Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Giant Among Poets



It's exhilarating to be alive in a time of awakening consciousness; it can also be confusing, disorienting, and painful. ~ Adrienne Rich

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Confession Tuesday

Confession time again...

Dear Reader:

It's been another week since my last confession and here I am. What can I tell you about a week that on the surface seem pretty typical?

I can tell you that I'm I'm annoyed about a certain level of drama within a poetry group that I've been associated with over the years. I use the term associated with as opposed to belong to because  over he last several years I just felt  along with many of the good vibes here was some negative ones and I'm mostly interested in good Kama where my art is concerned. I confess that it's hard to want to belong to something that brings people down.

Having another poem accepted last week was an emotional boost. I cannot deny that it always feels good. But then I have to withdraw it from all he other venues that it's still pending in... I confess  (I shouldn' complain) this is always a part of writing that I dislike. The administrative stuff.  Submitting, withdrawing, tracking, etc. Yes I sound whiny~

It seems like we've all but missed spring. Things are so green already and we've had some relatively warm days. I confess it feels like baseball should be about a month and a half down the road instead of just starting.

Monday, March 26, 2012

As If We Need A Reason to Eat More Chocolate!

From Huffington Post Healthy Living - Chocolate Eating Linked To Lower BMI        

More on Rejection


When I think of rejection two things initially come to my mind... a child showing something to a parent, a teacher or some other adult that they are particularly wanting to share and being quickly dismissed. The other image that comes to my mind is s new salesperson at a sales meeting being told by a more experienced pro that being rejected in a sales pitch is just a part of the numbers. You must be rejected a certain amount of time before you make a sale.  

There seems like a very expansive divide between these two images. For starters there is no positive outcome for the rejected child. On the other hand, if you buy the goods (the argument the sales pro is making) at the sales meeting then you come to see that as unpleasant as it may be to hear no, it is an essential part of success. Yes, even the best Realtor, the top auto dealership, the biggest publishers are going to face rejection.  

Kelli Agodon who has a litany of publication credits, awards, grants won, etc. address her recent rejection blues in a both light hearted (she rarely fails to amuse moi) and yet thoughtful blog post earlier today. I don't know any writer, poet, or artist of any kind that doesn't relish accolades. Conversely, a rejection slip to a writer can be a very personal thing because it is often the cost of putting yourself out there. I've been through my share of slumps. After a flurry of acceptances one year I went the whole next year and then some with one rejection letter after another. It can feed doubt in yourself, in the very endeavor you have been undertaking.  

Kelli has reminded me something I really should be constantly aware of. In some of these dry spells I have actually reached points where I've asked myself why I even do this... why don't I just quit right now? So far when each of these negative thoughts have entered my mind I have in fact issued my own rejection and refused to quit. Is it the prize we write for or is it to flush out something on paper that takes guts? Is it publication credits or the birth of our art on a page?

I'm pretty sure I will sometime in the future swear off writing again - and yet very likely keep on keeping on. I think it's just something writers do. They don't have a choice.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Shameless Self Promotion

A poem of mine is up at Montucky Review.  A thank you to the Editors!  

To view the poem simply titled Sis, Click here

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Confession Tuesday

It’s been a week since my last confession. Come along and let’s get started on this week.

Dear Reader:

I have realized over the past week that I’ve been feeling good. Energy level is up and it’s been so long since I’ve felt like this (way back before Thanksgiving for sure) that it seems a bit scary.  Scary as in I fear the resurgence of some kind of illness. Probably some kind of exotic one like plummetodivanitis.  I confess I made that up but of course you surely knew that already. The truth is I’ve had so many boom-a-rang rebounds since Thanksgiving; I’m seriously worried that I’ll be back in bed on my back battling something as early as tomorrow.

Feeling better has worked well for me.  I’m less tense about work, about writing, about most everything and I firmly believe that my improved health is a big part of this as well as the absence of some routine stressors that are no longer a factor.

I’ve realized today that change is in the air. I confess that I don’t know any Capricorns that are especially fond of change and I of course would be one.  In the near future there will be some changes impacting foremost my wife, but certainly things at home as well. These are not necessarily bad things and I need to keep reminding myself of this.  No matter how things pan out, I need to be supportive of my wife to help make these changes easier for her as well.

Over the next week I will be making a decision on something that I have been toying with and I’m not going to go into detail here at this point but I confess that it is not an easy decision for me to make.  All I can say is the fact that I am feeling more energized will help make the decision a little easier.

I’m behind where I’d like to be with writing submissions for this point in the year. Hard to believe the first quarter is nearly over. Confessing here that I am not sweating it is important to me because I’ve felt way too lousy these first three months of the year to be on the top of my game when it comes to writing or the administrative stuff (submitting work) which I’ve come to dread.  I believe I will be able to double down and move swiftly into gear.

