Tuesday, February 28, 2012
--SOMETIMES GOODBYE IS A SECOND CHANCE
…I ran ten miles this morning. It was a bit farther than I should have went. Plus the last three miles were up hill so now my butt is screaming sore. But I guess that’s a good thing. A few more mornings like that and I’ll be able to break walnuts on my buttocks.
…I’m going to AWP tomorrow. I have some ideas, but I’m a little bit nervous, a tad anxious.
I have a feeling I’m going to be a yard dog without a leash. I’ll be cut-off crusts. I’ll be tip toeing on one of Saturn’s rings. Maybe not, but those are the pictures that keep showing up in my movie trailer.
There are a lot of people I’d like to meet. I wonder if I’ll be able to match their Facebook photo to their real face with its whiskers or eyeliner. I wonder how brave and extroverted I’ll be.
It’d be nice if we all had to wear a name tag on our foreheads—then there’d be no guesswork involved.
…I got the new issue of Rolling Stone. It’s a thin as an envelope. 74 pages. Last month was a record low 67 pages.
They have Paul McCartney on the cover. He’s a legend but he’s 70-something. Last issue was Bruce Springsteen. In this month’s, they have an article with the title: “Is the CD Finally Dead?” An expert gives it three years tops.
I give Rolling Stone two years tops. And it breaks my heart to say that.
…In a different magazine I read yesterday, I read that a blogger needs to have approximately 10,000 (ten THOUSAND) followers in order to capture the attention of a mainstream book-publishing house.
I have exactly 1% of that number. So I guess that means I Am The 1%. Maybe I should up signs and protest.
…I like these things on a blustery night:
"We get through life with hard work, a little luck, and the kindness of others." Robert Dugoni
"You have to be a bulldog in this business, kid. You got to be a bulldog." Jane Rotrosen
"A writer's life is not designed to reassure your mother." Rita Mae Brown
"Solitude carries with it a risk, and the risk is loneliness." "Answers in the Heart"
"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars." E.H. Chapin
Monday, February 27, 2012
--WHEN YOU SAID THAT THING YOU SAID, DID YOU REALLY MEAN IT?
...I wasn't planning on watching "The Academy Awards" but I ended up there anyway.
The thing you have to remember before you start watching is it's never going to be as good as you think. The whole thing is just people getting up in front a microphone and thanking all of these other people you've never heard of. That part is necessary and quite boring.
The interim bits are hit and miss, as they were again this year, though jowly Billy Crystal was more on than off.
I did think--for the most part--the winners did a nice job of congratulating the people they were up against in the same category.
It's pretty tough to win, if you think about it.
Mara Rooney--my fave--who was brilliant in "Dragon Tattoo", was up again stellar performances by Glen Close, Octavia Davis and eventual winner, Meryl.
But you get nominated and you have that for all time and it's a good thing.
...I had this piece published in the UK print journal Turbulence:
Master of the Ring
Even at my death
You boast of grandeur
And your time at the circus
Clowns gather round
To toss plates while riding unicycles
The gray elephant sprays spittle on the crowd
You crack your whip
And the lion sits
A fat lady sings
Two double-headed monkeys curtsy
For the finale you press your pop gun
Against my forehead
Pull the trigger
Putting bullets in me
While people applaud
Sunday, February 26, 2012
--MAYBE WE SHOULD TALK FIRST
...I used to see those bumper stickers on cars-- "Life is A Bitch, and then you die."
I hated them, their cynism.
And this one, too-- "Life is a Bitch, then you marry one."
A woman is not a Bitch.
Life's not a Bitch, either.
Are you kidding me?
How lucky are we? Stop being so self=-absorbed. Life is finite. It's shrinking at this very moment, which means it is precious, actually the most precious thing there is.
-"When I grow up, I want to be a little boy." Joseph Heller
-"Love must be learned, and learned again and again; there is no end to it. Hate needs no instruction, but only waits to be provoked." Katherine Anne Porter
-"Love your self's self where it lives." Anne Sexton
-"Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all." Oliver Wendell Holmes
--YOU RECOVER QUICKLY
…I started reading Erica Wright’s poetry collection, “Instructions for Killing the Jackal.”
