Tuesday, January 29, 2013

And Another

Okay, this one is one of my best.  I have been sitting on it in hopes that I would find a bigger market to publish it, but, I think I would rather publish it here.


Carry out these words like more
victims of the plague, they're
just dead weight, just symbols.
"Bring out your dead,"
I said.  "Bring out your dead."
Apathetic, every day, ordinary,
Maybe that's survival, not thinking,
not feeling, just going about the day.
Take away
the meaning and they're just words,
abstractions, ideas at best.
They're not real.

A plane crash, where no one
lived so
no one knows what
the Hell actually happened.
The families remorse
but for the rest of us it's just
images on TV,
it's too bad, but we feel glad
about ourselves, then apathy,
then nothingness.
"Just words," I remind myself.
"They're just words."

Bring out your dead.
Starving kids on the streets
in America, in Africa,
Asia, Europe,
and at work I hear people
complain if their burrito isn't
made exactly right, if the chicken
is a little burnt,
if we're out of that salsa
they really like, so we
throw the old one way, a new one
is made, they're still not happy
but there are still starving people
in all parts of the world.
They die and are buried in mass graves.

Words, ideas, communication.
Close my eyes
and it's a blank page.
People getting shot in the streets,
rapes, robberies,
broken hearts, celebrity inbreeding,
divorce, stolen memories,
lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies...
Wrong place, wrong time,
victim of circumstance,
or more likely bad choices.
They were always good kids.
White collar, blue collar, no collar.
Men in orange jumpsuits,
addicts who needed help,
paying back their debts
they supposedly owe,
picking up trash
on the side of the street, broken
women on the street corner, people
praying in church.  The faces
all just blend together, become
universalized into symbols,
words on a page, which
I can choose to ignore,
not read, not hear, not get
anything out of.
Abstractions, nothingness.
Bring out your dead.

Going to work to support three kids
and a deadbeat
passed out in a gutter somewhere,
she leaves those kids
in the one-bedroom apartment,
with the meth addict downstairs,
making his poison,
blowing up the place.
She drives home from
serving coffee to drunks
all night, hearing Akron's symphony
of sirens, not thinking twice,
coming home
to the burnt out remains.

I put down the weekly paper,
turn off the TV, close
the browser, click onto a new website.
They're just words.
I wasn't there so I don't know,
I don't have to know.
It's not burned into my memory
so that I can't sleep at night.
I don't have to make sense
of the senseless.
Maybe it doesn't all fit together,
make sense, but maybe that's a
part of the plan.  Maybe there is no plan,
no higher power, nothing, just
what we attribute to air
to make ourselves feel secure.
I don't know much
and feel even less.
Bring out your dead.

in a cancer ward with his daughter
looking down
from her mother's arms,
she's too young
to understand the incomprehensible,
he's too young to die
but tell that to God.  He'll
smirk and disappear,
finding someone else's life to ruin
to benefit some tyrannical cosmic plan.
It's always the victim's fault anyways.
maybe it's cigarette smoke or
other bad choices, maybe it's
genetics, maybe just bad luck.

I take away the meaning.
I tell myself, they're just letters
strung together, between spaces.
Symbols, abstractions,
nothingness --
I wish that was true.

Another Poem

The Truth

Living well is not having a lot of money.
Maybe life is shorter and harder,
but that doesn't make it worse.  Maybe
the secret to happiness is finding it in
whatever there is
right in front of my eyes
and latching onto it like a happy addiction.

There is no cure for cancer, AIDS
is still a plague, poverty is all around.
People are starving all over the world,
dying in every sort of imaginable way and
even some unimaginable ways, so,
my life could be worse.
At least I have my health, for now.
The present is in my control,
so I am going to do my best
to put myself into a happy place.

Maybe I don't have any money,
maybe my debtors
are sending letters from lawyers
who are licking
their jowls, waiting to pounce,
as soon as I make
my final mistake.  I can't ignore them
forever, predators lurking in the weeds,
waiting for me.
But I'm not worried.  For as little as I do have,
I still have more than most.

