Manifesto

Why I Write

Manifesto: Writing About the Poetry of Ordinary Life
 


I Believe ...

 


There are so many opportunities to make each small moment a large one.
— Ralph Dranow

My Mission ...

 



I Discovered ...

 


 

I believe in the poetry and beauty of everyday life in spite of war, poverty, homelessness, racism, global warming, and all the other horrors existing in the world. Because there is so much that is stressful and disheartening in the world today, it is especially important to notice the small, subtle things, examples of goodness manifesting the divine potential within each one of us.

            Here is a story illustrating this point.

Recently, I was standing in a long line at the post office. Just ahead of me were a mother and her young son, around three. The boy was restless, so his mother read him a story. She sat and he lay down, totally absorbed as his mother read with great expressiveness and dramatic gestures. Occasionally, she would pause to stroke his hair. They had turned the post office into their own private living room.

Later, at the postal window, the clerk greeted me with a warm smile and “How are you today, brother?” After our transaction, she blessed me with the parting words: “Much love.”

I left the post office feeling exhilarated, both because of the strong mother/son bond I’d witnessed and the clerk’s emotional generosity. Two seemingly small occurrences, but nevertheless meaningful ones, pointing toward the potential for a kinder, more loving world. 

 
 

Happiness

They're playing Frisbee in the park,
Husband and wife,
Three skinny young girls.
The woman is pillowy,
Plump like a dumpling.
"Mama!" one of the girls,
About six, calls,
Tossing the Frisbee to her.
Mama lunges at it,
Misses badly,
A lead-footed dancer.
Gleeful laughter bubbles
From the older girls
And Mama joins in.

The father,
A compact man,
Tosses the Frisbee
With elegant nonchalance.
The others, though,
Never catch or throw it right
But it doesn't matter.
Each errant toss,
Flubbed catch
Is a new adventure,
Cause for fresh merriment.

The smallest girl,
About three,
Struggles with the Frisbee.
Her father stands behind her,
Tenderly guides her arm
And the Frisbee,
Until she can throw it
A few feet
To giggles and applause.

Afterwards, the family
Lies down together,
A tight circle,
Well-spent bodies

Draped against one another,
Sipping sodas,
Munching snacks.
The father leans lazily
Against his younger daughter.

Watching all this,
A window into
Something simpler, gentler,
I feel a flutter
Caressing my chest.


I want to live in a world ...

Where kindness and compassion are the rule, rather than violence and the dehumanization of fellow human beings because of differences of race, religion, class, sexual preference, etc. I want to live in a world where the essential worth of every human being is acknowledged and celebrated. I want to live in a world in which the body, mind, and soul of every person is fed abundantly. I want to live in a world in which the earth is treated as our loving Mother, and animals as beings with feelings just like ours. And I want to live in a world in which poetry and beauty and self-knowledge matter more than profit and the bottom line.

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My mission is to bring more poetry and beauty into the world, in my own small way.

First of all, by being present and paying attention to the small everyday miracles, often drowned out by the noise of horrific events, gossip, and the mass media. And then, by writing poems about these miracles. Also by working with others to help them discover through writing the poetry and beauty of their lives. I love people’s stories, especially inspiring ones; and I am a good, empathetic listener. It is gratifying to support people in their writing journeys to discover their true selves underneath all the heavy layers of societal conditioning.

Although I knew by the age of seven that I wanted to be a writer, I lacked the confidence to begin writing seriously until my early thirties. And it wasn’t until years later, opened up by the emotional pain from a divorce, that I began writing poetry. This became a joyful and healing experience. When I wrote poetry, time stopped and I became more present to my own feelings and to the world around me. It was a powerful way of connecting deeply with myself. It felt like a sacred vocation, the opportunity to delve into myself and tell my deepest truths.

Gradually, I discovered that my poetic mission was to write about the poetry and beauty of everyday life.

And an important part of this is writing about my yearning to live a larger life, beyond social conditioning, and to have faith that there is a benevolent power in the universe that can support me to grow and thrive. This yearning points to an essential reality beyond the one we usually see on the surface, a reality that the small, subtle miracles of everyday life point to, something larger than ourselves but within us, as well.

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And so I like to write about that divine potential in all of us—the opportunity to do something extraordinary each moment, to greet a stranger with a warm smile, to read your child a story on the post office floor, to listen deeply to a friend who’s unhappy and needs to be heard, to refrain from reacting in kind when someone has said or done something hurtful to you.

There are so many opportunities to make each small moment a large one.


A New Life

They came for me
In the caverns of midnight,
Drumming on the door
With fists reverberating in the darkness.
My body became stone,
My tongue a dead slab.
Their entreating voices
Caused my heart to hammer
As if to burst.
When the clatter of their footsteps
Receded an eternity later,
My knees buckled

Like those of a child learning to walk.

They came for me
Like an obsessed lover,
In the stillness of early morning
And the bustle of mid-afternoon,
On the next day
And months later,
Lulling me to believe
My stubbornness had defeated them.

They came for me
Like a creditor who has forever,
On spring days that danced
And winter nights leaking rain,
Tapping once on the door
And hammering for hours
With strange promises of unconditional love.
They came for me
Like the stars and tides,
My silence a ripple
In their vast ocean,
My resistance a glacier
In their infinite furnace.

They came for me one night
In the wind and the rain,
Knocking softly,
Whispering endearments.
And exhausted with fear,
Rebellion and loneliness,
I opened the door
And invited them in.


 
 

If you are someone who wants to discover such moments through a writing project of your own, I can help you—

Whether by: coaching you to write a memoir or poetry; editing a work you already have written, especially a memoir or poems; or doing the writing for you (ghostwriting).

Your writing journey will be meaningful and resonant when you open to the poetry and beauty of your everyday life.

For me, giving this kind of support, guidance, and encouragement is just as rewarding as doing my own writing.

I feel blessed to be doing this work.


Contact me to discuss your writing project and see how it can open you to realizing the poetry of your life.