The Ghost of Richard Hugo

Somewhere in the 440 pounds of stuff I own that is somewhere between Seattle, Washington and Sacramento, California is a book. Many books actually, but the book that got on my mind today is The Triggering Town by Richard Hugo. Richard Hugo was a poet who was part of a school of writers that put Montana on the map for creative writing. His poetry focused on the normal, the mundane of life, one of his ideas was what is normal and mundane to you could be fascinating to him. He once said, “Never write a poem about anything that ought to have a poem written about it.” He died too young at 58 but wrote this very influential book about writing while he was a professor at Montana. He suggested starting with a town; your town, my town, her town, his town…any town. Something about that town makes it unique and something about that town inspires (or triggers, as he suggests) a story or a poem or a song to come out of a writer’s mind. So I don’t know where my town is, I don’t know where the trigger is, but I thought of it today reading city names in the Bay Area. Sunol, Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore, Emeryville, Santa Cruz, and the list goes on, images come to mind with every town/city. Maybe it’s time to start writing again.
The trigger doesn’t have to be town, if you’ve got a few minutes, read this interview with Matthew Ryan. His triggers seem to be pretty normal too as he mentions the rain storm outside.

Songs rattling on the IPod today:

Me and My Lover – Matthew Ryan
Turn Around – Whiskeytown
Flame Turns Blue – David Gray
Can’t Stop Now – Keane
Fruits of My Labor – Lucinda Williams
A Long December – Counting Crows
My Favorite Chords – The Weakerthans
Levity – F/Stop
Breathe Easy – Minibar

I’m working on a year end list of bests.

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