I started reading it in the bath tub.
I nearly drown reading it.
Holy hell is she good.
I wish I had some of her skills.
I think she’s a teacher. Maybe I should move to where she lives, attend her classes that she teaches, and try to learn some skills of my own.
Here is a sample, from “Misbegotten”:
“I’ll hold you if you must rest in me.
What prize I’ve won. What ilk. For hooking necks
of bottle with rings—plastic, dirty, bent.
carnivals stroke the young and the lived-in
couched in country witched with miscarriage.
Doorsteps become you. Silence. Bruises.
Fear I’ll let you linger, pathway-bound and blue
like stillborns. These become you.”
See what I mean?
Do yourself a favor and buy Erica’s book. It’s only $14.
…It’s my dad’s birthday on the 27th.
I went to the store to get him a card. I hate buying cards because they’re all so cheesy. Usually I just get one with an arty photo on the cover and nothing inside and then I write my own soliloquy.
But I think my dad likes sappy cards and on one’s birthday one should more or less get what one desires, right?
At the store I went to they are big on selling greeting cards. They had The Great Wall of China filled with them.
And they were all very organized, too, with helpful title slides.
What was weird was they didn’t have a single title slide that said, “Happy Birthday for Dad.”
They had them that said, “Happy Birthday for Mom.”
Happy birthday for religious Mom”
“Happy birthday for funny Mom. Romantic Mom. Religious Grandma. Granddaughter. Sister. Sister in-law. Niece. You niece. Aunt. Friend. One Year Old. Two Year Old. Three Year Old… 16 Year Old.”
But none for Dad. I found that peculiar. Being a father myself, I was also a little perturbed.
And there you have my rant for the day.
…Otherwise, I like these things:
-"I think you do your best when you're doing it for someone else. Think of when you're first in love, what power that gives you. You're like superman--because you're doing it for someone else."
-"There's a real wisdom to not saying a thing." Willem Dafoe
-"He has outsoared the shadow of our night." John Domini
-"But something occurred to me as I sped through that dirty shroud of fog, something Vonnegut has been trying to explain to the rest of us for most of his life. And that is this: Despair is a form of hope. It is an acknowledgment of the distance between ourselves and our appointed happiness. At certain moments, it is reason enough to live." Steve Almond
Friday, February 24, 2012
HOW ARE YOU FEELING ABOUT US SO FAR?
Yesterday I threw away thousands and thousands of my own words. Maybe over a hundred thousand. Perhaps more.
I decided to get organized and go through the stacks and stacks of papers and folders.
There were sections of stories, half-finished pieces, really bad poetry, broke-down sentences, phrases, a line here and there that didn't make sense but must have at the time I wrote them down. The majority of it was really horrid.
It felt good to purge, to get my office less cluttered, but what I tossed was some really bad (okay, shitty) writing.
It nicked my confidence a bit. I kept thinking--How can the person who wrote this be the same person who wrote that other (good) thing? It was a big disconnect, let me tell you.
…But then, yesterday I submitted a poem and got it accepted seven minutes later. That's a record.
…Yesterday two different people asked me to read and review their book. I said, "Yes." I'm not very good at the word No. Plus I like to help people. Plus I'd like to know they'd do the same--or similar for me, even though I'm not really great at asking for help.
…Yesterday the power went out again. This happens frequently where I live because I am in the boonies with telephone poles and power lines exposed, not to mention lots of trees, many of which are old and arthritic (well, for trees) and tend--when it's windy--to topple over said power lines.
I am a spoiled American and therefore really enjoy the use of electricity.
I am a spoiled American and take the consistent and immediate use of electricity at my disposal for granted.
I admit it.
I could never make it in the woods with a lantern. I couldn't even make it with a camper fully stocked with food and a year's worth of propane. Even the word "camping" makes me anxious.
…Yesterday I felt really lonely at one point. I started feeling sorry for myself. Then I realized how idiotic and self-indulgent that was.
