Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Confession Tusday - The Blonde Edition

It’s been one week since my last confession and I’m in a rush so let’s get to the confessional.
Dear Reader,
Yesterday, during the morning drive, I stopped at Quick Trip for a Diet Coke. My daughter, Shannon was with me because her car was being serviced. She ran inside with me and was getting a coffee (I take not responsibility for her taste in coffee) and I confessed to her that, “I had a Starbucks’ Blonde over the weekend.”  Shannon looked a little puzzled and said, “I’m not sure I’m following you.”  Realizing the duality of meaning I quickly acknowledged that I had not tried the blonde barista but rather their new light roast coffee. I suddenly realized this could have been confusing to Shannon since I normally enjoy my coffee to be a rich dark roast variety.  She has actually been so busy of late she knew nothing of the new Starbucks blend.  Actually for a dark roast kind of guy I found the new blend very palatable. I think I would consider buying it in whole bean to make at home since I usually make everything espresso strength at home anyway.
As you can likely tell if you read my earlier Journal Bits post that I’m fighting with a bunch of creative dead weight. I confess this has me in a bit of a funk and it’s been going on for several weeks now. It has started to affect my mood on a much broader level then just as it relates to my writing. In fact it has me so upset that I have tended to write less the past few days then trying to push though it by writing on.  I can’t seem to allow myself to write crap and yet I confess that I know I should just keep on working through it.  I write for twenty minutes and look at it and throw my hands in the air and pitch my journal off to the side or if I’m on the laptop just stop and fold up in frustration.
Before I get any more frustrated I’m going to call it quits on this confession.

Journal Bits

Journal Entry for Tuesday, January 31, 2012:  The ability to be receptive to some broader interpretations of even the most common events and things around me seems to have died and I’m lugging this dead body around inside of me.  I don’t know if it succumbed to some disease, died from lack of nutrition or just plain apathy— all I know is it is like dragging around dead weight that has not an ounce of creative spark alive within it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Morning Check-in

Here I am, Saturday morning a black coffie on the right and a Diet Coke chaser awaiting on the left. It's been a week and then some all crammed into the past six days.

I've not selpt well, especially the past two nights - but not really at all that well any of the rest of the week.  Busy at work, and brought work home two nights.  Burned 5 hours of vacation time on Friday simply because I was at my max and there was really nothing relaxing about those hours.  As I watch two dogs curled up on my bed I think wow - this human stuff is exhausting.  But alas, they are about to be disturbed as I need to strip the bed clothing and wash it. They are not gonna like this!

Made a quick run to the store earlier and while I was out grabbed a glass of Starbucks Blonde. It's the first I've tried it and considering I am really into dark roast it was risk trying it but I wanted to see what it was like. It was not bad and I could see myself trying it again, especially since I almost always make my coffee at home espresso strength. 

I've been wanting to set down and do an arount the Internet look at some interesting things in the poetry and writing department that I've run across this week. Maybe you've alrady seen many of them but if not these are things worth reading.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Creativity is...

"Creativity is not the finding of a thing but the making something out of it after it is found." – James Russell Lowell

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Confesson Tuesday

Another week has passed. How does this happen? Who authorizes it? Do I get any say in the matter? Evidently not  **sigh** but I guess it’s happening to everyone else so—  Oh well **another sigh**
If you were hoping for some juicy admissions I’m probably going to let you down, but I’ve let people down before.  But I suppose you came to eavesdrop on my confession so let’s get started.  
Dear Reader:
It’s been a week of highs and lows for a 49er fan. Somewhere in all of that I’m reminded why I like baseball better then football. Like life itself the baseball season has its highs and lows but all he while the curve moves slower. The season, even he post-season is about endurance and unfolds with a bit more grace. If things go well it’s more like building to a crescendo but that can be just as exciting.  So yes, I confess that I was disappointed by the outcome of Sunday’s 49ers playoff game.

