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1000 Black Lines

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

Asheville Friday night drum circle

I'm out of town currently and wanted to remind myself that I am from Asheville.

Happy drumming!

Which American Cities Best Fit You?

American Cities That Best Fit You::
60% Chicago
60% New York City
55% Philadelphia
45% Austin
45% Denver

Write Stuff response

This week's Write Stuff piece brought the following comments.
"Wow! Something to think about . . ."--Michèle

"I love the taste and feel of words on my tongue and in my head. I love it when they come out when I am writing with feeling and I come “out of it” to read what I have written and I can’t believe that I have written what is on the screen or paper. It is a passion, a deep feeling of love for writing and the written word. I am only half way following my calling half way. I needed this kick in the butt, thank you very much."--Shelli

"This is beautiful ... I am twisting and turning but I’m afraid that my student loan payment has tasted more of my writing efforts than I have."--Tammi

The column begins: "I used to think I needed a job that allows me to be a poet and writer. I think a lot of people believe this. I don’t think much of it anymore."

After making that statement I explore, in brief, some practices of distinguished poets like Anthony Hecht, W.S. Merwin, Ezra Pound and John Ashbery. It was meant to be a challenge more to myself than readers. However, if it got Michèle to "think about" it and gave Shelli a "kick in the butt" then I would consider that a bonus.

Designing, publishing, printing... [part 9]

Magazine-- Today was the final meeting staff meeting before the magazine goes to press. Ads are in place. Articles are in place. Cover is finished. Final tweaking and copyediting begins. The magazine should be at the printer in days.

Book-- As of last night, the book has sold 70% of inventory. I guess I'll need to investigate whether to begin reprint options on this title or something to that regard.

When I started this title I really wasn't sure what to expect of the outcome. So these sales numbers are very exciting for me. I can't believe I said that. Never have I considered myself one of those business suits and ties type and now I'm sounding like one. This mystifies me.

Novella & Novel-- Still reviewing manuscripts and production specs.

Anthology/Compilation-- This project will definitely require a unique marketing/distribution strategy. This is one of those projects that feels like a freight train you might see in an old Western film which carries a shipment of TNT and is bound to derail on a black and white grainy mountainside. Or at least that is what the viewer is lead to believe. But maybe, if the film directing is done well, a hero arrives and allows safe passage. I'm trying to find the hero in this project.

PART: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

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Write Stuff: So you think you have something to say?

This week's Write Stuff column is So you think you have something to say?.

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Notes and Quotes: Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound
It challenges me to read about poets and their work. I read with notebook in hand. Here are notes and quotes from Ezra Pound: The Voice of Silence by Alan Levy

Pound was a "political prisoner" of the U.S. from 1945 to 1958 for comments made "on his wartime broadcasts for the fascist radio in Rome." Interesting in light of current events and policies. I doubt he'd even be noticed.

Peter Russell on Pound's silence: "He can say yes and no with so many shades of inflection that it becomes a language in itself. The rest ... is that he's entered a period of meditation and contemplation."

Pound's "official" wife was Dorothy Shakespear though his companion was Olga Rudge. Olga, who remained with him until his death, explained why she was so protective of Pound: "We get hippies ... They have embraced the wisdom of Ezra Pound, but they haven't read him."
Further she said: "Others come to read him their poetry. They don't know his poetry, but they want him to praise theirs. And their craftsmanship is so poor. There is no oral tradition anymore. It's all publicity."

Among the hippies was Allen Ginsberg whose 'first question to Pound was ... bourgeois: "Do you people need any money?'"

"Olga Rudge was appalled to read an interview in which Ginsberg chided Pound for his bourgeois background and values--and told of his own good deeds, including buying Pound $75 to $85 worth of Dylan records. 'It was all about money, not about time or poetry,' Olga Rudge observed."

Ezra "didn't enjoy" the Bob Dylan recordings.

Pound's stay in Venice in 1908 allowed him to "publish, at his own expense, his first collection of poems, A Lume Spento."

From Thomas Lask's obit.: "'Make it new' was his cry as he went into battle. He sought tautness, compactness, the hard image that both conveyed and, in a sense, was the meaning the poet was after. Every word that was not functional in the line was eliminated. His poetry ... had a lyrical and delicate talent, a skillful sense of rhythm and music and a nervous energy that give the poetry a propulsive vigor."

