A Techno-Thriller Author Who Writes Poetry?
You must be kidding!
Yes… it’s true. I cut my writing teeth on poetry, and it’s still my first love. Trouble is, I’ve gotten so busy with novels and technical writing, that I haven’t penned a line of rhyme in thirty years. Time will get away with you if you keep putting something off…
I began writing as a third grader, in Mrs. Hawkins class at Lamar Elementary School in LaMarque, Texas. Mrs. Hawkins was an incredible encouragement to read, giving me an outlet for lots of energy by diving into the new world of books. As a third grader, with her approval, I read “Last of the Mohicans” by James Fennimore Cooper. And I wrote an anthology of poetry for my favorite teacher. It all started there. I wish I still had a copy of those poems. I will never forget the inspiration of Deerslayer and the Leatherstocking Tales.
In 1967, my seventh grade year, I wrote my first serious poem, “Imagination.” Mrs. Fessinger was the new mentor, in LaMarque Junior High School, where she pulled many poems out of me in my class role of helper on the school writer’s anthology. With her support, and the urging of my parents, I kept a copy of every poem I ever wrote from that point on. I still have them, in their original form, whether hand written or painstakingly tapped on an old manual typewriter.
My family hiked the Appalachian Trail from the southern terminus in Georgia to Roanoke, Virginia, nearly 500 miles north, over a four summer period from 1969 to 1972. I penned many poems during that hike, and they’re all in my collection. High school, completed in 1973, brought more serious poems, many of them about my high school sweetheart, to whom I later dedicated my anthology of poetry when I self published it in 1978.
It Only Takes A Spark was a labor of love, dedicated to Carol, and to my supportive family. There were no word processors then, just typesetters and dedicated typists. I contracted with a wonderful woman in Houston, Audrey Handley, to type every poem. She turned those words into precious pages, then others made them into offset printing plates. We printed 100 copies, and I paid have the entire book hard bound. Copies went to friends and family. I still have six copies, one for each of my children, my own, and the copy I originally gave to my grandparents, who are now deceased.
59 poems make up the anthology, spanning a period from September 1967, through December 1977. Some of the poems are a window into my heart at the time, others are fun things I wrote in an unsuccessful attempt to get published in Scholastic Magazine. The last poems, as you will discover when you read them, are the most poignant: a lonely college student’s poetic questions about love, directed to my best friend, Carol Ranson.
Here’s the last poem I wrote, many decades ago. I think it’s time to pull out my poetry pen again.
Ask the Flower Petals
Carry all the burden
Of this love.
Think of where I stand today;
In her heart,
Or in her way?
In no hurry,
She won’t say.
Put your heart on paper. Make it fit on one page. Poetry will test the mettle of your writer’s skill and refine you into a much better author. A poem is a photograph of images and emotions, captured forever in word.
Listen to It Only Takes A Spark, read by the author