I am fortunate I get to travel for my job. I work long hours and my job is very demanding, but it sends me all over the world and that is certainly a perk. In January I was in Australia for twelve days. In the beginning of April I went to Tunisia for a week. Now, I’m in the Philippines. Before you think I’m just jet-setting around the world you should also know I tend to work seven days a week when I’m on travel, and am up at all hours of the day and night so I can make phone calls and answer emails to colleagues in time zones around the world. So it’s glamorous but also very gritty.
Whenever I travel I bring my Kindle loaded with at least ten books (I’m a very fast reader) and at least one book of poetry. The poetry is always a printed book as I prefer to read my poetry this way – to be able to highlight passages I love and make notes in the margins.
While I was in Tunisia I brought Jeanann Verlee’s first book of poetry, Racing Hummingbirds. If you haven’t read this book yet I suggest you do, it’s amazing. As I read the book it inspired me to write my own poems. Her poem 40 Love Letters inspired a similar poem I wrote titled 24 Love Letters. Here’s a picture of the rough draft. Yeah, it’s one of those poems that comes out in waves and requires a bit of editing to come together.
While in Tunisia I got to see and do a few new things, include seeing El Jem, the world’s third largest colosseum and riding a camel. (This is the glamorous part of work.)
While in Tunisia I also read Jeanann Verlee’s poem Unsolicited Advice to Adolescent Girls With Crooked Teeth and Pink Hair. That poem prompted me to write my own titled Unsolicited Advice to My Younger Self. It was published last week by Brainmill Press, you can read it here. Two weeks after I returned from Tunisia I met Jeanann Verlee in person at the Split This Rock 2016 Poetry Festival and she’s wonderful and kind and I totally have a girl crush on her.
Now I’m in the Philippines for a week and I brought Jeanann Verlee’s second book, Said the Manic to the Muse, as my weekly poetry read. I started it last night, after nearly 24-hours of travel. Five minutes later, I’d written my first poem.
I think I’ve found my newest muse.