Tuesday, December 06, 2016
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
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
Won't you come with me to the confessional?
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...
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Won't you come with me to the confessional.....
Reader, it's been one Chiropractic visit with Trigger Points, one visit to mom's, one documentary movie, one dinner out with my sweetie, one meeting of K.C. Metro Verse, two Power Ball tickets, two new poetry drafts, one vacation day and one trash day since my last confession.
- I've been using a Bullet Journal for something like 8 months now. The thing about it is that it remains in flux. I'm still making modifications in exactly how I use it. I confess there is a bit of redundancy in it because I still sink my digital calendar and use a Franklin Planner at my regular job. Still, I do believe this has been helpful in several ways, not the least of it is giving me a quick visualization of where to go next in my tasks during the day. I am thinking of gravitating away from the BuJo for my regular work stuff and focusing more on the intersections of my writing and personal life. But hey, I may change my mind on that - like I say it's a process, everything is in flux.
- I am not generally one of these people who blames all kinds of shit on the media. I am a firm believer in a Free Press and I believe it's a hallmark of any democracy. I have become somewhat cynical of so called news these past few weeks and while I blame some of the mainstream press, it has occurred to me that one of the prices we are paying for the internet is the blurred lines from what is news and what is pure made up shit with absence of sources. Places like Breitbart News, and there are a host of others that routinely carry some of the most bat shit crazy stuff that has no reputable citation to back it us. Additionally, there is often not a shred of common sense involved in the stories. What irritates me is that people tweet and Facebook many of these stories and the get reported over and over until half of the non-thinking population sincerely believes the shit and are basing their November vote on it. I confess that there is truly no safeguard in democracy for the participation by persons that don't know their brain from their ass hole.
- I confess I've had some heightened interest in Memoirs of late. I want to read the book The Art of Memoir - Mary Karr
- I feel blessed tonight, both Silas and Madison are in my studio as I write this, Just chilling out with me. I confess that Cathy is probably enjoying quiet time watching TV without the trying to climb all over her.
After a brief shower, I believe there has been a break in the rain and I probably should run these two dogs out to do their business for the night.
Until next time, live in the now, and be safe!
Tuesday, September 06, 2016
It's been umpteen games of Words with Friends, 3 watermelons, two submissions, 28 pages of journaling, three bags of Booterscotch M&M's, one dental cleaning, too many insect bites and three weeks since my last confession.
- I realize that there are certain things that are synonymous with the process many writers have and these typically include the ingestion of certain drinks such as coffee, wine, tea, or other libation. Also, among the solid foods group a premium seems to universally be placed on chocolates, Girl Scout Cookies, Oreos Cookies, etc. I'm here to tell you that while Chocolates in general are still on my list, M&M Chocolate candies are dead to me. That's right. Deader than a dead poet. But what M&M's have going for them is a new special edition variety called White Boo-terscotch. I confess these are to die for! They are only available at Target stores and my guess is that M&M Candy Company is planning them to be only a fall variety. My recommendation is for them is to keep them after fall, Change the name simply to White Butterscotch M&M's and distribute them across all their markets. I'm telling you, No more Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut, Chocolate Almond, M&M's for me. The Peanut Butter have never been able to compete with Reese's Pieces.
- This week I began keeping better tabs on the actual time I spend writing. I confess that I can't tell you what I've done since my last confession but I can tell you that I spent 5-1/2 hours this week ending today. Not quite happy with this amount though I know the most important thing is the quality. Still, you have to get words on a page to get quality stuff.
- I confess that I have spent this past week doing the comparison thing to other poets and I am very aware that this is not a good thing to do, but sometimes it is just so hard not to.
- As I am writing this tonight, Silas, my German Shepard is curled up beside me on the floor in my studio. Often, it's Madison, my long haired Dachshund who keeps me company when writing so I have to confess this is kind of a treat to have him here with me.
- Cathy is out tonight helping a friend and will not be home till late. I made her Gluten Free Brownies as a treat for when she gets home. I confess that I hope they are editable. I've never made them before.
- I am so tired of insect bites this summer. Someone once told me that a lot of them are drawn to people with diabetes. I have no idea how factual that may be but I confess I am tired of just going out to bring the dogs in from out back feeling a whole new crop of bites each time.
- I've been trying to read some new to me, more obscure poets lately. I confess it is always exciting to find a new gem among them.
