Anti-Social Workshop

Anti-Social Workshop

around the workshop table

the seats were so crowded

it was impossible to sit

without physical contact 

with the person on either side

not to sit at the table

would be seen as

anti-social 

not wanting to be part of the group

one would fail to be

a full participant

outsiders weren’t wanted

at this table of outsiders

outsiders

who stiffened

when their person space was

infringed upon

forced into unwanted close company 

with one another

more time was spent

apologizing for being squeezed

than was spent on the workshop

all that was produced 

was frustration

at the lack of respect

for personal boundaries

& a disregard one another’s opinions

As you might guess this piece was written well before the pandemic. It was also the writing workshop that made me decide never to go to a workshop held in a bar, restaurant or even someone’s home. This one was in a private room with a curved booth banquette around a large round table. A table that could sit ten people – as long as they didn’t have coats, shoulder-bags/knapsacks, iPads, writing pads, or elbows. There were twelve of us including the facilitator.

Oh yes – we all expected to order drinks of some sort to allow free use of the space. Fortunately the beverages could be floated in the air over the table so there no risk of spilling them on our hand-outs, iPads or writing pads. 

There was jostling for positions at the table as late-comers arrived. Thus a six hour workshop was reduced to five – no make that four with time lost to the delivery of libations & the need of the facilitator to repeat things said while various people missed what was said due to turning of cellphones that rang while things were being said.

It was also at this workshop that one participant said to another, who had said the piece lacked clarity – ‘you aren’t the target audience.’ Sigh. At the first ‘let’s stretch our legs’ I went to a nearby coffee shop & opted not to return. I’m guess I’m an overly sensitive faux-poet not willing to suffer for art.


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Disappointment No. 9

Disappointment No. 9

it went exactly as planned

the only one disappointed

was me

I wanted things to be better

<>

the story of my life

the right size is never right enough

a good fit isn’t adequate

<>

the praise 

adulation 

are mere stop gaps

diversions

from going beyond expectations

<>

good enough

feels like settling for less

it isn’t satisfying to measure up

it has to be unforgettable

<>

sure your good enough is fine by me

but my good enough

isn’t worth bothering with

even when I am the only disappointed

I’ve sometimes joked that I don’t want to be adored I want to be worshipped. That comes from a culture that still sees stalking as real love & that those who complain of being stalked are spoil sports who can’t accept loving attention.

We also live in a culture in which in which publicly acknowledging one is good at something is egotism – this leads creatives to be hyper-critical of their own work. We can end up being incapable of being satisfied with what we produce – not that we don’t want to be better but the striving for perfectionism turned into stagnation or worse an excuse not to do anything. If you don’t do it it’s always perfect 🙂

I’ve read of, & know, painters who have gone back to galleries to ‘fix’ a painting from twenty years ago, poets who revise old pieces before they go into a collection of selected pieces; or who preface new editions of old works with apologies for what they now see as shortcomings. One writer of my acquaintance started to revise a novel from some 30 years ago to make it gender neutral & gave up & now considers the book worthless.

I went through some of this when I unearthed poetry, short stories & even a couple of novels from the late 60’s, early 70’s. The novels, in particular, weren’t structurally sound but what the hell I was writing, that was enough. I resisted revising them beyond fixing typos & will blog them, as is, eventually. I am tempting to try rewrites to see how I would write those same stories today – & I don’t mean adding explicit sex lol.

I’ve brought pieces I felt needed work into workshop only be told ‘this is perfect as it is’ – once even being told I should bring in rough drafts not polish pieces – when I was bringing in rough drafts. I’ve performed pieces I felt weren’t fully realized only to have people single them out as the best of a good bunch. Just because I’m good doesn’t mean I don’t want to get better 🙂

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Loyalist Memories 3

A follower asked what did we do a Loyalist for five days – as if there so little to writing one only needed a day or less to get the fundamentals. The structure was the same each year – morning lecture about an aspect of plotting, world building – & discussion of those aspects. Newbies were most curious about getting published & how sell a million copies of their book.

The more experienced where most interested in polishing their writing & the workshop critiques in the afternoon were where the real learning happened. It was after the first session of this that if someone as going to drop out they would drop. Some signed without fully realizing the amount of time reading & commenting on one another’s work would take. I know the first year I expected to have time to write new chapters for my current project – ha! I barely had time to blog – lol.

