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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Confession Tuesday - Messenger Bag Edition

It's been one long night of watching the first Presidential Caucus, one GOP debate without Trump, one month ending and another month beginning, one poetry submission acceptance that I totally missed for months, and two weeks since my last confession.  To the Confessional...

Dear Reader:

My mood these past two weeks has been about like the stock market. If you've followed it, it's been up one day, down another. If you haven't followed it, well it's been the same.

So the other night I realized that I had a poem accepted last year that appeared in Nude Bruce Journal (see blog post yesterday) and this was an up and down event in one. I was excited when I learned that it had made it into print, bummed that I had somehow missed the notification and did not get to realize it at the time it was happening. All and all it still was better than not having a poem accepted.

I also had a rejection last week. That wasn't all that bad of a thing because I always figure that I have to have a few rejections for every acceptance.  Just a part of the project.

Finished two new poems last week. Felt good about that. I've not  written as much as I should have last week but evidently it was enough to get some good results.

I had a poet visit me in a dream the other night. That has not happened to me in a while, I wish it were more common.

I've feel like I've been hammered by some pretty ugly  social media stuff from a few Bernie Sanders supporters.This negative stuff is messing with my overall attitude.  I don't mind people expressing their support for a candidate other than mine, but there has been some pretty crappy hype on Facebook and Twitter including a lot of out and out lies. These people are doing no favors for Bernie. I've followed him for several years now and I don;t think he'd approve of some of the stuff from some of his supporters. I think he is more classy than that.

Finished a book by Rachel Mennies and it has gone on to my pile of books to review. The only thing it seems larger than the pile of books to review is the pile of ones I still want to read.

I got a new leather messenger bag for my birthday and it is pretty cool. I'm trying to compartmentalize what I carry around with me and try and lessen the load. This bag is going a long way to helping with this. This makes me happy,

I'm stumbling around on a chapbook project that is causing me some consternation. I'm kind of counting on some mental breakthrough on a specific poem that is a part of the project.  Looking for some good Karma here....

That's it for this Tuesday.  Stay safe and come back next week.!

Monday, February 01, 2016

An Accepted Poem, and I Missed It... Go Figure

So I went to Submittable last night to check on something and discovered quite by accident that  one of three poems I had submitted to Nude Bruce Review last year (yes, I said Nude Bruce)  was actually accepted in August. Woot!

I feel like a fool for missing it. I don't usually check Submittable for results, instead watch my e-mail. This reply went to an old email address that I am you using for writing related stuff any more.

The poem titled Without You is located on page 86  of the Spring Issue or Issue 5 CLICK HERE and scroll to the page.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Neon Gallery Friday Night - January 29th 7:00PM

The Writers Place monthly Neon Gallery event is this Friday night and features Poetry, Art, & Music! Rick Malsick hosts & plays with musical guests River Cow Orchestra and Street Corner Choir. Poets from The Writers Place reading will be Wayne Courtois, Jen Harris, Pat Lawson, and Phyllis Becker.There will be art by The Visual Arts Group and Thomas Cobian, The Neon Warrior. This is a free event – all tips go to support The Writer’s Place. Bring a snack or dessert for the table (BASFTT). And definitely BYOB. This is a great way to spend the evening with friends. Everyone is welcome. Come to enjoy art, poetry, and music.

Location: 1921 E. Truman Rd. Kansas City, MO 64127   7PM to 10PM

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Confession Tuesday - Centimeters to Inches Edition

Dear Reader:

I am a few weeks past due for my Tuesday Confession and I hope the great great one above will forgive me, as well as you.

I have a number of things to get of my chest tonight. I guess when you stretch your confessions out, your chest can get quite weighted.  Where do I start...

I will admit that I was hopeful that I could be more patient this year. It may come to pass, but I confess this weekend my patience caught a bus to someplace else and didn't say goodbye.

For roughly 12 years now I have had all my pharmacy Rx's filled at a certain Target Pharmacy. They recently were sold out to CVS even though they remain in inside the Target property. Some of the staff remains and some of the staff is new. For a third time now I have had problems with them getting my prescriptions from my doctors on file.  It reached a point this weekend that I called their corporate office to complain. One of the new people was having none of the possibility it could be a problem on there end in spite of the fact that it has happened three time and one from a doctor at another location. It's no excuse but I had been sick all last week and my patience was like a fuse the size of a pin head.

But now my dear friends, there is snow here. Right here in River City....  I know it's winter. I know this winter has been mild for us. I know I have no right to expect it to be Bermuda shorts weather, but I confess I am annoyed. Yeah, That's what we'll call it.

My birthday was this month. Yeah! (doing an improvisational Capricorn dance here) I had a men's shoulder bad coming as a present. It was one that I would carry my tablet, my blood glucose monitor, and my Journal (that goes everywhere) and the box was on the from porch when I arrived shivering with cold and excitement tonight. Alas, I confess that I was disappointing upon opening the package as the nice leather bag would not even hold my tablet.  My wife, my daughter and myself all looked at the online specs on it before it was ordered and it swore the dimensions were in inches.  On closer review we realized they strung all them together and what looked like measurements in inches were actually cm. and inches incorporated together. Very confusing. Well, at least three of us saw the same thing and misread it. So that's going back and the hunt will begin again for the perfect bag. All of us a little wiser for the experience.

