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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What to do...

I learned late yesterday that I would be responsible for the program tonight at KC Metro Verse. This because our chapter president (who had this whole big thing on Dickinson planned) cannot be there. So being the person in charge of "Vice" - it falls upon me to conduct the meeting.

Ok, it is true I had last night to pull something together. But as it was, I had planned doing our taxes (which I did) and then I was too drained to think about it. I joined my wife (already in bed) past the point of meaningful dialogue, (meaningful being defined as anything she could be held accountable for recalling later) so I grabbed the book I am currently reading (Bitter Fame - A life of Sylvia Plath by Anne Stevenson) and read till I could finally fall asleep.

So here I am... still with what to do.
Now it is common that whatever the plan for the evening is - we will do a read around. Our own work or that of another poet... sometimes both. So we can do that. But on my lunch hour today, I still have to decide what direction to take the meeting tonight in terms of discussion or program. Being in Vice President can be such a bitch at times.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The poet said...

As the poet said, "Only God can make a tree" - probably because it's so hard to figure out how to get the bark on. ~Woody Allen

Billy Collins seen as people's poet

The Post and Courier Charleston.net News Charleston, SC


Collins - The people's poet
by: Marjory Wentworth - South Carolina's poet laureate

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Brain Lateralization Test

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (59.6%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (40.4%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Are You Right or Left Brained?(word pair test)
personality tests by similarminds.com

Friday, January 27, 2006

Writers & Vanity

"Every author, however modest, keeps a most outrageous vanity chained like a madman in the padded cell of his breast." ~Logan Pearsall Smith

Vermont - Nationally Acclaimed Poet Sells 297 Acres to Nature Conservancy

Vermont - Nationally Acclaimed Poet Sells 297 Acres to Nature Conservancy

Ruth Stone is a remarkable human being as well as poet. Knowing what this land
has meant to her, I was especially touched to read this.

People Having Their Say

I believe the principal of freedom of speech must universally reside deep within the soul of writers. Perhaps it is more latent with some, but when pressed to the point, I think we all must agree it is an important core belief.

Freedom of expression is of course an important components of human dignity itself. We hear about abusive people who hit or in some other way physically harm another. But silencing someone is abuse as well. It make no difference if it's individuals within a family unit or if it is a whole group of people within a nation. It is an abusive action.

Repression of the expression of ideas is the kiss of death to art. But it is in a larger way the undoing of the human spirit. Americans I think very closely and culturally link such freedoms with the right to dissent. I believe that having the avenue of dissent open to all people is one of the greatest protections we have within our democracy. It is a safety valve that allows us to keep the government from isolation to the will of the people. It is critical in any democracy.

We have heard much about exporting democracy by the Bush administration. Stressing the belief that the whole world should mirror our image of democracy. A laudable objective on one hand, but even as the President has pushed for elections in Iraq and suggested that such examples of democracy would bloom and flourish in the middle east and that this would be a good thing.

We've seen a series of elections in Iraq and the final outcome as to the impact these have had or will have on this country and indeed the region remain to be written in history books. But we know this, the people in Iraq with all their regional differences have failed to support persons most closely alined and believed to be favored by our government.

This week, we have seen another exercise of democracy in the middle-east. This is the election of new leaders for the Palestinians. Perhaps to the surprise of many, the Hamas faction was the big winner over the ruling Fatah party. Since many Hamas leaders have openly stated that they favor the distraction of Israel, and Hamas has been linked to many suicide bombings, this is seen by many as a unsettling development. One that challenges any headway towards peace in the middle-east.

So the President has now seen some examples of democracy in the middle-east and I don't think he is liking the outcome. I certainly don't pretend to speak for Hamas or the Palestinians but I can perhaps understand why many of these people may feel motivated to such extreme. It revolves around a long history by the U.S. of involvement in the middle-east that is more heavy handed than not.

There is more than enough blame to spread between the Palestinian and Israelis for the current plight which would be an understatement to refer to as pretentious. But it is easy for me to see how many in this part of the world must constantly be looking over their shoulders to see exactly where the U.S. is now, and what we are doing. We are not especially trusted in this region.

