Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Life of a Poet - Eric Alder

Time to feature one of our menfolk, kids, so I cast my eye around and who should pop into my field of vision but Eric, of Bubba’s Place. He was willing to Tell All, so pour yourself something delicious, toss in several ice cubes, and let’s get to know Eric better.


 Poets United: Eric, it is so nice of you to speak with us.  Tell us, is there a story behind when and why you started your blog?  A reason you call it Bubba’s Place?
Eric: I started off with a Windows Live Space a few years ago.  I got an e-mail telling me all about it and thought it sounded fun, since I’d been looking for a creative outlet.  I already had a photo account at deviantArt (http://buddharocks.deviantart.com/gallery) but I wanted to explore my writing more.  I’d done some writing in college and had recently gotten into poetry, so I was feeling inspired to write.
After posting to my Live Space for awhile, it started to feel like I was just talking to myself.  So I started looking for a more ‘social’ blogging experience, and that’s when I discovered Blogger.
I have three blogs there:
*         My ‘main’ blog:  http://thisisbubbasplace.blogspot.com/
*         My haiku blog:  http://haiku-koo-koo.blogspot.com/
*         My photo blog:  http://bifocalunivision.blogspot.com/
“Bubba” is a family nick-name of mine, so I thought “Bubba’s Place” was a good name for my blog.  I also liked the juxtaposition of poetry (often regarded as an artistic and cultured art form) with my ‘low-brow’ nick-name. (Basically, you wouldn’t expect a guy called Bubba to be poetically-inclined)
Poets United: I love the name Bubba’s Place!  Can you give us a little peek at what life is like for you?  

Eric: My name is Eric Alder.  I’m a 46 year-old Michigander married over 16 years to my wife, Tammy.  We have one son, Gregory, who’s almost 15.  We live with a basset hound named Dexter and a dachshund named Joey.
Poets United: Beautiful doggies – it sounds like you have a lovely family. When did you begin writing, Eric? Did you write in high school?
Eric: I didn’t start writing poetry until a couple of years ago.  I don’t remember writing any poetry in high school, but that was awhile ago.  If I did, I didn’t save any of it for posterity. (Probably a good thing!) I don’t know if this is my very first poem, but I checked my Windows Live Space (which was migrated to WordPress) and found this piece of prose dated February 6th, 2008:

https://ericalder.wordpress.com/2008/02/06/super-awareness/


Poets United: That is a very cool first piece of writing! And a fantastic photo you took of the horses. What style of poem do you write the most?  Are there any poetry forms you find difficult?
Eric: While many of my haiku are non-traditional by strict definition, I always adhere to the 5-7-5 format on my haiku blog. I’ve tried many different forms, and even invented a couple of my own:

I usually let my ideas dictate the form, not vice-versa.  I have nothing against any poetry form, even though I don’t use that many.

Poets United: How do you know a poem is good?  Do you revise or re-work your writing?

Eric: I’m not always sure if anything I write is ‘good’ (by whose standards?), but when I read something that evokes an emotional response in me, I consider it to be effective, and therefore good.  Much of what I write starts off as a single thought or line, and I expand it from there.  I don’t often do a lot of revision, but I’ll rearrange things or re-word something if it helps the flow of the poem.  (Or sometimes to interrupt it)

Poets United: What, most often, triggers you to write?

Eric: The things that inspire me most often are music, photography and reading. I experience music visually – sounds and lyrics put visions in my head - and sometimes those inspire further thoughts that I’m able to capture.
Many of my haiku are inspired by my photos, and nature plays a big part of that because I take a lot of outdoor photos, especially in the fall.
I love reading (though I don’t get to as often as I would like) and anything thought-provoking or emotionally-moving can evoke poetry from me.
Poets United: Well said. What is your take on poetry and the internet?
Eric: I have discovered a lot of talented writers (not just poets) through my explorations on Blogger and other sites.  While not everything I’ve encountered is my cup of tea, it’s great that people have these creative outlets and actively participate in the online communities they generate. Some people get caught up in certain aspects of online blogging (how many page views each post gets, how many followers they have, etc.) but I just write for myself, not for the recognition. I’m glad people appreciate my stuff, but I’m not dependent on praise.

Poets United:  I'm glad you can stay buoyant in the bouncy Blogger sea:) When do you write the most, Eric?  Where do you like to write?
Eric: I write anytime and anywhere inspiration hits me.  Many’s the time I’ve gotten out of the shower and ran to write down something that popped into my head (before I can forget it!)  I keep a notepad in my car, by my bed and next to my recliner.  While I’m at work, I’ll just jot things down on Post-Its or type them in Word.
Poets United: What poem, written by you, do you like the most ?
Eric: I was really pleased with one called “Earth Mother’s Song” which garnered a lot of nice comments: http://thisisbubbasplace.blogspot.com/2010/05/earth-mothers-song.html
Earth Mother’s Song

I’ve seen a broad field awash in fog,
gray-blanketed like a misplaced pond.
That same field, one dark summer morn,
lay a-twinkle, festooned with bright fireflies.

I’ve seen a great horned owl appear,
alighting atop a tall pine, majestic and wise.
Resting briefly, then silently swooping down
to disappear into the dark woods.

I’ve seen a pine martin stealing along,
dipping between the fallen birch and cedar,
popping up unexpectedly in a new spot,
red eyes glowing in my flashlight beam.

I’ve heard a tom turkey’s questioning call,
seeking to uncover this brash imposter.
A slow, hidden funeral procession
bursting forth to claim their roost.

I’ve heard lake echoes of spring frogs peeping
seeking mates among the green reeds,
the surrounding din of a million crickets creeping
on a hot August night, throbbing with life.

