My Upcoming Gig

Be proud of me. This is my 1st event flyer of 2016, and it’s August. This represents a huge sigh of relief. A difficult start I had this year, but I’m proud I was able to recover within the 12 months. It’s the Ishtar in me, I suppose. Can’t keep a woman down too long!

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And so here’s my new project, Spoken Works. Why Spoken Works?  Written words are the definition of a generation’s experience. In my experience, too many well-written words by exceptionally talented artists remain unshared because of personal barriers: shyness, terror of public speaking, fear of judgment. Knowing that, I asked myself, “What can be done to avert those challenges?” Then I asked, “What helped me?”

Group sharing in my Creative Writing courses. Discourse amongst colleagues in closed environments. Finding the right tribe, and sticking to them, because I can trust them. Those experiences helped me. When I had a home base for my sharing, I was not inhibited anymore.

This workshop program is part of my POP Pinellas venture, a grass-roots poet outreach program. To poet and to be a poet, to me, is one in the same. Just as people use “their” as a gender-neutral derivation, I use “poet” as a title-neutral derivation for those who write their truth down. Makes sense right? Instead of listing, oh I’m a poet, author, lyricist, short story writer, blahblahblah. I’m a poet. 

And this wasn’t my original idea. From James Baldwin’s 1963 speech, “The Artist’s Struggle for Integrity”:

However arrogant this may sound, I want to suggest two propositions. The first one is that the poets (by which I mean all artists) are finally the only people who know the truth about us. Soldiers don’t. Statesmen don’t. Priests don’t. Union leaders don’t. Only poets. That’s my first proposition.

Which, heads up, a review of James Baldwin is gonna be my next blog post because I’m absorbing his words right now. If you want to book club it, I just started “The Cross of Redemption” and am still reading through the speeches.

Questions? Comments? You know how to reach me. And check out POPPinellas.com when you have a moment. I haven’t officially launched it yet, but it’ll eventually be where I post about Spoken Works and other local projects.

Smoochies!

 

 

 

 

 

Friends In Warm Places

Even into the darker blue, the Gulf waters felt too hot. Surely there’s a cold spot somewhere, I thought. I wanted to swim out further to find that magic place, but I needed a spotter. I came with three of my favorite fellas, but they were gathered around our table for the day, too far to yell, “Get in here!”

Spinning slowly as I tread the water, I spy a guy with diving goggles on. I paddle up to him, “Hey, I was just coming to get you…”

“Me??”

“Yeah, I saw you were diving. Wanna go out further?”

“But I can’t touch the ground…”

“That’s okay. Me neither.”

He makes like he wants to leave, but my one-minded state won’t let him. I tell him, “Just 10 more meters, nothing scary…”

“30 more feet?”

“Sure.”

We both dive to the bottom. I can see his white long-sleeved top to my right. Below us are lovely, wavy patterns drawn onto pale beige sand. I surface. So does he.

“I’m Von,” I finally introduce.

“Jordan. Are we close to the sandbar?”

I laugh, “Hardly.”

“Let’s look for starfish.”

“Alright.”

We continue diving and surfacing to no avail. It feels as if the water’s getting hotter. My new pal complains of the heat. I could use a non-salty drink anyways. Jordan and I reach his floating commune, which turned out to be local relatives; he is visiting from South Florida.

“Yeah it sucks down there,” Jordan laments.

I float onto my back as I pull Speedo suction cups from my eyes, while singing,

“The West Coast is the Best Coast…”

The Freedom to Write

I have a writer’s callous.

Very few people in the 21st century maintain a writer’s callous, the telltale indentation on your dominant hand where you normally rest a pen.  Composition after composition, frustrated hand and head viciously working together against time, all the answers having to come out of your tired phalanges. And yet, even as I type on Chappie with my tablet and my smartphone both in range, I still freewrite by hand. Zealot for abuse? Nah. Just a sign I’m still alive.

And free to write.

 

 

We do take advantage of that free-om, us Americans. We put all kinds of nonsense out in the 0s and 1s and it is protected (for the most part) by our Bill of Rights. But I know not every person with Internet access has the free-om to type their authentic opinions. We know from following international news that simply voicing an opinion can shut down a digital nation. Look at what all occurred with Twitter during the Arab Spring. Jobs and lives were lost simply by Tweeting. Tweeting!

I celebrate a personal free-om today: the ability to write what I feel, in the comfort of jim jams, folded legs on the couch. This was not my position last year. I was not allotted a journal. I was on a strict schedule. I was not allowed to leave a building for seven days. The absence of a pen and paper was much more disabling than the locked doors.

To those who write despite despair, I honor you. May you continue wielding words as weapons. 

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See Me Wednesday

NOTE: EVENT WAS CANCELED DUE TO TROPICAL STORM COLIN DAMAGE. THANKS ALWAYS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

1st gig since the back-to-back hospital stays. Admittedly a bit nervous, but the Bull in me says, ‘uh uh sister, time to get back on that saddle!’
So join me and my friends in merry Gulfport!

Feeling Poetish

These last two months had me scouring for sample poems to provide for review. I haven’t published any poetry outside of horror, so it’d be interesting what comes of this master poet’s opinion. If he finds me talented, I should go ahead and toss up some poems, I mean, this is my thang, this is my wheelhouse!

