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Meridian woman writes poetry
Dianne Elizabeth Butler's book of poems, "On a Wire," is available at Amazon.com, or can be purchased at www.dorrance-bookstore.com.
Dianne Butler lives only a few miles from where she grew up on the family farm in Meridian, her dreams and play days seeded in fields of corn, wheat and milo.
"Growing up on a farm, I was a dreamy child: Walking by myself, and I would come back home soaking wet after a day communing with nature in the rain," Butler said.
She concedes she had a heart of a poet before poetry was part of her heart.
Now, Butler, 65, has published a book of her poems, "On a Wire."
It is a self-published book through Dorrance Publishing.
She also has a novel, "Following the Compass Rose," that is in a literary competition, and she hopes to have it released soon. She has started a second novel, which follows the characters in the first book.
The novels she describes as semi-autobiographic, in that the lead character is a woman who has spent a lifetime learning about herself.
It is a journey Butler relates to, and one where the lessons were learned on the farm, on the sea and in a number of places she would call home: Mexico, Oregon and Washington to share a few.
The farm of her childhood was south of the Tisdale weir, the family moving to the area when she was about 7. She had one brother and one sister.
She attended grade school in Robbins and is a Sutter High graduate.
"I have memories of the tugboats pushing barges up and down the river, and I remember the dredges in the river and the old Meridian Bridge," she said.
At 18, she had her first daughter, Shari. Her second, Angie, would come when she was 21.
Her huband at the time might be called a vagabond — a wanderer with dreams always on the next horizon. Butler followed because that is what wives did.
"My father was from that old school, and I was, too, that women did not need to go off to college. It was foolish, because you were going to be taken care of by your husband, anyway," she said.
Her father was Les Butler, well known in the community, as was her mother, Minnie, who read to Butler from an old collection of short stories, and cut out poems she found.
"I dedicated the book to my mother because she was the one who taught me what reading was about," Butler said.
In 1980, Butler's husband was back working the tomato harvest for money, leaving her and their two children on the sailboat.
That is when they were caught in a hurricane.
"And that is when I learned I could do a lot on my own," Butler said.
It was also an experience she put down on paper and sold as a short story.
In 1985, she attended a writers workshop and her desire to write and learn exploded. She started with the short stories, but found more colorful expressions in poetry.
The novels are an extension of both.
She returned to the family home in 2002 to care for her ailing parents, but has since moved to another house north of the weir.
It was on the levee near her home she took the photo of the Sutter Buttes that acts as the cover to her book of poems. Other examples of her artwork illustrate the pages.
But her return to Meridian, Butler cautions, is not a journey of a completed circle. No, she views her life as one still in full exploration.
"It's all new and exciting for me," she said.