What’s in Your RuckSack? and Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried

The Big Read for the Wichita area, sponsored by the Wichita Public Library and the National Endowment for the Arts, is Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried.  Events all over town will help bring people together, culminating in the author coming to Wichita in early November.  For more information, click http://www.bigreadwichita.org/Events

I’ve read the collection before and am always moved by the blending of the surreal with simple brutality.  The title story includes a constantly circular list of items each soldier carries.  While I would never want to trivialize the Vietnam experience, I couldn’t help but consider what I started my day carrying.

Marimeko bag
Residual resentment and anger with my mother
Car Keys
School Keys with Fox40 Whistle
anxiety and anticipation awaiting Tye’s job application
Wet Wipes
Micki’s chapters for critique
pink PNY drive
wet wipes
spare pants, Toddler Sz 3
notebook for writerly jots
Episcopal rosary

 It’s not a poem, but I think there’s a certain poetry in just taking stock.  While I don’t live on a battlefield or ‘hump’ through a war-torn country,  the things I carry still speak to my life and experiences.

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