I’ve been trying (again) to listen more. I’m still not very good at it, as many of you know. Please accept my sincere apologies, all who have experienced the fire hose of verbiage that I can be.
I succeed most in venues where I absolutely cannot talk, or at least have to wait my turn, like poetry readings. There have been a few this month, the first a Friday night reading and Saturday morning workshop with Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer,* from the western slope.
She’s a beautiful, gentle soul who does many good and kind things, including writing poems on rocks that she leaves around Placerville, Colorado, on the banks of the San Miguel River (NOT pictured here).
Her reading included music and art and was a delicious blend of beauty, whimsy, and laugh-out-loud humor, but also grief, loss, and enduring love. In the workshop, Rosemerry encouraged us to bring all of life to our poetry, including those complicated moments when laughter and weeping coexist.
A few days later, OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at CSU) hosted a reading for this year’s poetry students. More laughter. More tears. This willingness to be vulnerable has created a truly special community of writers.
So I can let others speak, if I don’t get too excited about the topic. I do mostly keep my mouth shut when home alone listening to a podcast, although I catch myself correcting–out loud–the most egregious misuses of “I” and “me.” Can’t help it. Drives me crazy.
Fortunately, some stories are so compelling, I completely forget myself. I listen, rapt, not caring about grammar. Classic favorite podcasts: This American Life and Fresh Air. Also Gospel in Life, which I’ve mentioned before.
I discovered another noteworthy podcast late last year: Ear Hustle. Described as “a consistently surprising and beautifully crafted series on life behind bars,” it was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2020. I highly recommend it.
Finally, this past weekend, I attended another poignant poetry reading. The poet, a friend of a friend, has been told she has only months to live after the resurgence of an aggressive cancer. While she still feels strong, she has scheduled a number of life-affirming events and happily welcomed me, a complete stranger. She was charming and gracious, and it was a privilege to hear her beautiful poetry. It–and she–left me blessedly speechless.
Wishing you many opportunities to hear and be heard!
*Be sure to click the links to the various websites. Worth a look–and a listen–I promise.