Friday, June 30, 2017

Going out to the island

So, 600 miles later here I am on Deer Isle where tomorrow I'll take the mailboat to Great Spruce Head Island to start my one-week residency. #artweek

I started 17 days ago flying into Halifax with my bike and ended my bike trip yesterday. A trip diary can be found here: https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1mr&doc_id=19472&v=2t

There may or may not be blogging. Electricity is solar and I might not be able to charge batteries. I will certainly be writing. So check back for updates.

Why I'm doing this bike trip

Here is an excerpt from my bike diary at Crazy Guy on a bike, pics to come


https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1mr&doc_id=19472&v=2t

When I left last year for my UK JOGLE I'd hesitantly written about the violence in my neighborhood. Not just Chicago, but in front of my house, the building where I live. I'd also written about how much the election and candidate Trump bothered me. Never once did I think it would get worse.
Now a little over 6 months later the stress is intense. At my blog Memiorouswrite.blogspot.com I've talked about how Trump has triggered emotions that go way beyond politics. His policies hurt the poor, people I serve. The next few years will be ones that will deeply impact my neighborhood and the shelter.
At the shelter a few years ago we were able to house and help a mom and her daughter. We ran a story in our newsletter about Misty. http://www.ccolife.org/i-dont-have-to-run-anymore-mistys-story/
Checking into the motel this afternoon the proprietor asked me: Is it true what we hear about Chicago being so deadly? I almost started crying.
A few nights before leaving came heartbreaking news. Misty's 12 year old daughter Alexis was brutally murdered. https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170613/uptown/alexis-stubbs-child-murder-stabbing-boyfriend
Misty had asked Singleton to leave and he got belligerent. Misty and Alexis fled the apartment but after waiting awhile Alexis went back in to check with a neighbor. She was 12 years old and a 5th grader. Today our church held a memorial attended by 200 school children.
So, yeah, this trip I'm thinking about a lot of things. Mostly why. I'm pedaling and my head and heart are often elsewhere. I answered the hotel clerk, yes, it's violent there.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Flash Memoir

CLICK HERE TO ORDER


We begin with a sudden memory, follow it to see where it leads. Yet so many of us tend to ignore these flashes. We think later yet later on we might have forgotten or lost the relevance of the moment, the urgency that led us there. I recommend a process I call write right now. In the amount of time it takes you to brush your teeth, you can jot down the memory and an outline which can be filled in later. The prompts in this book are designed to spur memories, to get you writing. I’ll also direct you to resources, authors to read and study, and places to submit. 


Amazon
Apple
Baker & Taylor Blio
Baker-Taylor Axis360
Barnes & Noble
Diesel
Flipkart
Gardners Extended Retail
Gardners Library
Inktera (formerly Page Foundry)
Kobo
Library Direct
Odilo
OverDrive
Oyster
Scribd
Sony
Tolino
txtr
Yuzu

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Flash Memoir

click here to order from Amazon
We begin with a sudden memory, follow it to see where it leads. Yet so many of us tend to ignore these flashes. We think later yet later on we might have forgotten or lost the relevance of the moment, the urgency that led us there. I recommend a process I call write right now. In the amount of time it takes you to brush your teeth, you can jot down the memory and an outline which can be filled in later. The prompts in this book are designed to spur memories, to get you writing. I’ll also direct you to resources, authors to read and study, and places to submit. 

Amazon
Apple
Baker & Taylor Blio
Baker-Taylor Axis360
Barnes & Noble
Diesel
Flipkart
Gardners Extended Retail
Gardners Library
Inktera (formerly Page Foundry)
Kobo
Library Direct
Odilo
OverDrive
Oyster
Scribd
Sony
Tolino
txtr
Yuzu

Monday, June 19, 2017

On a Bike Tour, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, down the coast of Maine

Route (maybe)

Wednesday, June 14 15:08 (3:08 pm) Halifax 

Thursday, June 15 Halifax Via Lighthouse Trail Via Peggy’s Cove

Friday, June 16 Graves Island ) via Chester Connection Trail

Saturday, June 17 Ovens Natural Park Via Lunenburg Via Blue Rocks Via Mason Beach

Sunday, June 18 Ovens Natural Park to Port Mouton Hostel Includes a ferry (53.6 miles) via NS-331 and Lighthouse Rte

Monday, June 19 Port Mouton Hostel to Cape Sable Island (59.2 miles) via NS-103 W and Nova Scotia Trunk 3 W lunch Shelburne

Tuesday, June 20 Cape Sable Island to Yarmouth via Shelburne County Rail Trail and Yarmouth County Rail Trail

