Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Confession Tuesday - GOP Debate Edition

Dear Reader & Friends:

It's been two weeks, a lot of diet pop and one Mom's Demand Change rally and a GOP Presidential Debate since my last confession.

Yes, while I am not exactly a mom I joined a number of others in Kansas City on Sunday to rally against gun violence. I was not the only male among the group. But I have to tell you there are some very dedicated women in this group. It was very rainy as we assembled on a major boulevard with signs, candles, and resolve. Some of the many drivers honked horns and gave us thumbs up signs, but I confess not everyone was happy. Some fellow came over to us with his closed umbrella in hand - waving it all about in the air and got into the face of a woman next to me. He was belligerent and told us to go to our own neighborhoods. He complained about the honking. I asked him to step back. He said he was a veteran - then added a Vietnam veteran and told the woman and the rest of us to leave. I thanked him for his service and reminded him that we were on a public thoroughfare. The barked at us that he was "public" again getting in the woman's face. I asked him to step back and give her room - he finally went across the street and ripped a sign out of another lady's hands. We stayed on about a half hour and broke up without any further incidents.

Just a short while ago I finished watching the GOP Presidential Debate. I am not bragging, in fact I confess that I feel a little like I sacrificed a bit of my sanity for what I don't know.  I guess being a civic minded person comes with a loss of some brain cells.  A couple of interesting side notes (or not)

  • I believe it was Rand Paul who mentioned Governor Chris Christie's New Jersey Bridge closing to inconvenience his opponents.  Given the amount of  time tonight devoted to terrorism I have to say I did not see that coming.
  • Governor Jeb Bush took off his gloves hit Trump on several instances (unfortunately, not literally) 
  • Someone, and I believe it was John Kasich, who mentioned punching Russia in the nose. Of course I suspect he may have meant metaphorically, but maybe not.
  • Building a wall was mentioned several time. Gun Safety did not come up even once. (No shock there, there are all NRA patsies.
  • Rand Paul said maybe undertaking a police of regime change was not good foreign policy. (Ya Think?!)
  • Carly Fiorina acknowledged she had been called the B word a few times. I'm not sure how that qualifies her for the office but okay.  She also knows lots of CIA and FBI people. She made it almost sound like she knew them on a personal level. Very personal.
  •  Ben Carson was, well, Ben Carson. Each debate he not only seems less presidential but less like a neurosurgery. He talked about looking into little kids eyes when he was talking about  their impending surgery. Somehow this related to a question about if he could carpet bomb Syria including little innocent children.
  • Trump was Trump. What can you say. If you are Muslim he has a target on you. On your whole family for that matter.
  •  Cruz is Trump light. 
  •  Rubio and Paul spared. Mostly it was about what each did in the Senate. John Kasich went 
  • after Trump and Ben Carson but mostly he looked he was doing karate chops with his hands.

 Who won? Hell if I know. Bush may have actually landed the best responses throughout the debate.

 Trump was largely a buffoon but he has always been that and continues to get support.

The American people were definitely not winners. These are some scary people. Hateful, Reckless, Narrow minded for the most part. They have a poor recollection of history. 

There, I have summarized it for you to spare you the madness. If you watched it too, then I feel for you.

Until next time, Good Night, God Bless, and stay sane.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Confession Tuesday - Four Days Writing & Dog Sitting

Dear Reader:

It's been three weeks, one 4 day weekend, numerous days of rain (lost count), one submission packet,  and 4 days of intense reading and writing since my last confession.

Pictured on the right is Tug. Tug is one of my son's three dogs. Because of Thanksgiving, I had a four day weekend last week. During that period I was dog sitting for Tug and two other dogs of my son. This was also a planned writing and reading period and it turned out to be one with positive results. I confess that when I dog sit for my son I almost always commit that time to hanging out with the dogs and reading and writing. I felt I was better disciplined this time and so I came away feeling I made the best of it. I even got a submission packet out in addition to the other writerly stuff I counted on.

Since my last confession I am saddened to report that there have been no less than 12 mass shootings in the past week alone. The numbers of mass shootings for the year are staggering. These don't even account for all the accidental shooting, individual murders and untold numbers of individuals who are wounded by guns but survive. I confess on the issue of reasonable gun restrictions, I will place a lot of weight on this over a lot of other issues during this next election cycle. Change in gun laws are needed. The NRA not only doesn't represent the majority view in America but it has been radicalized to the point that it's directors don't even represent a majority of its members on a lot of issues. The organization has been radicalized under the leadership of Wayne LaPierre.

The senseless loss of lives to guns is one of the biggest thorns in my side presently. It is hard for me to remain calm in the face of the epidemic numbers of shootings and the ignorance and disregard for common sense by legislators who are easily bought out by the NRA.

November has been a big book month for me. Actually I have to confess that this whole year has been. I think I've bought more books this year than any year in my whole past. Attending AWP15 kick started the year off big time as I brought home quite a few books. Since that time I've had a steady stream. Last week I added four new books. There were two others in the last 30 days. A person can't have too many books.... Right?!

I have a doctor's appointment on Thursday and I am counting on a much improved A1C reading of my blood sugar. I confess I need to feel a positive outcome in reducing blood sugar over the last 30 days.

What has happened to this year? It's December. I can't even say it without feeling a disbelief. I'm thinking about New Years Resolutions. Ugh!

That's it for this week.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A little weirdness

We're all a little weird, and life's a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love. — Dr. Seuss

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wishing everyone a safe and joyous Thanksgiving

The day is starting out here cold with an overcast sky, a clear reminder that it's fall.

This Thanksgiving morning I just wanted to take a brief inventory of some of the many blessings that I am thankful for:

  • Family - I have the best! A very loving & supportive wife. Four smart and tremendously funny children (each in their own way) and Harper, our granddaughter who is amazing, fun, frick'n brilliant and dances with the beat of the rhythm night (DeBarge)
  • Health - I remain in good health - minus the standard aches and pains. I have what I need to manage my diabetes,
  • My job, my home, - food, shelter, health insurance and clothing. Seriously, we often take these things for granted; so many around the world would trade places with us in a heart beat.
  • Friends- real and the voices in my head ;-)
  • Our pets that love unconditionally and sometimes annoy with equal measure.
  • Books - the window to other worlds, that inform, entertain, and stretch the mind.
  • Writing - the process by which I am able to express myself, dig deep withing my soul, discover, and create art.
  • Art - in all it's forms.
For all this and so much more - I give thanks.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Standing As One

Dear Reader:

I suppose I am no different than most of you right now, in that I have been inundated with thoughts about the terrorists attacks in Paris. What I don't want to do here is talk about blame, or specific actions by governments in dealing with these attacks or countering future attacks. These decisions that will be made be respective governments is short order, and I do hope they will be made with reasonable dialogue in the open so that citizens know full well what options are to be considered.

