My first book called “Embracing the Geek: A Writers Journey Selected Poems 2010-2013” is almost ready to be available in PDF tonight.
I need to type in one poem that is still in journal, and then do formatting with my wife tonight.
The goal of the book is in the wonderful quote by Kurt Vonnegut in my 2nd favorite book of his (to Slaughterhouse-Five) “A Man Without a Country”:
“If you want to really hurt you parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
So make something, anything. A pot at a pottery store, it may not be symettrical, it may crack, it may not hold water and need to be used for pens, but it will be your cup, that you made, with your hands. And it will be art.
Or like me and Lanna Lee you could blog every day. If you average 100 words a day it’s a novella, 250 words a day a full modern novel (365 pages). And the post can simply be “today f**king sucks. Ow!” That’s a blogpost you kept up your writing journey. And you will keep improving and if you use a blogging program like WordPress easily archive your work.
It’s also about gratitude to my writer’s journey. From 2nd to 4th grade I wanted to be a writer. I learned to create my work on a computer and let it flow. Then in 5th grade, I had a terrible, horrendous, not very good English teacher that thought me being on a computer was an abomination of his narrow worldview. These terrible teachers have tenure, and continue to infect students for decades. Meanwhile the amazing, creative teachers who inspire art, creativity and writing are on 1 year contracts and not hired on. There is both my amazing 4th grade Language Arts/English teacher and some of my friends I am thinking of here.
The book starts with the Vonnegut quote and then has a very long acknowledgment. If you are listed on it, congratulations! You have earned a free PDF copy of the book. I only have 100 copies of the book, signed and numbered so if you want one assigned (there are about 35/100 books unclaimed before even PDF release) please let me know on the blog, or my e-mail address edquinn at gmail dot com (to avoid spam), my Twitter feed at @rurugby or my Facebook at Edmund Charles Davis-Quinn.
Here is the acknowledgment:
This limited edition chapbook is designed for all the people who have helped me in my writing and poetry journey. So if you have made this list of people who are awesome, you have earned a free chapbook. I would love to do trade for the poets in the room, and to pass the gratitude forward for those who are not. And maybe even inspire you to write.
I first want to dedicate this chapbook to the love of my life, the wonderful, fabulous and amazing Lanna Lee Maheux. She is my rock, my partner, and makes me life immensely richer. I love you.
Next I want to dedicate this book to the radically inclusive and safe space, Rhythmic Cypher. The 2nd poetry slam from the amazing small city of Portland, Maine. This was a dream and vision of my good friend Tina “T Love” Smith, and had a difficult birth in an imperfect space. Now that it has found its true home at the amazing Dobra Teahouse in Portland, Maine at 7pm on Sundays, it’s one of the best poetry slams in America. A place where genderqueers, gays, lesbians, freaks of all size, shapes and colors, and those afflicted with madness can feel safe. Where a 16 year old with panic disorder can read a beautiful and amazing poem about her condition and feel safe. Where Toben Tilgenman can make an amazing poem about what it means to be a man who was born in a woman’s body. Where music backs the poets, and the poets back each other. It is a spectacular success and I am so happy it is part of my community.
Next I want to thank New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover for first creating her wonderful young adult romance “Slammed” that used the power of the poetry slam to make the beautiful story of woman loses dad, woman loves boy across the street, boy across the street has no parents so transcendant, thank you. My friend Gennyfer Hanley sent me a link with the free eBook of slammed, and I loved it wrote a positive review on Amazon saying I was a slam poet and how much I love the book. She followed my blog at ed2dq.com and we became friends.
While Colleen was writing the follow-up to Slammed this time ahead in the story and from Wil (the boy’s perspective) called “Point of Retreat” she happened to see my blogpost/poem “Write Poorly” about simply writing and turning off the editor. She printed it off, put it up by her computer and looked at it whenever she felt discouraged or needed to remember to just write. I plan to make my second chapbook called “Write Poorly” with 500 copies. It is amazing to me that my little poem on my often not that read blogpost that often gets less than 10 pageviews a day inspired an author so much. So much that she put it in her book “Point of Retreat” that is a bestseller that has been read and loved by hundreds of thousands of people. Her 3rd book “Hopeless” is the number two eBook on Amazon so far in 2013, behind only behind Nicholas Sparks’ “Safe House”. Bemazing. That fact is surreal and amazing, that I may have more page reads in 2013 than the absolutely incredible and amazing Andrea Gibson who was the number one seller of the best slam poetry publishing house in America, Write Bloody Publications in 2012. Just ridiculous, if you haven’t read Andrea Gibson’s work yet and live in Portland, Maine go to Longfellow books and get a copy of her work, it’s outstanding.