…Yesterday is over and now it's today. That's just how it works.
"Many of our fears are tissue paper thin, and a single courageous step
would carry us clear through them." Brendan Francis
"Everything eternal happens in a spare room at 3am." Ron Dakron
"Ek mis jou, أفتقدك, Ես քեզ կարոտում եմ, Seni özledim, Ez dut, Я сумую па табе, আমি আপনি ফসকান, 我想念你, Jeg savner dig, Ma igatsen sind, Sinto saudades de ti, Μου λείπεις, Ég sakna þín, Fada liom uaim tú, Mi manchi, 私はあなたがいなくて寂しい, Ego te requiro, دلم برایت تنگ شده, Я скучаю по тебе, Em nhớ anh, Te extraño."
"I miss you" in 22 different languages.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
--EVERY NEW BEGINNING IS SOME OTHER BEGINNING'S END
…Here are the things I like today:
"The world is full of paper. Write to me."
Agha Shahid Ali
"To be alive, to be able to see, to walk,...it's all a miracle." Arthur Rubinstein
"People call me an optimist, but I'm really an appreciator....When I
was six years old and had scarlet fever, the first of the miracle
drugs, sulfanilamide, saved my life. I'm grateful for computers and
photocopiers...I appreciate where we've come from." Julian Simon
"There is an internal landscape, a geography of the soul; we search for its outlines all our lives." Josephine Hart, "Damage"
"I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go." Langston Hughes
"Being the best is great, you're number one; but being unique is greater, you're the only one." Unknown
"When you are joyful, when you say yes to life and have fun and project positivity all around you, you become a sun in the center of every constellation, and people want to be around you." Tolstoy
"If I lose the light of the sun, I will write by candlelight, moonlight, no light. If I lose paper and ink, I will write in blood on forgotten walls. I will write always. I will capture nights all over the world and bring them to you." Henry Rollins
"Nobody wants to fuck with a poet because they'll tell on your shit." Amber Flame
“A page of good prose is invincible.” John Cheever
“Write every day. Anything you do every day gets easier.”
“Write even if the mood isn’t right. You can’t tell if what you’re writing is any good or bad while you’re writing it.”
“Write when the book sucks and isn’t going anywhere. Just keep writing. It doesn’t suck.”
"I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o'clock every morning." William Faulkner
"To live at this time is an inestimable privilege, and a sacred
obligation devolves upon you to make right use of your opportunities
"Maybe nobody will care about printed books 50 years from now, but I do. When I read a book, I'm handling a specific object in a specific time and place. The fact that when I take the book off the shelf it still says the same thing – that's reassuring. Someone worked really hard to make the language just right, just the way they wanted it. They were so sure of it that they printed it in ink, on paper. A screen always feels like we could delete that, change that, move it around. So for a literature-crazed person like me, it's just not permanent enough." Jonathan Franzen
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
--I CAN'T DECIDE IF YOU HAVE EVERYTHING OR NOTHING
…I have a new story (“What the Seasons Mean to Me”) up at Pure Slush and two poems (“Loofa” and “Sharp and Serrated”) at The Rusty Nail.
All are also here under “Words In Print.”
…I wrote two stories on Sunday. One was very short, just over 200 words. The other was twice as long. I really like it-- "The Shape of Us." I might read it at AWP. It's pretty depressing, however. We'll see.
…Yesterday I wrote two more in the bathtub. Both involved physical violence but were very different. I think they were pretty good. I'm not sure why I wrote them. I guess I just don't understand how a man could batter a woman. It's unfathomable to me, and therefore fascinating subject matter.
…The other night I went to hear my brother in-law’s band. It was at a wine store. The place was packed. The wine, entertainment, and company were all excellent. Several times people asked me about my writing. Several times different people said, "Well how do you get paid for stories that are published online?" Everyone wanted to know about the money angle and it was as if I wasn't a legitimate writer unless I could produce a pay check or point to a physical book on a shelf with my name on it. They weren't being mean. It was just a natural reaction. And because so many people reacted the same way, I'm thinking that's a pretty common perception.
