Random musings on a writer's life & times, with occasional input from acquaintances


Saturday, November 23, 2002

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
--Albert Einstein

Friday, November 22, 2002

I've decided it's time to subject you to my interest in e. e. cummings.

When I was in high school, my best friend often quoted cummings. What a pretentious phony, I thought. (Imagine what I thought of people I DIDN'T like.) Years later, I became a poet, and learned to appreciate cummings. My friend sold Amway, then moved on to the carpet-cleaning business. I haven't seen him in years, so I don't know if he still quotes e.e.

Here's a cummings poem I like a lot:

if you like my poems let them

if you like my poems let them
walk in the evening,a little behind you

then people will say
"Along this road i saw a princess pass
on her way to meet her lover(it was
toward nightfall)with tall and ignorant servants."

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Received this e-mail from T-Model Tommy Goodloe:

Say, buddy . . .

This 19-year-old kid comes up to me today and says: “You ever been to Wahoo, Nebraska?”

“Well, yeah,” I tell him. “A little burg sort of between Omaha and Lincoln. I passed through there during my misspent youth, when I used to drive hotrod Fords back and forth across the country pretending to attend various colleges and hold various jobs. I slept in my car by the railroad tracks in Wahoo one night. Or tried to. Kind of noisy. Why?”

“Well,” the kid says, “I was reading about this old-time baseball player named Sam Crawford, and he was from Wahoo, Nebraska. I liked the sound of it. ‘Hello, I’m Sam from Wahoo.’ I wondered if Wahoo is as awesome as it sounds.”

“I don’t think I’d call it ‘awesome,’” I tell the kid. “Awesome isn’t a word that applies to Nebraska much. But I know about Crawford. Outfielder, mostly for the Tigers. Hall of Famer. He was so attached to his hometown his nickname was ‘Wahoo Sam’ Crawford.”

“’Wahoo Sam,’” the kid says. “Excellent.”

This got me to thinking about you, buddy. I know your dream in life was to play big league baseball, but you stalled out in high school. The fact that your talent is minimal and your size is less might have something to do with that, but probably the REAL reason you didn’t make it was you didn’t have a good nickname. Like “Wahoo Sam” Crawford. Or Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell, who hailed from Vinegar Bend, South Carolina.

It may be a little late now, but better late than never, right? Since you were born in Peoria, Illinois, I’ve decided you should go by “Peoria Dave” Jordan. What do you think, huh? “Peoria Dave!” Excellent. Maybe even awesome.

Hasta banana,
T-Model T.G.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Adventures In The Lit Biz:

On Dec. 18, 2001, I submit three poems to a quarterly litrag in northern California.

I receive no reply, so on May 10, 2002, I mail a letter to said rag asking if its editors received my submission and, if they did, when I might expect a publication decision.

On June 19, 2002, I receive a note hand-scrawled on the back of my original query letter from an editor named Jaime saying the poems are still under consideration, and one in particular “probably” will appear in the winter issue.

I hear no more, so on Nov. 14, 2002, I send an e-mail to the rag asking, essentially, whassup?

Today I receive a reply by e-mail from my pal Jaime. He says the magazine is “cutting back on all poetry” and “we are not even accepting submissions any more.” As a result, my poems have been discarded. “I dropped the ball on getting back to you,” he admits. For his admission, I deduct half a point from his ESAD (Eat Shit And Die) score. Give him a 99.5 (100-point scale).

And people wonder why so many writers drink.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

I've had to be pithy on this weblog yesterday and today because of some kind of defoogledy with AOL that causes the post and post & publish buttons to disappear off the Blogger writing site if I go beyond one screen of typing. I am pithed off about it, I'll tell you. The problem is supposed to get fixed Wednesday.

In the meantime, I share this observation from James Dickey that is both succinct and true:

For the poet, everything matters, and it matters a lot.

Monday, November 18, 2002

It's miraculous . . . how often writing takes the ache away. You start in the morning and look up to see the window is darkening. I think the ambition of art, the feeding on one's soul, memory, mind, etc., gives a mixture of glory and exhaustion.

-- Robert Lowell, in a letter

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Meteor Shower

At the Fossil Motel
with the black velvet
Indian on the wall
and the bedside window
that won't close. August
hot, even at ten o'clock.
Listen, she says, rattling
a two-day-old copy
of The Oregonian.
There's going to be
a meteor shower.

We go out to the gravel
parking lot, peer up
east, search for light
in motion across the dark.
Still stars, a profusion
of them, stare back,
but nothing moves.
We drag two chairs,
one wooden and wobbly,
the other rusted chrome
with a torn leatherette
seat, into the parking lot,
sit down. From our doorway
thirty feet off, lamplight
spills like milk across
the ground. A stray breeze
stirs the tops of poplars
shielding the nearby
machine shop. A brute
pickup truck, all lights,
racks and antennas,
rumbles up the street,
turns left at the corner.

We gaze at the sky.
Maybe it was last night,
she whispers. I stay
silent. I sit in gravel
on a torn leatherette
chair staring at stars
with my woman. I smile.

--by David Jordan
first appeared in
The Clackamas Literary Review

Found this note tacked on my front door today:

Dave dude . . .

Okay, I got Britney Spears’ first name wrong. I know she can’t sing or act, but I thought maybe she could spell. I assumed she stole her name from a map of France. The French KNOW it’s spelled Brittany.

Raymond S. Cutter, Cultural Arbiter

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