Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Confession Tuesday - The original lava lamp edition

Dear Reader:

It's been an extensive lava eruption in Hawaii, a 5 & 8 Record for my  Giants (who play tonight), an improving left knee, damage to a tendon in my left heel, some writing  frustration, a feeling of being overwhelmed, more to the ongoing story of Trump Fucks Up America, one more school shooting, sporadic reading, being out of control with my eating, and two weeks since my last confession.

Reader, it's been a strange beauty/horror as I watch pictures from Hawaii. The flow of lava seems to follow the path of least resistance and therefore threaten both people and man-made property that stand in its way. This is another reminder that mother nature holds tremendous power over both beauty and destruction. I confess this is the power nature holds over us, abundant beauty and terror.  Someone must be writing about this!

I am frustrated with writing and reading. I've been doing a fair amount of writing but not so good on reading. And to the extent that I am cracking out words, I don't feel I am happy whit what I am writing. Oh, sure there are bits and pieces that and extraordinary but things are not coming together.  I had planned on entering a contest this month and had pieces that I wanted to rework or polish up for it. I became so disillusioned with myself that as the 15th deadline came and went, I did not have it in me to work anymore on these pieces and I just chucked it all in. I told myself I needed to own this decision and not look back on it with regret,  I confess to being disappointed in myself but that is not the same as regret.

Another school shooting takes innocent lives. I confess that  I have more resolve to cast votes for candidates that reflect the belief we can make a difference - and this issue is guns, not exits, not arming teachers, not allowing more guns in the open community.

There is this reading issue. I'm not reading enough. It's not from lack of books. I confess that I subscribe to the adage that writers must be constantly reading far more material than the write. I'm going to do better on this starting today!

Last but not least, I confess that I have been far too enamored with potato chips and ice cream. These two items have become a food group ion my food chain.  Comfort food?  Items that I can't break away from because of the taste. I don't know. I confess it has just been a problem this past couple of weeks.

I had the opportunity to see several women that belonged to a poetry group that has not met in some time.  It was very nice to see Joyce, Brenda, and Mary (who I haven't seen in good Lord, maybe two years?

That's it for tonight. May you breathe in the fullness of life and watch out for the lava.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Confession Tuesday - Mail Edition

Hill of Slane - County Meath, Ireland

Dear Reader:

It's been one new, rear hatch door on my Scion, another  April - Poetry month has gone by,  a mixed bag of good on writing a poem a day in April, a mixed record of 13 wins and 8 losses for my San Francisco Giants, a somewhat improved left knee, not very good news at the dentists, a cool card from a friend, and 3 weeks since my last confession. 

Let me start with the card. On the left is a photo attached to a homemade card from someone who I believe I first had contact with several years ago as a result of an April - Poetry Month Book give-a-way. This kind person sent me this card wishing me a happy Easter, it went back to her because we had moved and the post office did not forward it.  She messaged me for my new address and resent it. There was a personal note in it, she shared a story about visiting the 9-11 memorial and enclosed a SF Giants window decal. Marianne is aware of my love of baseball and all things SF Giants.

Postal mail has changed so much over the years. I remember the dreaded reach into the mailbox expecting dreaded bills and junk mail. An occasional letter but those were infrequent. If I was lucky there would be a new book I had ordered. They always give me a thrill when they arrive.

Over the years the mail has changed. Drastically so.  In fact, I rarely if ever get so much as a bill in the mail these days. I'm not complaining. Part of that is because I have almost no bills any longer, but also because account statements are usually available to me online. What I do get, is an ever-increasing amount of junk mail. This mail offers me everything from hearing aids to timeshare get-aways. There are siding offers, new windows, funeral plans, car deals, and God knows what I've pitched without delving too deeply int to specifics. Rarely do I ever receive personal mail. Again, the arrival of a new book is about as good as it gets.

I doubt that my mail situation is much different from my neighbors, you, or anyone else. I don't believe this is unique. Sadly, it is a sign of the times. I long for the days that poets & writers wrote to others about their trade. Getting this card was a pleasant deviation from the sad commentary of what the mail has become. It made my day.

I confess that I did not write 30 poem drafts in April. Sometimes it happens that I do, but sometimes I fall short. What I can say, is that I have a few drafts that are keepers and may once cleaned up a bit, will be looking for homes.  So, I won't say that the April exercise was a failure. I will say that it fell short of expectations.  Or maybe plans is a more accurate description.

I confess that  My left knee is much better, but not 100%.

I confess that today I am off from work and I have received no less than 4 solicitation calls to my cell that is on the Do-Not-Call list. This has really ticked me off. They all start with how are you today and my response is, that depends on who you are and why you are calling. I get in my curmudgeon mode. Usually, I don't answer if I don't know the number, but I was anticipating a call that would likely have been a number unknown to me.

I'm totally angry with our government and I confess that I don't see much good coming of it until we can change what we've got.

As you can see, I am a bit cranky today. Hot weather will do that to me, but so will ignorant as well as unethical public officials,  as well as unwanted calls from solicitors.

