Admittedly, I’m not a “starving artist.” I’m well-paid and well-fed by my day job, so I don’t suffer in that way. Lately, though, I’ve been compelled to do some activities driven by an idea for a poem. My most recent painful experience has been climbing a tree. Yes, at 53, I climbed a tree. (Hey, that’s Seussical!)

When I was young, I climbed trees a lot. In my neighborhood growing up, the main kid-activities were tree-climbing, fort building, and bike riding. Now, however, it’s a real struggle to do any activity with the word “climb” in it. It took me many days to find a tree that was climable: low enough branches, thick, heavy limbs that could support my full-size butt, and limited brush and small branches around it (they whack you in the face). The only way I can describe this drive was, compulsion. I HAD to climb a tree; it had become a personal haj.

I did find one and I wrote extensively about the experience in a poem. The real tree was on Woodland Ave., banking a farm field, but I thought the street name was too overt, so I changed the location to County K. I really like the resulting poem and will submit it for critique to my group in a few weeks. I don’t have any idea what drove this episode, I’m just hoping my next one is less anxiety and boo-boo producing, not more.

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