Sweet James Madison


"I design verbal art
Every word is a brush stroke painting purposeful parts."
--Sean Townsend
I met Sean my sophomore year in a godforsaken philosophy class. I had a sudden epiphany in that second floor classroom that I turned to share with the closest body. "Our professor looks EXACTLY like the winter warlock." He started laughing. I remember his smile. As luck would have it, Sean and I both have an affinity for words, poetry, performing and the like. The first time we hung out, we took turns standing in front of each other, reciting our poems from memory in his living room. His words, but more so, his presence on 'stage' made my heart soar--here is someone who finds performing as a release: an escape in to a sleeping section of your internal dictionary: All loud, all intentional. 
Now, five years later, here we sit. Soaked thru by rain, $2 rail drinks in hand on the porch of the Artful Dodger with a purpose: find mics, and enough willing writers to read at three consecutive nights of open mics at undetermined venues. Easy enough. We meander downtown Harrisonburg, stopping in old favorites, hoping they are as procrastinative as we are. In a matter of two hours we lock down 3 separate venues for each night, and even manage to score discounted draft beers for everyone at the writing conference. We periodically crack a laugh in the car ride back to campus. Sean says, "It'll all work out eventually," quoting himself from just hours before. "It just has to, huh? I mean, how else would we still be here?" I remember poet, Dave Lucas' response to a question at a conference years before, "How do you become a professional poet? Luck has a lot to do with it. You just, get lucky." William Kitteredge said too, "...if you have the luck to do good work thats a fine thing. But it has nothing to do with making you anything but lucky." With these thoughts, I comfortably settle in to the couch we were offered to spend the night on by another JMU alum. I fall asleep with the affirmed conclusion that luck does not just decide to reveal itself. Luck, indeed, is attracted.