I am still getting to know Flagler County. The best roadways and shortcuts and the good places to shop. Yesterday I was at Michael’s to pick up art supplies for a workshop I am taking tomorrow and decided to head down to Ormond Beach to find a shopping plaza that I knew had some nice stores without having to drive even further yet to get to the closest mall. Earlier in the week, driving back from Orlando, I tried to find it on my own. I got off the exit for Ormond Beach and drove and drove and had no luck. But yesterday, google map in hand I wound up in the parking lot of Coldwater Creek. Well gee I did receive a coupon so why not go in and browse around?! This is a woman’s clothing store by the way and I found myself in the back of the store near the dressing rooms where a number of nice, comfy grey folded sweaters and dark brown folded long-sleeved tee’s were on a wooden table and as I was running my hands over the fabrics I noticed there was also a book on the display. A book of...poetry?! And it’s for sale, here? Hhhmmm. I picked it up and opened right to a poem and began to read. It was wonderful. She spoke of a hummingbird that used to come by her window every day but now no longer. It was about the waiting. About love. But not mushy. Crafted. Visual. Strong yet kind. [I am working on a few poems about birds, one of them in the works, “The Language of Birds” is in the Writing Room at yellowfishcafe.com]. So I was immediately drawn to this book and held it for a moment and then read the jacket.
The book is entitled, Evidence - Poems by Mary Oliver and I discovered that she a) won the national book award and the Pulitzer Prize for poetry and b) lives in Provincetown, MA (my parents live on the Cape, my brothers in Boston). I thought, how could I have not heard or read of Mary Oliver? And wondered, is hers one of the faces on the barn I took photos of at the wharf (I was just in Provincetown two months ago)? So I carried the book around the store as I listened to these thoughts and wondered about how all these signs seem to be just cascading on me. I found a few things to try on and while at the check out counter I remembered the sales woman had told me, after remarking to her my surprise to find a book of poetry for sale at this store, that they had another book of poetry that was quite popular - and I remembered to ask her about it. She scurried off and came back with a smaller book entitled, Ten Poems to Change Your Life Again & Again by Roger Housden. Well I took it and turned it over. I had heard of the Ten Poems series and thought it was probably worth looking at but not sure if I should buy it (and secretly was thinking I should be over at Barnes & Noble where I’d at least get my 15% discount) and then fell into a trance of creative shock when I saw listed on the back as one of the ten poems, “What to Remember When Waking” by David Whyte. OMG. If you’ve been reading this blog you know that finding the poetry of David Whyte has changed my life, that I have been unable to find an actual book of his locally (and have since ordered one via Amazon.com) and this poem, this very poem is one of the best poems I’ve read of his and possibly one of the best poems I have ever read, this exact one. Well I have to say this did it for me. Of course I bought the book if only to help the cause of giving David Whyte a lift, not like he needs it. But, and more importantly, late last night as I spent some time reading some of the poems out of both of these books I just knew that this is what I am meant to do. And meant to do now. This sign, and the many other signs that have recently almost overtaken my very soul, is now breathing into me to molt myself through words. Poetry. The words that no one reads anymore. That no one buys. There is no career here, just the words. And yet even if I have just a few someones to share them with then that’s enough for me. “And off the ledge again I push myself” (another book of poems I have in the works). So why am I taking a painting workshop tomorrow? Why not a writers workshop? The act of painting, the creative act itself, puts me in a state like no other. A place of mindful creative seeing. All the negative chatter is gone. All the worries of the world. Gone. And all the details of the world are clear. Both the beauty and the darkness. And when I enter this place of calmness, if even for a few minutes or for a few hours, I am floating. Time has stopped. Concentration is bullet-like and all things are possible and all ideas are working, bubbling under the surface and I can hear them. Listen to them. And, eventually, write them down. And eventually, get there on my own and stay there full-time, living in the creative. Java!