Two weeks ago I headed out to Wallowa county in eastern Oregon, where I had the good fortune to be a part of Fishtrap's summer gathering. My week there was spent teaching poetry to youngsters and hanging out amongst the evergreens and mountains of the Northwest. It was awesome as that sounds. The kids were amazing. Deer were everywhere. Was surrounded by a completely different community of writers and lovers of literature. Learned more on William Stafford. If I wanted to use my phone I had to drive twenty minutes towards town. I got to meet Naomi Shihab Nye who’s heart is an incredible ball of energy and generosity. I also to to meet Luis and Cindy Urrea who’s energies are generous balls of incredible heart. I got to share my work with people who had no idea who I was. I got the best introduction to date from Fishtrap’s Program Manager, Mike Midlo, who voiced that he didn’t know if Anis Mojgani was a great poet, but he knew we were going to be friends, something I completely concur with.
As is always the case, I romanticize the possibility of writing while traveling. I have a book to finish and figured that being secluded in a part of the country I love, immersed in a creative community, with only mornings to teach and the rest of the day to my own devices, that I would be able to anchor myself to the poems and pictures I needed to work on. After eight and a half years doing this, you’d think I know that for me, traveling and writing just do not mix. I got some work done but not all that I had hoped. But that’s alright. This summer has been one mostly built out of noise and attempting to find it, combat it, and to let the noise go. The week helped with that. Sleeping in a small cabin in a small place in the left corner of the country, meeting good people, sharing what you love about poetry with eager writer, waking early to Northwest sunlight there. Amongst this the quiet in me was allowed to resurface, even if only a little bit. But it is bit by bit we become smooth. And the lake was cold, deliciously cold.
Realized this morning, that if you strived to combine the strengths of Mole, Ratty, Toad, and Badger, you’d do alright in this world.