Valley inspires Sunridge poet |

Valley inspires Sunridge poet

by Linda Hiller, staff writer

Eight years ago, when Jack Presson and his wife moved to the Carson Valley, he began to hear poems in his head.

“Until I was 50 years old, I’d never written a word,” he said. “Now I have 100 poems in print.”

Presson, 62, wrote a poem called “A Carson Valley Christmas” in 1992, shortly after arriving in the Valley from the Sacramento area.

“At the time, we lived at Topaz Lake,” he said. “We were driving on East Valley Road by Johnson Lane and there was about an inch of snow on the ground and I was just overwhelmed by the beauty and had to pull over. The poem came to me at that time.”

Presson, a retired banker, takes no credit for his poems and song lyrics.

“I think it’s a gift from God,” he said. “If you said to me ‘Sit down and write a poem,’ I couldn’t do it with a gun to my head, but at times, the words just come flowing into my head and I’ve learned to stop then and write them down.”

Presson started selling his beautifully printed poems at craft shows in the area and had a few compilations bound as books, including “The Loneliest Road,” about Highway 50 after a feature story in Life Magazine caught his eye.

“I wrote The Loneliest Road because we just love that country,” he said. “We think every bit of sagebrush is precious.”

n Drivingl the backroads. Presson and his wife Jeanne have six grown children between them and “an even dozen” grandchildren, Jack said. One of their hobbies is driving the backroads of the West, especially Nevada, and visiting ghost towns.

“I’ve also written ‘Wandering the West’ from that experience,” he said. “And I wrote ‘From My Heart to Yours.'”

The Pressons live in Sunridge now and Jack said that he still writes his poetry – although to a lesser extent now – but is no longer selling them on the road.

Presson’s first experience at writing came to him on the Nevada backroads, he said.

“I was driving across Nevada trying to get the cobwebs out of my head one time, and I started singing a song I’d never heard before,” he said. “I wrote it down and it turned out to be an original song.”

Presson is now a courier for the Irwin Union Bank in Carson City. He and his wife owned and operated Heart and Home Custom Framing and Gallery in Carson City until they recently sold it.

Eight years after moving to the area, the Presson’s are still in awe of the beauty around them.

“We’re still overwhelmed by the beauty here,” he said.

From his experience of hearing poetry from what he believes to be divine inspiration, Presson wrote “The Gift” and can recite it if asked.

“I take no credit for these writings,” he said. “It’s a gift from God. I’m just the guy with the pencil.”