Saturday, April 26, 2008
The Tour Continues...
The last week has been a city a day, and what amazing bookstores! Last Tuesday I read at Brookline Booksmith in Boston. Brian Foley, a poet himself, gave me an introduction so beautiful I had to concentrate to keep from crying.
Rene Martin, hosted me in Raleigh at Quail Ridge, a book lover's dream. Rene's son, Adam, is also a West Point graduate and a Green Beret, and we had so much in common that it was hard to say goodbye. There were military parents in the audience at Quail Ridge and we had an intimate conversation about our children, the toll of war on military families and the poems. I felt truly honored to read in such a gorgeous store.
Finally, I was thrilled to read at The Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta. Who isn't a fan of Gone With the Wind? What a treat to receive a tour of "Peggy's" apartment in the rooming house she shared with her husband while she wrote her masterpiece. Julie, of The Margaret Mitchell House, was generous with wonderful stories and details of Peggy, her family and her writing life. It gave me chills to stand in the same corner where Gone With the Wind was written, and to see Peggy's writing table. There is something sacred about that table. A thousand thanks to Melanie Eisenhart and everyone at The Margaret Mitchell House who made me feel so welcome. I will always treasure my mug!
One of the most rewarding aspects of touring is the chance to meet other military families and to have meaningful conversations about our experiences. At Margaret Mitchell House, there were some military moms, a young man who has friends in the army, and a soldier who had brought his 12 year old daughter (She plans to be a writer.) Different points of view were offered and honored. I keep thinking that if only we could really listen to each other, we could heal the divide in our country. Even if it's a few of us at a time.
This coming week I'll be reading in Chicago, Denver, Colorado Springs, Seattle and San Francisco. Ben will be at many of the readings. I'm always glad when he's there to meet everyone and join in the Q&A.
Because of the tour, I won't be able to answer e-mails individually, but do want to say that to those of you who are writing poetry, (and several of you have sent me a line or two of your work,) I want to encourage you to keep writing, and to find a writing circle if that's possible in your community. I found it very comforting to read my journal entries and poems to my writing friends while Ben was deployed. Also, if you want to learn more about craft and editing, find a writing teacher, someone who will read your work and help you learn what to leave out and how to shape your poems. A one on one with a good teacher is truly priceless!