On Becoming A Writer: Chuck Lindholm

An important part of every writer’s journey is the transition from seeing ourselves as “someone who writes” to seeing ourselves as writers.  We asked all the Go Dog Go Baristas to tell us a little bit about their journey as a writer.  We hope you enjoy learning more about the Baristas and are inspired by their stories.

CHUCK'S LAW SCHOOL PORTRAIT CIRCA 1994 at 50%

 

My Moniker is “The Reluctant Poet”!  I guess that tells you a lot about my journey to becoming a poet/writer.  My given name is Charles Robert Lindholm but I answer to Chuck.  Thanks for taking time to read a little bit about me.  I’m hoping that some of what I say may be of some inspiration or encouragement to you on your journey as a writer/poet.

When you did you start writing?

Funny when I think back on the start of me writing!  It was really as simple as doing a Senior English class assignment in high school.  Nothing you would think of as “starting the ball rolling” on my interest in writing poetry.  Poetry is what I love to write most, but if you read some of my posts you will know I write about some of my musings, peeves and lighthearted humorous things.

Our assignment was a two phase project – #1 Write two love poems – at least 7 lines each; #2 Illustrate a poem by a major poet with graphics – photos cut from magazines, photos, drawings or whatever we thought illustrated what the poet was saying.

I don’t have copies of what I wrote – lucky for everyone, but I did put the illustration of Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” in a scrapbook along with Sidney Lanier’s “The Song Of The Chattahochee”  (I love this poem and you may too).  I was blessed to have my Grandma’s stack of years and years of old Arizona Highway magazines to go through for photos!  Robert Frost’s works hooked me on poetry.  Over the years I wrote a poem from time to time but did not become addicted until the end of my second marriage in 1996.

It seems that emotional pain and heartache are a motivating inspiration for writing poetry, and not all rosy, flowery and happy either.  Poetry seems to end up being the voice of the soul.  It is nice that poetry covers the whole horizon of emotions and viewpoints.

I did get an A on my project and that was the seed that grew into my writing poetry.  Perhaps, you can share on your blog or at The Cafe how you got infected with the urge to write and share your words with others!  It’s like hearing how a couple met.  Always an interesting story!

What kind of writing do you do?

I tend to favor writing poetry and an occasional “Opinion type” of piece.  My writing is not cerebral, complex, dark or fantasy (rarely).  If you check my posts they are simple, usually straightforward, rhyming, sometimes,  but not all the time, and deal with human relationships from sad to happy and some humorous things.

I have come to enjoy writing Haiku and I’m still learning about how much I don’t know about poetry.  Here’s the great thing about poetry – it’s like abstract art.  You write it for your own inner satisfaction and if someone else likes it great, that’s a bonus.  It kind of goes with the quote I like “Not Everyone Likes You, But Not Everyone Matters!”  Write what your soul has to say after listening to the whispers from the Universe!

Where do you find inspiration for your writing?

I am hoping that this is where you will take away a small piece of advice from me that you will carry with you always, and maybe remember me! Ha!

This is not original with me but I have found it to be the source of a large part of my writing.  The seed of the idea is from “Poemcrazy – Freeing your life with words” (check out the reviews on Amazon) and I highly recommend that you own a copy.

Pay attention to life and your surroundings, what you see, what you hear, what you read, what you feel, the writings and stories of others!  Use your mind as a mental camera.  Start keeping a Word Bank/Word Pool where you write down words, phrases, titles, topics, lines from movies or anything else that hits your mind and makes you smile, laugh, cry, get misty, get mad or be in awe.

Write it down, immediately before you forget.  I suggest you keep a tiny spiral notepad but honestly now with audio recording features on smartphones you can use them, but if you do be sure and transcribe what you entered on paper or computer (just remember computers crash and take all your work to Writer’s Heaven/Hell – whichever).

They say, who are these “They”, you should write what you know about.  My response to that is, go learn about what you want to write about.  I have been able to imagine myself in the position of the person or thing I’m writing about in the same way an actor takes on a role.  See it, feel it – be and feel the same as your subject/topic.  Describe the details, the colors, the shapes, the smells, the taste, the way it makes you feel, the way others feel.  Think of writing as painting word pictures!

