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1000 Black Lines

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

Write Stuff: ‘Cause that’s what poets do

Proof positive that I can write under pressure with many children under the age of six (no, they are not all mine). Before you click the link and read this week's Write Stuff post, here is the backstory.

My wife and I invited a friend and her children to join us for a Bele Chere excursion. My children were very excited to have guests and were acting accordingly by running from one end of our small cottage to the other end while loudly proclaiming their enthusiasm. I started writing the piece around 11 AM amid the din of my progeny, and guests arrived around 11:30 AM for an early lunch before we headed to Bele Chere. With double the children the beautiful chaos did increase. By 12:30 PM I had posted this week's column while everyone else ate lunch.

For more than I month I had been reading and pondering the essence of this piece but had not committed it to paper. Inspired by the lyrics from the Steve Brooks' song Dead Poets Society (from his Purgatory Road album), I chose the title -- "'Cause that's what poets do." My outline for the piece was simple and I offered the question, "Why should I write poems if people are more interested in my activism?" Realizing the piece ended darker than I anticipated I added a sarcastic spin at the end àl a George Thorogood's "One bourbon, one scotch, one beer."

So here's this week's, ‘Cause that’s what poets do.

By the way, Bele Chere was a hoot! The kids enjoyed it because they all received balloons that they could fight over and the parents enjoyed it because the children were very tired from all the walking and went to bed early. And that is what parents do.

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Bele Chere


Bele Chere 2006


Dog jumping competition


Fellow blogger promotes blog with bumpersticker


Good crowd despite the heat

Designing, publishing, printing... [part 12]

Woah. How can I put it? It's been a long week -- like 12-hour days. I am so ready for the weekend.

First a sneak peak at two spreads from D'licious Magazine

pages 8 - 9


pages 10 - 11

D'licious Magazine--Final proofs went to the printer earlier this week and should be in bindery by now. Sorry, for the printer-ese. Once a publication is approved for printing the magazine follows a rather simple process:
pre-press - generates the metal plates used for offset printing. In the magazine's case, four plates are needed.
printing - that's obvious. Lots of paper. Lots of ink. Lots of heavy machinery.
bindery - magazine signatures (a single signature is sixteen pages; eight on front, eight on back) are folded, cut and stapled
delivery - again this is self-explainitory

So, see you at the release party! Tickets are $25 a person ($35 at the door) and covers food, beverages, magazine and entertainment.

Essay Collection--The book sold out as of Tuesday night. It is now in it's second printing and is still selling consistantly. This fact amazes me. I didn't expect book sales to be this steady (on average 30 to 50 copies daily) after three months. Especially, since there is no retail distribution as of yet. Come to think of it, why consider retail sales if it is selling well?

I'm working on other publishing projects which I will detail later.

PART: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

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Blind Date with Poetry

Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe
Tonight, July 27, 6:30 PM.
free to the public.

Blind Date with Poetry with host Matt Moon and featuring poet is Michael White.



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Writing progress report

I posted my writing goals here. Since then I've published more than 2700 words on Write Stuff, a 200-word sidebar article in D'licious, a 500-word book review and 1800-word creative nonfiction piece in The Indie (5200 words in total) -- 13,200 words so far this year. My goal is 16,000 to 20,000 words published in six different publications.

I'm so blue

You Are Royal Blue

People find you difficult to understand. In fact, you often find it hard to understand yourself.
You think so much that sometimes you get lost in your own thoughts!

Marketing campaign incentive and the power of suggestion

This ad pops up a lot when accessing my Hotmail account.

Advertising design has three golden rules that always work when selling products:
1 - beautiful women
2 - puppies
3 - cute babies

That's the shortlist of golden rules. There are other rules to eye-catching ads like using colors red, black or yellow for maximun impact.

This ad gets one and a half (because the dog isn't real). But, come on, who really wants to get a free pink stuffed dog with the purchase of Victoria's Secret products.

