“Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must”, then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.” – Ranier Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet #1
Here at the Cafe, we have gone into ourselves and asked if we must write and answered that solemn question with a strong, declarative YES! That so many people around the world take time out of their busy day to affirm that decision truly inspires me and has caused me to rethink the month of March. A few weeks back, our Barista Donna from DJ Ranch asked me who determines why, say, February was Haiku month, or April is poetry month. Honestly, I have no idea, but since today is March 1st and since Saint Patty’s Day falls in this month, I have declared March Writer’s Gratitude month to say thank you to those people who make me feel lucky to be a writer. My writer’s debt of gratitude begins and ends with Rilke, so I will be quoting him throughout the month, but really I want to spend March lifting up those people who hold all of our writing in the light.
First, our writing is held in the light around the world by guests from every continent (save for Antartica, but they are probably busy playing with penguins, so they get a pass). While the predominant number of visitors come from the United States, we have a huge number from the United Kingdom and past and present members of the Commonwealth: India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. They don’t just come from places with large populations of English speakers, Germany and Russia and the Philippines round out the top ten. We also had at least one visit paid by patrons from Bhutan, Kosovo, Vanuatu, Syria, Panama, Fiji, Mongolia, and Iceland (c’mon Iceland, I LOVE YOU, let’s find some love and bump up those numbers!). Overall, people from 145 nations and territories paid visits to us in 2019. If you want your work seen around the world, pay us a visit, promote yourself, promote others, join our writing workshop. This is the 24 hour coverage I want… positive, friendly people who have heard that call “I MUST” from around the world.
Onto a couple of specific debts of gratitude before I share the Round Up of the Poets we Promoted in February. My co-founder, General Manager at the Cafe, and dear friend, Christine Ray from Brave and Reckless who kept this Cafe alive and running through my sabbatical and a near complete turnover of Baristas. All while managing some pretty significant health issues, her personal projects and a few other poetry brands in the Writing Community like Indie Blue Publishing, Blood Into Ink Warrior Voices of Survival, and Whisper and the Roar, A Feminist Literary Collective. So do carve out some time to take her “Moon ate the Dark” Creativity Challenge. On Tuesday, Christine will begin a weekly post of the book reviews of Kristiana Reed. She and I have a few other projects up our sleeves as well that we will be rolling out in future months. So the deepest debt of gratitude on behalf of the Go Dog Go Community goes to this beautiful human who made this Cafe possible.
Next up, our newest Barista, host of the upcoming Writing Workshop, acclaimed author and another dear friend: Tanya Cliff. If you haven’t seen her previews the past two Saturdays, follow the links here and here to learn about this fantastic project we are all so excited about! AsI have mentioned before, I am thrilled that Tanya is finally joining the cafe after three years of recruiting. Turns out she was busy fighting and beating breast cancer. So let’s double down on the gratitude for this friend and barista… and for all the good people who fight on behalf of breast cancer awareness and research promoting women’s health. Then join us next Saturday, have a cup of your favorite brew, and scroll around a while. Those wonderful, friendly writers from around the world are ready to support and encourage your creative efforts.
Finally, before I close with another Rilke quote, a Round Up of the poets we promoted on Thursday’s throughout the month of February. Thank you to all who shared them, and a huge thank you to all of you from around the world who take the time to support all of us at the Go Dog Go Cafe who have heard “I MUST” when asked, “Must I write?”
Shannon from Salt & Iron and my home state of New Hampshire.
Ally talk about spanning the globe, she is from Kenya.
What else can I tell you? It seems to me that everything has its proper emphasis; and finally I want to add just one more bit of advice: to keep growing, silently and earnestly, through your whole development; you couldn’t disturb it any more violently than by looking outside and waiting for outside answers to questions that only your innermost feeling, in your quietest hour, can perhaps answer. Rilke, Letter #1