For 14 years, I went to a national gathering of cowboy poets. It was a big part of my life, many of my friends now came from this venue, and many of my "gigs" resulted from appearing there. The gathering sparked poetry from me and simply became a large part of my life.
My injury was in 2004. I attended the next gathering, in 2005. I suffered a great deal, I remember, with a lot of pain and neuropathic burning and itching on my arms.
I was invited back in Jan. 2007, but cancelled that because I had my first consultation/evaluation with Dr. B in NY right around that time.
2008, I was recovering from the Tethered Cord surgery, so could not attend.
2009 marks the Silver Anniversary of this event. I was literally begged to attend, to recite what I could, take part where I was able, they felt I just needed to be there. I wanted to, but realised that I just do not have that in me right now, to attend something like that, to travel and socialize (this event is BIG on socializing!) and recite and handle the stress, press, and excitement.
Two days ago, the flyer for the program showed up in my mailbox. I looked it over pretty well, then threw it into the trash can. I have forgotten most of my poems. Will I ever go back? I know I'd be welcome any year that I'd choose to go. But I am doubtful I will ever go back.
That was then.
This is now.