I was one of the few in the class that actually stayed on campus – the others lived in the area, had friends who live din the area, or preferred the full comforts of a nearby motel. I roughed in one of residence units. I brought breakfasts, snacks, & suppers for the stay. Without a car eating off campus wasn’t going to happen & what fast food there was closed at 4. I wasn’t rushing to hit Tim’s before they closed just to get a bagel.

Over the years I attended I brought chapters from my various nanowrimo novels Lazarus Kiss, Coal Dusters & Picture Perfect. Feed back was productive & when I got to doing edits of those novels I incorporated many of the suggestions. Asking for feedback on sections that appeared at say, the 100 page mark, in a novel did present the challenge of context – some fellow work-shoppers realized what wasn’t explained was probably already explained – other floundered not being able to make that leap. I did include a very brief recap one year.

The biggest thing I learned was that, to me, the writing is more important that publishing – one attender was dismayed they had to sacrifice their dream project after good a start because they couldn’t find a market for it – clearly the dream was the market not the project. Others discovered that once published they spent so much time on promo that they had no time write anything new. 

I hope the follower who asked what we did isn’t disappointed to find out there were no blood offerings to the moon.

The Reparation Room

<>

he acted as if I owed him something

for the way he was treated as a child

by someone I didn’t know

in a city I’ve never been in

because I was old white guy

I was the one to blame

I was the one who had to dig down

to make it up to him 

money wasn’t going to cut it

he wanted to see me hurt

as much as he had been hurt

there was no way to defuse this anger

to step back from the situation

no way was I capable of making him feel whole

<>

was the trade off

the memory of his pain

in return for the memory 

of the pain he might inflict upon me

how many times 

would he have to seek this opportunity

how many times would he have to strike out

before he realized causing pain

never removes the pain one feels

making me hurt as much as he hurts

won’t change his hurt

might numb him to it for a moment

then he’ll have to live with what he’s done

what he feels compelled to keep on doing

making me hurt as much as he hurts

won’t change his hurt

might numb him to it for a moment

then he’ll have to live with what he’s done

what he feels compelled to keep on doing

hitting out spitting out taking it out 

till it would finally consume him

<>

I don’t know how to lead him out of this cage

can’t tell him he’s a slave 

to a problem I didn’t cause

I refuse to be held responsible for it 

yet cannot deny his right 

to seek some sort of reparation

for his past

I’m not the one to apologize

not the one to pull out my wallet to pay him off

I have to witness his struggle

acknowledge it

know that I can’t undo

what has been done

try not to add to it in any way

but it seems no matter what I do

I add to it

just being present brings it all back to him

not being present 

seems to him like I’m hiding out of guilt

<>

neither of us can leave the room

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Loyalist Memories Part 2

strolling the grounds 2010

I recently posted a collection of photos from various years of Rosemary Aubert’s writing worksop at the Loyalist College’s Summer Arts. I think I attended 5 years of them until she retired & Loyalist opted not to continue with writing workshops of any sort. Such is life. In fact each year the college was less inviting to the workshop. Starting with the reduction of lunch dining options until lunch was reduced to a Tim’s in the basement.

the air cadets were very obedient – I loved being saluted

Besides the other summer arts workshops for the first two years we shared the campus with air cadets who were billeted there while they went to Trenton airbase. It was fun to watch them lining up in uniform to catch their bus there. Also they added to the after class scenery shooting hoops, lining up for the pay phones. I guess to cut costs the cadets were eventually billeted in Trenton.

dining hall mural – eventually painted over 😦

Rosemary’s class had a core following of crime writers (who went on to form The Mesdames of Mayhem). Some were published already. There were always some newbies. Over the summers I developed friendships with a couple of the Mayhem. Each year there was a different approach to the writing process. Some years the participants were invited to do presentations. I did one on ‘how to give a reading’ as many writers have no idea of how to present their work to a live audience.

In the workshop critiques I learned how to listen to what was said about my work & not to defend my submissions. I was the only out queer male there so I did bring my unique voice to matters of gender & stereotyping. Some were good at copy editing – I would always get one of my submission back with every punctation or typo correction in red ink.

