journal

I submitted a chapbook!

I did something I’ve wanted to do for about two years now – I submitted to the Button Poetry chapbook contest! Two hours before the deadline, naturally. While I have well more than the required number of poems around, none of them felt like a collection, so I used this deadline to push me to finish this book idea I’ve been playing with for the last year. I’m going to remain mysterious about it, as this is the internet and I hope to get it published by Button or someone else, but it’s personal, political, and completely outside my comfort zone. The language is plain, with few of my usual flourishes to hide behind, specific, and tells a story. Of course I hope Button picks me, but either way I’m doing a happy dance. I proved to myself that in fact I can put in the work. Two of the poems were written at 5 am before my 5:45 baking shift. 

And in the process I’ve messed up my sleep schedule, naturally, consuming a lot of coffee. Even our semi nocturnal cat is curled into a ball sound asleep. I’ve been reading Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins the last two days while failing to sleep, since book is submitted and I haven’t picked my next project yet, and his words inspire me, making me feel a motivated right-now sizzle. The trouble is I can’t decide where to direct that energy (besides this blog post). 

If you are reading this, and have read anything else I’ve written here (thank you) I probably don’t have to tell you that I pick up and put down projects like Hugh Heffner exchanged girlfriends (too soon? Sorry). The last few months have been costume and performance. Short term projects with a performance date or submission deadline work well for me, but my ideas with longer time frames or ongoing commitments fall off. I honestly think it’s the main reason I’m a poet more than a novelist. Right now I want to jump into the next high-reward, short timeframe gig, but as it’s January and feel like I need to commit to some impossible plans (anybody else there with me?) I’m trying to redirect into deliberate practice and long term projects. Also, and it’s boring, I should spend as much time submitting and promoting as writing, in all probability, and I’m definitely not doing that. 

My best friend and I started a podcast that we’re hoping to relaunch with a better platform and a theme song by my co-worker. I have this idea for a clothing company and convinced my parents to buy me a cheap serger so I can do athletic and lingerie work, but the first step is to learn how to sew daily wear quality. You can fudge a little…or maybe a lot…for costumes only you will be wearing. And of course, there are the books, stories, and songs asking to be written. These are only the cream at the top of all I am theoretically working on. My actual life involves working about forty-five hours a week and training at an aerial studio another four hours a week, while still trying to have time with my partner. Time might be why I embrace short term projects. When I explain my life and hobbies to people their eyes glaze over! Even now I’m stopping myself from continuing with the list and having the epiphany that everyone who says I’m a workaholic is correct. 

This year, I didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions. I felt like I had plenty already in motion, and my only resolution was to keep going. Last year I asked myself and the universe to teach me to practice, and to finish what I start. As a result, 2017 was one of the most difficult and rewarding for me on a personal level, involving a job transition, a move, starting aerial seriously, getting back into performance, and starting to get a handle on my finances. I asked and I received, and it’s been a whammy. So this year, I’m going to keep working, keep my head down, and figure out how to make the magic happen. Maybe, hopefully, I’ll even blog sometimes. And I will definitely post if anything comes of the poetry submission. 

May your resolutions and dreams kick you in the butt…gently. 

XOXO,

Charles

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A Notebook is a Kid’s Best Friend

You know that feeling of a brilliant idea you’re sure you had, now just out of reach? Like waking from a vivid dream with no memory of the dream.

Or maybe you had the wording for what you wanted to say just right, but you didn’t jot it down and now none of your phrasing feels as poignant. 

One of my mom’s artist’s magazines told me to carry a notebook everywhere I went, no matter what, for that perfect image waiting to be sketched. Most writers will say to have it beside the bed, for when inspiration (a drawing in of breath) strikes. That is, by the way, how I’m writing this, on a night when I fell asleep too early and woke up at 2am wired. 

So why do I forget to write things down? Because I’m at work, driving, or otherwise find it impossible or unsafe? Sometimes. But as a member of the human race, no matter how well I think I know something, I have to keep learning these lessons. I’ve gone whole weeks with a bag filled with novels and crochet projects, but no notebook or no pen. 

Plus, and I’m sure you can relate, I act like my phone can do the job. I have Evernote, the WordPress app, can even sketch with a stylus. Which is fabulous! My phone is more mini computer and writing implement than communication device in how I use it. Sure, I get distracted, but more than that, half the time I want to write something on my phone, it’s dead! Paper is amazingly reliable. 

Even as I’m writing this I’m struggling with formatting issues that aren’t a big deal, but take me out of my flow. 

Plus, it’s easier to avoid editing while writing on paper, and save that pesky judgmental voice for later, when typing up. Of course I’ll keep using my phone for creative endeavors. But there still needs to be a notebook on me at all times.

What about you? Is your phone enough? Are you attached to a notebook or sketch pad? Is there some other method that works for you? I’d love to hear!