Prove It
Off the Wall, August 07,

Close to 60 years ago, my parents took me to the Pittsburgh Sympathy Orchestra performances. For some reason, I decided to take a notebook with me. Little did I know that I would be influenced to jot down lines of thought that resulted in poetic verse. That was during high school.

After I entered college, all lines of rime were packed away between the hard cardboard covers of endless books. My yearnings would turn to prose. My endeavors would take me far beyond my imagination. What lay ahead were journalistic paths to endless directions, which, as you know, still exist today.

I’m not saying I chucked all poetic challenges back in the 60’s. I still dabble in it every so often, for occasional poems for lines done for song, still give me immense pleasure as I delight in writing whatever God gives me.

Just prior to the start of the Annual July Fourth Parade I had the pleasure of meeting Scott Newton. Introduced to me by Latrobe’s Mark Ludwig, we both had something in common. In as much as we both wrote a book, we decided to swap publications.

He had come to this area from the Penn State area to attend a high school reunion. Often Ludwig would speak highly of him, yet we previously never met. So when the middle-aged author gave me his masterpiece, I was eager to delve into the paperback edition and sense who Mark’s friend was and how he viewed the world around him.

I immediately opened the cover and began reading. I could not put the book down. He had accomplished something I really never attempted. His life story, up to 2008, was told in free verse or poetic prose.

I was overwhelmed in every sense of the word. To say that Newton inspired me was an understatement. God had gifted him many times over with renewed life, the liberty to get around and tell of his past and present in statements of linear form. Instead of humming songs I may have heard, toying with ideas for the immediate future or relaxing in my man cave, I now go about creating thoughts into poetic verse in a style about which I’ve never thought I’d ever piece together.

To grasp the nature of Newton’s book, it’s imperative that we step back in time to understand the history of this native Latrobean. His life has been full of challenges since his accident when he was seven. After receiving a head injury resulting in his being in a coma for almost four months, his doctors told his parents that he would be a vegetable for the rest of his life.

As stated on the back cover of his book, ‘The Road Less Traveled, A Book of Poems,’ “Scott proved them wrong and went on to graduate from Saint Vincent College. His poetry became an outlet to share his feelings on all sorts of life’s happenings.” His book is a collection of Newton’s inner expressed thoughts.

All his poems spoke to me. For example, one titled, ‘Life is Like an Ocean,’ read as such: “Life can be sometimes like an ocean, Making waves upon waves. Once one hits, Passes you by, Another one comes right behind it. So when the waves keep hitting you, Make the best of it by jumping, Through it In Life. And proclaiming that It is all good.”

He expresses his thoughts as ‘To Plant Love:’ “To plant love in someone else Is like planting a seed, Who knows how it will grow.”

And finally, from one that makes reference to the book’s title, ‘Life Can Be a Rough Ride,’ he said: “As I contemplate my life, I wonder what if Things would have been different. What would I have accomplished? Without the accident, That caused me to have a different path, A path less traveled, But one worth fighting for now, And always through life, I can make it.”

There’s an old saying, “When the things get tough, the tough get going. Newton definitely has proved that. Knowing of his childhood, his accident and his on-going recovery from day to day should wake us all up to becoming better persons as a result of his experiences.

As for me, I’m going to try to poetically ‘prose it.’ That will be fun!

If one wishes to order a copy of his book, one may log onto Newton’s website at “I’ll greatly appreciate it,” he said.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.