Maybe I have been
reckless, and I can't blame others for my
mistakes, but if I keep moving forward,
and keep trying to right my wrongs,
maybe I will find a way to pay,
maybe when they pounce I'll
be ready, maybe there is nothing I can do,
and they will rip me apart.   Either way,
none of that is happening right now, so
I can still count myself as lucky.

I originally wrote this as the subheading for this blog.  I don't think I have published it in this form.  It changed and developed over time, and I have just been sitting on it.  Why sit on it, right?  I feel like I need to make a better effort to get my poetry out to the world, too.

Akron, Ohio

Winding along the first interstate
 built through a city, in my
 windshield is the urban sprawl 
and the suburban slump
with Goodyear emblazoned 
in gold and smoke stacks 
belching black into the
sherbet-swirled sky. 
The last holdouts from yesterday 
are hiding within these crumbling
ruins of the working class
 -- that are fading in my 
rear-view mirror.  I nod
and give thanks. Firestone
dances in red for just an instant
as I dart in the opposite direction,
towards my exit.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Making very minimal changes to the language, with pencil, hard copy, as I wait on what my readers say.  I am going to have another round of readers after I am done this time around.  As many proofreadings as it takes, no matter what happens in the contest.  Hopefully I make it far enough in the contest to get a professional critique.  That would help.  Anything further than that, and I will be surprised and excited.  I am more looking forward to hearing back from the readers I have personally selected to be among the first to read a final(ish) version of my first novel, Out in the Garage.  I mostly hope what I need to change are clarity, language issues, and not issues that will cause me to have to do any writing.  Or substantial writing, and, by substantial, I mean anything more than a sentence here or there.  Language-wise it does have to be as near to perfect as I can get it, so, that is my focus.  Making every word count, making the style exactly how I intend it to be read.  Anyways, my main focus is my school work.  I am actually doing good for this weekend already.  I should be able to get a lot done tomorrow and Monday.  Maybe by Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday I will be able to start on next week's, write my letter of application, edit my essay down to ten pages...  Have two recommendations already, and a job where I will be getting some much-needed teaching experience.  It's one-on-one, which is great.  Given that I will be working on presenting, being in front of a classroom in my classes.  I just have to get used to it, practice not looking like a jittering, raving jackass.

Monday, January 21, 2013


...I found myself reading my book.  In my free time.  That time when I can justify taking a break from school work because I have just spent all day so far doing school work, and will continue doing school work in a little while.  This is just so my head doesn't explode.  I am reading Chaucer and Shakespeare.  Awesome, right?  I think so.  And Melville.  Killer semester.

I am watching the most boring parade on TV right now.  Are we really democratic anymore than the king is still the king?

That's right.  Our democracy is a farce.  Melville knew that back in the 19th century.  The forefathers were aware of the level of the joke they played on the world.  Or attempted to play.  The world just watched.  They kinda just let us do it, and at some point it came to be too late.

I am not saying this a good thing.  No, it really makes me sad.  I was young and optimistic just like everything else at one time or another.

I am reading my book and in a lot of ways it does meet my expectations, but I am a little disappointed in the number of typos and grammatical errors I am finding.  I am keeping a close record of all of the flaws I find.

I do think i will eventually have to work on it again, but I am going to wait until I hear back from some of my readers.  I think there are still a few more I am going to recruit but probably people from other states.  I am keeping the number very minimal, just to people who I feel are actually paying attention.

Anyways, I am glad the national debate, according to CBS's narrative, is on national unity.  Fucking finally.  Shit, why hasn't this happened before now?  I think most of the other problems in this country are a result of our divisiveness, not the issues themselves, but the fact that we can't just agree to disagree of a variety of things and move on for now and start liking one another once again.  True, we are imperfect.  Let's just fucking move on.  Seriously.

Maybe the narrative is skewed and hard to follow.  Maybe there are ups and downs.  Wait, what the hell am I talking about?  I went off script a long time ago and forgot what I was even ranting about.

Was I ranting?  Was that my tone?  I can't remember.  My mind is a blank slate.  It it interesting how easily one gets mislead when they are distracted by the show.

