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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Confession Tuesday - Writer 2 Writer Edition

Dear Reader: It's been one a round trip to Washington DC,  more days and nights of anguish over the state of America than I care to count or admit, one AWP Conference, one Rhino Reading and 6 weeks since my last confession.

Please follow me to the confessional....

Reader a lot has happened since my last confession. I confess some good and some not so good.

As I write this tonight I have concluded watching Trump's speech before a joint session of Congress. Yes, I confess I watched it. I also confess that he delivered the speech in pretty respectable form. That is to say that he was more presidential that  we are accustomed to seeing. I believe he came in to this with a pretty low bar and in fact preformed above that bar. That said, he did not woo me with substance. It is clear that his replacement for the ACA, if up to him would not have an individual mandate. This means it is unlikely to provide affordable insurance for those most in need of help. This returns us to a nation where health care is not a right but a privileged.  This is unacceptable,

I won't hammer away at every disagreeable position but I will say that  I believe his budget numbers will be tremendously flawed. I remain concerned about a trade war and he simply is not going to bring back hoards of manufacturing jobs. The misconception is these have all gone overseas. Some yes, but the bulk of job losses in manufacturing are due to automation.That is a reality that is not going to change.  I could go on, but I confess that is not what my focus is tonight.

I confess I remain concerned about the Russia - Trump connection and believe it needs to be fully investigated.

I confess that the AWP17 conference was exciting and draining and that is nothing new. My one previous conference was 2015 in Minneapolis and it too had those components.

Some highlights if the conference were meeting Shaindel Beers one of my favorite poets and one of my 2016 Poet Crush List members, and meeting Martha Silano another extraordinary poet.

There was another part of the conference that  is worth mentioning. Over a period of time I have applied on six occasions for the AWP Writer 2 Writer mentoring program. (I'm nothing if I am not resistant) and I learned a couple days before the conference that I was one of 25 writers chosen out of 400 applications for this session.  I confess that I have wanted this for so long and it has in fact been hard to believe that  it finally happened.

I have been matched with another poet, Ken Waldman and Ken and I were both at the conference and we therefor made certain that we met face to face.

The Writer 2 Writer program is a open to members of AWP.  There is an application process and I believe it is just one of many positive benefits available to writer who are members.  I am just now in the second week of the program and I plan update readers on the experience as I make my way through it. But for tonight, let's just say there has been something good to come out of 2017 already.

Best to all of you & talk to you again soon.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Confession Tuesday - The Puppeteer Edition.

Dear Reader:

It has been seven long weeks since my last confession, to wit I must confess a whole lot of shit has happened.

We have watched the end of the Obama years in the white house. While there are I am sure dissenting opinions, I confess I am sorry to see them go.

Only 4 days in to the Trump presidency I am exhausted by the abundance of idiocy, mispronouncements, and lies. Every time he talks he says the same things over ad-nauseam. In four days time he has demonstrated that he will be a more authoritarian than I even dreamed. Cutting off or censoring communication between federal agencies and the American people. He's a control freak. Watching the body language during the inauguration between he and the First Lady I got the distinct impression that  he is a the same in their relationship.

The Women's March one the 21st was a bright spot because it demonstrates the the masses are not going to be complacent about his promises to end ACA, stop domestic abuse programs, cut women's health services, pimp for the NRA.

I confess that the future of the nation looks like it is female. I'm not at all bothered by that. We have more women in the house and Senate than  ever before. I see a couple of women who I believe are promising leaders on a national level.

Other that that, my life feels like it is in turmoil more days than not. I'm a couple weeks away from AWP17 and anxious about that and writing in general. I feel very much like an Expatriate, not belonging anywhere.

On an upbeat note, I'm going to be a grandfather for a 2nd time soon. Speaking of which, my granddaughter #1 Harper is here so I'm cutting this short to go see her.

Till next time - be safe.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

David Arnold Hughes - January 28 Book Release

David has a new book by Spartan Press titled Born A Stranger which he will read from one January 28th at at Prospero's Books 1800 W. 39th St. K.C., MO.   The event will start at 7:00 PM.

$10.00 gets you in the door and a copy of the book. I believe they are having an open mic as well afterwords.

David has been a prolific writer. He's a local poet. A retired firefighter. Frequently reads at Uptown Arts Bar, Writers place, Neon Gallery and other area venues.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

  • Felices fiestas
  • اجازات سعيدة
  • Bonnes vacances
  • Счастливых Праздников
  • 节日快乐
  • Wesołych Świąt!
  • Свята й вихідні
  • 幸せな休日
  • Sretni Praznici
  • Frohe Feiertage
  • Vacanze felici
  • חג שמח
  • Hyvää joulua
  • تعطيلات خوش

Peace to All!!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Confession Tuesday - Pants on Fire Edition

Dear Reader:

It's been a long assed time since my last confession. All the way back to September 20th. Thanksgiving has come and gone since then. Election day has come and gone but the hangover remains. I've toiled away at writing. Some good and some not so good. But here I am today for the pants on fire edition of  confession Tuesday. Shall we begin?

I've tried to true to my writing and this past week I was able to pull together  two new poems and several other near poems. That is, they are close to being able to stand on their own words. I confess that I had been in a writing funk but  I am declaring it past!

Being busy with writing is good. Being busy with most anything is good. The repercussions of the Presidential election reverberate in my head and my stomach if I am not busy. Even then, I confess that I am not  able to completely shake the thought from my achy bones.

