I'm honored to be a featured reader at Broadway Books in Portland tonight, for a William Stafford Celebration. I'll be reading this poem yet again: from Even in Quiet Places, "Learning to Adjust." The narrator picks up his mail and discovers he has received the wrong package. He does not complicate matters with complaints or returns. He studies the wrap, the unfamiliar name, the happy greetings. He decides that in a sense, this gift may be for him after all, and even, "might be more than I deserve."
I have this image of the poet, humble and big-hearted, holding up the package and smiling as he tucks it under his arm and trudges forward. What might the package be? What will he do with it?
Assured there are no mistakes in the world, he will open the package to a size four dress or a tinker toy house or a fondue pot and graciously and reverently bring it home and find a use for it, or even put it on display. This is what it means to live a creative life: taking what comes and exploring the beauty of it.
How would it be, if every time we received a thing, we cherished and made a place for it - even if it wasn't what we had in mind?
Look among your Christmas gifts for something you weren't excited about. Write what you can do with what you received. Create a story featuring that object. Consider keeping it forever.