Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Help for Victims of Hurricane Sandy

In the aftermath of the devastation created by Hurricane Sandy this week here are some reputable alternatives for offering help to those in need. These links go directly to the sites of the individual charities.

  1. The Humane Society of the United States' Animal Rescue Team is assisting animals and people in the wake of Hurricane Sandy's destruction, and is prepared for ongoing disaster relief after this historic storm. Click here.
  2. Catholic Charities Responds to Hurricane Sandy - Click here.
  3. New York Cares - Click here
Always be cautious of scams by those posing as raising money for charities.  Best be is to deal with the an individual charity that has a reputation of assisting. Verify information before you give. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Giants Win the World Series - but still....

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. - Bart Giamatti

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Worst Enemy to Creativity

"And By the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." - Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath 80 years later-

Today is the birthday of Sylvia Plath. Plath is perhaps one of the first poet that caught my attention in such a way to interest me in poetry as an avocation. There were poets who I found interesting prior to Plath (Frost for example comes to my mind) but it was Plath that first really spoke to me about the power of language in such a way that I wanted to experience first hand that rich trans-formative process that occurs when one's mind and soul battle in an inner discourse to find the right words for the page.

Ted Hughes once said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that he believes she never failed to finish a poem. She may have started with one idea and ended up somewhere else entirely (who hasn't) but she was seriously driven to by her writing. From biographies and her own journals I know that she was constantly alert to the world around her for - looking for material for her next poem.  I believe this was very much a part of her brilliance. I would say that she lived a poet's life; always a poet in the moment. I believe this is one positive  lesson that writers can take from Sylvia's life.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


"There was a time
only certainty gave me
any joy. Imagine -
certainty, a dead thing ."

Louise Gluck  -  Ripe Peach - from The Seven Ages winner of the Bollingen Prize 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hofstra Debate

There we were captives
caught in the vice of heated debate
over our future -

Two grown men-
more or less- and Candy
Crowley in a smack down.

If I even considered going for the frig
or my singing bladder
that all ended in spontaneous intrigue

as Mitt's secret weapon was unveiled
to millions of Americans.  Take that Mr. President!
Do you have binders of women?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Confession Tuesday - Loitering Edition

Dear Reader:

It's Tuesday and I'm going to pull over and quickly unload my confession. It's been one week and I don't exactly know where this is going but I hope I'm not going to be impound.

I confess that I will be one of those watching the Presidential Debate tonight. I also confess that I am not among the undecided. There probably isn't much either candidate could do to change my mind at this point. These two candidates are going to govern from such opposing philosophical views that the decision is not even a close one. I could talk about those and maybe I will between now and the election but I'd rather keep politics out of the confessional. ;)

I've been working with a writing coach for the past three weeks now.  While I've been putting in more writing time it occurred that I have been journaling less. I confess I don't know if this is good or bad. It's at least good that I'm writing more.

My phone has been giving me fits lately. It's a Blackberry and I've had it for quite some time. I've gotten a lot of good out of it but I have actually thought that wen I replace it I might try an iPhone  I confess I've never been excited about iPhone  There is no craze here. One of the few things that I dislike about my Blackberry is that I can't use Instagram.  But there are other options I know. In fact my daughter Meghan switched to a Galaxy III and I admit I've watched a lot of commercial feeds on this phone and quite frankly it's awesome. I confess that I don't care for the thickness of it. It seems perilously fragile but then the iPhone seems that way too.

My Giants were awesome in the Red's series. After falling behind 2 games to none at home they traveled to Cincinnati and needing to will three in a row they did just that. I confess I believe they can take the Cardinals and win the NLCS. This team has a lot of young talent that just doesn't ever stop believing. They are split a game each as they move the St Louis to play game three tomorrow.

Well, it's about time for the debate and I haven't been ticketed and towed yet so I gonna split.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Mag: Paranormal

Midnight Snack - Curtis Wilson Coast - 1984

The stomach pings
which I ignore. I can
stumble over time 
lost in quiet darkness.
But when the growl comes
heat engulfs the region;
I sit up in flames of hunger.
The body answers 
where the mind holds back.
A light switch finds my hand.
The kitchen acknowledges me
but I will wake in the morning
and know nothing of this.

Michael A. Wells

The Mag 139

A Star!

After a couple days of rain and overcast skies our closest star the Sun has been located. This is of comfort.

The air remains a bit chilled. I can handle this, but I probably won't spend much time in the outdoors anyway. I should (heavy emphasis) get in a walk today. I will try to make time for it. 

As winter is coming I'd like to get our treadmill upstairs and in working order. It's belt has moved cattywampus. I need to be walking at lest three times a week and eliminating anything that creates an obstacle would of course be beneficial. 

I've been writing a lot more. Or at least more focused writing. I've actually been journaling less as a result of concentrating on the more creative.  Speaking of focus, I need to get busy because I've got a number if things I need to accomplish today and there is the Giants playoff that I will have to squeeze in as well. Sunday's always have a sadness about the finality of the weekend. How to I make that go away? 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Confession Tuesday

Dear Reader:  It's been one week since my last confession. A week that saw me hall all the plants inside as the temperatures dropped.