When Rosemary decided to retire from teaching Loyalist opted not to continue with the writers’ workshop module of their summer arts. They did offer one the following year but didn’t get enough registrants so run it. So that was that. Maybe we writers weren’t in the right age demographic for them to pursue 🙂

hands around the Tim’s table our last year there 2016 – some of the hands belong to people in the photo from 2010

https://topoet.ca/2021/07/05/loyalist-memories-part-1

https://wordpress.com/post/topoet.ca/3018

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sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

He Said

He Said

he said

rules didn’t apply to him

though one wasn’t sure

if he understood the rules

he would nod

smile

when anyone was explaining them

then never follow them

he said his lack of respect

was your problem

that it was no big deal

when he did what he wanted

regardless of how disruptive

it might be

he said

politically correct is bullshit

he’d speak his mind

without apology

he’d talk wherever and whenever 

he wanted to 

to hear what others said

wasn’t his problem

shushing him at a play

was pointless

he’s take a phone call 

at the movies

turning his cellphone down

wasn’t going to happen

he said

he was a free man

and would never let you

hung-up tight-ass bastards

forget it

your thought control wasn’t for him

you could take

your control issues

and fuck right off

no one was paying attention 

any more

Freedom of choice – the rights of an individual to be an individual regardless of their impact on others. The scale of nonconformity often tips in favour of what makes us least uncomfortable – the wearing of masks is a hot button issue for so many who feel no one can tell them what do do & then back it up with conspiracy theories & screams at the authorities to do the right thing to stop this pandemic. They don’t offer what that right thing might be.

Masks are the current prime example but this indifference to others has smaller roots – people chatting on cellphones at the movie, people at live events who are forced to take even louder over the performers – asking them tone it down, or take it outside escalates into a disruption that becomes your fault for wanting to enjoy the movie.

I experienced this indifference to surroundings more than a couple of times. The worst was during a performance at Stratford when a member of the audience pulled out their android during the show to send a text – I guess they were really enjoying the play. It lit up their face & the light spilled over their shoulders for a minutes then the cell was put away only be pulled out five minute later when they got a reply to their text & began to text back. Some behind them said ‘put that away’ & the texter throned & snapped back something to the affect of ‘fuck off & watch the play’ At least that cell was on mute.

At a workshop not too long ago we were asked at the start to mute all phones. An hour into things, you know it, a phone went off & the owner gave that ‘sorry’ face & ignored it. It rang at least ten times. stopped. The leader was explaining something when it started to ring again. The phone was fished out the bottom of a backpack & the owner answered it & launched into a conversation talking over the leader. When told to go outside to continue their conversation the reply was ‘But this is an important call.’

The leader decided it was time for an early lunch break rather than confront this focus-pulling attention-seeker. I skipped the rest of the workshop. I had people to text, in private, about what had just happened.

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Distant Black Flies

Black Flies

<>

expectations

reduced

to chance encounters

stories to share

suffering to compare

<>

mysteries 

unfold

careful scarfs

spare realizations

fleshy destinations

<>

darting black flies

looking for blood

Jun 76

I remember writing this piece during one of the summer workshops at the University of New Brunswick. It was after the first night there & having met the other writers for drinks, chit-chat & introductions outside of the classroom setting. I think it was around a bonfire or perhaps in the common room of the residence.

Once the usual get-to-know-you information was exchanged – hometown, writing experience etc we moved to more personal stuff mainly bad experiences. Surgeries that went wrong, partners who betrayed etc. I didn’t really have much to contribute about tribulations & as the tribulations escalated it became a contest of who suffered & survived the worst. You had a ovarian cyst , well I had cancer of the brain – top that!

It’s like The Dance of the Seven Veils where we are selective about what gets revealed & never reveal how many veils there actually are. People bonded over shared, similar, unpleasant experiences. At that time I had had no major surgeries, no criminal assaults, no car accidents, no relationships, no children – I was not all that interesting until the workshop really got going & my insightful, no-holds-barred self was revealed.

This shared-disaster pattern is one I’ve seen repeated often over the years I’ve taken workshops, participated in consumer panels, participated in pharmaceutical drug research studies. Strangers quickly bond over shared experiences & if you don’t share you are left on your own, most of the time. Which allows me to focus on why I am there in the first – which isn’t to be liked but to learn. 