Pound from P'atria Mia: "With the real artist there is always a residue, there is always something in the man which does not get into his work. There is always some reason why the man is always more worth knowing than his books are. In the long run nothing else counts."

Pound in a letter to William Carlos Williams he lists his creative goals:
"1 To paint the thing as I see it.
"2 Beauty
"3 Freedom from didacticism
"4 It is only good manners if you repeat a few other men to at least do it better or more briefly."

Richard H. Rovere: "He believed with Whitman that American experience was fit and even glorious material for poetry, and what he was at war with when he left this country was that spirit that denied this ... 'Make it new' Pound kept saying, from his colloquial rendering of Confucius, and 'Make it American,' as if he were a booster of home manufactures at a trade fair."

Pound on Walt Whitman from Selected Prose: "I see him America's poet....
"He is America. His crudity is an exceeding great stench, but it is America. He is the hollow place in the rock that echoes with his time....
"Mentally I am a Walt Whitman who has learned to wear a collar and a dress shirt ... Whitman is to my fatherland ... what Dante is to Italy ..."

"Tching prayed on the mountain and
on his bath tub
Day by day make it new."
--From Canto LIII

As iBook lay dying

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been expecting the death of my iBook’s hard drive. After consulting with experts at home and abroad I realized it would be wise to purchase a new hard drive before I lose full use of the machine. The new hard drive arrived moments before I rushed out the door to attend last night’s Blind Date with Poetry event.

Here is a visual essay with brief comments.

So many screws; I hope I can put them back in the same place

Oh, like these instructions help

I know the hard drive is somewhere around here

Ah, that’s where the drive lay dying

Now that a new hard drive is installed I have to reload OS X Tiger and get back to the business of designing a magazine.

Blind Date with Poetry

Tonight Blind Date with Poetry, hosted by Matt Moon featured poets published by Rapid River magazine. Featured poets included: Jillian Foster Knight, Corrie Woods, Britt Kaufmann, Joanna Knowles, Dahn Shaulis, Cheri L. Jones Wendy Kochenthal and myself.

Without exception, the poets presented over an hour of well crafted material from diverse perspectives. The open mic that followed was equally inspiring though a few of the regular open mic poets seemed absent.

My wife accompanied me tonight which is a special occasion for both of us. She enjoyed the night's poetry and we were able to meet new friends, kindred spirits after the event.

The only regret I recall is that one open mic poet seemed to hang back from the congregation of poets. I caught her figure out of the corner of my eye as she stared at a book shelf. I've experienced that glazed look myself. Not sure how to introduce myself to other poets and equally intimidated by them. I think she said she was a student from ABTech. She wore a pink camisole and read a couple poems during the open mic portion of the event. I wanted to thank her for bravely sharing her work, but I got caught up in a discussion about Ezra Pound's poetry and essays that I neglected such an important opportunity to include and encourage a young poet. My wife noticed her as well and advised me to encourage her if I see her again at another open mic. It is such a small gesture, but also so important.

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Overheard at Everyday Gourmet

As I prepared for tonight's poetry reading, I thought I'd try to organize my thoughts at a downtown cafe.

One woman tells a guy: "Yeah, when I used to do illegal drugs I used to really look down on people who didn't. That was so immature--don't you know. Now I'm into herbal teas."

One woman says to second woman: "I am like so not into teaching any more. I used to be like into the teaching thing but I've beyond that now. You know what I'm saying?"

A man at a table behind me throws a newspaper on a table and says: "I wish someone would just kill [name withheld]."

I withheld the name from the last quote because the person is an elected government official and I'm not sure if the man in the cafe was simply expressing an opinion or an intent. After hearing the man's comment I was shaken by the violence of it and could not concentrate on my goal of preparing for tonight's reading. So I left.

Designing, publishing, printing... [part 8]

Magazine-- It is coming down to the wire. I've put in over 120 hours on this project so far. The magazine should go to press in the next five days--I hope. I'm still waiting on a few advertisers and a couple stories before I close the book, kiss the first issue good-bye and hope it has legitimate children. A new member to the team/staff said, approvingly, that the prelim spreads remind him of Dwell. Wow, I hope to attain such high design standards, but I will let the readers/subscribers decide.

Book-- Good news! As of last night, the book has sold 60% of inventory (that is publisher speak for good revenue results and author actually receives royalty above initial advancement). This is exciting because it means more work with this publisher. More exciting is when retailers contact me and “want” the author’s book “on my bookshelves.” That is always a good sign when retailers want to carry the book even though there is no book return policy.

