I tossed and turned sweaty late one night having not been able to get to sleep because I was wondering about the night sky, my birth, my being, and my death. I must have been seven. If my dad had been an astronomer or a biologist, I may have become a scientist, but I have no regrets there. I went downstairs, woke my parents, and told them of my thoughts. My dad was a working-class guy and simply dismissed me with, “go back to bed and go to sleep.” I went back to bed, but of course, could not go back to sleep until the sun came up and then it was breakfast time. My wondering became bedrock and my dad’s response confirmed for me that this is where my identity, separate from his, lay. The experience was vital to setting me on my path to poetry.
Over the years, I noticed two disruptive behaviors that I was able to turn into positive for me. The first was my mood when I woke up every morning. My isolation as a writer and my lack of an appreciative audience brought this mood on. I woke feeling very alone, very angry and very sad. I say alone and not lonely, because it wasn’t that I was in need of a friendship or a lover. It was the existential experience of being alone, heightened by isolation. I look at my past isolation now as in large part due to the large gulf between mainstream ideology that makes up our culture (and others as well) and the literary life of a poet (or at least this one). Coming to this conclusion makes sense and explains how the rhythm of my creative process acts as an engine in my mind.