Clearly this ad is not targeted toward my demographic. What am I going to do with a pink puppy? Maybe some of my female readers could enlighten me as to why this would be a good incentive to purchase Victoria's Secret products.

However, when planning customer incentives, the marketing campaign director should have considered: Does this marketing incentive (a pink fluffy dog) fit the Victoria's Secret demographic? A free pink fluffy dog might be a buyer incentive for FAO Schwarz customers.

According to this article, they are targeting a younger audience:
"We wanted to capture the spirit of the young with Pink," said Anthony Hebron, spokesman for Victoria's Secret

and further
"The Pink collection is an excellent idea because it caters to a different customer than the company's core, slightly older shopper. The college crowd was sort of a white space for Victoria's Secret that it needed to address..."

Do college coeds like pink fluffy dogs? Seriously, doesn't a free pink fluffy dog incentive seem more like Victoria's Secret is targeting a younger than college age demographic -- like teens or tweens?

As a designer of ads and a father, this marketing concerns me a bit. I recently designed an ad for a local brewery that targets responsible adults. But I would not design beer ads that appeal to juveniles.

The visual power of suggestion is a very potent tool among art directors, graphic designers and marketers. It should be used effectively, efficiently and responsibly.

This is going to date me a bit, but the "Keep America Beautiful" public service campaign commercial starring Chief Iron Eyes Cody in the 70s challenged people to live responsibly by not polluting the landscape. Visually effective and efficient, it suggested that Americans consider not our own generation but the generations to follow. I need to remember this principle when designing ads or other materials. I hope I am not alone in trying to design responsibly.

It is official -- d’licious magazine release party!

d’licious debut: magazine release party!
Saturday, August 5, 2006 from 7:00pm– until
Haywood Park Hotel Ballroom, 1 Battery Park Ave., Asheville, NC 28801
Contact: Cody Stokes at cody@dliciousmag.com

On Saturday August 5th D'licious Magazine will debut its premier issue as Asheville’s one and only food and beverage magazine. Come experience a taste of Asheville’s cuisine, entertainment, breweries and wineries from 7:00pm until after midnight at the Haywood Park Ballroom underneath the Haywood Park Hotel in the heart of downtown Asheville.

Participating will be: Belly of Buddha Catering, the Flying Frog Cafe, the Frog Bar and Deli, Biltmore Estate Stable Café, Thai Basil, Hannah Flannigans, Skully’s Signature Dine & Drink, Digable Pizza, Greenlife Grocery, Sweet Monkey Bakery & Catering, Clingman Ave. Coffee and Catering, Zuma Too: Chef Oso’s Culinary Passport, Haywood Road Market, Sclafani Distributors, the Biltmore Estate Winery, Hanover Park Winery, the French Broad Brewing Company, Highlands Brewery and the Pisgah Brewery.

Additional sponsors will be: The Westville Pub, Kabloom, 96.5 WOXL, and the Art of Microbrewing by Stephen Patrick Boland and Kevin Marino.

Entertainment for the evening will be: David Stevenson, Cabo Verde, Free Planet Radio and Jen and the Juice.

Tickets can be purchased at the following locations: The Haywood Park Hotel, The French Broad Brewery, Greenlife, Hannah Flannigans, Clingman Ave. Coffee and Catering, Skully’s Signature Dine & Drink, The Haywood Road Market, Orbit DVD and Diggin Art.

Come and support D'licious Magazine for its debut in Asheville.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 at the door. Hors’ Doeuvres and beverages will be included in the ticket price.

Designing, publishing, printing... [part 11]

Magazine-- It's difficult to keep it quiet much longer now that signs are posted all over Asheville. Ashvegas made the connections and posted his finds on BlogAsheville. I am awaiting the official press release before I offer more details about where to find the magazine and how to subscribe. I'm also awaiting approval by the publisher to post teaser spreads of the actual magazine. I will state that the magazine release party is slated for August 5 at the Haywood Park Hotel Ballroom and will feature many food, brewery and wine sponsors -- PLUS four live bands! Tickets are available around Asheville. I'll post more details later.

