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1000 Black Lines

:: digital coffee stains on the paper of the blogosphere ::

Gas Prices soar with manufactured panic

A Fox News TV truck pulled up to the BP gas station as people swarmed the fuel pumps in this spirit of manufactured panic. I guess this breaking news. I don't understand why it is so urgent to fill up vehicles now as opposed to tomorrow or next week. Most people have at least three or four days' worth of gas in their fuel tanks. Maybe this is only happening in Western North Carolina (thanks to a television station who preys upon public fears to boost low ratings). I stopped watching television years ago.

Oh, look the sky has fallen, but not the gas prices. This CitiStop is closed with regular gasoline topping $3.09 as advertised by its sign which has been turned off. Is this really a crisis? Or are people really this... (well, I'll let you fill in the blank) _______?

When I first moved down South I laughed every time the local television channel forecasted a snow or "blizzard." The population of the city seemed to be at the local BiLo or Winn-Dixie "stocking up" on bread and milk. I'm from the Upper Midwest. I doubt anyone up there would get off the couch for that kind of announcement. In fact, tornado warnings often drew people to the front porch with camcorders in hand.

Oh, look! It's not the end of the world--Exxon is still open with regular at $2.84 per gallon of fossil fuel. I wonder if they have any beer and cigars left?

I remember when I could fill up my car's tank for six bucks. An older friend said he remembers when twenty-five cents bought half a tank of gas at full service. Do gas stations offer full service anymore? Oh, the times they are a changin'... but nobody likes change. At least not this quickly.

I guess I grew up in a place and time where personal responsibility was more important than personal autonomy... where a community was family and didn't try to run over their neighbor in a desperate rush for another tank of gasoline.

My advice, from one neighbor to another, wait a few days. This will all blow over soon. We'll be okay. We're family.

Looters Shame a city in need

As regular readers of this blog may attest, I discuss politics on rare occasions. That said...

Over the weekend my wife and I watched the gripping true story of Hotel Rwanda. [turn sound down when accessing that Web site]

Quick back story: April 1994 a national genocide took place based on colonial Belgians's bias of which Rwandans looked more refined, elegant, upper class and which were designated peasants, lower class. [more info about Rwanda here.]

To the plot: Paul (main character and Hutu) is apolitical and married to a Tutsi wife. In the midst of national crisis (1 million Rwandans slaughtered... more specifically Tutsi Rwandans), Paul rises to the occassion and harbors 1200 Tutsi refugees. In his eyes, no one deserves to be butchered because "Tutsi" is stamped across an ID card. He respects and honors all (even a traitor in his midst who wants him dead).

I know I'm not doing the movie nor Rwandan history justice, but here's my point: in time of crisis, we are to honor and respect our fellow brother and sister.

That being said... the Gulf region devestated by Hurricane Katrina needs help. The destruction is overwhelming, but to add insult to injury looters are taking advantage of the disaster. Looting reports from The Times-Picayune:
The New Orleans police officer shot in the head by a looter Tuesday was expected to survive, officials said... The officer was shot by a looter after he and another officer confronted a number of looters at a Chevron store at Shirley and Gen. DeGaulle.
and further reports by Ed Anderson and Jan Moller...
Widespread looting contributed to a deteriorating situation in Louisiana's largest city Tuesday in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina Tuesday, according to witnesses and second-hand accounts from evacuees... He [City Council President Oliver Thomas] said looting has also escalated and an atmosphere of lawlessness has developed as police resources have been almost entirely devoted to search-and-rescue operations for people trapped by floodwaters on roofs and in attics. Widespread looting is taking place in all parts of the city... People are going in and out of businesses at Louisiana and Claiborne (avenues), taking clothes, tennis shoes and goods,... It is inconceivable to me how people can do this... People are leaving the Superdome to go to Canal Street to loot... I'm telling you, it's like Sodom and Gomorrah.”

