Minimalist Poet: The Treat of Random Finds

This past summer at Three Creek Lake, while I read a book in a canted position from a portable chair, a large man approached me. He had long sideburn chops, a belly that hung over his rodeo belt buckle, and two handguns strapped to his chest in a holster. He had come out of the Three Sisters Wilderness in the Cascade Mountain Range.

"I'm surprised you aren't reading a Kindle!" he said with a toothy smile.

"I'm no Luddite," I said. "I just prefer roaming the aisles of a library to see what I can find. I don't get that same feeling on Amazon, if you know what I mean."

"I do! I do!"

This strapped stranger and I talked for 20 minutes about books, about his life working the Barrow, Alaska pipeline (he was on his 10-day hiatus from work), and the woman he waited 20 years to catch and marry. The man was a short story in the flesh. I lived this man, this character from being in the world, rather than staying holed up in my studio and thinking up stuff. It was a genuine moment of authenticity. I appreciated him for being strange, vulnerable, and present. This man reminds me to get back to the creative version in me that I hide away during training, volleyball season, and long runs. Winter is coming, which means it's time to buckle down, resort to a warm little room of creativity, and drum up or polish off old projects I left for good weather, a mountain bike, and trainers.

Below is a gallery for you to flip through. Click and flip! Maybe it will bubble up something in you, too.....

This little gallery comes from a rare, free Friday afternoon, when I put up my feet and started to read little library finds: David Lynch's "Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity" and "The Art Spirit" by Robert Henri.

Strange coincidence: wouldn't you know that David Lynch credits this Henri book he read as a high school senior and how it became an influential piece to becoming a painter, then filmmaker. I found these two books independent of each other at the library....I MUST(!) be onto something creatively....awesome synchronicity. Digging back into poetry and film feels good again....

thing not worth giving up: your time

So, it's summer. Wanderlust in progress. Rivers to find. Waters to paddle. Trails to shred with bike ties. Deep forest campsites to find. Rocks to remove from back while sleeping on the ground. Vegetables and breads to grill.

Creative projects have been started, left, picked back up, and some have been resolved. Lately, I've been in a literary hoarding mode. A friend came over last week, saw the books on my countertop, and said, "How are you doing things so differently in your life that you have time to read?"


I didn't have an answer. I still don't. (I am a nerd at heart, what can I say, reading is what I do among other things like steal my man's pajama pants with frequency and sprinkle nutritional yeast on just about anything.)


Some things in your life are just not worth giving up. And I read this disheartening article about the demise of the humanities ("The Decline and Fall of the English Major," New York Times) among college students. For bookstores and library collections everywhere, I will continue to do my part to spread the love of humanities, namely literature and poetry. Here is my two-week book list I tend to plow through. They appear in order of smallest to largest trim size on my counter:

"Bad Mother" Ayelet Waldman

"The Willow Field" William Kittredge

"Byron in Love: A Short Daring Life" Edna O'Brien

"When Women Were Birds" Terry Tempest Williams

"Keep the Change" Thomas McGuane

"Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs" Wallace Stegner

"The Nobody" Jeff Lemire


Next time, I'll tell you how I decide which book to start first on such an epic list. It's my own crazy process....until then, keep reading. And find a nice person (cute helps too!) to share a campfire with!