Sorry I haven't been around. I'm way behind on email as well, so if I owe you one, please be patient & accept my apologies... I've had a lot going on, to be honest, some of which won't see the light of this blog, some of which will.
What I've been doing
Well, partly, I've now got a working draft of my second (!) book manuscript. (The firstborn is out there in the world, visiting editors and trying to make nice. Imagine it like some ever so slightly questionable hippie hitchhiking and couch-surfing, hoping somebody will ask it to just move in...) I was actually up until ahem-ahem-A.M. one night last week pulling together the initial draft, from which I've since pulled out a bunch of poems and added a couple of new ones. This one has been a very different experience from my first ms., in that this has consciously been A Project almost from the beginning, just over a year ago. I won't say that makes it better or worse than the firstborn, just different. I'm at the dangerous stage right now of being a little bit in love with the thing. I need to get over that before I start giving it to readers (got the first one lined up).
Now that this ms. has gone from being a disorganized pile of poems to being A Thing, I may be in a better position to go back to the firstborn and revisit it; I haven't looked closely at it for a few months. They're very different projects, but maybe I've learned a few things. I actually want to write at more length about the differences between the two, though maybe talking too much about a manuscript before it gets accepted anywhere might jinx it.
The Indiana University Writers' Conference is going on this week. As always, the evening readings by conference faculty are open to the public. I can't make most of them this week due to work & other commitments, but I did get to see Aracelis Girmay and Manuel Munoz the other night. I heard Aracelis Girmay last year at the Indiana Review "funk reading" and really liked her work, so I was glad to see her again; she read a lot of new work that was just phenomenal. (Seriously, there was a poem involving a green dress which alone was worth the price of admission -- well, the reading was free, but if there'd been an admission price, this poem would've been worth it. It got spontaneous mid-reading applause, too, which is always nice.) I enjoyed Manuel Munoz as well; fiction readings often leave me a bit cold, especially when the writer races through paragraphs & pages like they were being paid by the word & need to get in as many as possible in their allotted time, but he read at just the right pace & had a great reading voice. I'll have to check out his work.
I seem to have planned a quick trip out East in late August (yes, there are concert tickets involved). I haven't yet booked a flight, so I'll throw this out there: if anyone knows of a possible reading venue in or near Boston, MA or Providence, RI on August 20 or 21, drop me a note. If I could sell a few chapbooks, it'd be worth my while to extend the trip by a day or so.
You Know You're Really Truly Middle-Aged...
... when you find yourself reading an article about one of your favorite rockstars, not in High Times or Rolling Stone, but in Arthritis Today.
Here's one of the newest poems from Manuscript #2 (aka The Project That Pretty Much Ate My Brain This Year). The protagonist has been on the road and is well on the way to becoming a successful touring musician, but there turns out to be a price...
(I'll take this down in a day or two)
[gone again, gone again]