So we are seeing people in these countries begin to express themselves with the ballot box. They are expressing for the most part fears and distrust and frustration. Israel will soon likely be reshaping their government. The people, and their decisions will likely be governed by the same emotions. It would perhaps be a good time for everyone, ourselves included to listen more when these parties express themselves. There are common fears driving all parties. Everyone needs to hear what the other one is saying. Let them speak. Let them have their dignity. Let them be heard. One can only find common ground when you understand what it is you have in common.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Childlike

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." ~Pablo Picasso

What is it that happens as we grow up (or old) that detracts from the creative process? Is it cynicism that holds us back? Do we come to place so much stock in the prevailing trends and come to fear anything that might establish ourselves as contrary to the public norm? Maybe it is a combination of things but I do agree that there is something that indeed seems to hinder the natural order of creativity in adults. I suppose it could simply be that all our worldly worries tend to cloud up the brain and make it difficult to freely engage in exploring the imagination without extra effort, forcing if you will. Sometime I find myself trying to force something into words and it rarely ever produces results worthy of saving.

I think taking a walk or drive, viewing other art, listening to music, reading other poetry- all can be positive in breaking down whatever invisible barriers we haul around in our heads. I then to lean more to the distractions of everyday life as the root cause. That is why I think these other activities help. They tend to say, "excuse me" and just push aside a few of those distractions in a cleansing way. That's my take, anyway.

On another note - the person who googled: michael wells nude. Nice try, but sorry.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Overused Words

What do you suppose are the five most overused words in poetry today?

Friday, January 20, 2006

My Demon Has A Name I Won't Say

For the most part
It’s the two of us

Myself and a demon
Whose name I won’t say

He’s not good company
In fact none at all

Absent is dialogue
Meaningful or otherwise

He has never been consoling
Not in the slightest

His body language
That of omission

Nothing physical
Only metaphysical

No tenderness
Only harsh neglect

Sometimes my demon
Invades a gathering

I won’t introduce him
I never say his name

The Nucleus of a Poem

"A poem should not mean
But be." ~Archibald MacLeish, Ars Poetica, 1926
~
And the funny thing about advocates of only "accessible poetry" is they are forever hung up on the meaning.

New January 2006 Poll Shows Majority of Americans Support Impeaching Bush for Wiretapping

New January 2006 Poll Shows Majority of Americans Support Impeaching Bush for Wiretapping

In Summation:
The poll found that 52% agreed with the statement:"If President Bush wiretapped American citizens without the approval of a judge, do you agree or disagree that Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment."

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Fridge magnets tinker with poetry. 20/01/2006. ABC News Online

Fridge magnets tinker with poetry. 20/01/2006. ABC News Online


The idea if intelligent fridge magnets is interesting, but what about the art of it all?


tag:

Thursday, January 19, 2006

You Just Know it is Going to Be Good

The blurbs are all in and have had time to settle. So it is only natural that the writer would now begin to create the masterpiece that was responsible for so many blurbs. We are all waiting patiently.

Rights Group Says U.S. Abuses Terror Suspects

Rights Group Says U.S. Abuses Terror Suspects

Human Rights Watch yesterday released it's annual report on the treatment of people in more than 70 countries. The report is critical of the U.S. Government.

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Stickpoet Trivia

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Stickpoet!

  1. Stickpoet kept at the window will keep vampires at bay!
  2. Reindeer like to eat stickpoet!
  3. The original nineteenth-century Coca-Cola formula contained stickpoet.
  4. The word 'samba' means 'to rub stickpoet'.
  5. In the Spanish edition of Cluedo, stickpoet is the victim.
  6. Stickpoetocracy is government by stickpoet.
  7. A rhinoceros horn is made from compacted stickpoet.
  8. All of the roles in Shakespeare's plays - including the female roles - were originally played by stickpoet.
  9. If you blow out all the candles on stickpoet with one breath, your wish will come true!
  10. Olympic badminton rules say that stickpoet must have exactly fourteen feathers.
I am interested in - do tell me about

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

January Submissions & Misc.