So I'm just dealing with it, not feeling sorry for myself, but wanting to share this with you.
…I’ve really been enjoying my new Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits cd’s. They’re both originals, certainly daring. When I listen to Waits I hear raw-throated honesty. I smell sweat, urine and whisky, and not in that order. I hear scraping bar stools, the chink of drinking glasses and the sloppy slither or barley and hops.
Hearing Cohen’s spoken word/rap-style song-working is a bit like hearing God tell you a story from a high-pitched cloud.
…AWP is eight days away. AWP is a big writer's conference, mainly indie presses and online sites. Over 10,000 people are attending. I went last year. It was fun and intimidating. I expect the same this year.
I'm a little nervous.
…Here are a few things I like to the start of a short work week:
"The great thing and the hard thing is to stick to things when you
have outlived the first interest, and not yet got the second, which
comes with a sort of mastery." Janet Erskine Stuart
"You know what luck is? Luck is believing you're lucky, that's all ..." Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire"
"Words lead to deeds. They prepare the soul, make it ready, and move it to tenderness." Saint Teresa
"There's no end to the fears and terrors and anxieties that slip into a writer's head at any given moment." Nathan Englander
Sunday, February 19, 2012
--THIS IS YOUR BIG DAY, SO YOU SHOULD PROBABLY SMILE A LOT
I am running to you
in the rain
blue frozen stain,
a scratched-off signature or promissory note of the pain
I have caused you,
no different than trampled on trust,
a violation of every promise I ever made.
I feel like a villain
because the truth is
you should lift your head high
toward the sun.
It loves you so much.
It has its arms encircling your waist,
its fingers in your hair.
It is breathing bright light
across your cheeks at this very moment.
Be well, my loveliest.
You are so busy trying to keep your teeth clean,
your skin unlined and your laundry creased.
I was sordid fruit with tentacles like groping calamari
and you were a satchel of Kant prose and hairspray.
What a fucking couple.
Thank God that’s come to an end.
Thank the Lord I never think of you
In the end,
in the earth
we scrape for new beginnings,
shame and raised specters of the hollow truths we once leaned on so forcefully.
I see your face wearing a sheen of sweat.
I wonder why you work so hard when all it leads to is
Friday, February 17, 2012
--I DIDN’T FORGET
…I hope you’re having a very special day. You deserve it.
…For Valentine’s Day, my son’s girlfriend came over to the house early. She covered the steps in rose pedals. She added arrows every few yards. She put more arrows and pedals in the hall until it came to my son’s room where she’d decorated the walls and ceilings with streamers.
When my son got home from school, he followed the path and found her sitting there holding a skateboard (my son’s a skater boy) with the word TOLO? on it.
Pretty darn cute, right?
…Getting new music always makes me happy. I’m very happy.
Yesterday these things came in the mail: Dr. Dog (so good), Passion Pit, Local Natives, Deer Tick, Chairlift, Tom Waits (“Closing Time” oh boy), The Men, and new Leonard Cohen.
…Yesterday I also got the new Rolling Stone in the mail. The thing was as thin as a letter opener--A whooping 76 pages, but nine more than the previous month. By contrast, this month’s Vanity Fair is 3392 pages and Harper’s Bazaar weighs in at 436 pages.
Poor Rolling Stone. It’s probably got a year left. You could say it’s because young people don’t read magazines, but on the other hand, doesn’t Rolling Stone have some sort of responsibility to stay relevant? Paul McCartney is on the cover. Does any 16 or 18 year old even care about the new “Standards” album McCartney is coming out with? Couldn’t they re-invent themselves as a lifestyle magazine, including fashion and, yes, maybe even some gossip? What’s new in books, tech, gadgets? It’s just a little sad and frustrating for me, a music-lover and fan of the magazine.
…Seattle is where Starbucks began. They’re trying/testing some new things here at half a dozen local shops, serving wine and beer. I think that’s a grand idea.