Wednesday, June 21 Yarmouth to Digby via Evangeline Trail/Nova Scotia Trunk 1 E and NS-101 E

Thursday, June 22 Digby to St. Johns, NB to New River Provincial 11 a.m. ferry 30 miles

Friday, June 23 Extra day New River Provincial Exploring Bay of Fundy

Saturday, June 24 New River Provincial Park to  St. Brendan's Retreat Center, Dennysville, ME

Monday, June 26 Dennysville to Mainayr Campground via Down East Sunrise Trail

Tuesday, June 27 Mainayr Campground to Acadia (Mt. Desert Island)
Wednesday, Thursday Explore Acadia

Friday, June 30 Acadia to Deer Isle Hostel

Saturday, July 1 (5.8 miles) via Sunshine Rd Sylvestor’s Cove, 11 a.m. mailboat

Friday, June 16, 2017

Between the Cross and the Arches

Does anyone remember The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson a young, zealous pastor who ventured into the inner-city to confront and evangelize New York City gangs? Pat Boone starred in the film adaptation. The book and movie were highly dramatized to heighten the tension(s). That was 50 years ago.

Fast forward. Uptown. Chicago. 2017.

A couple times a week we have a shooting at the corner of Sheridan and Wilson, between Uptown Baptist Church and McDonalds. I’m always hyper aware as I approach that intersection to be on the lookout. 1) Is there a bunch of people hanging? 2) Are there any cars driving by real slow with their window down? 3) If there’s been a shooting recently at one end of the street there’s usually payback at the other end. This is a lot of to keep in mind while out doing errands.

I’ve heard different explanations of why this corner is so deadly. One is, of course, drugs. It is disputed territory. Two rival gangs claim it as theirs for vending. The other reason doesn’t explain anything—it’s just violence in general. An excess of guns and desperation.

A short, incomplete history
August 19, 2013 five men between the ages at 21 and 58 shot
September 27, 2015 8 a 33-year-old man and 24-year-old woman were shot in Uptown, in McDonald’s parking lot
April 12, 2016 a 30-year-old man was shot in his leg after a man got out of a silver car and opened fire, police said.
May 16, 2016 a 28-year-old man was critically wounded in the 900 block of West Wilson Avenue after a man reportedly fired nine shots.
AUGUST 3, 2016 57-year-old woman slain has been identified as Penny Gearhart, a grandmother, her 58 year-old friend wounded
August 27, 2016 A 55-year-old man was shot dead on Uptown's bustling Wilson Avenue, the second unintended victim of daytime ... A source identified the victim as Robert Kraft.

APRIL 13, 2017, 26-year-old man was shot in the 1000 block of West Wilson in the city’s Uptown neighborhood.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flash Memoir=NOW Available


The link takes you to Amazon, but also available through

Apple

Baker & Taylor Blio

Baker-Taylor Axis360

Barnes & Noble

Diesel

Flipkart

Gardners Extended Retail

Gardners Library

Inktera (formerly Page Foundry)

Kobo

Library Direct

Odilo

OverDrive

Oyster

Scribd

Sony

Tolino

txtr

Yuzu

Monday, June 12, 2017

A Fresh Approach

WH officials are trying to explain the Paris Climate Agreement pull-out by saying that Trump promises a fresh approach.

My guess his approach will be from a perspective of paranoia. (Link to transcript of announcement.) What’s with that statement: The world won’t laugh at us anymore? He said: “The United States, under the Trump administration, will continue to be the cleanest and most environmentally friendly country on Earth.  We'll be the cleanest.  We're going to have the cleanest air.  We're going to have the cleanest water.”

As someone who appreciates fresh approaches, I have tried to keep an open mind. Albeit, in his announcement there is nothing concrete, not even a particle of policy or plan. 

His approach is isolationist, entrenched, submerged in paranoia. A visionary is one who looks beyond the current situation and envisions a new world based upon—wait, this is important—what’s best for EVERYONE. A new approach inspires innovation.

What if after the bombing of Pearl Harbor instead of interning the American Japanese, Roosevelt had appealed to them to join the armed forces. I know many did anyway. What might have been the result if George Bush after 9/11 hadn’t invaded Afghanistan and started a 20-year war, but instead appropriated the trillion dollars already spent but instead over the same period of time committed to building in Afghanistan an infrastructure, a criminal justice system. All of these initiatives would be counter-intuitive, adverse to quick results, not immediately beneficial, but in the long haul give America the upper hand. Sometimes we need someone who is far-looking, calculating the endgame.


