Monday, September 17, 2018

Former Dream of My Own Literary Magazine

I used to dream of running my own literary publication.  I'd spend hours thinking up names, whittling the focus, and pondering fonts.  Money (and a few other things) prevented it from ever being anything more than a fantasy.  Eventually, I let it go.

But, though it's gone, the memory remains.
Potential names:

Creature Comforts
(My county's name) Literary Review

Types of work accepted:

Poetry (of course) with visual art and a smattering of flash prose in all genres.  Each piece will leave the reader with some type of hope or light, regardless of the subject/genre.


The "magazine" would have a website, but people would receive an actual object.  Each issue would be individual cards in a small box with artwork on one side of each card and text on the other.  Or a series of postcards sent out at various times.

My favorite idea was a small booklet with perforated, thick pages one could tear out and use as bookmarks like these.  Something beautiful that was also practical.  The website wouldn't hinder sales of the publication even if it had entire issues on display.


Whimsical without childishness.  It's difficult to pin down because individual works act as their own experience, but there would be a touch of sweetness and magic.  The font would be something readable but also better for people with dyslexia and I'd research braille as an addition.

Most literary magazines are stuffy because they try to present themselves as "serious literature".  They become homogenized in look and tone.  I didn't want that.
I don't dream much anymore but, though I still have a couple goals I fight towards, I get a bit wistful remembering what I used to let myself think of having/doing.  At least it was a lovely diversion.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Light Paradox (Old Poem)

If I could pause in the happenstance
Freeze midstep, a cryogenic deer
Under nature’s floodlights
And scent the moments
That alter everything

I would, purposely
Bump into more people
Dance until tired
Go left, not right

Just for the sharp sweetness
Of realization soaring
Through my synapses
And the sound of Destiny
Pacing restless in Free Will’s cage

The poems I share on this blog are often old and/or I dislike them.  I'd share the few I'm happy with and are current, but then I couldn't submit them to literary magazines.  

Some may ask why I share work I find inferior or doesn't represent who I am as a poet in the present.  One, I'm unknown and obscurity grants me a perverse freedom.  Second, this is like giving you a random tour of my past and what I thought about.  

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Urge to Withdraw Submissions

My finger hovers over the mouse.  I breathe, hesitate, count slow in a monotone, and close my eyes.  The screen asks, "Are you sure?"  And I know I'm not.  A twitch, a feather-light movement, starts near my mouth.

I think a lot about withdrawing every submission I have sent right now.  It began last week, and has increased significantly each day.  Rejections flood my in-box, but that isn't new.  I feel like I'll always be stuck where I am-- a feeling as familiar as my chronic pain.  I don't know (for sure) what's causing the change.

Exhaustion, maybe.

Life is uphill.  I have wheels with zero traction and I'm slipping.  I lost my hope somewhere-- perhaps it's at the bottom of the hill I climb.  I'm trying to have it airlifted to my location.  All lines are busy.

It could be my sense of self-preservation is in overdrive.  I find out I'm in remission, only to find out something else could be cancerous the very next day.  Other stress scratches at the window like a tree branch.  Or a ten-foot monster disguised as an oak.

My life is making me a bit irrational.  At least I realize it.

I saw this motivational poster on Facebook that said:  Be proud of yourself, you have survived 100% of your bad days.  Sounds like success to me.

This month is a new month.  Today is the newest day you'll experience.  The mystery of all the good that can happen with another chance in front of you should be exhilarating.  If it's not today, maybe it will be tomorrow.  The only way things will never get better is if time stops.  It hasn't.  It's going.  I'll keep going, too.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Are Instagram Poets "Real" Poets?

I came across this article recently, and I'm not the only one.  On Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and forums the old debate flared again:  Are InstaPoets actual poets?  A fair number of people respond with a resounding "no".

The argument against Instagram poetry can be summed up like this:

1.  It's too simple.
2.  It blends in other elements (like graphics and self-help).
3.  It won't bring more readers to other/real poetry.

The last point is the easiest to push aside.  If all poetry is supposed to open the door for readers to find other poets, no one is a real poet.  Poetry is losing its readers, and poets have bemoaned that fact for ages.  Why are we asking InstaPoets to shoulder something we (in the "superior" community) haven't accomplished?  It's malarkey.
Then again, maybe they are helping the poetic landscape.