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it. paypal.me/TOpoet 

Holding Back

samp

Holding Back

it’s a tricky opportunity to maneuver

holding back

yet needing to step up to the plate

at the same time

not wanting to be a show off

while needing to establish one’s ability

not wanting to impress

to pull attention to oneself

to such a degree

that others are threatened

that the teacher is looking

to you for approval

rather than the other way around

the power shift is never productive

better to

let the facilitator hold the responsibility

keep the show off as quiet as possible

even though

every time I open my mouth

I seem to be showing off

if I don’t participate

I come off being silently judgmental14bluechair01This was another run at that first law only in a less public context. It springs from various (spell check wants me to say ‘arduous’) workshops I’ve participated in over the years. Some of this is observational of how others have interacted & some is how I’ve learned to interact myself.14bluechair02I am not shy in these situations & am always willing to be the first to contribute but I have learned to pace myself in different ways. I hold back on my ‘history’ revealing only what is relevant at the moment. In those inevitable introductions I no long mention my performance experience beyond most recent. I’ll only talk about other workshops if asked. 14redchair03There is always a pecking order in workshops -= people who know the ‘teacher’ & who may have then multiple workshops with them before, people who know each other, people who aha been taken a workshop & sometimes even people who have never written before who get either swamped & can’t keep up.14redchair04There’s often someone who has to prove they are better than everyone or that they know more then the ‘teacher.’ I love workshops where I don’t know anyone, not even the leader. It allows me to be anonymous, someone with no history. Though introducing myself as TOpoet.ca creates its own set of expectations even bro they hear anything I haver to say about writing (or whatever the workshop is about).

I don’t consider it a success, more like notes to toward a longer less self-centered piece. Sometimes the prompt runs out of steam. I would find a sense of ending if I considered performing or printing this piece. Prompts of Power http://wp.me/p1RtxU-1Y6

sooncover170x170-1on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Deliciously iTunes

October  6 – Thursday Toronto, 7:30 pm, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St.hotoct

https://www.facebook.com/events/1047981975249926/

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nanobullseye

http://nanowrimo.org/

December – Thursday Dec 1st – Toronto, 8 pm, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St.divine

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

6DC0301

Early 2017:

my first local feature in over a year: location date TBA

it came in

April season 3 FINALS – Friday April 15th Buddies in Bad Times – early show – 7pm startgames

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

June 2-4: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 –

newcap

https://capfireslam.org

check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5KD1eDccdjdTdQ28kZRNg

money

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Picture Perfect Loyalist Days

First day of the workshop went smoothy. A group of 11 plus Rosemary is just the right size to get somethings done. A usual intros take longer than planned even though most of know each others from past workshops – some have been to everyone, some to a couple, plus some new faces. I’m always amazed the number of published authors who participate.

loy101

my look day one

Day Two was productive – compelling conversations around p.c. language, creating characters & almost nothing about punctuation 🙂 I did a presentation on using real adolescent memories to create fictional adult characters. Using my current Nano, Picture Perfect, as example I told how I used real memories to propel & create the situation & backstory of my ‘hero.’ Of course the process made the direction of my novel clearer for me at the same time.

loy102

the classroom

In the afternoon I was on the hot seat as we workshopped the section of Perfect I had submitted. As it was what I written on first day of Nano it was flooded with too much info – but as I world build everything that comes to mind gets put in – creating his hone life, his business life at this stage I didn’t know what was important. But basic premise of abducted children & how it was presented grabbed everyone in the class. So I’m even more eager to get back to it to see how part 2 turns out.

loy103

they’re here

more campus pics http://topoet.tumblr.com/post/122199500583/loyalist-reflections-belleville-ontario-some

perfect nano sample

for my work shop piece I brought an edited, for length, section the opening of Picture Perfect – here’s is part 1 of the unedited –

“You’re not listening to me.” Sanjay took the remote from Dan and muted the TV.

“I was.” Dan grabbed the remote. “You said my sister had a good point.”

“But you are going to ignore her?” Sanjay tried to get the remote back before Dan could turn the sound back on.

“Some thing don’t change.” Dan  blocked Sanjay’s hand looked him in the eyes and kissed him. “If I had listened to her, we would not be together. You know that that.”

“So you keep telling me.” Sanjay pushed Dan away from him, got up from the couch and stood in front of the TV.

“Sanj, If you want to distract me you’ll have to drop your drawers.”

“We’re talking a lot of money, Dan. A lot of money.”

“I’m not paying for you to drop them. Now, step away from the TV. I was watching something.”

“You’re always watching something when I want to talk to you. You’ve recorded this anyway, so you can go back to it.”

“You asked me to clear things off the recorder, remember. Now that I’m trying to, you want to talk me.” Dan hit pause. “You’re the reason I don’t think we need a cat.”

“What?”

“Cats ignore you till you are trying to do something and they are all over you.”

“You wish.”

“This is nearly over anyway. Ten minutes.” he unpaused. “Step aside?”

He pressed the back button to rewatch what he’d missed talking to Sanjay.

“What’s it about anyway?” Sanjay sat beside him.

