Poetry All Around You

iStock_000002111580XSmallby Mike O’Mary

Sometimes, when I sit down to write, I draw a blank. Yet the idea of not having anything to say seems absurd—especially in a world so full of interesting people and events. But sometimes we just get so overloaded we become desensitized. We take things for granted, and that’s not good.

But I found something that seems to help. I don’t read much poetry, but a friend of mine recently had a book published. I bought it, and he asked me to tell him what I thought of it.

After just a few pages, I looked up and looked around and realized that I was seeing things differently. A world that had seemed devoid of anything interesting was suddenly filled with detail. All I had to do was look a little closer.

On the top shelf of my bookcase, for example, are a dozen or so items. An old wooden roofer’s toolbox filled with dried flowers and eucalyptus. Next to that, a little clay bowl that my daughter made, then a coffee mug from the University of Montana, and an Eiffel Tower that could have been purchased at Target but happens to have been purchased in Paris. There’s a wooden carpenter’s plane from a phase when I was fascinated with old tools, a beer stein from Heidelberg, an amethyst crystal from one of my sisters. Photos of my mom, my daughter and of the softball team I coached last summer. A fancy clock I bought for $100 while on vacation, and a clock I bought at an outlet store for $3.99 because I liked its simplicity.

All that sitting right there on one little shelf.

I’m going to go back to reading my friend’s book now. But I already know what I’m going to say when I write to him: I’m going to tell him it was good.

Mike O’Mary is founding dreamer of Dream of Things, a book publisher currently accepting creative nonfiction stories for anthologies on 15 topics.