May 25, 2010

When wishing still did some good

I guess this falls in the category of “seeing is believing.” The first pre-publication review of (RE)Making Love: A Sex After Sixty Story is here: Flash Fiction. An interview with me about the process of writing, family reaction and other personal stuff is here, too, Flash Fiction.

Click on the links to read the review and the interview but also know that this is a great site: lots of stuff about writing and in particular Flash Fiction. With thanks to Randall Brown and Anne Willkomm—she wrote the review—I am in the world of When wishing still did some good.

Cover design by Zaara.

And we have a publication date: June 15. To be the first to get the book, sign up here: 3ones, Inc. is the publisher that chose it. I have rewritten the memoir; edited the galleys: so here we go . . .

May 20, 2010

Poet Ravi Shankar and the world in his words

In Ravi Shankar’s new slim book of poems Seamless Matter: Thirty Stills, published by OHM Editions and available through Rain Taxi, he begins with an epigraph from Wallace Stevens’ poem “Description Without Place”:
Description is not revelation. It is not
The thing described, nor false facsimile.

It is an artificial thing that exists,
In its own seeming , plainly visible.

Shankar illuminates the stunning quality of the work to follow with that quote. As the world in his eye shines in the detail of the word, he reminds us that the word is metaphor and the word creates a world of its own, plainly visible. I choose here my favorite poem of the collection to show you how in this collection he brings together the keen eye that provides a world unto itself with the ruminations of the mind, how he reveals with restraint the feeling that can pulse from the world he observes, and, yes, creates. All the poems are held in the tight frame of twelve lines (four stanzas, each three lines):
The Well

Granite-willed, a wall encloses the well
where a rusty bucket teeters on a hook,
its bottom blooming with algae patches.

Years since anyone lowered the bucket
or there was drinkable water, yet as mute
testament to another time, a marker

of those who once tread the field among
cattle and square bales of hay, no shrine
would better suffice than this old tool

burrowed though topsoil, loam and sand
to tap an underground stream: whatever
we were and are now, such water knows.

With the turn in the last lines: “…whatever/ we were and are now, such water knows,” Shankar takes the observed detail and places it into the framework of a human world with limits and a seamless world of matter where all we are or wish to be is known, taken in, submerged. Here thought and detail come together to create the plainly visible detail in the humility of existence and its limits.

Aptly, Shankar asks us to take our lead from Stevens who in 1943 describes the role of the poet in the essay “The Figure of the Youth as Virile Poet”: “In philosophy we attempt to approach truth through reason. Obviously this is a statement of convenience. If we say that in poetry we attempt to approach truth through the imagination, this too, is a statement of convenience. We must conceive of poetry as at least the equal of philosophy.”(1) He then confirms that he is, in fact, creating his own world: “Summed up our position at the moment is that the poet must get rid of the hieratic in everything that concerns him and must move constantly in the direction of the credible. . . . He creates his unreal out of what is real.”(2)

As to whether Shankar and I would agree on my use of Stevens here, I’ll await his comment.

In the meantime, I urge you, dear readers, to find and read this collection of stunning images that will make you think and think again. And what more can we ask of the poet?

1. Wallace Stevens, The Necessary Angel (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1951), pp. 41-42.
2. Ibid., p. 58.

May 16, 2010

The Book Cover!

Here is the book cover, designed by Book is coming soon: I've proofed the galleys, am ever so close. Take a look:

May 09, 2010

Best Way to Choose

As those of you who follow me here know, I have a book coming out entitled (Re)Making Love: A Sex After Sixty Story. New Cover soon by the fabulous Zaara who is now doing heart-opening work for a children's hospital! You will see the new cover here and at my publisher's site: 3ones, Inc.. I am a writer interested in the bemusing eBook marketplace and will talk more about that soon on a blog that is not live yet but that the imaginative, innovative Kelly Abbott, CEO of 3ones, Inc., will make live soon. And I'll review eBooks on that site and discuss the state of publishing from a writer's point of view.

I have written an intro for that part of my writing life and want to let my followers know about that among other things that will unfold both there and here.

I care about the willed word. What is the best way to choose? Here’s my answer:

Choose implies alternative. Think about it and we’re right there with Adam and Eve choosing to eat or not to eat that apple. There we are right into the questions of everything we do. We know they shouldn’t have: Every time we choose we’re stuck with them in shoulda, woulda, coulda.

And it all begins with a word.

Shakespeare never lets us forget how powerful the word is. His fool in Twelfth Night, Feste the jester when accused by Maria, Olivia’s lady-in-waiting: My lady will hang thee for thy absence, answers, Let her hang me. He that is well-hanged … . The fool, who is anything but, shows us what a word can do: end your life or flaunt your power.

Emerson says the “word, if traced to its root, is found to be borrowed from some material appearance. Right means straight, wrong means twisted … The whole of nature is a metaphor of the human mind.”

Should we choose to speak, to love, to eat or not to eat, to be or not to be—the words we choose define us.

I argue that that every word is a metaphor—and all we mean or wish to mean.

So choose carefully.

I will too.