June 21, 2021
Dear Poetry Soupers,
I came to Poetry Soup with absolutely no expectation of rewards, trophies, or recognition of any sort, whatsoever. My life has been rich in those important areas. I can, as I approach the last years of my life, hold my head high and say that I have done my dead-level best, and fortunately, I have moved far beyond any of my family’s expectations.
I was the middle-child in my family, and I am told, I was, from early childhood considered different from my older sister and younger brother. While they seemed to enjoy the ordinary pursuits of childhood and teen years, I preferred reading, playing my musical instruments, writing poetry and short stories, and spent a lot of time trying to avoid the bullies in our community.
Because, I think, I was a World War II baby, and during my early years my father was in the Pacific with the United States Navy. I was raised by a warm, loving mother and a strong grandmother. When my father returned from the military, I did not particularly like him, and he did not particularly like me, so an adversarial relationship rapidly developed that lasted throughout his life (and mine) which, early on, developed into a very unhealthy, abusive relationship. These relationships are reflected in writings about my father, mother, and grandmother. And, most importantly, they demonstrate how early childhood development is critically influenced by parent, extended family, and I might add, even by unmanageable world events!
Enough of the biographical stuff, which many of you have already picked up from my poems! So, I came to Poetry Soup with no expectations.
What I discovered at Poetry Soup is a warm, caring, nurturing, and attentive conglomeration of exceptionally creative, talented (and sometimes sensitive) people who come from all around the globe, who share admiration, even a great love for, self-expression. And, rather unexpectedly, I found a group of people who are respectful, concerned, empathetic, and helpful…all qualities anyone would seek out in forming lasting, positive friendships!
I am still “gobsmacked” that I talk with my few friends about people on Poetry Soup like they are old friends. I have taught classes where I barely remembered names of people I saw weekly for a semester, but I recall my friends on Poetry Soup, know something about their lives, and enjoy reading their every word.
So, I wrote this blog (with a little bit about me) to say THANK YOU to all of you who read my poetry, tolerate my foibles, and show real concern for what’s going on in my life. Sometimes I am alone for days, and have little else to do but write poetry, so when I visit with you here on Poetry Soup, read and comment on your poems, it is a refreshing change in my daily routine. All of you make me happier, more content, and a better person.
Thank you to all of you. I dare not list names, because I would surely leave someone out, and I wouldn’t want to do that for anything. I hope each one of you has a marvelous summer…or if you live in the southern hemisphere a safe and happy winter.
With deepest affection,
L. Milton “Milt” Hankins