10 Line Tuesday — Slowing Down — a Poem by Maya Stein

Episode 12

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slowing down

By Guest Blogger Maya Stein

In New York, I spotted the gym-goers on the third floor, racing on their treadmills
toward dinner reservations or a show or some wild idea that told them 30 minutes a day
on the “mountain climber” setting would fix it all. The whole city was breathing
hard, it seemed, moving on hyper-speed, but it would be a lie to tell you
I leaned back from the quiet perch of my own stillness to observe the mad rush
as if it were a weekend’s entertainment. I didn’t. Inside, I’m on a parallel clock,
fashioning deadlines for everything. Now of course, I’m at the beginning again,
and the itch for a solid finish at its itchiest. “This will be the year I…” goes the familiar
refrain. Meanwhile, the sky slips toward evening, an edgeless nuance of shifting color,
and I watch as winter birds glide toward their potential, steady and serene as ever.

About Maya Stein

My first job out of college was at a PR firm whose primary client was Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In between writing tip sheets and press releases, I found myself immersed in the whimsical world of clowns and daredevil acrobats and dancing elephants, and I began to see the larger connection between the written page and the landscape outside of it. Since then, I have sought out creative adventures to weave into my writing life, and have designed projects that bring writing opportunities to unexpected places.

My 2010 Tour de Word was a two-month, 12,000-mile driving trip circumnavigating 30 states, during which I led writing workshops for children and adults. In early summer 2012, I launched Type Rider: Cycling the Great American Poemriding my bicycle for 40 days and more than 1,200 miles from Amherst, MA to Milwaukee, WI towing a typewriter behind me, stopping daily to gather words from strangers in the communities I visited.

I followed that with Type Rider II: The Tandem Poetry Tour, a tandem bike ride from Boulder, Colorado to Beloit, Wisconsin in July 2014, during which my partner and I built 25 Little Free Libraries and wrote poetry for the people we met along the way.  The motivation behind these and other projects is to inspire people to share their stories, to make writing more accessible – especially to those who don’t consider themselves writers – and to build community through creative action.

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