But I must stress that my poetry, as intimate as it is, is not for profiteering purposes. That’s what sci-fi series are for. My poetry, I hope, is respected in the same way the woman who composed it is respected for her bravery. Not everyone can emote, not everyone can poet, and certainly, not many are fain to evoke authentic feelings.

For those who do, I hope you look forward to future installments. I speak in a talk-story narrative that fits better in poetry than prose. Won’t you relish these stories with me? Here’s one I developed years back, shuddering in complete fear of the monsters in my head:

Death of Calypso

Two Plates Two Bowls Two Glasses

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This is where/I don't live anymore/because LOVE lives somewhere else./So I go./This is 'goodbye'.

Today the lake water has taken on a pumice hue. Ripples close in like busy worker ants towards the inlet, dumping froth along the coastline. Bitter, the air, the overnight drop in temperature simultaneously welcome and abhored. This morning instead of sipping a cup of coffee I puff on my glass bowl. There’s much work to do, but a cold front means stiff joints and I simply cannot lift couches and move TV stands without healing smoke to start.

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Bobby's favorite activity was to sit here and watch the water fowl.

A commotion across the room distracts me from the lake. The grey flannel blanket undulates madly, then melts into the mattress. I return to nature-gazing with a smile on my face, thinking of the fiery Ace of Wands Spirit played the other day. Lust; Fire; Passion. Through the Two of Swords Spirit told me, ‘turn that big brain of yours off and let love happen!’ Oh that it is, for sure. I did pull the Princess of Swords. Unfinished struggles. Uncertain proceedings. It was a message about my health. Yes, I nod as I inhale, we’re gonna be experts in self-care this year.

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Kitchen, done!

There’s furniture to get rid of, boxes to pack. Walls to paint back to standard white. There wasn’t much hung for decoration until just this past year. Four years at this address, but I only felt like nesting once I had a relationship…oh I get it now. The Ace of Wands had always been in play. Good one, Spirit!
Down to two plates, two bowls, two glasses. Two houses will condense to one, and hearts will grow three-fold. Goodbye Southside, hello Suburbia!
Time to wake the sleeping beast…

Operation: Falcon Crest

Three yellow butterflies fluttered before me, playfully twisting in the warm morning gust accentuating this morning’s walk. Sweat curtained my face way before hitting the mile marker; what is this?? This time last year, a decent chill to temper the swamp, but in 2015, I still have boob sweat!

Walk is over and it’s time to get into General Schwarzkopf mode: we have a two-month campaign to complete. The objective – merge two houses into one!
This is monumental on both fronts. For BF, he’s taken on a commitment which will dynamically shift his lifestyle, all aspects for the better. This will be his first domestic relationship.

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Credit: comicvine

For me, it’s a tier short of a miracle. It’s been five years since my divorce. In that grief state, I started to believe I’d end up like my mother – alone, resentful, unfulfilled – so I slowly slipped into that persona. What I couldn’t emote I expressed in written word, and there was much power in releasing that…wrong persona…through art, allowing room for love. Which is why I am so thankful, ever grateful, that BF agreed to living together! And it wasn’t a negotiation, really, it was just a known. Kinda like the night I returned from Oklahoma last summer, sitting on his lap while we smoked on the balcony, he casually mentioning, “I told my friends you’re my girlfriend,” and me responding, “Yeah, I told my friends you’re my boyfriend.” This is simply the most logical, cogent trajectory. And frankly, my heart needs this.

So between my place and his, I’ll be a busy ass bee until the end of January. No time for composing or sharing art, there’s opportunity for that later. For now, I am working on a very delicate, very personal masterpiece: a home.

FOMO on NaNo

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Feeling a little split on participation this year..

The distinct smell of National Novel Writing Month is in the air, wafting curls of pumpkin spice-flavored coffee, donuts, and fear dancing in the four winds. All of November, local coffee shops morph into coliseums, where literary warriors compete against the clock and indirectly with each other.  It is a feat of near mythical challenge: find a way, everyday, to pour out the novel of your dreams from head to hard drive. Only the best of the best compete, but very few complete the challenge. Myself, a three-time winner of this global event, I gotta tell ya…

…I think I’m sitting this one out.

Normally I excel in short deadline situations, but after this last hospital stay, I’ve finally learned to not take life too seriously. And I think the essence of it is, the right mix of passion and mystery is just not in me right now.

But I will miss the gatherings (“I hate people, but I love gatherings!”)♤. I’ll miss the interactivity on social media during NaNo; I’ve made several friends all over the globe these past times.

Perhaps I’ll visit the write-ins, be a cheerleader or something. Yeah! My contribution this year will be words of encouragement. I shall motivate by slamming my hand loudly on the table top you rested your head on, then scream, Kinison-style, “GET BACK TO WORK!!!” into your earlobe.

Yes. I will be a NaNo cheero. No, I will not novel. And that is okay.

♤: Name that movie!

Just In Time For Halloween

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NEW Anthology available thru Thirteen o'clock Press

Inside this anthology you’ll find yours truly in both prose and poem form!

The story I submitted is from the perspective of a social predator locked in a holding facility, terrifying residents and staff alike. Oh and the evil person happens to be female😉

There’s three poems dedicated to women in the throes of mania, circumstances varying but each known too well in modern society. I consider A Coterie of Diamonds a forewarning to readers…if you push a woman too far, prepare for major consequences!

Thanks be to Thirteen o’clock Press for publishing my art, my 2nd antho feature with this press. Support your favorite indie artist and many others by purchasing through Lulu.com😀

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