Triumph of Achilles

Flew through Louise Gluck’s 4th book of poetry: “The Triumph of Achilles” tonight.

Great stuff. Also loved her book “Ararat” earlier this year that touched my heart in a time of grieving.

Checked out her book/compendium: “The First Four Books of Poetry” and loved her 4th book. Amazing to see the changes in 17 years of a great poet from 1968 to 1985.

One paragraph of her poem “Legend” explains why I like Gluck so much:

“Though the great soul is said to be
a star, a beacon,
what it resembles better is a diamond:
in the whole world there is nothing
hard enough to change it.”

We are all our best selves. We just have to find the hard diamond within that drives us. And not worry so much about the other places where we could be better. As my friend and poet Wil Gibson says: “We are all unanswered prayers.”

Why I Blog

Just read an great piece by my friend and excellent blogger Shay, about why she is going to stop writing her blog. It made me wonder why I do it and love it.

I have been blogging every day since around Thankgiving of last year after seeing how well my wife blogging month had gone (blogging every day).

I love it.

I makes me have to write every day.

Makes me think of something.

My Tuesday posts make me think about poetry.

My Friday posts about what I read for the week.

Some of my posts are short, and I don’t have much energy for them.

Some of my Friday posts are long and go through the vast amount of books I read. Usually several at a time.

Sometimes I inspire people like my best blog post so far: “Write Poorly” a piece that inspired author Colleen Hoover so much it is in her book “Point of Retreat.”

But mainly for me it is helping me discover my writer’s voice. My practicing every day, like anything else I am becoming a better writer.

There are things I know I need to improve, grammar being the #1 issue, but my voice is getting better.

Even planning to delve into the Writer’s Market 2013 when it comes out soon and write some spec pieces and put proposals out there.

Not sure if that will come to anything, but I do know I love writing.

Just like from joining the spoken word scene in Portland, Maine, I love poetry.

May I keep writing and improving, and maybe even take a grammar course.

I love blogging and thank you to anyone that reads it.

edmund

Olympics

The Olympics is on again. I love the sports, hate the commentary.  And definitely give me individual sports like swimming and track over team sports.

Think I may be waking up early this fortnight.

Books are My Precious

Finally started the Hobbit, and about 30% of the way in on Kindle. Wonderful so far, looking forward to reading more. Bilbo just found some ring, I am sure it’s not that important.

Also reading “Moby Dick” which I talked about more early in the week.

Just not in the mood to do my big reading piece right now.

Am reading some nice short pieces too.

Easily the best book I have finished this week is the outstanding short story (around 40 pages) “Warm Moonlight” by Joseph Wurtenbaugh. One of those stories that was beautiful and amazing but I don’t want to say too much about. Women have come a long way in the less than a century, at least in the Western world. ****

Also finished:

In Praise of Hangovers by Evan Rail: Not bad, amazing we don’t know more about the science of hangovers. But as far as hangovers bringing clarity and calming the mind, I would much rather have meditation. **1/2

Wine From These Grapes by Edna St. Vincent Millay: I get that it’s pretty, and she is from Camden, MA. But this poetry was just meh for me. Didn’t touch my heart at all. **

I loved Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight” series, but the 1st section of “The Dark Knight Strikes Again” didn’t work for me at all. **

Also reading:

Moby Dick
The Hobbit
Born to Run

And one of my other big favorites for the week: “Are You My Mother?” by Alison Bechdel. Just beautiful. I am enjoying her more complicated relationship with her mother more than the heartbreaking relationship Bechdel had with her father documented in “Fun Home” ****. pg 214 of 290

I love reading, it makes me happy. Feel more like reading right now, than writing about reading. And that’s okay.

My cat day

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Some days aren’t meant for doing stuff. Some days are meant for rest. Today was a rest day. A day where I had the tough day of a cat. Feed the kitties. Go back to sleep. Sleep late. Clean myself. Web a little. Go have the Indian buffet at the Dancing Elephant. Sleep more. Internet a little. Watch the Daily Show, the cars nearby. Play some games in my cell phone, mainly the fabulous Fortunes of War, which is similar to Dominion. Sleep some more between the kitties, Lenny on my left, Squiggy on my right. Sleep and rest are good. It’s a hard knock life for cats.

It’ll Play

My 3rd time playing golf today. Have loved it each time.

I guess I wasn’t hitting well because I am dropping my shoulder.

Golf is a very fun game, especially if you don’t take it seriously.