--"These people are really happy to be here, they are really enjoying themselves."
Bob Schieffer, CBS 2013, "Presidential Inauguration Parade Coverage."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Get these Microorganisms out of My Body!

Irritatingly, I'm still finding typos in my manuscript.  I have a list going and hopefully I will able to catch them all eventually.

Writing is definitely a process and I hope there are not too many typos for the contest and all that.  Either way, this is all part of the experience.

I look at it as a learning experience.  I don't know whether it will get published or I'll win the contest, but, I will, no matter what, make it better.

In other news, I am done being sick.  Fuck these germs.  They need to take a hint and get the fuck out.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Short Story Time!

Submitted my story, "Starving, America", to a market where I think it will be widely read and appreciated.  Hopefully I am correct in this line of thinking.  If not, I will not give up on it, if it gets rejected I will shop it around until I find someone willing to take it and put it out to his/her audience.

I am living under the delusion right now that I can justify working on my fiction and sending it out to the world in hopes that I can at least supplement my income while I am a student.  Hell, being published definitely looks good on a C.V., too.  I need to start focusing more on my academic work, but, when I can, I will definitely devote time to my writing.  And, of course, keeping this blog updated.

I really hope this market picks up my story.  Now onto the next story to finish.  "The Other Side of Cool" perhaps, or maybe, just maybe, "Greasy".  Decisions, decisions.

Perhaps I will decide upon one of my other stories; although, I think I should finish the most complete, best ones so far, and work my way down the list.  Perhaps I should take on both of those stories.  "The Other Side of Cool", I think, is nearly finished.  "Greasy" needs an ending.

Oh well, I am sure I will figure it out.  Time to get ready for my Melville class.  Cheers!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mr. Rogers or Mr. Drummond? Or Cosby? Captain Kangaroo!

You know, there is a certain lack of role models in pop culture.

Very few people have redeeming values, or appear to have any redeeming values, or seem to really consider human life in general to be important and not disposable.

Maybe all of that was an illusion even back then, we have always been violent and killed each other in calculating and barbaric ways.

At least people aren't drawn in quartered anymore.

 I mean, I am strictly talking about the United States.  I am sure it still happens more than I know.

By the way, I would count Mr. Conductor, both Ringo Starr and George Carlin, on that list.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

End of an Era

I have arrived in the future.  Six or more years ago, probably more, but I have honestly lost track, I started writing this book, which has become the novel, Out in the Garage.  Now I have entered it into the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.

I packed away the three most recent draft manuscripts, and I had to start a new box, because the old one is overflowing with past drafts, various notes, backup CDs, etc...Six years worth of stuff.  Although I am not completely sure how many drafts I have completed, I can be reasonable certain that the number is over 20.

I have been through it literally four times in the past few weeks, rewriting, editing, proofreading.  Now, at least for now, anyway, I am finished with writing it.  Now I will hope for the best as far as the contest goes and hope fully I can come out of it with a publishing contract or at least feedback that will help me get a publishing contract.

Now, down to business, there are a few people who I will be emailing pdf advanced copies to read.  Those people I have already discussed it with and shouldn't (hopefully) be surprised.

In addition to focusing on my classes and my new job (which starts next week), I will be completing all of these short stories that I have started and will be sending them out to markets where I would like them to be published.  After that, I will starting on my next book, the social satire, Born in 1984, which I will be brainstorming/outlining thoroughly before I actually sit down to write it, so hopefully I can cut down the whole writing process by several years.

 I believe that, if I can be fiscally responsible and continue working towards my goals and, hopefully, make a little extra money publishing, that I should be able to get it done by the end of the year.  It really depends on how busy I am with school and life and what-not.

I plan on incorporating my studies, including my thesis, into the writing of this next book, so, in some small way, at least, and especially if I do well in this Amazon contest, I will be able to justify taking the time to write it, particularly because I know it is going to be the best thing I have ever written.

It is strange for me, very surreal indeed, that I have finally finished this first novel.  So much happened in my life, most of it really good, over the process of writing it, and at times, it seemed like I would never finish it.  Even if I end up publishing it on my own, I will feel accomplished.

