Saturday, July 23, 2016

Throw Lines -- new book now available!

By now my latest ebook, Throw Lines, should be available on Amazon for the amazingly low price of just 99 cents.

This is my 11th book. Not bad for someone who, in his 7th  book declared dramatically and unequivocally that it was to be his final book, that he was done for good being a writer, finished, no más. (I think you can “Look Inside” and read it for yourself right here.)

Of course in the world of ebooks, edits, emendations and changes can be made instantly, and I could easily delete the syrupy goodbye I had written a year and four books ago. But why be sneaky and inauthentic? The reasons for saying what I did were valid to me at the time (and probably still are today) yet for some reason I just keep writing.

Publishing this latest book was, as usual, full of challenges, right up to the final click on publish.  Just yesterday I was selecting quotations for the epigram, rearranging chapters, and making format corrections.

With the new book requiring most of my attention, this here Stark Impressions blog has seen a lot of grandfathered material being posted, mostly because I want to keep the Thursday/Saturday publishing schedule going, but also because it provides a look behind the scenes that sometimes I’m not even sure if I saw the first time. It’s kind of like travel, there is an eager anticipation and preparation, but the work itself is often pleasurably difficult and not truly appreciated until afterward.  Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to fresh new material appearing once again, probably by mid-August.

During the workweek I caution myself not to get too blitzed at the end of the day because early the next morning every morning I have to fill all bird feeders, even the nyjer and the green tray and the peanuts, the water pavilion plus the three nectar dispensers, that’s 12 feeding stations in all. Fuck. Not to mention the yard work pulling weeds and clipping branches and picking fruit and watering front and back and side, all this before sunrise and the triple digit Fahrenheit temperatures. Plus the earth quakes from time to time. Power goes out. How am I supposed to get any writing done lurching about like this?

Truthfully, the environment and the physical work help with writing. The birdsong can be all encompassing, and I listen to it more than I listen to talk radio and classical music combined (and if you know me you know how much I like talk radio and classical music.) The gardening helps produce and maintain peppers, grapes, tomatoes, grapefruit, pomegranates, peaches. Watering and weeding is not unlike writing and editing. Besides being confronted with the reality of another day, another beat down of the sun.

A few musings about my current reading:

The Harlem Renaissance is one of my favorite periods in USA history. I can’t read enough about it, and especially memoirs, what the scene was like, the people, the artists and performers.   This article from 1927, The Caucasian Storms Harlem, by Rudolph Fisher, is such a delight because it describes the scene at a particular time but with a whole different, satirical purpose in mind. “Ribald” is one commentator’s description.

Then I went and I reread Grendel by John Gardner (he writes good scenes of violence, the ogre destroying in one instance a goat, in another a bear, before being destroyed himself by Beowulf and then committing suicide).

The legend took me back to my legendary (in my memory) Comp Lit days at USC, as did Aeschylus (Agamemnon) when I got on a play reading kick that included Tennessee Williams (The Lady of Larkspur Lotion) and Jennifer Haley (Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom). In this time of Pokemon Go, Nabe 3 is so relevant it’s ridiculous.

Plus I am forever being schooled on the internet, being caused to think about new forms and styles. I’m a big believer in being aware of what and who is around you. And then to refrain from imitation. 

Finally, I recently learned a little about two iconic poets, William Bronk and Hannah Weiner.

I think Hannah Weiner’s poetry needs to be seen in a bigger context than this space can provide, she’s a world of her own, and the link above is the connection you want.

But I am closing this post with a couple of short poems by William Bronk:   


She wants me to say something pretty to her because
we both know the unabettable
bleak of the world. Make believe, she says,
what harm? It may be so. I can’t. I don’t.


There’s a dead dog at Barber’s Bridge
tied to a tree and two ugly stories why.
Make your own choice; either could be.
Hearing, seeing, I believe both of them.

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