Shadow of ‘The Next Big Thing’

Luna y Penumbra

Luna y Penumbra (Photo credit: meab21)

Last week, my friend, the very cool poet Joanna Lee from Richmond, Virginia, tagged me on her blog, The Tenth Muse, as her choice for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. No, Dr. Lee does not have access to my scale readings over the past year. 

The Next Big Thing is a world-wide campaign that that began in Australia, where authors answer several questions from a fellow-writer friend or colleague that introduce their next project. Then the interviewee tags another author to do the same, a type of web chain mail.

I am most grateful to Joanna for considering me for this honor. Here’s our digital conversation.

What is the working title of your book?

My first collection has carried the title Penumbra since the beginning. Since then, I’ve added the subtitle The Space Between. They also are the titles of two of the poems in the collection.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I began writing poetry only a few years ago, when both my feet crossed the line into middle-age.  I write what I know, what I see, and what I feel…all observed through the cracked prism of past and present me. When I scanned my poems, I noticed many dealt with light and dark and the space between, the penumbra. Folks seem to like that voice and vision.

What genre does the book fall under?

Poetry, but many of them have the feel of stories, too. I have only recently copped to being a poet. I’ve always thought of myself as a story teller. I still am, but now I just crack the sentences into bite-sized pieces and stack them haphazardly like Red Robin onion rings on the page.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Middle-aged guy, gray hair, capable of portraying the light and dark of life…hmmm, is Clooney busy?

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Penumbra explores the observations and feelings, the radiance and darkness, of a man in his life’s penumbra, the space of partial illumination between perfect shadow and full light, no longer young but not yet old.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think they might be surprised at the amount of gentle and universal emotion. Maybe even a bit of the romantic. When I was beginning to write poetry, I shared my pieces with but a few friends. One of them, who is involved in the arts and poetry, remarked she thought there weren’t many women whose hearts wouldn’t melt when reading some of those poems. (Thanks, H. The check’s in the mail.)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Oh, gosh, I don’t know. Poetry doesn’t exactly get placed in the front of Barnes & Noble, does it? That kind of limits a hope-to-be-published poet’s options. However, if there are any poetry agents or publishers out there looking for a uniquely American voice, my email is on the About page. Obviously, self-pub is a viable option, too. I just write the pieces. I’ll defer to my published colleagues for the packaging and distribution knowledge.

Now, my first novel, a HistFic work-in-progress with the working title: Stillwater, is a different ballgame. It’s the intertwined stories of two women from the same county in England who meet on different sides at The Battles of Saratoga during the American Revolution. For that I would need to find representation.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Oh, no more than two years. I’ve been writing poetry for a very short time.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My heart and soul languished in the dark for a very long time. I was able to unlock the doors and allow the light back in only a short time ago. It’s exciting to express myself as I couldn’t or wouldn’t allow myself before. People seem to like what I see and how I depict it. Maybe they’d like to keep some these pieces of my light, dark and in-between near at hand. I certainly hope they do.

For the next link in the Next Big Thing blog hop chain I have tagged my dear friend, the poet-blogger-musician-photographer-‘film’ maker from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK, John Anstie. 

Spring Cleanup

a light in the attic

a light in the attic (Photo credit: kevtori)

The fresh spring light cants just-so
through the windows of my soul
illuminating the dust specks I
set to roaming on this seasonal foray
up in my attic, inspecting things
I’ve left there and sometimes forgot.
Seldom do I rummage for anything
in particular. No, not really.
I’m drawn up here each April
like a spawning salmon,
instinctual and compulsive as
the sneezes trumpeting my return.

From behind the exercise bike, a glint
of post-equinox revelation flashes
upon pieces of incomplete old puzzle.
With unbent wire clothes hanger,
I root about in the sticky, nasty grime
for this compulsive remembrance,
always keeping its pieces at arm’s length.
Even upside down, soggy, some like broken mirrors,
they reflect the gaze of hot coffee-brown eyes
I managed to hold until I blinked
and dropped them, in a searing splatter.
I close the attic windows’ lashed curtains,
enough of this reflecting. Over the bike,
atop the puzzle, I toss a box of books
where they belong, into that corner of stories
best kept for another day.

Shared with the gang at dVerse for Open Link Night

Arigato Gozaimashita

Picture from a serie of the 36 immortal poets

Picture from a serie of the 36 immortal poets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The tired old warrior sits alone
and breathes in shallow sips
as his time grows short.
He has tried his usual wrenching
of tears, spit and sweat to no avail.
Leeches and lancets provided
no relief from his symptomatic shame.
Black-ink tanto in hand,
he opens his blue-lined kimono
before the ones he cannot see,
but feels the presence of that cold
spectatating editor and
judge of his skills with cutting edge
and sometimes cutting word.
Comes seppuku. Again.

From left to right
he guides his blade, exposing
that which should remain within,
never revealed before death.
It is a messy business, this,
and usually a poem is written
before the act.
But today this poet renders
the evisceration and composition
in the same desperate rite.
He bows his head over the keyboard,
awaiting his kaishakunin’s
finish to it all.
Oh, exquisite creative pain,
arigato gozaimashita.