Away for a short while

So my computer has been dying for quite a while now. I know it needs a new hard drive; it was telling me every 20 minutes before I turned the notification off. I hope that’s all it needs but we shall see. I have to take it in to see how much they’re going to charge to fix it.

I just got a Kindle Fire, and am trying to learn how to use it. So I’ll be able to check email and such, but will be limited to how much web stuff I can do. Typing on it is irritating as hell but I imagine I’ll get used to it eventually.

I have so many books… and I never want to let go of them. My preference I think will always be a paper book that I can hold in my hands and put on my shelf. I often re-read my books… going back to favorite authors now and again. At the moment I’m on my second reading of Game of Thrones. However, the Kindle will allow me to get other books that I may only want to read once, or that are more for reference, and cut down on the number of books I add to my library. The kindle will be something I can take with me when I travel so there will be one less bag to lug around. 

So… I’ll most likely not be blogging while my pc is getting fixed. I tried to log into my account on kindle, unsuccessfully, and I doubt if I’d be typing that much on it anyway. I’m hoping they can fix it in the store and not have to send it back to the manufacturer.

For now, have a picture of my handsome kitty Merlin. 🙂 Image

See you when I get back.

Slam Poetry

Last summer, the National Poetry Slam was held in Charlotte, when my niece would be here visiting. Neither of us had ever seen any performed, but we both love poetry and liked a lot of the slam poetry on youtube. We went, and had an amazing time. We were there for the last two nights, the finals, and we sat right up front. (As a result, you can see the back of our heads in many of the videos on youtube. 😉 ) Anyway, we fell in love and were blown away. The performers captivated us. Some of the poetry made us cry, some made us laugh, some was so powerful it made me shiver. It was different than anything I’d gone to before, and that’s a good thing. People snapped rather than applaud, so as not to interrupt the poet. That reminded me of the beatniks.. I remember seeing them portrayed on some show or another wearing all black, including black berets, telling incomprehensible poetry and snapping. 🙂 This poetry was very easy to connect to. I tried to explain it to my stepmother, but found that difficult. She asked if they just read their poetry, and I said it was more than that.. that it was part performance, and sometimes they act it out. She seemed mystified.

So, since we went to the competition, my niece and I scoured youtube looking for videos of the performances. I contacted someone with the organization trying to get the performances on cd, but that was like pulling teeth. This morning I found one of the poems we saw performed. If they aren’t videos marked from NPS, it’s hard to find them, because in most cases we had no idea what the names of them were. So here is one called “The Last Judgement”.

The NPS is held in a different city each year so who knows when it will be here again… but I hope to go to more performances. When my niece is here, I’ll have someone to go with, but I don’t know anyone else who’d be interested. I hope she goes to college down here.

Publishing and changes

Well it’s been almost a month since I started this blog and really, I haven’t gotten very far. Still, any progress is better than none. If I keep working on it hopefully I can get into the habit of writing every day. This morning I read over some of the work I’ve done in the past, and then started looking online. When I was submitting a lot of my work, there were pages and pages of results if you googled me. However, it seems that many of the online zines I sold to are no longer operating, and many of the print issues I was in are no longer for sale. My collections are still listed on sdpbookstore.com but some of the other distributors are no longer running. It’s all pretty discouraging. In this age, it doesn’t seem like a lot of these publications survive for long.

I think it’s been about 5 years now.. it doesn’t seem that long, but yeah, it has been. Once in a while I’ll pop into the reddit writing forums and it seems self publishing is all the rage. When I was sending my work out, that was called vanity publishing, and was not to be respected. You submitted your work to an editor and he either bought it or passed. If he passed, you’d try somewhere else. I wouldn’t submit places that did not pay unless it was a high prestige publication that would help to have in my resume. It seems a lot has changed in five years.

Now some people are actually doing well and making a living with self publishing. I imagine part of that is the popularity of e-books, but I wonder how professionals view the whole self-publishing business. If I manage to get writing, preferably a book, I’d much prefer to have an agent and go with the big publishing houses, but I understand that takes a long time. Self publishing saves time and rejection I suppose.   

