Keith Flynn fell in love with poetry at 17. He knew that if he were ever identified as a poet, he would have done something worthwhile with his life.
Fast forward twenty plus years. Keith stands before a group of 25 people at the Tea and Poetry event sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. This appearance is part of a 65 date tour to promote his new poetry book, Colony Collapse Disorder.
Flynn begins not by reading his poetry, but by singing a blues song. To set the mood, he says.
Keith honed his skill as a poet while singing in a blues band. He shared both his poetry and music during his appearance. I felt grateful for the unique and uplifting experience I’d shared with the other attendees.
At a red light on my drive home, I glanced over at the red Chrysler in the next lane. Because the car was stopped slightly ahead of me, I could only see a woman’s thin, bony hands on the steering wheel. “Old lady hands,” I thought. Perhaps that’s what my hands will look like in fifteen years.
Then the hands began to tap out a rhythm on the steering wheel. Whether in response to a song on the radio or a song in her head, I wasn’t sure. I began to compose a poem about the surprise I experienced watching those hands dance on the steering wheel. I don’t write poetry but Flynn’s reading inspired my creativity. If I had not just heard Keith read, I doubt I would have even taken notice of the car next to me.
Keith lives in Ashville, North Carolina. He mentioned that the governor of North Carolina said that creative writing and other programs of their ilk needed to prove how they led to employment before they would receive funding in state universities. Keith lamented the fact that we seem to have lost our understanding of the value of the arts.
Driving home, inspired by Keith’s poetry and music, I contemplated ideas to bring more creativity into my work and life. I wondered if the arts at all inspire the governor of North Carolina to grow, expand, and see beyond his own practiced perspective.
How do you stay inspired and creative?