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1000 Black Lines

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

Keep warm at Malaprop's: update

Rumor has it I'll be reading some new poems at Malaprop's this week.

Thursday, Dec. 1, 6:30-8:30 PM
Free to the public

Patty Keough, Nathan Oliver & Matthew Mulder.

Update: Regrettably, the rumors were wrong. I will not be reading any poems at Malaprop's tomorrow evening.

However, I'll gladly read those new poems at your next dinner party. Interested parties may e-mail me.

Third World Asheville Rocks The Grey Eagle: Part 2

Here's what you missed last time The Traveling Bonfires invaded The Grey Eagle.

Hippie Shitzu.

Deborah Crooks.


The Traveling Bonfires gathers again this weekend at The Grey Eagle!

Where: The Grey Eagle Music Hall & Tavern, Asheville, NC

When: Saturday, Dec. 3, from 6PM-Midnight

Who: Ash Devine, Kimberly Summer, Vanessa Boyd, Patty Keough, Carrie Gerstmann (poetry), Glenis Redmond (poetry), Laura Blackley & Martha's Trouble

$5 cover charge.

21 Questions

If you're like me, then you've probably been e-mailed a survey like the one below by family or friends. I'll post my answers later this week. Until then, have fun with the questions!


1. Were you named after anyone?
2. When did you last cry?
3. What is your most embarrassing CD?

4. Have you ever told a secret you swore not to tell?
5. How do you release anger?
6. Do you trust others too easily?

7. What class in high school do you think was totally useless?
8. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
9, Favorite movie(s):

10. Which celebrity do you most resemble?
11. What are your favorite colors?
12. What are you listening to right now?

13. What is the weather like right now?
14. Favorite Drink?
15. Favorite Food?

16. Summer or winter?
17. Hugs or kisses?
18. Where Would You Want to Go on your Next Vacation?

19. What Books are you reading?
20. What did you Watch Last Night on TV?
21. What's the furthest you've been away from home?

General Blog-keeping and Congrats

First, the congrats:
I read blogs extensively. Sometimes I prefer reading blogs to writing for my own. That said, I'm thrilled to learn The Waitress has a book deal, Postcards from the Imagination received an acceptance of two poems, and One Word completed her NaNoWriMo manuscript.


Regarding general blog-keeping:
A couple months ago I decided to stop responding to posted comments. The decision was not easy. It's not that I don't read or enjoy the comments ya'll leave (I read and enjoy them all), nor that I don't like you, (I love ya'll--keep commenting), but for the sake of personal sanity I need to focus on writing. Only anonymous comments are intentionally ignored.

Also, I've updated the right sidebar which features: Writings in Print, Late Night Writing Excerpt, reviews and order info, Design Samples & more.

Buzzword of the day - samizdat

Samizdat, a system of clandestine printing and distribution of dissident/banned literature, seems to be a hip buzzword. Without discussing the etymology of samizdat, it appears that several Web sites and blogs have claimed the word recklessly.

Is it possible to brand a Web site samizdat in an open society? Clearly, publishing dissident literature via a Web site/blog would qualify for dissenting, even heterodox, views--but not samizdat. To publish/distribute dissident/banned literature in an open society does not appear to be a clandestine system. Publishing/distributing dissident/banned literature on a blog in China would be considered samizdat.

from the BBC
China started to block blog entries which used words such as "freedom", "democracy" and "demonstration".

In America, dissenting views are chic. In other parts of the world, it is a calculated risk.

AGW's featured link

1000 Black Lines is Art Gallery-Worldwide's featured link to magazines and journals about art.

Slain for Verse

There's a story I've been following thanks to updates from the Poetry Hut. I wanted to write a response, but words fail me.


Afghan poet dies after battering
Sunday, 6 November 2005
"A well-known Afghan poet and journalist has died from her injuries after being beaten, police say. Officers found the body of Nadia Anjuman, 25... a student at Herat university, had a first book of poetry printed this year. She was popular in Afghanistan and neighbouring Iran."

Afghan police arrest husband... in beating death of... poet
Nov 8, 2005
"Highly regarded poet Nadia Anjuman has been beaten to death, and her husband and mother have been arrested, police said.

"Nadia Anjuman... widely praised for her first book of poems, Gule Dudi, or Dark Flower... died Friday... after being beaten...

"Her husband has confessed to slapping her after an argument... The woman's mother was at home at the time and was suspected of having had a role in the death. Both were arrested, but no charges were immediately filed..."

Woman poet 'slain for her verse'
November 13, 2005
"Friends say her family was furious, believing that the publication of poetry by a woman about love and beauty had brought shame on it.

