Kari Edwards, XO

I just found out kari edwards died of heart failure. I am so saddened by this news. kari and I first met in 2001. We smoked cigarettes and told our stories of how we came to be. Before we parted, I asked if I could get a list of 5 books she thought I needed to read. She gave me this list. I have yet to go through it. Tomorrow I will.

1. Louis Celine, Death on the Installment Plan
2. Kathy Acker, Demonmother
3. D. Hardin, (Dis)tortion
4. Justim
5. Judith Butler, Gender Trouble


Thank you for your wisdom, kindness, and beauty.



Still Going

Drew Gardner linked up to Giant Steps. It's a cool animated film, synchronized to a John Coltrane solo. I dug it. Especially the music. There is something so magical about Coltrane's horn. It always inspires.

What else?

Last night I went to the Dresden to meet up with members of my TESL class. Most were in attendance. We talked about where we were going, parking tickets, and how I needed to hook up with T. in Thailand, because he could show me a whole new frontier.

"Yesssss," went his drawl. "Thailand."

T. was everyone's favorite in class. He just didn't hold to any borders. If he felt like telling you his encounters with prostitutes in Bangkok, he would. If you encouraged him, he would lay it out for you.

"You have to watch out for nipples. Some girls put drugs on them to knock you out. Then they make out with your phone, wallet, clothes, everything."

"Has that ever happened to you?"

"No," Tyree smiled.

He is an amazing person. I'm sure if I visit him, it would be a trip I wouldn't ever forget.


"The Trip"

I still haven't sold the car. I got the passport, packed 2 suitcases, and have given notice to my jobs. Now it's just the car. I've taken an ad out on craigslist. Hopefully, someone will respond after Christmas. In the meantime, I am running laps around Hollywood, watching bad movies, and procrastinating going to the post office to mail books. It's a great life.


"Them Crazy Bitches"

Them crazy bitches keep
taking me for a ride.
They say it's a one way ticket.
They say it's fun.

I'm still waiting for the pinatas.
I haven't seen any clowns.
All I get are freak show accidents
with my head in the ground.


3 Weeks!

...and 13 things left on my list of To do's.

#10 is to sell my car. I am well on my way on this item. I spoke to a mechanic today. He gave me the low down.

"How much is the bluebook price?"

"1400 to 24," I said.

"Then I would sell it for 24."

"Really? I was thinking a thousand."

"No," he smiled. "Start high and go low. Not the other way around."

I'll tell you my friends that is some sage advice. It is also only the beginning of what I found out from the mechanic. Apparently, everyone in the shop was Korean, and knew everything about where I was going. They even knew the school I was going to.

"Oh, you going there?" Mr. Park asked.

"Yeah," I said. "Is that a good school?"

"Oh, good school," he said. "Good choice. Just becareful about the motor."

"What's the motor?"

"Motor? Marijuana. You smoke that stuff, and you get 2 years in jail. Right away."

"Okay," I said. "I'll stay away from the motor."

"You going to have good life. You teacher. You going to meet a nice girl."

The other mechanics laughed.

"Oh, yeah?"

"Lots of girl there. Pick a rich girl."

"A rich girl?"

"Oh, yeah! A rich girl. It don't matter she be ugly. Just rich."

"Okay," I said.

They were real nice guys. We all worked on my front liscense plate (it was stuck). We also shot the shit about other stuff (more stuff about girls). I liked being there. It was real comfortable. I even thought about working there. It might be nice. I know Chuck seems to dig it.

Maybe, when I get back to L.A..

I think I'd be good with cars. I could make them purr.

The Secret to Writing

1. Think of yourself as a light bulb. What turns you on? Is it this sentence? This word? No outline? Outline? If you answer these questions honestly, the writing will continue. If you don’t know what electrifies you most, then try the possibilities. One will have you skipping writing sessions, while the other will have you writing until one in the morning. Just ask. Then turn on the light.