A voice from the Democratic Underground supports New Orleans looters.
The fact the national guard is keeping people from FOOD shows we are NOT living in a democracy,the Rich people's THINGS must be protected from starving people!! Remember the french revolution, the rich make sure the lower class suffers and is desperate, the middle class is scared of poor people,the soldiers are bribed obedient and loyal,. That is how they say rich and on our backs.

F___ all the corporate pigs. F___ing a__holes!
Disaster shows us the true use of our military is to PROTECT PROPERTY of corporations above human life, to keep the rich secure people DIE.
Assuming contributors to the Democratic Underground are Democrats, I'm embarassed that a fellow party member (or anyone for that matter) would be so myopic. This voice (undergroundpanther) from the Underground does not speak for the majority of Democrats (nor Americans) and I was glad to see another voice of reason rise to the challenge. Here's the exchange:
BikeWriter: They're stealing because they can. Don't try to glorify it.

lebkuchen: I'm sure it has nothing to do with need. [edited for brevity. read the rest here]

undergroundpanther: And A few hot plasma TV's
Sold at a pawn shop ,could make for a couple months of prepaid existance..like food and rent an security deposit while you move out and look for work in a new place swarming with other refugees also looking for work while out of town.And in this s____y republican economy getting work is not so easy now..
Didya ever consider THAT might be a reason for stealing plasma TV's?

mondo joe: Stealing for food to eat is one thing, but for a security deposit is quite another.
If that's okay now why wouldn't it be okay to steal for a security deposit or rent ANY time?

undergroundpanther: Not anytime
But after a disaster like Katrina I think the rich mans rules can stand to be relaxed a bit.[read the rest ot the unintelligent post here

mondo joe: Laws against theft are not "the rich man's rules".
And the circumstances for many people after Katrina will not be that different than for many poor people any other day of the year. Many will spend years in crisis.
Does that give them a pass to steal?

undergroundpanther: If they cannot get
The rich to [share], and cannot get hired..what do you expect them to do?
Lay down and die and not complain?

mondo joe: Why do you think it's the very poor vs the very rich?
Do you think low income people like to have their property stolen?
How about lower middle class people, do they enjoy it?
Mondo Joe seems to be the voice of reason--a Paul. People are in need and it has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with honor and respect for your fellow man.

Looting disrepects our neighbors who work long hours and invest personal money to provide services in the community. Looting shames the noble people of New Orleans and exhibits a short sighted understanding of need. The poor in this country are considered wealthy anywhere else on the globe. The issue is not upper class versus lower class--the issue is contentment. Contentment makes room for compassion (regardless of of socio-economic status) which manifests itself as honor and respect. Grace and peace, ya'll.

Okay, that's it. No more politics for me. Watch Hotel Rwanda for a bigger perspective of the world we inhabit and then vist this blog and find out how you can help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

I couldn't sleep at all last night

Last week the creek beside our home experienced a flash flood. A lot of debris from up the mountain contributed to clogged portions of the creek. But that didn't help ease my concerns with images of Hurricane Katrina's devastation fresh in my mind (and knowing that the Western North Carolina mountains would feel some of that). A flash flood at night is twice the concern, because you can't see the creek rise.

Last year about this time, Asheville experienced the fall out from Hurricane Frances. Several rivers overflowed their banks and shut down the city and surrounding area for several days.

I remember driving to work and seeing people pull off HWY 40 to look at the submerged UHaul facility and WalMart (which hadn't been opened yet) parking lot. The parking lot at the office was empty and I turned on the news talk radio channel and discovered Asheville was without power and water (why is it that the FM NPR radio station was off but the AM news junkie station was still broadcasting?). I went home and gawked at the swollen Swannanoa River.

Last night, I wondered if Hurricane Katrina could do the same damage as Frances.