But today, I am happy that so many in the United States and around the world are standing in solidarity with France. Our two nations have a long and storied history that includes liberating them from occupation in WWII along with our allies and some more recent periods in which some in this country including  politicians tended to snub our noses at the French. I suspect many of those who engaged in such folly as boycotting french fires (hardly a French cuisine) have forgotten why they acted with such disdain. We are after all, citizens of a global community that largely have the same objective in life. To live full and rich lives with our families, and so so safely. We value our friends and love ones and each day life with the hope that these people will arrive home safely at the end of the day.

The picture above is from the Kansas City Skyline. Our Union Station in the foreground, The Marriott Hotel to the left in the distance and City Hall, Center back, all have been lit with the colors of the French Flag. So many other cities have done similar. Seattle and New York I am aware of, but I am sure there are many others.

My thoughts are with the refugees that have flooded into Europe in the past few months, many leaving behind everything but the clothing on their back and  traveling at great risk.While some see these refugees as a burden upon European countries it is important too that we realize they have the ultimate objective the rest of us share. The reason they risk so much is because the are running from war torn nations and the same barbaric violence delivered to innocent people in Paris.

I is heartening to see some many people around the world standing too in support of Muslim brothers and sisters. Their religion believes in a loving  God and so many have been quick to condemn this violence.

If we cannot embrace peace
we have nothing 
to show
in the alternative       

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Confession Tuesday - Respect the Book Edition

Dear Reader:

It's been so long since my last Confession Tuesday that I can't begin to give you a time period. Let's just say that it's been a long assed time and that a whole bunch of shit has gone down since then.

I suppose one benefit of waiting so long is that it's easier to find subject matter for the confession. I do have a number of things twirling around in the back of my mind.

Let me start by confessing that I feel pretty darn good physically. This after an extended period of feeling dragged out. A recent trip to my doctor resulted in an adjustment in the treatment of a chronic condition and it has made remarkable difference in how I feel.  Running and clicking my heels would not be out of the picture the way I feel.

Tonight is a debate of the Republican candidates for president. I confess that I will not be watching. I confess that  I've pretty much read enough and listened to enough of them that I'm convinced that only one is remotely qualified to serve as president and I have problems with many of that candidate's positions on critical issues. The others are all such a hot mess that in spite of what they believe, there presence in the oval office would be a disaster.  So, again I reiterate that I will not be watching. That would be time wasted that I would never get back.

Let's talk about dogs. We have three of them. Silas, Inky and Madison. They are all rescue dogs and they all have their own special problems. Silas came to us semi-feral and he still has anxiety issues. Inky also has anxiety issues. Madison is still a puppy and this past week he was a turd. Yes, a turd.
He's a long haired dachshund  and if you know anything about the breed, they are stubborn.  I am a real stickler bout my books. Every dog we have had till now has left my books alone. I confess I have not always been especially trusting of them to do so and I am pretty good about not leaving them where they can reach them for more than a few seconds. This past week I momentarily left my new signed copy of Elegy/Elk River by Michael Schmeltzer on the bed. I walked out of the bedroom for a few moments and then returned. Being a chapbook I suppose the thickness was just perfect for a certain puppy to apply his mouth to the corner and chew. Now the book remains readable, but it's pristine condition bit the dust, By the way, the book is remarkable and I will be writing a review of it soon. Suffice to say, Madison has already put his stamp of approval on it. I confess I was angry at him.  Madison must learn to respect the book if he is going to hang around with me when I'm writing.

But I confess this has not been the best week for Madison and I. Yesterday, he decided to chew at the corner of the wall next to my studio door. Sigh. Do you have any idea how hard it is to be angry at a dachshund puppy?

I love it when I discover new poets. I suppose it would be better to say, poets that are new to me. My most recent discovery is Cate Marvin. I confess that I think as I read more of her work, she may rank pretty high on my list

I don't know about others, but the last two to three months of the year I always seem to put a lot of pressure on myself to about my writing. I confess that I know this is not the most beneficial way to approach writing. Still, I'm always driven to go out of the year in overdrive. It's about ending the year strong and carrying over into the new one. I will be writing a lot this weekend. I am planning to block out time for reading and time specifically for writing. I'm doing a make shift Writing Residency.  I promise next Tuesday to let you know how it was.  

Until next Tuesday, be safe and live well...


Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Pardon me while I begin my seasonal affective disorder

“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."   ~A. Bartlett Giamatti

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Saturday Mail Bag

New  book arrived by mail yesterday. Sometime over the past  week or so I discovered poet whose work on initial read  I enjoyed. I honestly don't recall where I first learned of  Cate Marvin  but I did as I often do when I see a poet who looks interesting for the first time. I google them. I look for more of their works and try and establish a better grasp of their writing and if I think I might want to invest in one or more of their books.  I also look to see if there are any interviews of the author on line so I can learn something more about them Things that might inform the way they write.

Oracle is Cate Marvin's latest book to be released. I have added it to my stack of books to read and will soon tell you a little more about my thoughts on it.

I read a fascinating interview, albeit a bit old... dating back to 2008. It appeared in reDIVIDER a journal of new literature and art. 

Anyway, more Oracle after I've finished it.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Contemplative Division

is it normal
this mindset
the demonstrative fashion

I thought it punitive
I thought it course grade sandpaper

I thought the wind would whip us bare
I thought nothing-   then everything
and I though nothing of it

too many times my thoughts have proven

I can never stay with a thought long enough
to work it backwards the way you proof long division

math was never my best subject

Michael Allyn Wells (c) 2015

Being An Artist

Sunday, October 04, 2015

The Discussion That We Are Not Supposed To Be Having

What do you say after something like this?  What can you say that has not been said before?

Another campus/school shooting with 9 victims & one shooter dead. But the devastation doesn't stop there. There were additional victims wounded - some with very serious life altering injuries. Then there are the families. The wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sons, daughters, grandparents, aunts & uncles and so on...

Some will argue this is not the time for this discussion. I know this because I have heard it ad-nauseam since 1968 when Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. That was the year I realized America had a problem with guns. Not simply because of these two deaths, but they shined a light on a growing problem. I began looking at the costs to this country for our easy access to firearms. That problem has only escalated exponentially as the numbers of guns have grown in this country. As concerned as I was back then, I never dreamed it would grow to the level we ave reached today. I believe those who say this is not the time are right. That time has passed and so this means we are late to the discussion. That means it  is appropriate to engage in it now.