Essay Collection-- With book sales increasingly positive, I scheduled a second printing of the book. Good news is that the first printing will sell out buy the middle of this week. Bad news is that it takes three weeks to manufacture a casebound (hard cover) book. I don't like putting the customers in a back order position, but it appears unavoidable.

On another note, retailers (i.e. private booksellers, bookstores, etc.) are beginning to take notice and request copies for there stores.

PART: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

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Film Writer?




You Should Be a Film Writer



You don't just create compelling stories, you see them as clearly as a movie in your mind.

You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life.

Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling.

And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen!

Designing, publishing, printing... [part 10]

Magazine-- The magazine goes to press this week. Today's "staff" meeting was more of an examination of four press proofs (press proofs, for non-designers, are full-color press signatures -- each signature contains eight pages).

The magazine will have a big release party in August. I'll post the press release when it's ready.

Book-- So, I got back from vacation and found that less than 300 copies remain in the building. Exciting!

So, I guess that means I need to schedule a reprint. The trick with reprinting a book is that I don't want to order more than demand dictates. Currently, the books is averaging sales of 200 copies a week.

Novella-- I finished reading the novella. It is a character-driven espionage story set in Asheville. I do not read a lot of espionage novels (I used to read Clancy novels in high school). What attracts me to the story is the cultural exchange of ideas; two people from different cultures (an American and a Russian) attempting to work together despite differing worldviews and philosophies. The eerie thing about reading an espionage novella set in Asheville is that when I overhear Romanian spoken by someone on the bus I get freaked and wonder if they're part of the Russian mafia which the story explores. Next phase coming soon.

Novel-- Still reviewing it.

Anthology-- The last thing I wanted to do in the middle of production is change directions. Bottomline: anthologies do not sell well. Solution: position the product to a receptive audience of hardcore supporters.

PART: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

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Postcards from home



The retreat is complete. Almost 2400 miles later and I can not decide if I prefer home or if I prefer the retreat. It is going to take a few weeks, maybe months, before I capture all the thoughts and meditations into words.

Retreat reading reviews and meditations

For the road, I packed five books to read and have completed three. I may not complete the other two before I return. However, I do have a few thoughts on the first two I finished reading.

[ 1 ]


Sonnets of Orpheus
I completed reading Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus. Two things struck me as a bit odd. Rilke is considered Germany’s celebrated lyric poet and Orpheus is considered the mythologic poet/son of Apollo. The odd part, in my humble opinion, is that the English translation lacks the musicality of lyric poetry. This may be due to the word for word translation of sonnets from German to English. The sonnets themselves contain the essense of Rilke’s imagination, but I felt something was fundamentally missing. At first I thought it was like listening to Handel’s Messiah sans chorus. Next I considered that maybe the spirit of the sonnets was absent or usurped for an accurate, literal translation into English. It is not that I didn’t enjoy the book, but I didn’t experience the rich textures that I did when reading Rilke’s Elegies.

The sonnets themselves are, for the most part, technical sonnets (i.e. four strophes; four lines in the first two strophes and three lines for the final two strophes). Due to the literal translation, many of the sonnets did not feature iambic pentameter nor rhyming lines. This challenged me to view sonnets differently. Sonnets outside the realm of Shakespearian or Spenserian formalism.

Two nights ago, I wrote a diameter, free verse sonnet just for the exercise. The format is much to my liking -- more a syllabic sonnet than a metrical sonnet. I more explore this neoformal sonnet.

[ 2 ]


A Book of Minutes
I completed reading Cathy Smith Bowers’ A Book of Minutes. Organized in the fashion of a medieval prayer book the collection uses the formal poem structure of a minute: 60 syllables in length and three strophes with the following line structure; 8, 4, 4, 4--. I think the original form included rhyming couplet but Cathy Smith Bowers rarely includes rhyming lines. She does include some double minutes (120 syllables, 24 lines, six strophes) and some informal minutes (does not follow the 8, 4, 4, 4-- structure).

