Posts Tagged ‘Essays’
This was to be the one on poetry, last month’s premiere “Second Thursday Players Pub Spoken Word Series,” co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and local tavern and music venue Players Pub, being dominated by prose fiction — including, ahem, my opening reading of “River Red” from THE TEARS OF ISIS (cf. February 10). And so it was, mostly, with even its musical component being poetry-based via Evansville Indiana group SHAKESPEARE’S MONKEY, a “poetry band” reminiscent of 1950s coffeehouse poetry accompanied with jazz (albeit in this case, guitars and hand percussion), who we’ve met before at the Bloomington Arts Festival Spoken Word Stage (see September 4). The featured readers this time out were Writers Guild Chair Tony Brewer whose poems included a Pushcart Prize nominee, local poet Eric Rensberger who began his reading with a guitar accompanied “Medicine Show” spiel introducing bartender “Dr. Joe” and the pub itself before continuing with the more “serious literary part,” and First Sundays Prose Series Chair Joan Hawkins breaking the pattern with two prose “creative memoirs.” Then the open mike session added four readers of whom I was second, reading three pieces from VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), “La Méduse,” “Émile’s Ghosts,” and “Night Child.”
Then for another quick note, I’ve added two pieces to “Poetry (Essays)” under PAGES in the far right column, my ILLUMEN feature “It Begins With the Sound” (see November 5, et al.) and “What Is a Novel in Stories” (see February 13), the latter admittedly really about my upcoming TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, but springing from Edgar Allan Poe’s essay “The Poetic Principle.”
Sunday, the second day of a cold snap that’s finally brought November temperatures to November, also brought the Bloomington Writers Guild’s Third Sunday “prompt” session (cf. September 19). This is kind of fun mostly, a group of us around a table writing like mad to prompts the facilitator(s) offer, completing an essay or story or poem within a fixed time. There are usually three of these, the first yesterday involving description/analysis of a recurring dream, the second a poetry prompt from an outside source, and the third. . . .
Well, a moment on that. The third, for which we had only five minutes (the first two were fifteen minutes each), was to write a “thank you” letter. But my mind wasn’t entirely on this. It seems the cave cat Wednesday (more on whom, here depicted in kittenhood some twelve and a half years back, can be found under her name on “PAGES” at the far right) had her annual visit to the vet last week and the news wasn’t all good. She had been losing weight and, tests coming back, the reason appears to be hyperthyroidism. The good news is she can have the condition treated by eating a special *expensive* cat food, a bag of which is now on order in hopes she will like it. The bad for her is that she must eat it exclusively, which means no more cat treats (her favorite: Friskies’ “Beachside Crunch”). So anyway what came up was a cat-related “thank you” to a hypothetical sister, for the gift of a hypothetical book, with the hypothetical cat “Fluffy” standing in for Wednesday — and which, as a tip of the hat for her, I offer as a lagniappe:
Dear Sister. Thank you very much for the book you sent, 101 THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR CAT. Fluffy thanks you too, though she thought numbers 18 and 36 were a little rough. Her favorite, though, seems to be number 52, the one that involves catnip. I would have one complaint, however — or perhaps a warning you might include if you give copies to people in the future — for numbers 48, 77, and 82, I would strongly recommend wearing thick gloves. (Your Loving Brother)
Then back to business for Monday, today’s email included a proof copy of Popcorn Press’s LUPINE LUNES, including my Rhysling-nominated poem “Beware of the Dog” (see October 29, et al.), returned with no problems found this afternoon. “Beware of the Dog” was originally published in GRIEVOUS ANGEL, September 11 2014.
Monday, a new week, but after a weekend that saw some action. Saturday was my “SCIFI” Writers Group critique session, always fun for the socializing whether or not for the actual comments. My meat for the griddle this time was a 500-word absurdist tale about something improper – at least unusual – found in the protagonist’s mailbox which, it seemed to me, survived quite well. Though probably not “extreme” enough to call Bizarro, marketing could still be a challenge (actually it’s at a contest right now that unfortunately had its deadline the previous Thursday, that supplied the “prompt,” but it was fairly high level and I doubt my piece will have much of a chance).
Then, speaking of prompts, Sunday afternoon brought a Writers Guild workshop on writing on moderator-supplied subjects (see, e.g., July 17), this time that didn’t suggest to me any actual stories, but was still enjoyable as a set of exercises. Thus I wrote personal mini-essays on “I ____” (in my case “I Steal . . .,” which was also the subject of the example we were shown first, and thus one I stole); “What’s in a Name?” (on the origins, or anything else, of the essayist’s personal handle); and an incident involving one of a group of ten friends one was to dredge from his or her past (“But I don’t have ten friends,” “Oh, but what about Facebook?”) on which I wrote of a long-past girlfriend whose name I omitted to protect the, well, maybe not quite innocent.
Bottom line on this: maybe not entirely useful this time, but a break from routine and, again, socializing, so maybe I’ll do it again next month.