How? How about writing a review of a recent book. You don’t even have to write for a journal or magazine to review a book. You can easily log on to amazon.com, B&N, or Powells. Actually, did you know you can even have a chance to win free books for posting a review on Powells? That’s pretty cool. Plus, you’ll be letting others know why so-and-so’s book is so amazing and you’ll also make that author’s day a little brighter.
Not into reviews? That’s okay; you can still ‘hug’ a poet today by going to the local indie bookstore and buying a new book. That’s an easy one.
What if you’re strapped for cash? This is the easiest one yet. Read. That’s right. Read.
There are plenty of online journals showcasing incredible works online – for free. Have you read the work from Tarpaulin Sky #16 yet? Or the poetry and non-fiction in The Mississippi Review? There’s some great work in there this month and if you click to view the archives, you’ll find lots of poetry awaiting your virtual hugs. Google yourself silly and you’ll find a lot of great journals with free online access to work just waiting to be enjoyed.
Why should you bother with any of this, today of all days? Because today is like any other day. There is nothing special about today.
Unless you consider that somewhere out there in this vast landscape of earth a poet has just been told her first book is going to be published. Or maybe a poet’s first poem ever is going to appear in a fantastic literary journal. Somewhere out there, a poet has just received her 97th rejection but is still spending her day writing today, because that’s what poets do.
In another part of the world, a poet is volunteering today. She’s helping elementary school kids laugh and learn while playing with sounds and words. Another poet is clocking in to her job at the factory. Another is serving you coffee and asking if you need more time with the menu. There’s the poet who is tending to her sick husband, the one cheering up her mother. Then there’s the poet who is writing a letter to her oldest friend, admitting something she should have apologized for years ago but couldn’t find the words… except in poetry.
Today is nothing special. Not in the big scheme of things. But any day is a good day to support the arts. Every day means something to someone. And anytime someone buys a new book or reads a literary journal or sends an author an email to say ‘hey, I like what you’re doing,’ is just one more good day in the life of a writer.
Writers need people. We may be solitary creatures by trade, but we need community. We need one another.
So, have you hugged a poet today?