Last night

Last night, after a day of exploring around the Sonoma Coast, I lounged on my sofa, right in the corner, in what is becoming my favorite nook of our new house.

Here, the dark comes with crickets — their chirps charge the night, as if the sound generates our power, the light in the bulbs shining down on the pages of my Billy Collins book.

I’ve had this Billy Collins book for years, since one of the editors of an education magazine I worked at did a piece on him. I must have bought it so I could become familiar with his poems, though the book has been unopened since, moving from bookshelf to bookshelf.

Somehow, it survived numerous purges and now sits on my tiny house’s shelf.

I read the book last night and felt mostly indifferent, but I read several poems that I thought were interesting. I didn’t love them, nor could I say I enjoyed them — but for those moments they engaged me in some small way, in a way I cannot articulate.

I know nothing about poetry.

I read aloud the ones I thought were interesting to Nick, and I’m glad I did. They didn’t quite transform, but I appreciated them more. Quick visuals, moments of play. When reading a poem, I feel like a dim creature clawing at the pages, what is this, what does this mean, is there something in there. 

I get only hints. Like a flickering TV.

I plan to go to a local Goodwill to donate more things I don’t need. I might add this book to the pile and try to read another book of poems, but I wonder if I should keep it on my shelf — the ones I found interesting might become something more. I don’t know.


Letter to a reader

A reader who has followed my blog for a few years sent a kind email and asked me a few questions about writing. I’m always surprised when people say they are inspired by what I write. It helps me and nudges me to keep going.

A snippet of her email:

But I also want to begin working on my fiction — short stories first. I have not completed a formal literary training. I would really love to know more about your creative writing side, and I hope you can offer me sage words on how to start. Do I have to spend n hours daily, writing xxx words? Do I need a strategy of sorts? Or do I just let the flow take me to wherever?

This is what I responded:

Continue reading “Letter to a reader”