It was a cold, foggy morning in Covina, California. 1967. My mother had just suited me up in an elaborate hobo costume she made for Hobo Day at school. She rushed me out the door with my Diver Dan lunch box. I continued across the quiet cul-de-sac, as I did every morning, to pick up Lesley Anne; we would hold hands as I walked her to Kindergarten, then I’d continue on to my first-grade class. My mother endorsed magic moments like that. She was an artist and a colorful individual who nurtured my imagination and creativity.
Amidst the sporadic magic moments, my parents fought nightly—loud, often disturbingly loud, which escalated into mom breaking down crying. Dad wasn’t much of a right-brained, feelings guy. He was a survivor, a tough guy, an ultra-responsible one. That is all my dad knew how to teach: responsibility and survival. It was burdensome and disturbing.
The rare moments I was able to engage my imagination and creativity, time seemed to suspend. Though my parents argued ritually, I found escape and joy through the creative bond I had with my mother and the artistic imagination she was able to foster in me.
Fast forward: I am sitting in my cubicle, entering data, crunching numbers, checking details and instruction narratives. It’s the boring part of what I do—the repetitive, left-brained part, that doesn’t come natural for me. This is where I need to tell myself, “Focus Reno, don’t take this part for granted.” I would rather be exercising creativity in order to make a job more profitable.
My boss came up to me a couple weeks back, telling me, “Reno, the idea you proposed in the morning meeting was awesome. That is the third job in two days you found ways to make profitable. What has gotten into you lately? You’re on fire.”
I told her, “I found this Facebook site called Every Day Poems. I subscribe to their daily delivery and read a poem in the morning. Then I look at a prompt or instruction. For the past few weeks, I’ve been writing poetry, brainstorming lines. I imagine the right-brained play is overflowing into my creative process on the job.”
“Whatever you’re doing, ” she said, “don’t stop. It’s really working.”
My mother encouraged imagination, supported romantic thinking, and nurtured me to flourish in creative development. I guess it was time to find her ways again, here in the midst of my often left-brained life. I didn’t expect to discover these ways through the simple act of just having fun with Every Day Poems. But here I am at an e-venue, where I play, imagine, create, dream, get encouraged by others, and write a poem a day. No hobo costume needed.
Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $5.99— Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In May we’re exploring the theme Roses.