By Richard Howard
My first introduction to writing occurred at the vulnerable age of 16. I use the word vulnerable, because I think that it is at and about this age when we really start questioning the world around us, we open ourselves to a volume of input, from our schoolmates, our roles models we see on the television, and yes, to a lesser extent, to our parents. In opening ourselves to these influences, we make ourselves vulnerable to the consequences of heeding those often emotionally charged choices that we make.
My first poem was written the night I arrived in Australia, as a foreign exchange student, while sitting in the backyard of the host family that would take me in for the year I was to stay there. I remember looking across the vast darkness that encompassed the national park that my host family’s house bordered, and feeling literally, a thousand miles away from the familiarity of home. The feeling of being alone overwhelmed me. These feelings that welled up inside of me could not be restrained, so taking a blank piece of paper that I had stuffed into my back pocket, and a pen that was in my bag sitting next to me, I wrote.
Thirty years later, writing continues to be my salvation when the emotional threshold has been reached, or in some cases, breached, or for when you feel that inspiration rise up inside of you, that special instance when you know you have to put pen to paper, to record that moment.
I had intended initially for the following poetry and short stories to be all integrated into my master project, the story of my life, but after careful consideration, believe that these stories and poems also can stand on their own, that they deserve the recognition of being their own story as well.
I sincerely hope that you enjoy experiencing them, as much as I enjoyed living them.