I think the key to success in following one's dreams is to not give up, to keep learning and working and pushing towards the future, trying new ideas and focusing on strengths and minimizing weaknesses.  I don't know exactly what the future holds, but, certainly, the dreams I have worked towards through the goals I have set are reasonable possibilities, and will continue to be more reasonable, as I continue to work towards achieving them.

No matter what happens I am truly very grateful for all of the support I have been given over the years, from all my family, friends, coworkers, classmates, teachers...  I have been very lucky.  I could not live with myself, also, if I didn't take the opportunity to thank my wife for all of her love and support over the years.  She, more than anyone else, pushed me towards setting and achieving my goals.  She found me when I was lost and continues to believe in me and support me.  I cannot thank her enough. I am truly a very lucky man.  Thank you.  I love you.

Thank you also to all of the musicians who have provided the soundtrack to my countless hours of sitting and typing and writing and going more than just a little crazy at times.  Without you all this would not have been possible, either.  Right now I am listening to The Amboy Dukes, "Missionary Mary", from Journey to the Center of My Mind, which, I suppose, is a good choice to play me out.

It's Almost Official

As I write this I am uploading my manuscript and the rest of the contents of my entry for the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Writer Award.

It's been a long time, but, for now, at least, I am done with this book.  Yes, before you ask, I did change the name again.  It doesn't matter to what, yet.  I changed it not because Nodtown isn't a kickass name, but because, in writing my pitch, I thought of an even more suitable name.  Okay, I'll say it.  The name of my novel, at least as I am entering it into the contest, is Out in the Garage.

Anyways, hopefully this doesn't take too long, it is after two in the morning.  This website is taking a while, but, however long it takes, I will wait it out.

Friday, January 11, 2013


I take a deep breath.  The day has finally come.  I feel jittery, unable to sit still.  This six-plus year journey is really coming to a close right now.  I am finally reaching the end of the path, and I look out and around, and I see more paths in front of me, and I smile.  I am a journeyman for life, and I will keep traveling, soon as I catch my breath and gather up more provisions, I will be off on another journey.

I had no idea whether I would actually finish this monstrosity, this novel, this book, these 55,922 words that I have given the title, Nodtown, but here I am.  All I have to do is proofread it, and I will be done.  Done.  Put together my entry for the contest, and I will be able to breath a sigh of relief as soon as I find out that I am officially entered.

I hope that it makes as much sense as it seemed to make when I was writing/editing it.  I shall find out.  Either way, whether it does or not, I am going to enter it.  No turning back now.

Also, I received my work schedule for next semester.  Not only do I work Monday-Friday (the Writing Commons are not open on the weekend), but I have a set schedule everyday, and time to study every day.

Going to do some celebrating tonight.  :-)


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Another Manic Wednesday

Not as much progress today; however, I did get a haircut and an eye exam, contact lenses, and ordered new glasses, but, hey, you know, it all counts for something, right?  Luckily I have all the time in the world right now, and I did get about 20 pages done, and I am still fairly awake enough to get some more done tonight, and I should be able to get most, if not all, of it done tomorrow, which will leave me all day on Friday to proofread.  I am confident I will be able to get it done, and I do my best work at the last minute.  It's not like I am doing any significant writing on this, but what I am doing will take a good eye and great care to get it done.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Progress Report (It's all good in the hood)

I am happy to report I have edited through the whole draft and now I am going back through and making the changes on the word file, of which I am 40 pages through already.  If I have another productive day tomorrow I should be proofreading by Thursday.  Looking like I will make the deadline, although it's only Tuesday, and a lot can happen between now and Monday, but, as of now, it's looking good.  No matter how confident I am about it, I am going to enter it into the contest.  I have a bad habit of second-guessing myself, and I am not going to let my second-guessing nature get the best of me with this manuscript.  Not anymore, anyways.  I have worked too long and too hard and set my expectations too high to allow myself to get discouraged at this point.  Yes, maybe I will not make it past the first round, but, this is only my first book, and, as far as I am concerned, it is still a learning experience that will only help me as I continue writing, and I definitely have an abundance of ideas floating around my head, including a very good, very relevant one that I fully intend to tackle once I am finished with this thing, this first novel of mine, Nodtown.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Finishing It

Only a week to finish it, but it's really coming together.  I am glad I have all the time I need to concentrate and finish it.  Figured out the name thing, how to make the main theme more apparent, how to strategically market it based on these new ideas.  It's all coming together, creating a franchise.  That's what you gotta do these days.