The Slipshod Swingers Hit Itunes

The Slipshod Swingers are now available on itunes. Simply click here to download your favorite song. You can also purchase handmade copies of Orange Lamborghini here.

If you are curious about what other digital stores you can purchase your favorite Slipshod tunes, just pick one, and we're probably there. If not, let us know, and we'll make it so.

Happy Holidays,

Captain Picard & Company


I helped P-man move into his new apartment. It has a beautiful view. You can see all of L.A..

"Isn't it great?" he asked. "You can see everything."

"Yeah," I agreed, and leaned on the balcony wall. "I can see Hollywood Boulevard."

"And look!" he pointed. "There's the Observatory!"

"Yeah," I smiled.

I enjoyed looking over the world of Los Angeles. I'm glad my brother has a beautiful apartment. I am also glad I get to argue about Jay Z's new album with my other brother, P-nauh, who thinks he knows everything.

"You hear how he used punctuation?"

"Poets have been doing that for years."

My brother clicked on another track, "This is the one with Beyonce. It's not that good."

"This is the best one so far."

"Nah, man. This sucks."

"I like love songs."

Pan makes a face.

"How about we do the Velociraptor Song?" I ask him, and dance with short arms like a T-rex. "Wouldn't that be a hit? The raptor! The raptor! The velociraptor!"

My brother laughs, then shakes his head.

"You don't want to make a video?" I ask, still dancing.

"This is a good song," he says, ignoring me. "I like the beat. Dre did it."

I listen. It doesn't do much for me. Maybe, I'm an idiot. I don't get why Jay Z came back from retirement anyway. It seems like a gip. Why didn't he just manage Def Jam and call it a day?

"You hear what he said? Kingdom Come! He's the King of Hip Hop!"

"I don't know about that," I rolled me eyes. "I'm just not feeling it."

I didn't press my brother though. If he likes the album, he likes it. I just prefer Cyndi Lauper anyway. Why not some Arrested Development? What ever happened to "Walk Like a Dinosaur?" I'm going to bring it back. I just needed an accomplice.

Luckily, Dacheux called at that very moment. I had her on speakerphone.

"Hey, little buddy," she says.

"Hey, big buddy," I say.

"How about an executive meeting?"

"Sounds good to me."

"Okay. I'll be over in a little bit."

We must have said some other stuff, or maybe it was just the way Stacy and I chit-chat, but Panauh was laughing his ass off.

"What's so funny?"

"You guys are so funny," he laughed, and covered his mouth.

I smiled. Then I got ready. It was time for an executive meeting. I walked down to the 7-11 and got a turkey sandwich. I ate it and sat on the rail outside. Pretty soon, I could see Stace making her way down Hollywood. That's when I stepped off to meet her.

"Hey, little bud," she said, and hugged me.

"Hey, blocky ock a too," I said.

"You ready for a little executive meeting?"

"Yeah," I said.

We walked all the way to the Arclight. We got tickets and sat at our favorite booth. That's when the meeting started.

"I want a cosmopolitan," Stacy told the waiter.

"What's in those?" I asked.

"Triple Sec, Grenadine, and Vodka."

"Sounds good."

"It is."

"I want the same thing," I told the waiter.

After we had our share of alcoholic beverages, we went into the theater for a little Holiday movie. It was pretty cute. We both liked Kate Winslet. We thought she was cute.

"She is," Stacy smiled.

"Yes," I agreed. "I like her."

We talked about other things. Special executive meeting stuff. Top secret, you know? About projects, dreams, and our special times seeing bad romantic comedies together.

"I love seeing these kinds of movies with you," Stacy said. "I wouldn't ever see them if it wasn't for you."

"Neither would I," I laughed.

We walked back down Hollywood. Stacy pointed out the hybrids in the car lot.

"Look! Field of hybrids!"

I smiled. She was right. A whole field of them. Then we kept walking. It was 4 more blocks until we got home. We hugged and she was off. I stepped inside, checked some emails, and then called Lotus Blossom 75. She was excited to meet me on Saturday.