It took almost ten months to clean up the debris from last year's Hurricane Ivan. Two poplars, a locust and an oak (pictured) came down on my humble estate. I remember hearing each tree crash to the ground. The most frightening aspect was that all power was gone (as was the phone line)... a dark chaos of sound... like a nightmare where you don't know where the next tree will fall.

Needless to say, I did not sleep well last night when the wind and the rain came to town. Weird things like the feel and the smell of the air reminded me of Hurricane Ivan--even the way the clouds swirled in the city lights. As branches from the surrounding poplar trees began to litter the ground, I remembered the locust tree coming down last September... I don't remember hearing it is as much as feeling an odd thump. Then poking my head and Mag-Lite out the back door I saw it dissect the backyard.

These concerns... fears... kept sleep on the back porch all night. I wasn't alone. By 5:30 AM, the whole family was blinking at me as if to say, what should we do know? Play Dutch Blitz? No, it's not time for games. It's time for breakfast.

My wife suggested a place and we packed the whole family in the car and headed out for a pancake breakfast. We must be the craziest family in Asheville... eating pancakes and eggs and watching sheets of rain fold and unfold across the restaurant parking lot at 6 AM.

I'm tired now. I don't think there's enough caffeinated beverages to keep me awake.

Bloggers riding out Hurricane Katrina

Josh Britton and WizBang are currently blogging about Hurricane Katrina from the eye of the storm.

Both blogs have many links and updates Josh Britton's latest update was 8:46 AM regarding dame to the Superdome's roof where thousands of residents sought refuge from the hurricane.

"Dome has hole in roof," "Hospital windows blown out" and "Collapsed buildings, massive flooding" are just some of the post titles splashing across The Times-Picayune's breaking newslog.

"Hospital Flooding" reported on Channel 6's (WDSU) newslog*.
[*newslog is a blog for media outlets]

I'm amazed at the blog updates coming from the Big Easy. Do they still have power?

Building collapse... People reportedly inside.
from Joe B. of MetroBlogging New Orleans. There's more damage reports posted at MetroBlogging New Orleans.
hat tip: Josh Britton

Beanstreet's Open Mic

Tonight was one of the most diverse open mic events I've witnessed at Beanstreet. It's late... very late, but I wanted to post this photo before I can't see the keyboard to type.

North Carolina Earthquake?!?

Here's a good example why Asheville citizens should read BlogAsheville and Ashevegas.

I'm sending an email to an editor and I feel this weird rumble. Now you have to understand, my family has adapted to the 'hood with its loud car stereos and trucks with no mufflers. But I thought this was different. So I opened the front door... thought it might have been thunder. Then I finished my email (noticed it was around 11:12 PM) and walked to the back door. On the back patio, I listened and only heard the late August bugs' noisy cacophony.

So I surfed over to Ashevegas and found a post "House shaking:"
I totally just felt my entire house shake. What happened? Earthquake? Sonic boom?

BlogAsheville writer, Screwy Hoolie, confirmed that it was an earthquake on BlogAsheville.

U.S. Geological Survey posted all the details. Here's the skinny:
[ 1 ] 3.8 magnitude on the Richter scale.
[ 2 ] 36 miles north of Asheville.
[ 3 ] read Asheville blogs for the latest Asheville news.
[ 4 ] wife and children still sleeping (yes, they slept through it).

Other Asheville bloggers post about last night's earthquake. Bird on the Moon says,
It was quite the event in apartment D, home of jaybird. From a light sleep, I darted right up off the couch as I felt "the Earth move under my feet," minus the "sky come tumblin' down."

and Moonmeadow Farm writes,
Last night ... [we] were turning off lights and getting ready for bed, a low rumble started, quickly growing to a loud, deep, thundering sound, shaking the house.

The best post comes from Raphael, a veteran on earthquakes,
After 7 years in San Francisco... we've had an Earthquake in Asheville. Yes, by Cali standards it was kind of small ... Felt like a gust of wind hit my house. Then it was over. I didn't even know it was a quake until I got to work and they told me. Hehehehe. Amateurs.