In Lake Tahoe, California they have the world’s one and only ski-in/ski-out Starbucks where you slide up to the drive-in window on your skis. Now that’s being inventive, as well as customer-friendly.
…Apparently when you Google “Mitt Romney” you’ll find this definition working its way up search engines-- “Romney: To defecate in terror.”
…My butt is sore. So are my knees.
I went for a seven miler on a new trail this morning. There was this girl/gal/woman/lady a ways in front of me, going at a good pace. I decided to catch her. Bad idea. I almost had a coronary. The only way I managed to finally pass her was that she stopped to adjust her equipment.
So, yeah, my butt and knees are sore.
…I like these things for a special Friday:
"Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love." Rumi
"Sometimes it's better not to know." Stephen Elliott
• "But is it such a bad thing to live like this for just a little while? Just for a few months of one's life, is it so awful to...nap in a garden, in a patch of sunlight, in the middle of the day, right next to your favorite fountain? And then to do it again the next day?” Elizabeth Gilbert
"There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own
way." Christopher Darlington Morley
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without words
and never stops at all." Emily Dickinson
Thursday, February 16, 2012
--DID YOU CALL? YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT A MESSAGE
"If I am a token, I'll be a token to be reckoned with." Carolee Schneemann
"Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world." George Bernard Shaw
"A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet." Orson Wells
“I cannot promise very much.
I give you the images I know.
Lie still with me and watch.
We laugh and we touch.
I promise you love. Time will not take that away.”
"It's never too late to have a happy childhood." Anita Stackhouse
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
--TELL ME ABOUT THE HAPPIEST DAY YOU CAN REMEMBER
…Happy Valentine’s Day, Lovers and those searching for love…
…“It ought to make us feel ashamed when we talk like we know what we're talking about when we talk about love.” --Raymond Carver
He thought of all the times just one or two words— “please” or “you’re pretty”—would have changed everything, and how he could never say them when he needed to.
We only get pieces of love, she thought. Sometimes that’s the best we can do. --Rebecca Barry, author of “Later, At the Bar”
Crying adds something. Crying is you, plus tears and love. –John Green, author of “An Abundance of Katherines”
Love is the difficult realization that something other than oneself is real. --Dorothy Murdoch
A happy marriage is a long conversation that always seems too short. --Andre Maurois
The first duty of love is to listen. -- Paul Tillich
The influence of each human life on this earth is a kind of immortality. – John Quincy Adams
Love is a fog that burns with the first daylight of reality. –Bukowski
You can spend the night beside her, and you know that she's half crazy, but that's why you wanna be there – Leonard Cohen
When you choose to forgive someone, you choose to love them.
So many believe that it is the love that grows but it is the knowing that grows, and love simply expands to contain it.
To force my will on you is exactly what love does not do. – The Shack
Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are…Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in my pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return. – Mary Jean Iron
Sunday, February 12, 2012
--WE SLEEP LIKE ANIMALS, WE PLAY PRETEND
…I have a new story, “Ask and You Shall Receive” written with Meg Tuite and a couple of other writers up at Used Furniture and here under “Words in Print.”
…I just got the print anthology, “Love Notes” in the mail. I have three poems in it—“Teenage Summer,” “If I Were A Poet” and “Aladdin.”
Here they are:
The good thief watches while
we soak in a night-blackened sea of shimmering oil,
water that makes us weightless
even as you kick and paddle.
We’ll be old soon enough.
Now the stars urge us to write songs or
yodel so that our laughter rifles through the sky.
The waves rock us like babies.
They slurp across our slick skins
and beckon us to kiss,
kiss deep and long
as lovers do.
If I Were A Poet
If I were a poet I would
say things better,
string sentences across a window with a thick font
so you’d see me in a new light,
see how serious I was,
how tender I could be with this sheer
and fragile love of ours.
If I were a poet I would reshape syllables and sonnets into
a song sewn specifically about the sound of your breathing when the stars
hang up on a night wire to watch
like so many bejeweled birds.
If I were a poet it might make me a better lover,
less insecure and needy.