I realize that the the issue of gun ownership is a nuclear-hot topic. I realize there are people who fear that the government is coming to take their guns. I also realize there are persons who are hell-bent on continuing to propagandize this idea, and even more people paranoid enough about it to take it to heart. This leads to a few observations:

  • That some pro-gun people/groups/lobbies actually want to perpetuate misinformation about guns in order to keep this nation at each other's throats. They believe as long as some of the most ardent gun owners ate vocal and out toting there guns in public, they control the message. 
  • That many gun owners look at the issue only in absolutes. 
  • That the second amendment is the most supreme law of the land and it supersedes any and all other laws. 
On the first point, it is well documented that the NRA and gun industry lobbies and spent insane amounts of money to propagate a variety of messages, drop money into the pockets of lawmakers and in general intimidate the body politic during each election cycle.

The fact that gun owners look at the issue in the form of absolutes leads to these types of responses to the overall discussion:

  1. You want to come at take all our guns away. I know of no serious legislative effort that envisions that. It is not even practical.
  2. Even with background checks, waiting periods, etc., there will still be deaths. You can't prevent them. This is a very narrow argument and again reflects an absolute ideology.  Of course it will not stop all deaths by guns, If it will somewhat stem the tide of gun proliferation it will save lives. If it will keep a firearm out of the hands of someone who should not have a gun, it will save lives. Those saved lives are important even if they are some faceless fixture in this debate. They could be a gun owner's niece, daughter, or other family member. Some will argue that we will be defenseless as a nation. That is what standing armies are for. We had no standing army when the second amendment was written. 
  3. That brings me to the second amendment... Some treat it as an absolute. It is the only license they need to be armed even in public. The second amendment should not supersede another persons right to life and liberty. I'm not advocating it's appeal, but understand that it is an amendment to the constitution (an afterthought) and it could be repealed. The 18th amendment to the constitution was repealed. Further, courts (including the U.S. Supreme Count) have indicated that it is not an absolute and it does not prevent the exercise by government of reasonable controls, restrictions, or regulation. The term "well regulated" is in fact embodied within the  amendment.  

I don't want to ban guns. I know we cannot prevent people from killing other individual even from guns or other means. I also know that the law does allow us to make reasonable regulations.
This discussion needs to be had with legislators on state and federal level. We've not really had that discussion in recent years mostly due to political  intimidation from the NRA and industry lobbyists.

If gun owners don't want to have the conversation and be a part of the solution (the NRA has already proved it doesn't) then the rest of us need to have it with our lawmakers. I know many gun owners are actually with us. I know the NRA (which one had a positive mission) no longer represents the wishes of many gun owners.

We are no longer at a point where we can just shove this under legislative carpet. This is a violent bloody mess and it has to be cleaned up.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Confession Tuesday - I Can See Clearly Now Edition

Dear Reader:

So, it's been one new pair of eyeglasses, five new books, one trip out of town and a week since my last confession.

I confess that I have plenty of new reading material that I am making my way through. I will let you know more about my thoughts on these books soon.

I confess that I have started writing in the Daily Poet Journal that was published by Two Sylvias Press. A year long journal and I am committed to writing a poem a day in it for the next year.  It's late tonight, I've been at a baseball game and I still have to write my poem but it will get done yet tonight!

I confess that it was fun visiting Marceline, Missouri the last Saturday. It was a quick trip up and then we drove into Bucklin to visit the grave site of my Grandmother and Grandfather as well as Great Grandfather and his wife. I was especially glad that we added the extra little drive to pay respect to them. Also, we drove by my grandmothers old home. I've known that it was renovated by someone who had purchased it and actually has traded hands a couple of times and additional upgrading done. In a strange turn of events, we met the present owner and he gave us a tour. I was absolutely astonished by what they had done to the house. It grandma and grandpa could see it today they would not believe their eyes.

Tomorrow, I have a dental appointment in the afternoon. I confess that I am feeling yuck about it.

Reading has been so much more enjoyable since I got my new glasses. It's amazing how much difference it makes. I had been getting so tired even just reading short periods of time. That has changes. I confess this has made me so happy and I am very thankful for them.

Until next week, stay safe!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Book Bonanza in Wednesday Mail

Yesterday mail was exciting. Four books arrived. Pictured to the left is The (hefty) Daily Poet Companion Journal. Yes, I am committing to writing a poem a day for the next year.

On the right is Crush by Richard Siken. I first discovered Siken's work at AWP15 in Minneapolis earlier this year. I've heard a lot of good things about this book and just thumbing through it last night added to my excitement about it.

Below in the left is My Feelings by Nick Flynn. I've read a few poems by Flynn and I have to say that I believe I am going to like this book as well.

And last but not lease is Louise Gluck's Faithful and Virtuous Night. A National Book Award Winner that received much attention earlier this year. (seen below)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Confession Tuesday - I Dance for Books Edition~

Dear Reader:

It has been untold weeks since my last confession.  I truly have been a fallen-away blog confessor, but I'm back.

I confess that as I write this, I have a handful of Brach's Peanut Butter Cup Candy Corn.  I recall a brochure in today's mail from my health insurance provider suggesting it would be a good idea to add just one more veritable a day to our meals. Candy Corn qualifies as a vegetable. Right?

Since my last confession I attempted to update my eye glasses, now several years overdue. Upon going to the eye doctor they decided that I needed some holes in my eyes to relieve pressure to help prevent angle-closure glaucoma. This procedure was done with laser to make tiny holes in the iris. This procedure pushed back a couple of weeks getting new glasses. Now I am awaiting my new ones to arrive any day. I am anxious because reading with my currently outdated glasses makes my eyes tired and that sucks when you want to read a good book for very long.

Yesterday, I was elated to receive a copy of Ada Limon's new book Bright Dead Things in the mail.  I was first introduced to Limon's poetry a couple years back via an NPR segment that featured her book of poetry titled, Sharks in The River. I very much loved the title poem from the book.

As an extra bit of excitement, I saw last night that Bright Dead Things was on the list for National Book Awards for Poetry. How cool is that!  Congratulations Ada Limon!

I have 4 more books that should arrive from Amazon tomorrow. I confess that I have become spoiled by Amazon Prime; especially since I waited over a month recently for a chapbook direct from a press. I would be on cloud nine if my other books and my new glasses were to both arrive tomorrow. I think I would be downright giddy with excitement. If you see me doing the Snoopy Dance, you know they came.

So, I suppose you have heard that Facebook is getting a Dislike Button. I recall in my early days on Facebook I so wanted a Dislike Button. Hell, it seems like everyone did. But I grew out of it over the years. Or, maybe I'm just so tired of the fact everyone seems not to like this or that, or this person or that person and after a while I just get drained by all the negativity.  I've been an opinionated person all my life. I suspect I verbalized which baby foods I liked and disliked with great expression as an infant. Well, it wouldn't surprise me. I've been a politically active and engaging person since even before I was voter age. I follow issues especially those on a national and international level.  I confess that this election cycle that is unfolding is one of the harshest I've ever witnessed. I'm not even talking about "dirty politics." No, what I am referring to is simply how negative some candidates and voters are in terms of some hot button issues. With all the various problems facing America today, to invest such negativity and hate in the direction of immigrants is sickening to me. This whole mindset has me wondering how likely I am to go nuclear with a Dislike Button.