One of the sad things about this election (and there are so many) is that truth or fact was a casualty of the election. I've been involved in enough political campaigns over the years to know that sometimes truth gets stretched and bent a bit by some of the candidates. I confess in all the years of campaigns that I have been alive to observe and /or participate in, none have failed so miserably in the pursuit of truth.

This is no small thing that has occurred.  Concerted efforts to manufacture fake news was rampant. Lies were made by the Trump campaign and denied within fractions of an hour in spite of the existence of audio and or video feed that substantiated it. People were believing things that were so phony and outlandish and yet they ate this stuff up and looked for more.

One of the dictionaries that  each year crowns a new word as significant to the passing year selected "post-truth" as the word for this year. Who could argue against this selection?

I could go on and on about all the concerns I have about a Trump Presidency (and there are many) but the only thing I'm saying here is that anything closely resembling fact was brutally assaulted.  If truth is not dead after this election it has fallen and can't get up. Perhaps it can be placed on life support, but I must confess that I do not believe the prognosis for it's future are looking good at all.

There are two parties to this problem. One of course was the liar. But lies can be challenged. They can be scrutinized by fact checks. I don't know if a large portion of the electorate is lazy or if they are plain ignorant. Some, but not all of this crap was being slung around by white supremacist groups. What I don't know is how after such a blatant and high profile campaign of lies and fake news, how do you restore the rule of factuality to our political process? The cow is out of the barn, how do you return her to her former place?

I confess that as I leave you this evening, I sign off disturbed, concerned, and dismayed.  I have no answers.

All best to everyone!

Friday, November 11, 2016

What Has Happened to America...

This week something happened that has shaken the very foundation around me and evidently that of countless others.

I have voted in 12 presidential elections in my life time. I've had my share of winning and losing candidates I've experienced disappointment and since there are always winners and losers it stands to reason there always has to be some people who are on a losing side and wake up disappointed; assuming the mad it to bed at all.
It was during my morning drive that it occurred to me that that something major had occurred. Something that left me feeling  like an expatriate; removed from the country I love. The feeling was surreal. Clearly I had only left my home and was driving I-70 to my office. I had gone nowhere beyond my normal daily routine, yet I was in some altered universe. I had not left my country but rather, my country had left me.

You see my country spans across a continent with two great oceans on either side. On the east - stands a monument overlooking  New York City that was a gift of France. It  immortalizes the promise of America to the world.  "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" - words of Emma Lazarus, a New York poet best known for her poem The New Colossus from which these lines were taken. On the west, the great city of San Francisco whose Golden Gate Bridge is spans across the San Francisco Bay and is another great landmark for those arriving from the Pacific side. But the promise on  Lady Liberty in the New York harbor extends to those arriving from all directions.

And my country not only welcomes persons from other countries, other nationalities, other races, and any religions, it affords these persons who come to this country for a new life, for safety, the protection and freedoms and dignity afforded all of us. By extension, unless we are Native American, we have all made this journey in the past.

But back to my drive...  I know that  as I make this trip, today  and in the weeks ahead a new administration will take shape that has made as the counterpoint of it's campaign promises that threaten to shake the very foundations of what has made this the greatest nation. The role model for the rest of the free world and hope for those oppressed everywhere.

The future in this country is bleak for persons of other nationalities, for Blacks, Latinos, Muslims, Asians. For gays, lesbians, and trans-gendered people. Even women, who are not in the minority are open game for discrimination, sexual assault, and misogyny. The new leadership is not committed to protecting these people and in fact they have real reasons for fear. Already Black churches have been torched. Muslims have been assaulted, or shot and killed walking down the street. Promises of mass deportation and families broken up.  And the hard fought promise to make medical care for millions a reality as opposed to a matter for the privileged teeters on the brink of extinction.

This is not the America I know. This is an America that is broken. The idea the these things will make America great again, flies in the face of Lady Liberty. Perhaps she should be returned to her original benefactor


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Confession Tuesday - Time in a Bottle

Won't you come with me to the confessional?

Dear Reader:

It's been a week since my last confession and I am frankly amazed that I have been better about the regularity of this Tuesday ritual. Woo-hoo!

Sometimes when I am thinking about time I think of the Jim Croce and his song, Time In A Bottle from 1973. Perhaps for different reasons their are lines from this song that I relate to but I think the one that most often is looping over and over in my head is... "But there never seems to be enough time/To do the things you want to do, once you find them." I confess this truth is of the great cruelties of life.

Like so many people I sometimes would like a re-do button. I think of the past how I would have approached certain aspects of my life differently but if I could go back, would I really change anything. Lewis Carroll in Alice In Wonderland  reminds us that, "I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person them," and true that is.

There were things I did in my youth that I definitely would not change. Those things that relate to my family, I would not want to erase any of that. No do-overs on who I married, our children, but I wonder, would the me back then even entertain things that the me right here in 2016 thinks he would want to do differently?

How much have I changed? How have those changes occurred over the years?  Of course I have to confess that I don't  have answers to those questions. Not really. I could wing it, give you some answer that might encompass some half truths but we are dealing with human nature and the scientific aspect in that field is, well non-existent or at least above my pay grade, as in God speak.

Perhaps too, I can confess that thinking about  life do-overs are another reason I have come to love writing. We can create people and breath some of ourselves into them. We can control their fate, what makes them tick. Change them on a whim in so many ways. It is perhaps the only control that I can exert over  things in any reality other than writing.

Until next time, may all your minutes be rich...