Saturday, December 23, 2006

Sound Check

The last few weeks have been wild. It appears that many things that have been trying to come together for some time finally are. I've got a new freelance relationship with a magazine that should offer many new challenges and a host of possible rewards. It is a young magazine, but it already has a circulation of over 1,000,000, and I'm quite excited about any role I get to play in making those numbers grow.

Adding to that is new representation in the works with a top-tier New York literary agency and a remarkable agent. We're nailing down the particulars on that, but it is making the New Year look promising.

There has been some movement recently too. Cyber movement. A poetry group I am honored to be a part of moved its cyber location to Facebook, which I'm finding to be quite intriguing. Other writing friends are making changes to their web sites, their blogs, and a few are exiting the internet all together for a while in an effort to regain their writing momentum, having found that they are too sidetracked when online. I admire their discipline.

Change is good. I'll do some revamping of my own here and there so that I can maintain a fresh sense of direction. Actually, I have already begun as I have consolidated some sites and activities under a single umbrella. That was long overdue!

And then there was the big surprise! Discovery of some forgotten monies that made us feel both stupid and incredibly blessed! What can I say? Testing, testing, 1-2-3!

The last few weeks have been wild!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Spirit

I've been consumed with the true spirit of Christmas and the absence of it in the eyes of people I see, on the landscape as I ride, and even my own numbness that ought never be.

The passion of Christmas, the passion of the spirit of holiness, of love, of peace, of joy, of hope, and of mercy is what I long for once again. I pray that it begins to smolder in us all as we travel through these next few days, regardless of our faith or religion, but because of our commonality; our oneness as humans sharing this earth. May we all be consumed by a burning spirit of love one for another.
Photo 123rf

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


First Edition 1901 - Candle-Lightin' Time - Paul Laurence Dunbar

The telephone rang in another room and I flew past one of my bookcases that's stationed in the hallway to try to answer the phone before the call went to voicemail. On my way back (I did get the call, it was a lost fax machine trying to connect) my eyes fell on a book in that case - a poetry book - and it caused me to pause. I bought that book because I heard the poet performing his works a few years ago. Both the poet and the book are exceptional, but, unlike an excellent novel, his book didn't skyrocket up the list of best sellers and I have no idea what the status of his poetic career is presently.

Being a poet myself, this shouldn't have given me such pause. We know the score. A book seller at a major bookstore chain congratulated me not long ago because a hundred copies of my poetry book sold. That, I was told in excitement, made it a "best seller". I thought he was joking. He wasn't. He was quite serious. Contemporary poetry, he continued to enlighten me, is a very slow mover and not something either book sellers or distributors really like to handle much.

But poetry is critical to a society. It is the blood rushing through the society's heart, its truth and its timber. Odd that it should be viewed with such commercial disdain. I know I have been influenced by poets in my own life. I know I continue to be influenced by them. Some are unsung, some brand new, some a bit more familiar, but each a force and an energy I've been fortunate to encounter. I guess it is only right that I name a few, huh?

Gino L. Morrow - Spitfire (Poetry and Prose)
Jackie Young - Love's Reparations: The Learning Curve between Heartache and Healing
Linda Dominique Grosvenor - Love Lingers
Paul Laurence Dunbar - "Candle-Lightin' Time",
Merrit Malloy - "My Song for Him Who Never Sang to Me",
Stanley E. Banks - Rhythm and Guts
G. Highsmith-Hooks - The Soul of a Black Woman: From a Whisper to a Shout
Sonia Sanchez - Homegirls and Handgrenades
and Rita Dove - Thomas and Beulah

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Shaking Off the Writing Shakes

Occasionally, when where to turn and what to do next seem impossible to comprehend, and the light bulb that has been lighting your way through the book you're laboring over suddenly burns out, you feel the shakes start. Going somewhere, curling up in a fetal position, tempts, as does ripping off your clothes racing down the street screaming at the top of your lungs. Looking at the options, some of them as drastic as radical surgery on parts of your anatomy you can't imagine life without, will take a far braver person than you - at least at the moment.

Hitting that snag brings up that age old philosophical question. Why? Why torment yourself like this? Why continue to subject yourself to the terror that awaits in the dark crevices and alleys when you make a wrong turn and end up boxed into a dead end and all paths of graceful or safe retreat appear to be blocked off as well? Then comes the age old philosophical answer. Why not?

One way or another you will solve this dilemma, and it will be what lies in the solution you chose or that is chosen for you (by your characters or your muse) that the real story will come forth. It might not be the one you were laboring over. Hard as it might be to accept, that labor of love might only have been the back story for the one that is to emerge. Regardless, when you unfurl your body, put your clothes back on, and return to your pen, shake though you may, the light will have returned. Only this time it might be natural, not artificial light, and the chances of it burning out will be almost nil.