Writing our county’s story… in progress

There’s an old Russian folk tale about a farmer who goes to the village wise man complaining his house is too small for his wife and their 10 children. The wise man tells him to invite his in-laws to move in, and to bring his farm animals into the house as well. The farmer complies, and returns promptly the next day, informing the wise man that his problems are even worse. The wise man then instructs the farmer to send away his in-laws, and put the animals back outside. Again, the farmer returns, and marvels to the wise man how spacious and clean his house is now.

If you’ve ever worked at a newspaper (and during your time at that newspaper you’ve ever worked on a Progress Edition) you know exactly what I’m talking about.

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Three Sonnets

I always wanted to be a poet… not for the fame or riches mind you (as if poetry has ever been an art form to inspire either) but because I can hardly think of a better occupation to be compensated for. For me, it’s akin to being paid for sleeping or eating, reading or writing.

Well… I guess technically I am being paid to write now, but there’s a host of peripheral responsibilities that accompany what few hours of the day I am able to devote solely to the craft of writing.

Still, the idea of writing poetry has always appealed to my soul. Granted, I’ve never been any good at it, but I’ve always passionately loved reading and writing poetry. Sometimes (on all-too-rare occasions) I’m able to unearth a clever phrase or little turn of words, though usually it just comes across as flowery and rather amateurish poetic prosing.

Last night I was sprawled out on my bed clicking and swirling my fingers over my smartphone, while my youngest son slept curled up against me. I wasn’t able to get up, for fear of waking him. Xander wasn’t feeling good and had fought against sleep for a few hours. When he finally surrendered I wasn’t going to do anything that might wake him, so I was stuck.

My thoughts wandered and a few phrases came to mind… fifteen minutes later these sonnets came burbling out almost fully formed. I was pleased with the results, so I want to post them here.

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“…we used to wait…”

I used to wait. I used to write letters, I used to sign my name.

I used to sleep at night, before the flashing lights settled deep in my brain.

During the course of the average workday I will field hundreds of emails, phone calls, and text messages.

The sheer volume of information I have to process, interpret, and relate on a given day sometimes leaves me a bit “tired in the head” by the end of the evening.

I long for quiet.

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