Saturday, September 30, 2017

Short Story Time Again


Gonna set poetry aside for now and return to the form I'm really supposed to be trafficking in, flash fiction and the short story. That's where my instincts lie, my raw ability. Every time I write a poem, I feel like I'm pretending. I even wrote a poem called "The Good Pretender" and only today thought about what might have been going on under the surface of my thoughts when I wrote it.

I know I can write short stories. I wrote a novel and it was mediocre. I've written some poetry and it was whatever it is. I don't even know how to judge it. Something's got to give here.

So look for more short stories, maybe here at Bent Country, because I'm becoming disillusioned again with the publishing community. I shouldn't allow rejection to cause this within me, but I do. I'm not even sure I have a choice; it's just how my mind works, a self-pitiful wheel that turns me back again and again to the forms I'm most comfortable with rather than the forms that are fun to experiment with.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Sky is Mind-Blowing and Other Imaginations


Ancient Aliens is a show I watch a lot. Most of the time it's sort of soothing comfort tv thing, background noise I can watch bits of here and there and enjoy. I don't know all the guest speakers on the show by their full names. I call my two favorite Sing Song Dave and Snuff. Snuff is that guy all those alien memes were about. Crazy hair with him holding his hands out and the word ALIENS under him. Variations on that. Snuff is great. So is Sing Song Dave. He talks about our alien ancestors and gets pretty excited, which then makes him speak in these highs and lows that sounds like he's singing a little children's song.

But I'm an Ancient Aliens fan all the way. I don't agree with most of what they propose, always with that great sort of tagline from the narrator, something a little like this: "Could mummies be proof that aliens visited and gave us the knowledge of reincarnation? Ancient astronaut theorists say yes." Those cats always say yes. It's beautiful.

But tonight while watching another episode that focused on how cultures across time and distance have depicted in their art all these gods with wings, flying chariots, etc. something occurred to me. Instead of aliens visiting us and blowing people's minds, it's really likely we've just always had this crazy fascination with the sky. Imagine what early humans must have thought of cloud formations and the sun in general, or the way the skyline can sometimes turn red at dusk in certain places and a deep blueblack at other times. And that's just during the day. At night, I have no doubt early humans were losing their collective minds. Stars, the moon, sometimes a sky without stars and sometimes with stars. Where did all those white dots go? Hey they're back! I mean people were likely constantly jacked up about all this. Of course the sky, flying, all things associated with the heavens as it were, was the subject of a lot lot lot lot of discussion, myth-making, etc.

Without question, I'm not the only person who's ever thought this, but it seems to me a lot can be explained by keeping in mind the absolute power of the imagination and people's compulsion to explain the unexplained.

But, truthfully, I'm about 50/50 with the whole thing. It's just as likely that future us folk have been visiting here for awhile. Maybe even planted us here to form the seedbed of some kind of insurance for the lasting of the species. Or it could just be the sky is really awesome and always has been.

Cool thing is, there's something that explains all this strangeness. And I, for one, would prefer the answer be incredibly interesting and odd. There's enough realism in the world as it is.

Monday, September 25, 2017

My Poems in a Collaborative Chapbook Series Called Lantern Lit


I hadn't submitted anything in a fairly long time but some of the pieces I had out have been returned accepted this past week, so that's always a cause for celebration. Remember, celebrate your writing victories, always. If even in a small way. It's hard out here and celebration should happen any chance you get.

I'll have three poems appear in Anti-Heroin Chic in late October. Two of the three poems are footnote poems called "Filicide Muse" and "Nokemon". The third poem is called "Buddha Rat". I'm really grateful to editor James Diaz for once again including my work at AHC. My short story "Behavioral Husbandry" appeared there earlier this year.

Also, Unbroken Journal will publish another piece of mine this coming January. The flash story/prose poem was started and honed in The Flash Factory at Zoetrope not very long ago, so I surely thank everyone there for their kind insights and suggestions. The piece is called "Aversion" and, as with Diaz, I'm seriously thankful to UJ's founder and editor-in-chief R.L. Black for giving a chance to be in a journal I couldn't hold in higher regard.

These single publications are always wonderful, but the news I've saved for last is the news that had me wondering if someone was sort of jerking me around. Or that I was asleep. That kind of Twilight Zone feeling.