"Farid Ahmad Majid Mia, 29, Anjuman’s husband... denies murder and claims that his wife committed suicide. The couple had a six-month-old son...

"Her poetry alluded to an acute sense of confinement. 'I am caged in this corner, full of melancholy and sorrow,' she wrote in one 'ghazal', or lyrical poem, adding: 'My wings are closed and I cannot fly.' It concludes: 'I am an Afghan woman and must wail'..."


We all "wail" at such injustice.

From the Notebook of Holiday Traveling:
Five Poems & Two Quotations

[1] a poem:
There is something appropriate about
Listening to Cowboy Junkies while
Driving 60 miles per hour at night
Through eight hours of blinding rain.

[2] a poem:
An economy can not be established without
A recognized currency or form of trade.

Likewise, God’s sovereign justice
Requires His sovereign means.

[3] a dilat:
The room is cold at night. I rest
Under thermal blankets and wait
For my toes to warm and sleep to
Visit me in this chilly room.

[4] a kimo:
Carrots and celery and apples and
Grapes line the table for our
Guests to eat and enjoy.

[5] a tanaga:
Thanksgiving, everything looks
Delicious. Before the cooks;
Meats, fruits and recipe books
Spill from all the kitchen nooks.


[1] from Teaching a Stone to Talk:
“We as a people have moved from pantheism to pan-atheism.”
--Annie Dillard

[2] from Reflections on War:
“[I]intellectuals must not ‘play the piper to revolution.’ Not in order to shirk the responsibility of a choice... the intellectual function lies in delving for ambiguities and bringing them to light. First duty of the intellectuals is to criticize his own traveling companions... It may happen that the intellectual opts to keep silent because he fears betraying those with whom he identifies... despite their contingent errors, their goal is basically the maximum good for all.”
--Umberto Eco

Sketch: Coffee Underground Reader

Sketch: Woman Reading

Keep warm with The Traveling Bonfires

[photography and poster design by mxmulder]

The Traveling Bonfires invade The Grey Eagle:
Vanessa Boyd, Dashvara, Sunshine, Crooked Routes, Deborah Crooks, Hippie Shitzu, and FL singer/songwriter SJ Tucker.

Show startes at 6pm. $5 Cover charge.

Kapila Ushana will emcee the event. Courtyard Gallery will exhibit their work during the show.

The Asheville Citizen-Times interviewed Vanessa Boyd about her involvment with The Traveling Bonfires.

Comics & Narrative Non-Fiction Continued

inked sample page
I had tea not long ago with the writer of a very nice article about Asheville blogs. I didn't realize he was such a comics aficionado. Over tea, he presented me with the idea of illustrating non-fiction narratives and personal memoir (which I wrote about here). I illustrated a 14-panel story about our meeting. The drawings are quick suggestions of setting and characters. I didn't want to get too realistic.

Brian commented: "Such an exercise cannot help but broaden and deepen your writing... This is really fascinating. Taking everyday situations, finding the drama, illustrating them - you're developing a wealth of back-story. I could see one of these scenes popping up under a bigger story... I don't think you're wasting time on this project."

I hope he's right in regards to the exercise assisting my writing.

unfinished sample page
Narrative Non-Fiction Comics is not new. Harvey Pekar's American Splendor was famously made into a movie. Jessica Abel's journalistic comic Radio: An Illustrated Guide records the making of a This American Life show. Joe Sacco's books "Safe Area Gorazde: The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-95" and "Palestine: In The Gaza Strip" are journalistic graphic novels.

Eddie Campbell's Alec McGarry stories offer extensive inspiration in the genre of autobiographical comics/graphic novels. Alec McGarry is Eddie Campbell's stage name (or rather comic page name). That is like Samuel Clemens writing an autobiography in which Mark Twain was the main character.

I must confess I'm enamored by that idea, but not as a narcissist. In the arena of stories, the most compelling tales are true, personal accounts--narrative non-fiction. Also, persuasive arguments are often won by personal example/experience. That's what makes Elie Wiesel's book, Night, so riveting--he was there. He survived Auschwitz, Buna, Buchenwald and Gleiwitz. He has first hand experience.

I know, I know--I've just sprinkled a lot of names throughout this post like confetti. Mark Twain I am not. Nor have I the life experiences of Elie Wiesel. I don't know if I really want to follow in Eddie Campbell's footsteps, either (he reveals all areas of his life--i.e. no trouble drawing himself nude which unnerves me--but maybe that helps him gain perspective on his own life).

I have a sketch of an idea of where I want to go with narrative non-fiction comics. This is what they call in Corporate America the development stage. It's what I call drawing 1000 black lines before presenting a finished drawing.

