I was listening to some Nick Cave the other day, and, as usual, I was quite taken by his lyrics. I dusted off my poetry notebook and began to try to forge words into an impossible chain, but without much success. Yes, I do occasionally write poetry. I used to write quite a bit more. There are too many “used tos” in my life, I think. I grew up with two brothers, and a decade later, three. (I also have a half-sister, but that’s a long story.) My brothers have very different lives than mine. One of them is now posting some of his poetry on a WordPress blog at Poetry Random Ramblings and Rants. You ought to check it out. (You might also run into a ramble or rant…)
One thing I’ve learned from my many editorial board meetings is that successful books are often about the author. My brother has an interesting life story to tell. As I’ve noted here before, we grew up in a poverty-level working-class family. We all found our own ways of coping with the stresses that involves. Religion was my coping technique that become a strange vocation. I knew, even as a tween, that whatever job I ended up having it would involve writing. I learned early on that poetry is difficult to publish, but that never stopped me from writing it. My brother has always been a much better poet than me, perhaps because of his life. He’s less inhibited. An authentic human being. I don’t want to say too much, since that’s not my place. Knowing the author, however, I know that he should have readers.
We make our way in the world, and when our parents haven’t really prepared, by example, what a life might be, we’ll you’re left second-guessing everything. I suspect it drives my wife crazy sometimes. For me every day is like being in a foreign country, unsure of the language. Sure, I earned a doctorate but that doesn’t mean I know what I’m doing. I’ve known medical doctors that were, truth be told, not that smart. No, life is more of a story we tell about ourselves. Some of us tell it in poetry, some in song, some in prose. Some of us tell it nonfiction, and others, well, fictitiously. A big problem with our world is that we don’t take time to listen to other peoples’ stories. Their lives. Those we do listen to (such as television and movie starts, sports players) are often dull. For my money, there’s more to be learned from poetry, and the life it represents.