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The Poetry Store, artistic wordsmith

I am the poet and owner of a small business called The Poetry Store, which is: 1. a typewriter. a poet. a vision: poetry for sale on demand. 2. objective + obstruction = art. Available for music and literary events, art openings, weddings, parties, and get togethers of all kinds.

When you visit The Poetry Store, you tell me what you want your poem to be about, who you want it to be for, pick your paper, and in 3 minutes or less, I’ll have it for you, typed on my red royal typewriter! Spontaneous as combustion and as original as bergamot on your ice cream.

For The Poetry Store, I also make and sell one-of-a-kind and custom poetry art pieces. The images I use come from my own drawings, photos, or paintings, collaborations with other artists, and recycled and up-cycled images from old art calendars, wall papers, and even a woman’s obituary book I found on the street.

What inspired me? Besides an inability to do anything for 8 hours straight, I got into the craft business because it just felt like what I needed to do–I am a creative person, with lots of ideas, who loves working with my hands; I thrive off of meeting new people and hearing their stories; I desire a good challenge (which actually happens with every poem i write! because it teaches me something; and I have a need for work that’s always changing and evolving, so, here I am, making a living as a poet! I don’t have a day job, but I do teach a poetry class to the elderly for The Institute on Aging. Yes, what I do for “work” is pretty amazing.

What do you like best, coming up with ideas or executing them? Definitely coming up with them! If I could get paid just to have ideas, I’d be rich! However, there’s so much satisfaction when the idea is done being executed. So, maybe it’s 50/50 coming up with idea/executing it.

What’s the best thing about what you do? Best thing: I am living my dream–making a living as a writer, being challenged personally, emotionally, financially (oh, growth!), meeting so many people who teach me about compassion, joy, vulnerability, strength, wisdom, fun, and having faith in our fellow human beings. I couldn’t do what I do without all the people who want to buy poems and trust me to write them. It’s all pretty magical. And I am constantly humbled and grateful.

The worst thing? Worst thing: The financial roller coaster, which mostly plunges down an occasionally takes great climbs; if only it would coast there for a while, or just go up forever!

What are your creative influences? Birds, typewriters, old things most people find useless, the moon (especially in daylight), death, Dean Young’s poetry, my students (who average about 85 years old), risk, bunnies, squirrels, jellyfish, string, a desire to understand, a desire to dream, a willingness to fail, a willingness to succeed.

What’s the best advice you have been given about your business or craft practices? Don’t worry about what you think other people want; make what you love, what you think is beautiful, and other people will think so too.

How do you stay inspired? Reading (see esp. the same stuff over and over), constantly meeting new people, riding my bike around San Francisco, hobnobbing with artist friends, going to the ocean and, this is embarrassing but, the real answer is: sometimes, watching stupid TV. It’s the only way I can decompress, really take my mind off of the 100 things I have to do. And when my mind is off of things, it opens me up to ideas that have been waiting to come out.


Pieces on display in Philz Coffee on Van Ness and in the window of Femina Potens Gallery on Market and Sanchez, San Francisco

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