You have to understand that for the last hundred years (or at least that) publishers tend to buy books on “consignment” and will promptly return them to the publisher when shelf space is wasted on a title that won’t sell. Early on I learned that a leading bookstore chain may request 30,000 copies of a book. That’s great. But it is not. They may return 27,000 copies and no publisher wants to be left that amount of inventory at the end of a year--the asset became an expense (accounting lingo for you are so screwed).

So with the book I am managing, I arranged for a no book return policy to avoid revenue loss. At least for the first phase of this book’s entry into the wide and wild world of publishing.

Novella & Novel-- Still reviewing manuscripts and production specs.

Anthology/Compilation-- Positioning this book provides a substantial challenge. The more I research this project the smaller the niche audience becomes.

PART: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

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Here Beaker, try this

You Are Dr. Bunsen Honeydew

- You take the title "mad scientist" to the extreme--with very scary things coming out of your lab.
- And you've invented some pretty cool things, from a banana sharpener to a robot politician.
- But while you're busy turning gold into cottage cheese, you need to watch out for poor little Beaker!
- "Oh, that's very naughty, Beaker! Now you eat these paper clips this minute."

Toubab Krewe on World Cafe

Asheville's own Toubab Krewe is the featured guest on tonight's The World Cafe hosted by David Dye. The first time I saw Toubab Krewe was at last year's LAAFF. This should be an explosive, expanding edition of The World Cafe! WNCW carries show on the radio and on the internet.

First day of summer

Have a great summer solstice!

I'm getting the band back together

The Blues Brothers
Today is the 25th Anniversary of the Theatrical Release of The Blues Brothers, June 20, 1980.

Without a doubt, this is one of my all time favorite films. Besides the great music, it's got the best Chicago car chase scene--IMHO.

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This week's Write Stuff column is Stride.

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The First Annual BlogAsheville Awards--plus nominations

The First Annual BlogAsheville Awards
Nominate up to three BlogAsheville blogs in each category ... Anyone may nominate blogs in this competition, so please post about it at your blogs and email me the results. Only bloggers on the BlogAsheville blogroll are eligible for nominations. Nominations will close Friday, June 15 at 11:59 pm.
1000 Black Lines has been nominated for:
- Best Writing (twice)
- Best Design (twice)
- Best Local Happenings

1000 Black Lines has NOT been nominated for:
- Blogger you'd most like to see naked
- Blogger I'd Most Like to Have a Beer With

So, take a look at the categories and email your NOMINATIONS to: scrutinyhooligans[AT]yahoo[DOT]com

Nominate 1000 Black Lines before midnight tonight!

Update: 2006 BlogAsheville Award Winners list.

Overheard on the ATS

If you haven't used the Asheville Transit System (i.e. the bus), you don't know what you're missing. Here's what I overheard today on the bus.

First man: "There's a Chevrolet truck for sale for five hundred dollars. I told the man I'd give him two hundred dollars cash right there on the spot. He wouldn't have it."
Second man: "Damn motherf___er."

One guy tells another guy: "I left California because there's too many damn Mexicans."
(At least a half dozen people of Hispanic descent sit near him.)

One African-American woman trying to get the attention of second African-American woman who is on a cell phone and moves away from the first woman: "I hate blacks trying to act white."
(This is said in front of me, a person of Dutch/Irish descent, to a third African-American woman.)

One woman says to second woman: "I'm so stressed I smoked two packs today."

A young woman says into her cell phone: "No, he's Irish and speaks English."
(She speaks with a distinct Romanian accent.)
Two African-American women seated next to me on the bus overhear this and speak.
First woman: "Am I like that?"
Second woman: "Nah. You ain't that loud."

Imagine what I'll overhear on the way home tonight.

Just when you think you know it all

The Movie Of Your Life Is An Indie Flick

You do things your own way - and it's made for colorful times.
Your life hasn't turned out how anyone expected, thank goodness!

Your best movie matches: Clerks, Garden State, Napoleon Dynamite

Can't put it down

While waiting for the bus this morning, I read a library copy of book I just cannot seem to put down nor seem to read very quickly. It is one of those kinds of books so densely written I can only read about four pages before I pause, ponder and meditate before reading the next few pages. This morning, the bus caught me in a meditating moment. It stopped. The doors opened and I looked at the driver a bit surprised and disgusted that I was being interrupted. He returned a look of indifference as if to say, "If you don't get yo' ass on this bus in five seconds, I'm leaving." I stuffed the book into my messenger bag as I climbed onto the bus. Four more pages were read before I got to work. Somehow I know this book is going to distract me all day.