I might be able to shake this sense that you are in the closet right now,
looking for something to wear
while filling a suitcase for your escape.
There was something once,
a small shimmering thing
that sat between us
that was us
beckoning bigger than either of us knew,
but now it rests in a dim closet
no thicker than a dime
no different than Aladdin’s lamp
waiting patiently for fingers
to bring it to life.
If you could move your heart
a little to the left
I would slip in behind you,
rubbing just gently enough
to let you know how much
Friday, February 10, 2012
--THIS FEELS A LOT LIKE BEING IN THE MOUTH OF A LION
…I have some new things:
-“Heard it in a Love Song” at CL Bledsoe’s “Murder My Darlings.”
-“Impressionable” at Marco Polo
-“Corkscrew” at The Camel Saloon
-All three are also here under “Words in Print.”
…My keyboard is sticking.
The “delete” key is.
The “back space” key is.
The “1” key is.
Maybe it’s trying to tell me something.
…I got Jim Valvis’s poetry collection, “How to Say Goodbye,” in the mail yesterday. I’m glad I did.
It’s a hardy book, consisting of 190 plus pages, which is quite generous for poetry books.
Jim’s work is unpretentious, sage, visceral and often poignant, with an urgent narrative arc that makes the reader rush to each piece’s conclusion before then heading back to the beginning a second helping.
If you enjoy poetry that not only makes sense but leaves a burn mark on both your heart and head, then you’ll love this one.
Jim’s on Facebook and, I’m sure, would be happy to give you buying information.
…This is true.
I read an article a few years back about a guy who was so despondent upon his breakup with a girl that he decided to sell his life on EBay.
MY LIFE FOR SALE – WILL TAKE BEST OFFER
By “life” he didn’t mean people would have the right to murder him or that he would kill himself.
What he meant was his possessions.
He sold them all in one package deal.
He sold everything—his clothes, shoes, bicycle, books, DVD collection, board games, photo albums, yearbooks. He sold his pet hamster, Pete. He sold two birds names Salt and Pepper. He sold his black book with phone numbers of girls he had dated. He even talked to his manager and arranged for whoever bought his LIFE to be able to replace him at the work station.
In the end, this guy’s entire LIFE sold for $3,217.53.
Here are a few things that I really like for a Friday:
“If dance is largely about being still and music largely about the silence between notes, then writing is largely about what’s implied rather than what’s stated. There are some things that can be said better with fewer words than with more. Yes?” Howie Good
"I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be
honorable, to be compassionate. It is, after all, to matter: to
count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you
lived at all." Leo C. Rosten
"If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more
to patient attention than to any other talent." Issac Newton
"Books are where I go when I want to be reminded of the mystery and magic of our shared language." Anthony Doerr
"Life is not so much invented as composed." Peter Pereiara
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
--SOMEBODY TOLD ME SOMETHING ABOUT YOU
…I have a new story, "A Perfect Scream" in Carnage Conservatory for their Werewolf themed issue, and a poem, "If Only" at The Camel Saloon.
Both are also here under "Words in Print."
…Today I am going to take the day off and play shuffleboard with a friend for hours and hours at a dive bar in town where I live. The kind of shuffleboard I'm talking about is not the old people on a cruise ship kind but the type using a hip-high wooden table with a salted surface.
At this bar, bikers usually show up. People have been known to get hurt. Sometimes badly.
Today should be an adventure.
…In the meantime, I like these things:
"Life is dark for many, and it's good to go into that darkness, from time to time, take a look around and see the suffering. It brings us closer to our own humanity, I believe." Susan Tepper
"Anyone can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it
requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend's success." Oscar Wilde
"Where there's a will, there's a greedy relative." Rick Warren
"Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide
forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." Elizabeth Stone
"One can be happy not only without love, but despite it." Peter Pereiara
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." Thoreau
"There must be hundreds
of ways to be a girl. I'm just the
kind who has trouble parting her lips."
"I am certain of nothing but the
holiness of the Heart's affections
and the truth of imagination."
"Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives, and remembering
what one receives." Dumas The Younger
"The greatest thing by far is to a master of the metaphor. It is the one thing that cannot be learnt from others; and it is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilar." Aristotle
"Failure is only postponed success as long as courage 'coaches'
ambition. The habit of persistence is the habit of victory." Herbert Kaufman
"I think I get addicted to the feelings associated with the end of a long run. I love feeling empty, clean, worn out, starving, and sweat-purged. I love the good ache of muscles that have done me proud." Kristin Armstrong
Monday, February 6, 2012
--I'VE LOOKED AND LOOKED, BUT THE REALITY IS THERE'S REALLY NO WAY OUT OF HERE
...Happy, happy Monday. It's a new start to your week.
It's a little early here, about 3:30 am. I've got a some insomnia, allergies doing their thing for a second day/night in a row.
Directly in front of me, above me, just a slight head tilt, is a bleach-white full moon. It seems supernaturally bright. There are a few cloudy spots in its center, like x-rays of a cancer patient. It seems so close, an hour's drive at best, as if I could yell and it would hear me and answer back.
I wonder if the moon is full where you are.
...I wrote this "Gentlemen" and this "I'm Not Supposed To Be Here And Neither Are You" for The L.E.S. Review and Thunderclap! Magazine, both print journals:
The dressmakers woke early
anticipating a wedding or funeral.
Instead you rode into town
wearing your skin
and tresses atop a roan.
The fates are never predictable.
The future is a cliff of erosion.
Tomorrow will send us another messenger
and even though we’ve been warned
and scarred by the others,
we will still stare
say, “Oh my!”
offering our hands out of pure courtesy.
I’m Not Supposed to Be Here and Neither Are You
The light is weak, wan, thin. It streaks across your cheek like a blade, a scar, a gnarled finger. This frail radiance reminds me of me, of us. I reach out to you before it goes too dim, dark. You are chilly then crisp, cold. When we were younger we invented events like these for frightened fun but that was before Mother’s new man, the refrigerator, the dumpster with hairy forearms, the one that smells of tapioca and cilantro, venison and earthworms.
His footfalls are heavy on the floor above. He sounds impatient and hungry again.
“Hold my hand,” I say. “He’ll never find us here.”
Saturday, February 4, 2012
--INDIFFERENCE IS REALLY NOT AN OPTION
…I finally started “The Hunger Games.” I can see why it’s so popular—extremely readable, lots of conflict, interesting characters. And even though it’s a YA novel with a fantasy bent, it reads like adult mainstream literature as well.
…Tomorrow is the Super Bowl, of course. I’m a football fan, and a Tom Brady fan, so I’ll be watching.
Here are some interesting facts about the big day:
7,000,000 -- Estimated number of Americans who don’t show up for work the Monday after the Super Bowl.
7.13 -- Average cost of a draft beer, 22.7 perfect more than the average at pro baseball games.
8.2 Billion --Dollars wagered worldwide on the Super Bowl.
$40,000 --Price of a 30-second commercial during the first Super Bowl in 1967
$3,500,000 –Price now
$20,000 –Amount pro golfer Phil Mickelson bet on the Baltimore Ravens to the 2001 Super Bowl. The odds were 28-1. The Ravens annihilated the Giants, 34-7. The payout was $560,000.
2,000,000 --Pounds of cheese Papa John’s stocked in preparation for last year’s Super bowl.
350,000 --Pounds of pepperoni
Thursday, February 2, 2012
--I THINK YOU WERE LOOKING AT THE MOON WHEN IT HAPPENED
…I have three new short pieces up at Press 1 and here under "Words in Print."
"Mix it Up"
…Have you heard about the Giant Burmese python problem?
It's real. I read about in The USA Today. Kind of freaky.
The snakes can grow up to 16 FEET long and weigh up to 150 POUNDS. Yikes.
They've overrun The Everglades National Park. Since 2000, 1850 of the snakes have been killed by park personnel. The photo accompanying the story I read showed a snake with a deer in its stomach. Holy hell.
…Facebook is raising money for an IPO.
