Jack will livestream today’s poem at 9am on his Facebook Page here, where the video will will be saved for viewing, in case you missed it.
You may know of the Myers-Briggs test.
You take it and end up with a combination of letters that represent ends of continuums of behavioral preferences.
Usually people have preferences that can slide based on the conditions at hand. For example, one person might test out as 60/40 Extroverted to Introverted. And how they express extroversion or introversion depends on their day, who they are with, how happy their amygdalas are, what they are called upon to do, how they feel, etc.
As we all probably know, America is dominated by extroverts. In fact introverts are often understood as having something “wrong with them.” And so, in this country, introverts must learn to pass as extroverts. ‘Tis why this guy is very often misread as extroverted when actually on the test, I have no “E” at all. I’ve been faking it. Really faking it. For 76 years.
I am 100 percent “I.”
My Myers-Briggs type is INFP, extraordinarily, fiercely INFP. Only 5 percent of the population expresses this type, and I express it hard.
Why bring all this up? Because, while I understand how difficult seclusion is for those who are extroverted, (“I GOTTA GET OUTTA HERE! I GOTTA SEE THE GANG! I HAVE TO HANG OUT! I REALLY HAVE TO HIT THE COFFEE SHOP, THE PUB!”), I’m happy living as a hibernating bookworm. This life is good for me. The circumstances are terribly sad. But the sequestering is no hardship at all.
But we introverts want you to know that because we’ve been faking it all our lives, we really do understand. We’re here for you mad extroverts. We’re listeners. Please feel free to come within six feet of us at the grocers, and let it out!
Here’s a poem written for the most generous and important of poets, another introvert, one who travels the world especially to help children — Naomi Shihab Nye, The Poet Laureate for Youth in the United States. I hope you see its connection to what we are are all trying to learn to deal with.
Over in That Corner, the Puppets
Even when the weather changes,
remember to pet the dog, make
the cat purr, watch whatever
comes to the window. If you
stand there long enough,
someone will come by,
a stranger perhaps, one who
could be more, but needs
to keep walking. “Hello”
is likely all you can say.
–for Naomi Shihab Nye
First published in Peninsula Poets
Subsequently published in Saint Peter and the Goldfinch (Wayne State University Press)
Here’s a wonderfully generous gift from documentary film maker/poet John Stanton:
“I wonder if the people you mail your weekly missives to would enjoy free access to a small collection of documentary films? I do not want to assume anything. But I keep thinking that it might give people something to do during all this self-isolation. If you think it is a good idea, feel free to send them out. All anyone has to do to see them is click on the links.”
Wood Sails Dreams (60-min) This was a film festival hit. The idea of boats made of trees and powered by the wind is a small miracle. The people who build and restore these boats are very soulful.
Oral History: Life During the Troubles, Belfast, Northern Ireland (20-min)
The Last Bay Scallop (30-min) The tradition of dredging for bay scallops runs deep in coastal southeast New England. But are the last days of this cottage industry on the horizon?
Memories of the Aud (45-minutes) In the last week before the closing of the Buffalo Auditorium we spoke with people for whom the sports played there gave them a sense of community.
One Man’s Vietnam (8-min) This might be my favorite. Peter Sylvia is a friend of mine, who was drafted a few weeks after he graduated from art college in 1968. As an act of catharsis he painted what he saw, and then simply put the canvasses in his attic. This short film was made the day he took them down from the attic.
The Pandemic may put the reading at The BookNook & Java Shop in Montague online, and we will let you know about that. It had been set for 7pm on April 28 in the store, along with friend and poet Mark Hiskes. When we can return there, I guarantee you will love the place along with its good food and beverages. Many thanks to owner and arts promoter Bryan Uecker.
Jack’s Homily, “The Devil Went Down to Douglas” is here for those of you interested in marking the occasion.
Don’t miss subscribing to this podcast. And Then Suddenly is the brainchild of the kind and brilliant Angela Santillo, whose path I’ve crossed once before while working with CavanKerry Press. Her podcast has a brilliant premise… Describe a moment in your life that changed… everything. She’s had that moment, and from it she has made this podcast. Here’s the conversation we had recently. I hope you explore many of the episodes. Because they will change you. In a good way.
There will be an outstanding Writers Conference held at The Grace A. Dow Library in the Dow Gardens in Midland on July 21 and 22. Each date has a 1-4 afternoon workshop and a reading in the evening along with a Q & A. July 21 features Desiree Cooper and John Mauk. July 22 features Anne-Marie Oomen and me. The workshops are capped at 20 people.
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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.
Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.
Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.