Bradbury Oaks resident Will Rider and Khandice Morente, Bradbury Oaks resident services coordinator
The poet within Royal Oaks resident William Rider emerged in the middle of the night. In May 2013, Rider woke up at 2 a.m. with many stories and thoughts to share through poetry. He went to his desk and began to write.
“The words just began to flow,” says Rider, who crafted more than 80 poems that he published two months ago in his first book. “I would just put down what was in my heart. For me, it all comes from God, and I would cry tears of joy after every poem I liked because I knew I had done something right.”
In his first poetry collection, “Love and Live: God’s Words Written in Poetic Form,” he explores the importance of faith, as well as the gift of giving and learning new things. He also tapped into some overwhelming emotions like loneliness, which he described as “scary.”
“Mr. Rider has totally blossomed into a totally different person through writing,” says Khandice Morente, resident services coordinator at Bradbury Oaks, the community’s assisted living residence. Morente helped Rider to compile his poems, create a design for the book and work with the online self-publishing site CreateSpace.com.
“Through the poetry and writing, he’s really opened up in a different way,” she says.
Rider, who has lived at Bradbury Oaks for almost two years, chimes in that he’s just “having a lot of fun doing lots of different things.”
The St. Louis native, who spent most of career in computer programming, has always kept himself busy. When he moved to Royal Oaks with his late wife 10 years ago, he served on the resident council and volunteered on various committees, including library and landscaping. But now he’s found a new avenue to express himself.
And that spirit to write poetry has yet to leave him. He’s already finished a second collection that he hopes to publish in the next couple of months and has begun a third book—all of which are snippets of heart-warming and funny moments in his life.
One of his latest adventures was a trip with Royal Oaks neighbors Yu-Lan and Gunar Freiberg to a poetry reading in Santa Monica. The venue was filled with “young bohemian artistic types”—not what Rider and the Freibergs were expecting. “That’s all part of the fun,” Rider says.