Category Archives: Poetry
My first book signing. We ran out of books. I actually had to run out to my car for the two books I had in the backseat; luckily, leftovers from an earlier attempt at guerrilla marketing. The last fourteen months of my life living dollar to dollar so I can get published, and now I’m holding 10s of dollars, 20s of dollars, in one hand. I didn’t think I was gonna sell any books tonight, so I didn’t think about maybe having a bank bag or lock box or something to put this money in. I’m so fuckin’ irresponsible. I sold out my first event. Jesus Mahoney Christ, this shit’s really happening! Wow. Just. WOW. 4/9/14 @ 11:38pm
A casual traipse through my LinkedIn feed brought me to this article: How To Leave Your Ego At the Door Although this is framed for the corporate/private sector types, the points are applicable to the artists/wannabes as well! Here, my reactions to the points…
1. Keep introductions short
You know who are the WORST at this? Poets! They spend thirteen minutes to introduce a three-second poem! Their meanderings about their mother’s nicknames for vaginas and the need to always wear a hat because of medications (as recently-experienced examples) take away from the poetry listening experience. Standardize an intro; read it if you have to, commit it to memory, OR, since you’re a featured poet, just read the damn poem!
2. Don’t let recognition or achievement get to your head
Wow. Completely inapplicable to artists. The whole point of artistry IS recognition and achievement! The fun part is listening to these lists of awards they provide, feeling they’re completely fabricated or worse, distributed amongst a handful of club members. I notice in the blogosphere a bevy of circle-jerking awards (not gonna point any violators out; I’m limiting myself to general snark today). Recently I sat in on a book reading and was impressed by the award this woman had achieved for her memoir, but the excerpt she shared was so…what’s the best way to put it…? Entitled White American Woman Problem I couldn’t conceive how she earned it!
3. Surround yourself with humility
The artist who’s the WORST at humility? One Man Show Performers. Oy vey! I like the author’s statement here: “If you hang out with egomaniacs, you’ll likely become one.” Damn straight.
4. Present yourself through logic
The moment this happens in the arty world, time will stop, space will implode, and all we know to be true will be GONE.
Coming from a technical background, thinking scientifically by nature, and having dealt with people of all mental disorders, it is very painful for me to try to plan even the SIMPLEST events using who, what, when, where, and why with my fellows. Let me correct myself; it’s always ONLY “why”! The decision makers are the main violators of #3.
5. Don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk
I’ve sat in writing groups where they take it much further: don’t call yourself a writer if you’re not published, don’t call yourself published if you’re not under a major press, don’t even fuckin’ THINK about sitting at this table unless you have an MFA from a liberal arts college! So of course, I attend because I love watching people go ballistic once finding out I fulfill only one of all their demands. Hehe.
It is not a relief to hold your debut novel in print format. In fact, it is the opposite. Your back tenses up. Your face sours. Your lower sphincter tightens.
What the hell have I just done??
But then, your face loosens, slacking your cheeks enough to produce a smile.
There. The Dedication Page. The old boy telling me, “Good on ya! Finally! Well done, homie!” I always figured he called me that.
It looks good.
I flip through the pages. Bold, pronounced chapter numbers. Easy to read text. Good grouping, good flow. It looks. Good.
I scoff at my Author Page. The photo you guys picked made it in the book; thanks for taking that pressure off my mind.
I palm the back cover, at the gorgeous rendition of the protagonist, then flip to the front cover, and admire Marie Chapin’s beautiful disaster. The bold blue words revealing an inconvenient truth.
That’s when my hands start to tremble.
Three years. Three productive, revealing, empowering years, and the result is this novel. Not just another sci-fi story; it’s a Game Changer. Already receiving delighted buzz regarding its release, even fun expressions of impatience, both on the ground and in the ether. Friends from Canada down to South America, friends from the United Kingdom all through Eurasia. Friends in Oceania, the Middle East, Southeast Asia. A support network built solely from the launch of this WordPress blog. For your support and love via zeros and ones, I thank you.
Give me until April 4th to set up shop and then, the OFFICIAL release of I Blew Up Juarez. We are planning a Meet The Author event locally, and I’m working out the kinks to sponsor a virtual book reading hopefully around the same time.
I am going to keep a stash of printed books in The Treehouse too, so if you live in the United States and want a SIGNED copy of I Blew Up Juarez, please notify me via @VonSimeon, my LinkedIn page, or here in the Comments area, so I know how many to put aside once the shipment gets in.
Ahhhh….but there’s more.
Last week, I signed an agreement to be a contributing writer with Thirteen Press out of London. The short story you helped me edit will be featured in Night Walkers. I’m cleaning up another psycho-terror story to submit around summer, at the soonest. So yeah. Both sides of the pond, you can find Von!
Ahhhh…but there’s more!
My writing partner and I have committed to another project. We’re combining individually-developed Wonder Woman fan fiction into one saga. We had our first collaboration this morning at T and Me and it was awesome! While she immerses in studying all things Wonder Woman, I’m studying historical women warriors, starting with Queen Boudica and then, going back to my studies of the Dahomey warrior women. This shit’s about to get real.
Finally, I’ve submitted prose to a local literary journal with high probability of acceptance, and then, because I’m a zealot, I submitted a poem to a Goodreads poetry contest. Cross fingers I at least final; I haven’t written much poetry since I started developing Juarez.
So…what have you been up to?
What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?
Borrowing my friend Waiting For Satan‘s blogging style, I pose to you the question: what should BA have done to work the situation to his favor?
His hand slowed its feverish massage as his laughter grew.
“What the hell are we listening to?”
I stop my humming and open my eyes, lifting my Galaxy to my face.
He shakes his head and keeps moving the mouse ball, putting the finishing touches on the design I made. A complete overhaul of my book cover. It’s beautiful.
“What’s so funny?” I ask.
“It’s just that when I left here, you were listening to Otep.”
I smile. “It’s my thing. Country music is where I go when I need to bring the rage down.”
He’s right. A few hours prior, I had sat at his workstation. I had Marie’s artwork framing the screen. I had a blank Photoshop layer precut to the background artwork in the center. And I had the roars of Otep, Killswitch Engage, Rammstein carrying about me, helping me bring my rage to resolve.
And from resolve begat beauty.
I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s a living fact. My online persona constantly engages in controlled folly, and much of that folly comes from my actual persona managing the ebb and flow of the disorder. I found over the last few years transforming from shadow artist to true artist, having PTSD is a gift. A strange one, in that it can be a crippling situation if not managed, but when it’s harnessed, it can become a powerful source of creativity, sometimes bucking you crazy, but at the end of the ride, you’re left with a masterpiece.
If my actual persona was not the skilled master of the ol’ Put The Stick Down, the design flaw I had to deal with yesterday would’ve sent me into a vortex of fury. I chose to convert my dark thoughts into a working plan. You know what, if you don’t like it, change it, I said to myself. I knew what I wanted to create, but I didn’t have the equipment. Made some contacts; finally, the guy who did my photo shoot not only had the full suite but he didn’t need to use it for the day.
At 2:37AM my time I sent the completed design files, the proofed manuscript, and reference files to the publisher, then I passed out. Today, whatever latent malevolent feeling I have about the ordeal is going to get exorcised out productively. I’m thinking, jog around the park with Bobby, go read my book on the pier, and listen to something that goes like this: