How Did We Get Here?


There's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or so I've been told. 

It was a chilly, blustery, rainy, Sunday afternoon; a day for reading, writing and 
relaxing the hours away. 

As he is apt to do, my dear husband tore an article out of his favorite catholic 
magazine, "First Things" (circulation 30,000). "This is a must read," Dennis said. 
Without a doubt, Mark Bauerlein's 'Down and out in Del Mar' tugged at my heart.

It was at the completion of the article that my day took a turn. I wanted to learn 
more about this senior editor, writer, professor---man whose words held my 
attention and sparked my next steps. I was prompted to explore Hillbilly Elegy, 
by J. D. Vance, referenced by Bauerlein. Then my attention was directed to a 
review in the L.A. Times of his book, The Dumbest Generation. 

At this point, it would appear that my rain-drenched soul whould pack it in for the
day. But there would be more... I decided I would place a hold on both books 
referenced above. After I had done so at the county library's website, an image 
moved across the screen: Poetry Reading... and conversation with Poet Laureate 
Dana Gioia. 

As a writer, published poet and art-aholic this was an opportunity of a lifetime. 
I had read Gioia's books, listened to his TED Talks, watched his Stanford 
commencement addresses online, and followed his succesful career as Chairman of the 
NEA, more especially a program he created for high school student, Poetry Out Loud.
Mr. Gioia was speaking at The Katie Wheeler Public Library, in historic Irvine; 
this afternoon at 2:30. 

It was precisely 2:30. Missed opportunity, my heart sank.

My husband had postponed his daily shower, and had just began his soulful cleansing.
I rushed into the bathroom screaming, "Gioia's in town, we've missed him." Knowing
my appreciation for the 2016 Poet Laureate, Dennis'response was simple, 
"Just say yes and we are out the door in five minutes." --- she said YES!

And so it was. We sped cross town. Walked into a crowded room. We were late and 
separated; but directed to the last two available seats. (Mr. Gioai motioned me to
take the only empty seat in the front row). 

After Mr. Gioia recited a handful of poems from his book 99 Poems, questions were 
answered, an autographed book was in hand and an engaging conversation with 
Mrs. Gioia; I had found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.





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