Eagle handyman puts pen to paper | VailDaily.com

Eagle handyman puts pen to paper

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
HL Tio Carlos DT 1-20-09

EAGLE, Colorado ” The muse struck Charles Lorch about two years ago. An idea for a poem would materialize in his head and refuse to leave him alone.

“Every now and then something pops into your head and you have to deal with it,” the 65-year-old Eagle resident said.

In a flurry of literary activity, Lorch has written hundreds of poems and self-published the children’s book “My Fish Trish.” The fact that he suddenly became a prolific writer came as a surprise to his wife.

“I can’t figure it out,” Jenny Lorch said. “It just started a couple years ago. Some of us thought he lost his mind.”

“It’s probably some sort of mental disease or defect,” Lorch said with his signature dry delivery. “Pathology taking a relatively harmless manifestation.”

Lorch’s subtle sense of humor is evident in the parking meter sunk into the lawn outside his Eagle Ranch home. How Lorch acquired the parking meter is a long story and beside the point. The effect is that the house is unique among the monolith of muted-color homes in the development, kind of like how Lorch stands out among handymen.

Lorch spends his days fixing a bathroom fan here, getting a pool going there. He runs a home repair business called Buzzard Cross, a term he borrowed from his “cowboy idol.” As a teenager, Lorch befriended a cowboy in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The symbol on Lorch’s business card ” a bent-arm cross with what looks like a parentheses stretching overtop ” is the same design Lorch’s cowboy friend branded onto his horses.

For nearly 30 years, Lorch was content to bounce between work and home. Then the muse struck. It was especially strong when Lorch attended services at Saint Mary’s church in Eagle.

“He would come to Mass on Sunday and then he would send me a little bit of poetry or prose on what he learned in the Gospel,” father Bob Kinkel recalled. “I said, ‘You are blessed by God as a poet.'”

Kinkel urged Lorch to publish his poems, and that’s how “The Bells of Saint Mary’s and Other Ventures in Verse,” came about. Lorch said he self-published the book about a year ago in hopes of raising funds for his church. He “hasn’t the foggiest” idea how many copies have sold but he doubts very many.

The fact that Lorch, who describes himself as being on “a sabbatical from formal religious observance” due to his work schedule, sprung forth with a collection of religious poetry remains a point of curiosity for those close to him.

“I don’t know if he got electrocuted at one point or what but I thoroughly enjoy his ability to say, in a few words, what he heard in the Gospel,” Kinkel said. “I consider him a good friend.”

A map of the world hangs on the wall inside the Lorches’ home. It is covered in pins marking the places they’ve traveled.

Lorch is quite fond of Mexico, which explains his pen name, Tio Carlos, and the name of his dog, Senor.

“I love the Spanish language,” said Lorch, who is not Latino. “In fact, I listen to the local Spanish station in my truck all the time, hoping against hope the language will seep through.”

Lorch grew up in a small manufacturing town in Illinois. As a teen, he wrote a poem that won “some kind of high school poetry contest.” Lorch was an English major at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. but he rarely wrote much outside his required schoolwork. Only recently did little scraps of memory start tugging on Lorch’s consciousness. The first line of one poem, “Genuine imitation, simulated leather,” is a phrase Lorch once heard in a Mexican radio commercial for Bibles.

Jenny Lorch said her husband’s writing added a fun element to their lives.

Most recently, Lorch self-published “My Fish Trish,” a colorfully-illustrated book about a fish in search of a friend. The book came out in November and is for sale at The Bookworm of Edwards.

Lorch also hopes to publish “Wildlife Warnings,” a collection of humorous poems educating children about animals.

So far, Lorch has made little money from his books. But then again, that’s not why he writes. Like most authors, he writes because he has to.

“If I don’t put it down in some form, it won’t leave me alone,” he said. “I can’t get peace.”

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.

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