Spark: Find a Balance Between the Internet and Life

Bloggers get a plate as Jane Friedman provides some food for thought: “10 Resolutions for a Saner Internet—and Life.”

This piece vividly describes the balance many people seek between the lure of the internet and the pull of our creative endeavors. It is easy to struggle with determining how much time and energy to dedicate to social media, blogs, web surfing, et al. Maybe this article could provide a kickstart for finding your own personal blueprint to an equilibrium between the net and the real world.

Brief Update.

My life has gotten too busy, how about yours? And money’s tight, of course, so I can’t turn down overtime and opportunities at the day job. Writing endeavors have to move over for a little while during weeks like these. So here I sit, constantly seeing things I’d love to spend more time doing and unable to make it happen.

Now I understand why poets and writers are always talking about retreats and colonies and such. One of these days I’m going to apply for one of those things. I’ll put that on my to-do list. Oh look, that makes it number 1,482...

Submission Addiction.

The only news is that I fear I have become addicted to sending poems and stories out. I've been doing it almost every day. I took special joy in sending out a number of print submissions. The downside to all this is that I haven't been writing as much as I probably should.

As in the past, I have rediscovered a bunch of poems and stories that I forgot about after writing. Some of those are getting slapped around a bit and then put into envelopes or emails and shipped away. Hopefully this all results in a lot of future posts about my work being published in journals. A man can dream…

 

Remember.

It seems like the worth of black lives were greatly devalued in the United States during 2014. Therefore, MLK's message is as relevant now as it was back in his time. Please take a moment to remember and reflect on what Dr. King and his efforts meant to America.

Spark: 500 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing

For those who need a sharp kick to the seat of their pants to write, I present a motherlode of golden prompts to re-up your creative juices.

The list found at the links below touches on categories ranging from sports to travel, education, gender roles, video games, fashion, family, pop culture, social media and more. May you find the right prompt amongst these to spark you towards your next great story or essay.

http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/13/500-prompts-for-narrative-and-personal-writing/?_r=2

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/blogs/learning/pdf/2014/500PromptsNarrativeAndPersonalWriting.pdf

Secondhand Inspiration: Could You Be Running on Empty?

“In fact, it feels strangely simple: I have used up my material, the stuff from which I craft stories. I don’t have anything now. Maybe I will have more soon. Or not soon. Or not.” - from Robin Black’s resonant essay “On Being Empty: When a Writer Isn’t Writing.”

Sometimes you run into an article that describes something you’ve been going through eloquently. See the link below.

Ms. Black’s essay loosely describes some of my writing-related struggles over the past two years. I believe all writers/artists/singers/etc. struggle with these feelings at some point. It is a good read for all you creative types out there. Her words give me some hope of getting over the hump with my writing.

http://beyondthemargins.com/2014/12/on-being-empty-when-a-writer-isnt-writing/

As for resolutions and such nonsense…

…they feel redundant, superfluous, and somewhat synthetic. Pretty much the same rigamarole every year, and some years I’m a bit more successful with orchestrating the charade than others. Resolutions are for losers, work is for winners.

Nonetheless, I’d like to blog more, read more books, take more pictures, keep up with my ambitious workout plan. Drink more water (in excess). Drink more good wine and beer (in moderation, of course). Write more, as always. Go on more walks. Streamline and organize my life.

I say let’s clear out 2014, and may 2015 be more of the good stuff and far less of the bad. Do you agree?

Spark: Getting Started on Your 2015 Reading List?

Maybe reading more is one of your new year’s resolutions.

If so, you should check out the link to Book Riot below. Liberty Hardy's "A Great Big Guide To 2014's Must-Read Books from Indie Presses" could jumpstart your personal 2015 reading list with some hidden gems.

Secondhand spark: from a writing standpoint, the article also links to some impressive indie presses, some of which may be open to manuscript submissions.

http://bookriot.com/2014/12/05/large-guide-2014s-must-read-books-indie-presses/

If I blogged more often, then I wouldn't need to do these long catch up posts...

So long time no update and I’ve been a bad, bad blogger.

But much has been afoot in the sea beneath the blog, the current under the silence. For instance:

  • Several chapbooks are nearly ready for submission. One may have enough momentum to become a full-length manuscript, depending on my attention span.
  • Two prose poems from one of the aforementioned chapbooks (tentatively titled The Alter Ego Handbook) were published in 2014 at burntdistrict. burntdistrict is a journal of contemporary poetry published by the editors of Spark Wheel Press. This is the 3rd time I’ve had work published by the journal, and Volume 3, Issue 2 is awesome – and I’m not saying that because my two trivial poems are in there. It’s truly a great read.
  • Three poems were finalists for 2014 Atlantis Award at the poet’s billow. You can read them here. No money, but it was great to be in the running for the award and to have my writing published on the poet’s billow website. Thanks to all involved with this award.
  • My poem Only the Moon Knows You’re Signing the Blues won first place in the 2014 Lebanon Poets’ Society Free Verse Poetry Contest.
  • I have many short stories in various states of construction. I’ll be finishing and revising them soon to get them ready for submittal. I have caught the fiction bug again. Who knows, maybe a novel is rattling inside of me?
  • I haven’t given up on my poetry manuscript The Blues Almanac. But I’m no longer letting that book not being published (yet) subliminally cause me to be creatively constipated. I’m partway into writing what will be my next poetry book, although the concept hasn’t fully bloomed yet. I’m looking forward to seeing where 2015 takes this potential book and the rest of my writing.

Broken record, but I’m going to be better at blogging and updates in the new year. If anything, it is another extension of my writing…and I definitely need the practice.

Happy New Year!

Siren.