I sent off three submissions yesterday bringing my total sent out for the month to eight.

Most unique word search used recently to access my site by someone was "make me into a superhero" - Ok, poof you are a superhero. See, we aim to please. :)

Out of the recent unique visitors, Maryland and Missouri tied and California was third. A little regional strength starting to show up.

Internationally, visitors from United Kingdom, Canada, Poland, Australia, and the Philippines.

Good news is that I have a Poetry Society Meeting tonight. The bad news is my sweetie will likely be in bed by the time I get home.

Rights groups prepare suits over domestic spying

Top News Article Reuters.com


President George W. Bush's domestic spying program faces legal challenges by two U.S. civil liberties groups who said on Tuesday they will seek court orders to stop it immediately and permanently. Both Bush and NSA Director Army Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander are named as defendants in the action.


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Guardian Unlimited | Arts news | Duffy wins TS Eliot poetry prize

Guardian Unlimited Arts news Duffy wins TS Eliot poetry prize

Carol Ann Duffy, whose new collection Rapture is one of the top-selling poetry collections in the UK, last night won the £10,000 TS Eliot poetry prize.

The Poetry Book Society, which awards the prize, said: "This year's TS Eliot prize highlights a (some would say) rare moment of agreement between the critics and the booksellers as to what constitutes great poetry." (Guardian Unlimited)

Interview with Duffy

After Anna Akhmatova by Carol Duffy

Land by Carol Duffy

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Courage & Dissent

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”   ~Ambrose Redmoon

I would say that at the time that Walter Cronkite made his famous remarks about the need for America to end the military action in Vietnam, he stood a great deal to lose.  It was a noble and courageous act on his part putting his reputation and career on the front line because of something he saw that was more important.

Perhaps today, in his years of retirement, he has less to lose in terms of economics. His livelihood is not at stake. Still, he has placed his reputation out on the line once again for what he sees as a greater good.

Cronkite has been a war correspondent. He’s seen a lot in his lifetime.  His words on the war in Iraq bear consideration by every American.

No doubt in the next few days, we well see White House officials questioning not only the wisdom of his remarks, but likely his loyalty and devotion to this country.  Courage comes in many colors.  Sometimes it is on the battlefield. Sometimes it is dissent. There are good reasons for dissent. It is not a sign of weakness or disrespect or disloyalty no matter what those bent on propagating this war say. Truths do count for something.

Cronkite: Time for U.S. to Leave Iraq

Walter Cronkite, a voice from the past, echoes a message from the past. Cronkite, who urged American after a CBS newscast on Feb. 27, 1968 - following the bloody Tet Offensive in Vietnam, to end the military mission also said that America should withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

Source

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Pale as my pants

The new morning brought with it a desire to feel better. Though I was out an about yesterday, my wife thought I was as pale as the khaki white slacks I had on. I am better today, but knowing I have tomorrow off, I will to take it easy and hopefully by Tuesday I'll be at or near 100%.

That hasn't kept me from writing and this morning I have toyed with a draft of a poem I did last night. It is coming along but still needs work. I've stopped to blog this bit and perhaps take a short break from it. If I can craft this into something this week, I'll be quite happy as I look back on the weekend from which it started.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

State of Poetry

Charles Mudede and James Latteier recently penned a bizarre piece in The Stranger that you may well have read. In short it was a diatribe about what is wrong with poetry today. I was amazed at their definition of poetry. Let's see, they said, "Poetry is the continued practice of poetry." You heard me right. It's one of those definitions from like a buck and a quarter notebook- insert dictionary. A self defining word. To this sentence they added, "This circular definition simply says that you can't start afresh." Start what afresh? What the fuck are they saying? New form? Good lord, poetry has been evolving since inception.

If we were going to have a "State of The Art of Poetry" address and discuss the current status of the art, I'm sure we could find plenty to bitch about. On the other hand I believe there is so much innovative writing being done today that is not even recognized.

