When asked what I do, I generally give one of three answers… that I’m a writer, a gardener, or a homemaker, with each answer depending on my mood or my current focus. In truth, I’m all three of these things, and since I obviously tend to define myself through the activities I regularly undertake, I also could, with equal honesty, say I’m an observer, a thinker, a daydreamer, and a procrastinator. Does that work? “Hi, I’m an astronaut, what do you do?” “I’m a daydreamer and procrastinator.” Overall, I think yes, that does work.
I first began writing down my thoughts while growing up on an old-fashioned family farm in the middle of Kansas in the 1950s and 60s. And as you can see, it’s a habit I hang on to. I also cling to my roots in farming, which I now undertake in the front yard of my home in Portland, Oregon. I garden partly to produce food for our meals (I try to eat something from the yard every day all year long) and partly because there is little in life that brings me more pleasure than planting seeds and watching them grow. My wife is another fundamentally important part of my life in Portland. I live with and love a good woman… creative, driven, helpful… who anchors me in this life lest, while lost in thought, I drift into some other. For that… and so many other reasons… I am deeply grateful to her. And now that I have retired from my career as a business person but she has not, I have undertaken my third primary role, which is that of homemaker. So I now own and frequently praise an Instant Pot.
But getting back to writing, I was saying that I’ve always written. When I was very young, it was letters. I had pen pals galore. I loved writing letters, but I especially loved getting letters back. Then during high school, as my letter writing began to fade (sadly), I made a new discovery… a life-changing discovery… poetry. And in that brief eternity of illumination, standing at the doorway opened by a few unassuming lines from Sidney Lanier, I fell. Perhaps into love, but certainly into myself. My fall picked up speed during college. I fell into poetry with my whole heart and mind and spirit. But my attempt to live a poetic life consumed me… almost literally. Though eventually I recovered enough to make it through school… studying creative writing and education.
After college and a brief stint as a teacher, I got a job as a business writer to fulfill my familial responsibilities in the best way I knew how. I ended up writing in virtually every format used by American business at that time and even helped create a few new ones. My work ranged from speeches to magazines, branding, film and video, public education, technical documentation, and eventually mixed and interactive media. And though I produced a lot of content in a wide variety of media, I tended to be more interested in the process and characteristics of evolving media than I was in the subject matter, which mostly focused on telecommunications, engineering, or architecture. I enjoyed studying and creating communications systems and production processes, and in general, the work was interesting and it enabled me to travel extensively, but I don’t miss it.
Over the past decade or so, as my business writing career came to an end, I have pretty much abandoned the idea of pursuing any type of second career, but I have renewed my relationship with what I view as more personally fulfilling writing… and with daydreaming. Of course, as one might expect, the roots and recycled debris of my new writing efforts are largely invisible, but some of the fruit can be found on this website. And truth be told, I am happy to still be writing, which is fortunate, because I’ve never been able to stop it from happening.
Recent Writing Highlights
Poetry chapbook: Pattern and Form — poems by John Clark Vincent / Yulan Studio 2022
Poetry chapbook: The End of Love — Prose Poems by John Clark Vincent / Yulan Studio 2020
Poetry chapbook: man love… memories of growing up male in rural america / Yulan Studio 2020
Documentary Video Series: Farming For Life, Parts 1-4 — Mother Earth News Website
Conference Director: 2016 Willamette Writers Conference
First Place – Poetry: Theme Category – Oregon Poetry Association Poetry Contest
Communications Director: Willamette Writers Board of Directors
Poetry Editor: The Timberline Review
Documentarian – Oregon Agriculture: Mother Earth News Website
Nonfiction Book: Planting A Future: Profiles from Oregon’s New Farm Movement / Yulan Studio 2014
Nonfiction Book: Winemakers of the Willamette Valley: Pioneering Vintners from Oregon’s Wine Country / History Press 2013
Semi-Finalist – Screenwriting: Willamette Writers FilmLab
Second Place – Poetry: Kay Snow Writing Contest
Best of Portland Screening – Screenwriting: 48-Hour Film Project
Third Place – Screenplay: Kay Snow Writing Contest
Poetry Collection: Repairing Shattered Glass / Yulan Studio 2010
First Place – Poetry: William Herbert Carruth Memorial Poetry Competition