Patience – your writing finds the right audience

Have you ever written something that developed a life — even an audience — unexpected? The final chapter of a literary biography I read recently featured an introductory note that caught my attention. The author stated that of all the essays he had written during his long career the final essay of the book received the most attention. And the most requests for permission to reprint it in various publications.

Those were different days, I reflected. A time when permission was requested to reprint material an effort to share thoughtful writings. Rather than copy, paste, click and post.

In a very small way, a similar observance was made regarding a piece I wrote more than a decade ago.

This was back in the days before iPhones, Facebook, or Twitter. A time when SMS messaging — later texting — was a novelty that would be the most used mobile data service. But that was a couple years away.

A reader of my blog requested a review of a poem. I was suspicious of the request. Thought it might be a college student seeking someone to write his or her literature paper. I accepted the challenge.

At the time, I was writing book reviews, essays, interviews and such. Mostly for local publications. But a few journals and magazines on the West Coast published some of my work. I reached out to Len Fulton of Small Press Review and asked if I could submit the poem review. He graciously agreed.

I wrote a review of Charles Simic’s poem “Old Soldier” in an esoteric manner that could not easily be passed off as a high school literature paper. I sent off the review for publication. And waited. Months went by. Issue after issue of Small Press Review arrived in the mail box. Impatient, I posted an abridged, clumsy version of the review on my blog. A month later I submitted it to editor, publisher, and friend Pasckie Pascua who published it in the September 2005 edition of The Indie. When the November-December 2005 issue of Small Press Review arrived I was surprised to see my review had — in fact — been published.

The review of Simic’s poem “Old Soldier” remains one of the most read posts on this blog. It is embarrassing to me for a couple reasons. One, the lack of virtue in my life. The selfish rush to be published. Patience is a virtue I am still learning to practice. Another reason for the embarrassment is that the online, perennial version of the review is a shadow of the original. The writing that appeared in the Small Press Review has never been released online. And maybe that is best for now.

The review of the poem is the final chapter of a book manuscript I finished. As of this writing it remains unpublished. But maybe one day it will greet an audience of its own. And maybe wander online as well.

Blotter Blurbs & Words: June 16

Strange Familiar Place comic series

It has been awhile since mentioning a comic strip I’ve written and illustrated. The Indie has published the series since December. It is called Strange Familiar Place and features a magazine A & E editor (at least in the first two strips) and the main character Hudson Stillwater, a graphic designer.

Strange Familiar Place also features Heather (Hudson’s wife) and presents a slice-of-life drama of living and working (and losing a job) in a cultural creative urban mountain city (or at least a city that looks a lot like Asheville).

Published in The Indie, March 1, 2007
Published in The Indie, March 16, 2007

Beginning in mid to late April, Strange Familiar Place will be illustrated by someone else. I’ll still be the principal writer, but I hired an illustrator that I am confident will present the visual narrative with a higher quality of art.

Previous posts on this topic: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Narrative Non-Fiction Comics: UPDATE

The Indie features part one of my creative non-fiction comic, Strange Familiar Place, this month. It has been a year of trying to find a place courageous enough to take the risk on a no-name amateur artist.

So I am excited and disappointed at the same time. Excited because it is finally printed. Disappointed because the publisher enlarged the art almost double the size. This may not be a big deal for most of you, but fellow artists (especially those lacking confidence) realize enlarging one’s artwork reveals all the naked mistakes. Nothing worse than being naked in a December issue.

The Indie is available at: Malaprops, True Blue Arts, Pack Library, Woolworth Walk, Rosetta’s Kitchen, Mellow Mushroom, Hannah Flannagan’s, Fine Arts Theater, Early Girl Eatery, Port City Java, Burgermeisters, Lucky Otter, West End Bakery and many other locations.

Previous thoughts and intimations on creative non-fiction comics: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

Bonfires at Pritchard Park

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Feel free to download a full-size poster I designed for The Traveling Bonfires.
(measures: 11″x17″, resolution: 200 dpi, file size: 631kb):
[Download Poster Here]

Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park

Saturday, Aug 6, 2005
3pm to 10pm
Downtown Asheville, NC

Featuring:
Dashvara, Large Lewis, Phuncle Sam, Sunshine