Ashevegas has added a new post (quoting my reaction to the quake) and BlogAsheville has an updated post with cool graphics of the affected area.

Again, who's the eye in the storm? That's right. Asheville bloggers, baby!

Yes, Publish the Novel I'm Not writing

I check Site Meter every week or two and was really surprised to notice a recent visitor from Random House.

To the visitor from Random House, Yes! Please publish the novel I am not writing (or at least tell the poetry editor to contact me).

In honor of this occasion (and because I've received several emails requesting I post my poems), I submit this poem sketch to my 30 loyal visitors:

* * *

This is how I start my novel

She stands in the McDonald's parking lot
Looking at a small scratch on the rear
Passenger panel of her dark green sedan.

She holds her pocket book in her left hand;
Cell phone held to her right ear.

Her modest tan makes her white tank top
Cling to her supple torso as her khaki skirt
Blossoms from waist to knees
Revealing shapely legs
Placed into pink flip-flops.

She smells of juniper lotion with a hint of
Summer afternoon perspiration.
Her shoulder length blonde hair
Pulled back into a ponytail--

Poised to make a decision.

This Blog Needs A Cheerleader!

Today I discovered that 1000 Black Lines is ranked in the top... gulp... 12,000 [#11294 to be exact] of the TTLB Ecosystem. The top posts include Mountain Xpress: Feature Story about Asheville Bloggers and Tear Me Down: Short Fiction.

Here's the crazy part: 1000 Black Lines out ranked NFL* Cheerleader Blog. How cool is that? They are ranked #12138 in the TTLB Ecosystem. Their top posts include Field Trip: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Cheer Camp and The Houston Texans Cheerleaders are Out of This World!

Here's where it really gets weird: NFL* Cheerleader Blog receives an average of over 1500 daily visits compared to 1000 Black Lines's average 30 daily visits.

Hm, maybe I should contact that spoken word performer I saw last Thursday and see if she'd be interested in being this blog's "official" cheerleader. What do you think about that?

Reading and writing

I don't always have time to comment on my favorite blogs, but I do read them.

Today's Bluegression has one of the coolest self-portraits on the Web. Like I said in her comment section... the photo says more than a high school yearbook photo.

Coolest quote of the day comes from Junkmail for Blankets
"I was on the Greyhound while you were drinking wine."

My Life as an Adverb ponders what it's like being Asian:
"I honestly forget that I'm Asian. To me, I'm as American as my paler-skinned/wide-eyed friends."
She also discusses the value saying hello and asking you your name.

One Word has been adding photos to her collection of personal essays based on... um... one word.

Real Live Preacher has moved to a new Web site.

The Marvelous Garden shares the recipe for THE OFFICIAL LITERARY BLUES PIE and defends the power of fiction to tell the truth:
"Give me an honest novel that respects all of its characters equally any day! ... [A] novel taps into the deepest truths of who we are and what we know."

The Neanderthal displays something new and I might add... a postmodern approach to an empty canvas.

White Open Spaces declares:
"The state exists at the request of individuals: individuals to not exist at the request of the state."

Design Observer is full of good reading... so read!

Ashvegas posts that Viggo was everywhere and:
"females were staring "

Edgy Mama on natural childbirth:
"[T]he drugs had not had MUCH effect. Try NO effect. I spent the next hour screaming..."
and Snapshots:
"Then the guy starts ranting about Big Brother, which I realize is not his pet name for God..."

Still can't get over this essay I've read on Killing the Buddha, Naked in the House of God:
"Suddenly, I began to cry. Not a dainty drop or two, but big, fat, ugly ones that make your cheeks scrunch up from the heat of them. I was certain my face was turning purple. Snot slowly began to melt..."

A Most Difficult Text from The Matthew's House Project challenges those who seek truth and not tradition.

Is Relevant really relevant?