I confess that I have the cutest little writing companion curled up on my left. I confess that Madison makes me smile.... most of the time.  ;-)

Until next time ~ be safe & happy!

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Magpie 284 - The Elixir of All Things Living

Magpie 284 writing prompt

we've come to fullness.   We come to the clay shaped 
by the hands of God.      To folds of earth, to mountains chiseled, 
                                                                 to white vapor on blue linen.
        We taste the sky, the earth in alchemy...  
                     salt, the shaker,            the maker of all things green.
The sweetness of grass, 
                        the sent of moss, 
                the raw of iron
             and we taste an elixir of something monumental in the air;
                                                                             sweet nectar of God.  

Michael Allyn Wells

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Labor Day Weekend DIY Writing Retreat

Starting this afternoon I am dog sitting for a family member and starting a Labor Day Weekend Mini Writing Retreat. I have reading material and essential writing material all ready. I want to focus hard on cranking out some new poetry. 

A few of the books I'm taking along...

  • Creative Journal Writing - Stephen Dowrick 
  • Stones of the Sky  - Pablo Neruda  / James Nolan Translated
  • The Children's War and other poems -Shaindel Beers
  • Trauma Mouth - Jessica Smith
  • The Art of recklessness - Dean Young
  • Hourglass Museum - Kelli Russell Agodon
  • The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature
I hope to be able to report this was a success come Monday night.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Summertime & Reading = Poets Crush List Time

If you are looking for poets to read this summer I offer you my 2015 Poets Crush List.  These are poets who I presently cannot get enough of.  I haven't done a PCL since 2013 - for some reason I missed last year but here goes....  the envelope please. (these are in no special order because they are all special.

  • Dean Young - I first met Dean Young in Kansas City as I was monitoring a Masters class at UMKC.  I read is 2011 book Fall Higher and was very taken by the abstraction of his writing. I was further intrigued by the class which lead me to purchase his book, The Art Of Recklessness. A truly cerebral examination of the art of poetry. I still pick up these books and read from them from time to time.
  • Sandra Beasley - I read Sandra's blog (Chicks Dig Poetry)  for a number of years now. She is not near as active a blogger as she once was but I got to hear her read this spring in Minneapolis where she was a featured reader at AWP15. Upon returning  home I read her book Theories on Falling. This dead to the purchase of I Was The Jukebox, and her most recent book Count The Waves. Her approach to the craft of poetry leaves you feeling  excited. 
  • W.S. Merwin - This man is like one of the Deans of contemporary poetry. A national treasure that I return to reread frequently. He has historical ties to some many ineradicable poets who have since left us. I believe this must inform his work in some way. I own two books of his many. They are Migration and The Shadow of Sirius. His work feels very organic to me. 
  • Kelli Russell Agodon - wow! The energy, the inventiveness, Poet and Editor. She is co-editor of Two Sylvias Press which she claims happened as an accident, This Press is doing some magnificent things including but not limited to the Poet Tarot Cards. But that's not why Kelli is on this list. She has published one Chapbook and three poetry collections. All three noteworthy in my opinion. Letters From The Emily Dickinson Room, her second collection really resonated with me. So much so that as her third collection was about to be released I knew it would be good but could it top Letters. Well it did! Hourglass Museum was an adventure that rocked my world. It's a journey both through her museum between pages but a life study of what it means to be an artist/writer/poet! I wish all good things for her growing press, but I hop it never takes her away from her own writing. 
  • Marry Biddinger - Mary is another editor and writer. I saw her at AWP15 and have three of her books that have been very much to my liking and she has won me over as a fan of her work. The first Saint Monica and the second  O Holy Insurgency grabbed my attention as they both were rooted in Catholic culture which I enjoyed. The most recent A Sunny Place with Adequate Water merged the pas and the present in surrealism. 
  • Jessica Smith - I can thank Jessica for my somewhat new interest in experimental poetry. I own two of her books, The Organic Furniture Cellar and her newest Life-List.  Jessica is also a birder, which is pretty cool. I got an opportunity to meet her at AWP15 as well. 
There you have it.  If you have not read any of these poets or their books, there is still time to incorporate them into your summer reading.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Meet Madison

Madison has a new home with us. He is a a long haired Dachshund that is approximately 2 months old. He is a rescue dog that we adopted.

Madison has a lot of energy. Sometimes he will climb up in a chair in my writing studio and keep me company as I write. Sometimes he prefers to take the approach, Writing? I think not. I want to wrestle with you and sharpen my baby teeth on you arm, elbow or whatever I can get my mouth around.

Madison is a kisser and not at all bashful about it. This may be a normal Dachshund trait because over the years we have had two others. Barron and Barry. We lost Barry just this last year.

Madison and Silas, our German Shepard rescue dog both seem to agree with each other. So far they play well together.  Right now, his favorite things seem to be eating, licking, and making sure his teeth work.

I predict that he will learn to like poetry, support me in my writing, and enjoy watching San Francisco Giants Baseball with me.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Liquid Soul...

“How we need another soul to cling to, another body to keep us warm. To rest and trust; to give your soul in confidence: I need this, I need someone to pour myself into.”  -Sylvia Plath

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Confession Tuesday - The Wednesday Edition

Dear Reader:

I realize it's Wednesday but let's just pretend for a moment it's Tuesday. I'm not asking you to to relive a work day for a second time, the Monday through Friday stretch is bad enough. Just allow me to back date my Confession Tuesday. Sort of like special dispensation.

Friends, it's been like 5 weeks since my last confession. This It's been a hot wet mess of a 5 weeks. While it's been cooler the past two days, rain remains in the forecast ahead. I confess I at done with it!

In the day before my last confession I very excitedly ordered a book from a small press. I had discovered another really remarkable poetic voice and wanted to read their book. So that's been five weeks ago. Call me spoiled by Amazon two day shipping but I am really bummed out awaiting for the book five weeks later. I'm not going to name the press because I understand that many small presses are understaffed and we need to support these independent presses.  I'n not worried about getting the book. I have communicated with them by e-mail and I understand that is should be shipped this week. Sometimes it is just hard to contain the excitement when you discover another poet you want to read. There are some small presses out there I have had excellent experiences with. White Pine Press, Black Lawrence Press, Two Sylvias Press to name a few. I confess the best way to buy books is at a book table at AWP. You get to walk away with them, and if you are fortunate, you can get them signed. You can start the book before you leave on on the flight home.

