Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Confession Tuesday - Getting Organized Edition

Bullet Journal

Dear Reader:

It has been two weeks since my last confession. Two weeks of way too much Donald Trump exposure. Please make him go away! The culmination of a long wait to learn if I was accepted for a program I applied for. And not a period of questioning myself.

To the Confessional, let us begin...

It is Lent and I've not been a very good Lenten observer thus far. I usually think in advance what I see my self doing and not doing over Lent and how it might make me a better person. I really fell down this year. I think Lent coming so early in the year, it was like it sneaked up one me.  I confess that is the best argument I have and I'm sticking with it. I my defense, for other reasons I was very prayerful over the last few weeks, but not on account of lent. So there has been a spiritual dimension to my recent life. I could tell you that I am going to give this up or that up for the rest of Lent but I won;t go there. I am not going to make any such promises. I will however remain prayerful for others and their various difficulties this time of year.

The presidential election is in full swing and I am tired of Donald Trump. I confess it would not matter if we were not in the midst of the campaign season. I find his verbiage to be counter productive to the health of our democracy. I find him thoughtless, rude, disrespectful, bullying, racially inflammatory and that is just the start. If I keep on I'll still be writing about this in time for next weeks confession. I want it to stop. I want him to stop. Alas I am powerless to end his rhetoric, and I acknowledged this and move on.

I have been a basket case for some weeks now awaiting word on a program I applied for (related to writing) and I have heard that I was not chosen.  This is my third attempt and  I have been told in the past that  my application and work made it to consideration and have been encouraged to reapply.  I want in this program so badly and I have to say that each time the wait is excruciating.  The aftermath is disappointing. I confess that it makes no sense but  upon learning again that  I missed getting selected I basically wanted to just stop writing. Then I wanted to just stop submitting work, just write and throw it in a drawer or something like that. I cannot stop writing, it's too much a part of who I am. But I could maybe decide to just decide to write for myself and nothing more.

I confess that  every once and a while there is something that causes me to question why I should be writing. It's happened numerous times. Usually it is because I'm in a funk and haven't written anything promising in a while. But this is different. I actually  had pulled out of a writing  slump and was going well. I just saw this as a real opportunity to grow even more and learn from the experience.

As a Capricorn I tend to want to be organized. I confess that I am well aware that there is a difference between craving organization and living it.  At work I have used a Franklin Planner System for maybe 20 years or more. Recently I've been exposed to the Bullet Journal and I have now tinkered with it for two months. I am starting to feel more comfortable with it. So much so, that  I've ordered on of the specific Bullet Journals this past week as they became available again. I had been using my own makeshift one, but starting win March I will begin to use the new journal.

In my mailbox this evening was the March/April edition of The Writer's Chronicle. I believe I will wrap this confession up for the night and read a bit in it - the finish off the evening  writing.

Till next time,

The Muse be with you!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Confession Tuesday in Neon

Dear Reader:

It's been one widow upgrade (actually two), and a week since my last confession.

I dislike upgrades. I confess I'm not really fond of IT people either. It's nothing personal, it's just that....  well, did you ever read Who Moved My Cheese?  Yeah,  my computer, be it at home or work is like my cheese and you don;t want to move it.

So this past weekend I took mo mother's laptop and upgraded it to Windows 10.  I also upgraded my 8.1 to 10. I never liked 8 anyway so there was that incentive to change. I mean I had become used to it and I mostly was concerned about losing shit in the shift but everything went okay. I confess that no computers or people were harmed in the process.

I've written some poems this week. By that I mean that I have taken pen & paper or in some instances laptop and composed drafts that survived on their own. They remain rough but they are not on life support. They are kinds of making it on their own merit. After rewrites they will be released into the world to hopefully find a home of their own.  I confess this is important because sometimes I get in a funk and the screwy notion gets into my head that I have written my last poem. That I will never ever be able to make one work again. I thought this must be a unique feeling but I recall reading an autobiography of Randall Jarrell in which his wife talked about him reaching such a point. So i guess unique? Not so much.

I feel like there are three neon lights that keep blinking inside my head. One is something writing related I have applied for. One is Spring Training. And the third is Valentines Day.  So I confess that these items are distractions. If you see me and I look like I'm in another world altogether, I'm probably just getting high on neon lights.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Confession Tuesday - Messenger Bag Edition

It's been one long night of watching the first Presidential Caucus, one GOP debate without Trump, one month ending and another month beginning, one poetry submission acceptance that I totally missed for months, and two weeks since my last confession.  To the Confessional...

Dear Reader:

My mood these past two weeks has been about like the stock market. If you've followed it, it's been up one day, down another. If you haven't followed it, well it's been the same.

So the other night I realized that I had a poem accepted last year that appeared in Nude Bruce Journal (see blog post yesterday) and this was an up and down event in one. I was excited when I learned that it had made it into print, bummed that I had somehow missed the notification and did not get to realize it at the time it was happening. All and all it still was better than not having a poem accepted.

I also had a rejection last week. That wasn't all that bad of a thing because I always figure that I have to have a few rejections for every acceptance.  Just a part of the project.

Finished two new poems last week. Felt good about that. I've not  written as much as I should have last week but evidently it was enough to get some good results.

I had a poet visit me in a dream the other night. That has not happened to me in a while, I wish it were more common.

I've feel like I've been hammered by some pretty ugly  social media stuff from a few Bernie Sanders supporters.This negative stuff is messing with my overall attitude.  I don't mind people expressing their support for a candidate other than mine, but there has been some pretty crappy hype on Facebook and Twitter including a lot of out and out lies. These people are doing no favors for Bernie. I've followed him for several years now and I don;t think he'd approve of some of the stuff from some of his supporters. I think he is more classy than that.

Finished a book by Rachel Mennies and it has gone on to my pile of books to review. The only thing it seems larger than the pile of books to review is the pile of ones I still want to read.

I got a new leather messenger bag for my birthday and it is pretty cool. I'm trying to compartmentalize what I carry around with me and try and lessen the load. This bag is going a long way to helping with this. This makes me happy,

I'm stumbling around on a chapbook project that is causing me some consternation. I'm kind of counting on some mental breakthrough on a specific poem that is a part of the project.  Looking for some good Karma here....

That's it for this Tuesday.  Stay safe and come back next week.!

Monday, February 01, 2016

An Accepted Poem, and I Missed It... Go Figure

So I went to Submittable last night to check on something and discovered quite by accident that  one of three poems I had submitted to Nude Bruce Review last year (yes, I said Nude Bruce)  was actually accepted in August. Woot!

I feel like a fool for missing it. I don't usually check Submittable for results, instead watch my e-mail. This reply went to an old email address that I am you using for writing related stuff any more.

The poem titled Without You is located on page 86  of the Spring Issue or Issue 5 CLICK HERE and scroll to the page.

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!