Friday, March 30, 2012

The Story behind Dogs Bark...

I can remember where I was when I wrote each of my favorite poems. This is the fun little story behind my poem, Dogs Bark off in the Distance.

During the summers of both high school and college, my family would spend a good number of evenings around the kitchen table playing games. Some nights we’d play poker. Some nights we would play board games like Sorry or Scattergories.

The kitchen table would be filled with snacks both salty and sweet. I was usually losing if we were playing Sorry. All four of my little plastic yellow game pieces would sit in the start while the other colors would grace the squares around the board. It became a running joke. I bet if we broke out the Sorry board today, we would have a good laugh as my pieces stayed stuck in start.

Our table sat in front of the sliding glass doors that went out to the deck. We would always have the door open, which would provide a great cross breeze with the open front windows. You could hear everything in our suburban neighborhood. During the day, the background noise was the squeaking of old swings in the park behind the nearby elementary school. At night, you could hear cars driving around the P shaped street and neighbors’ dogs barking.

One night, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my family feeling the breeze sweep through the house. We were sipping iced tea and talking. My ears picked up the barking of dogs somewhere in the distance. On the counter next to the phone rested a pen and a pad of blue post-it notes.

Bringing those over to the table, I penned the poem on about six or so blue papers. When I had finished, I read the poem aloud. Everyone loved it. I stuck the papers together in order then ran them up to my room before we started our game that evening.

Somewhere I still have those sticky little squares. Inspiration comes from many places. Make sure you keep writing utensils near, you wouldn’t want to miss hearing a thing.

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