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March 24, 2017: The Writing Life: Going Public

I’m tired. It was a very long day. Mid-morning Pete and I headed to town, to the Turkey Red banquet room and began hanging my matted goat poems on the walls. And we were soon joined by Betty who had done the art work. Only one snag and this was that the hanger stickers on the back of Betty’s artwork loosened and one of the paintings fell. So we put parcel tape (in addition to the hangers) on the backs of paintings – and yes, they stayed in place.

A group showed up at noon, their meeting time, so we vacated, came back at 3 p.m., set up chairs, moved tables, set out food, flowers, books, a guest book.

Then in walked Suzy and Mike Crosby, who own Cottonwood Creek Farm, with four, count ‘em, 4 baby goats, two females and two males. Mike set up a pen with a tarp on the bottom – the babies alternated between being in their crates and being in the pen. These were young goats – but quite clearly were able to get out of the pen. Mike kept them in the pen.

Suzy, Mike, and goats proceeded the people who all ‘n all, numbered about 25 or so when I stood in front of the podium and prepared to do my reading. It was a very good mix, children and older people alike. Everyone was attentive when, finally, I did read, as attentive as they could be with four baby goats bounding around in their cage.

I read just a handful of poems, the bare bones of Rover’s story. When I sensed that the attention of my audience wavering, I decided to forego reading my last few poems and instead called it done, by saying thank you.

After I read, everyone mingled – it appeared to me to be a very good, healthy mingle, people seeming intently interested in following the story line that I was laying out. There was the general story, which was about Rover. And there were the individual stories, which took the form of individual poems.

It’s hard for me to make the leap, which is in one fell swoop for from being a quiet, private creative person to being a louder, public, creative person. I’ll never, ever be comfortable in groups with a size greater than three – and three is stretching it. But I was with this crowd, as comfortable as I could be. Many good friends of Pete and mine were there—and I was of course glad to see them.

This was a lot of work, work of the sort that I should have been doing earlier in my career. I need to be more self-promoting on the local level. But then I always thought that somewhere would step forward and promote me. This never did happen. I wised up. Today was the end result. I helped arrange an exhibition and read my poems at this exhibition. I was pleased with the way it all worked out.

Next: 84. 3/25/17: A Conversation with Raud

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