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1000 Black Lines

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

Last night's blind date

Malaprop's Café
September 28, 2006
Jaye Bartell reading his poems

It's been awhile since I've been downtown to soak up the poetry scene. Not that I've been slacking off, but I've been spending some long hours preparing manuscripts for press and that cuts into writing, reading and listening to poetry.

When my wife and I entered the café we were pleasantly surprised to find the publisher and editor of The Indie reading at Blind Date with Poetry. THE INDIE October issue hit the streets this week and features banner stories by Michael Hopping and Gaither Stewart. I contributed a small, no pun intended, chapbook review of RedLine Blues.

The featured poet last night was Jaye Bartell, author of Makes a Bird and contributor to As/Is and Malaprop's employee. Last time I heard Jaye read was at Bobo’s. It was the first time my wife heard him read and she was impressed.

We had previously attended a poetry reading a couple months ago that featured two poets with multiple books and academic degrees between them and, well, it was a tepid reading. Actually, "tepid" is far too polite . . . I will not repeat the comments I made to my wife after the reading, but I do not think it is too much to expect celebrated poets with such credentials to read with authority and authenticity. However, the tepid reading was mere sloganeering and sophomoric. My wife thought the two poets were pandering to the Asheville crowd, or what they thought the Asheville audience would enjoy. As someone from Asheville, I felt insulted.

But last night, Jaye read his poems with self-conscious authenticity. It is my impression he wasn't expecting to read. I don't know if there was a cancellation, but he stepped in and he did a fine job. There is a quick wit and nice precision to his short poems. One can tell he enjoys playing with words, both how they look on the page and how they sound on the lips. I remembered his poem about Vermont from Bobo's and my wife and I both enjoyed his final poem about cardinals.

Hearing Jaye read last night encouraged me to return to my stack of neglected poems and reconsider submitting them to pulishers. Recently, I have felt I should give up on poetry, but it seems it hasn't given up on me. Still, later last night when asked to read some of my poems, I couldn't do it. I can't explain it, but I just couldn't.

I just couldn't play along

As much as I wanted to, I just couldn't bring myself to contribute a comment to a well intentioned post. You see, I am often irked by the misuse of language. The request was to "use three words to describe their philosophy." Seems relatively simple, but philosophy literal means "love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means." Though to accommodate connotation (i.e. secondary meaning) the word has also come to mean "a system of values by which one lives." Still, to use three words to describe one's love and pursuit of wisdom is quite a heady request. I suspect the writer meant to express three words that characterize lifestyle choices. For example, if I were to suggest that my philosophy of life is to eat well, live well and do good deeds that may sound well. But it is not philosophy. It is, however, a lifestyle strategy--even a personal precept. Ah, but you see, if I were to say that my life's precept is to eat well, live well and do good deeds, you might think I am delivering a lifestyle doctrine. And that won't do because doctrine has an emotional connotation that is not positive to most readers. So, I just can't play along, because in our post-literate culture readers attribute emotional gravity to words rather than pursue truth by intellectual means.

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.

Courtyard Gallery Open Mic

Courtyard Gallery & Studio Open Mike

Thursday nights
9 PM-12 midnight
Downtown Asheville

Free to Public

Pure Energy: bells, bowls and didge
Okay, is it "open mic" or "open mike"? I've seen the term represented both ways.

If you've missed the Beanstreet open mic events of previous years, then head on down to Walnut Street for a free-for-all of lyrics and poetry and eclectic vibes at Courtyard Gallery & Studio. Can't find the gallery? Find your way to Scully's and follow the steps downstairs or take a walk down Carolina Lane and look for the sign pointing you to a weekly event featuring singer/songwriters, poets and writers. The open mic is hosted by Jarrett Leone (pictured playing the didge). Also, check out their podcasts, "True Home," on Apple iTunes.

Just another Asheville writer

Asheville, NC in the news thanks to a local writer. Saw a copy of Newsweek in the library and the photo caption read that the author was at his "Asheville, NC" home.

Books news

So, yeah, I've been a little busy recently.

Essay collection: A-- The book is into its third printing . . . and still selling well with absolutely no advertising campaign! That’s correct--no marketing, no advertising, just a lot of idea virus sneezing (reference to Seth Godin’s books which I reviewed and recommend).

The only place where the book is being mentioned is on two web sites-- that is all. After 22 weeks, the book still moves over 70 copies a week. Neat thing about this is that the book is landing in the hands of "sneezers" (another Seth Godin reference--sneezers, as he puts it, are consumers that tell people how much they like the product and will buy their friends and family and neighbors and their neighbors friends and family the product which spreads a good, remarkable product quickly without expensive marketing and advertising campaigns).

Anthology-- Final manuscript went to the printer today. It’s a beast of a book and may appeal to a niche audience of loyal readers of a particular national newsmagazine. When I write that it is a beast of a book I am not referring to its size, 360 pages, but to its marketability.

Anthologies, as a rule (like poetry books) just don’t sell well. It is not a matter of quality either. As Jeffery J. Fox correctly asserts in one of his books, quality is not job one--sales is. Someone is really going to have to come up with a hum-dinger of a sales pitch on this book.

The key to this books success is that it is edited by a well known author who has more than a dozen books to his credit and features some well respected writers. Further, it has library appeal which means higher profit margins than retail appeal.

Essay collection: B-- Another collection of essays by a national published columnist is now at the printer.

