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Bookstacks

I read a lot of books at once. I mean, not all at the exact same time, I only have two eyes and one brain, it’s just…I skip around from book to book. Some books I zip through, others can take me months or years to finish as I leave them be for a bit and read something else. I used to reflect this with a list of anywhere from 5-10 or more books on my goodreads Currently Reading shelf, but I got tired of seeing the same titles on there for months at a time, feeling like there was pressure for me to finish them all, so I’ve mostly switched to just moving books from my To Read shelf to my Read shelf, from potential to finished.

Anyhoo, here are some of the books I’m currently making my way through:

More Tools of the Trade

I’ve talked about how I type most of what I write, but I still keep bound notebooks and make lots of notes (and write poetry) by hand. When it comes to typing, I’ve used the usual word processing programs for the most part (going all the way back to college, in the early days of Mac OS and Windows), until giving Scrivener a try a few years ago. I very much like how Scrivener works the way my mind works, nonlinear, in fragments, where you can collage together a story from bits and chunks, with folders for notes and inspirations. But despite that, I’ve never found Scrivener particularly intuitive and I’ve always felt like I needed to go through a number of tutorials and play around with it a lot to really get it to work the way I want it to–and when it comes to writing, I don’t want to have to learn how to use my tools, I just want to grab the tools that work and get to the actual writing.

For the past 10 years, my different library jobs have required me to work from at least two different computers, often in different buildings. I used to carry flash drives with documents I was working on so I could take work from one computer to another, which was kind of a pain…until Google Docs came along and I could simply sign into Google from whatever PC I was using and do my work. And that naturally translated to my personal writing as well. I’ve been using Google Docs for so long, I’m more comfortable using that than anything else. And now I use Google Drive for pretty much all of the creative work that I don’t do by hand. (Continued)

Sebastião’s Adventure

I once had a dream about a movie adaptation of a book that’s never been written, and the movie went like this:

An orphan boy named Sebastião lives with a troupe of traveling performers, a carnival of sorts. The troupe is presided over by an old woman everyone simply calls “Mamãe.” Mamãe spends most of her time cooking and cleaning, but also keeping track of the troupe’s finances, making sure everyone in the troupe is happy, and dispensing motherly advice when needed. She may not be everyone’s real mother, but she certainly acts like she is.

One day, the troupe arrives in a small, dusty town in the back country. The town is mostly ramshackle buildings of wood planks and sheets of tin. The troupe sets up their tents and carts right in the town, settling into some abandoned houses as well. They quickly become friendly with the townsfolk while they prepare for a run of performances.

A magician lives in town. He’s never been on a big stage or in a big city. His performances are strictly local, for very little money, if any at all. He seethes with jealousy at the arrival of the performing troupe. They live the life he’s always wanted and now they’ve moved into his performance territory. How dare they! He struts through the town in his black tuxedo and black cape, daring the performers to challenge him to some sort of theatrical duel, but he’s ignored by both the visiting troupe and his fellow townsfolk. This makes him even angrier.

Sebastião is intrigued by the magician. The troupe has many different performers, but no magician, and the boy has always been fascinated by magic. He follows the magician through town, moving like a small shadow, slipping through streets and alleys as agile as a cat, unseen by the angry magician.

Sebastião trails the magician as the man sneaks into the troupe’s lodgings. He watches as the magician looks for a way to sabotage the troupe’s performances. The boy lets out a little gasp when he sees Mamãe walk in to discover the magician. “Who are you?” Mamãe asks. “What are you doing here?” The magician says nothing, shocked into silence. Mamãe looks him up and down. “Are you a performer?” she asks him. He nods. “Come with me.” She grabs his gloved hand and leads him to her kitchen. Sebastião follows silently.

In the middle of the kitchen is a huge, wood table, covered with onions, cabbages, and carrots. “I’m making a soup,” she tells the magician. “Help me chop the vegetables.” She hands him a large chopping knife. The two of them chop up the onions, the cabbages, the carrots. While they work, Mamãe questions him more. “What kind of performer are you?”

