20th High School Reunion

Today is going to be my 20th HS reunion. I am looking forward to it. It’s also one of those milestones that makes you wonder where you are and about the journey to get there.

Twenty years ago I was 18 and wicked excited about going to the University of Chicago in the fall.  I planned to major in physics and maybe even study dark matter and cosmology.  I do wonder sometimes why I didn’t try longer with physics.

Now, I have a wonderful wife, good friends, a job…  I do wish I had more money and some other things.

Without question though, I am much, much more grounded now.  I have learned to live with enough. This doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes crave shiny things.  And I certainly have too much stuff.

I wish I had less student loan debt and kids.  So it goes.

Things are going well for me.  I am tempted next to buy a Writer’s Market and start working on pieces for submission.  I feel like this blog has improved my writing and am grateful for the practice.

And of course I look forward to seeing a bunch of people in person I usually only see through Facebook. 

I leave you with Montgomery High School(NJ) ‘s alma mater:

We sing your praises Montgomery,
Hail to Montgomery,
Living on and on in your heart we will never die in you are spirit lies…

We sing your praises Montgomery
Hail to Montgomery
… Memories will hold
We will never forget the colors: White, Green and Gold.

Almost remembered the whole thing.

Edmund/Eddie

My Favorite Books of 2012 So Far

Was thinking about talking about my favorite books in high school but I did that about a month ago.

So since we are at the halfway point of the year I thought I would talk about my favorite books of 2012 (5 stars on Goodreads) and about what has been a wonderful year for reading. I have already read 112 books this year according to Goodreads. Wow!

I have rediscovered picture books and my love of reading them both to myself and aloud, with Maurice Sendak’s incredible “Where the Wild Things Are.” *****

I have read some amazing poetry with Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “A Coney Island of the Mind”, “Who You Are” by Nancy Henry, “Chicago Poems” by Carl Sandburg, as well as some 4 star books on Goodreads I loved like Philip Levine’s “What Work Is”, Billy Collins’ “The Trouble with Poetry”, and Louise Gluck’s “Ararat.” Here is my Goodreads on poetry for the year.

There have been a bunch of great graphic novels including my favorite book so far this year the amazing Daytripper ***** Other five star graphic novels for the year include “The Sons of Liberty: Volume 1″ and the wonderful and allegorical “Habibi.” Here are some of the graphic novels I have read on Goodreads, need to add more to this group.

I do have more 5 star books for the year including “Wool”, “Slammed”, “Point of Retreat” and “Post-Human” but I have talked about those on multiple posts already. Colleen Hoover’s friendship is definitely one of my reading highlights for the year. And I love that talented authors can self publish to the Kindle.

So it’s been a great year of reading. Look forward to finding what the next 6 months bring.

And if you have any questions on any of these books let me know.

I am probably going to add more to this post later.

Keeping friendships

I have always felt the outsider.

Tend to get some nice friendships, but I often let them go, don’t keep in touch, lose touch with people.

Some I have stayed in touch with via Facebook, but that’s not the same as visits, phone calls and connection.

Curious how people have changed in the 20 years since high school, I know I am much more grounded and comfortable with enough. I just wish I didn’t have the student loan debt.

Who know I might find I need to stay in touch more with someone in the future.

Or maybe I am just due to have effermeral relationships and that’s okay too. I do know I have intentionally tried to have more one on one time with people this year as a spiritual goal and hope to keep that practice.

I should also realize that I can call that friend on my phone I haven’t called for months, it’s good to catch up sometimes even in our texting and social media world.

Reclaiming Eddie

So I grew up as Eddie.

It’s a very cute nickname.

But there came a time at around 16 I felt it was too juvenile so I preferred Ed or Edmund.

Recently though I have changed my mind. Edmund is a very cool, wonderfully formal, almost Edwardian name.

Ed is very generic.

Eddie though. Eddie’s a dude’s name. What’s up Eddie. Yo, Eddie what’s happening.

There is something cool about that too.