There has been an aspect of these past couple of weeks that has been difficult. I mean more so than disappointment over the long wait for a certain book.

We lost a very special dog in our household. Klaus was a struggler and a survivor. He overcame so
much in the years he was with us, including paralysis.  He was my daily shadow and I miss him. On Saturday I confess that I lost it and broke down in tears. Saturdays I often was the only one here during the day and he stuck to me like glue. I was lost without him.

There are several triggers in the house that tend to make me think of him and I choke up.   It's going to be so hard without him.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Advantage

“The essential advantage for a poet is not to have a beautiful world with which to deal; it is to be able to see beneath both beauty and ugliness; to see the boredom, and the horror, and the glory.” ~T.S. Eliot

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Re-Inventing a Personal Touch

How long has it been since your actually wrote someone in long hand or for that matter received such a letter yourself?  I'm talking about a letter that traveled over some miles to be hand delivered to your address, not pushed through the Internet and popped out into your email inbox.  In other words, snail mail.

This week I read a Forbes article by Maggy Zhang titled From Robots and Emails To Handwritten Letters: Using Tech To Reverse Tech and was intrigued by an art project called Snail Mail My Email. As I have mentioned in one or more blog posts at some point in the past, I believe the demise if the written letter is in fact a negative consequence of modern technology.

To me, hand written letters are an art form. Hell, many youngsters are growing up without any handwriting skill at all. Our communications have progressed to less personal.  They have gone from fast written e-mail letters that arrive in an inbox with standardized fonts to the text message - again instantaneous transmission of 140 characters or less. I'm not saying these things have not had positive values, but they have certainly come as a price as they have all but bastardized written communication.

As I look at my  library of books of poetry poetics, biographies and other collected works on literature, I have a number of books that are archived letters from writers.  Right off the top of my head, I know that I have Letters Home - a compendium letters from Sylvia Plath, written mostly to her mother, Letters of Ted Hughes, The Letters of Allen Ginsberg, and Robert A. Heinlein: Grumbles From The Grave. In addition to these I've read volumes of letters from a number of other poets including Lowell and Sexton. It has always fascinated me the letter exchanges that  have occurred between poets of their time often on their craft but sometimes interesting snapshots of their lives as a whole. These books can provide a picture into the evolution of these poets and poetesses. We can begin to understand the path that has taken them to what they ultimately became. I feel like when I read one I am on an anthropological expedition.  I wonder what we as poets today are losing as a result of this decline interpersonal letter writing.

The Forbes article talks about two different off-shoots of societal divestment of personal writing. One is a company founded not long ago that offers the robotic ability to imitate a customers' signature so that handwritten notes can be generated at a fast speed. Bond is a for profit enterprise and  it's services would be more geared to mass customer correspondence.  The other off-shoot, the one I find most interesting is called Snail Mail My Email.  This was a projected started in 2011 by a gentleman in the advertising business who quit his job. He was tired of the massive amount of impersonal email that landed in his inbox daily. It started that he decided personally he would write more handwritten letters and then came his decision to help others do the same. Snail My Email  has become a volunteer organization of over 700 people who have collectively  written and sent over 23,500 letters around the world. In a nut shell, these people take emails, convert them to personally written notes and mail them to the intended recipient. Perfect strangers writing a letter for someone else to someone else.

I like this idea. But I'm pretty keen on letters.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Thought for the Week -

Art is the most passionate orgy within man's grasp. 
~ John Doone

Confession Tuesday - After all these years, it's still the car biting my ass.

Dear Reader:

It has been one week and one more wedding anniversary since my last confession.

It's actually been a lot of things.... another week of more rain than not, Another Poet Tarot Card Drawn - this one John Donne,  as well as a car repair completed and another one deeded.  Shall we get started...

Reader, I'm water logged. I've had it all the way up to the flippers that I have sprouted. I'm tired of the rain. I know I have complained about this for weeks - seems like months now. I confess I will say no more today about this, but you know what I'm thinking.

Yesterday was our 41st wedding anniversary. I confess that it both seems like a long time and not so long. I can't really explain how this can be, just trust me it can and it does. I confess that I feel very nostalgic for many things of our early marriage days. I confess that sometimes I wonder how we got where we are, but mostly I am amazed that given our very young  ages at marriage I confess  this is one of the best decisions I have made in life.

So this week I drew another Poet Tarot card from the deck. The result was the card for the poet John Donne. This Donne dude is an interesting character (but you could say that about so many poets). Father to 12 children penning erotic poems on one hand and later becoming an Anglican priest. He felt it important to follow one's inner convictions. How do I balance order and chaos in my life? Do I make rules about my creativity that box me in or do I allow room for expansion of rules. Do I give myself room to grow?

When we got married 41 years ago yesterday, I had just picked up my car from the shop the day before. I arrived with it at the church okay, however before the service was over it attempted to move the car in the Church lot and it would not start. We ended up leaving town with a loaner from the repair shop that afternoon.  I confess that the car problems revisited me yesterday - losing coolant (not a good thing) and the this after just putting new rear breaks on it. I can't win.

I confess that this wraps up my confession for this week. Until next week, stay safe and have a good life!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A few Quotes on Fathers

A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again. - Enid Bagnold

I pressed my father's hand and told him I would protect his grave with my life. My father smiled and passed away to the spirit land. - Chief Joseph

When one has not had a good father, one must create one. -Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Confession Tuesday INFP Edition

Dear Reader:

I humbly come to you on Wednesday as opposed to Tuesday. But actually I believe it’s been two weeks since my last confession. Two more weeks of more rain than not. On NBA series that went down the tubes, some miscellaneous allergies, a new poetry book in the mail, another book finished and yet another started. A couple of new poem drafts, one of which I believe is close to being able to fly out into the world. With that out of the way, Let’s get started.

In 2005 I took one of the Myers & Briggs personality tests. (on a side note they always make me think of lawn mowers – you know, Briggs & Stratton engines, but I digress) The test 10 years ago confirmed basically the same results as one a couple years earlier.  My results pointed to being an ENFP.  That would be Extraversion, I(N)troversion, Feeling and Perceiving. This week I was curious and I too the test again. The results changed.

