On February 7, 2013, I met an amazing author. Ralph Fletcher, writer of children’s books and guru about getting kids (especially boys) to write was teaching a session at a reading conference I was attending. I went to see him speak and learn from him because I so admired the memoir he wrote, Marshfield Dreams, and I knew he had a rare gift.
While we were in the session he asked us to to an exercise. He gave us a first and, if memory serves, a last line. He asked us to use them and to write the middle however we chose. We had a few minutes. After the time was up we were asked who would be brace enough to share.
It wasn’t like me to raise my hand. But I did. I read my poem, and he liked it. He said so. He didn’t say that to anyone else. I was proud. My friend, teammate, confidante, sister of the heart, was there, too. She was more proud of me than I would be of myself. I will never forget that moment. It made me decide to write somehow.
It wasn’t a great poem, and I’m not a poet, really. Still it was something that changed me. (That’s why I’ve never touched it with editing eyes.) It set things into motion in my head and later in my fingers and my life. It had importance. It meant something. I also knew in that moment that at least right then, I was in the good old days while they were still good.
I’m glad I wrote it.
February 7, 2013
Sometimes I remember/the good old days
Driving by the boardwalk/Windows all the way down
My hair flying out the window/Into the salt-heavy air
Making waves with my hand/Buffering the invisible wind
Asking questions about the future/unable to ever know
Thinking: This. This time./This will be the best I have.
Not realizing I was completely free/Unfettered
I still can’t imagine/anything better than that