Li-Young Lee interviewed in the current issue of The Sun.

* * *

Sent off four essays to a couple editors and I'm trying to finish a fifth before deadline.

I received another rejection letter over the weekend. The submission page of that literary journal advises that current subscribers have a better chance of being published. So, I subscribed for a year (and submitted three batches of poetry) and finally received an email saying one had been chosen for publication. I was very excited.

Then my subscription expired and the poem has not been published. I never considered the literary journal in question a vanity press, but it appears money is what gets poems published and not the merit of the work itself. I do find it very suspicious that the poem was accepted several weeks before the subscription expired. Maybe I'm a bit cynical, but that seems like a renewal program--not an editorial decision.

I'm wondering whether or not I should continue submitting poems to that magazine. Maybe I've lowered my standards and should seek literary journals with better submission requirements.

And the Creek did Rise...

Photo essay on why I missed writers group. The rain began shortly before 6 PM and was gone by 7:30 PM.

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So, who said anything about a flash flood warning or watch?
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I guess I missed that weather bulletin.
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Downtown Asheville after the rain

Last night I went downtown for the Beanstreets open mic. I read part of the collection from last week's Malaprop's gig as well as a new poem I've been editing since Christmas.

Three street poets or spoken word performers or slam poets... (or whatever you call them) finished out the open mic event. Their energy and charisma is exciting, but their content was intellectually boring--vapid of anything but a street preacher's rage.

I kept waiting for an image or metaphor to stick with me, but all I could remember was that the female artist wore her hip-hugger jeans so low her gray flannel underwear was showing below her exposed belly button. That's not what poetry is about. That's not what should be defined as a great spoken word performance.

Poetry sings from the wet pavement of a steamy August night and cradles the wandering soul with the warmth of a neon light.

Poetry cloaks you in velvet night and hums with the pulse of language--spoken and unspoken.

Poetry abstracts and navigates and challenges what is known of the world.

I'm afraid Poetry, like Elvis or Santa Clause, has a lot of impersonators, but no one really knows where she was last scene.

Mountain Xpress: Feature Story about Asheville Bloggers

[An abridged version is crossposted on BlogAsheville]
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This week's Mountain Xpress ran a cover story about the local blogosphere. Screwy Hoolie, Edgy Mama, Modern Peasant, 1000 Black Lines, DEMbloggers and nine other bloggers were mentioned.

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The story, Something To Blog About, is a good overview of the Asheville blogosphere, but (as always) the newspaper sends you to the blogs for the rest of the story.

The article reads:
Looking at 1000 Black Lines, the first impression you may get is that of an old photocopied 'zine gone 21st century. Poems, essays, random journal entries, images and links to curious items of interest artfully litter the site.

So as not to give the wrong impression, the article was not about 1000 Black Lines. It was about Asheville's community of bloggers. But this coffeehouse junkie does enjoy the perception of an artfully littered new media 'zine.

Downtown drum circle and dancers

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I missed the Friday night drum circle downtown at Pritchard Park.

After the Malaprop's gig I went out of town for a couple days. I needed to orbit new strange familiar places to re-establish my journey.

But where I traveled there were no drum circles nor dancing souls.

The Traveling Bonfires at Malaprops Tonight!

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The Traveling Bonfires at Malaprops
August 11. Thursday. 7pm to 9:45pm.
55 Haywood Street, downtown Asheville NC.

- MATTHEW MULDER, poetry - 7:00pm to 7:25
- PASCKIE PASCUA, poetry - 7:30 to 8:15
- VANESSA BOYD, music - 8:20 to 8:45
- KIMBERLY SUMMER, music - 8:50 to (close to) 9:45

Poem Review: "Old Soldier" by Charles Simic

About four months ago I wrote a review of a poem by Charles Simic for an editor, but I have not received word as to its status. So, here's an abbreviated form of the review.

