Tag Archives: Poem

Do that Crazy Idea

I self published my first poetry book in 1997. I used a local print shop and peddled the book around town. I sold about 50 copies.

As an assistant football coach, I had the opportunity to call the offensive plays for a game when our head coach fell ill. We did lose the game, it was a back and forth contest. We converted a risky two point play late in the game that gave us the lead for a while.

The first time I called my wife to ask her out on a date, I hung up on her. I called back, and the rest is history.

I quit a job, in fact two of them, without having another job in place.

And now, I released my first poetic EP, Stargazer. Which you can enjoy at the following streaming services.

Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/stargazer-ep/1577639592

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/65uG7ypGOhMvZXJt9B7fOU

YouTube Music: http://YouTube Music: https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_n39nyKh60uTS8vligwJzCTitqIEGMFf4Q

You can even add a track from the EP on an Instagram story.

I thought it would be cool to mix my poetry with music. To create a unique listening experience and reach more people with my words. It was a crazy idea. My second son designed the cover, and I reached out to P.R for help with the music and production.

How many crazy ideas have you let go, for whatever reason?

The cost.

Fear of rejection, failure, or success.

Knowledge of how to accomplish it.

Time it takes to make it happen.

The change that will happen to you and your life.

And let’s be honest, nothing is really lost if you don’t try. The sun will come up tomorrow like it always does. This is a hard truth about any goal we have. Even if we reach our goals, the sun will come up tomorrow like it always does.

So, why even chase small dreams, let alone the crazy ones?

Because it matters right now. The goals we have, the crazy ideas we have, give our life depth and meaning. By working toward a goal we get in touch with the real picture of who we are. We experience joy at an authentic level. But the crazy ideas spark our spirit like nothing else can in the world. The crazy ideas connect us to the real possibilities in our life, therefore creating a deeper sense of fulfillment of who we are and what life means for us. 

The sun will come up tomorrow like it always does. So, what crazy idea are you going to pursue today?

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An Open Letter to a Dream

My intentions were to write a scathing, angry letter to you. To address all the failures and heartache this dream of being a writer has caused me. I wanted to tell you about the sinking feeling I get when I read another rejection email. How my stomach becomes a rock that pulls my confidence down into a dark hole. Even the edges of my vision go grey like an Instagram filter.

I wanted to ask what the purpose is for having this dream. I have been writing since the fifth grade. My personal blog, It is all Connected, has over 100,000 words. My creative blog, Creative Corner, has 187 posts, most of them poems. I participate in the Twitter very short story (#vss365) community. I have self published five books.

For what?

If I stopped writing, nobody would care. 

But I have this dream of being a writer. That when someone says my name, they mean poet. I have this dream of someone recommending my book to a friend. That a poem I wrote is someone’s favorite poem. 

But instead of an emotional letter, I am caught again in the tangles of writing. I feel the joy of articulating my thoughts onto paper. The power of creating an emotion or thought through words for the reader. I am looking forward to creating the blog post for this letter. I will create a cool title banner for this. Maybe find a video to end with…

But what you have done is light a fire in my soul. I am thankful for this dream. Even with the frustrations and rejection emails I will experience in the future. I have this dream of being a writer, even though I know deep down that the dream has already come true. These words prove it.

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What are you doing?

The video was produced by my son. This is our first poetry video. We are working on a new video as I write.

My third daughter is teaching herself how to play songs on her keyboard. She learned the opening to “Purple Rain” for me.

I took my daughters to a crane viewing site by the river to learn how to draw landscapes.

I know life is challenging right now. I am teaching English online. My kids are attending college through kindergarten on line.

It is tough in so many different ways. But maybe this is also an opportunity. An opportunity for you, for your family, to do something you didn’t have time for… to do something outside your normal routine before the pandemic. Maybe, just maybe, now is the time to build your skills to go after your dreams.

What are you doing, today?

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When dad gets sick.

Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. We were looking forward to the first weekend where we only had one activity on the calendar. I was going to get grades caught up. Spend time with the family. Watch the Super Bowl. Enjoy the downtime.

It started as a little tickle in my throat when I woke up Friday morning. We had a teacher in-service that day so the morning routine was relaxed. At lunch time we were going to pick up my blood pressure medicine. I got some cold and flu medicine, too. I thought it would be best to nip the scratchy throat situation before it got worse. By the end of the day I told my wife that I was going to get some rest when we got home.

I wasn’t feeling horrible, but I was tired. I thought part of it was the cold and flu medicine. Things turned for the worse. When bedtime arrived my throat was feeling tight and scratchy. I thought I just needed another dose of medicine, a good night’s sleep, and everything would be good in the morning. I was wrong.

We would go to convenient care in the morning. The doctor would talk about the option of draining my uvula if the antibiotics didn’t work because it was so swollen. I had strep throat. But I didn’t know that Friday night. I had one of the worse nights of my life as my throat and uvula worked together to make me feel as if I was choking on something all night. I would drink some ice water and the sensation would go away for a few minutes. I would close my eyes only to be jolted back by the closing of my throat.