I love it when I’m reading a writer and a word or phrase hits me and I go to enter it in my Word Bank but before I can, I start getting a “Stream of Consciousness” flow and end up writing a piece before it gets entered.  Afterward I enter it in my Word Bank with credit to the source.

The long and short of it is my inspiration comes from things that hit my heart and/or soul and make me go – Wow and want to share the feeling/thought!

Be careful!  I may end up finding a seed of inspiration in one of your works!!  I hope so!  Being inspired to write from what another writer has written is the biggest thrill in writing for you and the author!

What are you current writing rituals/practices? 

Ah, this is an interesting question.  Everyone seems to have a different way of doing things which is why we have the cliche – “To each their own”.

The most productive and enjoyable way I write is in a secluded, silent and usually dark place with a dim light or none at all (see below) and usually late at night or in the early hours of the morning (The Backside Of The Night).  I have often started a poem after going to bed for the night.  I lay there for a few minutes only to have words start streaming into my head.  This ends my time in bed until I can go and capture these words on paper.

I find it helpful to close my eyes and visualize what I’m writing about and then go word by word and line by line in my head reciting each line and build line upon line until I have about 8 to 10 lines.  Then I capture that on paper and then go back and use that same process to keep adding lines until the piece is finished.

After I have a piece written down I like to enter it into the computer, format it and save it.  Then I go back and recite the piece out loud several times to be sure I like the feel, flow and sound of it.  After that I add the copyright notice at the bottom and I’m done.

When did you start thinking of yourself as a writer?

Was Van Gough a painter?  Not judged by the opinions of his time.  He was a painter in his mind.  Judged by the opinions of today?  He is one of the greatest, judged by money and fame!  So what opinion really mattered?  Van Gough’s opinion of himself!!  Our opinion of ourselves is the one that matters!  Make your opinion of yourself into your reality!

I guess for me, I started to think of myself as a poet after I had about 400 poems written during the two year period after the end of my second marriage.  Even then it seemed doubtful.  I was motivated by pain and heartache.  And didn’t like the idea of having to be in that state before I could write.  Sort of like the one hit wonder songwriters who write a hit and can never do it again.

I told my daughter, Charmin, I was wanting to do something with my poems.  Two days later she sent me an email that informed me that I now had a WordPress.com blog.  She said, “I’m helping you face your fears, I’m pushing you so you can fly”.  I will always be forever thankful for her gift!!

Up until I started blogging on WordPress, my writing was sporadic, with long dry spells of months between a poem or two and that was disheartening.  It was hard to think of myself as a writer when it was such a hit and miss experience.

Once I realized that I was going to run through my Archive in a hurry and would need to start writing most everyday, I started writing off prompts and then put my Word Bank to use.  Now most of my work is split 50/50 between self generated work and work inspired from seeds of inspiration from others.

I have only recently been able to say and believe I am a writer!  What caused that?  I had written “A Flickering Soul” when a neighbor lost his wife.  I sent him a note of condolence and included this poem in hopes it would help comfort him.  He loved it and wanted me to recite it at his wife’s Memorial.

After walking up to the pulpit and looking out at those waiting to hear me recite the poem I wrote, and which was printed out on the program, my inner self had to admit and accept the fact that I am a poet!

What are your future writing goals?

My writing goals crystallized just before my 50th High School Reunion when I decided I wanted to unlock the poems gathering dust and let them be sent out into the world.  I want to have at least one “book, book” and to expand the exposure of my work in whatever way I can.  Still looking into the best way to get that goal met.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and get to know me a little better.  Why don’t you try answering these questions on your blog or at the Go Dog Go Cafe??

Questions:

  • When did you start writing?
  • What kind of writing do you do?
  • Where do you find inspiration for your writing?
  • What are your current writing rituals/practices?
  • When did you start thinking of yourself as a writer?
  • What are your writing goals?

Best Wishes and May Your Dreams Come True!

Chuck Lindholm
The Reluctant Poet
Barista at the Go Dog Go Cafe

P.S.  Wanted to leave you with a little quote you should
leave on the imaginary mirror in your head to help you remember:

“What have you done today, to make your dreams come true?”