Tags: [, ]

SECNCS recap

[I'm the one behind the camera]

Southeast Chapter of the National Cartoonist Society meeting last night at Frank's Roman Pizza. Among the topics discussed were copyright laws, political and gag cartoons, the comic book industry and the large portions of food Frank's supplies.

The Answer to: "What kind of postmodernist are you?"

First, what is postmodern? Postmodern "reacts against earlier modernist principles, as by reintroducing traditional or classical elements of style or by carrying modernist styles or practices to extremes."

Okay. So what is modernism? Modernism is "an artistic and cultural movement generally includes progressive art and architecture, music and literature emerging in the decades before 1914, as artists rebelled against late 19th century academic and historicist traditions."

Nothing is new under the sun. Everything is built upon a foundation--even ideas. Modernism is no different.

During the early part of the 19th century, much of Europe embraced the idea that Nature and/or the individual experience was the focus of art, literature, music and philosophy--Romanticism. This seems to be a response Europe's many wars.

Romanticism birthed twins, Realism and Rationalism. Whereas Romanticism approached ideas with subjectivity, Realism and Rationalism focused on external objectivity (i.e. what is reasonable and ordered). This reflected Europe's political stability.

By the late 19th century, industrialization marked a shift in ideas which questioned the progress of civilization--enter four of the most influential writers of our times: Darwin, Freud, Nietzsche and Marx.

The Modernist Movement "argued that the new realities of the 20th century were permanent and imminent, and that people should adapt their world view to accept that what was new was also good and beautiful." Basically, the Modernists stated, "To hell with tradition. Everything before us was wrong. We've got the answers and we're remaking civilization in our own image." Interestingly, they stood at the doorway to the bloodiest century in human history.

Intellectuals concluded that they couldn't stop industrialization so they might as well accept it and promote it. A good example of this in architecture is international design--buildings like Chicago's Sears Tower. Compared to the Palais Garnier, the Sears Tower is a very large, ugly black building.

Modernism primarily grew in capitalistic societies though rejected the consumerism aspect of society. In art, Wassily Kandinsky is a good example of modern art. In literature, T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound are prominent examples of modernism.

Postmodernism "is any of a wide-ranging set of developments in critical theory, philosophy, architecture, art, literature, and culture, which are generally characterized as either emerging from, in reaction to, or superseding modernism... Postmodernism can also be used as a pejorative term to attack changes in society seen as undesirable as they relate to questioning of absolute value systems other forms of foundationalism."

The writer, Don DeLillo, provides an example of postmodern literature. Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Ikarus provide a narrow definition of postmodern music. In art, there really is no postmodern movement. A result of postmodernism in art might be the scumbling between high art and kitsch art as evident in the artist Christo.

Postmodernism, in general, is difficult to define as it tends to know what it doesn't like in society but doesn't offer a lucid example of what it promotes. One example of this is globalization, which postmodern intellectuals tend to accept and reject as part of a postmodern world. One could argue that Postmodernists, like Noam Chomsky, are actually late Modernists while Johan Norberg might be considered an early Postmodernist.

All that to say I was surprised at the result of the Quizilla answer to "What kind of postmodernist are you?"


theory slut
You are a Theory Slut. The true elite of the postmodernists, you collect avant-garde Indonesian hiphop compilations and eat journal articles for breakfast. You positively live for theory. It really doesn't matter what kind, as long as the words are big and the paragraph breaks few and far between.

What kind of postmodernist are you!?
brought to you by Quizilla


Like Dismarum (see comments), I thought I'd end up a "Tortured Conceptual Artist" or an organic food munching "Grassroots Activist." Even Michael's suggestion of being "some kind of weirdo" was a reasonable guess. But "Theory Slut" surprised me. Then again, maybe it didn't. I've always looked good wearing black eye liner.

"What kind of postmodernist are you!?"

Just for fun I completed the "What kind of postmodernist are you!?" quiz from quizilla.com. Here's the categories:
- Gender Nazi
- Tortured Conceptual Artist
- Theory Slut
- Deconstructionist Weirdo
- Grassroots Activist
- Cyberculture Floozie
- Revisionist Historian
- Not Postmodern

Which one do you think I am?
[I'll post the results tomorrow.]

Southeast Chapter of the National Cartoonist Society Invites You...

[drawing by my son of him and his little brother]

You are invited to the Southeast Chapter of the National Cartoonist Society meeting Tuesday, November 15th at 7 pm, Frank's Roman Pizza (across the road from the Lowe's Superstore on Tunnel Road, Asheville).

From cartoonist/illustrator James E. "Doodle" Lyle:
Jack "Cass" Cassady plans to be in attendance, and will be sharing a little about his career in cartooning and some from his famous insights on copyright issues. So plan to be there! Bring a little cash for good food. Bring your latest work to show to the gang, and plan on doing a little on the spot doodling for the nice folks at Frank's.

