Anyone following me on twitter has already heard – I finished that book of poems in one day. Ta-Ra! Officially, I filled up the book which was 32 pages and each poem is anywhere from 5 lines to 20. I kept it simple.
I was met with mixed enthusiasm from friends and family when I told them I what I would be doing. Those who cheered me on, and those who thought I was insulting the artistic expression. All points valid I suppose. As much as I pat myself on the back for this, the entire venture is based on quantity, not quality. And writing poetry is not as easy as I might be making it sound. I spent over 12 hours just staring into space trying to come up with a single idea. At one point what was on the TV was a heavy influence. When I publish, try to find which poems were influenced by The Office, Property Brothers, and Super Mario Brothers.
Saturday, I’ll try to take some images to go with my second rate book of poetry. That way the book is a combo visual/text medium which is something I use to enjoy doing back in my college days.
I’m leaving one sample here unedited. It was the last poem I wrote that day. It was meant as an ending to the day, and tonight I post it for my family members who are grieving. My thoughts are with you.
There’s a bottle waiting for me
A new flavor
for an old scar
There’s a light flickering
in a semi-dark corner
of a well lit room
Late at night
Drop the bottle in a bin
Lock the door
and bring the last light
into my bedroom
before blowing it out
“Oh, I didn’t realize that you wrote poetry
I didn’t realize you wrote such bloody awful poetry, Mr. Shankly”
– Frankly, Mr. Shankly, Morrissey
New project I’m working on, I’m making a book cover for a writer friend of mine who is going to self-publish a book of poems specifically on Miami. I like doing layout work and have some experience in it so I’m very much on board with this.
Thing is, and I think I mentioned it in a previous post, but I’m not real big on poetry. This has nothing to do with my friend, but I do feel a bit bad that I can’t read her poetry and say anything whatsoever. I don’t think I could tell the difference between a good poem or a bad poem if they were color coded. Aside from a few lines in Poe that I love, nothing else in poetry speaks to me. I’m like a person going to a museum and saying “meh”. I feel like I have some sort of deficiency.
But doing the layout work got me thinking. A couple of years ago I had gotten drunk and said I could write a book of poetry in one day. I still think I can. This is due to the fact that since I can’t tell good poetry from bad I can just tell myself that everything I jot down is awesome. So that’s what I’m going to do.
I got one of my blank moleskins that has 34 pages (or 32, can’t remember). I’m going to fill it up tomorrow with poetry. Then I’m going to spend one other day taking photographs to go with my poems. And then one last day where I do layouts for its debut on CreateSpace. I’m going to throw that terrible book of poetry up there and make 84 cents in royalties over the course of 10 years and it’s going to be awesome.
Maybe I’ll use a different pen name. And I will be the Kilgore Trout of poetry.
from Hark, a vagrant
*except in cases of autobiography. Then there will be no killing of characters.
I don’t put people I know in my book. I mean, except for this one screenplay I wrote, but they all knew about it and it’s technically not a book. So, no I don’t put people I know in my books. Except this isn’t a book, it’s my blog.
In other words, this is non-fiction, the selected stories of my life and thoughts. And so people I know do appear here. I try to edit out names and just maybe have a first initial (like my BFF, D). When I migrated my MySpace blog and combined it with the livejournal blog to create this one WordPress blog, I went back and did some editing. The MySpace was private so only my small group of friends saw it and so it would have been silly to edit out names because everyone knew who I meant. However, I went back through my blog a week or so ago and realized I had missed some entries. I’ve hopefully fixed it all now.
This really all goes back to a couple of posts ago when someone whom I would have guessed is the last person on Earth to be reading my blog, was somehow reading my blog. Readers can scroll back and look.
Now, there are thousands if not millions of bloggers who write in a journal-esque manner. There are thousands of writers and people who write autobiographies. So the question is, what are the ethics of writing about the secondary characters in your own life? Aside from any libel issues.
I have no answers
I don’t post a lot.
My friend just completed his Goodreads challenge in half the time he was going to. I thought that’s a nice idea, to set a challenge for how many books I’ll read. But truthfully, I read a lot. When I say I spend hours on the internet, that means hours reading stories (half the time on tumblr, half reading). So I think I’m set there.
But what I don’t do is write a lot. So I guess I’m not a writer. According to the advice writers usually give people and stuff. I’m not a writer. I could theoretically just stop it all together. No more Nanowrimo, no more thinking of how I could get published and where my stories are going, and about writing new ideas. Why do I keep going? Because I just do. I could no more commit to never writing again than I could commit to never drinking Coca-Cola. My health would literally have to be on the line for me to stop completely. So maybe I’m not a writer. But I am someone who writes.
I’m addicted to buying blank journals. I have a new one I just got a while ago that’s decorated like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I was going to write a story in it but I ended up using it as a diary of sorts for my daughter. I’ve just been writing down memories of her and our time together as well as lists of things (like songs I sang her as a baby). This is going to sound morbid, but I’m doing it because when she hopefully outlives me, she’ll have a book of just me talking to her. A few weeks ago my mother put a picture of me on Facebook and when it suggested people to tag it suggested I was my deceased cousin. I freaked out and have been kind of planning ahead for my death.
Anyway, 52 posts in 52 weeks. I’m challenging myself to get back on that writing horse by writing at least one blog post per week. Nanowrimo is coming up, but this year my writing group from Nano has been meeting year long. It helped me finish up this short story (which turned into a novelette). But the novel is giving me trouble. It’s easy to get lost when I put it down for a week and I lose pace and tone easily. Not sure what to do.
I was thinking of just focusing on the short stories again. I was better at finishing stories under 12K. Maybe I could actually try to get some of those published. It seems easier for me to do since it’s easier for me to actually edit those stories to a place I’m okay with. That guy who was going to read my story for me and give me criticism didn’t do it. It’s been months and my story was only 10K. I don’t know what to do. The problem with asking for beta readers is I usually run into people who want me to beta read back which is of course only fair. But aside from fan fiction, I generally only like reading non-fiction. So I’m kind of screwed.
So I’m going to really try and commit to blog again next week. We’ll see. I don’t do to well with self-inflicted challenges.
*the above image was taken at the Bookstore in the Grove, Coconut Grove Miami.