Designing, publishing, printing... [part 7]

Magazine-- It has been a couple busy weeks since I last posted about the startup magazine I'm art directing. All but two of the articles have been placed. The bulk of the magazine is designed and ready for pre-production. The magazine will consist of 32 pages--mostly editorial because few advertisers want to risk placement in a startup.

During the last few weeks I've redesigned the layout of the editorial pages. The photography supplied by a local photographer allowed me to create expansive photo-torial stories. This approach creates a visually attractive magazine which I hope will draw readers to the stories in the magazine. The strength of this magazine is its visual appeal. Hopefully this will attract strong writers as well as loyal readers.

The buzz around Asheville is anticipation for a high quality magazine that captures the essence of the areas "cuisine, entertainment, lifestyle." For those familiar Asheville, you may feel barraged by all the "free" magazines that seem to come from everywhere. This will not be a free magazine. At the risk of sounding presumptuous, the magazine has the potential to be Asheville's Bon Appétit and The New Yorker rolled into one magazine.

Book-- Today date, the book has sold more than 48% of inventory in less than eight weeks with zero marketing and minimal "house" ads (i.e third page and sixth page ads).

I think part of the modest success is due to the author’s latent talent and another part is due to the audience's demand. An email received this week seems to verify that last point: "I have ripped almost all of her columns out of the magazine for many years now... But the bait of having a book of her own selections was too much for me to resist!"

Novella-- Currently, I am reviewing a manuscript which I've been asked to design and quite possibly assist in its publication.

Novel-- Further, I reading another manuscript, by the same author of the novella, which I've also been asked to design and assist in its publication.

Anthology-- My fingers hurt from typing so much. I am not a fast typist. So, entering missing chapters for an upcoming current affairs anthology is a bit tiresome. The manuscript consists of more than 60 chapters covering timeless journalistic stories published over the last two decades. Should be available by the end of the year.

PART: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

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2 Books, 2 Reviews

[ 1 ]

The Dream Room
Fantastic coming of age story by Dutch novelist Marcel Moring. Set in the 1960s Netherlands, 12-year-old David Speijir spends the summer with his unemployed father building model airplanes. The toy doctor who lives below their flat pays them to assemble model airplanes. Mother works as a nurse but lost her job as well. So the entire family assembles model airplanes. Tension between his mother and father over their financial instability and insecure future reveal hidden stories of his father's World War II experience and his mother's role as a nurse.

I found this book at the library during my lunch hour and by sunset I had finished it. Part of this is due to the novel’s minimalist style that I enjoy for two reasons. One, the story focuses on the everyday details of living in the Netherlands during the 1960s. This is a small thing, but too often a polished setting is offered instead of a stuff-of-life depiction. Or the other extreme, a gritty, surrealistic setting exaggerates reality and becomes a cliché. Second, The simplicity of the style offers a lyricism that focuses on the tension of a household dealing with financial and emotional crisis.

My take away: If I were going to write a novel I’d use this as a model. The style is minimal and lyrical style presents a story that haunts me for days. Memorable scenes and passages continue to ebb and flow throughout my mind. In a loose--very loose--way the novel reminds me of Gibran’s Broken Wings.

[ 2 ]

Murder Mysteries
Definitely not your average comic book--or rather, graphic novel. But than what else would one expect from the mind of Neil Gaiman, celebrated creator of the Sandman comic book series, and hand of P. Craig Russell (artist behind The Ring of the Nibelung comics). If you are familiar with dark fantasy as a genre, you may very well enjoy this mythic tale. But this is not the genre's best example.

The premise is this: there has been a murder in Heaven. Or so it would seem, according to the narrator of the story--an LA vagrant who shares this story to a stranded Brit waiting to return to England. The angel Raguel, the Vengeance of the Lord, is assigned the task of discovering the murderer and exacting the vengeance of God. Lucifer, a prominent character in this mystery, is portrayed sympathetically for challenging the justice of God when the murderer is revealed and destroyed.