I am not convinced Trump and his administration understand what a fresh approach looks like.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Going Back to Ohio

Memories have been stirred by the song Carissa by Sun Kil Moon or Mark Kozelek.

Mention the state Ohio and today one might be greeted by several responses. Rust-belt. Went for Trump big time. Ground zero for pill mills. Overdose country. Craigslist serial killers. (That last one is not made up.)

It has become a place of desperation, where residents felt left behind, misunderstood. Also the pill mills. They were rip[e and ready to be taken advantage of by shyster doctors and lawyers, using them for SSI money. Many have been left behind by an economy not built on manufacturing or mining. The population of the small towns has been decimated—the overdoeses don’t help.

But that isn’t the Ohio I remember.

Because many of my memories are colored by bike riding (see even back then I rode way too many miles. Often too far to get home. More than once I had to call my dad from a pay phone to come get me because I was too tired or it was too dark for me to get home.) I remember riding through small towns where there was a liberal arts college. In the autumn trees burst into reds, yellow/orange, a bruised purple, drifting to the pavement, clogging the curbs. Home-town parades with baby carriages adorned with crepe paper and silly hats on dogs. Slow, meandering creeks that glistened in the sun. The occasional Friday night wreck where high school kids were injured/killed/crippled. Rumors: girls pregnant, a gay athlete, couples coming together or breaking up. This was my world.

Nothing like the dire descriptions now filling newspaper headlines. It was frankly conservative, Republican in a Nixonian kind of way. Not Trump. Forty years ago they would not have been taken in by a huckster. By a New York City slicker with a bad comb over and a fake tan. But back then folks had jobs. They farmed, taught school, worked the mines, worked at Mead Paper Company, or any number of appliance manufacturers or parts maker for the car industry.

I don’t recognize the Ohio I hear about today. When I last visited Athens a young teacher who taught in the county told me when she left for work on the a.m. the roads were empty. Almost all of her neighbors were on disability and didn’t work. They all had HUD housing. She had to have extra security for the house she rents because people break in all the time. It sounded dystopian, walking dead-ish.


Ohio, home of aviation. Birth place of astronauts Neil Armstrong and John Glenn. Where have you gone? I have flown far from the state I once knew.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Autobiographical Songs

Carissa
Autobiographical songs, Ohio



Left Ohio. Carissa was his second cousin, killed in a freak accident. Burned to death. Just like their grandfather. What are the chances? he asks in this highly autobiographical song full of melancholy and wondering, loss and unending questions. The landscape of rust-belt Ohio, devastated by prescription drugs, black-tar heroin, unemployment when the manufacturing jobs left, when the mines closed.

I might have been drawn to this song because it deals with memoir, or because of the Ohio connection (I hail from there) or because of the voice. Nothing spectacular, the whole song is somewhat flat and not exactly full of emotion, but it evokes. It tells a story that demands our attention, because we all know someone like Carissa, someone deserving of a little poetry in their life, who vanish way too suddenly from this earth. He also brings us back to family, all those needling connections that we sometimes want to forget about, and our place of birth which we leave only to return to for funerals. Such as Carissa’s.

I left Ohio in 1982 without any real idea of what I was doing. I went off to Chicago to do volunteer work in the inner city. It was a rough time, emotionally demanding. There were times I must have appreciated the fact that I was not planning to stay. Yet I did. Here I am 35 years later.

I still have family back home, though my parents have passed. I no longer have ties to Dayton or Centerville where I grew up, but several friends still reside near there or else in Athens where I attended university. I go back every couple of years to connect with good friends, to walk the hills or by the Hocking River. We hit garage sales and the thrift stores. We sit around and talk about old times, friends who are no longer with us, or whom we have lost contact with.

All of this stirred up from a 3-minute song. It is amazing how much you can fit into such a small space. Why not try listening to music from when you were young or that mentions the state you once lived (I’m sure with the magic of the internet this has all been collected and annotated for us to discover online). Write a flash memoir, your own song about a life/family event.



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Flash Memoir=NOW Available


The link takes you to Amazon, but also available through

Apple

Baker & Taylor Blio

Baker-Taylor Axis360

Barnes & Noble

Diesel

Flipkart

Gardners Extended Retail

Gardners Library

Inktera (formerly Page Foundry)

Kobo

Library Direct

Odilo

OverDrive

Oyster

Scribd

Sony

Tolino

txtr

Yuzu

Trumped--memory triggers

TRUMPED

So there was that—the time America participated in global diplomacy.

I know I do a lot of railing on Trump at this blog which is supposed to be about memories and writing flash memoir. This might be because Trump triggers stuff inside of me, stuff I thought I’d taken care of, a past I’d squished down and hidden away in a drawer. For anyone who has lived with a mentally ill parent and survived all the uncertainty that comes with that experience might know what I mean.

