Don’t ask me why I decided to tag my blog, “Trusting the Wild Voices.” It came, and I trusted. In my head, I heard both “wild voices” and “wild horses.” As spirit animals, horses drive adventure, heroism, authenticity, freedom, passion. It’s the year of the horse in the Chinese zodiac—we are an especially magnificent and driven herd this year.

I know what it’s like not to trust those voices. There is that possibility of being trampled or kicked (my great-uncle died from a kick by a horse). And you never know where wild horses will take you. For years, I kept my creative writing to myself. But there’s no real joy, or honor, in tethered words.

Which brings us to my first reading as a featured poet a few weeks ago, and why it was a big deal. I’ve been a professional writer all of my life. But writing from that deep, unexpected voice that can’t easily be named, categorized or interpreted—listening to that voice and then letting someone else hear it—that is a whole new world of real. After years of suppressing my curious and complicated poet self, writing and reading poetry feels like running—no, flying—with wild horses.

Not that it doesn’t take some getting used to. Reading your writing for other people feels pretty vulnerable. Even worse is watching a video of yourself. (My hair wasn’t right, the camera angle wasn’t right, my expression was too somber, oh there’s plenty more where that came from.) But being a poet feels like finally being honest, and it looks like that’s going to include letting people see a bad hair day. So I’m posting videos and getting out of my own way. Here’s to being who are, even if you have no idea what that means or where it will take you.

It’s the year of the horse, time to ride.

It’s the oldest surviving brick building in Los Angeles, and last month when I was there it did indeed survive the earthquake that rolled through while we listened to poetry–the unfazed poet did not miss a beat while those of us listening held on to our chairs.  I will be reading next Friday with my friend, the poet Judith Remy Leder, author of Tiger Woman. Our fearless host, the poet Tresha Haefner, reminds me to not forget to mention that there will be wine and an open mic. Parking is across the street, and lots of places on the street to eat and have fun before or after.

rappsaloonfinal

http://tiferetjournal.com/april-2014-poem-thon/poems-mary-monroe/

I am thrilled to be accepted with 13 other poets from around the world into the Tiferet Journal Poem-A-Thon to celebrate Poetry Month. ALL I have to do is write a poem a day for the rest of April. That has to be a great practice, right? To get into the righteous routine of poetizing every single loving day–did I mention every single day?

Now if I could toss off stanzas on restaurant napkins, on the backs of flyers waiting at intersections for lights to change, on soggy notepads in the bathtub–wait a minute, I already do that, but not every single DAY. And then what about all the rest of the process, staring into space and agonizing about the rewrite–exactly when will that happen? (The staring into space is particularly time-consuming.) I guess there will be less rewriting and more what-the-hell-tomorrow-is-another-day.

Words are a wonderful way to live. Nice work, if you can get it. When I was in the 7th grade, I wrote a career essay on becoming a freelance writer, although I certainly did not personally know any writers of any kind. The Minnesota farm town where I grew up had a population of 136. Or at least that’s what the sign (it never changed) said.

Still, before I completed my degree in editorial journalism, I had my first freelance assignment and have been writing professionally ever since. As writing careers go, mine has been unusually abundant and eclectic, from business and editorial communication to creative writing, fiction, playwriting and poetry. Ah, especially poetry.

Writers lie awake nights thinking of words, as dancers (I’m told) count steps in their dreams. We are hopelessly absorbed with the puzzle of putting words together, and obsessively mindful of the power of the message–the precisely crafted message. It’s an art. And a science. And, if you’re lucky, a life.

*Photo above from a Mexican restaurant in Texas off Interstate 10.

Writer, Editor, Poet

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