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Stories from BOA Readers: #BOATurns40

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Adam Wetch | Avondale, AZ

It is not always the profound words we read that offer the opportunity for change; sometimes it is the simple ideas that provoke us, appeal to us, and challenge us to appreciate what life has provided. The inspiration we find as we attempt to interpret the meaning behind an author’s words can be incredibly unpredictable. One such experience happened to me a few months ago.

It started with my girlfriend’s passion for Li-Young Lee's writing, which she has loved since she first began reading poetry. The inspiration she has found in his writing has not only influenced her as a writer, but motivated her to create some incredibly beautiful poetry of her own. It is through her passion for poetry that I have come to appreciate some of its wonderful subtleties.

She often compares me to the character in Li-Young Lee’s poem "Virtues of the Boring Husband." Initially, I was not overly fond of this comparison (not wanting to admit to being so boring that I could put her to sleep simply by speaking).

It wasn’t until much later when we were reading a book out loud to each other one evening that I gained a greater appreciation for this comparison. She had just finished reading a chapter and now it was my turn to read. Within just a few minutes I could feel her body begin to relax and weigh more heavily on my lap, and I could hear the deep breathing that often accompanies a good sleep. It took me a moment to realize what had happened, but then it hit me. I had done what I had previously feared, I had put her to sleep simply by the sound of my voice. I contemplated waking her up at first, debating whether I could recover what dignity I felt I had lost, but then I realized there was so much to appreciate in this moment, so much I had failed to see when she originally compared me to that boring husband. Here I was reading this great book with this amazing woman sleeping soundly in my lap. "I should consider myself lucky," I thought.

While a simple example, it was through reading (and poetry) that I was able to appreciate and enjoy this moment for what it was.

I am forever grateful to Li-Young Lee and my amazing girlfriend, Kristine, for inspiring me with their passion for poetry, and for providing me with an opportunity to discover a new and more affectionate meaning to the word "boring." Now when she calls me boring I simply remind myself what an honor it is to be able to put her to sleep at any moment, simply by speaking.

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