You have no control; you are at the whim of a capricious mother who might suddenly change her mind and throw your life into a whirlwind. In fact you learn not to trust. You build up walls in order to cope. Pretend you really didn’t want to go to camp anyway. Or you didn’t need the car after all. You can’t count on the adults around you.

But a president—

I guess I thought there were certain jobs where the person had to be in charge, knowledgeable, capable. Not crazy or perfidious. Machiavellian, yes, a bit of a shark, playing both sides of the aisle, but not plumb delusional.

But here is a person who has upended words, language. He puts people in charge of regulatory agencies who want to pull them down. He pulls out of the Paris Climate Accord because we will become the bestest and greenest country on earth. (A very hot one at that.) It’s just so opposite. He triggers despair, the fifteen-year old Janie who wants to grow up and get as far away from Mom as possible. Leave behind chaos, the unpredictable.

It feels like I’m living at home again, trying to steer clear, flying under the radar, hoping to minimize the impact—and I’m getting crushed by memories.

This isn’t exactly about the Paris Climate Accord or climate change (I’m not even sure we can save the planet); it’s about living in a global world and working with allies, building partnerships. Something Trump seems incapable of doing.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Tim Tintera’s Thesaurus

Tim Tintera’s Thesaurus

I don’t know when I decided I was going to be a writer. Certainly I was a big reader, always had been and admired many writers, especially Louisa May Alcott. I wanted to be Jo. But that didn’t necessarily translate into being a writer. There must have come a time when it became obvious that it wasn’t a phase. The Jane who wrote poetry and fastidiously kept a journal was going to write her own stories.

But first I had to steal Tim Tintera’s thesaurus. What a word! What was this odd kind of book. It was about numbers and words. It was half science and half English. With a smidgen of Latin—at least when it came to the arcane classifications. Yet a thesaurus made sense of the crazy universe.

I was maybe a 6th grader and Tim Tintera was a lot older. Likely an 8th grader. I played after school with his sister. I might have thought he was cute, when he wasn’t being annoying and a bully. He mostly ignored us. Which was good because when I snuck into his room he wasn’t around. I spied the thesaurus on his desk, skimmed through it, and took it. I never once thought I was going to keep it. Perhaps borrow.

At some point I might have had a falling out with Tim Tintera’s sister, who I forget her name. Or maybe the family moved. I remember 2 or 3 families living in that house, ringing their doorbell on the weekend and waking up the dad to see if Smokey or Kim could come out to play, and , later Tim Tintera’s sister.

I found the thesaurus helpful then indispensable. It followed me everywhere, packed up with my most important books. I never left it behind. College at Wright State and college at Ohio University. “Career” move to Chicago. Through several apartments, disasters, offices. Categories of words my constant companions. Through chaos they were there, organized, whispering calm.

Yet there it was as big as life, the name Tim Tintera inside the creased and battered cover. Until the cover fell off.

Tim Tintera wherever you are, I’m sorry I stole your thesaurus. But, think of it this way, you have contributed to any success, though limited and maybe just in my own mind, that I might have experienced. What might have been just a resource for you, a paperweight, became the cornerstone of who I am. A word person.

Thank you. God speed to you. Blessings, benedictions, well wishes.

original thesaurus


Friday, June 2, 2017

Small Poems

Small Poems
The work of Nayyirah Waheed

Discovered on Instagram, Nayyirah Waheed has made a career of writing short, minimalist poems.  

“there/ are/ feelings. / you haven’t felt yet./ give them time./ they are almost here.”

"I will tell you, my daughter / of your worth / not your beauty / everyday (your beauty is a given. every being is born beautiful) / knowing your worth/ can save your life."

“all the black women. in me. are tired”

At first they might appear as a small stack of words, a scattering of ask after a fire. Though small they are mighty, weighty, have relevance.

“sometimes the night wakes in/ the middle of me./ and/ I can do nothing/ but/ become/the/ moon.

I first read about Nayyirah Waheed HERE. Check her iout and her self-published volume, salt.
And, why not, try to compose a very short poem . . .



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Flash Memoir=NOW Available


The link takes you to Amazon, but also available through

Apple

Baker & Taylor Blio

Baker-Taylor Axis360

Barnes & Noble

Diesel

Flipkart

Gardners Extended Retail

Gardners Library

Inktera (formerly Page Foundry)

Kobo

Library Direct

Odilo

OverDrive

Oyster

Scribd

Sony

Tolino

txtr

Yuzu