A couple months ago, my son and I planted seven white pine saplings along the east side of the property. As a three-year old, he doesn’t really “plant” trees but rather roams the near vicinity in search of new wonders to discover. Each dandelion must be plucked and examined and each twig must be picked up and relocated. A chestnut branch, which had fallen during a recent storm, particularly interested his imagination. With chestnut branch in hand, my son defended the homestead from cardinals, squirrels and a trespassing cat.

As I recall my three-year son chasing a yellow rubber ball across the backyard and waving his chestnut branch over his head, I think of how new readers of poetry need to wade into the greater pool of literature by first enjoying what will get their feet wet. This doesn’t diminish the quality of Simic’s work but rather supports the notion that if a poet can speak to the children he will be able to guide them into a broader, deeper appreciation for poetry. The Academy of American Poets recently cited, in their 2003-2004 annual report, that 68% of their active members became interested in poetry before the age of 18.

“Old Soldier” opens with a list of credentials and a storyteller’s wink of wit. The image of this warrior wanting to impishly pull the tail of “a cat lying in the grass” suggests a mischievous tone for Simic’s 22-line poem. The mother figure introduces a contrast of gentleness and the serene garden solitude against the “flying cinders” of aerial bombardment. What’s interesting about the mother figure is that she doesn’t leave the soldier alone but takes him “by the hand.” It’s tempting to wonder if this is a historical account or merely a narrative. Vernon Young, a contributor to the Hudson Review, suggests that Simic writes “by the fable; his method is to transpose historical actuality into a surreal key.“

Simic tells that the soldier's sword was cardboard and only lacked a horse--particularly a horse which pulled “a hearse/With a merry wave of his tail.” The last lines are striking in that they suggest a ten-year old boy who chooses a funeral horse for his military campaigns instead of a warhorse. Ripe imagery presents numerous literary interpretations.

Malaprop's Gig Tomorrow Night!

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I was downtown tonight working on the final touches of a poetry reading manuscript and I thought it was pretty cool to see where Malaprop's hung the event poster--next to the "featured artist" exhibit. Usually posters compete for space on the double glass doors entering the bookstore, but they placed it alone--minimum visual competition (outside of gazing past it to the rows of books and posted art).

The gig starts at 7 PM. I open the event. If you want to hear me read, then don't show up at 7:30 PM (I'll be done by then). For those of you coming from out of town--parking is a bit tricky, so come early in order to secure a good space. If you're late, please stick around and listen to Kimberly, Vanessa and Pasckie or enjoy a cup of java, chai or a good book.

Poetry, a gift

Tonight I was discouraged to recieve yet another rejection letter. Maybe I should have sent him an invitation to Thursday night's gig at Malaprop's instead of six poems.

"Chin up," I say to myself. "Review the poems," I tell myself. "Make sure they are a gift to the people who will attend."

A poetry reading is like an art gallery portfolio review. You want to pick your best 12 to 15 pieces and include a couple talking points per painting. This enables the audience/curator to understand the piece in context. It also allows room for conversation after the reading/viewing.

I read today that it's the poet Philip Larkin's birthday. It is reported that it took him three years to complete his 50-line masterpiece "Aubade." His literary legacy can be found in 4 small books (consisting of 117 poems).

This encourages me, for I have been working on a poem for almost four years. Many poems have been created in that period and maybe they will be collected in four or five small books.

Small books often capture my attention. I guess that's why I like graphic novels and small books of poetry like Simic's Wedding in Hell or Flynn's The Lost Sea.

I also read that Thoreau published Walden on this day. It took him five years to get rid of all 2000 copies. I thought of how I'd like each book I create/publish to be a gift. If it takes three years to compose a poem and five more years to circulate copies, it will still be a rewarding gift.

Unfortunately, an editor did not know he received a gift. Instead, he rejected the gift I sent him--finding no room in his poetry review for it. His lose really--not mine.

Poetry Performance--Be Prepared

Malaprop's Gig in 3 days!

