Writing & Submitting:
Well, some good news. I had a short poem accepted for publication. It won’t appear until the fall of 2020, however, so, I’ll just leave it at that.
Still working away on The Poisoned Moon, and have nearly gotten back to the 50,000 word mark after cutting away over 11,000 words not long ago. Things I do when I realize I’ve written myself into a special corner of boring and impossible.
I’ve stopped sending out The Palace of Winds and Far Nineteen. I guess I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s something wrong with those manuscripts that is impossible to fix.
Heather is plugging away at finishing up the latest miniseries on Problematic Badass Female Tropes. That should start dropping in the pod feed by the end of this month.
I’ve been working on coordinating another couple of live shows, but I’m not working too fast on it. I don’t want it to turn into another thing on my schedule that I’ll resent doing—especially now since this looks like it’ll be the “Spring of the day-job week long road trips.”
Finishing up J. Robert Lennon’s Broken River. It’s quite good, so give it a shot.
I’ve been dipping into a collection of poems called The Chance of Home by Mark S. Burrows. I met him at a reading he gave a while back that was hosted by Friends University. He writes very quiet, thoughtful poems, that are deceptively simple. I like the effect. It reminds me of certain aspects of Japanese aesthetics that I was reading about a while ago. The transient, impermanent beauty of a single moment is something we often dismiss in our always on society and with our neon light flashing self-obsessive culture of personality.
I recently got a copy of the chapbook Constraint, by Delia Tramontina, and have been carrying it around in my bag along with Lennon’s book. Be prepared for a long wait to get a copy, if you order one. Delia and I go way back, and, of course, you can listen to us discuss James Joyce’s Ulysses on The Outrider Podcast, and, if you dig far enough back on the podbean site, you’ll uncover my conversation with her (but here’s a link episode 4!).
With the Problematic Badass Female Tropes series coming out, it might be an interesting contrast to go see Captain Marvel, if you haven’t already. I went to see it and was pretty excited to see that it avoided (although sometimes narrowly) all of the tropes Jenn and I discussed. The two tropes it narrowly avoided falling into were The Wonder Woman, and Mother Knows Best.
I went on a Scrubs bender on Hulu last month. One thing that struck me was the representation of male friendship between Turk and J.D.. It’s very non-traditional.
I recently picked up the EP “Best Days” by a Wichita band called Cartwheel. My show producer, Heather, turned me on to them, and we licensed the rights to use parts of two of Cartwheel’s songs for the intro/outro of the upcoming series of the podcast.
Also picked up the albums “Unravelling” and “The More I Sleep the Less I Dream” both by the band We Were Promised Jetpacks.
A few years ago, Marc Maron talked with Jason Isbell on WTF and I put down a note somewhere to get some of Isbell’s music. I put it off. Nearly forgot about it. Then Marc revisited his talk with Isbell during his monologues in the lead-up to his 1000th show (i’ve been behind on my WTF listening due to work related bullshit). So, I finally picked up Southeastern, which has the song Elephant on it and quickly added it to the playlist for the new project.
I’m not sure how other writers are able to do it—that is, all of “it”—have a job and pay the bills, stay somewhat fit, have family and friends, meet obligations, and still write and submit and publish. I’m especially amazed at those single mother writers who manage to pull off some semblance of a writing life.
For me, there seems to always be some negotiation going on over what will or will not be sacrificed. There’s the have-to-dos, which are non-negotiable: I have to eat, do laundry, go to work, exercise, read, and write. It’s hard for me to write in a messy environment, and so I have to regularly clean the apartment—and yet I’ve not really cleaned the bathroom in months—just a few spot wipes and half-assed scrubs when it’s so gross I can’t stand it. I didn’t wash a beer glass I used for almost a month because it was the one dish I’d used that couldn’t be put in the dishwasher or else I’d wash away the logo printed on it. Twenty years ago, I could get up at 5am when the alarm went off and write. Now, I hit the snooze for a half hour to forty-five minutes because I can’t stand the thought of getting out of bed to face yet another day, which pinches my writing time, even though having written something first thing in the morning is the one thing that makes the rest of the day bearable. I come home to a pair of cats, and if it’s a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, I’m right back out the door for a run knowing that I actually need to do more than just run. I should be doing some kind of weight training, but that would rob me of my Tuesday and Thursday nights as well.
There’s a bleakness to it all, especially when the easiest thing to sacrifice is my connection to other people, and my attempts to find a companion. All sorts of research points out that having close friends as we age protects us from illness. Maintaining relationships takes time, of course, but it can also crowd out time for other things even though I feel like it shouldn’t. Then there’s the time and energy it takes to find a companion, which is fundamentally discouraging—no matter where I might live.
It’s not unusual for me to get home at the end of the day and, maybe after squeezing in a run, to simply feed myself and sit there empty and stare at the TV to emotionally paralyzed to read, or write, or even follow up on personal emails or things I need to do for the podcast. It turns into a kind of aggressive waiting game to see when my body will simply give up trying to stay awake and if I can finish that glass of wine I poured or the beer I opened. And all the while I’m telling myself I should be doing something more productive.