“Missing kids on the east coast.”

“I should have known.”

“Yeah, everything is homework for … hey! That’s me!” Dan hit the pause button.

It was a photo of two boys on the front steps of a house. Arms over each other shoulders, grinning at the camera.

“You sure aren’t missing.” Sanjay said.

“Yeah yeah I know. It’s the other boy Timmy Dunlop. I guess.”

“Guess? I thought you were watching this.”

“You mean, trying to watch. My Dad took this picture. I remember it. It’s been years since I’ve seen it though.”

“Yeah, right. How many photographs have you seen?”

“Enough ,but some you remember. I sort of had a crush on Timmy. We played doctor a couple of times. When we moved I kept hoping to hear from him but nothing.”

“I guess you know why now.” Sanjay stretched. “I’m heading for bed. I leave you to your homework.”

Any reality show dealing with crime was considered Dan’s homework. He saw things in photographs that most didn’t see. His eyes had been trained to discover and recognized what might appear ordinary to the untrained eye.

He went back to the beginning of the program ‘Canada Cold’ that looked at cold cases across Canada. He’d worked such cases with the RCMP and that had tweaked his interested in them. This episode was about a the disappearance of several children in the Maritimes in the mid-80’s. Dan had no recollection of it at all. His family had moved when he was eleven, the same summer of these disappearances.

As he watched he jotted down the names and locations of the children. None struck a chord with him expect Timmy’s. The place name were familiar, Stellerton, Digby, Wolfville in Nova Scotia; Small Town & Port Something in New Brunswick. His Dad had been an itinerant photographer, “Photos By James”, who travelled from school to school, taking class pictures and individual portraits. For summer’s he would take the family with him, spending a day or two, or up to a week in various small towns.

Dan pulled himself out his reflective daze. Replayed the ending of the show again and wrote down the number one was to call if they had any information. He’d call once he had found those photos. Stellerton had been one of the longer stays and one of the last as he recalled.

They’d been their long enough for him to renew his friendship with some of the boys he’d palled around with the previous summer. They left pretty quickly. He remembered being pretty pissed because the Happy Hippo Carnival had just set up and he wanted to so badly to go it.

Moving to Toronto wasn’t as important to him then as seeing the side shows. Even his sister as somewhat disappointed but that was because she was seeing some guy their mother didn’t approve of. He figured that was why they were really moving and for years blamed her for ruining his childhood.

“You coming up or am I coming by myself?”

In the morning Dan ate without noticing what he was eating. His folks must have known about Timmy disappearing. Why hadn’t they told him. He’ d written Timmy letters from Toronto or did those ever get mailed?

“He must have been something special?” Sanjay nudged Dan’s shoulder as he offered to refill his coffee cup.

“Who?” Dan waved the coffee away. “I’ve had enough.”

“The boy in the picture. You are thinking about him, aren’t you?”

“Some but more about why I didn’t know what happened till now. I was so heart sick about him but I let my folks think I was just homesick.”

“How old were you?”

“Only eleven.”

“Still carrying that flame?”
“No! I haven’t really thought about him or those days till last night. I’m surprised I recognized his face.”

“It was you that recognized first.”

“Yeah well there were so few pictures of me, I mean just of me, with Linda lurking in the background. She invented photo bombing because they was no way dad could take a picture if she was around without her getting in on it. Nearly all by baby picture show either her or my mother holding me.”

“So that’s when the rivalry started.”

“Oh yeah, I wasn’t out of the womb before she was making sure she got as much attention s she could. I better get going. Time to open shop. I’m seeing Warszawa this afternoon. I’ll ask him what he thinks I should do.”

“The RCMP do come in handy sometimes.”

“You working today?”

Sanjay was a pastry chef at two different restaurants and Dan was never sure which one he was working at on which day. Somedays neither was Sanjay.

“If I was I’d been gone by now, right?”

“No. You work evenings more and more.”

“Miss me?”
“You know I do?” He pulled Sanjay tight for a long kiss.

“Today’s the day the animal people are coming. Raccoon in the eaves.”

“Right. What’s that going to cost us I wonder.”

“At least a week of night shifts for me.”

“And two high-end digitals for me.”

“I thought your sister had that commission market cornered.”

“So she does but you know what I mean.”

loyset

Loyalist reflection 2014

June – I’m busting out all over!

