Sunday, December 31, 2017

Confession Tuesday on Sunday 2017 Wrap - Wild Things Edition

Dear Reader:

I'm overdue for Confession Tuesday so I thought I'd get in one more confession before the new year.

It has been a dip into arctic temperatures, one DNA sample, one visit from fat man in red (not intended to be a disparaging comment on physical looks - just a plain old adjective), one homemade Giants card from a poet friend, one lost diamond stud earring (in the house) one new bookcase in and an old one out, many more claims there is no  collusion with Russer, many more indicators otherwise, one dog escape from the backyard, some stuffy and crusty nose stuff, an immeasurable amount of stress, some weird dreams, three weeks and 5 days since my last Confession Tuesday.

I confess that the end of the year is always fraught with a tugging and pulling over resolutions for the coming year. This year is no exception.  I find in part that resolutions for a new year seem to automatically come with the caveat that they generally are broken. So, once again making resolutions seems like an exercise in futility.

Frederick Nietzsche points out that the major distinction between humans and other animals is the ability to make promises.   He notes they are often broken but insists we should keep making them least we lower our selves to the animal level. It's an interesting argument but one that only adds the stress of not only keeping your promise but uphold the decency of humankind by making them to start with.

I feel what works best for me this year is to be more general in my resolution rather than saying I am going to submit 125 pieces of work this year, or my goal is to get 100 rejections or write X number of new poems a week, my resolution should maybe look something like this:  In 2018 I will live a life of poetry, looking for the rhyme and reason to life. Informing myself of the many works of others and finding the value in them. Be authentic, in that I can appreciate other marvellous poets, both living and dead, that I can learn from them, but in the end, I cannot be them. Accept my own uniqueness and, endeavour to bring writing/poetry into the world that reflects this.

There is always the other important general stuff like being an advocate for peace, justice, for those with whose voice is ignored or lost in the world.

I confess that I love mail. Mostly I never get any bills any longer by mail. I still get a lot of junk mail and that I could do without, but when I order books and they come or some other surprise is in the mailbox, this is really cool.  Recently another person, knowing my passion for the San Francisco Giants sent me a homemade Giants card.  I was amazed when I opened it.  I wish more people exchanged snail mail.


One of my Christmas gifts this year was an Ancestry DNA test.  I confess it seemed a bit gross spitting in a tube and mailing it off.  Still, it's not quite as disgusting as some of the smears that the doctor has had me mail back to the lab.

I'm keenly interested in my heritage and for some reason, I think everyone should be. I confess that is probably a bit of an overreach on my part. I just think there is some comfort in knowing more about where you came from.  This, in my estimation, is one of the great travesties of slavery. It makes it extremely difficult if not impossible for many slave descendants to be able to take that linkage back very far and that is

Awaiting the results of the DNA testing is both exciting and torturous.  I have certain expectations and to some extent, they are based on some things I already know about my own genealogy. I am anticipating that I am descended from a mixture of  Irish, Scotch, Welsh and English heritage. I'm expecting that there is likely some western Europe influence - though perhaps lesser, I'm totally prepared for surprises.


I confess that I am thankful for being a part of the spring session this year of Writer 2 Writer mentoring program through AWP. Thankful for my mentor Ken Waldman.  I'm also appreciative of being able to work recently with Ivy Alvarez.  I confess I never want to stop learning.


I confess that this year has been difficult for sustainability. Selling our home and moving was traumatic and really still is. My mother's passing in November added a new layer of emotional challenge. Sometimes it seems these kinds of years give you something to write about, and to some degree I have. I just have not found a theme in which to begin to pull it all together. I suppose there is loss. So much has already been written on loss. I guess I deep down want to be found.


My biggest disappointment is perhaps that I did not publish more this year.  I confess that I did not submit as often as I normally have. I've been expecting more out of my own work before sending it off and for the most part, raised the bar on who I send work to.  That means I especially hold the key to that success or lack thereof. No blame on this press or that journal. I confess it's me and I know what I need to do.


Finally, I confess that you are never too old to appreciate the Wild Things....  Above right is a picture of one of the Wild Things overlooking my desk. Just one of my muses.

And with that, I've performed my last Confession Tuesday for 2017 being fully aware it is actually Sunday.  Forgive me.  ;-)

Wishing you all a very happy new year - May 2018 bring you ample supply of peace, love, joy and hope.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Confession Tuesday - 100 Years Edition

It's confession time, won't you come along with me?

Dear Reader:

It has been one low key Thanksgiving, one house lockout, one damaged book from Amazon, untold breaking news stories on the investigation into the Russian influence on the 2016 campaign and  Trump family, et al., another guilty plea, a promise this will all be over by the end of the year and Trump cleared (I have some prime swampland for sale at bargain price), the end of the cleanout of mom's apartment, one Super Nova Moon and two weeks since my last confession

I confess that I missed a week, that just gives me more to work with today.  I'm home from work taking a half day vacation. I have this problem that requires me to do this from time to time. I have accrued nearly my limit in vacation hours.  To go over means I will be truncated. In other words, I lose any new hours acquired during that pay period in order to stay at the max. When this happens I get a little note from our office manager telling me to take some time off,  or sometimes she just writes GO HOME! on the vacation and sick day form, we get bi-weekly. It seems I am the only one in the office with this problem.  I will use a bunch of hours in March when I go to AWP18.

So going back to Thanksgiving, it was low key this year.  My wife and I had a small no-frills meal together and in the late afternoon, she left with two of my daughters to drive to Tennessee to see my third daughter for a few days. I enjoyed our time together. I confess I missed not having a pecan pie, but who would not miss one if they didn't have one.  So, I was mostly home alone for the holiday. at least the extended portion. I managed to find interesting things to do, like lock myself out of the house. It's a long story and I confess that's all I'm going to say about it.

Then, I confess that there is so much I want to say to Donald Trump's face, but I won't go into details. Let's say that none of it would be friendly or in any way complimentary.

I confess the Super Nova Moon was awesome. I told my wife in the car the other night that I believed the moon was God's gift to poets.I know that so many poets have written about the moon that many believe it is overworked in poetry.  That may be, but it is up there and it's like a mirror in the sky and it is so fucking inspiring sometimes. Say what you want about the number of moon poems, but the best one has never been written yet...

You already know that my mother recently passed away (if you've been reading my confessions) and in addition to that a former boss of mine died rather unexpectedly at the end of November. John was 69 years old. I confess, as I've mentioned in the past, that I have been compulsively obsessed with the combined elements of death and time.  This started sometime between age 20 and 25 but was certainly blow wide open at 25.  I think it's roots were probably bedded in the "quarter-century what have you done" complex.

In more recent years say maybe the past two, I've dwelled upon this much less. Almost none. But here I am again, back for more punishment.I suspect I have the recent deaths to thank for that.  The Five For Fighting song, 100 Years keeps going on in my head. I like the song but it's somewhere between nostalgic and melancholy.  But it's when I'm obsessed with death that I feel the most pressure about writing. The feeling that I am up against a clock ticking till the end and when it comes, that's it. What I've got, what I've created, achieved, that's it. That's what I leave behind. A really burdensome thought.

 Thank you, dear reader, for joining me. Until next time, I'll just be looping this song in my head...