All comikers, cartoonists & illustrators invited! Young, old, amateur or professional are welcomed. My son, who is almost 4 years old, joined me at the last meeting and spent then time drawing trains and other fantastic critters.

It's a great place to listen, learn, share and eat great food.

Sketch: Coffee Underground

Are you a Disciple Fan?

Listening to Disciple's latest album. Been following this band since their 1997 release "My Daddy Can Whip Your Daddy." Have to admit... I think they're maturing as artists... "Rise Up" and "Backstabber" will knock yer frickin' socks off.

[again, turn your computer speakers down after clicking "multimedia" and "listen to the CD"]

Also, "Tribute" is a very appropriate metal anthem for Veterans Day.

Buzzword of the day - cabal

I find it amusing how certain words populate the mainstream media and spill into the blogosphere. The phenomena peaked my interest a few years ago when I read the word "gravitas" (a noun meaning: substance; weightiness; i.e. gravity). The word "gravitas" began to appear in the mainstream media during the fall of 2000. It became a political buzzword that became as annoying as summertime mosquitoes.

Since mid-October of this year, I noticed and increasing use of the word "cabal" (a noun meaning:a group seeking power; syn: conspiracy). I guess it started with this comment by Retired Colonel Larry Wilkerson, "What I saw was a cabal between the vice president... and the secretary of Defense..."

Journalists and bloggers snatched at that opportunity to birth a new buzzword. Soon "cabal" splattered across the Washington Monthly, Washington Post, Newsweek, London's Financial Times, bloggess Wonkette, Daily Kos and later the Baltimore Sun.

"Cabal" seems to be a fun, hip word to use.

So, I machinate a junto offering gravitas to mainstream media by abolishing the word "cabal" from newspapers and blogs everywhere. Anyone wanna a join?

Under Red Oak Leaves

THE INDIE, November 2005

The November issue of The Indie hit the streets last week.

- "A Parking Snarl On Battle Square" by Michael Hopping
- "Human Needs Coalition Fights GOP Budget Attack" by Tim Wheeler/People’s World Weekly.

- "The Year of Magical Thinking" (book review) by Michael Hopping
- "Writing and the World of the Library: An Interview with Umberto Eco" by Gaither Stewart.

- "Like a Rolling Stone: The Spirit of the Bonfire" by Pasckie Pascua
- "Writing, Painting and Thoughts about Spirituality from a Coffeehouse Junkie" by Matthew Mulder
- "Letters from Rome: The Greeks and Us" by Gaither Stewart

Plus much more...

To obtain FREE copies of the October issue...
go to The Indie website.
or write:
The Indie
70 Woodfin Place, Suite 01
Asheville NC 28801

or call:
Tel # (828) 225 5994

Still time to vote

Okay, I had to lay out a 150+ page book over the last two days, but I still voted today.

I wish I would have brought my digi-cam to the polling station... I could have had my photo taken with Freeborn's wife and Holly Jones. There was also a Mumpower representative present who appeared to be heckling Freeborn's wife. I don't know Mumpower. I'm sure he's a nice guy, but his representative at the polling station didn't score too many votes in my neighborhood.

Update:Ashvegas has the local election results.

Sketch: Art Studio Still Life

Hiking through the NC mountains during autumn

Comics & Narrative Non-Fiction

pencil layout
A few years ago I illustrated a four-page comic version of a poem by Nate Pritts. To my knowledge there aren't too many literary comics that tackle the idea of visually representing a poem in comic format. Not that my four pages was ground breaking. It was good exercise for me and provided the kernel of expanding comics into the literary realm.

You're probably familiar with the publisher of Great Illustrated Classics. However, comics as a whole tends to be marginalized as tights-and-capes adventures at best or adolescent porn at worst.

comic page layout
A couple weeks ago, another comics aficionado presented me with the idea of illustrating concert reviews, interviews, non-fiction narratives and personal memoir. I jumped at the opportunity and began sketching out ideas immediately.

The biggest challenge for me was the limitation of the form. Illustrating a concert review requires a simple plot: I went, I saw, I reviewed. But will anyone read something that simple? I thought about adding a bit of narrative. In other words, tell a story about people who attend a concert; include brief backstory, dramatic tension, climax and conclusion.

inked comic page
Last weekend I began with two pages. The story was simple: my meeting with the other comic aficionado/publisher.

Backstory: artist has been trying to publish his comics for over ten years.

Tension: interviewer loves artist's work and desires some new samples.

Climax: artist feels intimidated by the task but accepts.

Conclusion: artist begins a new direction in creative communication--comics.

Sketch: Woman Reading