Keep in mind that this is a fantasy. Murder Mysteries is plagued with poor understanding of the source material--primarily the Christian bible. For example, the angels are portrayed as nude males with wings--imagine Barbie's Ken doll with wings. Thus offering a love scene between angels, which suggests gay porn. Truly this graphic novel is intended for mature readers. Further, Gaiman explores the theme of God as cosmic, divine killjoy--allowing one angel to kill another angel for his own good pleasure. This is not Gaiman's best literary offering which is a shame. As far as mysteries go, it lacks suspense.

If Gaiman changed the setting and obliquely referenced angels, then the story may have more strength. Themes of love, jealousy, God's seeming indifference could be explored deftly without the clumsy display of a poorly produced Heaven myth. Like Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, its agenda is not a mystery and it is fictional fantasy of what the author would like to believe.

My take away: I would expect this type of storytelling from a young writer busting his chops rather than an experienced writer. Some readers may find this writing bold and daring, but it is truly disappointing. Maybe that is the danger of writing fantasy--the lie of fiction is believed and the truth of fiction is denied to the point of absurdity.

Not one of his best books. Try reading Sandman instead.

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Measurable, meaningful, attainable

For this week's Write Stuff column I cannibalized this post in order to offer Go Deep. It is something I have been considering all week.

If you are not familiar with Write Stuff, Karen offers a great column on the importance of establishing writing goals. For accountability, she lists Write Stuff contributors' goals here.

I scanned the goals of the other writers and I am amazed with their organization. I'm a little jealous too. I submitted one item in my own ambiguous fashion but also to provide a "measurable, meaningful, and attainable" goal. I wish I could offer more goals, but simply have limited time and resources.

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Epsicle episode

All weekly contributors to Write Stuff present a piece based on a photo prompt. My contribution is a poem titled: Red Dye #40 Epsicle ice pop. Comments include:
"tasting heatwaves. great description."

"There is something eerie about the little note of trivia at the end that I can’t put my finger on but I like it. I also like the clean, concise language as well."

"Normally I’m not a fan of Haiku, but I like this a great deal."
Thanks Divine.

Thanks Tammi. I love studying the origin of words and their meaning. Recently inspired by Ezra Pound's poetry, specifically In a Station of the Metro, I attempted to do likewise but in my own voice.

Thanks D. Challener. I was more influenced by Pound than by haiku. However, knowing that haiku is often used, abused from its honorable beginning; I picked it up, dusted it off and attempted to "make it new."

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If you missed it you missed it

My wife and I rarely attend concerts, but last night we stole away to The Grey Eagle to catch the Over the Rhine show. When arrived at the venue I was a bit surprised. Last time OtR was in town the crowd was modest if not a bit small. Last night, The Eagle was packed. We found lounge seats available between a local couple and a couple from Charleston, SC. The seats are up on a platform in front of the sound booth. Call me crazy, but I like the dark corner where the sound engineering takes place--sort of behind the scenes theatrics. OtR's sound designer goes by the name "Juicy." Juicy is a big man with shaved bald head and a keen ear for making the show happen--not to mention he was just as much into the show as the rest of us (i.e. hootin' and howlerin' and stompin' his massive feet to the mesmerizing magic of OtR).

The openning band was Hem. I think I've discovered a new favorite band. Hem provided a great set. I attempted to take digital photos, but the dark corner sucks all the light out of the images. So I am thankful to Flickr photographer, The Optimator for some great tour shots.

Hem, originally uploaded by The Optimator.

Over the Rhine, originally uploaded by The Optimator.

Over the Rhine offered some of their new songs which will be featured on their upcoming album. One song has been spinning around my cranium all night. Karin introduced the song with a dedication to Juicy. Linford had invited Juicy to tour with OtR, but Juicy initially declined because he "retired" and didn't want to leave his wife and family for a tour. After a series of conversations, Juicy said he wouldn't go unless they went deep. "I'm not touring unless you're ready to go deep," he said.

I don't know the title but the lyrics go something like this: I'm not going to waste your time on a song you don't need.

I needed their songs last night.

Thanks OtR.

Thanks Juicy.

Read Write Stuff and play along

Write Stuff offers something new this week. All weekly contributors will be presenting a writing based on a photo prompt. In fact, Write Stuff is running a contest for its readers also. Details are included here and the winning submission will be posted on Write Stuff Saturday, June 10th.

My contribution is a poem titled: Red Dye #40 Epsicle ice pop.

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minor redesign

Okay, so it was more of a tweaking than a redesign to 1000 Black Lines. I hope it this offers a freshness to the old design.