Friday Flashbaxx: Tigers Were My Friends

Today's is a two-part trip in the Wayback Machine, centered around the same little prose poem I wrote sometime in the mid-80s.

Minnesota author and poet Richard Solly visited my school in 6th grade as a Writer-in-Residence.  I wrote two pieces, this really kick-ass short story with references to the Minnesota North Stars and Van Halen, and a prose poem called "Tigers Were My Friends."

The poem was selected for inclusion in the COMPAS annual anthology of student writing.  I was selected to read my poem at a gathering of student writers.  I got to meet the mayor of St. Paul and legendary news anchor Dave Moore.   Pretty cool -- and nerve-wracking! -- for a 12-year-old.

Here's a picture of me at the reading:

Dreadful, I know.

Fast forward to my Media Days at Best Buy, to a year when clunky shoes, scarves, and the Spice Girls were all the rage. I made a new friend at work, a talented artist working for the man to bring home some dough to take care of his family.    We were kindred spirits, Kit and I, both longing to live our art but working truck instead. 

Kit illustrated my poem for me and I was honored.  Since then, it's something I've kept framed at my desk in gratitude and for inspiration:

Tigers Were My Friends

Kit and I have kept in touch occasionally over the years and more recently have re-connected on facebook.   He's had a few picture books published and my kids wear his t-shirts.  He's still pretty awesome.  Check him out at Kit's Kids.


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