Poetry in motion

By Chris Johnson
Director of communications

Had an interesting visit this morning with one of my favorite poets, Leslie O’Tool, one of our participants on the recent Fuller Center-UCC trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I was glad to see that Leslie was a real person because “O’Tool” just sounded a little too made-up and convenient for a Fuller Center volunteer. It would be like having an auto enthusiast named Fred Cadillac.

But Leslie and I are kindred spirits in that she is very open and non-judgmental when it comes to matters of spirituality, and she sees love and God as synonymous, as do I.

She also is into such things as meditation … as am I until I realize I’ve got an itch or forget whether or not I paid my phone bill. She also is into healthy eating … and I agree completely that the next time I finish my double-chili cheeseburger I should take up vegetarianism. We also both love poetry … though I think I love the poetry of Jimmy Buffett and Merle Haggard more than she does.

OK, so maybe we’re not exactly alike, but we’re both writers and all writers share a little bit of a common bond — usually that the rest of the world thinks we’re a little weird. We also share a common bond in that we suspect the rest of the world might be a little bit right.

(She apparently also shares some common traits with my girlfriend, both of whom think my eating habits aren’t so healthy … including insinuating that I don’t like “adult” cereals. They’re both way off base, I say, because Cap’n Crunch has got to be at least 65 years old, and just because Lucky is short doesn’t mean he’s a kid.)

Anyway, we’re glad to see the Tennessean visiting our headquarters here in Americus, where she has had the opportunity to see the sights around our interesting area and to reconnect with fellow Africa travelers Kirk Lyman-Barner and David Snell.

We expect to see a lot more of Leslie in the years to come (which usually happens when folks get involved with The Fuller Center). And maybe someday she can even teach me how to meditate without worrying about some annoying itch. But she won’t turn me on to yoga. That’s an issue on which I simply won’t bend.

Watch a fascinating video about our recent journey up the Congo River to Bolomba.

Read some of Leslie’s poetry in Kirk Lyman-Barner’s recent Congo blogs here.


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