I generally think of the new year as a time of hope. Same was I do opening day for baseball. Everything seems imaginable if not probable. I have submitted an application for a mentoring program for a third time this month. The two previous times I made first cut but was not chosen and so I am hear again feeling the same agony all over awaiting to hear the results. I confess this is something that really means a lot to me, Still, I know there are many others who want and surly deserve the same opportunity. There is a limited number of people available and I have never really mentioned this in the past on my blog other than in some vague terms that would not likely have been understood for what it was. I mention it today because I am teetering on this teeter-totter trying to stay up and all the time realizing someone could hop down on the other end and I'd once again come crashing down shattering hope again.

I guess that's what we writers do though. fall down six times get up seven. The submission and rejection process is all a part of the territory. And I've learned well enough over the years that to get an acceptance of a poem, I have to be willing to be rejected multiple times. I handle that pretty well. But this, this is different. This is an opportunity to learn and grow with the help of a mentor who has gained important experience in this art.

On an upbeat note, I receive a new poetry book in the mail to read today. I confess there may be things better than getting a new poetry book, but none are coming to mind presently.  Anyway, the book is by the poet Rachel Mennies. I discovered some of her work on line a few months ago and the more poems of hers that I read the more her work resonated with me.  So, the Glad Hand of God Points Backwards (pictured above right) is awaiting my reading tonight. That, and I still have some rewrites to work on.  With that in mind I bid you farewell for now. May the rest of your week be upbeat, stay safe and take a smile for good luck!


Friday, January 01, 2016

2016 - The Year of The Poet.

Dear reader:

Honestly this past year seems to have flown by. They do that as we get older.  I remember as a child, as soon as Christmas was over I was thinking futuristically ahead to the following Christmas and it seemed like light-years away. I would consider what it would be like that morning. Would it be a white Christmas?  What presents would I get? What would I even be wishing for a year down the road.

New Year's is often a mixture of emotions and I is hard to quantify if the year ending was all that bad. Do I wish to shake it's dust from my feet or will I shed a tear of sadness for it passing? More often than not it will be some combination of these two.

Perhaps the highest point in 2015 for me was attending AWP 15 in Minneapolis. And yet I wish I could do it over. There were people I missed that I did not realize were there until I was back home. I think I would not have been quite the wall flower I was. It's not that I did not interact with people, but I could have done better. But then no matter what we are doing, isn't it true that we could always do a little better at something?

The big change for me in 2015 over the previous years is that I did not have near the success with publishing work. I would blame it on these three things:

  1. I did not submit nearly as much as in 2014
  2. I raised my bar on who I submitted to. I didn't just want acceptances in easy venues. I told myself to submit to places that I would like to see my work along side the normal material in a give journal. 
  3. I was running out of submittable work. The material I had available to select from was poems that had been around for some time and had failed to be snatched up after numerous submissions. This of course put pressure on me to produce more work, better work, and to do so quickly (not the best way to write) and therefor I put more emphasis on writing and less on the weekly submissions that I was in the habit of doing. 
But the year 2015 had other positive aspects. I felt a little bolder about creativity. I still have not moved the needle quite far enough, but I realize that until I face my fears and get over some hangups I am not going to write that poem that people want to read. I've got to take the risks.

I was discouraged in 2015 that I did not make it into a mentoring program I had applied for though I was told it was a tough choice between myself and another individual. I was also told they would try and match me up again this year. Hope can be a thing to hold on to, but it can lead to more disappointments. No matter what happens this year I have to trudge ahead making my own way.

Some thoughts on 2016:

  • Expect right now it is going to seem like in the end it went fast. Don't waste time.
  • I am experimenting with a bullet journal for planning. Having used a Franklin Planner for years at work the concept is not going to be too difficult to grasp.
  • I want to look for more opportunities to engage with others. Stop trying to write in a vacuum. 
  • I plan to take more walks this year. I hear it's good for creativity.
  • Read more.... I  have a goal of reading 40 books in 2016.
  • I have several projects I am working on but I have in the past week visualized yet another. A themed chapbook that will be in the range of 20 poems and I believe it is an attainable goal to complete this project during 2016 (while continuing to work on others)
  • I've already mentioned reading - I need to write more as well. Daily journaling as well as creative writing (as in poems) Free-writes, poem drafts, and finally nailing down the completed poem. 
  • I plan to get back into the routine habit of submitting work regularly - though still keeping the bar high. 
I won't close this post without acknowledging that I have the greatest family. My wife and four children are very supportive, They may not be big poetry fans but they recognize the importance it plays in my life. 

I'd like to believe that 2016 is the year of the Poet. That said my tag line for the year will be Peace & Poetry!  From my vantage point the world could use both!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Confession Tuesday - GOP Debate Edition

Dear Reader & Friends:

It's been two weeks, a lot of diet pop and one Mom's Demand Change rally and a GOP Presidential Debate since my last confession.