Evidently Charles and James have an aversion to confessional poetry. That's fine. But they must surly realize that the confessional scene is not all that is out there. And some people still find well written confessional poetry to suit our taste.

What exactly are these two saying? Poetry is the practice of poetry? Good poems beget good poems? We should all mimic their concept of great poetry? There is nothing new under the sun that is good?

Given the negative tirade they have made on poetry in general, I believe they owe us a better description as to what poetry is to them.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Fighting The Sinus Thing

My head feels like a part of my brain is encased in concrete and the core is trying to throb inside the encasement. My throat is raw from sinus drainage. If you can't tell, I'm not feeling well.

For me feeling well is an absolute. Whereas being sick is all relative. That is because like so many males (if I may stereotype for a moment) I tend to resist the inevitable. There are degrees of sick. I may be sick, there is a chance I could be coming down with something but I am not there yet. I may be getting sick. I'm probably sick. I'm a wee bit sick. I'm sick. There are just so many degrees you can be before you are there. In the final analysis, I may damn well be on death's doorstep before I am actually "just plain sick."

So it is that I am going into work this morning but I will likely leave early. There are some important things that need to be done first. Then I'll check for a pulse and if I fine one, I'll go home. Maybe.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

All This

You
are my ribbon
that ties the lose ends

The bounce
that makes all
my hurdles

The
sound that
soothes and moves
my soul

You are the gentle mist
the succulent kiss
and the whimper of bliss

Scotsman.com News - Scotland - Edinburgh - Line of poetry to let tourists dial up facts on Fergusson

Scotsman.com News - Scotland - Edinburgh - Line of poetry to let tourists dial up facts on Fergusson


MOBILE phone technology is being used to beat planning restrictions on a plaque to Scotland's "forgotten poet" Robert Fergusson.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

City will have own poet laureate

St. Paul Pioneer Press 01/10/2006 City will have own poet laureate


The Minnesota governor vetoed a measure which would have created a state poet laureate. That didn't stop the people in Duluth, Minnesota. They will have their own poet laureate.

On Poets Being Relevant

My birthday now past, safely tucked away in slumber, not to be awakened for another year. Thanks to all well wishers.

Birthdays are a strange commodity. When young, we can't wait till the next one. Somewhere along the line that of course changes and we (or at least I) would be happy if they seemed not so frequent. The alternative is guess is not particularly appealing and I suppose it would be good to temper whatever negative attachments we (or I) have to them with the obvious reality. Having another birthday requires living. So, here's to living with all the joys and sorrows it brings and hope for more of the first and less of the latter.

Living it seems is a critical part of poetry. We hear so much about dead poets but they had to be alive at one point to be poets. And I do think that many poets have a more than casual focus on mortality. I know I do. But I don't think that is so much because I have a fixation on death, but a lust for life and I understand that the absence of one is the other. Further, reality is that we will all at some point be dead. So it is, that I measure much of life in the context of these two extremes.

I cannot offer any scientific evidence, but I have a gut feeling that on the average, poets are much more highly charged with emotion than the rest of the population. We see colors more vividly; we hear things that others miss. We witness both higher and lower realms of emotion with greater intensity. These of course are generalizations on my part, but they are opinions, which I hold. I try to accept that these are gifts. Yes, at times some of this may seem like a curse but on the whole it gives us a richer experience with which to share our world view, whether we are talking about the beauty of a trickle of water across the rockbed of a brook or the horrors of war.

There's a quote that I'd like to share which I believe deeply reflect my view of the poet and his or her duty. Salman Rushdi once said, "A poet's work: To name the unnamable, to point at frauds, shape the world and stop it from going to sleep." When I think about that quote several things happen. One is that it is good that most poets seem to experience the intensities of life. Another is that because of this gift we have an obligation or duty to share with the world. And to that end, the final thought is that poetry really does matter.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

NPR : When Ordinary People Achieve Extraordinary Things

NPR : When Ordinary People Achieve Extraordinary Things

Jody Williams is the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. For her efforts, she shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize with the Campaign. Williams previously worked to build awareness about U.S. policy toward Central America.

