I started writing in my late teens out of classic despondence and angst. Poetry was a way to have a conversation with myself about the life I found myself in and what I was supposed to do with it. I found the book Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and it changed everything for me. That led me to learn the real story of Buddha along with many other religious, mythic, scientific and naturalist studies. The big questions I had started finding some answers.
For almost two years after high school I read and wrote voraciously, exploring the truths and mysteries of human nature and the natural world. And out of that exploration developed compassion. Once you begin to understand the world, it’s impossible not to feel for every life in it struggling to find their way. But none of this helped me find any direction for my life. That was to come much later. You can read and write all day but it’s the fire of experience that really shows you who you are.
I didn’t go to a poetry reading until my early thirties when my son was three years old. Like that initial urge to write in my teens, the need to get out and share my work was an unavoidable mandate from within. Watching others read at the mic and finding the courage to get up there myself changed everything again. My writing evolved quickly as I took in all the inspiration I found at the many readings I attended around the seacoast. I also started to consider the sheer entertainment aspect of the reading. These were not the drab events that for whatever reason I had associated with the words “poetry reading.” These readings and the poets who attended them were alive with raw and intense creative expression. I was hooked.
The community of poets and friends I had found gave me the gift of listening and honoring my voice. That feeling reverberated into every aspect of my life and stoked a desire to be of service by creating spaces to encourage young people to write and share their stories and poetry; particularly the undeserved and those who struggle the most to have their voices heard such as refugees and immigrants to the United Sates, at-risk youth and people in recovery.
Writing and Recording
My most recent book Another Forty Years can be found at local book stores in Portsmouth like River Run and Book & Bar and in Exeter at Water Street Books. Or check it out and buy it directly from me at my seller site on Amazon.
Read my short story Kamil’s First Snow about a refugee Afghani teen adjusting to life in America after war published in Compass Points: Stories from Seacoast Authors by Piscataqua Press. Buy the book from River Run Books in Portsmouth or online from Piscataqua Press or Amazon.
Listen to the album recorded along with my roommate at the time Rob Eaton and my son Jay as Zaftig Nebulosa for the RPM Challenge 2013 Stairway to Bed