  To shoo away the darkness.

  2. To light the pages of a book in the corner of your living room when a storm is raging outside.

  3. To show you where the scars are.

  4. To find an honest one.

  5. To prove that inventions are possible.

  6. To hold down the newspaper when the windows are open and it might fly away.

  7. To warm a face.

  8. To be the last thing that is turned off at night and the first thing that is turned on in the morning.

  9. To help you look into your lover’s eyes.

  10. To keep monsters in the closet in a child’s room.

  11. To be the light of the party.

  12. To illuminate the wrinkles of wisdom in a loved one’s face.

  13. To be part of an easy spelling list.

  14. To use up electricity so that the electrical meter will spin faster.

  15. To show a film.

  16. To make one glad there is light in the world.

  17. (bonus – surreal/zen) Because the orange is tardy.
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Your thoughts?

If you’re a writer, photographer, textile artist, I’m sure you must be inspired by certain other writer or artists . . . thanks for looking at my thoughts today!