If anyone likes to play let me know, it’s just a heck of a lot of fun.

And now I get why people spend so much money and time with a game that involves hitting a ball with a stick and walking after it.

And it’s much more fun if you are just happy for the good shots, and can let the bad shots go.

Oh and use cheap balls, you will lose some every game.

Math Skills

Tonight was the Portland, Maine Indy Slam Finals to qualify for the International Individual Poetry Slam champion. Ryan McLellan won.

When I got that Sarah Olney who is usually the mistress of math said we wanted a week off which I can respect. So today I did the math dance.

It’s funny you wouldn’t think adding up 9.5, 9.6 and 9.7 is hard, but when it matters to someone and it’s a competition you get a lot more nervous. By the way that’s 28.8.

I have always had mad math skills. Was great at artimatic. Even did ECLC when I was in Ohio which was self paced so already did the 2nd grade book before I transferred to Montgomery, NJ/Burnt Hill Road school. I think I may have done the book again which I think was awkward and insanely easy. In 3rd grade I was awesome at the multiplication tables and always got a reputation of being good at math. Which of course my parents encouraged.

Was fun to do the math dance, I was accurate (there is a 2nd person double checking scores), but when it’s something harder then 9, 9.1 and 9.2 (ie 27.3), I still like to double check with a calculator these days.

I don’t think my math skills are any weaker. I am just more humble these days.

And the poetry tonight was amazing. Zanne Langlois deserved the only 30 for the night, and Lulu Hawkes is showing great promise developing at finishing tied for 3rd with Zanne. Wil Gibson was 2nd and Ryan McLellan was 1st. I love Port Veritas, love slam poetry and do love Local Sprouts too.

And of course Kayla Wheeler, Tina Smith, Sarah Lynn Herklots and Heidi Therrien who also competed in the slam tonight.

Tackling Moby Dick

The White Whale
Levithan
Massive book
Heavy
Huge
Full of metaphor.

Moby Dick is one of those books you are supposed to read, that most of us haven’t. Sometimes even if it was assigned.

I know it’s one I attempted a few times and didn’t get too far with.

But getting going in Herman Melville’s classic, especially since I can read it on Kindle without the wait. Enjoying the Oxford Classics edition with excellent footnotes of acquainted terms.

I am still in New Bedford, Massachussets, and now want to visit that capital of New England whaling that hit it’s peak a century and a half ago.

Beautiful book, crazy metaphors, lots of description. I am letting it wash over me like salt water on the beach.

It’s leviathan, I am just trying to read it a little bit at a time, and let Melville’s metaphors come in slowly.

Thar she blows.

The Virtues of Pessimism

We live in times of optimism. Of salespeople. Of positive psychology. Of advertising. Of Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, salespeople, you can do it!

Guess what, there is nothing wrong with pessimism.

Optimism causes people to see things for better than they are.
Pessimists expect little, and are happy when they get something.

The optimists expects a par on a hole, the pessimist expect to hit a tree and is happy when he catches a fairway.

The optimist expect a great meal, the pessimist expects to eat and is happy when his expectations are exceeded.

The optimist puts out huge goals, and expects to meet them.
The pessimist puts out expectations for things to be terrible, and is surprised when they aren’t.

The optimist looks at a report and agrees with rosy outcomes.
The pessmist looks at a report and looks for what’s wrong. Guess what, something often is. Guess what the makers of the plan might be optimists and not looking for worst case scenarios.

The optimist sees something like the mortgage business doing wonderfully and high-risk debt everywhere and sees opportunity. The pessimist sees high-risk debt without high interest, and expect things to crash. The pessimist looks deeper. The pessimist doesn’t think yes is the best answer, because guess what it’s often better to say no and be accurate.

We don’t need a world of only optimists. We need pessimist, we need those who can see negative outcomes. Despite the fact that our culture is one of self-esteem where “everyone succeeds” at least in school. The world isn’t like that. The world will knock you down. Sometimes you just need to be happy with what you got, and not expecting the world to come.

Such opportunism theory can lead to debt, can lead to overspending. Sometimes it’s good and to have perspective that you are doing ok.

I noticed going back for my 20th high school reunion that in New Jersey people are constantly striving and looking for something better. In Maine, they look at their life and say I am doing allright. I have a house, I have a family, I have a job and am able to have a beer and a decent meal. What else do you need?

I prefer the pragmatism of Maine. Guess what not everyone is going succeed. We often need the pessimist to see failure, before it happens. Don’t forget that.