In December of 2007, Alex published a compilation of his poetry entitled “Gratitude”. Beautiful paperback copies of the book are available for $15. Proceeds go toward creating more copies as well as the multiple foundations created to honor Alex’s place in the Oregon Youth and Athletic community.
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Below, the preface from Gratitude:
At birth you were given a gift, one that you unwrapped the moment you came crying wild into the world; the gift of voice. From a scientific perspective the voice is an amazing attribute; the complexity of the entire system, from the microscopic alveoli of the lungs to the soft surface of our lips. The intention of our words passes through the most vital parts of our physical and emotional body before being released in waves to the air around us. Culturally, the significance of our evolving voice and language is likely the singularly most impacting element of our past, present and future.
The vocal chords physically allow us, by the simple exchange of pressure, breath, passing, to create a seemingly infinite range of sounds. The union of our voice with our brain enables us to use language and as a result connect with and interpret the world around us.
We use our voice to whisper, scream, guide others, ask questions, love, lie, persuade, caution, enlighten and amuse. We speak to be heard, we speak for ourselves, and occasionally we speak at the wrong time.
When we share our voice, we are sharing our breath, the essence of what keeps our bodies alive, consciously and subconsciously asserting our identity to those around us with the quality, tone and emotion of our speech.
As a child, exploring the forest surrounding my house, I heard a different voice. Not a human voice, it caught my attention. I heard the gathered chanting of a strong wind rushing around dry oak leaves of autumn, the vibrant song of a Western Meadowlark, and humble secrets of the old fir trees as their trunks moaned and creaked in the wind. After more time spent in this presence, awareness followed; that in this world a voice exists in a realm that connects and unites all things living and natural. I discovered that if I listened closely, I too could learn how to communicate on this timeless and spiritual level.
The territory of the voice is something to explore, as deep and expansive as Mother Earth. I have met people who find deeper expression of this voice in musical instruments, fine art of various mediums, from paint to glass to film, athletes and dancers who have discovered voice in movement of the body.
Often, this universal voice attracts our creative and spiritual energy, a dialogue of expression and reflection of the soul. This dialogue begins on an internal level, the way an infant is only able to mouth simple, incoherent syllables. However, with time, practice, and immersion in a world of voices like fingerprints, the passionate voice is developed and refined. Eventually, the body and mind, united, tuned to perfect pitch, so that we make music with the priceless instrument that is our soul.
Inside is my voice, the words themselves sit silent, patient on the page. But their arrangement will speak; emotions, perspectives and images that I hope will connect with you and feed your voice. Thank you for listening.
~ Alex Newport-Berra