“I’m a magician,” he stammers out.

“Are you any good?” she asks.

“Well,” he says, clearing his throat dramatically, “I believe I am. But I’ve never made it out of this region. Sadly, my reputation has never made it as far as the big cities.”

“Huh,” Mamãe grunts. They continue chopping in silence, until Mamãe says, “Would you like to join our troupe? We don’t have a magician among us, but we could use one. We’d be happy to have you.”

The magician stops cutting, stunned at the offer. He looks up at Mamãe, perhaps to see if she’s making him a serious offer or just teasing him. She looks up at him. They look each other in the eyes. Sebastião sees it flowing between them like waves of hot, summer air: a sudden connection of love. Mamãe sees within the man a tremendous loneliness, a fear of dying alone and forgotten. The magician sees within Mamãe a powerful ocean of love she is happy to share with everyone. He could swim in that ocean for the rest of his life. He could drown in it, but he knows Mamãe would never let him drown.

Sebastião runs out from where he’s hiding, grabs the magician by the hand, and says, “Please, stay with us! Stay with us! Teach me magic so I can grow up to be a magician, too!” The boy is bursting with excitement. The magician looks down at Sebastião’s grinning, beaming face. He looks up at Mamãe’s face, so full of love and kindness.

He nods, slowly at first, but then more vigorously. “Yes,” he says, “I’ll join your troupe.”

Mamãe smiles warmly at him, then shakes her head and chuckles, looking back at her vegetables. “It’s not going to be easy,” she says. “The roads we travel are rough, our performances not always welcome. Our troupe is often like a family, squabbling and feuding.” She hacks a large cabbage in half. “But I think you’re making the right decision.”

Scrapbooking

I have over a hundred poems posted here. That’s at least two or three books worth of poetry. I’ve been thinking for a little while now about putting my poems out in self-published collections. There are still people out there (like me!) who like holding a book in their hands when they’re reading. (I’d also put any poetry books I published out as ebooks, as well, because I’m not a Luddite–obviously, since I’m posting this on my blog–or a print purist.)

There’s a big problem I run into, though, when I consider this. If you want to read my poems typed-out, you can do that here on this very blog. If you want them in paper form, you could pretty easily print some of my posted poems (or all, if you have lots of printer cartridges and paper)(and time) and collate them in whatever way suited your fancy. (Wow, that would actually be super cool! I would love it and be incredibly flattered if someone did that!) Why put them into printed books if there’s nothing new or different about them?

So I’m thinking of actually handwriting my poems in a notebook, scanning them, adding some doodles or or photos or magick sigils, and publishing them. I think the handwriting will make them look more personal, less just-like-on-the-blog-but-in-print-form.

Is this something you’d consider buying? Comment below or elsewhere and let me know. If there’s enough interest, I’ll get on it.

45 Revolutions

for Jeremy

this machine kills fascists
but this is not a war
that’s not what our family does
we play games when we battle
bringing along our legion of monsters
& our ghosts & our friends
playing
window & cage
rhythm & blues
funk & soul

& just because your monkey can rock out
with walrus tusks & mojo strings
banging on cans
going on strike
you’re fighting a good fight against iron & lash
wheelin’ & dealin’ for a better life

you’ve got a goat cheese heart
& a beat down soup
& a million lines to choose from
but somehow
you’ve found yourself here
blownout & chill
around & around & around
again

same as it ever was

Crumble

when the sun is melting down
the sky & there’s a rainstorm
in your head
that’s the best time
to shovel coal into the furnace
& steam open the seals that keep
your madness at bay

you will overthink your thoughts &
you will overthink last week &
you will overthink astrology &
you will overthink these words &

when there is nothing left to burn
you can create
a brand-new world to obsess over

oh
isn’t it nice when your heart is made out of ice?