"I want to kiss you," she said.

"That's how it starts," I said.

Lotus Blossom giggled.

Now I am going to bed. Jim has sent me poems. I will read them and sleep.

Tomorrow I will start again.

TESL Course Continues

Today we listened to Louis Armstrong sing "What a Wonderful World." I get choked up everytime I hear that song. It's one of the best ever written. I think one of my classmates could tell I dug the song. He reached up to his eye and pretended to joke-sniffle, but I could tell there was real passion behind his sarcasm. He even qualified it for me, by offering the entire class a Cliff Clavin about the song's history.

It was 1968," he paused, getting into radio announcer timbre. "Armstrong knew it would be his last time recording. He was in his old age and had wanted to see one more hit top the Billboard charts. The song was released in 1968 and made a bigger splash in Asia and elsewhere than it did in America. It wasn't until the 1987 film Good Morning, Vietnam featured the tune as part of its soundtrack that the song topped the charts once again."

"Yeah, we liked that song," another classmate agreed. "We used to listen to it a lot in Vietnam."

"Why is that?" our teacher asked. "I always imagined you'd listen to heavier stuff."

"Sometimes we listened to tough songs, but there were times when we listened to peaceful stuff. We liked listening to it. I don't know. I think it was good to have something calm and nice, when we were in a place that was so opposite that."

I am amazed at the lives of the human beings who surround me. There are so many incredible people on this planet.

Tonight I spoke to Lotus Blossom 75, a nice, North Cali girl who I've been asked to communicate with in robotic bips and whistles, much like R2D2 of Star Wars glory. Always a robot to please, I mustered a good-intentioned C3PO, and sat back with utter enjoyment, to make heads and tails of her half Southern California lilt and Japanese "O's" like "W's".

"So/w/ te/r/ me about /ch/oo?"


"What about you?"

"Me? What do you want to know?"

"You say you have brother?"

"Yeah, one lives with me. He's 20. Good guy."

"And you have another?"

"Yes. He's 26."

"So you have a lot going on?"

"What do yo mean?"

"A lot of brother."

That got me laughing. It was also when I knew I was in trouble. You don't want to make me laugh. It gets me fired up. Really, it does. In the world of turn-ons, I would say laughing is the biggest for me. If you can make me laugh, you got my heart. Put that in combination with an accent from a sexy women, and I'm ready to keel over and float in the clouds like an angel on Sunday. Especially when Lotus Blossom 75 uses words that are completely outdated in the English language like "squished" or asks me if "everything's alright?" when she doesn't have to. Those are definitely winners for me. But what took the cake was when she told me her roommates cats love HER more than him:

"They just like ME better," she says. "But I can't sleep with all 3 of them on the bed. They are too big. I get squished."

"That makes sense. They're big cats."

"Yes," she giggles. "Fatty is a big cat."

"Sounds like it."

"Yes," she laughs. "His name isn't really Fatty. I just call him Fatty."

"I know. I like that about you. You have a cat named Fatty."

She laughs for a bit, then composes herself. (I envision alien love.)

"So you say you work a lot of job?"

"It's actually a world record. I've had 32," I tell her.

"32!!!" she yelps. "Oh my, Gawd!"

"Yeah, it's a lot.'

"Why, so many?"

"I don't know...It ended up that way."

"So many-"

"Would you like to hear them?"

"Not all of them. Maybe, one or two."

"How about you guess? I've done them all."

"Okay...Porn star?!"

"Well, I do have a story about that one..."

We are supposed to meet for coffee sometime this week. I think it'll be fun. Especially meeting in Long Beach. I don't think I've ever been down there. I've just kept to Hollywood for the most part, since I moved to Cali. Call me Sheltered.

Tonight "Life Is Beautiful" was on television. I couldn't go to bed. I had to see the whole "Bonjourno Princepessa" plot to its end. It's one of the most brilliant 'falling in love' sequences I've seen at the movies. It might even be better than "It's a Wonderful Life." Or rival it, at least.

