Recently I partook in an event that stirred thoughts in me. Last week I went to the CANBPA poetry pub night, and while I did not throw my name in the hat to get up and read, I still found the experience spellbinding. Most of the brave performers read from previously published material, and gave it a gusto to be proud of. One of the highlights of the night was winning a poetry prize pack.
Flashbacks occurred to my first published work, way back to the bygone days of high school. Every year the Board of Education would publish a volume called Acorns, all filled with poetry submitted by students in a contest. My suspicion, never proven, was that everything was put in, so no feelings could be hurt. This aspect never bothered me, since the point was to encourage students creativity and foster a love of words. And the mission succeeded masterfully in my case. The fact my poem made Acorns was incredibly exciting.
Unfortunately I missed the ceremony and photo-op with the presentation of the books. When my copy finally arrived, with my name on the inside cover, the reality seeped into me.
I was now a published author.
Happiness was only surpassed by more happiness. This was the start of something, a destiny, for me. Even if my above suspicions were correct, It did not matter. For my bravery allowed me the courage to try, to put thoughts into words, and then hand it in to be judged. My world had opened up.
Some years later, high school was behind me and for some obscure reason long forgotten my journey had ended up at the Board of Education building. The library beckoned, and so I ventured forth. After awhile the shelf filled with the volumes of Acorns was before me. As was the 25th Anniversary Edition. Glancing inside, my poem was present.
I had made Acorns twice. And I had absolutely no idea.
Based on the size of the book, I could tell not every piece had made it in. Maybe my earlier suspicion was incorrect? Maybe they just picked the best? Standing at the shelf, stunned, I realized a copy had to be mine. Approaching the help desk, the situation was explained, and the library gave me a spare copy. More happiness flowed. Then the unthinkable.
The librarian asked me to sign their copy of Acorns.
My first published work. Signed by me. Happiness everywhere.
Both books now sit proudly on my shelves, bringing greatness to my day whenever I see them. And the poem has extra special meaning to my life, above and beyond everything else.
The year I penned the poem was the same year I started dating my wife.
And that is more important than a million Acorns.
And Now My First Published Work:
From the whisp of terror,
To the heart-twisting death.
When the force of life was sucked
From you into the void of eternity.
My existence became shallow.
Words lost their meaning and
Colours lost their tone.
Everything is different.
Since you died; because,
I Loved You.
This one I won’t be reading in public. This is just for the two of us.
P.S. Acorns ’89 cover copyright 1989 to the Etobicoke Board of Education. Acorns 25th Anniversary cover copyright 1992 to the Etobicoke Board of Education.