Next I want to thank the Port Veritas writing, slam and poetry community for showing me love, giving me a place to read, and encouragement. Wil Gibson is a force of nature, and him saying “Write Poorly” is the best thing I ever read meant a lot. I have seen Port Veritas go from Acoustic Coffee, to the much beloved North Star Café, to Wil’s House, to the Mayo Street Arts Center, to Blue, to the wonderful restaurant Local Sprouts, and to it’s current location at Bull Feeney’s upstairs every Tuesday at 7:30pm.
I would be incomplete without talking about the amazing contributions of Tricia Hanley to Portland’s poetry scene and craft beer community. Her little bar, Mama’s Crowbar in Munjoy Hill, has some of the best craft beer you will ever drink in a wonderful small place. It would be my regular if I lived on the hill, but alas I live in Westbrook. They also host a reading hosted by Ryan McLellan that is unmiked, and at 9pm on Mondays. I do wish the reading is earlier so I can attend more. Unfortunately, I wake up at 4am most Mondays. It’s a great place to read.
Next I want to thank the heroes, friends, and compatriots of my journey towards embracing my inner geek. My recently departed father, Henry Edmunds Davis who passed away very recently on April 1, 2013 at 66 years old to brain cancer. You are one of the nicest men and fathers any son could wish for. I expected you to live so much longer, as did my wonderful mom Christine Davis. Their marriage is the great love I have seen through my life and it’s so sad it’s over after 42 years. Mom, I love you.
I also want to thank my wonderful and insanely intelligent sister, Melinda Davis Layten, who is ABD (all but dissertation) in computational biology and SUNY – Stony Brook. Dad’s illness I think took a lot out of my sister and brother-in-law Robert Layten, and I hope my dad’s journey away from pain, suffering and cancer allows her to become the brilliant scientist she is meant to be.
Next I want to thank the people who I have known the longest growing up in Montgomery Township, New Jersey north of Princeton. This chapbook may have the longest acknowledgements ever and I will just name some of my good friends that made feeling like an outcast in school easier: Greg Seidel, Bill Dyer, Conrad Saam, Anthony Schubert, Ben Dalbey, Eva Hanna, Kayt Sukel (who has an amazing book called “Dirty Minds” about the neuroscience of sex and love), Beth Cooper, Laura Hahn, Susan Flora …
Teachers including: Cheryl Watson, Jay Prag, Mr. Juliano, Mr. Harry Brobst, Ms. Williams and so many others.
And of course fellow poets including, who are mostly performance poets. I am about 20% a performance poet, and 80% a writer. Many of these excel at both and include: Heidi Therrien, Greg McKillop, Beau Williams, Jen Jacques, Toben, Emma Bovril, Paulie Lipman, Rachel McKibbens, Andrea Gibson, Billy Tuggle, Ryk McIntyre, Tony Brown, Melissa May, Sam Sax, Denise Jolly, Zanne Langlois, Robin Merrill and the fabulous Nancy Henry.
There are so many others I can mention but this is already an over 1,000 word acknowledgement to a chapbook. To all the friends I have made in the amazing city of Portland, Maine. Twitter has been an amazing way for this geek to meet people so I must thank Chyrstie Corns, and .. for creating them.
Also want to thank my Twitter heroes and friends like Alex Steed, Alexis Lyon, Keith Luke and so many others who make Portland a jewel of American cities.
I can’t name all the people who are part of my journey towards acceptance, but thank you all so much.
The last line of the book is “Make art, it’s good for the soul.” And it is so true.
Thank you and with much love,
Edmund Charles Davis-Quinn
Make art! Suck!