This already has advance endorsements which will help sales--or so I am told. What concerns me a bit is that traditionally a second book by the same author usually does half as well as the first book. I think it has something to do with consumer psychology. A first book is special, unique. A second book is, well, second place. Psychologically, everyone wants to be first--that is the winner’s circle. So I’m apprehensive about the sales performance of the second collection of essays. In an attempt to add value to the second collection I tried to include one or two previously unpublished essays, but to no avail. Still, the book will be released before the holiday season that is a positive move--if not a bit predictable.

PART: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]

D'licious news

not final cover
D'licious Magazine-- The October/November issue is almost here. Two more articles, some light copyediting and the issue closes and the staff begins work on the holiday issue available in December.

A couple weeks ago d'licious had a big, big photo shoot for an upcoming issue. It is the first time d'licious will feature models for a story. I couldn't resist a tease like this. . . the models really offer the magazine a new dimension.

Looking to pick up a copy of d'licious? EarthFare, Greenlife, City Bakery, Westend Bakery and Bier Garden are just a few places were you can buy a copy. Also, Asheville regional airport will be caring the magazine beginning next issue.

Write Stuff: taking notes

This week's Write Stuff piece is directly related to the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival: Notes from a Poetry Workshop.

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Slate's piece about a misrepresented 9/11 photograph.

Carolina Mountains Literary Festival

Carolina Mountains Literary Festival
15-16 September 2006
Burnsville, NC

Write Stuff: Short story subject matter in the news

Weird. I wrote a first draft fictional story for Write Stuff based on actual events. The working title is Career Mistake and relates a story about a civil rights attorney defending Native Americans in the 1970s.

So this morning I just heard Daniel Kraker's report on NPR's Morning Edition: Navajos Protest Violence Against Tribe.

September 12, 2006 · The Navajo Nation is concerned about three recent incidences of violence against Navajos in Farmington, N.M. The Navajo community is rallying to draw attention to the problem.

Woah. I thought I had picked an obscure subject matter; you know, not like newspaper headline story.

The publication of "The People"

For a few weeks I've been quiet about the recent publication of a poem I've written. Due to a compliment I received from another writer regarding it, I decided to share it with you.

To my embarrassment the poem is published unfinished. I'll let you deceide what is unfinished about it. I've been quiet about this for a number of reasons. First, I've been working 10 to 12 hour days and have not the time or energy to comment. Also, having an incomplete thought, idea or poem published is exciting (because of the editor/publisher's enthusiasm) and frightening (because public criticism for its unfinished state). Further, the subject matter of the poem is not something I address in much of my published work. I sent the poem to an editor/publisher and asked for editorial assistance. I did not expect it to be published as is. Lastly, the poem is published without notes. (Several references and quotations from other material were not properly documented in the publication of the poem.)

I wrote most of the poem four years ago as a response to national, world and personal events. At the time, I had relocated to a new city, had a new job, and became a new father. I asked myself, "What kind of world will my child inherit?"

Printed in Wander, Volume 1, Number 5, here is the poem (over 3000 words, more than 200 lines, plus unpublished notes) for online readers: "The People."

Wander is available in Asheville at a number of locations including: Malaprop's, Pack Library, Rosetta's Kitchen, Downtown Bookstore, Octopus Garden, Izzy's, Hannah Flannagan's, New French Bar, Fine Arts Theater, The Orange Peel, Hookah Joe's, Laughing Seed, Earth Fare, Westend Bakery and more than 20 locations.

Write Stuff: First draft short fiction

This week Write Stuff is publishing posts based on the writing prompt: making a mistake. I sat down and spent an hour and a half writing the following short short story: Career Mistake. It is a first draft fictional account of actual events.

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Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Festival
September 10, 2006
11am to 10pm
Lexington Avenue from College St to 240
Downtown Asheville

Free to Public

Overheard on the bus

Overheard from the bus yesterday.
Woman talking to another woman: "Why the f___ are all these people with cars riding the bus?"

Previously overheard: [June 15] [June 22] [August 10] [August 27]

The write dream

Karen asks two good questions, here at Write Stuff, regarding writing career aspirations:

"What did you first want from your writing career when you began? What is your writing dream today?"

Fill in the blank:

In my personal writing career dream, I see myself …

The least it would take for me to feel successful is …

Publishing, publishing, publishing

There has been so much activity regarding the projects I am developing/designing/publishing that I may have to divide this series into sub-serial posts per project. Just got back from a lunch meeting at the "new" Old Europe (gorgeous new location and great new selection of food and beverages) and thought I'd dash off a post.

D'licious Magazine-- The October issue is underway. The art director will be spending many hours and gallons of coffee to meet the press date. An added complication is the discovery of an import magazine with a similiar title. Recently released as a monthly title through Barnes & Noble, the magazine became available locally in June (2 months after the initial research and design and 2 months before the release of the first issue of d'licious). This gives me a headache. Ugh. The editorial must have known of this. We'll see how the saga unfolds.

Essay collection: A-- The book is into its second printing and has now garnered some unexpected nationally attention. More on that later.

Anthology-- Final manuscript went to the editor and proofreader. Almost a dozen different cover designs were presented to the editor and executive. One has been chosen and I am completing dust jacket cover designs presently. It goes to the printer next week.

Essay collection: B-- Another collection of essays by a national published columnist. I'm making copy corrections to the manuscript. This manuscript goes to the printer in less than three weeks. This book still needs a cover design.

Novella-- On hold until further word from the publisher.

Novel: A-- Still reviewing it. It is about Asheville.

Novel: B-- Another novelist contacted me about designing an upcoming novel. Oh, I which I could share with you the title, but not yet. It will be a exciting, timely, sensational. When I'm allowed to leak the title, you'll be the first to know.

In the future, d'licious updates will be titled "d'licious news" and book projects will be titled after their respective book titles.

PART: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

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