It's odd to think that I've spent the last four weeks preparing for a short block of time --20 minutes. That seems to be the nature of poetry. I'm sure there are some poets who perform public readings that don't plan what they will say or read. I find that approach insulting to people who come to hear good poetry.

It is the responsibility of a poet to respect the audience by preparing himself/herself for each performance. So, I carefully select a series of poems--a performance manuscript. Some of the poems have been published. Other's have not. I read the series outloud to hear how it sounds--how it flows. I make further adjustments. And more adjustments.

All the while, I watch the countdown to Thursday night... 7PM... Malaprop's Cafe.

Regarding "an open letter to married people"

Ghetto Monk wrote an open letter to married people. Being married, I thought it my duty to respond. But I'm not sure my comment was what he was looking for as a response to his letter.

I wrote:
I did not get married for love ... I asked the chosen woman "to grow old with me." She said yes. I did not marry her for love or beauty or happiness (though all those things are part of our marriage).

Americans ... have a romantic notion that marriage is about love and sex and happiness ... marriage does not make "us happy, ... it makes us holy." All the baggage and blessing you bring to a marriage will be amplified ...

I have friends, who have a wonderful arranged marriage. It's wonderful because they chose to make it so... because marriage is about combining two households with honor and respect.

I made it a point to introduce the woman who would be my wife to my Father, Mother, sisters, brothers, both sets of grandparents and several aunts and uncles. I received the approval of my family. Her family accepted me and ... with the blessing of both families, I asked her to grow old with me seven April's ago. Today, we grow old together ... the romance is just beginning!

5 Photo Questions

I've been using my digital camera quite extensively (and enjoying it). I thought these questions were quite appropriate.
1. Photo albums or picture frames?

2. Digital camera, disposable, or point-and-click?

3. What facial expression (of yours) is usually captured in pictures?

4. What's your favorite picture and why?

5. Do you take the picture after you say "1, 2, 3", or after you say "2" and right when you say "3", or do you use another method or not count?

1. Photos belong in photo albums as far as I am concerned. Paintings belong on walls.
2. DigiCam all the way.
3. Eyes closed, mouth open (usually in a gasp).
4. A photo of my wife sitting on the kitchen floor read a book to my progeny.
5. Candid shots don't require counting: point, focus, shoot.

Density of Poetry

Malaprop's Gig in 4 days!
At supper tonight, a friend was telling me that she is looking forward to attending Thursday night's poetry/music gig. But she couldn't understand why I chose to read/write poetry.

"Why not stories?" she asked.

I told her that I do write in other genres but I chose poetry as my concentration because it required deep thought to write and read. Not that prose is easy to write, but poetry buries textured truths in metaphor which require those who seek it to search deliberately. What may be investigated in a novel is compressed in 32 lines of a poem.

The German word for poetry is Gedichte or Dichtung. The definition of poetry in German encompasses the idea of compression or density--to condense a thought or theme. The English understanding of poetry embraces beauty and harmony--graceful elegance.

My hope is that in four days I present condensed ideas in a lyrical framework.

Coffee Talk and lots of it

Just got back from an unexpected out of town adventure. I needed to hook up with The Neanderthal at a great out-of-the-way coffeehouse. We discussed graphic design and strategic communications and music and philosophy and politics and spirituality and truth and grace and hours went by like moments before we exhausted ourselves and departed. Sometimes I think my friends are too polite and won't tell me I talk too much.

I wish we lived closer because I always enjoy your conversations and I am always challenged and encouraged. We discussed meditation, time and space realities, theology and more graphic design (we're two graphic designers after all).

He introduced me to the idea of house gigs (i.e. music gig, literary event or lecture). I've heard of them before, but I never really entertained the idea of hosting a house gig. It seems like a house gig would offer a great opportunity to share music, literarture and ideas in an atmosphere of community. Most people retreat to their homes rather than open their homes.