 

33 thoughts on “On Becoming A Writer: Chuck Lindholm

  1. Enjoyed reading this Chuck. I love your word bank idea (which you told me a while back) and need to organize one. I have stuff jotted all over pages of writing then can’t find it again! I think it is so cool that your daughter helped you get started here. Sometimes we need that nudge from someone else. I know I had a nudge to begin on Twitter and be public with writing.

    Your quote is one I’m going to remember. And today, I’ve already written 4 new poems!

    Your friend,
    Beth Amanda

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A fascinating activity reading of someone else’s experience in this area, Chuck. One can’t avoid measuring it against one’s own, and I do find similarities with my own modus operandi. Particularly the composing ideas when attempting to get to sleep and having to get up and scribble notes in the half-dark, knowing that otherwise they will have disappeared by the morning. Not sure that I can summon up the will to take on your proposed task of writing my own path to poetry. Or to publish. I’ve got too many poems to compose first! Nevertheless, many thanks for your inspirational post, Chuck.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Roland for your great comment!!! So sorry I didn’t see this comment when you posted it, my bad! I guess writer’s learn the hard way to get out of bed and write things down after they lose a great start or two. I’m glad you have so many poems to compose!! My Muse seems to visit me sporadically so I find I have some extra time! LOL! Happy you enjoyed this, Roland! I really enjoy your work!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I absolutely loved and adored every bit of advice and experience you have shared in your interview Chuck, your answers to the questions are as soulful and beautiful as you are as a person. As you have said in your interview, we are what we feel deep inside and this spoke to me in more ways than one. We all be grateful to your daughter Charmin giving you wings to fly in this world of poetry and to share your wonderful poetry with us. We are so blessed to have you here in this WordPress community and in the GodogGO cafe. Love and hugs!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, My Dear Megha!!! You are way too kind and sweet to this Little Ol’ Poet! This makes my week!!! I’m so happy some of the things I wrote were helpful and you liked them! Soulful?? Ha! Interesting? Hadn’t really considered myself that way, I guess I do care a little more about the inner soul than I consciously think about. I try and make my words beautiful. There’s no hope on that point for me, oh, you mean inner beauty? Not sure I’ve seen a mirror to gauge that! LOL! Sorry, it’s late and I’m silly! Yes, I shall be eternally grateful to Charmin for pushing me so I can fly. Seems I may have graduated to intermediate level. Still have trouble with getting poems off the ground consistently – seems my Muse keeps a bit of a flitty schedule. Thank you so much for your kind and generous words! You bless me with your friendship, My Dear! I get so much out of the WP and Café communities! So Sorry I missed this response when you posted it! Please forgive me for the delay.

      Love and Hugs to you, Dear Megha

      Chuck

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks JB for reblogging this! Sorry I missed this back when you reblogged it! Myself and others have been missing you from WordPress???? I’m hoping you aren’t going to leave us without you on the site?? I have no doubt that they could have driven you away, but we would like to have you stay/come back. Ritu, said she saw that you were posting on twitter/Instagram??? One of those social media sites. I miss our chit-chat!
      Chuck

      Like

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, Chuck and I must say, I love your work. I keep a word bank using Microsoft Word and I currently have 2,176 words. I open Word along with my browsers so it is always available.

    You are an inspiration to us all, Chuck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My Dear E!!!! I’m so happy you read this and enjoyed it. That you love my work means so much to me!!! Happy my words find a little safe place in your heart! I really love your work too! So cool that you keep a Word Bank too! I’m hoping you back all your files up to the cloud or to an external hard drive??? We take for granted that computers are reliable but they do crash and go to computer heaven or hell! Ha! Thanks for making my week!!! Sorry I missed this at the time you posted it. Please forgive me, My Dear???
      xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

    • So happy you enjoyed this! Yes, the wee small hours of the night seem to produce my best works – see my THE BACKSIDE OF THE NIGHT. I hope you like the idea of a Word Bank too. It has really helped me out. Also, I would encourage you to place that last quote from my post on your bathroom mirror! LOL! Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
      Chuck

      Liked by 1 person

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