Saturday, May 14, 2011
--WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?
…I have three new poems--"The Truth About Love," "Dolt," and "It Happened Again" up at Orion Headless, plus a story, "Potions" in the last issue of 52/250 A Year Of Flash.
They are also here under "Words In Print."
…I have been listening to:
Fleet Foxes (new)
The Cave Singers
Rage Against The Machine
The Mountain Goats
Bright Eyes (new)
Crash Test Dummies
I loved Arrested Development's song, "Tennessee." (Look it up on YouTube.) It's got a soulful vibe. They talk about God and lynching ("I climb the trees my fore-fathers hung from…") and ancestry, using hip hop, all without swearing once on the entire album.
…I am going to NY next week to do a reading at The Cell Theater and to attend other readings as well as The Book Expo. I love NY. NY was made for me. It's the peanut butter to my jelly sandwich, the cheese to my macaroni. I have this dream where I live there for a year, just a year, in a Spartan loft with brick walls and cab horns blaring outside. Somewhere in Soho or Nolita, the East Village or near The Meat Packing District. I would like that. Very much, I would. That would be totally cool
…I've been reading William Carlos Williams. Do you know him? He went to dental school, switched and went to med school, became a surgeon, and during idle moments at the hospital would jot down poetry. Thus, most of his things are brief.
I like him.
I especially enjoy this statement which appeared on the dust jacket of his book, "Al Que Quiere!" published in 1917:
"To Whom It May Concern!
This book is a collection of poems by William Carlos Williams. You, gentle reader, will probably not like it, because it is brutally powerful and scornfully crude. Fortunately, neither the author nor the publisher care much whether you like it or not. The author has done his work, and if you do read the book, you will agree that he doesn't give a damn for your opinion…And we, the publishers, don't much care whether you buy the book or not. It only cost a dollar, so that we can’t make much profit out of it. But we have the satisfaction of offering that which will outweigh, in spite of its eighty small pages, a dozen volumes of pretty lyrics. We have profound satisfaction of publishing a book in which, we venture to predict, the poets of the future will dig for material as the poets of today dig in Whitman's, 'Leaves of Grass'."
Isn't that wonderful? Crazy? Fantastic, to be so bold and carefree about what you believe in? To not care if anyone buys, let alone, reads your book?
Since I was a boy I have always been trying to get people to like me, to love me even. It's true. Insecurity is a tragic defect of mine.
I was painfully shy up until the age of 18.
Actually, if you really knew me, you'd know there's still a little nine year old boy cowering inside my chest somewhere, needing a hug from you.
That's one of the reasons I did not pursue my passion until so late in life.
I was afraid.
I didn't think I could do it.
When I told my dad I wanted to be a writer at age nine, he responded without so much as a smirk, saying, "Quit your fucking dreaming. How do you expect to eat on that?"
And so I was scared to do it, to be a writer, or call myself that. I was afraid I’d let my father down, he who never read, a man who made a rough living with his hands, fixing things.
I wanted him to love me. To be proud.
I cared profoundly about what he thought of me.
I could never have been so brazen and reckless as William Carlos Williams. "Who cares what you think of me or my writing? Fuck you!"
Well, I care. I care what you think of my writing.
Perhaps I shouldn't, but I do.
…Enough with confessions and nostalgia! Here are a few things I like on a Friday, right on the cusp of a happy weekend:
"Live or die, but don't poison everything." Anne Sexton
"With lots of exceptions, killing yourself is a bad idea." Benjamin Alsup
"You can find on the outside only what you possess on the inside."-- Adolfo Montiel Ballesteros
"It took me a long time to figure out that not every writer has to be brilliant." Jenny Shank