The Purpose of a Problem

“The serious problems in life, however, are never fully solved. If ever they should appear to be so it is a sure sign that something has been lost. The meaning and purpose of a problem seem to lie not in its solutions but in our working at it incessantly.” -Carl Jung

For several of the past Augusts, I’ve participated in a postcard-poem-a-day marathon, writing one poem each day, inspired (in theory, at least) by the picture on the postcard, and sending the postcard to a person on a mailing list. This past February, my friend Carla Shafer twisted my arm to write a postcard poem for peace every day of the month.

This was amazing. I’ve been given the advice before to stick with a subject (even after a successful poem) and just keep writing about it to see what happens. But I’d never done a particularly great job. I tend to shoot off in every direction, like fireworks. Given an assignment, and accountability, however, I turn into my inner obsessive student.

So I did it. I wrote a poem about peace every day and I started getting postcards with peace poems from other poets in my daily mail.

That’s my prompt for you today. Choose a topic (peace is a good one) and stick with it for a month. If you don’t think of yourself as a poet, you might make it a prayer, or just a sentence about your chosen topic.

If you try this, I’d love to hear about how it works for you.

“If we all wanted peace as much as we want a new television set, we would have peace.” -John Lennon

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