Posted tagged ‘Agh’

Somewhere a fly

October 29, 2014


Somewhere a fly

Somewhere, a fly walks face,
proboscis probing
like a dowser’s forked stick,
as it will,
the plain of cheek,
the ridge of nose,
edging tarsal lace
about the pit of mouth,
cutting a slant
through stubble.

Somewhere, there is a great buzz
over a bulged belly
and a foot that was pounded board
rots to punk,

and a person–somewhere, a person,
becomes less human–
and now, I don’t speak of the dead–
by pinching others apart
as if these others were
flies on the face
of this planet, plucking

would-be wings, hanging limbs
as things, targeting with slews
of water, currents
of all sorts; somewhere,
someone is
stomping, starving,
caging, stomped,

and maybe acts of cruelty
are all too human,
even children trained
in their commission, wires
strapped to small waists,

and that feels the absolute worst,
though, in the area of treating people
like flies, turning people
into fly fodder, it’s kind of hard to say missiles are better,

just because they don’t have waists.


Here’s a very drafty poem, for Gabriella’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub to write about war.  I had some further lines about waste, but well, didn’t put them in, as the point seemed clear.  I find it very difficult to write about this type of topic.  

And since I am in rant mode:  in terms of  war (and other things of that nature),  I urge everyone to get out and vote. I also urge everyone to support voting, and to call out voter ID laws for what they are–acts of suppression.  I have worked at polling sites, and can tell you that it is not only hard for some (especially the poor, the old and the young) to get original IDs, but also hard to maintain a current ID, especially if you don’t own a car, have some instability in your residence or don’t maintain an independent home (because you live, for example, with family members.)

Also, I don’t buy this business about there not being a difference in politicians.  I agree that there is a lot of venality in politics, but that is not an excuse not to vote. (And not to take efforts to stay informed.)  There are differences in politicians; your vote does make a difference.   Ask any woman who has ever taken birth control or needed it, or any woman who has been habitually paid less than a man doing the same job (i.e. ask any woman.)  Ask any one, like me, who has been able to have major cost savings relating to children’s health care because of the expansions allowed by the Affordable Care Act. 

Finally, please in the midst of this, consider checking out my new book, Nice, which takes place in the time of the Vietnam War.PP Native Cover_4696546_Front Cover

“Nice” Blurb – Plea for Help

August 16, 2014

PP Native Cover_4696546_Front Cover


As some of you may know, I have been working in an increasingly desultory fashion on the publication of a new novel, called Nice. (I say, “increasingly desultory” as it has become harder to work on this project the closer it is to completion.)

Unlike my first published novel, Nose Dive, which is a comical young adult mystery (and a lot of fun!), this is a serious novel, with an intense and, I hope, emotionally affecting, story.  It is about child sexual abuse; it represents years of work.

I think it really is a good novel, though I’ve worked on it so long it is hard for me to still look at it.  I am super happy with the cover picture, which I did myself.

Here’s my quandary–the sales information!  The little blurb that goes on Amazon and elsewhere!  This kind of thing is so darn hard for me that I  can hardly squeeze something out.

So what I am asking for–I don’t know–ideas==approval==is the below horribly embarrassing?


It is summer, 1968–Martin Luther King Jr. shot in April, Bobby Kennedy in June–“what in the world is happening to this country?” Americans wonder. 

It is summer, 1968, the civil rights movement in turmoil, the Vietnam War escalating, but Les, a ten year old suburban girl, has been trained to be nice.

Her teenage brother, Arne, on the other hand, aims for rebellion.

But they are kids, it is summer, it is 1968, and what they both truly want–aside from world peace–is to be a little more cool.

Then a distant relative visits, a cool cat, rebel of sorts, childhood favorite. 

“What in the world is happening?” Les wonders, as the unthinkable does.  

“What in the world is happening?” Arne wonders, as his sister changes, as he too is faced with a darker picture of growing up–

Their story traverses the landscape of country, family, heart.

