Monday, December 31, 2007

7 Things You Should Know About Being a Poet

Deborah Ager, taking off from a list by Aaron Mccullough in an interview in the Michigan Daily, offers her own 7 Things You Should Know About Being a Poet, with a challenge to come up with one's own list. Hers is worth checking out, and here's my response to the challenge. I've somewhat cheated, fudging on "you" -- some of my items are are directed to you the fledgling poet, some to you the general non-reader who's had the misfortune to be introduced to a poet at the office Christmas party:

1. There are things that pay worse.

2. Staying on the economics, it's a bizarre way of making a living, in that your entire product is a loss leader. You give it away to magazines that won't pay you anything, in order tio generate ancillary revenues -- teacthing jobs, grants and reading fees if you're lucky.

3. You can play the guitar in C and get by, but if you really care about what you're doing, you need to learn to play in every key. If you really care about poetry, you need to learn to write in form, and you need to learn how to break away from it.

4. Don't say anything that the reader will know without your saying it.

5. The question "what do you write about?" isn't a stupid question, but the answer has to be longer than anyone really wants to hear.

6. Just because you hate about 80% of the poems you read, it doesn't mean that you hate poetry.

7. We all begin to write poetry for the same reason: we have something to say. We have thoughts we want to express to the world, and we have feelings we want to share with the world.

So we start writing, and before long (if we’re lucky), but eventually (guaranteed), we will realize something. And this should be every poet's mantra, never to be forgottenr:

All your thoughts are shallow, and all your feelings are banal.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

We Are the Answer

Yes, in this month's issue of LocumLife, the magazine for locum tenens physicians, we are the winner of...

but wait. You're wondering what locum tenens physicians are?

Well, I was, so I looked it up.

Locum Tenens is temporary employment for physicians. It's usually a temporary position where you're filling until the position can be filled permanently.

Locum Tenens has only existed for about 30 years, but the number of physicians who take advantage of it is steadily increasing.

So locum tenens physicians are like the adjuncts of the medical world. Well, not quite. They get more respect than adjuncts. Which is, I realize, not saying a lot. The guy who cleans up after the elephants at the circus gets more respect than adjuncts, and he's in show business.

They also get paid more than adjuncts, which is not saying much, because panhandlers get paid more than adjuncts. But they get paid a lot more -- from $400 a day for your average Johnny-come-locum, up to $1500 a day for a radiologist or anesthesiologist.

And they probably don't have to put up with all that steamy sex that those doctors stuck in one hospital do, like on Gray's Anatomy.

Anyway, what does this have to do with our little poetry cum education cum world class sculpture blog?

Well, for these locum tenens physicians, who travel a lot, Locumlife magazine has a feature called "Destination: Anyone's Guess." They show a picture of a wonderful place to visit, and you have to identify the name of the attraction, its city and state. For example, this month's picture is of a picturesque oceanfront, and the clue is it's a prestigious military school in a mid-Atlantic state, whose alumni include John McCain, Jimmy Carter and David Robinson.

And we are the winning answer to last month's competition. Naval Academy...Opus 40...all the most prestigious sites.

Monday, December 10, 2007

For the Christmas Season

For the Christmas season, here's a song I wrote with John Hall, of Orleans and now the Honorable, one of the good guys in Congress:

I Wish I could Have Been There

That's Keith Whitley singing backup harmonies to John on the chorus.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Naked Blogger

What to make of this? Best not to wonder about it too much. I was looking at my stat keeper this morning, for no particularly good reason, and discovered that someone had surfed into my blog after doing a search for "Wendy Jones nude."

Wendy Jones -- Wendell Jones -- was a close friend of my youth, tragically dead while we were still barely more than youths. His father, also Wendell Jones, a wonderful artist who also died too young, in the 1950s. I had written about Wendy Jones, Senior, and his studies for the San Francisco Post Office mural, the last great mural competiton of the WPA, on the same blog page where I'd also written about some of my nude paintings. So that can't have satisfied our searcher much.

The only Google hit ahead of me was the Victoria and Albert Museum, and an entry about potter/transvestite/documentarian Grayson Perry, and his biographer Wendy Jones. This Wendy Jones, in the bio, quotes Peery telling an anecdote of his youth:

We used to spend many hours snogging and fondling – nothing more – to Roy Orbison on a velour sofa. One night one of the kids came downstairs while we were lying there in the nude. Years later I found out from the parents, ‘Yes, he remembered that.’

Next, a blogger named Paul Katcher who has a note on a Wendy the Snapple Lady doll, and "andruw jones nude" -- Your source for naked center fielders!

This last comes from Katcher having the same unhealthy interest that I do -- wondering what odd combinations of search terms bring people to his list. Funny stuff, as he comments on each search term. Woner what he'll have to say about "Wendy Jones nude."

So I don't know if any of these sites helped our searcher much, but there's a valuable lesson to be learned for all of us: if you put the word "nude" in your blog, you're going to get a lot of extraneous hits. I also got one for "40 nude wives."

So what am I going to label this post? Nudes? I think not. I like trouble, but not that much.