I confess that based on my most recent test I am no longer an extrovert but instead I am an introvert. How is this possible, you say? Well I don’t honestly have a conclusionary finding, but speculation. Incidentally the other three factors NFP remained the same from the first two tests. But here are some hunches:

·         When taking the test I would sometimes struggle with answers because there was often not a definitive answer. Example, with your lunch you always drink a Diet Coke. Answer Y/N.  Well I don’t always have a Diet Coke with lunch but I don’t always NOT have one. Fact is more often than not I have one. To answer Yes or No really would not be correct by yes would be more correct than no. So I choose yes.  Ten years ago I was still more involved in electoral politics that I have been presently. When in campaign mode I don’t really have a choice as to engaging with others or not.  So this has somewhat changed for me.  Even when I took this test the first time I was thinking to myself that I may well have a different personality under different circumstances. I believe this could account for such response.
·         In mentioning this to someone else who knows my writing history, she has pointed out that in particular, I have been writing over the past ten years. And in recent years even more than ever. Because of this, it was suggested that as I have become immersed in writing I have perhaps tended to turn more inward in my personality. I confess, this makes a lot of sense.
So you may be asking what is a INFP supposed to look like? A brief description I found looks like this:

  1.       Primary mode of living is focused internally. This is where you deal with things according to how you feel about them or how they fit with your personal value system. Secondary modeis external and here, I take things primarily via my intuition.
  2.        INFP types are more than any other types are focused on making the world a better place for people. Their primary goal is to find out their meaning in life. What is their purpose? How can they best serve humanity? They are idealists and perfectionists, who drive  themselves hard in their quest to achieve the goals they have identified.
  3.        They are highly intuitive about people. Rely heavily upon intuition and use their discoveries to constantly search for value in life. There are on a mission to find truth and meaning.  Every encounter, every piece of knowledge gained gets sifted through their value system.
  4.        They are generally thoughtful and considerate. Good listeners – can put people at ease, though sometimes reserved in expressing emotion, they are deeply caring.
  5.        They do not like conflict and try hard to avoid it. If they must face it, they will always approach it from the perspective of their feelings. In conflict, they place little importance on who is right or wrong but on how the conflict makes them feel. This can a times make them seem irrational in conflict situations. They can make good mediators and do well at problem solving for others.
  6.        They are flexible and laid back until one of their values is violated  They can become aggressive defenders and fight with passion for a cause.
  7.        As to the mundane details of life maintenance, they are typically unaware of such things. They might go long periods of time without noticing a stain on the carpet. but brush a speck off a file they are working on.
  8.       Don’t like dealing with hard facts and logic. Focus is on feelings and the Human Condition. Most will avoid impersonal analysis, though some have developed the ability to be quite logical.  Under stress it’s not uncommon for them to mis-use hard logic, especially when angry.
  9.       They generally have high standards and are professionals and tend to be hard on themselves. Often do not give themselves credit. They may have problems working on projects in groups because of their standards and therefore have control issues.  They need to learn to balance high ideals with requirements for daily living otherwise they can become paralyzed or confused about what to do.
  10.    .  They make talented writes. They may be awkward or uncomfortable at expressing themselves verbally but do well putting feelings on paper. They also frequently make good social service professionals like counselors and teachers.

I can see myself filling into much of this.

Are there anyone else out there who is an INFP that wants to share their thoughts about these characteristics?  Or For that matter are you another M & B type, what has the knowledge of your personality type meant for you? Has it ever caused you to attempt to compensate in one area or another? Has knowing you type helped you in life?  I confess that I find all this very interesting. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Synopsis

I am aware that there are parts of this country desperately in need of rain. Honestly, we've had more that our share here and I'd love to share it with those who could really use it. Most parts of our metropolitan area have had between 11 and 12.5 inches of rain in the past 30 days. It rained again today.

I can honestly say that the rain and cloudy weather have taken a tole on me. There are other factors but I've felt a bit depressed this week and I can honestly say that  the dreariness is a contributing factor.

This afternoon I ventured out to attend a poetry group meeting in Northland. Shared poetry, our own and other works of interest. As often is the case, we conclude with a writing prompt that we work on and most will share their draft. I also tested a newer draft I brought along to test the waters. I would say that it stayed afloat.

Wouldn't you know it, on the way home the rain came through once again. Some times I feel like it's the same storm front doing circles. It's crazy.

I've been busy planing my submissions for the weeks ahead. Working on new material, and reading. Presently I'm reading, Why God is a Woman, by Nin Andrews.

I am discontinuing my Journal of Creative Exploration blog. This blog was based on my  exploring various elements of creativity and challenges of a creative life based on my  weekly use of the Poet Tarot Cards created by Two Sylvias Press. I continue to use them and will perhaps mention my usage periodically  here but not the sharing of a larger dedicated weekly post.

I did draw a new poet card today.  Marianne Moore is my card for this week. I'll be communing with her most likely about clarity of goals this week. I will acknowledge that  recent weeks have moved me in an area of procrastination - trying to organize a small  group to workshop our writing. The practical application of allowing yourself to be influenced by these cards really can be beneficial. If you are open to it, you can let them lead you into places that you are too fearful to tackle.

I'm feeling a little less dark already. Not that dark is a bad thing.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sandra Beasley - Theories of Falling

While I was at AWP15 in April, it was my intent to pick up a book or two of Sandra Beasley's.  As it would happen, her books were sold out by the time I reached her table and as a result it became one of a couple I ordered upon return home from my money budgeted for books at the conference. I have finished it (I have an enormous stack of books I am reading through as a result of AWP)

This is not a new book, though she has a new one out - Count The Waves  which I hope to read soon.

 Here is my review of her book Theories of Falling

Sandra Beasley throws a parade in Theories of Falling; a parade to impress us with the many reasons not to love her.  The Allergy Girl, wasting away as an infant.  Her bloodstream equal to a Fisher Price workbench. The wheezing, rashes, the dangers of a tainted kiss.

Beasley’s book of poetry has a lingering quality that toys with you and requires that you pick it up again and again as if it were the antidote that saves you from something, perhaps boredom. She guarantees you can walk away from going over Niagara Falls if you do it just right. But warns you’ll just die in a poor house.

There is an intimate nature here, an uncovering of truth. As if she slowly peels back layers that we might see beneath the surface of our prescribed reality to find something altogether more real than we imagined. The poems collectively have an affluence of lyricism. The substance, the metaphor all come together nicely. There is nothing more you will want, except more of her work.

As for Beasley’s parade to dissuade our affection, she is indeed wasting the elephants and ticker tape, it isn't working.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Revisions, Organizing and Mixing it Up This Next Week.

I started this weekend Friday night dog sitting for my son. This lent itself well to getting some reading and writing done however Saturday we less productive. I was uncertain how my schedule would evolve so I use the time a little more loosely checking out some poetry stuff on You Tube.

Among other thing I listened to some You Tube material that featured Sandra Beasley. I have been reading Theories Of Falling and enjoying it immensely.  I've been aware of Beasley for a number of years  as reader of her blog Chicks Dig Poetry so she has been on my radar but I heard her read at AWP15 in April and that rejuvenated my interest in her work.

