I met John Greenwood a couple of years ago. He came to one of my readings, and I wasn't quite sure what to make of this quiet man, an ex-milkman and truck driver working at Stewart's, a regional convenience store, milk and food chain. I could see he was on fire, restless, something inside of him wanted to come out. I can sense that in people. It's how I first connected with Maria. I loved the way he talked about his wife and children, about his wish to write, to release the powerful creative forces inside of him.
I was a bit wary at first, wondering if he was for real, or one of the many people who flirt with working hard to be creative, but who often bail out when they find it is not so simple, the rewards not always instantaneous. Lots of people come up to me at readings and say things, and I am often not quite sure what to make of them.
John did not bail out. It has been one of the pleasures of my life to watch this quiet and unassuming man turn inward, take a deep breath, come out into the world and evolve. As a writer, as a photographer, as a poet, father, husband and human being. Talk about the creative spark. John is still on fire, a volcanic eruption. We came together again last night when he showed up at my Hubbard Hall Writer's Workshop – what a great crew that is – something he wrote about on his wonderful blog, a model of how technology and creativity can work together for the benefit of the individual in the modern world.
Today I am proud to add John's blog to the "Blogs I Love" page (at the top of this page). He is the real deal. He reminds us that artistry is not a closed shop, an elite community, a gift bestowed by lightning on the wondrous and mysterious. Creativity takes heart and soul, and work and courage. Our world sometimes conspires to make us think that being creative is a special gift granted to the very few rather than something that is inside of all of us, yearning to come out. We are taught to feel stupid, foolish, to suppress our own instincts and ideas. We hide our own stories.
John talks often about how terrified he was to put his blog up, to reveal himself in so personal a way. To take the risk every creative person takes – coming into the world. I know that feeling. We all do, I think.
To understand this – to free or inner spirits – is to awaken to the possibilities of life, something John Greenwood has done, in a culture where it is not often encouraged or supported. John spends a lot of time explaining his poetry to his fellow truck drivers. Good for you John and thanks for joining my workshop. And for existing. You are a light unto the world.