Friday, April 26, 2019

Tobi Alfier - Insomnia

Why Insomnia Can be Bad, or Good

According to Wikipedia, stream of consciousness is "a  narrative mode  or method that attempts to depict the multitudinous thoughts and feelings which pass through the mind of a narrator".

According to Tobi, this is what I think about when I’m not sleeping or writing.

Thank you to everyone who commented on the blog post, Facebook, and email, and voted for your favorite color for Sanity Among the Wildflowers. Twenty edited and updated poems, a font you can read without reading glasses, an afterward about the history of the book, fifty-two pages, $5. THANK YOU Rich Soos, for your infinite generosity.

Based on your opinions, and the cover artist’s opinion, we went with red. There are some wildflowers the exact shade of red that was used, so it makes sense. For anyone who notices that I deleted a comment below…it was my comment. It had a typo and I couldn’t edit it.

To all you wonderful writers, may your first chapbook give you as much happiness as this one gave me - twice!

Click to buy: $5
Speaking of cover artists, three years ago, Judith Ortiz from Hondo, TX designed the cover of somersaults with life by r soos, writer, editor and publisher extraordinaire. To celebrate the end of National Poetry Month 2019, you might want to order it. The cover is a joy. You know the poems inside will be too. 152 pages. $5.

Even though there are just a few days left of Poetry Month to finish your 30 poems in 30 days, write baseball poems, put poems in your pocket, etc. - don’t forget to pay your bills! I’m the first person to quote Ron Carlson Writes a Story, about getting your butt in a chair and writing; you’ll be writing by candlelight if you don’t take care of the bills. So yeah, forget vacuuming, forget cleaning out the garage, but open that pile that’s been sitting at the end of your desk (unfortunately for me, I also got stuck being on the phone with multiple doctors and multiple 1+800 phone numbers…if your insurance changed this month, take care of that too).

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12th. You may have a tradition for this. You may not celebrate. One thing we do for many holidays is pick a perfect photo, make a card at Walgreens, and glue-stick a perfect poem inside. Seriously, all you need is a poem, a glue-stick, and a $2.50 card made with a sentimental photo. “Sentimental” means whatever works the best for that person. It could be a 1936 Buick, or a wedding photo. Likewise, the poem. As long as it’s short, it could be a beautiful three-line poem like Rich writes. It could be a lovely bayou poem like Jeff writes.

Or enough about your poems, if there’s a special poem by someone else that would fit in a card, use that. Just be thoughtful about the length. “What I Like in a Man Besides a Mustache” by Diane Wakoski might be odd for Mother’s Day, and you’d have to print it in 4pt font.

Let’s talk about books for a second. We all probably have favorites that we think someone else would love. You would be celebrating National Poetry Month by buying a book by a favorite writer, and celebrating Mother’s Day by sharing that book (I JUST got a text from Jeff from Barnes & Noble saying Adam Zagajewski has a new book out, and ours will be coming tomorrow. Happy Mother’s Day to me!).

Click to buy: $5
If you’re on Facebook, you might want to send a friend request to a writer you like. That doesn’t mean you have to participate in their conversations, but you may find the journals that accept them, journals that don’t, and questions they may have.  Be thoughtful about who you choose. If you’re not a fan of politics, or cat pictures, don’t friend the person for whom that’s their life. By friending a new writer, you will see posts by other writers they know. The circle can grow wider and wider, a lot of it will be interesting, and if/when you have something to say, writers you respect will read you.

Likewise Facebook groups. There’s a closed group called “Calls for Submission (Poetry, Fiction, Art)”. A LOT of the submissions are for online journals. Some are print. This isn’t the place to get in an argument over online vs. print. Consider it one more resource for submissions and submit to the ones you want.

And finally, friend the journals that appeal to you. You’ll get updates on submission windows, themes, contests, and so on.

Keep writing!!! Think of anything new to write about? Think of any new forms to try? Just because National Poetry Month is almost over, that doesn’t mean you should stop writing.

My stats for the month:

Only two poems written. I like them a lot, but in terms of batting averages that kind of sucks. Both are free verse. Neither are about baseball L

One 1098-word piece of short fiction written. This needs one more edit, and it‘s ready to go.

Three submissions made. From the “Queen of submissions”, that’s shameful! I did get a few acceptances for submissions made prior to April, and I did receive a few contributor copies, but as they say in “marketing land”, if you don’t keep the pipeline full, it’s going to dry up.

As you know from above, my very first chapbook from 2005, Sanity Among the Wildflowers, has been reprinted. Yes, I edited all the poems, and proofed it, but the home run for this, and all the thanks, goes to Rich!

Prompts for May, if you’d like:

            Title: This is the part of the story I left out:

Subject or line: All through the city, losers find salvation
For all teachers getting ready for finals, good luck to you. For all parents and students getting ready for finals, good luck to you too.

For all upcoming June graduates, congratulations!!!

No excuse to stop writing!!! Do your very best, and enjoy!!

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Tobi Alfier's most recent collection of poetry is Slices Of Alice. She is also co-editor with Jeff Alfier of the San Pedro River Review. Don't miss Tobi's columns on the craft of poetry: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.


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