Blog Archives

Oh To Be Naked In The Sun (A Holiday Story)

On Monday, a bright, textbook sky blue morning, I picked up Marie and her son, Loki, and we headed up to Weedon Island Preserve. We were going to be the only people around, given the sparse parking lot. I love that. Don’t get me wrong, I love Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, but it’s too in the city and heavily trafficked. I’m trying to get my Henry David Thoreau on. I’m trying to loose the coil that is society for the next few hours.

I was led to reflect on Walden, one of the first books I read after deciding to cease living my old existence. My favorite chapter of the book, and I know you’ll think me strange, is The Bean-Field. His fastidiousness in accounting for developing his garden reminded me of how much I sought to control every value of my life as if it was a line item. It’s not that simple though; not every aspect of life can be quantified.

In the past few weeks I experienced a dynamic, negative shift in my professional aspirations as well as a negative shift in my personal relations, one in particular Marie witnessed herself this past Friday. We reached the lookout point and we got to the discussion of values, the who and whats in our life we’ve assigned priority to, and why. Revisiting the events of last Friday, it was evident that there was way too much expectation out of individuals on my end, as if I was going to find The Total Package upon every new relationship I build. The reality of it, as Marie succintly pointed out, is that will never exist in an individual or a thing, and the best way to keep Angst at bay is to carve out the part of the individual or thing you do value and hold on to that. Find contentment in what works, and acknowledge not everything is going to be fulfilling. It’s fatalistic, but easy to digest.

My focus returned to quality of living. I relaxed against the wooden bench, eased my spine, and felt the twists of Angst unfurl slowly. I tipped my white hat over my eyes and felt a long overdue relaxation. It was then that Marie mentioned she couldn’t find her camera. “Dammit, I just got comfortable.” I shifted slightly, ready to remove my pose. “We’ll double back. It’s got to be on the trail. You stay there.” Now that was nice of her. I heard the stroller and the whine of the boy dissipate towards the island, and I drifted away in a cat nap.

This, I realized, is the essence of being. My hands are not manipulating anything. The hard drive that is my brain has slowed its spinning to a dull loop. The breeze, perfect against my skin, the sun, warm enough to cause slight sweat. I felt cleansed. The act of Being is such a rare engagement. To detach, to be one with the sky and the water and the earth, reminds of the fickle nature of humanity. While cars zip around carrying frantic holiday celebrators to and from stores and to and from houses, fufilling social mandates of the season, I am here, Being. This is the best celebration I could possibly engage in, and a cherished gift.

I wrote myself a letter once I got home, and my plan is to read it on New Year’s Day. If I am lucky, I will Be on that day. I hope you will Be, too.

Merry Christmas.

How To Spend A Hot Summer Day

Original Post Date July 03, 2013 at 10:29 AM

The author beats the heat by walking down memory lane. Two original poems included!

We are well in the throes of Summer, and for me, that means limited outside time. Which I kinda master. As a writer, I’m naturally inclined to be a shut-in.

One recent afternoon, while aiming a fan at me and setting the A/C to Ice Rink, I decided to visit my poetry archives. Ain’t cloud computing grand? The entire hard drive of my old laptop, without having to dust the old box off! Five hours later, I was still going through files, laughing at some, shaking my head at others, even offering an outburst of, ‘Dang! That’s good stuff!’

The rest of the evening was spent organizing what turned out to be eight years’ worth of unpublished musings. Pretty much all of the Naughties. I found one I had performed in 2005 for friends in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It’s better in spoken word than in print because of a routine that goes along with it. I’ll set it aside and find an open mic to re-introduce it at.

The ones that had me cracking up were the poems that were in reaction to relationships at the time. So much time has passed, and yet, in reading these passionate pieces, I remembered who it was dedicated to, even surprised I can remember some of their full names.

It’s significant to run into these “love” poems, as I’ve recently commenced dating again. But it’s nice to see where my head was at then, and perhaps, if the dating season deems successful, I’ll be writing love poems again. I can hear your “awwwww”…stop it!

It’s vacation time for lots of you, so I wish you safe and fun travels. Here’s a couple of original pieces from the archives for you to read, as you wait for the trolley to pick you up from the parking lot, and escort you to your theme park of delight:

(From the “I Hate You” Folder)

All Gone Wrong

I am so disenchanted by you

Unthrilled

Nonplussed.

Not so long ago did I quiver at the thought of your name

And now…

You’ve proved yourself to be

the type of man I wish I never was attracted to

That I regret giving my body to

That I would never allow the hope of being a wife to

Thank you

Unsatisfying taste in my mouth

I liken you to lichen

Building thick and burdensome against the mighty pine

Be gone and

be a man and

by all means

Let me be. 

4.25.2006

 

(From the “I Like You” Folder)

Forgive Me

Forgive me for being so forward
that night so long ago
when I asked you to lie down for a while
when your hand was wrapped around
the door knob
 
You see, all I wanted was an instance of
being a part of you
wrapped in your arms
and becoming one like
Voltron
 
where we would be more than two individuals
in like of each other
we would be two individuals
in search for one another
 
We could be the two
that others boo at
that others sneer at
for being oblivious to our surroundings
as we grace ourselves in mutual
sexual
bliss.
 