That’s all I got for the week. May the rest of yours be super!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

About Last Night

I want to give a shout out to Doug and Jalene Berger for the Third Friday Open Mics at Crossroads Coffee House in the Crossroads Arts District in Kansas City.

I read some of my own material last night, and as I like to do when I read out in public, I selected another poet and poem to introduce to the crowd. Last night I read Kelli Russell Agodon's poem Under The Covers We Find Jesus from her book, Letters From The Emily Dickinson Room.

Besides being owners of the coffee house, Doug and Jalene are a supporter of the Arts rotating artwork on their walls and of course supporting spoken word and poetry. I enjoy their coffee and I'm pretty picky about my coffee. They are located at 310 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, Mo 64108

An Irish Blessing for You...

Sign of the Times

Love this sign... it has gotten a lot of laughs around the courthouse. I realize these are tough times but forcing your car to get a job to make ends meet is taking things to a new level.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Heard any good metaphors?

"A thousand naked fornicating couples with their moans and contortions are nothing compared to a good metaphor." ~ Charles Simic, The Gettysburg Review, Winter 1995

Confession Tuesday - Sick No More Edition

Dear Reader:

It’s Tuesday evening and I’m supposed to do some soul searching so let’s hurry to the confessional.

It’s been a week now since my last confession. A week in which some sense of normalcy has begun to return to my body. I confess that the concept of feeling good has become an enigma of sorts because I don’t think I’ve really fell well since before Thanksgiving. The most recent health issue was the acquisition of influenza and I believe we’ve knocked that out and I’m getting stronger daily.  A public service announcement at this point… I had a flu shot this fall and evidently there is a sizable failure rate with the most recent vaccine.  Also worth noting if you live in Missouri the CDC indicates the flu is widespread.  A week or so ago it was the only state in the US that was highlighted red – the highest level.

I think when you’ve been sick off and on for about 4 months you kind of lose that feistiness that tends to get you in trouble.  As a result I don’t have any really exciting vices to report.  Though during the work drive this week my wife noted I must be feeling better because I was a bit cranky.  I didn’t know I had to feel good to be cranky but maybe it all fits together in with being feisty.

And this week, another positive sign is I’m starting to feel like my writing mojo is coming back.  I’m convinced that creativity is one of the first casualties of sickness.  I confess that my writing was starting to feel like a self fulfilling prophecy of failure.

I confess that I’ve eaten a sinful amount of Black Walnut ice cream this past week.  But on a positive note, I’ve remained true to my sacrifice of Diet Coke for lent. Coke shares must be plummeting (good time to buy) but they will be back on the rise come Easter.  Actually, I’m thinking I will not be as big a Coke drinker after this. We’ll see.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mag 108: Bobby Socks and Bare Knees

My memory of the neighbor girl
is burrowed in the back of my mind.
Tucked away all these years
this 7 year olds crush,
this awakening,
this curiosity,
maybe twice my age
definitely older

staked a claim on my thoughts
this afternoon—      why after all these years
do I recall the bobby socks and bare knees
how her flimsy dresses were forever
blowing in my psyche? 

How some cold mornings
her bare arms would grow goose bumps end to end.
I was hopelessly inquisitive about her;
she carried herself affable—  unlike any girls
my own age.  I didn’t even notice.

I knew nothing of pubescent girls at the time.
I only knew there was something different,
this one looked supple but sturdy
and even from a bicycle length
I could smell a difference.

Her father changed jobs
relocating to another area
that May.  I don’t recall
another girl for a long time.

Michael A. Wells

Magpie 108

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Romanticizing the Paper

"Though the middle ground may eventually disappear - paperback fiction, for example - the ongoing rise of ebooks should actually encourage the making of beautiful physical books. Readers want the volumes they keep on their shelves to be as striking and as sensory as possible. And so, while most publishers are racing to keep up with the conquest of the screen, the true mavericks may well be people who are doing something very old-fashioned very well."  More

When reading the passage above I feel almost a romantic atmosphere illuminating in the words. It does cause me to wonder more about the future of books than perhaps any prognostication of the future or any pontification from the many already sold on electronics publications that I've read in the past couple of years about the future of books. Could there be a resonance in hard back books around the corner?  
I’ve made it pretty clear in past blog posts that I like my books with real pages.  I do have an e-reader on my phone and I have both a Kindle for PC and Nook for PC on my laptop.  I don’t use them a lot and I suppose one reason is that I don’t like to pay the price of a book for a digital file.  It’s a hang-up, yes.  I will admit it, but it remains a fact. One that I have had since day one of my introduction to e-books and it hasn’t eroded any that I can tell.
There are plenty of people that for one reason or another have trouble accepting e-books, I run across them routinely.  I suspect that at some point many of these hold outs, myself included may soften to e-books, but for many of us e-readers are not the novelty that they are for others.  I know this because while I’ve been easily drawn to many electronic gadgets this hasn’t happened where e-readers are concerned.
If and when I do gravitate more towards acceptance, I can tell you that I am likely to find the real novelty will be in that which still has paper pages to turn.  So will there become a cottage industry for those small presses that turn out books in smaller numbers in hardback?  Will the future choice be to order an e-book or a hardback?  Will most books be published as e-books and then after being out a while the really successful ones go to hardback, a sort of reverse of the traditional publishing paradigm?