I’ve heard thunder roll along for miles
'til a blinding white flash strobed silhouettes
of stark, stiletto tree shadows all around
and the deafening clap froze me in place.

I’ve smelled the sweet, pine-scented winds
that blow through the north woods, thick
with undertones of green moss carpets
and ferns inexplicably bright in the shade.

I’ve smelled the musty down of a grouse
that loudly took flight at my approach,
unseen through the yellow aspen boughs,
revealing this visitor clumsy in his ream.

I’ve smelled an oncoming storm
blowing in from the west,
deepening the sense of isolation,
submersion in a still-wild place.

As a child I learned Earth Mother’s song
and it still sings deep within my heart.
I learn a new verse each time I venture
into those places where she yet dwells.

Poets United: So beautiful. I love it! Do you have a favorite poet? A poem by them you especially like?
Eric: (Finally!  A ‘favorite’ question I can actually answer!)  Robert Frost is my favorite poet.  I feel a close connection with his time and viewpoint. 

Here is my favorite piece of his:
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Poets United:  I see why you love him. Do you write with hopes of being published one day?  
Eric: I’ve been ‘published’ a few times online (both poems and photos) and that’s always nice, but I have no aspirations beyond that.  If I get a letter in the mail asking permission to publish a book of my collective works, I’d be happy to let them do so.  (I’m sure that letter is on its way already -  LOL!)
Poets United: You never know! It could happen! Are you a music fan?
Eric: I like a wide variety of music (wider than many people, I’ll venture to say), but my ‘wheelhouse’ is guitar rock.  I play guitar a little, but not very well.  While I never got good enough to play for others, it has given me a profound appreciation for anyone who can really play their instrument well.
Poets United: Do you have problems with Writer's Block, and how do you address that if you do?
Eric: I don’t like the term “writer’s block” because it sounds like some outside force is blocking you from your goal, when it’s really just you. Professional writers often expound the adage “Write, write, write” believing that one must always keep writing – write through writer’s block.  Maybe that works for professional writers, but I’m not a professional writer.

My approach is pretty simple: Write when you’re inspired; don’t when you’re not.  In my experience, when inspiration strikes, it can happen so fast that it’s hard to keep up with the ideas.  So why agonize over the dry spells? Take a break if you don’t feel the words coming. Go get some fresh air.  Go do something else instead of just sitting there, desperately trying to write something that just isn’t ready to be written yet.


Poets United: Such good advice. And where do you turn for inspiration? Besides the trampoline :)
Eric: Nature (as I mentioned previously) is my go-to for inspiration.  Nothing else, not even music, inspires me quite like nature.

Poets United: Me, too, Eric. When you are not writing, what other interests do you pursue?
Eric: (Many of these will be no surprise)  I enjoy photography, reading, music, cooking, hunting, fishing, amusement parks, camping and beer.
Poets United: Have you ever lived a great adventure?
Eric: No, my adventures tend to be small to medium-sized.  I appreciate the little things in life and I’m not much of a big thrill-seeker. (Unless you count roller coasters!)

Poets United: Ack! Roller coasters! You are way braver than I am. Do you have a dream you hope to make come true?

Eric: Again, I don’t dream big.  My biggest dream currently is getting my boat painted and ready so I can go fishing this summer.
See:

Poets United: Sounds like a perfect summer dream to me! If you could do anything or be anywhere, no limits, what would your life look like?

Eric: I’d be Supreme Ruler of the Galaxy, of course!  (LOL!) But seriously, I can’t complain about where I am in life.  I’m a very fortunate person and I try to appreciate that as much as possible.

Poets United: I love your "attitude of gratitude". Do you have a favourite quote that you use often, or live by?
Eric: “Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change” by Confucius.
Poets United: Oh, he was a clever critter, that Confucius! Is there anything else you would like to share with us, Eric?


Eric: I’d like thank Sherry for offering to feature me here, and thank you to everybody who took the time to read all this. I’d also like to express my gratitude to the people who check out my blogs.  I’m glad they find value in my work and keep coming back each week.

Poets United: Thank  you, Eric, for taking the time to share your thoughts and your life with our members. And for being such a steady contributing member of Poets United.

See, kids? Isn’t it true that the people behind the pen are some of the most interesting people around? Check back in two weeks and we’ll take another behind-the-scenes look at one of our talented members. Who knows? It might be you we talk to next!

9 comments:

  1. Great choice, Sherry! (And I look forward to your re-connection soon) Eric is one of my favorites. He is a talented writer and a very supportive member of the online community.

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  2. Another great interview. I always enjoy finding out more about our fellow poets. :-)

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  3. Great interview, thanks. Eric a nice peek inside your world. Thanks Sherry.

    Pamela

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  4. I so enjoy meeting all of these wonderful people in more depth, dont you? Eric, you are a delight. I hope you enjoy your little moment in the sun:) We so appreciate your active participation in Poets United.

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  5. Eric is a wonderfully upbeat and humorous person - always a pleasure to visit his site.

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  6. Wonderful interview, Sherry. I enjoyed learning more about you, Eric. You do a great blog. Interesting pictures with this interview too. I wish I had a trampoline. LOL.

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  7. Great interview Eric and Sherry! I loved learning more about Eric~ I like Eric's appreciation of life and nature~ Well Done!

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  8. yay!
    I never go a day without checking Mr Alder and his 3 blogs. always good, entertaining, sometimes happy, sometimes sad.
    Always thoughtful and well written...
    great interview.

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  9. What a great thing--a poet with the heart of an optimistic and a love of nature. That's what we need more of instead of those dark closet poets grumbling about the world.

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