The point where Instagram poetry is discounted due to other elements is also trash.  Putting a poem with a piece of visual art isn't real poetry?  They best not tell any poet-illustrator, collaborative artist exhibit, or ekphrasis writer.  Poetry isn't meant to motivate you or help you in some way?  Do the people spouting this dreck even read poetry?  A good poem can change (or even save) a life!

Art is subjective, so "quality" will always be dependent upon who is critiquing it.  Are the pieces on Instagram not technically poetry?  Some of them.  I've read work in literary magazines editors classified as poetry but I didn't.  Does that mean the work isn't legit?  As far as complexity goes, does every poem have to contain seven layers of meaning... minimum? Poets often drive readers away because they try for intellectual/deep and land in obscurity/condescension.

The naysayers of Instagram poetry believe it's a fad doomed to fall fast.  Why all the animosity?  Something as brief as a footfall shouldn't matter.  Could the reason be... envy?

Monday, August 20, 2018

Groups, Foxes, Fantasy, and Death (Rambling)

Sometimes I watch people in groups, not two or three, but a large number of friends or close acquaintances with a united purpose.  I want to be part of something so much my body aches in a way that has nothing to do with rheumatoid arthritis.  But only sometimes.
I think in passive voice.  Even my brain is boring.
I wish more media in the fantasy genre featured people thirty-plus.  Life is a jaded thing.  People my age or my mom's age would never be called upon by a wizard.  We'd never save a kingdom.

Our hearts are broken and we don't know it.  We're unable to use them to see the unseeable.  Practicality is the antithesis of wonder.  Magic is a gift with an expiration date, and "awe" retracts soon after.  All we remember are echoes.  And pain comes with the knowledge.
I'm writing a poem about a fox kit who believes Mars is her home planet because it's the same coloring as her (she's not red-green color blind like other foxes).  She desperately wants her mother to believe along with her-- go with her to Mars, though wild foxes won't live long enough for the trip.

It's not a poem, I guess, just a story I'll never write.  Our Kit deserves to be written into life even though I won't, even though she won't survive the journey in rocket or page.
I'm on my way to my oncologist's office today, my entire body consumed by ache.  I'll slide through places where my breath is held to hold it again as they read the results.  

We all die on our journey, that's how we know where the stop signs are.  Will I be halfway to Mars or staring at the sky asking someone else to believe?

Monday, August 13, 2018

Building a Mountain With a Teaspoon

I'm blindfolded on the most even field the gods ever created.  The grass blades tickle and shush me.  Some far-off birds twitter in welcome... or at my foolishness.

I am tasked with creating a mountain on this flat place-- a Midwestern Kilimanjaro, if you will.  The tool of creation?  An indestructible teaspoon.  I can't remove the blindfold, but am given my entire life span to finish the job.
Trying to "make it" as a poet/writer feels like the slowly forming mountain beneath my calloused hands.  It's fun playing in the dirt, but attempting to form that pile into something large and sculpted is difficult.  Getting the mountain high enough for people to care about seems impossible.

Seven rejections so far this month.  I'm frustrated and sad.  The spoon might be indestructible, but I'm not.  Sometimes, I don't know why I do this to myself.  I don't have to submit, I can just write in private.  No one is obligated to read anything anyone writes.  I expect nothing.

But, expectation and restless hope are different.  I still hope that what I'm doing matters to people.  I still hope that my writing gives people something they had less of before-- entertainment, understanding, beauty, etc. I still hope to connect with others through my art.

Perhaps "hope" is the mountain-making spoon.  Perhaps, if I refuse to let go, part of me will be unbreakable, too.  See you on the summit.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Acrid (A Poem)

When I dug at the earth with the tines of my heart,
you said I was rootless. Ruthless of you,
to cast me upside-down into my own tilled soil.
It smelled like the snap of cut grass in summertime.

My movements became jerky, a lawnmower puttered
out. I wouldn't take your sour offer, lemonade without
twelve spoons of sugar. Perhaps we're back to rations,
sweetness. Perhaps I'd stay for a granular paradise.