Anyway, I got to get to bed. I have nothing to do tomorrow. That takes energy.

Well, hold on, I'm so tired I almost forgot that I was going to talk about the first time I saw "Life Is Beautiful." I was in Philly. It was some theater right off 95 near South Street. I had just broken up with this person I was seeing, and feeling sad on love. Kind of lonely too. I went into this bar across the street, and ordered 3 martinis. By the time I showed up for movie time, I was completey blitzed. It took me the previews, the first fifteen minutes, and an espresso to finally get zoned in. Then Roberto Benigni took over. I laughed through the whole movie. Then I cried.

Later that month, I fell in love with the Ex-wife, and I took her to see the film.

Today I actually spoke to Mrs. X. She slighted me for not being the bread winner while we were together. Well, for clarity purposes, lets paint this picture to the tee.

"So how come you're not with me? What? You get tired of trying to save money with me?"

"Well, I had that one on my own," she grumbles.

This was where the conversation got real quiet. I wasn't upset or anything. I was just taken aback that she was still so angry with me. I figured a a couple years would wind down the heat. I also wondered why I didn't notice the anger while we were still puppies and kittens. You'd think a person could tell when someone's mad at them. Who knows? Maybe, this is a new side of the coin with her. Whatever it was, I didn't know it as what Mrs. X was when I was with her. Then again, I could just be a year older and wiser as Mickey G says.

Now I'm over and out.


*Bobbie Hawkins once critiqued me heavily for using the word "squished in a story. She called it "disgusting."**

**Bobbie also refused to allow the word "placed" in any of my stories. " 'Put' is so much better," she told me. 'Placed" is just awful." That made m laugh, but I listened. And you know what? I think she's right."

Things That Piss Me Off and Turn Me On

1. Bureaucracy: First of all, I can't even spell it. Second, I am sick of passport agencies who say a passport is arriving one day, then tell me another, and when I expedite the process with mucho bucks, they tell me the request isn't being honored, and why don't I make an appointment to go into the passport agency. What!? Well, what's the point of mailing your passport in, if you're going to tell me to come in person anyway?

2. A bird shitting on my pants as I deal with another cookie cutter receptionist from the passport agency.

3. Not being able to shit on things that shit on me. I'm just too spiritual.

4. Words like spiritual.

5. Girls who try to hook me up with their friends after I tell them I am leaving the country.

6. Packing.

7. Amazon Marketplace who emailed me to let me know I could keep my books on their site, if I paid an additional $65 per book, and qualified the book as "Publised by Lulu." What a gip?

8. When I start whining like Haulden Caulfield.

9. People who tell me my books remind them of Catcher in the Rye.

10. A Day in the Life

11. Jennifer Connelly

12. Guitars.

13. 4 in 1 printers.

14. Chewbacca!

15. The following poem...

"Outside Art"

A humble monumental
music made of syllables
or a heartbroken crystal
cathedral with gleaming walls
of Orangina bottles

--Harryette Mullen

16. The next book I read.

17. Jesus.

18. A light switch.

19. Me.

First Songs

Briggs was in high school. He had just gotten out of computer club. He walked down the yellow hallway to the front entrance. His friend, Nick, was on the stoop. He had a Casio SK-1 on his lap. He was practicing some "Great Balls of Fire."

"That sounds good," Briggs said, tapping his foot.

"Yeah," Nick agreed. "It's Jerry Lewis."

Briggs didn't know Jerry Lewis. He had never heard of him. All he knew was the stuff he got on a mix tape from a kid in his neighborhood. It didn't have Jerry Lewis.

"Can we write a song together?" Briggs asked.

"Okay," Nick said.

Briggs sat down next to Nick. He imagined himself a famous star. He would be onstage. People would take his picture. He would smile. Then they would play their song.

"What do you know?" Nick asked.

