The Lucky Lad

adventures in dysthymia

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

In Common, a poem

In Common

We never carried through
on that marriage thing,
never had to weigh
the transmutated metals

of our being against
each other. What have we now
in common save the fallen
leaves of another season,

time passed and not returned?
Better to grow apart,
apart, remembering
it was not always so.

Stephen Brooke ©2015

Very much of a quickie. I could see using that 'grow apart, apart' phrase in a song  and just might so do.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Salvation

I am that relative rarity, a theist who believes in neither the soul nor an afterlife (in the commonly understood sense). I suppose that makes me, in many ways, little different from an atheist. Where I do differ is that I believe that there is a purpose to existence and an ultimate moral authority.

For me, there is a clear-cut choice between such a belief and nihilistic despair. I seek a reason to live.

I do believe that we exist ‘always’ as a part of infinite, timeless being. That is not the same as being some sort of incorporeal spirit that flits off to somewhere when our physical lives end. I greatly doubt such spirits exist.

For quite some time, I remained Roman Catholic despite all this. I had no real problem with reconciling my beliefs with the basic metaphors of Christianity and, I figured, if one is going to be Christian one might as well belong to the ‘universal’ church — the one church that includes all Christians. However, I realized a while back that I am not really a Christian in any sense anymore.

This is because, essentially, of one of the most basic tenets of most Christians and that is that one can not earn salvation, that one does not deserve salvation, that it is a freely given gift of a merciful god. I always understood and accepted this concept, so far as it applied to my own slant on belief.

But, you know, I just don’t buy it now. We do earn our ‘salvation.’ That is our job, to find purpose and to do the right thing. To live moral lives. To choose good over evil, being over emptiness. To recognize that we are all part of a godhood and to nourish that, rather than repudiate it.

Ultimately, perhaps, both views are just takes on the same thing. We are, indeed, given our salvation and we choose to accept or deny it. The idea that we do not deserve it is where I hit a sticking point. We are not innately unworthy. Only, perhaps, unaware of our worth.

I have not been posting these sorts of metaphysical musings, nor philosophical nor political thoughts, for some time because I find that I prefer to slip them into my poetry or fiction writing. After all, that is the reason I write, or engage in any other form of art — to communicate.

And, ideally, to do so in a more entertaining form than essays of this sort.

Stephen Brooke 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Distribution

So, I sat down and finished the music for the 'Seventy-Seven' lyric I posted yesterday, played through it on acoustic guitar a couple times, and put it away. Maybe I'll mess with it some other day but it is, essentially, a throw-away. I've written far better stuff and I need to learn some of it and get out and play it! :)

I started the process of changing the distribution of all my books at Arachis Press this morning. Most of the ebooks are out there at Barnes&Noble, Amazon, etc, but the print editions have only been available direct. Now, I am going to try to get the print version of the chapbook 'Retellings' out to the various vendors and see how that works. But...

The profit margin compared to selling direct is tiny. I could raise my prices but I would rather not make the books more expensive. I basically have made the poetry books low profit from the start, as I do not expect to make anything  from them (the novels and children's books are another matter) and see them as 'price leaders' to get folks into my other books.

What I am saying is that if this whole distribution thing looks pointless I may just abandon it and stick with the direct sales approach. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Two Weekend Pieces

I spent my weekend at the Will McLean Folk Festival, down near Dade City FL. Used to be a regular but I had about an eight year hiatus there while I did the caregiver thing. It was good to be back!

But kind of far to go. Twice the distance as where I used to live. I don't know if I'll go again unless as a performer. Must get some recordings together to apply to these venues!

I did some writing, too. This first is a poem I had partly finished on my laptop and just more-or-less completed today:


Chapter

Happiness
was always the promise,
waiting only for us
to turn the page

or turn the age.
The next year, the next
chapter, brings the child
home at last,

all the past
a story poorly
told, our fairy tale's
unhappy ending,

endless wending
across the divide.
It awaits us still,
over there,
and nowhere.

Stephen Brooke ©2015

Now, just to prove that I can be a low-brow rock-n-roller as well as a sensitive sophisty-kated poet guy. Someone at the festival told me that she set her cruise control to 7 mph over the limit when she traveled on the Interstate. I was almost home last night when I took sudden inspiration from that (must have been floating around somewhere in my head) and had to pull over and scribble this down:

Seventy-Seven
Got my cruise-control set to seventy-seven,
On my way to a bit of heaven
She said don’t be late,
So I won’t hesitate;
Got my cruise-control set to seventy-seven.


Behind the wheel of my Ford Mustang,
On my way to my sweet thang.
She said please hurry,
But she shouldn’t worry;
I’m behind the wheel of my Ford Mustang.


Cruise control set real high,
Breakin’ the law, I won’t lie.
Way over the limit but I don’t care —
Seventy-seven’s gonna get me there.


On the road, got my cruise-control on,
Gonna make it to her door by dawn.
Drive it all night,
Toward the mornin’ light;
On the road, got my cruise-control on.


instrumental noise here, repeat chorus and first verse

Stephen Brooke ©2015

Needs work of course (but how much can one polish something like this?) and the music part finished up properly.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Triumph, a poem

Triumph

Some days, my ambition
is to conquer the world.

Others, only to convince
myself to remain alive.

Tonight, I shall celebrate
the latest triumph.

Stephen Brooke ©2015

Another of these slightly sijo-like pieces I turn out on occasion. These may be right words for this thought or maybe they are not.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Chips, a poem

Chips

I knock these little pieces
from the infinite
and try to assemble them
into something that

might make sense,
should make sense.

Spread them on the table,
take another look —
too much is missing, still.
I shall chip anew

at eternity
tomorrow.

Stephen Brooke ©2015

Just barely more than a throwaway but at least I'm writing a little poetry occasionally. Actually jotting down bits of verse in my notes that might one day appear in another novel, as in the Donzalo books. Maybe a sequel (or sequels) to those?

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

No Donzalo

A part of what I wrote in the last post is not longer true --- there will be no all-in-one print volume of 'Donzalo's Destiny.' At least not now.

The formatting of a 740 page, 206,000 word (plus illustrations) book was a bit too much for both me and this computer (my more muscular dedicated music recording PC might be up to the task but I don't intend to use it), and I realized that such a book was, perhaps, not practical --- that length is right at the acceptable upper limit for distribution. So DD will continue to be sold in the current four volumes.

And I will, eventually, reformat those four novels to match distribution requirements (if possible) and get them out to B&N, Amazon, etc. Of course, one can purchase the ebook versions at those vendors now and the print books are available through arachispress.com.

Anyway, I still intend to try getting the poetry chapbook,'Retellings' submitted for distribution sometime this month. Indeed, all the Arachis Press books will have been revised by the end of March. Then I'll get around, as time and interest allows, to seeing about the distribution thing.

* * *

In other news, I shall finally be on the road again (after several years hiatus) and off to the Will McLean music festival the weekend of March 13-15. The full festival experience, camping and all. I haven't done that in, I think, eight years. My niece, Mean Mary James, will be among the performers. This festival is down in central Florida, near Dade City, and is near the perfect time for such an event, weather-wise.

Maybe by next year, I'll have myself together enough to switch from spectator to performer. This year, I'm just working on getting my camping gear sorted out!