Last night I installed a new door lock and what the box said was a 5 minute job was something more like 35 minutes. I confess I was no pleased with myself. Of course anything that involves building or rebuilding, installing or fixing is not my forte. If you could make a cottage industry out of gambling on my fix-it qualities (which is an oxymoron itself) you could make a killing off betting it will take me a long time to finish.

So Paula Deen has diabetes. I confess I am not surprised that the Queen of Butter has the big D.  Did no one else see his coming?  I lunched with some people last week that were outraged that she has known for some 3 plus years and still pushed her unhealthy recipes on us all. What was she thinking they asked? Un… the big M!
My creativity seems to have been stifled of late. I confess that last night I work up feeling I had to write though I didn’t’ know what to write. So I turned on a light and simply did a journal entry. Hey, it’s writing!
That’s it for this week…. be safe and be happy!

Taking a moment to pay tribute to a courageous woman

Gabrielle Giffords this week announced she was stepping down from her Congressional seat.  Her final day as a Congresswoman was spent the day with Tuscon, Arizona constituents including many survivors of the horrific day in which she and many others were gunned down. Giffords is taking time to devote to her ongoing recovery.     Read story

Monday, January 23, 2012

12 Books You NEED On Your Bookshelf

My wife sends me this link over the weekend to  a Huffington Post article about 12 books (classics) you need on your bookshelf.  I'd be interested to know what others think of this list.  Agree? Disagree? Any you would swap out for another book?  Let me hear some chatter...

The mystery of poetry editing:

The mystery of poetry editing: from TS Eliot to John Burnside

If one poet edits another, whose work is it? In the week that John Burnside won the T S Eliot Prize, Sameer Rahim investigates the unseen hands behind that most personal and mysterious of literary forms.   Read story

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday Poetry Quote

"Only poetry recognises and maintains the centrality of absolutely everywhere." Les Murray, Krino no. 18, 1995

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Poetry Quote

"A writer who keeps a personal diary uses it to record what he knows. In his poems or stories he sets down what he doesn't know." ~ Adam Zagajewski

Confession Tuesday

Since I was off yesterday for MLK day today dosen't seem like Tuesday but I know it to be so because I made a lot of note on my planner page for today. An since it's Tuesday I must head to the confessional and you're welcome to come along.

Dear Friends:

It's been countless Diet Cokes, one Chiropractic adjustment, one Scrabble victory over my wife, one $2 movie and a week since my last confession.

This week it seems like my wife and I have had more time together than normal. This has been really nice. We played Scrabble one night, went to the movies and of course watched some of the normal TV that we often do. But Cathy has also had time do work on her beading. Something that she has not had time to do for quite some time. I confess that I've enjoyed writing and working on various things and being able to look up and there she is beading. She finds it so relaxing and I love it when she is able to utilize her creativity, I love it when anyone does.. but especially knowing someone else in the family is into an art form.

While my birthday was last Tuesday - it's been kind of strung out. Tomorrow our office is going out to lunch for my birthday. One night after work I got to go spend some money on books that I wanted. On Sunday I had a piece of German Chocolate cake... one of my favorites. Tonight I had a card in the mail from an aunt. I confess this has seemed like a birthweek. Isn't that a cool idea? Celebrating someone's birthweek?

My youngest daughterhas been in Arizona between 3 and 4 years. She received a jury duty summons in the mail today. I confess that I have tried my best that she must come back to serve or explain what she should be excused. She laughed but isn't buying it. Not that she would not want to...I think she is so ready to move - somewhere if not here. I confess I'm praying daily for here.

I confess that I finally got some work submitted over the weekend. More planned for this week. It's cool, I'm not stressing. At least not about about submissions anyway.

I confess my Klout score went up 2.96 points in the past 7 days. I confess not long ago I had no idea what Klout was and yet I had some.

Do you know what your Klout score is? Do you know what Klout is about?

Until next week... stay safe!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Poetry Quote for Monday

"After a certain age, a poet's main rival is the poet he used to be." - William Logan Paranus 27, nos. 1 & 2

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Poetry Quote of the Day

"A good erotic poem will express desire, incite desire" - Smita Agarwal, Poetry Review, Winter 2000-2001

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Poetry Quote of the Day

"Trying to write a good poem is like running off a cliff to see if you can fly. Most of the time you can't, but every once and a while something happens." ~Marvin Bell - The American Poetry Review, January-February 2003

Friday, January 13, 2012

Knife Edge...

"A poem that does its work must stand on the knife edge of yes and no. The last line of a poem should have both the yes and the no in it, that's what makes it complex." Dorianne Laux - The Kansas City Star - January 28, 2001

Reading these words from Dorianne Laux spoke to my partiality for poetry that encompasses dissonance; that grand internal conflict. To me, this is the richest poetry of all.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Poet's Mailbag

This week the mail man brought several writing related items...  My recollection is a subscription advertisement for the Writer's Chronicle and a flyer with upcoming classes at the Writers Place.  Seems there may have been something else.

Yesterday, I received the first rejection letter of the year. It was electronic but contained a personal note that read," Dear Michael, I just wanted you to know that your poems made it to the final round of consideration. Sorry to say no this time. Do try us again during our fall reading period..."   If you are going to get a rejection letter there is a certain comfort in knowing your work stayed alive in the consideration for a while. Seriously - it helps to look at your submission and think what if anything you might have done different or consider perhaps a different journal as a better fit. In this particular case I did feel good about this particular submission. You know how sometimes you send something out and for days later you have regrets...  this one never was that way.

Anyway, may the postman and e-mail bring good news in the week ahead!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Confession Tuesday - Birthday Edition...

Dear Reader:  If it's Tuesday, this muse be my confession.

Yes, my friends, I confess this is my birthday.  I will not however confess my age.  But for the record, I sometimes feel older then our nation. Sometimes when the knees get cranky I feel older then dirt!  But today, not so. Today, I'm embracing the philosophy that I'm as young as I feel and I refuse to be my age.

I confess that I was pretty overwhelmed this morning that an attorney on our staff baked a birthday cake for me and brought it into the office. Our staff works damn hard during the day and the thought that one of them would go home after a long hard day and take the time to do this was incredible to me.

My wife and I stopped on the way home from work and had BBQ at Benny's.  It was just the two of us and it was nice and relaxing. Then home and took in a couple of TV programs we like and peeked off and on at the NH primary returns.

I confess that by this time last year I had sent out something like 8 submission packets and this year I've not sent out a single one during the new year. I need to because the number of outstanding submissions has dwindled down to single digits. Still, in spite of the fact I hope to send out more this year then last, I am not stressing. No, I am perfectly calm. I've got some places in mind and in relative short order I intend to start kicking them out. If I haven't by next Tuesday, then I might start stressing.

So there you have it. A year older but staying cool!  I'm feeling comfortable in my Capricorn digs!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Magpie Tales - poem: Untitled

Utilitarian art

boxes in Duffy square.

Girders and panels rise

poking the Troposphere.

Windows offer a glimpse

of ground life—

crisscross traffic,

news barkers,

theater goers,

Father Duffy at attention;

Yul Brenner glares—

have you bought your tickets?

Michael A. Wells


Journal Bits From The Past Weerk

January 1, 2012 - a list of some words to draw from in writing later today:
  • envelope
  • transparent
  • drowning
  • revenge
  • realized
  • absence
  • pinnacle
  • trolley
  • echo
  • ordinary
  • daybreak
  • humming
  • pale
  • crevice
January 3, 2012 - Important to establish very strong routine in a lot of things that I do and writing is but one of them... that requires discipline on my part.

What are the chances that I could crack into _a certain literary journal_ this year?  ... I could move on to another goal - seek another level of success for my work.

January 4, 2012 - Last night I did not do my scheduled write so I need to make up for it tonight.

January 6, 2012 - the sky is a reflection of a coral reef / the soon setting sun offers / a peachy-pink take on them / it's Friday and work is left behind / ahead the lanes merge into a spinal / tension - if only I was headed home / but the sunset should be behind / and we drive into it...

January 7, 2012 - I almost sent a poem off today I've submitted elsewhere but I though about it just before I emailed it and decided against it becuse I would rather it find a home someplace I've already sent it and decided to be patient and allow for that possibility.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Thought for the Day

People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the best part of the mind.  ~ William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Confession Tuesday - the Late Edition

Dear Reader:  I put the trash on the curb this morning and therefore I know I missed the first Confession Tuesday of the New Year.  As a result, here I stand humbled by my lapse but ready to make amends.
I confess that I usually write the old year on things for weeks into the New Year but have not done so once yet. Do you think this is a sign I was so ready to be done with 2011?  I may be off on my days (Monday seemed like Sunday since we had it off therefor today should be Tuesday but Thank God It’s Not!) but I do know this is a whole different year!
I confess that I have my sights on publication in a specific Journal this year. I won’t divulge which one… Actually I have several in mind, but one in particular that I’d like to see my work in and no; its initials are not N.Y.  What I have my sights set on would be a big step for me but not that big!  I am realistic if nothing else.
I confess my Iowa GOP predictions were slightly off last night. I anticipated Ron Paul winning by a squeaker when in fact he was 3rd by a squeaker.  I also told one of my associates I didn’t expect the GOP turnout to be any higher then 4 years ago.  Again, wrong.  They were slightly ahead of 4 years ago in terms of participants. Still, it was no the massive turn out that many suggested.   I confess that all my direct Iowa political experience is on the Democratic side and that as far as the Republicans are concerned it has only been as a keen observer.
I’m not real big on New Year Resolutions because I kind of feel they are doomed to failure from the start.  I’ve got a few goals for the year and that is how I refer to them. I confess this makes them seem manageable. I do think the New Year affords us magnificent opportunity annually.  It’s like opening day in baseball. The clock is reset and everyone (theoretically) is on par. For one day everyone is tied for first place regardless of advantages, payroll or handicaps and the race begins. It even smells fresh – like the cut grass on the field.  I always have felt baseball, life and poetry are interchangeable metaphors.  Hey, I’m a Capricorn and a romantic. What did you expect?  

Monday, January 02, 2012

Mag 98 / Poem: A Reminder

The bent elbow
slows progression-
force builds
pushing the river
over and beyond  

the banks like claws
snag what is delivered
from upstream

when the anger
has burnt itself out
the raging water fading
to original dignity-
scattered on banks
remain the wrath

Michael A. Wells

Magpie 98

Sunday, January 01, 2012


A white knuckled fist
griping at the question

         bloodletting – leaches

cryogenic reality 

brittle regions of home
lessons of melodious rambling
in hurtful octaves 

breaches – unfurled platitudes
 transparency at daybreak

Happy New Year!

I was so ready for 2011 to be over with. It s could not even limp onto the a list of my favorite years. Do I have expectation that next year will be better?  I can hope, but expectation is a pretty definitive word.

I've Prepared a list of some things I want to do in 2012.  They are specific, measurable in terms of success or failure.  Here is my list so far to the kick the year (in no particular order):

  • Read the book The War of Art.
  • Send 112 poetry submissions out.
  • Clean and reorganize my home office.
  • Clean the garage.
  • Finish draft of manuscript.
  • Schedule weekly writing time at least on week in advance

From a writing standpoint I suppose I have to acknowledge I had more publication successes then 2010. That said, there is plenty of room for improvement in writing and everything else.

I hope everyone else has a spectacular year.



thought for the day on writers

And a little humor to kick off the new year...

There is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized or even cured. The only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private and where food can be poked in to him with a stick.   ~   Robert A. Heinlein