"Um," Briggs smiled. "Lets just make it up."

"Make it up?"


Nick played a few chords. Briggs tapped his foot. Then he sang like he felt.

"Oh, Errrriiiiin! Oooh Oooh. Eriiiiinnnn."

Briggs had met Erin in first grade. They went out for 2 years. It wasn't until The Temple of Doom came out, that he moved. That was the last time he saw her. Now he was singing about the time she asked him to be her husband underneath the pine trees. This was what Briggs knew. It was what singing meant to him.

"You got to sing about what's most important," he explained to his mother when he got home . "That's what music is about."

"Okay," his mother smiled. "Do you want a snack?"

"A yogurt."

Briggs went to his room. He wrote 2 songs. They were about the yellow hallway in school; the way the girls looked when he talked about bugs; and his dreams to be a basketball star . He put them in his Trapper Keeper. He was going to show Nick tomorrow. They could write hundreds of songs. The yellow hallway was just the beginning.

"The Yellow Hallway"

We walked down the yellow hallway.
It was me and Nick.
The girls made faces.
We were singing.

Bugs! Bugs!
Bury them bugs!
I got a 100 bugs!

Eeeew, the girls said.
Eeeew, you're gross!

We played basketball in the gym.
It was me and Nick.
The girls made faces.
We were singing.

Balls! Balls!
Bounce them balls!
I got a 100 balls!

Eeeew, the girls said.
Eeeew, you're gross!

"The Yellow Hallway, The Sequel Like Indiana Jones"

I am good at math.
Mrs. Manila said so
Her class is next to the yellow hallway.
That's where our lockers are.

We're in the 6th grade.
We're cool.
We can play songs.
We're going to be famous.

Do you want our autograph?
You can't have it.
Not for all your Garbage Pail Kids.
Not for an A in math.

Only Erin gets autographs.
She's my girl.
She makes me happy.
I miss her.

I'm in the 6th grade.
She's in 5th grade.
She lives in New Jersey.
I live here.

Family Jam and Dancing

My brother put up this video. Pretty good, jam. JP plays a pot. I'm on bass. My brother paiman is on guitar. And the rest of the family is dancing, including the 'rents. Thought you'd dig it.


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This next video is me dancing with my dad. My youngest brother, Panauh calls it the funniest thing he's ever seen.

Twist & Shout

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I'm going to miss these guys this next year. Love you the mostest, P to the Hizzle!!!!

TJC: Day by Day

Countdown: 46 days!

Lots of things left to do before I hit Korea. I've only crossed 4 things off my list: switching bills, looking into an international atm card, getting a dreamweaver for dummies book, and cleaning up my old computer for my dad. I still have big things to do, like selling my car, and cleaning my room. I am not too keen on cleaning out the room just yet. Believe me. I would like to. I can't stand half-open boxes in my den of inequitude.

Tomorrow I will take a stab at some major overhaul in the box arena. I will also get myself out on the running slopes for some much needed cardiovascular incubation.

Dacheux and I might make a going away album together before the move date. We hit upon some sweet lounge type tunes about love. We're thinking that I croon a line, and then she'll add commentary in-between.

When we did it for the kids I live with, they were very enthusiastic.

"You're funny," my brother's girlfriend said.

"It's good," my brother agreed.

Now my other brother is here. He has brought his dog for me to play with, while he hits the sauna. I think I'm going to teach his dog how to do a cartwheel.

ESL Teaching and Other Questions

Today I got back into school. I am taking a course in Teaching ESL overseas. I figured a game plan on how to proceed would be beneficial. Thus far, it's a wonderful course. My teacher is a bright chap, with ample experience both as an ESL teacher and a creative writing instructor. I was literally mesmerized by his teaching style. It was filled with confidence, dynamism, and openness.

"When we notice that students aren't getting the material, what do we do?" I asked him.

"Well," he smiled. "It's usually a case of teaching material that is beyond their level. Go back to an earlier lesson, or simply think of other ways in which to convey the concept."