Since posting – B. Young made some very useful suggestions and here’s a whole other approach:

Nice is a story of child sexual abuse and its aftermath.  It takes place in the summer of 1968, the U.S. reeling from the April assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the June assassination of Bobby Kennedy, the escalating Vietnam War.  It is told from the points of view of a ten year old girl and her teenage brother, each separately finding a voice in the face of personal and political disillusionment.  


Better?  Too terse?  (I was going to add in here a very horrible joke, but cannot in the face of the terrible loss of Robin Williams this week.)

Any ideas?  Should it be more direct?  Less direct?  Should I just press approve/publish!?

The book will be issued by my own imprint, by the way, which is BackStroke Books, and when I do press publish, it will be available on Kindle and in paper.  I will let you know when.  I am aiming for cheap pricing so I do hope you’ll be able to read.

Further update– self-sabotage and cover-up

February 25, 2014
From "1 Mississippi"

From “1 Mississippi”  (Used For Cover)

A friend kindly wrote that he liked my novel-writing posts. Since it is also very nice for me to have an excuse to kvetch, I will burden you with another.

Some of you may be wondering why I am finally now focusing on one of the old manuscripts that has been kicking around (make that, laying comatosely in) my closet for years,  Especially since periodically over the life of this blog, I have threatened (promised) to go back to one of these novels and haven’t.

The truth is that I’ve succombed to the power of a deadline.  In this case, the deadline has been the submission date for the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

Believe me, I have no illusions about the possibility of my winning, or even placing or showing in, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (called the “ABNA”).

This is partly because I’ve entered the ABNA a few times already,  possibly even with a rougher version of this same novel, which due to its subject matter (kind of grim), writing style (would-be literary) and pace (not action) is not in any way likely to even make the semi-finals.

Nonetheless, a deadline, if one can convince one’s self to believe in it, has great power.

In my case, what this deadline did was make me take a practical look at my nearly comatose–make that anxious-to-start-kicking–manuscripts, and decide which one could most easily be made acceptably publishable in a few weeks time.

The deadline then also has gotten me working on the improvement/revision of that chosen manuscript.

Unfortunately, however, I am someone who is about as self-defeating as ambitious.    (I calculate that my personality holds one part self-sabotage for every one-and-a-half parts grandiosity.)

(Okay, okay, how about one part self-sabotage for every part self-disciplined?)

The self-defeating components make it very difficult for me to buckle down to any truly systematic, effective, eye-on-the-likely-audience revision process–a process that would involve, for example, reading the book aloud or at least on the printed page.

Instead, I have found myself endlessly rereading the manuscript on the computer and iPad–yes, I know, this is bad bad bad–making little edits here and there–oh, and back there again–checking one narrative thread for repetition, another one for gaps, gently rearranging scenes.

But still missing, I am sure, loads of errors, and worse, boring run-on paragaphs—to the point, that I will sometimes read a section with something approaching shock–that, after all this time–it is still so awkward.   Or even lacking a period at the end of a sentence.

The self-sabotaging aspects of myself have also made it very hard for me to focus on certain ancillary efforts that actually matter in the ABNA contest.  For example, the “pitch.”  This is a three hundred word invite into your novel–a sales pitch, as it were–a blurb–that will be the sole basis of the first round of judging.

I hate sales pitches.

I hate them so much I don’t even allow myself to learn how to post pictures of the covers of the books I’ve already published on the side bar of this blog.  (And I love my past book covers.)

So, what do you do when you are one part self-sabotaging and one part self-disciplined?

Whatever you can manage.


P.S. in honor of sales pitches and loving my past book covers, I am posting the painting that was used in the cover of my book “1 Mississippi” above (painted by me–I can’t seem to find a good photo of the cover)  and below, the covers of my book “Going on Somewhere” (painting by Jason Martin) and “Nose Dive” (painting by Jonathan Segal) below.

PPS  in honor of self-sabotage and hating sales pitches, I will not post the links to purchase details for any of those books.

Haha!  (Agh.)