- I believe I'll have a couple Butterscotch M&M's and call this done!
Thanks for stopping by.... until next time, be safe and joy life!
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Shall we head to the confessional?
It's been two weeks and one 30 year anniversary since my last confession.
I confess it has not been quite 30 years... but it will be on the 25th of this month. None the less, yesterday I was given a pen commemorating my 30 years of service at work. While I admit I consider thirty years working one place a pretty significant chunk of time, it didn't hit me until it was pointed out that few present would ever achieve such distinction. Given my job is basically crisis driven, I confess that it does give me pause to consider how I have made it this long and kept my sanity about myself. I also wonder if I have actually lost my sanity some time back and have just been oblivious for a number of years. I've had the good fortune to work with a number of really good people over the years. I confess that it has made to longevity on the job much easier. I'm thankful for each of them.
The month of August is half over and I am not particularly happy with the number of hours I have written this month. I confess that I know it's not always about how much as it is about how good and I do feel that I have put together several really strong drafts. That said, I hope next week to be back in the confessional box acknowledging that I have met or exceeded my number of hours writing for the week.
I got totally excited recently. When good things happen to other poets I'm one that is inclined to celebrate their success, so when I saw that Beth Ann Fennelly was named Poet Laureate for Mississippi I wanted to do cartwheels. Beth Ann is among my favorite poets. She has been doing some fiction recently and I hope this will set her on a course of a new poem or two from time to time.
Color me perturbed tonight. I picked up a bottle of Gold Peak tea at the store and while I intended to get the diet tea, I took a big swig as I got ready to write this and realized I had inadvertently picked up unsweetened. Yuck! Alas, I've added Splenda to it
I confess that I am hopeful that I will have some good news to report in the next couple of weeks. That's all I'm saying on the subject.
And last but not least... I confess that I redid my web site and have a new domain name The new site is at michaelwells.ink and the other domain michaelawells.com has been redirected so that it will load to the new domain.
I confess that's all I got the week!
Tuesday, August 02, 2016
It's been 8 weeks since my last confession. Really? Yes, sadly it has been that long.
Since we last met at the confessional, we've celebrated America's birthday, we've nominated the first women from a major political party to be President of the United States. I've written a few new poem drafts, created a new web site at michaelwells.ink and collected a few more rejection letters.
Let me begin my confession:
Reader, I don't know where this year is going but it is going there fast. Too fast! August? Really? How the hell did this happen? I look at my calendar hopeful I can find the damn hole that the days are falling through. I don't see one. (BIG SIGH!)
There is my precious granddaughter Harper Jo who is not quite two years old now, but she is shedding that infant look in favor of a more sophisticated young child look. Her vocabulary and mannerisms are quickly becoming more advanced and I fear one day soon she will be advance beyond my wisdom. She is funny, active, and smart. I miss the younger version but I like the new one too. What I must confess is that I fear that this too will pass way to fast and the next phase will be different. Not necessarily bad, just different and I will miss the cuteness that presently becomes her.
Last Friday was the quarterly Neon Gallery event sponsored by the Writers Place. Great reading & music. Also I confess I had some good advice from Maryfrances Wagner. She suggested that I check out the Meter, Beat and Feet Performance at the Fringe Festival on Sunday. So I took her up on it, and this was my Artist date for the week. (something I confess I need to do more often) The event combined poetry, music and interpretative dance and was very relaxing and the hour really went too fast.
This weekend I worked on an application to submit with writing for the Fall AWP writer 2 writer mentoring program. I wrapped up everything this evening and uploaded my submission via Submittable. This is not me my first attempt and I know there are limited resources but I confess that I do so hope that I make it this time. This would be an extraordinary opportunity. I've hear numerous mentors and mentees rave about the program. Any prayers and good karma out there are welcome.
I can't let this confession pass without saying how incredibly proud I am that the Democratic Party has as it's Presidential nominee the first woman ever. I'm excited for what this means to women and little girls everywhere in the U.S. So many other nations have had women as their chief executives, prime ministers, etc. It is well past time that we did too. This is a historic event and even as a man, I confess that I had a real sense of pride that we've reached this point but I will not be fully satisfied until we've elected the first woman. Men can be feminists too! If you have daughters, granddaughters and even for your wives, be champions for their equality. I think writing has taught me a lot about the disparities that exist in the broader communities. We all must work to see the field leveled.
Until next week or next confession, whichever comes first.....