I Wanted to Tell You a Story (from Brainstorms & Artwise Poetry Roulette Cards)
I wanted to tell you a story as we sat under the tree, to share a piece of my heart, a glimpse inside of me.
I mustered up the courage, dug deep inside my soul, putting together pieces to make the picture whole.
I wove humor and sadness, some moments of madness, and even a few of my demons to banish.
The highs and the lows, the peaks and the woes, until I was utterly stripped to the bone.
You turned and you asked, “Is that the last of this tale that you’ve been spinning?”
I said, “My friend, there is no end. We are always just beginning.”
This week marks the third anniversary of my (almost) weekly Sunday Poetry Timeout emails. The idea started as a way to share excerpts from the Brainstorms audio book I had just finished recording. A month into the endeavor, my intention shifted as each poem took on new meaning while the world as we knew it began to radically transform before our eyes. Over time composing the emails, both selecting and reflecting on the poem and photo, has become a practice for me as well as a labor of love. Each week, I imagine the message fluttering out through the ethers to reach you. When you read or listen to the words, I imagine you joining a conversation, a turning together with the poem as a threshold through which our stories might intersect.
Sometimes people ask me why I use the word "timeout." Isn't a timeout a punishment a parent gives to a child? To be honest, the phrase "poetry timeout" wasn't one that I conjured with forethought. Rather, it came into my consciousness from that mysterious place where ideas seem to come from. One day I was out walking with my dog, Snowball, and poof! The words "take a timeout with me" emerged in my mind and I couldn't shake them.
At the time, my son was playing basketball with his high school team. I asked him how he and his teammates decide to call a timeout in the game. He told me that when the action is getting really intense, a timeout gives you a chance to pause, catch your breath, and regroup with your team. A timeout helps the team step back to see the bigger picture and make a plan for how to move forward. In reflecting on the past three years of Poetry Timeouts, it occurs to me that creating these messages gives me just that sort of timeout. And it is my sincere wish that in reading them, you receive a moment of space that you need within the intensity of life.
As I enter this fourth year of sharing, I'm excited about some new creative seeds that are beginning to sprout. I'm working on a website refresh that will allow all of the poetry and writing I've shared to date to be more accessible. This week, I printed out about fifty poems that will become the basis for my next collection. And Orlando Villarraga and I are in conversation about more performances based on our album Within My Illusions (The Listening Experience).
Thank you for taking a timeout with me. If you ever feel inspired to share your own reflection, I welcome that!