I am supposed to be doing something important right now

To post or not to post. To repeat old habits, or to start new ones.

That is how I concluded last week’s blog post. Further, I revealed that I wrote multiple drafts of the post. From a few different angles. And did not plan on posting them online.

However, a little bird told me it might be worth reading. So, in the tradition of chapbooks, I pulled together the scraps and assembled a small e-book.

The e-book runs 4000 words. Part one is a preface (basically, last week’s blog post). Part two contains five short chapters of blog extras. Consider it bonus material. Like 90s audio CD hidden tracks. Part three is a collection of twelve confessions.

The e-book is available FREE for those who have Kindle unlimited. Otherwise it is a meager $0.99 to download a copy.

Hope you enjoy it. If you like what you find, please leave a comment below or give it a starred review on Amazon. Much gratitude!

Confessions, or to repeat old habits

During the last month I reflected on things I wrote a decade ago. The original idea I had was to simply repost material as a Throwback Thursday blog post. But when I reviewed the writings from those halcyon days before the disruption of iPhones, social media, tweets and posts — I noticed something. The meaning was illusive. I am still pondering it.

The first blog post was about photography. The second was about a poetry reading. The third was about a published essay. The fourth blog post was to be about confessions. Each week I wanted to add nuance and/or context to the original piece. Or at least a different facet of the original. To see it from a different angle. But that week I wrote four different takes on a post time stamped August 23, 2007.

One draft continued after the manner of the previous confessions series. The second draft crafted a meditation on the form and function of the confessions. Another explored the definition. What does the word “confession” mean? And finally, there was a brief homage to the blogger who inspired the confessional series. Ten years ago, there were at least a dozen bloggers (writers, thinkers and artists) I read daily.

To write and post one (but not all) of these different perspectives seemed to me limited in scope and context. To post all seemed unfair to the reader — not to mention indulgent and esoteric. And so, I scrapped the plan. Missed the Thursday deadline. And reflected on a path forward.

And then, during that weekend, I discovered an old spiral notebook from. . . well. . . a long time ago. In those days, my small Southern rental house had no internet, television or air conditioning. The only computer technology I owned at the time was a Brother electric typewriter. The notebook exposed a habit, a pattern, of mine that I have not altered from in years.

The red spiral notebook contained three drafts of a letter to a family member. Each draft was a variance of the previous letter. Each draft removed or altered items regarding hopes, fears and dreams. And the final draft was never mailed. More than one writing teacher and mentor told me that I tend to censor my writing. To hide details. Hide intimacy. This may be the nature of men. It may be my upbringing in a religious household. A home that taught everyone will be accountable to God for every word spoken and written. But failed to offer that if God is sovereign, then he already knows every word and deed I will ever do in my life. And he chose to love me anyway. But I digress.

To post or not to post. To repeat old habits, or to start new ones.

Confessions : 12

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01. Monday: the yogurt was a wee bit past its edible state. I ate it anyway.
02. Tuesday: the milk was a starting to go sour. I drank it anyway.
03. Stomach produced loud gurgling disapproval for two days.
04. I threw out the milk and yogurt, and drank ginger tea all day.
05. Last week: wore mismatched socks all week. To the office.
06. No one noticed.
07. Or did not tell me.
08. I aced this silly test [link]. It felt good to earn the “A+” badge. But it also made me feel stupid that even took the quiz at all.
09. Most lunch breaks I walk through the city.
10. Or walk along River Walk.
11. Or walk to the lakefront.
12. Or sometimes find a coffeeshop and read ghazals.

Previous confessions: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

Searching for lost confessions

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There is so much to confess. A thousand things must be confessed.

Thirteen moons since last I confessed.

What is confession? The admission of guilt? A written or oral disclosure of activity committed that requires reconciliation, restitution, and restoration?

Confessional poetry of the 1950s and 1960s (think of poets like John Berryman, Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell) forever changed the course of American poetry. It was less of a religious expression and more of a psychological therapy for the poet(s).

When I first started posting confessions it was somewhere closer to a Japanese renga meets an American confessional poem meets to-do-list.