Of the You Tube video clips I listened to of Sandra Beasley, the workshop she did on April 15 of this year - there were a number of things that stuck with me. However, none quite as much as her comments on revision.
"There are many talented people who can write great first drafts. The people who will become poets are the ones who fall in love with revision."  Sandra adds that she is not one who can do great first drafts. She says she was not the best in her undergraduate class, but adds that she is here today because of revisions and that she has a determination to stay with the process.
There is no question in my mind that Sandra Beasley is doing something right. She is after all writing full time these days and has a number of honors and awards that she can claim. Aside from all that, as impressive as it may be, her work resonates with me. She is one a number of poets that are inspiring to me as a writer.

In addition to this, I have begun this past week to be a better organized poet practitioner.  Planning is something  that I often wish I as better at and I am trying now to make that a reality. So I am busy plotting out plans, deadlines, goals today. All this in an effort to be better at my writing. To produce poetry that I am significantly more satisfied with.

And it is Sunday...  So today, I have drawn another Poet Tarot Card from the deck and as it is, I will be answering to the Two of Quills this week.  So, it is my task this week to look for ways to challenge my established routines. Try writing in other locations. Write at different times. Disrupt the usual. Establish new niches. Write at a coffee shop. Write at different times in the day. Stretch my writing mussels by exercising/executing my creativity differently.

This week I will trace some of those things I approach differently and reflect upon changes and what impact they have on my poetry, positively or negatively as the case may be.

On thing I know I will be paying more attention to is revising work.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Confession Tuesday - Water Water Everywhere Edition

Dear Reader:

It’s been a week since my last confession. The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner has nothing on us.

Yes, I confess the rain continues to annoy. Did I say annoy? I’m not sure that is strong enough language. Seattle? Portland? Are you guys missing some rain? We’ll send it back.

I confess that I got on an organizing kick this past week and designed a single page weekly plan sheet to help me stay focused and do what I need to do where my writing and writerly related functions are concerned. It’s in a PDF format, nothing elaborate but it helps me plan things out and then I am able to transfer everything to my planner on my tablet. It’s sort of a Capricorn thing to do.

Summer is coming, June 21st – just weeks away. I’ve been thinking that it’s about time
for me to do another annual Poet Crush List. The only problem is that right now I am into so many good poets that I confess this year it’s going to be hard to do a 10 poet list.  
This is something I will have to contemplate in the next couple of weeks.

It has occurred to me that our Public Library system has not had any poets in to do readings for a while. They used to be so good about this. I confess that I feel obliged to make some calls and see if anything is in the works or if they could be encouraged to start planning some events for later this year.

That’s about it for this week folks. Stay safe, wear your life jacket. Pray the rain gives us a break.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

In the event that you have been sleeping under a rock.... Or from the I case you missed this department

During this past week Kelli Russell Agodon got a lot of traction with an article she wrote that appeared in Medium. The piece was titled, Submit Like A Man: How Women Writers Can Be More Successful. If by some chance you have not read it by now I recommend it. It has sparked significant re-tweets and discussion since appearing.  Kelli discusses her experiences as an editor and a realization that often men and women writers respond differently to rejections letters that indicating the editor would like to see more of their work. Regardless of your gender, if you are timid about your approach to submitting your work to journals I suggest this article is worth reading. As is so often the case, Kelli is a very excellent steward of her writing knowledge and experiences. She embodies the best example of literary stewardship.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How We View The World...

"I was made at right angles to the world and I see it so. I can only see it so." - Elizabeth Bishop

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Confession Tuesday: Self-Conscious Edition

Dear Reader:

It has been two weeks since my last Confession. One week in which I fought the intermittent rains to get both front and back jungles mowed. And a second week that has been more akin to nearly non-stop rain save today. I feel a bit like I've been uprooted to Seattle or Portland.

So, I have to confess that I've been particularly self-conscious this week. I hate when I get the impression that everyone is judging me or that  everything that isn't going right is in fact going wrong on my own personal accord, and yes, everyone knows this. That further, if I feel I am being ignored, (which is likely all in my head) I am convinced it is because of something I did or did not do.

I confess that I am not as bad about this as I once was. Still, it creeps into my psyche and takes up residency. Hell, sometimes it throws a party for other self-conscious souls!

It is at times like this that I'm convinced that people are thinking about me way more than I have any reason to believe. Any little reason I can think of that I might have done something wrong or offended someone, I will manifest from this that I'm being avoided or ignored completely without any foundation of evidence to back it up. Logic plays no role whatsoever. This will likely continue a few more days until I finally kick these squatter thoughts out of my head.

On a lesser note, I confess that I am anxious to finish my current journal refill so that I can start fresh with a new clean one. I already have it on hand.

So there you have my secrets - spilled out for you this week.  Everyone be safe and enjoy your week ahead come rain or shine!

Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things. You simply must do things. ~ Ray Bradbury

Dream Big

"The armored cars of dreams, contrived to let us do so many a dangerous thing." ~Elizabeth Bishop

This week I drew Elizabeth Bishop - Queen of Quills for the Poet Tarot deck for my guidance throughout this week. Bishop is a tough person to rely on for guidance. She was such perfectionist when it came to her work. Perhaps the lesson is write lots. Rewrite lots. When submitting,  keep that standard for what is sent out  high. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Coin Operated Poems - A Review

In this latest collection of poetry, Mary Biddinger longingly delves on that shrinking view through the rear view mirror.  A Sunny Place with Adequate Water is a land we come to inhabit
within the pages of this book, and while there, Biddinger successfully shares a unique vision that while surreal, seems vaguely familiar as if we've experienced some of these things and as for the others, we only wish we had.

The nostalgia of small town America is all here. We see an old order, but an often reinvented one as well. There is a coin operated apple pie, and a coin operated engine finds its steam. A Parlor, a diary, a paramour and a half, so many things relying on coins that buy next to nothing today.

These poems are tidy. The language and the images Biddinger employs have an old shoe comfort. Yes, including magnets and their unreasonable behaviors and the homeless man with a sign that read PREMIUM.

I've come to both enjoy and respect Biddinger’s writing and she continues to amaze me. I felt she took some risks with this collection. I believe they are ones that worked.  This book is an enjoyable read. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

How we observe as poets...

No one knows the burden I carry,/this being born with a Ouija Board in my chest, this ability/to read wreckage like an alphabet. You just see a car on its side/and the on the pavement. I see narration. 
                                                                             ~ Jeffrey McDaniel, The Appraiser's Dilemma

This passage from Jeffrey McDaniel's poem is so exquisite.  Reading this poem over and over I realize that I am seeing myself, and by myself, I mean all poets as the ones with this burden. If we are not seeing the narrative in sights and sounds and touch, then maybe we are not really suited to be the poet. Maybe we are only meant to be the reader. Just a thought...