The final, final, no going back, no changing it, finally, perfect, name:

Days Go By


It will make sense when I tell you that the name of the town where they live is called Nodtown.

Okay, back to work.

Visualizing and Achieving

The future is now.  Here I am, in this glorious tomorrow land, the time and place where I wanted to put myself, no longer a slave to some vast Big Brother corporation, working towards achieving my goals, not without money and basic needs, happily married, about to start a job tutoring people on what I love to do, in graduate school...

This week, between me leaving, professionally and quietly, the company I have served for so many years, and starting my second semester of grad school and my new job, I am going to do what I have worked towards for so long.  I am going to finish my book, and I am going to enter it into the Amazon Breakthrough Writer's Contest.

This week, is devoted to my book, this week, I am a full-time, professional writer, working towards getting my writing out to a waiting public.  I will finish this book, putting on the final touches, and a roughly six year journey will finally be over.  I will have finally reached my goal of merely finishing it, which is an accomplishment within itself, without even thinking of getting published.

Hopefully this competition will bring me the recognition I desire, get me a publishing contract with a small advance, and I will be able to market my book like a madman.  I will put as much money into as I can afford (probably from the advance, if I get one), as much time as I can afford into it, as I continue on in grad school and tutoring and working on finishing all these short stories and really starting on my next novel, Born in 1984.

Okay, so here it goes.  I am halfway through editing this final working draft, and, hopefully, I can make significant progress today so I can make these changes on the file and print the final draft and proofread the shit out of it.  I want to make it as polished and professional as I am capable of making it.

Boy, how I am going to CELEBRATE when I am done!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Writing, Stamp Collecting, Masturbating.

I think a lot of it comes down to that I am steeply in student loan debt. 

I figure I might as well pursue the dream, I  mean, why waste my free time with distractions?

Even if I am never successful as a writer writing is better than masturbating or stamp collecting.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

You know, the Usual

Just a little note.  I am already editing page 100, which is just like three and half pages shy of half way, which is almost exactly 30,000 words, as the draft I am editing now turned out to be 60,048 words, which was pretty close to the ideal.  I am not sure how many words this is going to turn out.  Significantly less, say, 52-54,000 words.  It has to be above 50,000 for the contest.

To be honest I am not completely sold on the name yet.  I do feel is is close but not exactly.  I think I am going to think about the themes some more, at least the really broad, main themes, so I have kind of a wide range of different possibilities and it is purposefully vague.  ON THE OTHER HAND  I could instead go for the exact opposite, or more of the opposite  route and go for the exact specific main encapsulating idea and really drive it home with the name.  The name could in fact say it all.  But then it's just a name.  Or could be criticized to be just a name.  Why read the rest?  The name says it all.  Something like Hunger of Fortune, which sounds like a name of something.  I am sure it is.  In spite of being a literature person I have a very specific taste.  Sometimes I think that makes me less well read, but I like to really think about and reread the books that I read.  Really take them apart and analyze them to their last thread.  I feel developing a really firm understanding of a text is more important, which is why I like to go for all the really multiple-layered books.

Sometimes I stick to what the spell-check says is correct, even if I don't always agree with it necessarily.  I just figure that if it does mean what I intend it to mean then it must be right.  Sometimes I make minor grammatical errors, and it's usually because I am hurrying and not thinking enough about what I am doing.  On the other-hand it also occurs because I am over-thinking it.  Sometimes what I do isn't as grammatically incorrect as it is clumsy and too unintentionally vague.  Sometimes what I write is just plain unintelligible, even if I technically understood what I mean at the time and later forgot and couldn't understand on a second or a third or a 15th read-through.