But those confessions, those poems, those lists, fell into my beard and the rain washed them down Jefferson Street to the Third Ward. I have tried to locate them…
in coffeeshops…
underpasses…
alleys…
and park lots…

Previous confessions: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

Confessions : 10

01. It has been many winters since my last confession.

02. Yesterday, I jogged three miles west of the village.

03. In the rain. And wind.

04. A woman stopped her SUV along the road to ask if I needed a ride. I thanked her and declined.

05. I am reading a volume of poetry by Robert Lowell for the first time.

06. And also reading Lamentations.

07. Last week, the faithful MacBook Pro of seven years — named Hagar — nose-dived into hard drive oblivion.

08. Nearly seven days without a laptop and connection to the internet.

09. Hagar’s replacement arrived. Now connected to the matrix.

10. Somehow, I miss those days of non-digital, non-internet existence.

Previous confessions: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

Confessions : 08

01. I still have not purchased a Christmas Tree…
02. and I am not going out this weekend to purchase one.
03. So, there will be no Christmas tree this year.
04. Something about the holiday consumerism confuses me…
05. and depresses me…
06. and oddly I am grateful because book sales for the publishing imprint I helped launch is more than 20% better than projected.
07. I’m still sleeping in the living room.
08. I will not explain #7.
09. But I will explain #10.
10. My entire library and art supplies were moved to the garage.

Confessions : 07

01. Homemade chocolate chip cookies taste really good at 10 p.m.
02. I’ve been sleeping in the living room since October.
03. This photo of the Burnsville Town Square reminds me of a weekend I didn’t have to work.
04. It also reminds me of how many days I missed chasing this illusion called a career.
05. I have $3 in my wallet…
06. and it has to last until payday.
07. I have not bought a Christmas tree yet…
08. because it costs more than $3.
09. And I don’t want a tree that has to be senselessly cut down and kept on life support until it slowly withers and dies around January 18th.
10. An Alpine Spruce is nice and will be decorated, watered and planted outside facing west when the time is right.
11. Also, I’m wearing a pair of Ugg boots a family member bought me nine years ago. They are comfortable, do not need repair, look great and make my other shoes jealous.

Confessions : 06

01. I got less than five hours of sleep last night.
02. Three poem sketches were written due to this insomnia.
03. The first time I’ve written poetry since the writers residency in July.
04. I’ve been developing other people’s books for publication,
05. and neglecting my own literary efforts.
06. I am supposed to be writing regularly column for The Indie, but I haven’t submitted anything in two months.
07. I am supposed to be doing something important right now…
08. but one spreadsheet looks just like all the others…

Confessions : 05

01. I did not attend Bele Chere, Asheville’s biggest party of the year.
02. I wanted to.
03. No I did not.
04. I only wanted to attend the Kenny Wayne Shepherd concert.
05. My urban garden looks pathetic.
06. I am supposed to be writing regularly column for The Indie, but I haven’t submitted a story in over a month.
07. I am supposed to be contributing original street/citizen-journalism writings to a city blog called Asheviller. (If you are familiar with Gothamist and Seattlest then you get the idea of Asheviller.)
08. I designed and launched a new website, Coffeehouse Junkie, as a beta version, but haven’t had time to develop the individual pages.
09. I’m listening to Vanessa Boyd’s Unkept Woman on iTunes.
10. My laptop’s battery is at a critical depletion point and I need to rejuice the MBP.

Confessions : 04

01. The neighborhood is haunted by a family of large, loud crows.
02. I had a flat tire on the way to work this morning. Providentially (or serendipitously), I noticed it within an mile of Expert Tires (an establishment that I frequent for car maintenance) where they had me back on the road in under 45 minutes with a new, free tire (because the one that blew had a warranty).
03. For bedtime stories, I read T.S. Eliot to my children.
04. I am reading a biography General George E. Pickett and noticed the other day, as I looked into a mirror, that with my hair parted on the left there is a curious resemblance. This is amusing for I’ve been told I resemble the actor Matthew Broderick when he starred in the film Glory.