As I make my way towards Cincinnati, I find myself overwhelmed with the amount that I have to report. I've started my next blog post about eight times, but they each feel somehow too personal or too forced. So, I've decided to share with you guys my experience in images until I can fully conceptualize what I want to share with you.
I’ve decided that I’m done cracking for a while. I’m finished with sticking my hands through mirrors. I’m going to wait a good long time before I cry out to god again with a plea to tell me that I had it all wrong. It’s time to enjoy what was budding behind the shell. It’s time to turn my back to the reflection and see what this side looks like for a while.
Yesterday while sitting along the Great Pine Loop Path in North Bend State Park, I started a poem which contained the image of a young woman preparing a noose for the first landman she saw. Later that evening while listening to some of the finest bluegrass music I’ve ever heard, a lovely woman in her late 70s named Virginia, tells me that she has a grandson my age who just got a job as a landman.
So far, I've gone through some pretty amazing contrasts: gorgeous forests, waterways, and farmlands (can't wait to post the pictures, forgot my usb cable though), and then wandered through some of the worst effects of the drilling boom and had to push Connie over more deer carcasses than one can find comforting (which is four, in case you were wondering). I've been booted out of a diner for trying to write poems for people and then had a man offer to pay me for one (I declined and proposed he give me directions, instead.) He had a story that was close to unbelievable, but I choose to believe, of course.
The Next Big Thing Self-Interview
1. What is the working title of the book?
Small Lessons in Destroying the World OR something that on the surface is a bit more positive. It’s in part about coming to grips with your contradictions and embracing the aspects of yourself and your surroundings that you try to keep distant by feeling negativity towards. So, I want the title to throw people off at first, but not keep them from reading it. Maybe I’ll take a poll while I’m walking across the country, “Excuse me miss, how do you feel about destroying the world?” That could be fun.
- Where did the idea come from for the book?
Well, I’m going to produce a large portion of it while I walk across the country interviewing people that I wouldn’t typically speak to and writing poems for them. So, in some ways the idea of walking across the country preceded the idea for the collection. However, I started writing poems with this basic concept when I began trying to learn math, which is something that I have hated ever since middle school. It makes me nervous, it stalls my brain, it makes me want to disappear. In other words, its probably a key to enlightenment in this manifestation of my self. I thank ETS for this one thing. Otherwise, Fuck Them.
3. What genre does the book fall under?
Poetry: surrealism, wisdom literature, awesomeness, punk rock, hippie dippie bullshit, bum lit, horror, fantasy, occult ritual, maybe satan, subaru, holy comedy, lies, etc.
The book will contain several essays.
4. What actors would you choose to play a movie version of your book?
A role as me was once casted for by the Discovery Channel for a show that only ever aired one episode: The Exorcist Files. I was paid three hundred dollars to tell them about the time I played with a Ouji Board and a demon or other unhappy spirit possessed my arm and caused me to write things with my left hand for nearly thirty minutes. My friend the demonologist then delivered my hand of the spirit, but it returned three months later when I typing in a room across from his in the hotel where he presently lives and where I was residing at the time. After all that demon possession, I am not yet sufficiently recovered from the disappointment of not receiving the consolation prize of having someone pretend to be me on national television to properly answer this question. This is a sign that my ego is still stronger than my desire for truth.
If forced to give a simple answer it would probably be Gabriel Byrne (Byron) and Julian Sands (Shelley). (If you haven’t seen Gothic, drop everything, and shoplift a copy from Walmart.)
5. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Six months, four days, and nineteen hours…in the future….
6. What is the one-sentence synopsis of the book?
Tell stories; wake up; so, this bumble bee and this alien were filming a soap opera. (That’s cheating, I know.)
7. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Burning Man, Michael (my partner), not going back to Lebanon where I was teaching creative writing at AUB for fear of war (and kicking myself for it), my constant need to move and seek solitude, and a story on NPR that pissed me off about a dude who tried to walk across the country and failed (I don’t listen to NPR anymore unless I want to be pissed off…they’re underwritten by Frackers. How do you feel about that?).
8. What else about your book might pique your readers’ interests?
Do I need anything else?
9. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
If you are so inclined you can learn more about the project I am trying create around the book and my pilgrimage at www.poetrypilgrim.com.
10. My tagged writers for next week are:
This was supposed to be a post about Margaret and I walking for hours in the snow-ladden fields and woodlands behind my grandparent’s/parent’s farmhouse discussing sacred color patterns, interdimensional beings who reside in the blacks of our eyes, the best means of seeking out worm-holes and collapsing them into living creatures, and how all of this must be found in any good poem--inside of any code you expect to point a finger towards the place you must pass through to meet god.
I am ecstatic to welcome on board to the Poetry Pilgrim Project an official philosopher/spiritual advisor, Carolyn Elliott from Awesome Your Life. Last week we met to discuss the project and swap tales of our respective creative/spiritual struggles post-2012. The conversation quickly turned to our attempting to find consensus on the role of poetry in the human spirit and how we, as individuals not yet free from the restraints of a civilization bent on obscuring that role, can assist others in its creation.