What can I say – when I get busty, I mean busy – I get real busy 🙂 Starting June, with a week in Washington DC! I’m flying my queerness to the USA to take part in Capturing Fire 2015 to add another initial to the expanding lgbtq acronym ‘a’ for aging because there’s no hiding the fact that I’m over 50. Because in the queer poetry scene I’m familiar with there aren’t many my age hitting the stage.

redumbrella

busted brolly

In the non-queer poetry scene I’m often the only queer in the room, as it were, & it gets to be dull being bombarded by hetero-normative, hetero-centric writers of other genders – some of whom have told me that they find me very brave to be so out. Get over it.

So I’m eager for a 3-day immersion into this lgbtqa poetry summer & slam. Every now & then I feel the need to give my creative a juices a flood of new energy – sometimes via one day Colloquium or a workshop like Loyalist – each energizes me out of my comfort zone.

I’m not sure what to expect in Washington other than seeing some sites, taking lot of photos, and hearing a bunch of younger lgbtq poets. I’ve also signed on for a couple of the workshop offered & will hit the open stages for sure.

redpan

banged pan

I’m home for a week or so then I’m off to Loyalist for five days on intense prose work with a class of intense writers. I’ve been going to this workshop for several years & know, to an extent, what to expect. I’ll be doing at least one class presentation on a plot beginning with a premise, & maybe one of blogging.

greyhat

hung hat

I get back to TO on June 26th & after a shower & a snack, head out to do a feature at the Pride 2015 Erotica Cabaret, hosted by Jon Pressick at Glad Day Books. I’ve already started building that set.The next night – June 27, I do a set at the Summer Sizzler at Hirut on the Danforth – this set will be totally different from the Pride set, trust me, even I get tired of the old dick tricks 🙂

The next day is my birthday – 100 at last –  so there’ll be a parade downtown for me, which I’ll watch on TV, thank you. After all that, a week of laundry & rest.

samples

Calypso’s Cave

I want to return to Calypso’s cave

for more erotic instruction

the ways of love I had been taught

never seemed enough for this world

like Lazarus I could not

remain in the shelter forever

I cannot rely on Neptune

to fulfill all my body’s longings

released from his tender endless coil

onto this shore where

I am unsure of my welcome

unsure of my name

unsure of anything except

I need another seven years

to prepare me for cities of silver glass

for the fumbling turmoil of men and women

who tumble excitedly

grasping for quick satisfaction

not having the time

to indulge in the erotic instruction

I have received and have to pass on

let me return to Calypso

for another seven time seven

this school of sorrow and longing

I have been cast into

holds no secrets for me

or is this the next lesson

pleasure isn’t the end but the beginning

sorrow isn’t the result only a symptom

as I wander these streets

I cannot feel the rivers flow

I see their mouths open

but no water comes forth

I want to return to Neptune

after sailing seeking

from one golden fleece to the next

is there anyone awaiting me

or am I the only one waiting

to bring new light the cave

and see that Lazarus wrote on its walls

Calypso’s joke

Neptune’s revenge

the lover of the world ready for love

and no river bed for me to lie on

soon02

June 3-5 – attending – Capturing Fire 2016 – Washington DC

fire

https://capfireslam.org

 

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umbrella

Grindstone Days

I want to put my nose to the grindstone but I have to decide which grindstone to start with, & which nose to put on it. The How To  workshop is less than a month away & I have yet to decide what to bring for workshopping – another section of Lazarus Kiss (my NaNo 2011 novel)? something from The Priest’s Niece – my NaNo 2012 novel. Or a short story? Which nose?

bye bye jodi
bye bye jodi

I’ve been continuing my research for Niece. The more I find out the more I wonder how historically accurate I want this book to be. Can I get away with a sort of mash up of what suits my story or should I stick to strict ‘this is how it was’ – not that I want have my 1925 coal miners using cell phones. The story is culturally true to the time era I’m working in but I don’t want readers griping that my Dragermen equipment wasn’t that developed by 1925 – unless I say it was prototype? hmm.

under water
under water

Last year at the workshop I gave a presentation on e.publishing that was based on my minimal experience, podcasts & the Bloody Words panel. This year I’m going to do a presentation on something I’m more equipped to talk about: how to give a reading.  The participants are all fiction writers – several published so I’m not going to pull my punches.

broken record
broken record

Even more than poets novelist feel compelled to set-up a section endlessly. My theory is if it takes ten minutes of set up you’ve picked the wrong passage. Avoid scenes with more than three characters – it just confuses the listeners. Maybe we don’t need very word of the detailed description of period shoes, stockings and accessories. Yeah, this going to be fun (for me).

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