Homer Alaska - Arts

Story last updated at 1:36 PM on Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cabin-bound by last winter's snow,
$nbsp;$nbsp;$nbsp;$nbsp; Homer man turns years of 'crazy thoughts' into two books

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer


Richard Olson displays his two books — "Dare to Dream Again" and "What Mirrors Do."

Since he was a teenager, Richard J. Olson, the Homer singer-songwriter who performs as the Reverend Poorchild, has carried a folded-up legal pad in his pocket. On it he would jot down ideas, song lyrics and poems.

"I'd write crazy thoughts down," Olson said — like this:

It is widely known that, if one is not making mistakes, one is probably not doing much good either, or striving very hard, or learning much.

Over the years, Olson, 57, filled up a couple of duffle bags worth of notebooks. So what do you do when the snow at your Diamond Ridge home piles up 10 feet and you get buried in for weeks?

"I just sat there at the computer and typed up these writings," Olson said.

"First the family, then community, state, nation, continent, world, solar system, galaxy, universe I keep trying to think bigger

Out of a winter's worth of typing Olson produced two books, "Dare to Dream Again" and "What Mirrors Do," both recently self-published through Lightning Press, an on-demand printing service of Ingram, the book distributor. Olson signs and sells his books next Wednesday from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Homer Bookstore.

"What Mirrors Do" is exclusively poetry, while "Dare to Dream Again" includes poems, song lyrics from Olson's albums, prose poems, essays and a short story, "One Full Moon Night." The arrangement is such that the works can be read at random and in no particular order.

"They can open at any page," Olson said of readers. "They can be read as poems, song lyrics that can be read as poems."

Polaris, you lonely star

In outer space, to you a Viking ship soars Space black as back of orca, or panther in a tree The farthest galaxy we set forth to see

Big dipper makes way cross the sky keeps pointing toward thee

Born and raised in Minnesota, Olson graduated from high school in Davis, Calif., leaving home at 17 to hitchhike up to Alaska. He never left. He's lived in Juneau and Fairbanks, worked as a carpenter in Barrow, and has been in Homer since 1982.

Book signing by Homer's

Reverend Poochild

(Richard Olson)

3-6 p.m. Sept. 5

Homer Bookstore


Dare to Dream Again, $29 hardcover, $21 paperback

What Mirrors Do, $32 hardcover, $24 paperback

In the local music scene Olson has performed at bars, several concerts on the lawn and, during the holiday season, playing Christmas instrumentals on acoustic guitar around town.

Olson now calls himself a farmer, raising potatoes, chickens, turkeys and sometimes honey bees.

His books also can be checked out from the Homer Public Library. Elsewhere, they can be ordered through any bookstore through Ingram and Lightning Press, and also are available as e-books through Amazon-Kindle.

"Clocks Turning"

Though the clock's hands turn and turn, Mankind seems so slow to learn Perhaps we are trying,

perhaps not hard enough

Will the right paths be walked

or will we endlessly mess up?