Unless we read poetry

"Unless we read poetry, we"ll never have our hearts broken by language, which is an indispensable preliminary to a civilized life." ~Anatole Broyard - The New York Times

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Confession Tuesday -

Dear Reader:
It’s that time again.  Time when I look all inward at myself and talk to you about what’s been going on.  So let’s shuffle ourselves into the confessional.
I confess that I’ve given up Diet Coke for lent and so far there have been no casualties.  I’ve actually been doing very well about it. Perhaps being off work sick for a week may have helped. I was certainly distracted where consumption of food and drink was concerned.  Did pretty good with water intake like a good little patient.
I had the flu… and this in spite of the fact that I received a flu shot in the fall. I confess that I was grumpy about that fact. Hey, I did my part!
I’m in the mood for St Patrick’s Day and corned beef and cabbage!  I confess that I am especially fond of corned beef and cabbage. Oh, and potato’s too. I love hose little Yukon Gold ones. I could eat corned beef anytime and honestly I would love to have it more often.  This time of year I usually buy two and throw the second in the freezer. Sometimes we tap into it the next week and other times we will no eat it till much later in the year.  Now I’m totally hungry! I guess that will do it for now. See you all next week when I share all my dirty little secrets that I don’t really have.

Please Do Me Right Now....

Could not resist this  Credit:

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Meg: 107: What Phobia?

image by Sarolta Ban

He hides his nervousness behind a Mercurochrome mask
feels the grittiness of a public humiliation just the same
with no particular reason that he can articulate.

It's just the size of everything is so outlandish.
The rivers of mascara that flow like lava.
Mars and Jupiter staring him down.

What phobia should he choose
as he recoils from it all?

He has become the two legged atom
randomized and feeling underfoot
an ant fleeing as the real world trudges on.

Michael A. Wells

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Magpie 106: Canned Art

photo credit: Bob Adelman, 1965

Through the eye's prism
rows upon rows of Avant-Garde
a canned future 
handy in a missile crisis - 
it's all good- art saves!

Cut into it if you must.
Preserved for generations
to come - taste it - um good!

Michael A. Wells

Writer's Anguish

Daniel Kalder writing in the Guardian takes on the matter of writers who self-censor in a fascinating piece that opened my eyes with a bit of history about many authors who have penned work that they subsequently destroyed rather then all publication or in some instances sought and failed to keep the material from seeing the light of day.

Examples of writers and their anguish over what might be published and in the instance of Nikolai Gogol one has to wonder if his decision to burn his work was not more anguish then he could take as he stopped eating and died.

I generally have though of self-censorship more in terms of having ideas or simply general topics I am too uncomfortable to write about. I know these can be sources of great anguish and maybe at times hamper a writer from perhaps moving their work from say one level to something more profound. Maybe it isn't so much a specific idea or topic that would make that extraordinary piece but just having something, anything holding back is like putting a stopper in a bottle.

Interesting article - read it here.

Friday, March 02, 2012

On Being a Poet

"Being a poet is like having an invisible partner. It isn't easy. But you can't live without it either. Talent is only 10 percent. The rest is obsession." ~ Selma Hill, Contemporary Women's Poetry, 2000

Foreign Friday

It's a sad thing when you are writing a post for your blog and you feel like a visitor to it. I've been away from here a week and I also feel like I've been away from the life in general for a week.  I've been sick and off work all week but should return on Monday after a followup doctor's appointment.

Things that somehow feel foreign to me....

  • Eating.  I should lose a ton of weight but I know I probably won't.  I've had days where all I ate was a bowl of Cheerios. One day it was a bottle of Glucerna. Another it was simply two eggs. Last night I had a small stake portion and some corn [the corn was the best part] and my wife must have thought I was pathetic.  Part of it has been at time no appetite, but even when not my blood sugar numbers have been elevated substantially during this illness and that has caused me to be cautious about intake.
  • Writing. I've done none other then attempting to make a journal entry which if I recall I left hanging in mid sentence.
  • Poetry.  I'm separating Poetry from Writing here only to demonstrate the magnitude of impact. The couple of times I would think about writing poetry it seemed I became nauseous feeling. I'm not saying I've suddenly fallen out of love with poetry just that my whole cycle-of-life thing has been tremendously impacted.
  • TV. I seem to be able to tolerate it only in smaller doses.
  • Shaving. This is not unusual for me when I'm sick as I generally will not shave when I'm under the weather.
  • Driving. It's been a few days now.
As I wrap this post up, I look outside and snow if falling crazyassed hard. Our grass was already greening and now this.