Need to write

It’s been a long time since I’ve put fingers to keyboard in service of creative writing. Too long and I don’t really know what to write here. I write for work, and while challenging, and creative in problem solving and working on teams, it doesn’t really provide an outlet for making something new.

I’ve collected some various prompts and images in the last few years. Kids were born, bought a house. Life continued, which should provide plenty of material to generat-icise new poems.

I even have the start to a chapbook that I haven’t looked at in… at least two years.

One line I have written down is

This poem will piss you off.

I think it’s supposed to be in the voice of the president. But I can’t even see through my own anger to start writing it. I have no distance.

I have pictures of various atrocities. But again, I have no distance.

There is a way in which my jaw has not unclenched in almost four years. Longer than that, I guess.

There’s a need to pull it out of the gut like gutting a fish it should be messy and a little gross and inelegant. Righteous hellfire wrath were faith still important. Though it’s all some people have they’ve swallowed the hook. There is not a pretty way to exorcise that barbed point.

There are old photo albums at my mom’s house that we all looked through on Mother’s day recently. Pictures from when I was about my oldest son’s age. And am I completely surprised by how much me and my brother are reflected in pictures of my two sons.

So it’s not all anger and frustration.

Mess and making

These posts are not planned out. They are messy, and I’m allowing them to be messy. Maybe in being messy they’ll make something mew. New. Maybe they’ll make something NEW.

The boys couldn’t agree on what kind of muffins to make today, so we have two kinds of muffins to eat now. I don’t even like muffins. I like cookies. The oldest one ate all of the cookies today.

I’m not even upset about it, even though he had plenty of muffins he could have eaten.

Part of having a sick parent is you have to go over there. Or maybe it’s I’m lucky enough to live close enough to go over there and help. It’s been a lot better lately, but at first it was not. At first it was more like having to help with things the nurses had to do at the hospital.

Home health care is not really a thing in this country. They came twice a week for the first two weeks out of the hospital, which were also the first two weeks of stay-at-home orders.

I don’t want to share too many details.

It was really difficult and at least I had the experience of watching my wife give birth and cleaning up after newborns and toddlers. At least I had the Marine training to do what needs to be done no matter what. But you don’t want to have to apply that experience to a parent.

The human body is amazingly resilient with the right doctors.

I should keep writing, but I think I’m done with this post.

Allow things to be messy, push boundaries to that next step where you’re about to fall over. Everything else has been pushed there already, embrace it.

Make something new.

Grief and Isolation

There is a lot of grief in the world right now.

For you.

For me.

I hope your grief is not unbearable.

Despite all of it, I have gratitude as well. I don’t exactly like that word, “gratitude.” It has religious connotations to my ear. But, well, it works.

I am lucky that I can work from home. My company has been fantastic, and actually quite surprisingly agile.

All of my loved ones are still with me. We have had to be in the hospital with unrelated illnesses, and yet we are safe.

Since the last time I wrote on here two years ago, the new baby has grown. He’s two and a half now.

Grief

Oh, I am sad. Sad for my country, sad for humanity, sad for each person lost to this virus.

I try not to be sad for myself, but yes, I am. Serious illness struck my family just as the virus was catching on here in the US. It’s still very serious, and putting strain on all of us.

I am also angry. Mostly about how the government handles this pandemic. Profiteering and cronyism. Cynicism and pandering. Politicization of a public health emergency, for the purpose of making money.

Isolation

Because we’ve had several hospitalizations (not related to COVID-19), and taking care of one of our family, I am not as isolated as I want to be.

And yet I am lonely.

And this adds to my sadness.

Process

I’m using this to process. You would think there’s all kinds of extra time to do things like productive writing, yard work, etc. But no.

There is no time. There is even less time than when I was commuting two hours a day.

What a strange world.

What strangeness it is to see profit opportunity instead of humanitarian opportunities. What grotesque macabre times we live through.

Inane cruelty. Stupid selfishness.

What protest can we mount while physically distancing?

Find a way. Write. Put it out there.

Vote.

Letter to Eric

Dear Eric,

Why not begin a new year’s writing practice strong? Get a calendar, mark it up, make promises.

Make commitments to people.

Granted, you don’t know these people. They seem nice enough on Twitter. Considerate, considered in thought, unwilling to put up with bullshit. But you’ll commit to them to write a blog post once a week for the whole year. Maybe some weeks you’ll write two, or even three. Hopefully many will be more thought-out than this one, but hey, it is a journal, not a Journal.

More important, make a commitment to write poetry. Once a week, for an hour. In the quiet right after everyone else is in bed. Make a commitment to revise for an hour a week. Make a commitment to send at least one submission per week. Make a commitment to work on that manuscript that keeps disappearing into obligations and home projects. Continue reading “Letter to Eric”

Back Again, Like Old School

Lots of news to write about!

Two biggest things:

1 – No Bullshit Review is live with its first issue! It’s only in print, but you can find out more by going to the site: http://nobullshitreview.tumblr.com. I’m really proud of the first issue and all the great writing I was able to accept for it. There are instructions for getting a copy on the blog. Really easy: send an email to thenobsreview+subscribe@gmail.com with your mailing address (like I said, in print only).

2 – I got a manuscript accepted! It is titled How to Lose Faith, here’s the announcement link: Blast Furnace Press. Take a look at the most recent issue of the magazine! This will be my first chapbook publication, and includes a couple of poems from my thesis, a couple published elsewhere, and some new stuff. I am really excited about it, it means I get to call myself a full-fledged Published Poet!

There’s been a lot of radio silence lately, I went and got myself an adult job, so there’s not as much room for activities. But I have done a lot in the last few months, including getting a magazine up and running, reading submissions and putting together enough content for a whole issue. Not to mention revising that manuscript over and over and submitting it over and over.

It is a strange beast, to finally come into fruition this way. It is a strange beast, to winnow a ~70 page manuscript down to several poems. It is a howling clawing process, in fact. And it is even harder to describe, but I may take a stab at it over on the other WordPress blog.

In the meantime, check out No Bullshit Review, send me a poem or three, or a nonfiction piece. Everyone hurts for good nonfiction submissions, and NoBS Review is not an exception.