I’m the kind of person who ________

I’m the kind of person who would rather know than wonder — to find out. As I’ve often said, “You won’t know if you don’t go.” That being said I always have more enthusiasm when signing up for writing conferences, workshops and classes than I do in the day(s) leading up to them. Stubbornly I drag myself to them with a new notebook, caffeine, open ears and soak up. You see I have a battery that for years I wasn’t aware of and for it I need to keep going…

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Yesterday I was reminded that “You don’t know what you don’t know”, “You’ll absorb things will come back to you when you need them”, “Have fun and be honest”, “Retain subsidiary rights”, “Eighty percent of published material doesn’t earn out”, “In poetry the writer gets to chose the right margin

(aka. The Line)”

and possibly most important, “Don’t be afraid to fail.”

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Monster

Staring into the future as if to see something misunderstood, possibly hope – probably not. The resting baby on her shoulder waits, her two boys still wait.

“Nothing changes through the one-way window. Growing stubble, anchored tight crows feet guarding steel blue eyes, his sun baked skin doesn’t even sweat” was scribbled on the old police report, now exposed for granddaughters not met to read.

The assumed word Monster now appears on his face above Husband, Dad and Grandpa.

***

 

I always learn something when I cross my favorite bridge, this time it was for a “Faces” writing workshop taught by Matt Love September 16th 2017.

THOUGH I WASN’T ALWAYS

Why do I keep trying to understand

the list of many things that I do

 

not? I carry around a fifty-

one-year-old weathered scroll

 

inked with a variety of unknowns.

Some, once understood—now

 

not. Many new, others ever-

changing. The list

 

grows. If “life is what happens when you are making

other plans,” why plan?

 

Why do traits that attract

turn into reasons to leave?

 

Is life alone settling,

fate, or just giving up

 

on the game? Why use the word

forever when nothing is?

 

How can a lifestyle choice threaten

others? How is walking in rain

 

therapy to some, yet loathed by many?

How do crows know I am

 

a friend, though I wasn’t always?

How does a special animal change

 

a person’s life? What do you do

when they go? Why do tough

 

people sometimes betray the code

and cry? Why do some become monsters

 

instead of protecting

their children? Can the kindness

 

of an outsider make enough

difference? Why does the pain remain

 

when the damage is long

gone? How do butterflies

 

know to show up when you need

them? If writing can be an antidote

 

for depression, can it lead

to understanding? Is philosophy

 

a gift, or an over-thought

burden? Destiny, obligation

 

calling (words that are larger

than life) can you really

 

see them coming?

Herman Hesse wrote:

 

I have been and still am a seeker,

but I have ceased to question

stars and books; I have begun

to listen to the teaching my blood

whispers to me.

 

Was there an event that opened

his eyes to this

 

realization or is it the wisdom

of a tired traveler?

 

When is it okay to let go

of questions and simply embrace?

 

The surprises never

end. Perhaps it’d be healthier to lean

 

back: let the bad be curses

and the good, magic.

 

This poem started with my piece Why from the “Write to Understand” writing workshop taught by friend Matt Love  on December 10th 2016 in Astoria, Oregon and evolved over time thanks to the help from another writer friend of mine Tara Hardy .

 

Why

Why do I keep trying to understand the list of many things that I do not.  I carry around a fifty-one year old scroll of weathered paper inked with a variety of unknowns.  Some once understood – now not.  Many new, others ever-changing.  The list grows…

If “Life is what happens when you are making other plans” – why plan

Why do traits that attract – become reasons to leave

How is walking in rain therapy to some – yet loathed by many

How does a special animal change a person’s life – what do you do when they go

Why does pain remain when the damage is long gone

How do butterflies know to show up when you need them

If writing can be an antidote for Depression – can it help with Understanding

Destiny, Obligation, Calling (words that are larger than life) – can you really see them coming

Herman Hesse wrote, “I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.”

Was there an event that opened his eyes to this realization or is it the wisdom of a tired traveler?  When is it okay to let go of questions and simply embrace?

The surprises never end.  Perhaps it’d be healthier to lean back: let the bad be curses and the good magic.

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As always I learned while enjoying my day at the “Write to Understand” writing workshop on December 10th 2016.

Matt Love lives and teaches in Astoria, Oregon.

Why Memoir

Why Memoir?

This may be a strange compound question from me, as I have been capturing a story of my own for a few years.  I think I’ve figured out a little more about why they are written, they seem to be therapeutic for the writer.  In my case it just happened.  Loss cracked me open and the words came out.  I started smearing these memories on paper and while watching them dry I found that preservation made me feel little better.  Discovery became compulsion and grew.  The spirit of my dog led me down this new path and I just kept going…

Why do people want to read Memoir?

Often I wonder why do strangers read other people’s life stories.  Many are tragic and share deeply painful moments.  Are readers looking for a similar experience while hoping to gain some insight?  Find hope?  Learn something?  Follow someone back from an edge?  Does a common thread need to pull them together?

For me these questions will hang on lines – like yesterday’s laundry in today’s rain, waiting for tomorrow.

Nobody Likes A Coward

“It doesn’t rain at the end of July, the forecast is wrong.  My motorcycle trip to the coast won’t be cancelled.”  I declared one beautiful sunny day.

“Okay, well yes it’s raining, but it’ll stop – it is July.”

Mike stared at me in silence.

Are Norwegian’s more stubborn that Swede’s?  Ah who knows, I laugh at such things.

We put our rain gear on in silence and rode out into it.  My open-face half helmet allowed the drops to hit me with a blinding sting.  Twenty minutes later we stopped to buy a better helmet at the Harley Davidson shop in Tacoma.

“You riding in that?” asked the pretty cashier.

“Yes!”

“Where to?”

“The coast.”

“Oh – really?  Be careful!”

After the monsoon experience on Interstate 5 we stopped at a Barbecue Restaurant to warm up, eat and pour out our boots.  No one said anything – everyone looked.

“It’ll let up, has to” I laughed.

“Sure, it’s gonna” Mike laughed back.

After the winding roads and fresh tarred construction we stopped for a beer at a Peninsula Dive Bar.

“Cheers to stubborn!”

Clank!

***

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As always I learned while enjoying the “Rain” writing workshop at the Fort George Brewery on January 23rd 2015.

Matt Love lives and teaches in Astoria, Oregon.