This past week I got a lot of writing done. Over 7 hours and that's actual writing and re-writing drafts... not including journaling or blogging stuff. I confess that I had distractions to deal with but I meet them and worked through. (insert pat on back)  I actually did feel frustrated at times so maybe the pat isn't deserved, but then I did surpass the previous week's writing.

I've decided that I need an art date really soon.  I saw a quote the other day that really hit home with me. I'm sorry to say at the moment I cannot recall the person to give proper credit to but I will try and find it later. For now I'm paraphrasing it... Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. I confess that disturbed rather then comfortable seemed to describe me much of this past week. So I'm feeling especially needy of an art date. I'm pretty certain that it would not hurt my writing one bit.

I am sort us upping the ante on my writing for the rest of the year. I confess that I am in a driven sort of energy mode and I want to keep it up because the fall and winter time of the year are generally tough on my emotions. I'm hopeful that I can channel that into more positive successes in my writing by staying committed and being more focused.

There you have it. Everyone go in peace and I'll be back next Tuesday with another round of confessions. I promise!

Your Brain on Jane Austen

Fascinating NPR story on the question,"If neuroscience could inform literature, could literature inform neuroscience?"  It was found that close reading activated unexpected areas: parts of the brain that are involved in movement and touch. It was as though readers were physically placing themselves within the story as they analyzed it. The whole NPR story HERE.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Emily Dickinson Poetry to Music

My initial sampling of this was I thought spot on as far as tone and delivery. It's an interesting artistic collaboration and it makes me wonder what Emily might think of it all. The songs are the work of Israeli singer-songwriter Efrat Ben Zur. Check it out on BRAINPICKING

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Writing and Family Response


I saw this and it stood out like flickering neon. So, naturally I was drawn to read it. [FULL INTERVIEW HERE] The bonus was it's an interview with a poet whose work I greatly admire. 

Mary Biddinger tackles the anxiety that many poet have over family response. I'm not talking about criticism of the quality of one's writing - that could be another whole blog post.  Biddinger talks about the tendency to view what poets have written as autobiographical which can often lead to family and friends reading the poet into the poem literally or perhaps thinking they have been drug into the poem too. Hurt feelings, uncomfortable assumptions. Things less likely to plague an aspiring fiction writer then poet. 

Mary has notion as to what is partly to blame for this problem. It's also interesting to hear her perspective on all of this because she is teaches literature and poetry writing on a University level so she has experienced students who deal with this kind of anxiety but also has the personal contrast of growing up in an art rich family environment that understands the connection of artist to art. 

It's an interesting read. Speaking of which I can't wait to read her next volume of poetry due out this month titled O Holy Insurgency.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Confession Tuesday - Goose Egg Edition

Dear Readers: It’s been one house color change, one closet clean-out, one crawl space clean-out, one week of writing with another poet’s coaching, another week of Mod Po class and one poem acceptance for publication since my last confession.

 Let’s head to the confessional, shall we? 

Ah, much is going on. In addition to all this there is my day job which has been demanding as usual. I confess that many days it is noon or one o’clock before I realize it. This is usually a pretty good thing because the work can at times seem long and intense. I always appreciate it when I realize that I’m already on the downhill slope to quitting time.

 We are painting our home. Or having it painted is more precise since I’m not dancing on a ladder and flailing my arms about trying not to fall and break my neck or other body parts. I came home last night to see the color for the first time, at least the base color. I confess that I had no idea what color it would be. We have known the painter for years. He did the last painting some 10 years ago. Then we close the colors. We had to budget this since we also needed to do some repairs and keep within budget. We were told that leaving some flexibility would allow the painter to get us a better deal on the price of the paint. Of course that required some degree of trust. What I saw last night I liked.

There has been a lot of activity at home this past week, movement both inside and outside the house. Not the most conducive environment for creative work. I confess that I've fared relatively well all things considered. While not painting, I've done a lot of stuff on the inside of the house. Some others have been more busy then I but all the while there has been commotion. I confess I would love a week of normalcy if such a thing exists. Oh wait… the commotion has been normalcy for us. (Sigh)

I went to listen to a friend of mine read at the Writers Place on Friday. I confess I had not seen Amy in quite a while. It was nice to catch up with her. She is an awesome poet and sometimes when I’m looking to jump-start myself when I’m at a wall in my writing there are several poets that I like to keep a copy of their work close at hand because if I read a poem or two it always reminds me of what’s possible. Amy is one of these poets. Sometime soon I’ll do a special post on poets who inspire me.

I confess that I have NOTHING out in the world being considered. How this happened I don’t know. I cannot ever recall a time since I began submitting work years ago that I had nothing under consideration. I usually get a rejection or an acceptance and have several others pending and promptly shoot work off elsewhere. Getting an acceptance over the weekend I updated my submission tracker and realized with this acceptance I had no more outstanding submissions I was waiting on. I confess this feels like a major lapse. Like you missed an important payment or something… How could this happen? Well I shall get at least one off tonight. I won’t feel right if I don’t.