Monday, January 25, 2016

Neon Gallery Friday Night - January 29th 7:00PM

The Writers Place monthly Neon Gallery event is this Friday night and features Poetry, Art, & Music! Rick Malsick hosts & plays with musical guests River Cow Orchestra and Street Corner Choir. Poets from The Writers Place reading will be Wayne Courtois, Jen Harris, Pat Lawson, and Phyllis Becker.There will be art by The Visual Arts Group and Thomas Cobian, The Neon Warrior. This is a free event – all tips go to support The Writer’s Place. Bring a snack or dessert for the table (BASFTT). And definitely BYOB. This is a great way to spend the evening with friends. Everyone is welcome. Come to enjoy art, poetry, and music.

Location: 1921 E. Truman Rd. Kansas City, MO 64127   7PM to 10PM

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Confession Tuesday - Centimeters to Inches Edition

Dear Reader:

I am a few weeks past due for my Tuesday Confession and I hope the great great one above will forgive me, as well as you.

I have a number of things to get of my chest tonight. I guess when you stretch your confessions out, your chest can get quite weighted.  Where do I start...

I will admit that I was hopeful that I could be more patient this year. It may come to pass, but I confess this weekend my patience caught a bus to someplace else and didn't say goodbye.

For roughly 12 years now I have had all my pharmacy Rx's filled at a certain Target Pharmacy. They recently were sold out to CVS even though they remain in inside the Target property. Some of the staff remains and some of the staff is new. For a third time now I have had problems with them getting my prescriptions from my doctors on file.  It reached a point this weekend that I called their corporate office to complain. One of the new people was having none of the possibility it could be a problem on there end in spite of the fact that it has happened three time and one from a doctor at another location. It's no excuse but I had been sick all last week and my patience was like a fuse the size of a pin head.

But now my dear friends, there is snow here. Right here in River City....  I know it's winter. I know this winter has been mild for us. I know I have no right to expect it to be Bermuda shorts weather, but I confess I am annoyed. Yeah, That's what we'll call it.

My birthday was this month. Yeah! (doing an improvisational Capricorn dance here) I had a men's shoulder bad coming as a present. It was one that I would carry my tablet, my blood glucose monitor, and my Journal (that goes everywhere) and the box was on the from porch when I arrived shivering with cold and excitement tonight. Alas, I confess that I was disappointing upon opening the package as the nice leather bag would not even hold my tablet.  My wife, my daughter and myself all looked at the online specs on it before it was ordered and it swore the dimensions were in inches.  On closer review we realized they strung all them together and what looked like measurements in inches were actually cm. and inches incorporated together. Very confusing. Well, at least three of us saw the same thing and misread it. So that's going back and the hunt will begin again for the perfect bag. All of us a little wiser for the experience.

I generally think of the new year as a time of hope. Same was I do opening day for baseball. Everything seems imaginable if not probable. I have submitted an application for a mentoring program for a third time this month. The two previous times I made first cut but was not chosen and so I am hear again feeling the same agony all over awaiting to hear the results. I confess this is something that really means a lot to me, Still, I know there are many others who want and surly deserve the same opportunity. There is a limited number of people available and I have never really mentioned this in the past on my blog other than in some vague terms that would not likely have been understood for what it was. I mention it today because I am teetering on this teeter-totter trying to stay up and all the time realizing someone could hop down on the other end and I'd once again come crashing down shattering hope again.

I guess that's what we writers do though. fall down six times get up seven. The submission and rejection process is all a part of the territory. And I've learned well enough over the years that to get an acceptance of a poem, I have to be willing to be rejected multiple times. I handle that pretty well. But this, this is different. This is an opportunity to learn and grow with the help of a mentor who has gained important experience in this art.

On an upbeat note, I receive a new poetry book in the mail to read today. I confess there may be things better than getting a new poetry book, but none are coming to mind presently.  Anyway, the book is by the poet Rachel Mennies. I discovered some of her work on line a few months ago and the more poems of hers that I read the more her work resonated with me.  So, the Glad Hand of God Points Backwards (pictured above right) is awaiting my reading tonight. That, and I still have some rewrites to work on.  With that in mind I bid you farewell for now. May the rest of your week be upbeat, stay safe and take a smile for good luck!


Friday, January 01, 2016

2016 - The Year of The Poet.

Dear reader:

Honestly this past year seems to have flown by. They do that as we get older.  I remember as a child, as soon as Christmas was over I was thinking futuristically ahead to the following Christmas and it seemed like light-years away. I would consider what it would be like that morning. Would it be a white Christmas?  What presents would I get? What would I even be wishing for a year down the road.

New Year's is often a mixture of emotions and I is hard to quantify if the year ending was all that bad. Do I wish to shake it's dust from my feet or will I shed a tear of sadness for it passing? More often than not it will be some combination of these two.

Perhaps the highest point in 2015 for me was attending AWP 15 in Minneapolis. And yet I wish I could do it over. There were people I missed that I did not realize were there until I was back home. I think I would not have been quite the wall flower I was. It's not that I did not interact with people, but I could have done better. But then no matter what we are doing, isn't it true that we could always do a little better at something?

The big change for me in 2015 over the previous years is that I did not have near the success with publishing work. I would blame it on these three things:

  1. I did not submit nearly as much as in 2014
  2. I raised my bar on who I submitted to. I didn't just want acceptances in easy venues. I told myself to submit to places that I would like to see my work along side the normal material in a give journal. 
  3. I was running out of submittable work. The material I had available to select from was poems that had been around for some time and had failed to be snatched up after numerous submissions. This of course put pressure on me to produce more work, better work, and to do so quickly (not the best way to write) and therefor I put more emphasis on writing and less on the weekly submissions that I was in the habit of doing. 
But the year 2015 had other positive aspects. I felt a little bolder about creativity. I still have not moved the needle quite far enough, but I realize that until I face my fears and get over some hangups I am not going to write that poem that people want to read. I've got to take the risks.

I was discouraged in 2015 that I did not make it into a mentoring program I had applied for though I was told it was a tough choice between myself and another individual. I was also told they would try and match me up again this year. Hope can be a thing to hold on to, but it can lead to more disappointments. No matter what happens this year I have to trudge ahead making my own way.

Some thoughts on 2016:

  • Expect right now it is going to seem like in the end it went fast. Don't waste time.
  • I am experimenting with a bullet journal for planning. Having used a Franklin Planner for years at work the concept is not going to be too difficult to grasp.
  • I want to look for more opportunities to engage with others. Stop trying to write in a vacuum. 
  • I plan to take more walks this year. I hear it's good for creativity.
  • Read more.... I  have a goal of reading 40 books in 2016.
  • I have several projects I am working on but I have in the past week visualized yet another. A themed chapbook that will be in the range of 20 poems and I believe it is an attainable goal to complete this project during 2016 (while continuing to work on others)
  • I've already mentioned reading - I need to write more as well. Daily journaling as well as creative writing (as in poems) Free-writes, poem drafts, and finally nailing down the completed poem. 
  • I plan to get back into the routine habit of submitting work regularly - though still keeping the bar high. 
I won't close this post without acknowledging that I have the greatest family. My wife and four children are very supportive, They may not be big poetry fans but they recognize the importance it plays in my life. 

I'd like to believe that 2016 is the year of the Poet. That said my tag line for the year will be Peace & Poetry!  From my vantage point the world could use both!