While I think about what to write this week, I’ll fill in a bit of background on myself for you.
I graduated high school in the spring of 1976, from Northland High School in Remer, MN. I went to college for a quarter that fall, in Wahpeton, ND, then left school to “go out and find myself.” After that, I flailed and bounced around North Dakota for a year or so, doing stints as a mechanic’s helper and as a milk-man, at both of which I was hilariously bad. Then, in January of ’78, I was hired to manage a headshop above an art gallery and imported goods store in St. Cloud, MN, and my career in business related work began.
After two years of that, I spent about three weeks driving a garbage truck in Ottertail County, MN, helping my dad decide not to buy the truck and the route that went along with it. I’m reasonably certain that the owner of the truck and business was eventually able to regain most of the customer goodwill lost during my brief stint operating the route.
Next, came a step back into retail sales and management, with a hardware and sporting goods company in St. Cloud, and then a transfer to Minot, ND, as an assistant manager with the same company. Once in Minot, it took me only a year to cleverly alienate the district manager. In this fashion, I forced myself to make a long desired leap into the retail stereo equipment business, first in Williston, ND, and later back in Minot, where I met my first wife and her two boys, who I later adopted. The four of us moved to Fargo, ND in ’82, where I went to work for a chain of stereo/electronic equipment stores with six locations in Minnesota and one in Fargo.
I transferred back to St. Cloud with that company as a store manager in ’84, and our youngest son was born there in September ’85. Four months later I quit working full time to stay home with him days, and worked part time with a janitorial service at night. First wife was working in the state college system by then, and it made sense for me to be the daycare we’d otherwise have to pay for. She later transferred to Moorhead State College in Moorhead, MN, and we moved back to the Fargo/Moorhead area late in ‘86. Our divorce came in ’88, and later that year I took my first road sales job as a manufacturer’s rep in ND with Sony.
That’s also the year that I again started writing poetry, after having not written anything since early high school. I wasn’t very good at it, of course, but I was determined to at least explore the possibility of learning to express myself poetically, because I’d been fantasizing about becoming a poet ever since I began listening to Dan Fogelberg songs, the year that I graduated high school.
A year later I moved to the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, and started what became a twenty-two year career as a road salesman of food production equipment for restaurants and institutional kitchens and specialty food shops, in Minnesota, NW Wisconsin, and the Dakotas.
In ’92, my current wife and I married and bought a suburban Twin Cities home. I continued to travel and sell until the internet and the crash of ’08 finally killed my career, though it limped along until ’11 when I did a few months of freelance writing, then spent a glorious six months as co-manager of a live music venue/coffee shop in Minneapolis. It was in that place that no longer exists, called The Beat Coffeehouse, I began the process of finally discovering my true self, when I stumbled into it as a seeker in April of ’09. That was when I began to fully realize that I was not/am not a salesman who wrote/writes poetry, that I’m a poet and human collaborator with over thirty years of sales experience.
In the meantime, after The Beat experience was over, I took a position assisting the manager of a corporate owned convenience store two miles from my house in mid-2012, and here I am still, harassing customers and fellow employees for thirty-five hours a week. The rest of my time I write and read and socialize and social media-ize, sometimes I perform live (never dead…yet) or go watch others perform, and sometimes I sit down to agonize over what to write for this blog that Publisher Guy wants me to fill with words on a regular basis.
That reminds me. I still don’t have a subject for this week.