The Lost Bookshelf), and there is a poem in the chapbook, “My Bicycle,” that hints at a first time experience. Surely, as does most poetry, it leaves more details out than what might be included. So when I sent the poem to Bud (letting him know it was already in my chap), he took it. Then he proposed a suggestion: how about writing about it in non-fiction, or essay form? Hmm.
And I tried. More than once. Entering the situation from different angles. But it just wasn’t working. Then, I had a recent experience where it all came clear to me. When I was in San Francisco, we had the great fortune to take in City Lights Bookstore, an icon, and one of my favorite haunts. Among the books I purchased, was Marie Calloway’s what purpose did I serve in your life. I’d paid some attention to the initial publication of her story, Adrien Brody which had appeared at Muumuu House (included in the book). And the controversy that accompanied this, the Gawker article (Girl, Microfamed) and it’s ongoing debate. I remember thinking at the time, what’s all the hubbub? I’d read The Happy Hooker, most of Kathy Acker, among many other graphic, gripping accounts of sex.
So, then I read Marie’s (not her real name) book, in one sitting. And it felt anti-climactic. It’s not that the writing is “bad,” or too repetitious, or just bloody boring. It’s that one person’s sexual experiences are unique to their own person. And this is when I doubled back to my own complications with writing that scene in the tent. It’s mine. No big deal. Instead, enjoy this iconic song by Todd Rundgren, that came out the same summer I lost my virginity: ▶ We gotta get you a Women-Todd Rundgren – YouTube. Some great irony in those lyrics!
And, if you’re interested in sex (who isn’t?), or loss of virginity, or how over forty talented writers write about this topic, then by all means, get FIRST TIME:
Here is a list of contributors:
The Amazon Link to First Time: An Anthology about Lost Virginity
Description: Four dozen writers retell the intimate details about how they lost their virgnity in this touching, hilarious and shocking collection.
“Utterly unique.” Kleft Jaw
“A truly jaw-dropping collection, featuring some of the best underground writers around today.” Uno Kudo
“This is one bareass collection you just gotta’ have…” Robert Vaughan
This enthralling assembly of short stories, essays, and poems never ceases to entertain. Everyone has a story about their first time; these writers take it to the limit. Thanks, as ever, Bud Smith, for rocking it time and time again.
Addicts & Basements book, when a segment came on, hosted by Ray Suarez, to discuss the current state of gay marriage. Ray introduced two gentlemen, and I immediately thought: I know one of these guys! Sure enough, turns out, John Eastman is someone I went to high school with, and I vaguely recall his family moved either during our senior year, or perhaps right after. Ironic it is that Eastman now serves as the Chairman-of-the-Board of the anti-same-sex-marriage group, The National Organization for Marriage. Life is stranger than fiction.
And while speaking of high school, not long ago, my writing desk that I had in my youth returned home to me, and is currently in my office:
It’s an antique beauty, and she has been through everything with me, like a long lost friend.
Now, I do most of my work at the more modern, larger desk I acquired after moving to Wisconsin. I adore being surrounded by my books. Same office, same space. My new and older writing desks are buds:
Where do you write? Where do you get most of your work done?
Here are some of the posts floating around cyberland this week:
At Blaze, a story about Tag (thanks Paul Scot August for the link): http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/03/04/the-awesome-story-about-a-group-of-men-who-have-been-playing-a-single-game-of-tag-for-40-years/
“Brute Dictation” by Jules Gibbs at Verse Daily: http://www.versedaily.org/2013/brutedictation.shtml
Matt Rasmussen is profiled at Poetry by Kathleen Rooney, in “See What You Miss by Being Dead?”: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/article/246196
At Up Poetry, Bob Schofield with “World’s Spookiest Dad”: http://upliterature.com/worlds-spookiest-dad-by-bob-schofield/
Juliet Escoria writes about how to write your first book in 33 easy steps at Electric Literature blog (hers is Black Cloud, forthcoming in June 2014): http://electricliterature.com/blog/2013/08/15/letters-from-a-young-whatever-7-how-to-write-your-first-book-in-33-easy-steps/
Bud Smith debuts his new book, Tollbooth. You just have to check it out to believe me when I say READ THIS: http://theidiommag.com/. And here is Bud’s blog, where you can sample some of Tollbooth: http://budsmithwrites.com/2013/08/19/tollbooth-officially-released-yo/
A funny (ironic?) Onion article, “Teacher Just Hopes They Never Google Him” (Mary Stone Dockery, thanks for link!): http://www.theonion.com/articles/teacher-just-hopes-they-never-google-him,29271/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=LinkPreview:NA:InFocus&recirc=back-to-school
Wayne Kostenbaum does the TNB Self-Interview: http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/tnbnonfiction/2013/08/wayne-koestenbaum-the-tnb-self-interview/ – more-113156
At the Good Men Project, Matthew Salesses writes 25 Ways Moving is as Stressful as Death: http://goodmenproject.com/families/moving-is-as-stressful-as-death/?fb_action_ids=10151672481218229&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%2210151672481218229%22%3A574371725941776%7D&action_type_map=%7B%2210151672481218229%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D
DJ Berndt at Shabby Doll House (Spring) with “Three Decisions”: http://shabbydollhouse.com/Three-Decisions
Take some time before summer ends, to get out and enjoy the smog. Take a drive on the NJ Turnpike, or swim in the brackish waters, the headstreams of the Amazon. I digress- when’s the last time you set an alarm so you could watch sunrise? Or met your best pal at the highest plateau to watch sunset?