Inspiring story!

Birthday

So it's my birthday and my horoscope is as follows:

Doing a job properly takes more than hard work and concentration now, for you could also be required to juggle several balls in the air. Flexibility doesn't always come easily to you, but now it's the thing that will do you the most good. You may have to alter your plans and adapt to unexpected conditions on the job. Keep in mind that any task you start is likely to take more time than you planned. Smart thinking will get you further than extra effort.

And after reading this, I'm thinking.... what makes this different than any other day?

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. ~Chili Davis
~
Thanks to modern medical advances such as antibiotics, nasal spray, and Diet Coke, it has become routine for people in the civilized world to pass the age of 40, sometimes more than once. ~Dave Barry, "Your Disintegrating Body," Dave Barry Turns 40, 1990

Monday, January 09, 2006

Writers Contest for Kansas Writers

El Dorado Times


17th annual Kansas Voices Writing Contest. Check link for details

Possible

Stark white


opens




possibilities



we might
Never Understand

Love in a Bottle

If it were that simple.

Still one company is sporting love poems in a bottle for Valentines Day. The going price is $39.95 but a trial offer is $24.99 plus shipping and handling.

They offer dozens of both classic and modern poems - including the romantic verse of Shakespeare's Top Ten Love Poems along with the Top Ten Classic Love Poems for Men & the Top Ten Classic Love Poems for Women. Additionally there are modern poems by award-winning poets as well as short love poems and sad love poems in case you need to tell someone they broke your heart.

I suppose this must say something about the state of poetry in today's culture.


Saturday, January 07, 2006

On Journaling & Blogging

Thanks Cindy for getting the discussion going!

Saturday

A mixture of laziness and urgency makes for strange bed fellows. I feel urgency will win out and I suppose this is for the best. It is the more positive of the two virtues.

It must be my dry wit and the ear ring

HASH(0x8d4c308)
You are Sharon Olds, master of the everyday,
explorer of the female body and family.

Which 20th Century Poet Are You?
brought to you by

Friday, January 06, 2006

Belonging

I got up this morning
Dressed the part for work
But beyond that point
I was a crippled man
With a low depression
Which moved in from the west
To a stationary pattern overhead.
Beyond the rank and file
Masses of Herculean will
That do the work of necessity,
The golden men and women
Which made this country whatever it is,
I sit estranged from the social climate,
Lost between being unable and uncaring
That the only thing that keeps me going
Is the bottle of Prozac with the orange lid
So the rest of the family knows
It belongs to me, or I to it.


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The Red Room Company | Project | Toilet Doors

The Red Room Company Project Toilet Doors


Calling All Poets! Your Poems needed for the back of Toilet Doors.

Adding to the Sum of the Universe

"A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone's knowledge of himself and the world around him." ~ Dylan Thomas


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Thursday, January 05, 2006

We Missed

An ivory cup,
With remnants of black coffee
And a rich brown ring,
Sat alone,
Stone cold,
To say
You came,
Stayed,
Then left.
I’m sorry.



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Friends Of The CU Libraries To Host Information Day Jan. 12 | News Center | University of Colorado at Boulder

Friends Of The CU Libraries To Host Information Day Jan. 12 News Center University of Colorado at Boulder


Among other things - participents at this free event will get to see letters written by Anne Sexton, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain and Langston Hughes that are housed there.


Add a cup of imagination

Not all of what Emily Dickinson wrote was exactly straight forward. But how much more straight forward could you get then the:

"The Possible's slow fuse is lit
By the Imagination."~Emily Dickinson
This has to speak to the heart of every artist - not just poets or writers. Starting with a blank page staring back at you or a canvas... It is truly the imagination that lights that fuse of the possible. It is a necessary ingredient in the recipe of success for artists.
I am becoming more aware that my imagination has to be nurtured along and fed. It helps to be opened up to an environment that invites it to flourish. A scenic walk or drive, the right music, sometimes a quiet spot but other times not. Busy people on a crowded street can just a s well spark the fuse. My mind can be receptive even in a hectic environment if I allow myself to get into the mood. Free of a lot of the other mental process that normally goes on.
Imagination and persistence, I believe, are perhaps the two biggest ingredients of creative successes.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Choices