On that note, I will sign off and hope that tomorrow Michael is less cranky.

Have a safe week, everyone.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Confession Tuesday - Schizophrenia is in Full Bloom this Spring

Dear Reader:

It's been two snowfalls, an injection of cortisone directly into my left knee, 4 wins for the SF Giants and 7 losses, 14 more fucking long days of Trump, an air strike on Syrian targets, a lot of writing, and two weeks since my last confession.  Won't you follow me to the confessional? Come..

The poet community is one less. I confess I did not personally know Sam Hamil, but I knew of him. I knew some of his rugged past that probably had a lot to do with the person he was. I became acquainted with him during the Poets Against the War lead up to U.S. Bombing Iraq.  When I think of Copper Canyon Press I think of Sam. When I think of Sam, I think of Copper Canyon Press. It's that simple. Sam was all about peace. There was a quiet spirit that resided in Sam, but Sam also had the ability to unleash tremendous indignation where appropriate. One thing I don't think I ever saw in Sam was much optimism. His worldview of governments including and perhaps especially our own was highly pessimistic.  War, hate, violence, greed, corruption. These were things that kept his vision from seeing a reason for optimism. But Sam gave is poetry. His gift to us all, are words that will continue to speak to us if only we will listen.

We've had hot days & we've had cold and snowy days. We are deep in a schizophrenic springtime that has no clue what it is. I confess this is trying the patience of everyone I know locally.

What I've been thinking about lately is not the cesspool in Washington D.C. that is the Trump Administration, at least I've not been trying to, but rather poets. That would only be natural since it is April, but I'm contemplating what poets have I read and heard lately that are rocking my world? This is on my mind because June is not that far away and that is when I release my Poets Crush List. A six pack of poets that are wickedly awesome.  No hints. I couldn't if I wanted to as I am still mulling the possibilities. 

It has occurred to me that  I need to get out to more events. I confess that  I've sort of slacked off and part of that is because of this ongoing problem with my left knee, but more recently that has just been an easy excuse. I really have not been especially engaged in the community that much since the first of the year. Other than of course the time spent in Tampa for AWP.  There are some reading coming up I need to get on my calendar. I confess that I will try to step up my game and be more involved.

May each of you be touched by at least one poem this week. 

Be safe! Be at peace!

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Confession Tuesday, - NaPoWriMo 2018 Edition

Dear Reader:

It's been a dreary two weeks since my last confession. I think I may have seen sunshine twice, but I'm a little sketchy on it because it's been so long I'm not totally certain what it looks like.

Lent has come and gone, Easter has come, but we are still technically in the Easter season and spring is here. Spring and baseball. Ah, baseball. I confess that baseball, life, and poetry all three mirror each other. At least that is my perspective.  They all lean heavy on surprises. The seeing eye single that sort of rolls through the infield uninhibited for a base hit, when there are two outs, and 3-2 count wit hone of the lesser strong hitters at the plate. Or when the pitcher, faced with runners in scoring position strikes out the next three batters who all happen to be the heart of the order. Or the poem that started out of nowhere and ended in a manner in which the poet her/himself could not even have imagined. And there is life itself, that just throws any and everything your way. Coincidence that baseball and April both are a part of spring? I think not. April is national poetry month. I've already seen more than one smooth 6-4-3 double play and we are only 4 days in.

So, I am doing NaPoWriMo 2018. I'm posting the poems on a private Facebook group page that is set up especially for this annual event, that way the poem drafts are not published for public view and can be treated as unpublished should we decide to submit one or more to a journal. I confess that sometimes it's rather easy to do this and other times it is excruciatingly painful.  Some of it has to do with what else is going on that day and less to do with flushing the poem itself out into the world. But there are days the later is the problem.

The knee issue that I have written about in past weeks remains a problem. Just today I was back to bee my primary care and we are going to do X-rays and knee specialist. I'm told this guy is the "Rock-Star of Knees" -LOL.  I confess that I'm sort of tired of feeling like I am dragging my left knee around.

I have been writing a lot these past ten days or so. Some of it I believe is inspired by going to AWP18 and part is reading a lot more really good work by others. That always inspires me.  When I read other works, I confess it tends to pull me away from writing safe stuff. I suppose because when I am cranking out something boring, something that I see is not extraordinary, it causes me to stop and ask myself what and why am I writing? I truly believe that anyone who is not reading other people's work has no business writing.

My downfall of late is not submitting enough. I confess I know full well that I need to go back to my Submission Saturday every single week.

I'm all confessed out. Until next time, be safe, be kind, enjoy life!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Confession Tuesday - Hanging Tight Edition

Dear Reader:

It's been another week with a sore knee, but less limping, a string of dreary overcast days, several with rain, a visit to an Alpaca show, and a week since my last confession.

