As we’re coming into August, there’s always been a local event that I make a point to make time and see in support of those like myself. You see, you may have guessed that I’m a poet, which is a part of the written (and spoken) arts. For as long as I an remember, I’ve always thought of myself as creative, but it wasn’t until the death of my paternal grandfather that I read his poems for the first time and he was a very good writer and someone I wish I knew sooner before his passing.
Then again, I guess, looking back, that I do know him from my own work.
I started writing poetry in high school, around 1998; got published into the school paper and was regarded by my schoolmates as a gifted and creative person and I wanted to think that publishing my poetry would be the next step. But I see now that I was foolish, not in my passion, but I know that I had a long way to go, a lot to learn before going that route.
That’s where my friend, Larry, comes into play, after graduating high school, my parents knew that college was the next logical step, one that my brothers went into, so it seemed only right for me to follow in thier footsteps and I’m glad that I did because I got to see more than I would’ve otherwise, it made me open up to a new world, new experiences and a new way to see it. Larry, more than anyone, was a friendly face in a new setting that was (I admit) very intimidating. In him, I saw a fellow poet, someone I could learn from and he from me after I disclosed to him about my having autism, I guess he looked at me as a kindred spirit as his sons were on the Spectrum as well and perhaps he saw something in me he wanted for them in the future.
From that seed he planted in me came a lifelong appreciation for the arts in general as well as a respect and admiration for librarians. Some of the people he knew and worked with are also great friends of mine as they welcomed me into thier family, a touching sentiment was when they wrote supprtive messages on a whiteboard near the window of the Library acriss from where the graduating ceremony I was in several years later on would be. I always felt that it was a fitting sendoff for them to give me, as one of thier family and I’ll hold and cherish that memory for the rest of my life.
From that time on until his passing from ALS, Larry made it a point of inviting me to see different aspects of the arts, but due to transportation issues I had at the time, always left the invite open, if I could, great, if not, then that was ok as well. He even introdruced to me great artists from the area that I consider gems in the community: Carol Zaloom, Mik Horowitz, Gilles Malkine to name only a few, many of whom will be featured later this month at the Saugerties Artists Studio Tour, which I highly recommend all my readers to see at http://saugertiesarttour.org/. It really is something to see, something different but also refreshing at the same time. But isn’t that the way art always is, right? Without art, without life, without that spark of creativity, I (and all of us) wouldn’t light our darkness and might not find a way to…