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Ruckmann-by Kubota!Dear Readers,

An unexpected occurrence jolted my Sunday a bit. I’m glad I ran 13.1 miles in training, the equivalent of a half-marathon, beforehand. That helped me feel grounded.

I promised a poem in my last post about this picture:ganz neues Gedicht!

Since I have now begun “coaching” poets, it’s probably time to write about poems that are incomplete.

They start out with inspiration. Sometimes, that awakening results in an immediate poem. I had that happen once when I was a teenager on a snowy day on my paper route. I couldn’t wait to make it back home and write my poem. The words came almost without thinking. They simply came out. Months later I received an award for the poem.

Sometimes, inspiration leads to just a good title and the poem comes later. The picture I took last week is an example. If I ever write an autobiography (and I often wonder who except for a few close friends and family would read it!), it would be called The Edge of Appalachia for all kinds of reasons.

To this day, I can’t believe I survived my youth on the edge of Appalachia, nor for that matter my 20s and 30s in other corners of the world!

Maybe part of the reason is that I have always met deadlines — for poetry contests, my work in philanthropy, as a writer and editor, and even self-imposed deadlines for marathons and personal blogs!

I also, and this is a huge step for me, need to admit I suffer from mild Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I’ve had it diagnosed. I’ve been told I don’t need medication, but I do need to face the fact that it’s part of my life, who I am, what I will live with until my last breath. My husband, daughter, good friends, and a sense of humor have helped a great deal!

I probably survived the ’80s and ’90s as a young gay man because of OCD. I’ve been meticulous about being safe even though I’m a hopeless romantic.

I am also a bit meticulous about my writing and poetry.

I want to do justice to what Quakers would call a “weighty” title to a poem like Edge of Appalachia.

Stay tuned and thank you for your patience!