Host a music/poetry gig at my home? I'll have to sleep on this one... I'll have to sleep with many thoughts about what was discussed... my body is fatigued, but my mind is racing with many thoughts...


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Feel free to download a full-size poster I designed for The Traveling Bonfires.
(measures: 11"x17", resolution: 200 dpi, file size: 631kb):
[Download Poster Here]

Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park

Saturday, Aug 6, 2005
3pm to 10pm
Downtown Asheville, NC

Dashvara, Large Lewis, Phuncle Sam, Sunshine

Magazine clippings + book excerts = the meaning and purpose of life

Cleaning out stacks of papers, books and old magazines can reveal some very interesting items. I discovered seemingly random excerts and noticed they might not be random.

The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet.
--Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
* * *

Although Hefner encouraged his readers to "live with zest and adventure," he seems to have spent most of his time indoors... the man Esquire recently described as a "philosopher king"--has had, in fact a surprisingly dull life...
--Brian Murray, Aug. 2, 2004, The Weekly Standard, “Bare Nekkid Ladies: Hugh Hefner and the mainstreaming of pornography”
* * *

#2 The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren
99 weeks on list under Advice, How to & Misc.
--The New York Tims Book Review,
Sunday December 19, 2004
* * *

Me thinks I spy a glimmer of an essay in these discoveries.

Malaprop's--but not tonight

Next week, folks, I'll be at Malaprop's reading some poems from a new collection as well as some previously published poems.

But tonight I'll be at Beanstreets for a live rehearsal.

Rejected, Accepted and just plain crazy

Received another poetry rejection slip. That's a bummer.

Also, found out my next poetry collection (a small chapbook) will not be ready in time for next week's Malaprop's gig. Really bummed about that. I like to provide guests to my readings with some sort of souvenir they can take home.

Totally missed my deadlines for The Indie's August issue. Really bummed about that too. I've got three articles due but I keep researching, editing and rewriting the pieces while I try to complete my next poetry manuscript and proof read another writer's book manuscript and design event posters and... Do you think I've got too many irons in the fire?

It's not all bad. One poem has been accepted for publication in a small Southern lit mag. A California editor who emailed and said, "I love it", is reviewing another series of poems.

Monday night's writers group was a real encouragement.

I must be crazy to want to write.

Another BlogAsheville Meetup

Wired. That's the best way to describe it. I'm drinking Good Earth decaffeinated chai in hopes it will help me wind down a bit.

Over two hours ago I enjoyed yet another BlogAsheville meeting. This time it was in regards to an interview with a Mountain Xpress writer who is composing a story about the local blogosphere.

Screwy Hoolie, Edgy Mama and Modern Peasant were there answering questions and just having an all around good time discussing blogging and other related (or unrelated) topics. DEMbloggers made a showing later in the evening with much to discuss regarding blogging and politics. Seems like each of us Asheville bloggers had much to talk about and thouroughly enjoyed each others company. I'd go into detail about the conversations but I'll let you follow the links and find out for yourselves.

It's 5 o'clock GMT... the chai is gone... I'm listening to the BBC news on NPR...

Making Movies, Answering Questions

1) What's the one movie you've seen more times than any other? The Princess Bride.

2) If you could turn one book, comic book or other print story into a feature-length movie, what story would you pick and why? The Little Prince. I think it's a story for all ages that has mass appeal.

3) What one movie would you like to see "updated for the year 2005"? Cowboys starring John Wayne.

4) Whom would you cast? Kevin Costner.

5) What one movie are you most looking forward to this year? Batman (maybe).

The Jacket

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us"It's painful to move on... but more painful not to." My wife's reaction to the film "The Jacket."

I'm still considering the dense quality of the film. One theme that struck me is the illusion of freedom. Sort of reminded me of "12 Monkeys." Another thing that struck me is that the quality of life is clearly understood through the reality of death.

Did anyone else see this film?