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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Confession Tuesday - Baseball is coming you cannot deny.

Dear Reader:

It's been one House Intelligence Committee Hearing, two winning games of Canasta with my mom, one episode of Madam Secretary, one trash pickup day,  a Saturday night poetry reading and an hour and a half phone call with my mentor since my last confession.

One of my highlights of any week is watching Madam Secretary.  The plot is always intriguing and grounded with a touch of reality. I give the writers and the actors a lot of credit. Often it will touch on something that we are simultaneously dealing with in the real world. I confess that is doesn't hurt that Tea Leon is Hot!

The proximity of April closing in leaves me with a decision to make. Do I undertake 30 poems in April. One a day? Sometimes I will make a pledge to do this. Sometimes I make it and sometimes I don't. Then starts the guilt. I confess this decision is a lot like the agony over  New Years Resolutions. Sometimes I just  try to take the pressure off by saying I don't need to make a resolution  to try and have a better new year. Just go with it. I've done the same with the Poem -A-Day.  Try, but don't  hold yourself to it... the world does not hinge on 30 poems.  But hey, I've got a couple more days to decide.

I ordered a copy of Marie Howe's new book, Magdalene. Howe is among my favorite poets and I confess that I am most anxious to read this book. It's release date was yesterday and I should have my copy by tomorrow. I Hope!

An hour and a half on the phone this week in a single call with my mentor and the talk revolved around craft, a particular poem draft I had written and poets read & reading. I confess that I have mixed feelings about the conversation.

Baseball season is closing in fast on us. You know those pictures of a space ship docking with another, or even the space station?  That's what it seems like. Going so fast two two will collide, and then in the end, it all looks like it is so soft and precise a fit together. You just  watch and say wow!  I confess I am in a wow mode!

That's it for this week -  Hope you all stay safe and happy...








Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Confession Tuesday - Corrosive Thought




Dear Reader:

It's been a couple more Trump campaign  links to Russia, a whole bunch of March Hoops, Two contacts with my mentor, a shitload of writing and maybe two promising drafts  and one week since my last confession.

For some reason the word cohesiveness came to me this week. I confess it was like it came out of nowhere and slapped me in the back of the head. So obviously I had it's full attention at this point.
I thought about what  it's like to be corrosive. I pictured a metal platform being eaten away by corrosive elements much the same way an old car will develop rust spots often called car cancer. Then I thought why a platform and I realized I was standing on it. Something clicked in my head and I decided this is what was holding me up... the platform. And to my dismay it was crumbling under me.

Sometimes I question my personal compass. Am I pointed the right direction? Now my fear was, am I standing where I shouldn't be? Am I not on a good platform or foundation for where I hope to be going?

I've written a lot this past week. I've not liked most of what I've written, and that is okay because that is going to happen. But I do get tired of it when this stretches on for some weeks  (which periodically happens) and it has a way of  making me second guess things. I confess that as the Writer 2 Writer module moves to # 3 where we focus on craft, I think maybe I am supposed to be having these self doubts and asking myself questions. Well, I confess it will give me a reason to talk craft with Ken.

On an uplifting note, one day this week I got a book and went out onto the deck and took in the springlike weather with a nice breeze. I read a while and then just listened to the birds and watched the trees in the breeze with their buds coming out.   On another, in early evening looking out westward I observed the sky as a mirage of the painted desert.  I confess life can amaze me even when I'm on the cusp of falling through my platform.

My best to each till next time...
 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Trump Sonnets by Ken Waldman


Ken Waldman like most of us was taken by surprise when Donald Trump won the electoral votes necessary to secure his election as president.

We all know that the president-elect wasted no time tweeting to the U.S. and beyond. The results could be described any number of ways but suffice to say they are not positive.

Ken began writing sonnets based on what Trump was saying.  He has published Trump Sonnets Volume 1, a collection of 41 in the voice of Donald Trump and 28 others that are directed to him.

Ken is no novice at this, He previously wrote  As The World Burns: The Sonnets of George W. Bush.  In this book the poet climbs into the head of the President and from that vantage point writes sonnets.

Both of these book were published by Ridgeway Press and the books can be purchased from SMALL PRESS DISTRIBUTION  or of course at Amazon.com

Note:  I have not read As The World Burns but I have read Trump Sonnets Volume 1. I understand he is working on a follow up Volume 2. If you have the heart for political discourse in these remarkably unorthodox times, you will enjoy Trump Sonnets.  


* Ken is currently my mentor in the AWP Writer 2 Writer program.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Confession Tuesday - Find Your Tribe Edition


Dear Reader:

It's been one snow, one melt, one writer group meeting, One Writer's Chronicle with so many great articles, numerous poetry drafts and two finished poems, and one week since my last confession.