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Confession Tuesday - Silas Left The House Edition.

Dear Reader:

It has been one motherfucking rainy week since my last confession. Surprisingly the sky was beautiful today and no rain to be found. I think it figures back into the forecast in a day or two. <sigh>

I have a whole host of things swirling in my head and like a rotating lawn sprinkler -  let's see what we can grab one as the thoughts spray outward.

Here's one.  I confess that I don't think Television will EVER be as good as it once was. The thing that comes to my mind when I am thinking about television is a jingle that used to be an old cigarette commercial only my adaptation of it is, "Are you watching more now but enjoying it less?"  I confess, our children came on the scene when the quality of TV broadcasting went south.  Once, the three major networks provided a competitive challenge to each other. The standard for television shows were set and there was a reason to battle for market share of a third or more of the market place.  Once cable came on the scene there were tons more choices for the viewer but at some point I came to realize that we went from three stations to 186 and there was nothing really worthwhile to watch. Nobody gets close to 1/3 of the overall market anymore and they don't even try.  The advent of reality shows with cheap non-union actors what hungry little cable stations drifted towards. Costs were low, but that didn't matter because they never expected 2 digit market shares.  I confess, a good percentage of shows I watch are old reruns. I want some well-written script and a main character who is not a home who is getting a makeover.

RIP poetry and baseball. Have you heard these? I confess that this is getting old. I've read pieces this week about both. I've heard commentators and essayists trying to sell these two arguments for so long they should have both become fossilized by now, and yet they haven't. These are tired and silly arguments that tell me that these writers are really lacking in the creativity department.

Tattoos. Yes, I've thought about a tattoo this week. I am not one that likes to see lots of tattoos on a person, but I could maybe see me with one. Would I do a Giants logo, or something writing related? I have a temporary one presently to help decide how I feel about it.

Dreams this week... only one that I recall. A poet visited me in a dream. This is not a frequent occurrence but I wish it were. I always like to think I will be visited in a dream by a poet and something profound will be revealed to me. Not so this time. It was a pretty typical strange dream.

Thoughts too about Facebook and Twitter this week. I confess that  I have been thinking about how I have these two social media outlets on my mind too much. I do believe they have valuable roles to play for a writer or any artist for that matter, but I am trying to devise some balance as to how often I am on either during the day. I confess making such a change is not going to be easy.

Silas Goes To The Vet:

I have dreaded for a couple of weeks loading Silas into the car and heading off to the Vet. But Silas has been on a low (puppy dosage of Paxil for some time and his Rx had no refills left. I could not just stop him cold turkey. Besides, given his anxiety issues I felt it was important to talk with the vet about the best course to follow.  Silas usually in is a kennel when in the car. My daughter Shannon agreed to go with us. She stayed with him in the back seat.  I must confess that Silas' trip was far less traumatic that I had anticipated. He was very well behaved at the vet's and only showed a little anxiety. He weighed in at 42.8 LBS.  The return trip he was even better. I have to thank Shannon for the help.

That's it for this week. Sweet Dreams!   Maybe, Neruda, Plath or Yeats will visit you.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Confession Tuesday - The Glory of Books Edition

Dear Reader:

It's been a week since my last confession.

As we get older weeks come and go. It's a fact. Well, it always has been but I do think they seem to zip by these days.  So I get done with one confession and I'm back again and saying to myself, "How did this happen so quickly."

Sunday I mowed my daughters back yard. It's enormous. We jokingly call it the back 40.  The mower she had was self-propelled. In theory, it would make the job easier. The pull on the thing is so strong that it is a lot of physical work just to hold back on it and control it.  After finishing it, I came home and mowed our front lawn with our own power mower. It's not self-propelled. I confess that yesterday when I woke up, my back and shoulders hurt like never before. Tonight I'm still feeling the pain. Moral of the story, be weary of mechanical things that should make life easier.

My book wish list is shrinking at the fastest rate ever. AWP has had a lot to do with that. On the other have, the list of books to read that I now have is also at an all-time high.  I confess there are worse problems I could have. Of course, this means I now am balancing more reading against more writing.

Last week I mentioned that I thought there was a lot of "nice" karma going on. Strangers going out of their way to be nice and share a smile. I mentioned too that drivers seem to be more courteous than normal. Well, today the good karma was hard to find on the streets. And to the man behind me that honked within the same second the light turned green, May your horn mysteriously find itself where that sun doesn't shine." See, now even I'm grouchy.

Are you writing more now by enjoying it less? I confess yes.

Am I not enjoying writing? No

It's what I'm getting on the page that I'm not liking as much.  It happens. I deal with it.

I confess I got a rejection letter.  I confess, It's cool! You have to get so many of those for each acceptance. I know I'm getting closer.

That's it for this week... If it rains, my advice is run for cover.

And The Winners Are....

April has come and gone. Hopefully, you were nourished by a daily supply of poetry.  But poetry is not just for April.

I've drawn names from entries in my Poetry Month Drawing, using a random number generator and I am happy to announce that two persons will each be receiving a poetry book so the poetry can continue.

The winners are - Allyson Whipple and Brian Wong.  Congratulations to both of you. I will be emailing you for your snail mail address.

  • Allyson receives a copy of Alter Ego of the Universe by Amy Leigh Davis
  • Brian Won will receive  a copy of The Country Between Us by Carolyn Forche

Thank you all to everyone who participated in the drawing and thanks to Kelli Russell Agodon for once again spearheading this annual event among a number of other bloggers. 

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Friday Mail Bag

What is more fun than getting a bill in the mail? Well, a new poetry book for one thing...

At AWP I attended a reading by Sandra Beasley, a poet from the Washington, D.C. area that I was not totally unfamiliar with, and having checked in on her blog over the past few years I became interested with some of her work and this was one of the main factor I chose her reading over other panels that I could have attended during the conference.  While I did not pick up one of her books at the conference, there was  a short list of books I came home without that I wanted and I have subsequently ordered all but two of them they will be ordered in due time. (For the sake of an entirely differently conversation to be had on some other day, let me point out that is is one of many examples of poetry book purchases that have been blog driven).

Beasley's reading was to me like what I envision when creation explodes wide open before us. It is that atomic event that occurs when language and imagination are mixed. The two elements are unstable when properly mixed and something magical occurs. Beasley knows the right combinations.

And so back the mail, from which this conversation began. I ordered a copy of her collection of poems titled Theories on Falling and it arrived yesterday.  This book was the winner of the 2007 New Issue Poetry Prize. The judge selecting this work was Marie Howe, another poet I adore. I have her work, The Kingdon of Ordinary Time.   
Sandra Beasley On the Right at AWP with Eduardo C. Corral

I'll review the book when I have finished. (I have so many books to read since AWP)