I wonder sometimes if I can write with the way my life is now. I wish it weren’t so miserably hot here. I hate it.

Flashback to an old memory

My parents liked to get high. Especially my father. They smoked weed from as early as I could remember, and when I was little I hated the smell of it. It was especially bad in a closed car. As I got older, I appreciated my dad smoking it, especially after my mom died, because it chilled him out a bit. But there are a few instances when I was little that they were high and didn’t display the best judgement.

Do you know how when you remember things that happened when you were very young, that it’s sort of like watching a faded home movie? It is with me anyway, and that’s how I see the following incident. I was four, in the back seat, with my parents up front. They were high, and we were driving through a strange neighborhood. They pulled over to the curb and told me to get out and walk home. I remember watching the car leave, and then I started walking. I had no idea where I was or where home might be in relation to this, but I suppose in my four year old reasoning, I thought I’d get there eventually. I don’t know. I remember walking through people’s yards as I cut through and coming out on another street. My parents pulled up behind me, and I remember being surprised to see them. I don’t know how long I had been walking, but my mother was crying and my father was pissed off. He yelled at me to get in the car, which I did. He asked me where I was going, and I answered that I was walking home. He asked how I knew where home was. I don’t remember what I told him. I think it was that I didn’t know.That’s all I remember of it and the film ends there. What I think is that they went around the block and expected me to be standing there when they returned.

This came up today in therapy. I’m not sure what brought up that particular memory… we weren’t talking about my parents or my childhood. By the time I finished telling him I was shaking and nervous, which is  kind of odd. It wasn’t a traumatic experience… it was just an example of how things were.

Ancient Egyptian Love poem

Love of you is mixed deep in my vitals,
like water stirred into flour for bread,

Like simples compound in a sweet-tasting drug,
like pastry and honey mixed to perfection.
Oh, hurry to look at your love!
Be like horses charging in battle,
Like a gardener up with the sun
burning to watch his prize bud open.
High heaven causes a girl’s lovelonging.
It is like being too far from the light,
Far from the hearth of familiar arms.
It is this being so tangled in you.

1300-1100 BCE Egypt

I fell in love with this when I first found it, and used it in my wedding.

Being a teenager

It’s hard to be a teenager. You have hormones surging through your body, wreaking havoc on your emotions. You’re caught in between childhood and adulthood and the future seems unimaginable and so very far away. You are a slave to your passions, and you follow your heart, stepping off the precipice again and again, believing you will be caught. You try to keep most of your life a mystery to adults, sometimes by necessity. You have your own mind working against you at times, you have school, family and drama with friends. Sometimes it gets overwhelming.

 That’s for the normal teen, if there is such an animal. But if you’re a teenager who has been traumatized, it can be so much worse. Your friends don’t understand your oddities so you’re the weird one. You embrace it and wear it like a badge of honor. But it’s all a smokescreen for what’s really inside and what you want is for someone to care enough to see past the disguise. You are something wild and you feel your savagery in your bones. Sometimes this makes you prey for those who hunt the wounded, compounding the confusion you already bathe in daily.

When people get older, they often forget precisely how it feels to be a teenager. They forget the fierce joy you feel at being out at night, the warm breeze riffling your hair as you scream defiantly. They forget the heady seduction of danger, and of breaking the rules. They forgot about how it felt the night they swam naked in a storm at night, the waves tossing them about like so much flotsam.

They forget they were once awake, fully awake, feeling excitement tingling in every cell of their bodies, not afraid to experience it all. Or maybe they were never awake and don’t understand what I’m writing about at all. Perhaps they think this is just a sort of psycho-babble that sets one apart in some way.

You believed in magic. You were part of the mystery and you knew things you had no way of knowing. The games changed, but still you played. Always play. I think when you quit playing, when you are afraid of the absurd and start to feel you are ‘too old for such things’, that’s when you actually do get old.

The mystery is still there, but it’s harder to get it back than it is to maintain it.