Yes, while I am not exactly a mom I joined a number of others in Kansas City on Sunday to rally against gun violence. I was not the only male among the group. But I have to tell you there are some very dedicated women in this group. It was very rainy as we assembled on a major boulevard with signs, candles, and resolve. Some of the many drivers honked horns and gave us thumbs up signs, but I confess not everyone was happy. Some fellow came over to us with his closed umbrella in hand - waving it all about in the air and got into the face of a woman next to me. He was belligerent and told us to go to our own neighborhoods. He complained about the honking. I asked him to step back. He said he was a veteran - then added a Vietnam veteran and told the woman and the rest of us to leave. I thanked him for his service and reminded him that we were on a public thoroughfare. The barked at us that he was "public" again getting in the woman's face. I asked him to step back and give her room - he finally went across the street and ripped a sign out of another lady's hands. We stayed on about a half hour and broke up without any further incidents.

Just a short while ago I finished watching the GOP Presidential Debate. I am not bragging, in fact I confess that I feel a little like I sacrificed a bit of my sanity for what I don't know.  I guess being a civic minded person comes with a loss of some brain cells.  A couple of interesting side notes (or not)

  • I believe it was Rand Paul who mentioned Governor Chris Christie's New Jersey Bridge closing to inconvenience his opponents.  Given the amount of  time tonight devoted to terrorism I have to say I did not see that coming.
  • Governor Jeb Bush took off his gloves hit Trump on several instances (unfortunately, not literally) 
  • Someone, and I believe it was John Kasich, who mentioned punching Russia in the nose. Of course I suspect he may have meant metaphorically, but maybe not.
  • Building a wall was mentioned several time. Gun Safety did not come up even once. (No shock there, there are all NRA patsies.
  • Rand Paul said maybe undertaking a police of regime change was not good foreign policy. (Ya Think?!)
  • Carly Fiorina acknowledged she had been called the B word a few times. I'm not sure how that qualifies her for the office but okay.  She also knows lots of CIA and FBI people. She made it almost sound like she knew them on a personal level. Very personal.
  •  Ben Carson was, well, Ben Carson. Each debate he not only seems less presidential but less like a neurosurgery. He talked about looking into little kids eyes when he was talking about  their impending surgery. Somehow this related to a question about if he could carpet bomb Syria including little innocent children.
  • Trump was Trump. What can you say. If you are Muslim he has a target on you. On your whole family for that matter.
  •  Cruz is Trump light. 
  •  Rubio and Paul spared. Mostly it was about what each did in the Senate. John Kasich went 
  • after Trump and Ben Carson but mostly he looked he was doing karate chops with his hands.

 Who won? Hell if I know. Bush may have actually landed the best responses throughout the debate.

 Trump was largely a buffoon but he has always been that and continues to get support.

The American people were definitely not winners. These are some scary people. Hateful, Reckless, Narrow minded for the most part. They have a poor recollection of history. 

There, I have summarized it for you to spare you the madness. If you watched it too, then I feel for you.

Until next time, Good Night, God Bless, and stay sane.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Confession Tuesday - Four Days Writing & Dog Sitting

Dear Reader:

It's been three weeks, one 4 day weekend, numerous days of rain (lost count), one submission packet,  and 4 days of intense reading and writing since my last confession.

Pictured on the right is Tug. Tug is one of my son's three dogs. Because of Thanksgiving, I had a four day weekend last week. During that period I was dog sitting for Tug and two other dogs of my son. This was also a planned writing and reading period and it turned out to be one with positive results. I confess that when I dog sit for my son I almost always commit that time to hanging out with the dogs and reading and writing. I felt I was better disciplined this time and so I came away feeling I made the best of it. I even got a submission packet out in addition to the other writerly stuff I counted on.

Since my last confession I am saddened to report that there have been no less than 12 mass shootings in the past week alone. The numbers of mass shootings for the year are staggering. These don't even account for all the accidental shooting, individual murders and untold numbers of individuals who are wounded by guns but survive. I confess on the issue of reasonable gun restrictions, I will place a lot of weight on this over a lot of other issues during this next election cycle. Change in gun laws are needed. The NRA not only doesn't represent the majority view in America but it has been radicalized to the point that it's directors don't even represent a majority of its members on a lot of issues. The organization has been radicalized under the leadership of Wayne LaPierre.

The senseless loss of lives to guns is one of the biggest thorns in my side presently. It is hard for me to remain calm in the face of the epidemic numbers of shootings and the ignorance and disregard for common sense by legislators who are easily bought out by the NRA.

November has been a big book month for me. Actually I have to confess that this whole year has been. I think I've bought more books this year than any year in my whole past. Attending AWP15 kick started the year off big time as I brought home quite a few books. Since that time I've had a steady stream. Last week I added four new books. There were two others in the last 30 days. A person can't have too many books.... Right?!

I have a doctor's appointment on Thursday and I am counting on a much improved A1C reading of my blood sugar. I confess I need to feel a positive outcome in reducing blood sugar over the last 30 days.

What has happened to this year? It's December. I can't even say it without feeling a disbelief. I'm thinking about New Years Resolutions. Ugh!

That's it for this week.