P.S. Here’s one fun thing about a writer’s blog…my pal Zach found that writer’s book (about their writing desks) that I referred to at the beginning of this post. Here’s the link:
Amazon.com: The Writer’s Desk (9780679450146): Jill Krementz, John Updike: Books
Rough Music by Deborah Digges, a poet we discussed on Tuesday morning at Esalen. I can still hear Dorianne Laux’s mesmerizing reading of Deborah’s poem, “Broom,” which opens this astounding collection. And the haunting story of the poet’s life, and tragic death. And so, at the top spot in this week’s HUMP day posts, comes from a fellow poet and workshop participant, Jeanie, who sent me the link to another great article about Deborah Digges. Enjoy!
HUMP DAY reflect
Written about one of the poets, Digges, whose poem “Broom,” we studied at Esalen last week (thanks for the link, Jeanie!): http://www.tufts.edu/alumni/magazine/fall2009/features/fugitive.html
Sara Lippmann’s “TK” is up at Wigleaf: http://wigleaf.com/
Alex Dimitrov, NYC poet and host of Wilde’s Queer Poetry Series, has “American Nothing” at The Baffler: http://alexdimitrov.tumblr.com/post/58074333174/from-the-baffler-no-23-aug-2013
At Ampersand Review, Timothy Gager’s “What the Boy Prays For”: http://ampersandreview.com/2013/08/what-the-boy-prays-for-by-timothy-gager/
At Fictionaut, Michelle Elvy with “The Wall: A Love Story, Of Sorts”: http://fictionaut.com/stories/michelle-elvy/the-wall-a-love-story-of-sorts
New work by Tantra Bensko and Matthew Dexter up at Counterexample Poetics, with artwork by Erie Chang: http://www.counterexamplepoetics.com/2013/08/the-ball-of-premature-by-erie-chang.html
Up at Poem-A-Day from Academy of American Poets, Jennifer Militello with her “Conspiracy to Commit Larceny: A Recipe”: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Poem-A-Day–Conspiracy-to-Commit-Larceny–A-Recipe-by-Jennifer-Militello.html?soid=1110705357409&aid=rVclQaXo9XI
Stephen Dunn’s poetry at Connotation Press: http://www.connotationpress.com/a-poetry-congeries-with-john-hoppenthaler/october-2012/1573-stephen-dunn-poetry01
In this issue of Sunday Salon, take in some great work from master writers: http://www.sundaysalon.com/shaken-2.htm
At Gawker, a Man with OCD Blows Internet Away with this spoken word poem: http://gawker.com/man-with-ocd-blows-internet-away-with-hauntingly-stirri-1111560858
When you think you have all the answers, ask more questions. They all begin with self-inquiry. Talk a walk in nature. Listen to the breeze. Or the bees. Or just be.
truth: it rocked! Our facilitators were amazing: Ellen Bass, Dorianne Laux and Joe Millar. We had daily motivational craft sessions, and prompts. We also were in captivating surroundings at this sensational dwelling, Esalen, which made it all the more sensory heightened. And as far as what I know- there is so much more to learn! I got a great start on three new poems, tentatively called “The Patio,” “Hummingbirds,” and “Passages.”
While I was away, a new review of Microtones appeared, magically, by the gracious Ian Chung, who also edits Eunoia Review: Microtones’ by Robert Vaughan | Sabotage
I am ever so grateful to Ian for these kind and insightful words. Also to Meg Tuite, my partner in crime, who loves poetry as much as I and wrote some fierce work this week. Great to see you Jeffrey and Pam (also some incredible poems!) and our wonderful neighbor, Dana! And to Joe, Dorianne and Ellen: eternal reverence and love to you all!