So feel free to call me Ed, Edmund, Eddie or simply Dude.

It’s all good.

Eddie out.

My favorite poetry in HS

So Saturday is my 20th high school reunion from Montgomery High School in New Jersey, so thinking of down memory lane.

20 years ago I didn’t really care for poetry all that much.

Shakespeare’s Sonnets, meh.
Most of the romantic poetry, meh.
Limericks, fun but too contained and mostly silly.

Closest thing I could say to poetry I liked was traditional epics like Beowulf or the Canterbury Tales.

Really didn’t get into poetry until I saw performance poetry.

My first experience with that came in graduate school when Saul Williams performed at Pomona College in 2001. Was actually the first date of two of my good friends who are now married. I was the third wheel, didn’t know it would start a love connection.

I considered going to the scene here and went to Acoustic Coffee once or twice and the North Star a few times.

Really didn’t get going until the 2010-2011 poetry calendar when it was at Blue. I miss the tightness of that venue, but love the food at Local Sprouts.

I also love at Local Sprouts that it’s all ages, and no minimums. I love seeing today’s high school students hearing, performing and being inspired by slam/performance poetry.

Poetry is a great art, but to love it at least for me it has to go beyond the page.

Here is one of my favorite local Portland, Maine poets Ryan McLellan and gives you an idea what a Local Sprouts Port Veritas reading is like.

You May Be A Geek If ….

And these my experience not everyone’s.

You may be a geek if …

You clean out your bag and you find 8 ten sided dice and a top.

If you rank EVERYTHING.

If you remember when you started to love Weird Al Yankovic and that you never really stopped.

That you dare to be stupid, yes, dare to be stupid.

That you love to do your own Weird Al Versions of things.

That you have considered playing accordion before.

That you own your quirks and revel in them.

You prefer your friends nerdy and geeky.
You game.
With cards,
with dice,
with scoresheets, character maps, dungeon masters.

You know who Gary Gygax is.
You get most of the references in Ready Player One.
You remember cartridge gaming, the Atari 2600, Intellivision and the Timex Sinclair (or okay you grew up in the 80s.)

You blog everyday.
You read everyday.
You listen everyday.
You create everyday.
Of course, these all just make you a better human.

We are all geeks, the best of us choose to admit it.

And if you course you may be a geek, if you are inspired to make a comment.
You may be a geek if …

Rhythmic Cypher

Just want to give live to Tina Smith and the awesome Rhythmic Cypher poetry night at 7pm at Slainte on Preble St. in Portland. 

I love that I can perform in front of live musicians and it works wonderfully with my poems.  I also got to read “Where the Wild Things Are” again.  I adore Wild Things and have for 35 years.

And there is now a 3-2-1 Slam on 4th Sundays with a 3 minute poem, a 2 minute poem and a 1 minute poem.  I love the poetry scene in Portland, come out to Rhythmic Cypher on a Sunday, it’s awesome.

So it goes…

Finished reading Slaughterhouse Five again today only about 9 months after reading it last year. Phenomenal and amazing book. If you haven’t read it yet you simply need to. One of easily my favorite books of all time. ***** Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five got me reading a TON of Kurt Vonnegut last year. I think I may take on “Mother Night” next.  I have thoughts about Slaughterhouse for people who have read the book.  If you want to see them highlight the paragraph below.

And what to think of Tralfamodoran time. What if you did know the whole your whole life and could see it all at once. What does that mean? What does it mean about free will? What does it mean about life choices? I think there are simply too many random choices that change a life to believe you can see an entire life from life to death. So it goes.

If you haven’t read the book yet, you need to. It’s beautiful, it’s amazing, it’s easily one of the most important books of the 20th Century. So it goes.

So it goes is just one of those terms that has stuck with me. This year has been tough. Walter Maheux was an amazing father, husband and father-in-law. Dot Mithee was a force of nature who weaved an amazing life. Sometime life is easy, sometimes it’s not even close. So it goes.

