It has been a relaxing holiday – sun, words, music, family, work. And it has me thinking about independence. Not the political kind that today celebrates, but the concept in general. I can say I am an independent person as a point of pride – I work hard to earn a good living, I am self-sufficient at basic life skills, and I enjoy time spent alone without fear or anticipation of being lonely. But I am also aware that I need others. I miss my family and friends when I am alone too long, seek out the human connection that is vital for me to thrive. And, though writing is at its heart a solitary activity, I have found that independence as a writer is only possible when you reach out to and rely on others.
Case in point. One of the highlights of my weekend was receiving a positive, uplifting email from Nick Demske after sending him the poem I mentioned in this Tow Truck post. What a delight to have someone you admire take the time to send a note – and that poem never would have existed without prodding from Dana Guthrie Martin. Who I wouldn’t know at all except for a wonderful network she helped run for poets (no longer active) called ReadWritePoem. Which I started visiting after missing the camaraderie of other poets at the Winter Poetry and Prose Getaway in Cape May. Which I first attended at the urging of friend and mentor Douglas Goetsch. Where I met friend and kick-ass poet Rachel Bunting…you get the idea. Everything is connected.
So, today, when people all across the nation are exploding things to celebrate a historical break, I will celebrate (sans explosions) the wonderful bonds that I share with others. Only with their links can I use a chain to pull myself forward instead of tie myself down.