As a point of reference, the AWP Writer 2 Writer program that I am working in has started its second module. This is significant because it will have some bearing on my  confessions.  The focus of the second module is Community and Connections.

As long as we are being honest, I will confess that I have been looking for a writing tribe for many years. I'm not proud of this fact and I will attribute to the fact that I'm not  totally sure what I want. That's just a bit  embarrassing to me. How do you go for years and want something but  are not quite sure what it is and how to find it.

When I first recall hearing talk of your writing tribe it was from someone I greatly respect as a writer. I way have heard it elsewhere but  this was when it first sunk in. I think that is because again it was someone I respected and also because they made a point of making it seem really important. Find your tribe....  that's what I recall hearing.

This person who was imparting such wisdom has a significant social media presence. What I have gleaned over the years is that at minimum, their time works something like this...

  • They share each other's ups and downs - or I guess you could say they provide comfort and support.
  • They will at times discuss craft.
  • Keep others informed of events, publications, and opportunities. 
  • From time to time they  may share writing prompts and on occasion two or more will get together for a day or an afternoon and write together. 
  • I think  but am not certain that they may from time to time share drafts for comment/work-shopping 
Now what writer doesn't want to be a part of something like that?

Presently I get together with other local writers once a month  locally and have done this for numerous years. These are good friends and I enjoy the meetings, but I confess that it is not a group that works well for work-shopping material.  Few of them submit work to journals. They are always way to kind - so the objectiveness that comes with working to improve a draft - getting that good ear that can tell you if something is working on some level or not. 

In the 2nd module of Writer 2 Writer (W2W) some of us have been talking a little about  community and connecting with others. My own mentor is not a social media person. That said he has over the years made many (to the power of several many) contacts basically the old fashioned way. Personal contact, phone, email, snail mail. He is on the road constantly. He makes a living  full time as both a poet and a musician. It's impressive, but I am a creature of social media. 

I confess that I really want a tribe that  does many of the things I have described above. But I could modify that. for example if there were people geographically beyond my area, short of getting together from time to time to write - the rest of this could be achieved. 

I would agree that I believe every writer should have a tribe. The reason is simple. Writing is by it's very nature a solitary experience. We work hard in our own space, me it quiet or with a music play list or background noise at a coffee shop, but  we really are withdrawn unto our selves. When we are done, we then put our vary private selves out into the public. First to find publication which may lead to rejection but even beyond that we are putting ourselves out in a very vulnerable way. I confess that to me personally, that leads even the introverted me to want to move beyond my solitude and be with others briefly until it is time to withdraw, recharge, and create again. 

So here I am... That's were I'm at. I've solved nothing  except perhaps flushed out kind of what I feel as a writer I need or at least want. But I confess I think it really is more of a need. 


Until next week~

peace, love & be safe






Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Confession Tuesday - Late Edition


Dear Reader:

It's been numerous poetry drafts, 4 close to finished, two contacts with my mentor, another book read, 8 more days of that idiot as president, another missile launch by North Korea, and a week and one day since my last confession.

I confess that life is crazy. It's sad, it's frustrating, it's painful, and it's beautiful. The latter is what keeps me going.

I confess that I'm a day late with my confession but that's better than missing it for several weeks. Therefore I'll call it an improvement. I'll also just pretend that today is still Tuesday.

Are you writing more now but enjoying it less? I've written a lot  lately and maybe not enjoying it is not exactly the correct assessment but  truly I've not been ecstatic about the results. I'm getting some keepers but a lot of static as well. I confess that I'm wanting more keepers and much better keepers.

I've had two contacts with my mentor in the past eight days including one yesterday where I had some feedback on writing. We are moving into a new module this week and the focus is changing to Community and Connections. I'm anxious to interact with Ken on this topic because I feel like it is an important one and I confess it is one I feel somewhat inadequate about. I know Ken is not much into social media but he is a hands on person to person contact sort of guy. Exploring this will Ken I suspect will have some challenges because of his absence from social media. We'll see how it goes.

Another 8 days and we still have the idiot in the White House, or he may be playing golf. He does that a lot. Go figure he used to give Obama hell whenever Obama played. If he's not playing golf then he's tweeting. He's definitely our Commander-in-Tweet. He tweets some of the stupidest things.  He also uses it as an extension to his lying and makes him look like a fool.  North Korea lobbed some more missiles into the sea in Japanese water and he is so clueless.  His administration is so stalled up in it's own ineptness and unending string of ties to Russia that are resulting in numerous investigations. I confess I see no end of this in sight.

I seek and am finding things of beauty in this world. Sometimes you have to look hard but they are there. People helping people. Animals around us. Art people are making. My wife is working on an extraordinary beaded neckless with Tigers Eye.  I confess I will continue to seek good, beauty and art in the week ahead.

Until next time, enjoy each day!

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.