"What if you can't think of any other ways? Do you employ a different topic and come back to it later?"

"If you've exhausted ways in which you can present the material, and folks are still not getting it, then move onto something else, until you can come up with a different way to present the material."

He is truly excellent. I could also tell that he was a bit winded by my excessive questioning. He challenged me a few times. This threw me off a bit, and returned me to the old ways I used to feel in classrooms. In fact, I remembered a discussion I had with a professor in my undergraduate years, where after bonding in her office, she told me that when she first met me she thought I was this arrogant, know-it-all.

"It was the way you held yourself," she told me. "I didn't know if there was anything I could teach you."

"Are you kidding?" I laughed. "You are an amazing teacher. I love your class."

I find it surprising when people get this impression of me. I am such a lover of learning. There is nothing I like better. And this ESL course has been a godsend. We went over verb tenses, and I felt much more confident about the teaching practice involved. We also went through different ways of encouraging and eliciting responses from students.

According to our instructor, it was important to draw out answers from classes, rather than doing all the work. This practice encouraged a more active class, and lessened the amount of work we would have to do with instructors.

"Does anybody know what TTT is?" he asked.

"Teacher Training?" someone called out.

"Yes," the instructor replied. "Teacher Training Time. You want to make sure that you limit TTT, as I call it, and get the students involved. You also don't want this to be a "me" oriented classroom. Students pick up on this, and it makes them less than happy with their learning experience. This doesn't mean we can't have a bit of the performance side of ourselves exhibited. There's nothing wrong with that. But when it becomes more about you, than the students, they'll notice this. A better way to look at it is in the language we use to describe our classrooms. Did anyone notice how I described classroom?"

"You said "our," I said.

"That's right," he replied. "It is our classroom. We are doing the assignments. We are deciding what to do. When we make it about ourselves, the "me" attitude, than we are going to turn the class into a showcase, and no one wants that."

I really liked that idea. It's one I've tried to impart in my classes as well. I'll have to keep this "our" attitude in our practice lesson tomorrow. It will be interesting to see what comes up.

Novels Are About Work

No doubt about it. You got to have discipline. That means there needs to be a serious regiment. A day in, day out practice, with clarity about what you want to accomplish.

When I wrote my first novel, I studied texts for about 2 months. I read everything around the world which I was about to create. Then I began with "no mind." Just doing. I would require 1 good chapter or 2 by the day's end.

Sometimes I would stop in the middle of a chapter to have an easy starting point for the next day. I found this helped to launch me faster into the heart of the narrative.

Another trick, was to read all that I had written up to that point. This practice gave me momentum, and a frame of reference for where I would land on the page.

These landings were usually dictated by a them I wanted to explore in a chapter, (say "forgiveness"), or it would begin with a sentence that lead me to many, such as, "It felt good to be on an adventure."

A poem's entry point can be rather different. Sometimes it's the sonic adventure that triggers a framework from which different levers begin to align. For example: "shell shackle pure fish/ fists among the muck/turned right and faced eloquent/ changes turbulent/seasons change."

This is just random words. They have no semblance for an inherent structure or meaning, but in there innocence there can be many gems which are pulled together to form a link of sorts.

Lets see if it's possible.

shell shackle pure fish [I like this line. Lets keep it for a minute.]

fists among the muck [Not sure about this either.]

turned right face eloquent [Remove the conjunction and the past tense of face to create "right face" as in soldier.]

turbulent changes [sounds better than "changes turbulent" to my ear.]

these seasons. [I love making a "This" or "These" in poems. It creates a breadth and clarity. What is the turbulent change? These seasons.

Now we have the option of reordering the lines. Sometimes this can be helpful in an edit. How about

shell shackle pure fish
these seasons
fists among the muck
turbulent changes
turned right face eloquent

The next question I usually ask after a re-ordering of lines is what is exactly being said. What is this about? I can understand seasons changing. That's simple. But what's shell shackle pure fish?