Sometimes I arbitrarily follow AP-style rules because they were so in-grained into my psyche at one point in my life.  I feel it is the most appropriate style for a blog.  That's why I try to keep my paragraphs shorter.  Sometimes I feel like my paragraphs are too long and I go back through and shorten or split them.

Sometimes I am just lazy and don't go back through.  I try to be more professional than that on a regular basis.

I am sorry.  I am really in-deep in the process itself right now that I subconsciously start talking about it and forget what I had originally intended to write this blog about.

That's why I usually don't have any preconceived notions about what it will be about, which is why it is often long and rambling, like it is now.

I will avoid the urge to start talking to myself parenthetically.

Sometimes I just practice how the words will look aesthetically and don't really think a lot about the deeper meaning.  So I guess that kind of makes this an experiment on style.  Really it is one long intertwining series of experiments.

On the other-hand, it is entirely free for my audience (provided they have internet in some fashion for other or general purposes), so they can't really complain too much.  And if they hate it enough they can really just stop reading it.  Maybe I shouldn't say that but, well, whatever.  I am not really into deleting right now.  In fact, I am opposed to it, at this moment, except for typos.  Even if what I say comes out awkwardly.  I feel like it is mostly right on point, well, except that it is disjointed and there is no universal meaning, there is meaning to each of it's different parts, which makes it kind of more like a chain than a thread.

Sometimes I just have to write a small paragraph after a large one.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ramble Ramble Ramble...

It's going to come down to the wire, folks.  Luckily I have an entire week between my last day of Chipotle and my first class of the semester, and two weeks into the semester before my new job technically starts.  Basically, I need to scramble and get my manuscript done and also finish getting everything together to apply for a teaching assistantship.

That will require some editing and schmoozing on my part, but hopefully I have made enough of an impression on my professors to get them on my side.  Anyways, I am at least working towards stuff, and I feel like on some level it is all starting to come together.

2013 is going to be a year with a lot of changes in my life, hopefully for the better.  When I come through it, I will definitely be different in some way, again, hopefully for the better.  No matter what happens I will always find a way to express my thoughts about it, deal with it and rationalize continuing to move forward with my life (I have already gone this far...) and hopefully be successful the next time around.

Hopefully it won't come to that.  Hopefully everything will come together and work out this time around.

Days Go By (is still the title) of the novel, and I am in the process of a final edit.  My goal is to get done editing and proofreading it, and put together to on Monday, January 14, 2013, enter it into the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest .

I feel like I am finally willing and ready and able to finish it, and that I have a solid support network that is sending me good vibes to get it done and entered and that it will be something even just be getting it into the contest (it is only open to 10,000 entries).  I will be proud of myself no matter what the outcome.  I would be lying if I said I won't be disappointed if I don't do anything in the contest, however, disappointment and discouragement are two entirely different things.

If I don't do anything (which is likely), if I get any feedback (which may or may not be possible, I'm not sure), I will make some changes and continue seeking to get it published, and if I fail at that (after I have literally tried everything), I will at the very least self-publish it on Amazon and try to promote it and sell it myself.

Either way, it is a worthwhile pursuit as I continue on in school until I max out or run out of funding options or can get a job with my degrees.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


2013 seems to be full of promise.  Of course we are programmed to think that with the coming of a new year.  I firmly believe that it can be true if one works towards filling the year, and indeed every further year, with working towards goals that will indeed make the year full of promise instead of circle-jerking around false hopes and dead ends.  Of course, life could be such that all activities no matter how full of promise they might seem might in fact be equivalent to circle-jerking around false hopes and dead ends.  I would like to think that is not the case, but, well...  One man's delusions are another man's idol worshiping, which are another man entirely's idle worshiping, which is in fact equivalent to circle-jerking around false hopes and dead ends.  You see, in some false, misleading, slightly nonsensical, albeit mostly nonsensical way...  I forgot what I was going to say just then.  Oops.  Oh well.  Happy New Year!