Seven years ago Mark Zuckerberg was on the cover of "Fast Company" magazine. The story basically scolded him for rejecting an offer of $1 Billion to sell Facebook.
Now the company is worth $100 Billion.
…I started "The Hunger Games." It's very readable. I can see why it was a big hit.
…Listened to "Neon Trees" on the treadmill this morning. They're a great pop band, perfect for an upbeat workout.
…I don't think I've ever seen a good CSI, NCIS, Law and Order type show on TV. They're all very poorly written and acted, and more than a little preposterous. I'm not trying to be pretentious either. It's just they're really awful and I don't get it.
"Breaking Bad," on the other hand, just gets better and better with each episode. Do yourself a favor and start with season one. You'll love it.
…What are your thoughts about Lana Del Rey? She’s a stunner, to be sure. I saw her perform on Saturday Night Live and, as everyone said, she was pretty awful. She was like some beautiful, stoned wraith, swaying in a white gown and pawing her hair every other stanza. Really quite odd. I’ve never seen anything like it.
…Here are a few things I saw yesterday that were interesting:
71% of women think couples shouldn't have sex unless they're in love.
53% of men disagree.
"Kissing is the most undervalued skill in bed." Lindsey Vonn
"To do something you think you can't, sometimes you just have to forget who you are." Jesse Eisenberg
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
--THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME I'VE EVER SEEN YOU IN SHORTS
…I have three poems--"Imbroglio," "Combat" and "Archival" up at Right Hand Pointing today. They're also here under "Words in Print."
…Last night I went to a book signing and Q & A by Kristin Hannah.
Although her style of writing doesn't parallel mine, it was very interesting to here her thought process on the craft:
-she never names her novels because her publishers always change them anyway
-she regularly will scrap 500 pages of writing during the editing process
-it takes her 14 months per book (she's written 19, the bulk of which have been on the NY Times ----bestseller list)
-she usually just has a theme when she beings but doesn't know where the book is going or how it will end
There was a good turnout--about 120 people, seven of which were men, me included.
…I've been very staggered the last few days, doing start and stop things either with organizing, submitting to agents or writing, getting caught in the Facebook quagmire or worse: dawdling. It's as if some puppeteer is having devilish fun with me, yanking on the strings every five minutes or so. Is that you?
…Listened to Conor Oberhest this morning. Do you know him? From the band, "Bright Eyes."
By the time he was 13 he'd written 500 songs. The lyrics are clever in a Dylanesque way, although maybe more obscure.
…Rejection gets easier, but it's never fun. The other day I got three. That's a record, especially considering I haven't been sending much short stuff out.
But today I had two poems taken, so we're almost even.
…What's happened today is I've jumped back on the productive wagon. I'm cleaning up a lot of the odds and ends I have around here with regard to unpolished poems and stories. I'm buffing them up and shooting them out into the universe where they'll either be caught or disregarded.
I'm trying to gear up for novel start day which is Wednesday.
…If you're a writer, I wonder if you're like me: do you have stacks of books and folders all around your desk and sort of spilling over the sides?
I have a few hundred (really, that many) story/poem starts stuffed into manila envelopes that I think have potential even if I haven't glanced at them since first writing down the idea. So why save them right? It's hard to cast out a line or phrasing that sounds lyrical or that has moxie. Even if it goes nowhere, at least it's not completely dead.
…So this morning I entered two more contests. Cost $34 but the winner gets $250 for each entry and their face on a place next to the presidents on Mount Rushmore. Something like that.
Contests are labor intensive, not to mention costly financially and time-wise. Why do it?
…In the bathtub yesterday I read the inaugural issue of "Mad Rush." There were some great pieces in the anthology. A few inspired me so I wrote a story about a young girl who exacts revenge on her cruel father. It was short and bloody but had punch. I sent it to Dogzplot for a special they're doing called, "Vagina Saint."
I know--creepy name/title/idea.
My piece is called, "Homework."
…Speaking of work, I'd better get to it. Have a great Wednesday and thanks so much for being here.