Sometime in the spring, I think it was, I spoke online with Beasley Barrenton, the founding editor of Dog On a Chain Press, about ISBN numbers. This is the kind of thing writers and editors, etc. can be found discussing at any given moment. But we connected more solidly through that conversation. We talked some here and there online when we could and then a couple weeks ago Beasley asks if I'd like to submit roughly 20 pages of poetry to him for the fourth installment of his Lantern Lit chapbook series. 

I was stunned. But this didn't stop me from responding immediately and accepting the offer. The series publishes a chapbook of three poets, each offering about that 20-page count of poetry for a full-length chap. I'd only started writing poetry this year and now I had the chance to send some work his way and maybe share in a chapbook with some top notch writers. It really was too good to be true. But I reckon it is true. So I'll be sharing updates on the status of that project as things move along.

Like I said, I have a lot to celebrate this month, so I thought I'd celebrate it here, at my bent little home. Okay, see you later. Drive fast; take chances.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

FROM THE ARCHIVES: "Everything After Eddie" @ People Holding


Still celebrating with my little self getting a piece in People Holding. Such a super innovative journal from concept to writing, the whole nine yards.

Here's my story "Everything After Eddie."


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Update About the Airgonaut

I've published for the last couple of years an online journal called The Airgonaut. I've placed a submission closed update there this afternoon due to the fact that I'm finished with editing for the time being.

Since 2002 I've been editing literary journals - Cellar Door Magazine, The Wrong Tree Review, A-Minor, Metazen, Night Train, Revolution John, and now The Airgonaut. I think 15 years is enough time for me to have given back to writers by publishing and championing their work.

Now, at 41 years of age and not healthy enough to foresee a life into my 70s or 80s, I'd like to spend the remainder of my time as a writer working on the few of my projects currently on the table.

For the time being, I'll publish the work that has already been accepted at The Airgonaut. This will constitute monthly issues covering October, November, and December. After that, who knows? But it's been fun. Thanks to you all for the solid work and for the chance to share it with readers. That was really cool of you. The archives will, of course, be available from now until doomsday.

Monday, September 18, 2017

It's American Horror Story Time *smiley insane face*

So I just watched the intro scene for American Horror Story season 7 and it's the scariest one yet. The gang at AHS were exactly on target for displaying in fiction the terror of our current reality with that guy as president.

Monday, September 11, 2017

I'm Eager to Read Max Ritvo's Poetry


Because he can do this:

I come from a place where the water’s emptiness
is so savage that  
when you drink it  
the fish of the throat die,  
causing malignant thirst.

See what I mean?


Matthew Zapruder on Poetry


"I don’t know what writers of stories, novels and essays eventually discover for themselves, but I can say that sooner or later poets figure out that there are no new ideas, only the same old ones — and that nobody who loves poetry reads it to be impressed, but to experience and feel and understand in ways only poetry can conjure."

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Frederick Seidel Just Goes To Show You

This anecdote from Frederick Seidel in the New York Times piece on him is hilarious and ridiculous. Just goes to show you.
"Although it would provide a nice causal coda to his time of silence and self-analysis in France, Seidel’s return to Harvard the next year didn’t coincide with the discovery of his poetic voice. He was writing, but “the poetry was not for me very impressive.” He published poems in The Advocate, even one in The Atlantic, but only at the very end of Harvard did one attain a different caliber. Called “The Sickness,” Seidel sent it to The Hudson Review. 'I got back a letter from the editor saying that the poem was brilliant . . . but wouldn’t I consider a number of changes they wanted to propose to the poem’s advantage? So I took a look at their suggestions, hung onto the poem and three months later sent it back to them — no changes whatsoever. Back came a note saying: Wonderful! That does it! It’s just superb.'"

Friday, September 8, 2017

There Is a Journal Called SOFTBLOW; There Is a Journal Called Mannequin Haus


I have two new poems out in the world. One, a footnote poem, was published today at Fin Sorrel's journal Mannequin Haus and is called "Psychedelic Death Shroud". What's a footnote poem? Go see. The other was published yesterday at a journal called SOFTBLOW and is titled "Ipseity". This makes me happy because I like having my work shared and having people read it.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Unbroken Journal Nominates My Poem for Best of the Net


RL and the gang at the outstanding Unbroken Journal included my prose poem "Cloud to Ground" in their list of nominations for the Best of the Net anthology.

I thought I'd been nominated for this before, but I was mistaken. So, this is my first for this particular honor. Thank you, Unbroken!!!

Here's the announcement that includes a link to my poem and the other pieces named.


That Human Magic

Shooting for Zen, settling for a peaceful two minutes. Where do I start? With the heart surgery I guess. I had a rare, minimally inva...