I could not find a position that would alleviate the sensation. Your mind starts to panic in the darkness of the night. So many thoughts ran through my head in that darkness. At one point I did panic. My heart raced. I couldn’t stop thinking something was terribly wrong. But I survived. The night passed.

I would spend all day Saturday and part of Sunday in bed. Away from the kids. Away from the routine of my life. I could hear the laughter and conversation at dinner.  My little girls would stick their head in to say they loved me. My wife would fill my water for me. (I drank so much water!)

My sickness reminded me of a few things.

The first is that family is about routine. Now, not in the boring definition, but by what you do everyday. Each member of the family has a role. A family is the whole of all the parts. A family changes over time. Children grow, routines change and adapt to new situations. But the definition of a family is founded in what each person does. That is why I felt so sad as I listened to my family enjoy dinner Saturday night. They laughed. They talked. I missed that. Dinner time is part of our family definition, part of our routine.

The second aspect of life that was reinforced actually came during my struggle Friday night and maybe because I am only a few years away from being 50 and maybe because we have read the poem, “The Road Not Taken,” in class. (I have written about the poem before in the post, “Only Time Will Tell.”) But time doesn’t wait for your dreams. Time doesn’t wait for your happiness. Time doesn’t wait for anything.

Ironic that I wanted Friday night to end quickly, but it didn’t. But the saddest belief we have is that tomorrow will make our dreams come true, that we will be happier tomorrow. I see this in different ways. My seniors believe that they will be happier next year. I live it every time I pass up an opportunity to fulfil my goals. But time will pass no matter what. Time doesn’t care.

The last thing: I hate it when I get sick.

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We are Flowers

A single daisy.

A single flower.

A single person.

Beautiful, even alone.

But add another daisy.

Add another flower.

Add another person.

No daisy is jealous of another.

No flower is envious of another.

No person is worried about another.

Only a single field filled with beauty.

 

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Our Story Part II

It is late Sunday evening, and I don’t know when you might read this, but let me share a few highlights of the week. The following moments are parts of other people’s stories and mine.

My oldest son is in Baltimore for National FBLA competing in Public Speaking.

A coworker headed home for a family wedding as her marriage is in the process of ending.

My other son spent time in Indiana on a basketball trip with his high school team. They visited the Milan 1954 Hoosiers MuseumHoosiers gym, Butler University, and played a basketball game against a school also named Adams Central.

I spent a morning working in my new classroom (more on that later).

I attended the funeral for the son of a colleague.

Two of my daughters were in their first play, 101 Dalmatians Jr.

An instructor shared that her daughter moved into her home with her four kids because the daughter’s marriage was ending.

I finished an excellent graphic novel, I am Alfonso Jones. I highly recommend this graphic novel.

Finished making the third movie of the trapped trilogy.

We attended a wedding for my niece. They dated for over four years.

Our Story

This past week was filled with stories: heartbreak, new beginnings, happiness, and history. It is incredible to think about all the stories being written right at this moment. Some filled with joy, while others are experiencing pain and heartache. Someone right now is trying to fight off doubt and fear, while at the same time a couple is welcoming a new child into the world.

A great story is not without pain or without love. I don’t know what words you are writing right now for your story. But I do know that your story is important, that the words are yours and they need to be written by you. There will always be plot twists that surprise us, but remember, you get to write the next scene… write from your heart.

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Change / Fate (A Turning 40 Post)

“Closer to the Edge” 30 Seconds to Mars
Can you imagine a time when the truth ran free?
The birth of a song, the death of a dream
Closer to the edge

This never ending story
Paid for with pride and fate
We all fall short of glory
Lost in ourselves

No, I’m not saying I’m sorry
One day maybe we’ll meet again
No, I’m not saying I’m sorry
One day maybe we’ll meet again

My students will not be surprised at my analysis of this song and its connection to life.  This song has been my summer song, not only because me and my second son dance to it in the kitchen, but it just hits a vibe with my life.  The line about the birth of a song but connected with a death of a dream reveals the cost of change.  Changes in our life hold both constructive and destructive powers.

Many people forget the lines “I shall be telling this with a sigh / Somewhere ages and ages hence:” from Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”. The rest of the poem deals with choosing the path less traveled, but these lines are ambiguous about the true benefit of that choice.

As my fortieth birthday approaches, I look back at all the roads I traveled.  And the ones I didn’t.  I have to wonder how I got here, did I make the right choices?  Was there truly any other paths to follow?   The question of Fate has no easy answer, I love when we cover the book The Natural and dissect the theme of fate presented in the story.  I try to let the students work with their own views of this complex idea.  Because I can not answer them, I can only live closer to the edge where the choices are to be made, knowing that each choice will open one door and close another.

As the video asks, Are you ready? I say bring on the next 40 years…

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