This is where it gets fun.

I often take lines that don't make sense to me, and try and come up with what they mean to me. What was my hidden urge that brought them to fruition? What's going on with me? Is this personal? Objective? Can I pull in something from popular culture? The outside world? My present surroundings? All good questions.

shell shackle pure fish...hiding chains among innocent fish
these seasons...an emotional balance
fists among the muck...pounding the dirt
turbulent changes...waves into tide
turned right face eloquent...and die

Now we could keep these translations with the originals. We could even build upon the translations, creating a topography of sorts. Why not? Sure. It's possible. Just a choice. No foul.

We could also look at the language in each line. We can ask whether we want to complicate the language Will Alexander style, or make it colloquial. Why not complicate? What would that do?

carapace manacles unalloyed piscatology
epileptic mutation
intusscept sanctimonious camouflage
vehemence and rot

Okay. This is interesting. It's translation now creates a new metrical line. We can go back to adjust the phonics, mix and match the colloquial, or return to the question of conveyance. Lets return to the latter. What does this mean? Say it as simple as you can understand it. Do the reverse. Be the child.

Hiding in my shell
winter fists
fits and changes
spiritual camouflage

Make it easier.

I am hiding in my shell.
I don't want change.
I like my masks.
But they are torn away.

Personally, I like it simple like this. I also like to find a story or create an altered reality. What if this was about a sea turtle? We could give him a name. An entire world.

Mortimer hides
his hide
a cross and over Coronado

A religion like dust.
It's pockets change in water.
Tune into rust
at the slightest decible.

Now we finally have a poem going. It could do with some more fine tuning, but it's a start.

Notice how much play was found once we allowed the poem to go into it's own world, rather than try to dictate it. "Shell" suddenly became "hide" to play on the previous lines "hides," which in turn allowed for another play on "across" into "a cross" and its relation to "coronado."

From that point on, the poem takes a fanciful dip into the sleight of hands among the relationship dictated by the play.

We can also notice that no meaning has been lost on our part. We know the direction of the poem, and its underlying arch. Now it simply becomes fun to see where the possibilities will lead.

Who knows? There could be a series of Mortimer poems.

In my experience, one journey like this can erupt any number of linked poetry. It can create a polished voice from which one would be able to pull for other poems, or it could even facilitate a further push into turn around, where Mortimer comes out of hiding.

Anyway, that was a tangent. I was talking about writing novels. Yes. They require discipline. Set-up a regular reading schedule that will include the topics you are interested. This can range from themes you want to explore, to voices you want to learn from, or even the simple pleasure of reading itself. The only guideline is to pick books which are inspiring around your novel's general direction. For example, if you're doing a novel (or poems for that matter) about sea turtles, why not get some children's picture books; a Jeaques Cousteau video, The Old Man and the Sea, whatever.

Then simply read your heart out. Immerse yourself.

Every once in a while, see if a sentence pops out. Try it in your head: "Mortimer liked the Caspian Sea. He also spoke Farsi quite well. This was unusual for sea turtles from our neck of the barnacle. Most of us spoke Greek and Latin. The classics, you know? That's what really got the ladies going. And if you wanted to be somebody in the Persian Gulf, you had to avoid oil spells and speak a dead language. That was basically the only thing that kept a turtle going."

If you're able to build on the story. Then stop reading. Start writing. Let it go, until you have no more sentences.

Then stop, and write down possible chapters that you might want to tackle tomorrow. It could be "vegetation", "Mortimer's girlfriend", "riding water currents", whatever.

As you make the list, compile the books that you will line up to read the next morning that will shed light on the possibilities. Then rip again, when the feeling suits you.

Anyway, I've been going for a bit now. It's probably best to hit the sack. I've got anxious parents in the house, and they rarely give a son the chance to be groggy or a late riser.

Talk to you soon,


P.S. I'm thinking about changing my name to Mortimer. Sike!