Ted Kooser Sighting

I realize this post will elevate my nerd status to an all time high, but I just have to share this....

On Monday I enjoyed a little writing time at The Mill in downtown Lincoln. I was deep in thought about my thesis (more about that later), I looked up from my computer screen and saw....TED KOOSER! If you don't know---Ted is one of our most famous Nebraska poets. In fact, he was the United States Poet Laureate from 2004-2006...and I happen to love him. This year I read his poetry collection Blizzard Voices, his prose book Local Wonders (I read that one twice), and his guide book The Poetry Home Repair Manual. This man is amazing. The first time I heard him read was in Kearney, and I cried. Most people my age don't cry when they see famous people...that's usually reserved for crazed 13 year old Justin Bieber fans. When I met him a few summers ago at UNL, I couldn't even get words out of my mouth. I just thrust my copy of the Poetry Home Repair Manual in his knobby hands. He looked at me for awhile and with a sweet voice asked me what my name was and scribbled, "For Danielle" and then signed his name.

Soon after arriving at The Mill he settled in for some writing. I wanted so badly to go talk to him. In fact, when I went to refill my coffee mug, I walked towards his table and had all intentions of stopping to tell him how much I appreciate his sense of observation, but when I saw that he was writing, I let him be. He looked so peaceful, sitting hunched over at the two person table, writing---I didn't want to interrupt that. So, instead---I hurried back to my table, drank my coffee, wrote, and watched Ted Kooser from the corner of my eye.

He didn't stick around long. After about 15 minutes of writing, he put his notebook in his pocket and headed out the door. I left soon after. On my way to my car, I composed a poem to remember the moment. It's nothing spectacular, but it will help me to remember the moment I wrote alongside Ted Kooser.

Ted Kooser Sighting
Today as I wrote at The Mill,
Nebraska writer and former Poet Laureate Ted Kooser walked in.
He walked to the bathrooms and nobody took notice.
I couldn't believe it.
I wanted to jump up and shout, "Ted Kooser everybody!"
Instead I posted on Facebook that he had walked by me...
and I thought how funny he would find that.

A writer in disguise---camel colored canvas jacket
with brown corduroy elbow patches and faded blue jeans.
He sat facing the front window with nothing but
a pocket-sized notebook and a pen.

A friend recommended that I take a picture with him.
I wanted to tap him on the shoulder and say,
Sorry to bother you Ted---
(I'd call him Ted because Mr. Kooser seems too stuffy for this ordinary, old man)
but I just wanted to say I'm a huge fan.
But he looked so peaceful---
sitting alone at that two-person table, writing.

I watched him work
and wondered if he rose early this morning to write
in that little library shack of his
with Buddy, his English Pointer, by his side.

I never spoke to him--
I left him alone.
I watched, and wondered, and wrote
content just to be near this ordinary, old man.

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