The Book of Minutes is divided into the following sections: Martins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. Martins, Sext and Vespers intrigue me most. Martins is a collection of herb minutes. Sext is somewhat autobiographical minutes. Vespers collects memorial minutes.

I seem drawn to syllabic poem structures. Between Rilke’s sonnets and Bowers’ minutes I am further attracted to the thematic and formal structure with which to explore ideas. Rilke’s sonnets explore life and death and love in two parts. Bowers’ explores various themes including life and love and loss and memory in eight sections with each section representing an interpretation of an medieval prayer book.

Somewhere in America


Somewhere in America

I've retreated to the American Wilderness for a time.

There's something about reading Rilke's poetry along a river's edge that mystifies me.

2nd year anniversary

This is my second year anniversary as a blogger.
24 months.
591 posts.
16,185 visits (since November 2004).
An average of 28 daily visitors (weekly visitors = 197)
Most visitors spend more than a minute reading content
68% of the readers are on the East Coast.
59% of you read this using Internet Explorer (why are you still using that browser?)
18% of you are Firefox fans
15% of you are my friends for using Safari
Highest traffic month: Sept 2005 (1100 visitors)
Lowest traffic month Feb 2006 (675 vistors)
Most readers visit on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (36+ visitors)

How can this be? Where's my Leinie Red?




You Are Heineken



You appreciate a good beer, but you're not a snob about it.

You like your beer mild and easy to drink, so you can concentrate on being drunk.

Overall, you're a friendly drunk who's likely to buy a whole round for your friends... many times.

Sometimes you can be a bit boring when you drink. You may be prone to go on about topics no one cares about.



Personally, I consider myself more of a Leinenkugel. But I don't think Leinenkugel was part of the quiz results.

What's your sign?

Write Stuff writer offers a great challenge in today's column First Impressions:
1. List one of your favorite opening lines.

2. Now write one. A new one.... You’ve got no more than two sentences to hook the reader...


My favorite opening line:
“I was eighteen years of age when love opened my eyes with its magic rays and touched my spirit for the first time with its fiery fingers, and Selma Karamy was the first woman who awakened my spirit with her beauty and led me into the garden of high affection, where days pass like dreams and nights like weddings.” –The Broken Wings: Kahlil Gibran

My opening lines:
“It’s 2 A.M.
She thinks I’m crazy.”

Write Stuff on the road

Since I've been traveling I forget to link to Write Stuff columns. So here's last week's, ATF-3, and this week's, One more cup of coffee before I go.

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Amid a stand of aspen


Camping among aspens

I packed five books to read--two down, three to go. Poem ideas sketched into my notebook. No phone calls, save for one telling me of a must-visit café and an antiquarian bookstore across the river. I couldn't resist. I broke camp to spend several hours amid more than 100,000 titles. Two books I chose to read amid a stand of aspen and under a setting July sun.

Miles from home


Along a bank of backwaters

The closest town is miles away. During the afternoon I watch the fish jump from the river. At evening I listen to an owl and see deer cross the field below the lodge. Books read. Poems written. No phone calls. Limited internet. This may be bliss.

Indie rocker




You Are an Indie Rocker!



You are in it for the love of the music...

And you couldn't care less about being signed by a big label.

You're all about loving and supporting music - not commercial success.

You may not have the fame and glory, but you have complete control of your career.

40 Millions Americans

It was reported last week that more than 40 million Americans will be traveling by car this holiday weekend. After 1100 miles and 24 hours on the road, I guess it is safe to say I'm one of the 40 million Americans.

Hannah Flanagans ad

Client: Grove Corner Market
Media: D'licious Magazine
Photography: Chris Chromey

Client: Hannah Flanagans
Media: D'licious Magazine
Photography: Chris Chromey

French Broad Brewing Company ad

Client: French Broad Brewing Company
Media: D'licious Magazine
Photography: Chris Chromey