||Walter Brennen was on a tv western and the phrase he often repeated was “No brag... Just fact.” I want to borrow his phrase for a moment.... I am product of a seed planted by Mickey Newbury. “No brag.... Just fact.” More appropriate, would be to say that, my writing is the product of a seed planted by Mickey Newbury. Am I a great writer? No. Will I ever be rich or famous because of my writing? No. But some of the things that I have written have been a comfort or an influence to others, be it sad or happy. If it weren’t for Mickey Newbury, that wouldn’t have been possible. Some people, that were already writers, have been influenced by Mickey and he has helped others break in to the field that they love, which is great. But me, I never in my wildest dreams wanted to write anything, especially poetry. That is, not until I saw the power that Mickey had with words. I must have failed English and literature classes about a hundred catrillion times, when in school. After hearing Mickey on the radio, and purchasing Looks Like Rain, I had this tremendous desire to be able to write like him. I remember driving out on country dirt roads in the rain and trying to write something that was deep and moving. Usually it just went out the window, along with some curse words, because of my failures to achieve my desired results. But I would listen, to Mickey, over and over and over and keep trying. Seemed like forever but gradually things started to come together and people were asking me to write things for them. The satisfaction was unbelievable! Now, several years later (and because of the inter net) I sometimes get emails from people that I don’t even know thanking me for something that I wrote and some wanting to know if it will be ok to make copies for their friends. I usually write back and tell them about Mickey’s influence of me.
Today several bus drivers were making a big fuss over one of their friends new baby, that she had brought to school. I had made a copy of two poems I wrote (Quiet Room and Empty Room) for a girl at my school and so I showed the poems to them. They were all, on the back porch of the school, bawling their eyes out and wanting copies. It hit me then that, if it weren’t for Mickey, that moment would have never existed.
This isn’t really coming out like I wanted it to but all I’m saying is that, for whatever little my writing has touched others, I owe it to Mickey. I’m sure there are many other seeds, out there, that Mickey has scattered and they have grown much bigger and produced more fruit than I could ever dream of but I can at least say that I am a seed that Mickey Newbury has planted and has made a difference. No Bragg.... Just Fact. And I’m damn proud of it.