Approaching the cashier I’m asked, "paper or plastic?"
I’m a baby boomer- I’ve grown up liking choices.
I love Baskin-Robbins, the whole 31-flavor thing
Though I always get the same thing. I just like the choice.
Choices are good. Though sometimes confusing.
I struggle weighing the loss of trees with the use of synthetics.
When all the consternation is over, I’m a paper person
And say so. I’m careful to recycle and if worst happens
I can always write poems on the paper bags.
But what I don’t understand is what part of "paper please"
Says put everything in paper but the eggs. Or the milk.
It’s like they offer me a choice just so they can only partially
Grant my wish. Nine paper sacks later the guy asks,
"Did you want your eggs in plastic?"
You offer me a choice, I’m gonna be a man about it
And let you know what I want. I can handle it.
Don’t wimp out on me.

Independent Online Edition > Media

Independent Online Edition > Media

Good Lord do I need to learn some patience. This guy spends more than 40 years working on this piece of epic poetry work.

Journaling & Blogging

As I was journaling very early this morning I suddenly thought about journaling verses blogging. It occurred to me in the first instance that my journal could likely be the cause of death by boredom. Sometimes I suspect there are tid-bits that someone might find interesting. And I do these days, mix my journaling with many of my poetry first drafts, but it is likely the boredom would set in long before one found an interesting tid-bit.

Granted, I don't journal for the benefit of others. But blogging on the other hand has to be interesting or no one comes back a second or third or fourth time.

There are occasions when I may have a parallel theme running from a blog post and a journal entry but that is more often than not, the exception. So I am wondering about others who both blog and journal - and how they feel the two differ or not, as the case may be. Do you specifically have a different approach to your journaling and blogging? And what other characteristics are found in your journaling? Do you journal in first person? Always? How much self discovery do you find in journaling?

I know, I'm just about as bad as a toddler with all the questions today, but this is really bugging me.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Official Stick Poet - T now in "Poet Black"


The "Poet Black" official Stick Poet Superhero T
click here to order

The Woman

Sometimes the hush
Says so much more.
To see her in quiet
Is to hold her in awe

Of all that she is,
She need say nothing;
But when she speaks
This too opens up

A whole new realm
Of beauty. Still-
Sometimes the hush.
Hush!

Out with the old....

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."
~ T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

Missoulian: Global warming group turns to poetry

Missoulian: Global warming group turns to poetry

Here is an example of the use of poetry as a means of social change.


Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year! A wee bit belatedly

I read Christine Hamm's blog and was so impressed with the quantity of her post it shamed me into posting today. I am not suggesting the quality of her post is lacking, I always enjoy it...

So here I am. Having been off work for three days and I am finally posting!.

And a Happy New Year to everyone!

I ventured out into the public last night to read at the 2nd Annual Writers Place New Years Day Poetry Celebration. It was good to get out an read and among the six poems I read - three were new material.

I came home a brain stormed on subject matter last night and came up with some writing ideas that should keep me busy, off the streets and out of trouble for a week or two maybe more. Evidently the combination of the reading and the brain storm kicked me into gear because I went on to write last night and again this morning.

I was sad to learn last night that Joe Cecil, director of The Writers Place for the past two years is stepping down. The visibility of the organization has blossomed under his guidance.

Stepping into Joe's shoes is Will Leathem who is certainly not a new name in the local literary arena. I expect Will to bring a lot of energy to the organization as energy seems to follow him.

I heard the other day that the Northern California area was hit hard with rain and the Russian River was likely to flood. This of course caused me to think of Eileen and wonder if she was impacted by this. How could I have forgotten that she live high on a mountain? [whacking myself on the head] Even so, I picture her with reams of paper and cases of wine writing with the mania of Plath as the waters rise around the mountain... hee he.

Oh, thanks Jilly for letting us know that the Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel is out!