Forgive me for being so forward
but I needed that opportunity to know
that the emotions I felt between my lungs
between my eyes
and between my thighs
were even-keeled
with yours.

 10/3/2005

Meet The Poets

Original Post Date April 24, 2013 at 10:40 PM

The author celebrates National Poetry Month. This week’s post is part three of a three part installment. This week we highlight published poets.

npm2013_poster_200We’ve celebrated National Poetry Month by getting in front of the microphone and performing our works, putting a poem in our pocket, and reminiscing on poetry recitation assignments of yore. Poetry will remain a constant in my life and I hope poetry will affect you the same.

I’d like to introduce you to a few poets I’ve had the joy of connecting with in the past few months. Here I close my tribute to National Poetry Month by shamelessly promoting their awesomeness and art.

Poet: Maureen McDole

How We Met: I met Maureen at an open mic and found out about her open mic at Crum’s every other Tuesday, which I’ve regularly attended. Maureen provided some of the pics I featured in this month’s blog on the open mic experience.

What I Like: Maureen is confident, present, radiant, and engaging. And she happens to be a woman. In an age where it seems women are more apt to snipe at each other than hold each other up, Maureen reminds everyone in the room there is worth in celebrating femininity. Even I, Miss Darkness, Miss Pouty Face, can’t help but smile when she performs her poems. I fight it, but it’s of no use: Maureen’s words are friggin’ inspirational.

Works Available At: maureenmcdole.com

Poet: Peter Hargitai

How We Met: Peter had me at “cock.” He recited a Hungarian folk tale about an adventurous rooster and I was immediately impressed, not only at the multitude of the mention of “cock” in one setting, but how outstanding his delivery was. After his presentation we chatted and I found out he’s just as amiable as he is talented.

What I Like: I love a good story, and I enjoy a great storyteller. Peter’s poems bring you to his world, and you can see and feel and smell the old country just as he remembers it. His love for his wife is on an epic level, witnessed through his anniversary poem he performed last month. I hope I become an eighteenth as creative as he is.

Works Available At: http://www.approaching-my-literature.com/index.html

Poet: David Messineo

How We Met: I attended David’s poetry reading on April 7th. He read from Historiopticon and Formal and in between, explained his approaches to the works.

What I Like: It so happens this year is the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon discovering Florida. I happen to have a working project labeled “The Bastards of Conquistadors.” When David read from Historiopticon, I was dually pleased to experience such rich depiction of sentiment and such tightly researched data. A rarity in poetry collections, David has all his references listed in the back of the book.

Works Available At: http://www.blurb.com/b/4215481-historiopticon

Everyone Stinks And That’s Okay

Original Post Date March 13, 2013 at 12:12 AM

The path to a concise published work is angled in many places. Collaboration and cooperation with a professional works the kinks out. We explore the advantages of editing.

2013-03-11 19.40.28Yesterday was my first meeting with Trace Taylor Publishing since I turned in my manuscript for editing. I had the expected nerves.  After all, this was my first attempt at non-academic, non-technical writing and I really had minimal certainty that I did a proper job of it.

I pulled out my notebook and pen and prepared to take notes. I was ready to receive her input and learn from her critique.  She seemed thrown by my enthusiasm.

Trace mentioned her experiences working with authors who were defensive or straight up distraught after having their works edited. Tissues had to sop up tears on occasions.  I couldn’t understand why.  Like I told Trace, what am I paying you for?  Gold stars?  Smiley faces? We had a good laugh about it.

Eventually we deviated towards a general conversation about expectations from both ends.  I thought I’d note the top takeaways from our talk here:

Axiom 1:  Everyone needs editing

Borrowing from a popular children’s book describing the natural processes of the human body, everybody poops. It has a distinct smell.  There are people we know that will insist their poop doesn’t smell.  But we all know the truth.

It is the editor’s job to present a work for publication that resonates with the intended audience.  An author may use graduate level vocabulary in a book intended for preschoolers. Another author may spend a hundred pages describing how the light hits a coffee mug in the middle of a table in a book intended for fans of fast paced action fiction. We authors can’t tell when we stink. A good editor does that gracefully.  A good editor reminds you, yes, even your poop smells.

Axiom 2:  Critiques are not criticisms

Before you click on the comment balloon, I’m talking contextually here.  A critique is an evaluation of a literary work. It is meant to be objective with the intent of adding value to the development of the work.

Criticism, which I use here contextually to describe abject judgment and faultfinding, is subjective in nature and is intended to degrade or insult the merits of the literary artist.

A good editor is going to support your dreams by ensuring your work can stand alongside other literary works in Amazon and Barnes & Nobles.  They are not out to get you.  They get you; they’re just offering insight that will enhance the readers’ experience.  Which brings me to Axiom 3.

Axiom 3:  Your publisher knows your audience.  Better than you do.

We have an idea of who’s going to read this work as we’re clickclickclacking away, creating the most sublime work known to man.  A good publisher is well informed as to what readers look forward to experiencing.  While you have a clue, your publisher has several clues. So if they suggest something, don’t take it as an affront to your epic opus.  They’re on to something.  Get over yourself, and cooperate.  It’s only going to benefit you.

 

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