Austin Thomas: Zest of Life

by Rachel Baker on September 27, 2011

I had a wonderful reminder last Saturday of what Old Musty Books is really for.  Originally, I wanted to showcase new authors.  That said, I do that; however, there’s a whole lot of other things that I do with Old Musty Books due the life cycle of a four year old web site – Evolution Happens, right?

I was stunned to realize, recently, that I’d gone numb, and had been numb about the original goal of Old Musty for a while.

Austin Thomas is a local poet.  He is an 87 year old man that I know as Mr. Shelton, the piano student. Saturday, he walked in with two self-published copies of his newest book of poetry called Zest of Life.  I picked up the copy with the intentions of just browsing, but ended up reading all the poems in the book.

Over the last few months, I’ve gotten to know Mr. Shelton – who by the way has done some incredibly amazing things in eighty-seven years, and I look forward every week to seeing him walk through the music store door, take a seat in the showroom and wait for his lesson.  The conversations are always engaging and fascinating – he’s seen a lot of neat things in his life.

I knew that he was a poet; I’d seen poetry books laying around the music store, but I had no idea those were his books. I’d read a few poems from the books and thought they were good. His writing style is prolific, writing about love, his religion, the many things he’s seen and his impressions about each. The foreword in the books says:

Poetry is everywhere you look.  All you have to do is tune in.

I would hope that this book of poetry serves as a beacon to my grandchildren to show them that they can do anything they set their minds to do, and to show them what be accomplished by an old man, for one day they will be old too.

I can’t think of a better reason to write a book of poetry.  The words are simple and meaningful, but the intention is awe-inspiring, in my opinion. I am not sure yet where to tell you how to buy one of Austin Thomas/Mr. Shelton’s books, but I’ll get that information and let you know in the near future.

Besides letting you know about Austin Thomas, who has a most impressive life resume, I wanted to celebrate the idea that all of us can write, all of us know people who write, and beyond every corner is something astounding and wonderful just waiting for someone to write the story or poem.

I’ve been bummed out because my reading time has been very limited these last few months – I’ve even stopped taking review requests for the most part.  Mr. Shelton brought me back to reality – there are new authors everywhere, including in a music store.  While I may not have the time to sit and read a book straight through; as I get to know the people that walk in and out of the door, new authors will emerge; and I can still do what Old Musty Books was intended for – let people know they are out there.

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