At sixteen, I cringed under my mother’s pronouncement that I would need to have a profession because no man would ever marry me. She typed my poetry on her old manual, but nonetheless encouraged me to “get a real job” so that I had “something on which to rely”. I followed her admonishments. After several years of submitting my poetry, essays, and short stories to literary magazines, I finally went to law school and pursued a personally rewarding but financially lame path to semi-retirement.
The four poems, half-dozen essays, and clutch of newspaper articles that made their way to print in the 1970s comprised my entire portfolio until Will Leathem’s Spartan Press helped me fulfill my life-long dream of being what my once-brother-in-law JD called “a real writer”. Self-published but glorious, my book contains the best of me.
This week, I have had the amazing opportunity to present a three-session series of writing adventures with Linzi Garcia, a Kansas poet, and Will Leathem. As I cavorted in front of the small but enthusiastic group on the first two nights, I wondered what my mother would think if she lurked in the back corner of the meeting room. When a fifteen-year-old asked me to read some of his poetry, I nearly fainted. I hope my words encouraged him in a way that I did not feel anyone afforded me at that age.
You might not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but you can definitely resurrect the muscle memory with which that aging creature once leaped with wild abandon over fence and field.
It’s the nineteenth day of the one-hundred and thirteenth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.