 

The Fall/Winter 2013 issue of Siren has appeared online. It contains my prose poems Damage Control and Signs of the Impending Apocalypse.

Siren is a new online zine for artists of all genres who create edgy and experimental work. They seek work that pushes boundaries, that surprises in terms of structure and content, that provokes a visceral response.

I truly appreciate the opportunity to reach Siren’s audience. Thanks again to the staff who found my work worthy. 

 

Upcoming.

Ayris Magazine, a magazine edited by the students at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, will be publishing my prose poem Migraine soon.

Siren Magazine will be publishing two prose poems of mine, Damage Control and Signs of the Impending Apocalypse.

I appreciate the opportunity to contribute to both of these publications.

Not much more to report. Still writing and submitting and trying to get my creative vision out there. Oh, and trying to survive the holiday season, just like everyone else.

Some things I forgot to blog about…

(1) I will have two prose poems in “World’s End”, which will be the inaugural edition of The End Times. The End Times is a student run publication from the University of Illinois Springfield. Per their mission statement, it’s a literary magazine with a focus on distributing literature in a post-apocalyptic Midwest; a collection of poetry and prose signifying the challenges of maintaining humanity in the end of the world. I’m excited to contribute– thanks to the editors for choosing my work.

(2) The results of the 2013 Annual Whispering Prairie Press Writers’ Contest came out in early August 2013, and I was ecstatic to find out my poem Bad Luck Sings the Blues took third place. No publication, but cash and encouragement are positive things. Big thanks to the judges for deeming my work worthy of commendation.

(3) I’ve got a lot of love for Whispering Prairie Press this year.  In addition to the aforementioned 3rd place contest finish, their periodical Kansas City Voices published my poem How to Sing Under the Influence. Kansas City Voices’ mission is to discover, encourage, and promote creativity and communication through literature, art, and other forms of cultural expression. I am happy to be a part of Issue 11 of Kansas City Voices. If you get a chance to check out this periodical, I’d suggest it – the poetry, pictures, and fiction are all very engaging.

(4) Since I am behind in mentioning publications, I will play catch up on my year in print by mentioning that I had poetry and fiction included in Talking Stick Volume 22, two poems in the Vermillion Literary Project, and a prose poem featured in the Bare Root Review.

That’s all for now. Be good.

Becoming a Nonbeliever

I no longer believe in extremes, in boozing until vomiting or betting it all on a long-shot.   

I no longer believe in loitering on the sidelines while the world buzzes about.  After all, what good has ever happened to an innocent bystander? 

I no longer believe that I need to reinvent my cool to meet your preconceived notions.  Even if my jeans and/or shirt are tragically out of style, I am a bad enough motherfucker to wear them with swagger.  Believe that. 

I no longer believe the night in the pool hall really happened, when I was sucker punched for the first time in this life.  Therefore, I no longer believe in turning the other cheek, despite scripture or common sense.  Always swing first, lest you end up on the ground with a swollen lip and blood taunting your taste buds. 

I no longer believe in the corny parables people blindly apply to life.  A penny saved may be a penny earned, but not after taxes.  Is a false positive a true negative?  Depends on what you believe, I guess.

I no longer believe that history only winks and nudges at the truth; even when it’s hidden, reality ultimately tells its shitty story with the brashness of a raised middle finger.  Or a swift kick to the groin. You get the point. 

I no longer believe in a politician’s phony version of peace, since it always involves infinitely more warfare and death than any peace I would envision.  I no longer believe in weapons of mass destruction – oh wait, I never did believe in them, or their existence.  Does that mean I no longer believe in America, or that America has digressed beyond belief?  Do you believe I’m unpatriotic for asking?  Do I care? 

I no longer believe that life forces you to grow up eventually; there are too many immature deadbeats for that to be true.  

I no longer believe there’s an athlete who doesn’t cheat.  And who can blame them?  Look at their salaries. 

I no longer believe that all people are evil, yet I don’t open my front door for just anybody.  In fact, I double check the locks every night.  That’s because I pretty much no longer believe humans don’t know how to be human, or humane. 

I no longer believe that on the day I was born my father smiled, because he was a poker-faced individual who never showed joy, even when his son brought home straight A’s or sank a mid-range jump shot.  I no longer believe that I won’t eventually become him, if I haven’t already, jaded toward a world that expects us all to believe in the make-believe it passes off as gospel.

A Blues Primer.

burntdistrict is a literary journal dedicated to elevating public awareness of contemporary poetry and to the promotion of writers.  Volume 2 Issue 1 of burntdistrict will be out soon. It contains contributions from some amazing writers, including Dan Nowak, Francesca Bell, CM Burroughs, and others. This issue also includes my prose poem A Blues Primer. But I’m not just being biased when I say this issue is a great read from cover to cover. I’m keeping it real.

Thanks to the staff at burntdistrict who found my work worthy of publication. I appreciate the chance to contribute.

That silence you hear…

…is the sound of me working. Seriously. The lack of posts on this blog is not an indication of a lack of writing activity, for sure.

I will have upcoming work in publications that I failed to previously mention on here, in print in burntdistrict and online in the Bare Root Review.

In addition, I earned third place finishes in both the Art Affair Poetry Contest and the Burning the Midnight Oil Poetry Contest – no publication, but a little cash always soothes the soul.

I wrestled my inner procrastination demons in a cage match. I won and am now back on pace with a decent writing work rate in the past month. This has been partially sponsored by a new manuscript idea that I hope will lead to the promised land of publication and not another dead end.

I also have big plans to revamp this blog.

All I need to do is execute. Which means not more hiatuses, no more wandering focus.

That’s all for now. Be good.