The Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated…

It’s been a while, I know. Almost a year since I last posted something on this blog that’s been abandoned.

But some things have happened in the meantime…bought and moved into a new house, spent too much on new furniture, saw the new Star Wars movie three times, built a pretty sweet vinyl record collection – that’s a blog for another time, promise! – and turned 44 years old.

Oh, and my cat died. I miss him terribly.

Oh, and Donald Trump happened. Fuck that guy.

I would love to regale you with swashbuckling tales of literary madness, that I wrote a novel-length manuscript, got an agent, sold said manuscript to a publisher, and did a book reading tour in support of the book.

No, no, nope, and no. None of that happened. In fact, I stopped writing altogether.

I had some harsh conversations with myself about my writing. In short, I came to the realization that I don’t have the discipline (read: attention span) to write a full-length novel. Or a novella, for that matter. My writing comes in bursts, short threads that I can work with within a smaller confine, but this writing approach doesn’t work well when you’re trying to write 50,000 or more pages, then edit the fucking brute.

I would have seemed hypocritical from me to continue posting stuff on my blog about the “writing process” when I was failing miserably at it. About what little progress I was making. About how frustrating I found writing becoming.

So I gave up. No, not writing; posting on my blog.

What I did learn, much to my eternal surprise, is that I have a knack for poetry. Yup, poetry.

Why is this surprising? Because I used to hate poetry. HATE poety. HATED HATED HATED it. Honestly, it was personal biases that got in my way. Poetry always seemed soft and quaint, in the words of John Keating, something “to woo women with.” It wasn’t until I started reading what you can call “outlaw” poetry, i.e., the Beat Poets, Richard Brautigan, Sapphire, and, of course, Charles Bukowski, that I saw writing in riddles and codes, dancing with metaphors and similes, that’s when I was able to unlock why poetry matters.

I did find a community of poets and writers on Instagram, of all places, that willingly and openly shared their work. Since I was there already, I figured I would jump into the pool. My first attempts were tentative, small attempts at mimicking what I knew. The more work I read on IG, the more I felt confident about posting my own words. In the year or so that I began posting my poetry and micro-poetry on IG (more than 700 posts!), I’ve garnered a pretty sizable following, and have made strong connections with the poetry community on IG.

Time, then, to also start showcasing my poetry here.

Capture

I have no bold plans for this blog, nor do I have bold plans for my writing. I’m still writing poetry, which I will be posting here frequently (and thank you in advance for reading it; critiques are welcome, unabashed fandom is greatly recommended), and I’ll update my site on random thoughts and observations that come to mind. Just not politics, though; my political ranting days are over, and, besides, with the public cannibalism that goes for presidential campaigning these days, my teeth-gnashed rants are not the sort of thing I want to contribute. I’ll wear my politics on my sleeve and go about my business.

(Team Bernie, in case you’re wondering…)

I can’t promise exciting things, other than I’m helping out on an anthology that will hopefully see the light of day this spring, and putting together a collection I will self-publish before the year is through.

And fuck Donald Trump.

Thanks for reading. Talk soon.

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NaNoWriMo Checkpoint, Week Two, Or: Getting Sick is No Excuse For Not Padding Your Word Count (Also…a Giveaway!)

WEEK TWO

WORD COUNT: 13963

First, the good news: I’ve been able to write an outline and write a short synopsis for my NaNo WIP. The bad news is that I’ve been laid up with the early onset of the flu. I never seem to get the full-blown flu, albeit on maybe one or two occassions. I get symptoms, or lingering side effects, but no full-blown illness. Like right now, I’ve got an irritating cough that makes it hard for me to speak – which for someone as verbose like me is pretty much like a death sentence, even with the so-called “sexy voice” – and some chest congestion that’s got me feeling cranky. This has all pretty much ground my writing down to a few precious trickles here and there.

My plan last week was to take advantage of the alone time I was to have. My wife was away on a business trip for 4 days/3 nights, which would have given me a couple of hours during the day to write (always a plus, since I work from home), and some more hours at night, once I put my daughter to bed. But the flu bug started toying with me. “Oh, want to do some writing, huh? Yeah, I don’t think so!” Other than one day where I managed to string together more than 3500 words in about 4 hours of writing time stolen throughout the day, while fending off the I-feel-like-crap feeling, I got very little, and I mean VERY LITTLE writing done.

So I concentrated instead on fully outlining the WIP, and writing a synopsis in a sentence or two that neatly summarizes what I’m setting to accomplish. From this focus, I saw the novel take some interesting turns I hadn’t foreseen, but I was happy with nonetheless. For example, my protagonist has gone from being a male to now a female. Why? Because the story is far more interesting with a female protagonist, and the secondary character, which I discussed in my last post, plays better with her. There’s a road trip across America in their future that I honestly have no idea where that came from, but it makes perfect sense.

In all, I’m obsessed with the idea that this story must remain within the boundaries of being crazy, bat-shit crazy. The synopsis should tell you something about the level of crazy I’m working with her:

A suicidal woman embarks on an existential road trip across 1990’s America with a fictional character.

Sort of like Adventure Time, but with Finn as an adult woman an Jake as a fictional adult male, and with more adult-oriented existential silliness.

finn-n-jake

At any rate, I am feeling somewhat better, now that a visit to the doctor has armed me with enough antibiotics to rid me of any infections for the next decade, so I should start hacking away at my WIP and make some serious progress. I know I’m not going to reach 50,000 by November 30th, but who knows? 36,000 in 12 days…totally doable.

 

THE GIVEAWAY!

About that giveaway…I’m giving away a subscription to Poets & Writers magazine. It’s my favorite writer’s magazine, one that I’ve spoken of very highly on this blog. If I re-up for another year, which I will, P&W will give away a subscription to the person of my choice, on them.

The first person to correctly answer this question will win a one-year subscription to Poets & Writers magazine. Answer in the Comments section below. And no Googling!

Which of these American authors have NOT won the Nobel Prize for Literature?

A. John Steinbeck

B. Philip Roth

C. Ernest Hemingway

D. William Faulkner