I'm still in a coming off AWP mode. What that is like is a mixture of highs and lows. I confess that one of the things that happen, is I tend to proactively think about things more outside the box. Something all artists should be doing a pretty much all the time. I become more aware of it at odd times like I'm driving to the office and things are turning on in front of me like lights bulbs.  It's a more, why can't this be a certain way as opposed to how you would normally view it. It has been a springboard for some things that I am in the process of trying.  But the other thing that happens is that I start that time frenzy all over. The one I've battled most of my life. Like I have a clock ticking against everything I want to do or achieve. This, I dread. This is a battle that is real.

We went with our grandchildren to an Alpaca show this past weekend and I confess I like Lamas more than I do Alpacas. I confess that their faces do not look trusting. Go figure.

I confess that  I feel like I am trying to come down with a cold or something more serious. I have had a flu shot, but there was that year I had a shot and got it anyway. I'm going to continue my routine of trying to deny it, but the nose, throat, combination stuff is not cooperating.

Thanks to AWP I confess that I have a ton of reading to do. This is not a bad thing.

I confess that I am reading a poet who is new to me Anne Barngrover. I like what I am reading so far. Maybe it's the way that Missouri keeps creeping into some of her poems. I'm sure it's more than that, but the Missouri stuff doesn't hurt.

I hesitate to bring this up, but if I do not say something here I fear my head will explode. Good lord, how has Donald Trump survived?  I seriously believe he is the biggest moron in the whole world. NEVER do I wake up in the morning with a good feeling about where this country is going. Each month he gets worse. He cannot sustain this presidency. I only hope that we survive his tenure and that he is gone sooner than later.

Until next time, hang tight!

Friday, March 16, 2018

What I am Reading Now

In my post AWP days, I am kind o getting grounded again and I have plenty of reading material I came home with. One of my favorite publishers is University of Akron Press - (I purchased three books from their table.)

I have selected one of them,  Brazen Creature by Anne Barngrover to begin tonight.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Confession Tuesday - AWP Edition or Sylvia in My Midst

Dear Reader:

It's been one round-trip flight to Tampa, Florida, 35990 AWP Steps in 4 days, one out of body experience involving Sylvia Plath, the discovery of mini-moon pies, one cortisone shot, a pack of steroids, a lot of new books, and two weeks since my last confession.

This year was my third AWP. My second in a row. I skipped LA three years ago After attending my first in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I confess, some things never change about AWP. I confess that AWP is both exhausting and exhilarating. It's four days of highs and lows and it must surely mimic in some ways living with multiple personalities. Okay, I'm pretty sure that is an exertion, but you get my point. There are people you are so damn excited to see. There are people you miss. There are people you never knew, but now you do. Meeting these three poets for the first times were highlights for me:
All three of them have work that I have read, so I was familiar with them, but this made it extra special.

With Heather Derr-Smith

Before I left, (actually the Friday before) my left knee became very swollen. I stayed off of it Friday night, Saturday and most of Sunday. It went through various stages of being very painful to semi-tolerable.  I called my doctor  Monday and she saw me after work.  I received a cortisone shot and a package of steroids and the probability I would be in good enough shape to leave Wednesday morning for my flight out.

I did, and I confess the trip was not pain-free, but it was for the most part tolerable. So from Wednesday through Saturday night, I logged 35,990 steps. Now, I confess that I was exhausted by the end of each day, but that is how all of my AWP trips have been. Still, it didn't help that my knee was not 100%. Actually, it still isn't.

With Maggie Smith

I love the various swag that comes with AWP. It is always fun to see what new buttons are floating around.  New this year was a red button that read, 'Make America Normal Again.'

There was a series of Cat buttons associated with the various writing genre. My poetry Cat button is awesome. The cat has a red beret on its head.   There was a Teenage Gothic Cat who had mascara streaming down from her eyes.

The absolute best panel I attended was on Confessional Poetry.  The panelists Were Jerico Brown, Maggie Smith, Rachel Mennies and a fourth person whose name I forget at the moment. I must confess that this panel was both serious and hysterically funny in large part to Jerico Brown.

Oh, and going back to swag, one booth had Mini Mood pies in all six flavors. As a diabetic, this size is a better serving size. Not that I don't enjoy the larger size. I have already had to order some from Amazon.

I was able to meet up with two other mentees from the Writer to Writer program. Michelle Cerulli McAdams and Erin Robertson. Michelle and I attended the keynote speech and Eran and I met for dinner one evening.  My Mentor Ken Waldman was there and the two of us spent an hour at the Writer to Writer booth talking with potential future mentees and mentors.
With Rachel Mennies
I went better prepared this time. I packed light and I was able to collapse a good sized leather bag into the suitcase.  If you don't go to AWP and come back with tons of books, something is wrong.  I once packed with books for the return, this was the heaviest of the luggage I had. No contest.

Perhaps later this week I will share some of the titles of the books I brought home.

I confess that I actually wrote two decent poetry drafts while I was in Tampa. I'm in the mood for a full court press of writing and submitting.

My out of body experience as Sylvia Plath
And finally, in the spirit of fun, I confess that I entered into an out of body experience with Sylvia Plath.  I have proof here to show.

Until next time, be safe and peace!