The word “rally” has always intrigued me. In junior high and high school I wanted a cheerleader for a girlfriend. (It sort of worked out a couple of times, for two or three days, and I’ll always remember the ritual egging and toilet papering of the house that meant I belonged…for two or three days.)

During that era, rally also meant coming from behind in sports. I recall trailing 0-6, 0-5, love 40 in a tennis match my freshmen year. You cannot trail your opponent in tennis by any greater margin. Let that last point be swift, merciful. Let the ass be totally kicked.

I came all the way back and it didn’t happen because I started going for winners. It was patience, one shot at a time, the slog, and waiting for that one game when everything turns and you know you are in the match. I’m in that kind of match right now but I’m not playing tennis. One shot at a time to get back into it. Use your entire arsenal of shots. Don’t be afraid to lob or hit a drop shot.

Rallying is everything to me at the moment. I’m doing it alone. I’m doing it with help from family, new friends, old friends, perfect strangers, former girlfriends, authors of classic texts, and assorted nuggets of classic rock found randomly on the radio. Dogs are chipping in, too.

A few recent examples where I felt like I was rallying:

Discussions about poetry with my father.

A great backyard dinner with a neighbor that I cooked from scratch.

Feeding bread to birds.

Telling funny jail stories to an old girlfriend and making her laugh.

Talking with my ex wife about our unique history together.

An offer from an RV park owner.

Listening to soul music.

Watching 20 hummingbirds feast in an apple tree.

Conceiving the best Oregon eclipse story and how to write it up (hint: OTA).

Teaching an ocean-themed writing workshop at the ocean.

Hearing some great writing from the ocean-themed writing workshop.

Using an old word like “gussy” in an interesting new way.

Sipping a Calvados while watching Youngs Bay.

Offering a downtrodden man some succor.

Walking Bonnie and Clyde along the Lewis and Clark River.

Going into the creative mind at the most unexpected moments.

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