Next favorite book of the week is The Greenhouse by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir. Fantastic book about growing up an outsider and learning a love of gardening from mom. Sometimes life gives us surprises that we can never expect. Beautiful book, may we all tend to our life’s gardens. Said more about it last week. ***1/2

Also finished:

Adirondacks, Views of An American Wilderness by Carl Heilman: Beautiful book about a beautiful place. I want to spend more time in the Adirondacks. Excited that on Wednesday I will be in Lake George. Read through this at the library on Wednesday. Much, much more pictures than text. Kind of amazed I am the only one to read it on Goodreads. ***1/2

If I Ran the Circus by Dr. Seuss: Fun, silly little book. I don’t think the junkyard owner is quite that daring. ***

Ararat by Louise Gluck: Really gorgeous book of poems. Really identified with her poems about losing a father with this tragic year. Highly recommended, I think I look for more Louise Gluck poems soon. ***1/2

The Water Gift and the Pig of the Pig by Jacqueline Briggs Martin: Lovely little picture book. ***

Lon Po Po by Ed Young: Really gorgeous watercolors in this picture book, I wished the story was as rich. **1/2

After these my reading was more scattered this week:

Started Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk: Book I have been curious about for a while. Took me 2 readings before I really understood the movie. Movie ***, book potentially more for me but only on pg. 26 of 208

All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot: Enjoyed the sample on my Kindle, but feeling like this is destined to be one of the library books I start but don’t get very far with. pg 9 of 404

Dr. Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel by Richard H. Minear: Very cool book for anyone who grew up with Dr. Seuss. Have looked at a lot of the editorial cartoons haven’t read much of the analysis yet. This is a neat book and a time capsule of democratic thinking in 1941-1942. And most definitely Dr. Seuss’ style. ***1/2

Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far From the Stars by Ray Bradbury: Reading these essays in random order. Really love his discussion of Los Angeles. We miss you Ray.

The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems by Billy Collins: Really love Collins’ style, enjoying this book a lot. Have been reading it out of order. Looking forward to reading more from Billy Collins. ***1/2

I’m the One That I Want by Margaret Cho: Glad I didn’t grow up as Moran Cho, that’s a tough name. Cool that found this at a garage sale for 50 cents and it’s a signed copy, FTW! Fun read so far. *** pg. 32 of 212

Kindle time:

Slaughterhouse Five
The Greenhouse

The Complete Novels Of Mark Twain: I finished the quite short Burlesque biography. Very, very silly, quite clearly not a biography at all. Looking forward to reading more Twain.

Dirty Minds by Kayt Sukel: Wonderful book, very rich, very heavy. Really interesting book about the neuroscience of love, sex and attraction. Reading it slow a few pages or a section at a time. Up to 27%

Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves: Interesting book about what travel can teach us about the world. Slow read, not as good as I was hoping. *** 29%

My Third World Girlfriend by RJ Silver: Silly book I am re-reading. His “Princess and the Penis” is much, much funnier. 35% ***

Wool Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey: Still stuck in a tense part of Wool 4. I love Hugh Howey, and do love Wool just have to let the conflict happen and give it some time. Maybe that’s tonight’s plan. 53%

You’re Not Fooling Anyone … by John Scalzi: Fun book on writing that is several of his posts on his blog, Whatever. I like his honesty about how he makes a good living. Guess what corporate jobs pay WAAAY better than even being a relatively famous science fiction author. Of course you also make way more money as an independent author like Hugh Howey (70% royalty on Kindle, vs. around 10% for traditional publishing.) John Scalzi is one of my wife’s favorite authors. ***1/2 23%

So that’s it for now. Somehow it got to almost 1,000 words again. So it goes.

Tweetup

Went to the Maine Tweetup tonight. Was nice to see a lot of friends.

It’s amazing how much social media can be social if people get together.

Glad how well the tweetups do and happy to Rich Brooks and Chrystie Corns for getting them going.

A lot of my friends in Portland I have met from these Twitter meetups and go out to lunches, play tennis, games, hang out, etc.

Tweetup on!