In the fall of 1993 I lived in Burton, Michigan where I was a 15 year old sophomore at Valley Christian Academy. Around that time I had joined the staff of Word Up, a section of the Flint Journal that appeared every Sunday. At Word Up students were encouraged to submit all sorts of articles and write-ups including poetry. The creative atmosphere among the Word Up writers was just the sort that was ideal for me to write my first poem. So, one day in biology, I cranked out my first, Outcast’s Cry. It was instant satisfaction and I’ve never looked back.
In the fall of 1996 I was a freshman at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. I discovered The Owl’s Nest, a coffee shop on 22nd. They had a monthly poetry open mic and I went to the first one I could. Once again, the satisfaction I felt rhyming in front of people was complete. I went as often as I could and enjoyed the encouragement and camaraderie of the other poets there who amazed me on a regular basis.
In the fall of 2001 I was a Junior at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. Leah and I had been married a little more than a year and life was really, really good. We had purchased our first desktop computer and soon after I picked a loop based music program called Acid Music by Sonic Foundry. I had the idea of making a spoken word album with experimental background music. In late 2001, I produced my first album, I’m Doing Something Different Tonight. Making the album was a delight and with its creation I began to pursue regular gigs at schools, churches, camps, coffee shops and bars. During this time I discovered the Little Rock Poetry Slam which was one of the most important tools that shaped me as a young aspiring spoken word artist. The atmosphere was both hostile and nurturing and I will never forget some of the words I heard and people I met while there.
In the fall of 2010 I had ultimately given up on the idea of being a career spoken word artist. Many things contributed to this, some good some bad but I was mistaken. Though I may never make much money writing and performing I will never be done and that’s a comforting and empowering thought. In August of 2010 I competed in Community’s Got Talent at the Community Church of Hendersonville. I used my old favorite stand-by, Alliterate Adoration, and in the middle of being on stage something came alive inside me that had not been stirred for years. Shortly after that I started this blog and though consistency wavers I have kept it going since then.
Now, as a husband, father and middle school teacher I am tempted to believe that I don’t have time for poetry but these three roles that God has given me serve to spur on my creativity as strong as it has ever been. I reckon I’ll keep on writing, rhyming, recording and performing. Thanks for reading and listening.