Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Me on Robert Brewer's Blog Poetic Asides through Writers Digest

When I was a kid Writer's Digest was my Bible. My mother purchased me a subscription from the time I was thirteen that I maintained into my early twenties. I watched the mag go through many incarnations. I loved Lawrence Block's monthly articles. I learned more about writing from his wonderful biographical essays and his Write for your Life program than any creative writing class or writer's group or conferences. His energy is endless and his prolificness is legendary http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Block
His website http://www.lawrenceblock.com/index_flash.htm
I liked WD's back page Chronicle and the profiles of famous writers, oh, and the Grammar Grappler, although interesting, was usually beyond my limited abilities at the time as a grammarian, but still interesting. I keep all my back issues of Writer's Digest at my mother's house on a shelf in her basement with all of my back issues of Rolling Stone, my comic books and other periodicals from my youth.
I was delighted to be invited to share my opinion about writer's block with Mr. Brewer. I had no idea my opinion would be posted with other writer's opinions on his Writer's Digest Website blog Poetic Asides.
I'm thrilled.
Thank you, Mr. Robert Brewer

Here is Mr. Brewer's question and my response:

Poets Helping Poets: Breaking through a writing slump
Posted by Robert

"Last Friday, I tossed out a question to the members of the Poetic Asides group on Facebook: How do you break through a writing slump?

Whether it's been days, weeks, months, or even years, we've all been through dry spots. Well, as I learned from the response, most of us have anyway.

In my own case, I find that reading new (to me) voices is what helps the most. Though listening to the news or going for a run, both usually work as well.

The response was so massive that I had to be selective with the answers, but here's what some of the poets wrote:"

I write book reviews for various online and print mags, so finding time to write my own stuff is hard. When I try to balance reviewing, family, my money jobs and my own pieces, I find that writer's block doesn't exist for me anymore. Because the reviews are on a deadline and I want to continue to be paid, I have to force myself to be a professional and write even when I don't feel like writing. Normally, when I am 5-10 minutes into the piece it starts to flow.
The reviewing and journalism has put my own writing in perspective and has made me realize, that if you're a writer, you write. Because my time is limited, I take the time that I'm given to work on my own stuff as a gift. If I have an hour or so, I apply Cory Doctorow's 20-minute method. For example, I know realistically that I do not have large chunks of time to write my novel. I give myself 25-30 minutes to write a chunk. I literally set my PDA alarm to go off in 20 minutes. The time goes by so fast, and when the alarm goes off I am usually in a white hot writing frenzy and I stop in the middle and I cannot wait to go back to it the next day.
I apply this technique to all my writing: play-writing, short stories, and even poetry. When you have finite time to write, you learn to inspire yourself. The book reviewing also teaches me to have more perspective about my own stuff. I discover quickly what works and what does not work.
My advice: Write like there is no tomorrow, because there isn't. Don't worry too much about revision or research, that's later. Get that initial draft down and write your butt off.
-Lee Gooden

Here is the link To Poetics Aside:

Saturday, March 7, 2009

An Excerpt from my novel: The Uncertainty of Knowing


A smell of steak cooking distracted Lisa from her thoughts. She and Jon sat across from one another at a picnic table in the park. The sun just setting resembled the top of someone’s head slowly traversing down a hill.
Pine and fir branches provided them with an ample cover of shadows. To their right on a dirt knoll was the play ground with a twisted helix of a slide, a beaten chipped "paint jungle gym and a geodesic dome constructed of a woven metal lattices like a spider web and children hung from the bars like happy blond spiders.

They held hands. The faded red pressure treated wood was cool against their skin. Hair on their arms stood up on goose pimples regardless of the summer. She pulled his hand to her lips. Her kiss was moist and gentle where the bones and veins joined and stood out like Japanese calligraphy on parchment.

Jon shivered.

No woman had ever done that to him before. He reciprocated by lifting her chin with the tips of his fingers with his other hand, loops, arcs, whorls and whirls that made his fingerprints unique connected to the matrix of her face.

Lisa quivered.

They reeled from a joining that probably should have happened a long time ago. He leaned across the table and kissed her. She kissed back. For an instant nothing existed except the wet fire where their lips met.

They didn’t say “I love you.”

No talking meant, no yes’s or no no’s. No words meant no confusion, no miscommunication, no misinterpretation, no hurt, no pain.

Night stalked the earth quietly and slid around the day like a satin sheet as they watched the sunset. Lisa spoke and broke the moment into tiny pieces. “I’ve been trying to figure out how to tell you something; been turning it around in my mind, examining it from one direction and then another.”

“Just say it.”

Lisa scratched her arm and rubbed her hand through her hair. “I wasn’t…I didn’t mean for this to happen.”


"This…you, me, it wasn’t supposed to happen.”

“I’m glad it happened.”

“I’m not.”

Jon stood abruptly to leave. “Okay, sure, I understand…”

"No, don’t go, you don’t get it. You and me…”

“I get it, I get it. It wasn’t supposed to happen. Interfered with your plans.”

"No Jon, please don’t be hurt. You and me are great, wonderful…”


“But it wasn’t supposed to happen because I’m being transferred to San Salvador.”

“Central America?”


“That’s kind of extreme.”

“I’m kinda an extreme girl.”

“Yes you are.”

They looked at each other. Their eyes were inflamed with power and hunger they absorbed from the ether, from the residual energy of dormant elementals of the sky, water, fire and earth. Their appetite was fueled by their own abstinence and the ideas of consummations across time of couples loving secretly in the bushes, behind the closed eyes of curtained windows and the muzzled mouth’s of closed doors. The energy was frenzied and thick, like touching throbbing and humming wires.

“How long do we have?” Jon asked and they trudged up the hill into a grassy clearing. The moon was a wedge of pie above their heads, alamode with vanilla clouds.

“About three weeks.”

Jon nodded slightly and slipped his arm around Lisa’s waist.

No one spoke. No one dared…words…words that were more than simple sentences consumed too much time. Communication between lovers, or soon to be lovers take place deep in the roots, and bypass models of romances we have learned to fear, emulate and be ashamed,. When every successful relationship is somebody else’s failure, why speak? Why ruin the moment with giant incomplete thoughts and even bigger emotions compressed into grunts and groans, inept ramblings that fail to express the vast universes of love and hate? It might be easier to grasp water in one’s cupped hands than to try to verbally articulate around a mouthful of toes. As the feet are extricated from a throat already choking on unsaid words, that fire-thief time ticks away beneath all the baggage…the shoe trees and carry-ons and suitcases that are depositories for solitary confinement and the rationalized reasons of why endings must be endings.

“Three weeks?”


“Okay, three weeks then.”

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Paul Harvey and American Icon

Broadcaster Delivered 'The Rest of the Story'

By Joe Holley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 1, 2009; Page C08

"Paul Harvey, 90, a Chicago-based radio broadcaster whose authoritative baritone voice and distinctive staccato delivery attracted millions of daily listeners for more than half a century, died Feb. 28 in Phoenix.

A spokesman for ABC Radio Networks told the Associated Press that Mr. Harvey died at his winter home, surrounded by family. No cause of death was immediately available.

Mr. Harvey was the voice of the American heartland, offering to millions his trademark greeting: "Hello Americans! This is Paul Harvey. Stand by! For news!"

For millions, Paul Harvey in the morning or at noon was as much a part of daily routine as morning coffee..."

article continues here: