Saturday, November 03, 2007

Wisdom from Yuyi Morales and Señor Tlalocan

I’m posting from sunny Tucson where I am attending the 7th Regional Conference of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), hosted by the U.S. section (USBBY) of which I am the past president. What a terrific event! It’s a gathering of a few hundred people dedicated to promoting international understanding through children’s literature, a cause near to my heart. Our first speaker was the effervescent artist Yuyi Morales who inspired me with her odd and clever juxtapositions of Mexican folk art and wisdom, pop culture connections, and pithy use of language. She used a colorful character, Señor Tlalocan (rooted in Mexican folklore) to guide us through her presentation and presented various prayers of this character both visually and verbally. Here was one of my favorites:

Señor Tlalocan's Prayer

“Mighty impulses of mine, give me the courage to follow you always. Might I remember that there is no right or wrong decision, but only commitment to what I choose. Help me stick with my favorite option and work on it with conviction and passion so as to make everyone believe it was the only choice I had.”

I love this thought and I send it out to all of you and especially to my daughter in honor of her 24th birthday today. And here’s a poem that echoes that conviction, as crazy as the connection might seem.

God Went to Beauty School
by Cynthia Rylant

He went there to learn how
to give a good perm
and ended up just crazy
about nails
so He opened up His own shop.
"Nails by Jim" He called it.
He was afraid to call it
Nails by God.
He was sure people would
think He was being
disrespectful and using
His own name in vain
and nobody would tip.
He got into nails, of course,
because He'd always loved
hands were some of the best things
He'd ever done
and this way He could just
hold one in His
and admire those delicate
bones just above the knuckles,
delicate as birds' wings,
and after He'd done that
He could paint all the nails
any color He wanted,
then say,
and mean it.

From God Went to Beauty School by Cynthia Rylant (HarperColllins, 2003)

Emily, just be who you want to be where you want to be it. All the rest will take care of itself. Thinking about you…

I know it's late to join the Poetry Friday round up, but here's the link for those who are interested.
Picture credit:


Hans Ostrom said...

I enjoyed reading your blog very much. Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

I am a three times retired teacher now enjoying part time work in an elementary library with very few resources. THANK YOU for your inspiring blog. In January I want to promote poetry with ages K3-5th grade and am feeling challenged to say the least. I have just spent over two hours reading your blog. Again, thank you! Tomorrow morning I am going to purchase your book!