In fiction writing, or in reading fiction,
it’s important to understand that
sometimes the resolution is
that there’s no resolution:
there’s no way it can be solved
or fixed or for all parties
to see eye to eye about a
situation they’ve disputed.
And the reason it’s that way
in fiction writing and in reading fiction,
at least in good writing and reading,
is because it’s this way in reality
as well, that rarely are things tied
nicely in a bow, rarely is everything
figured out and settled to everyone’s satisfaction.
And if you want your fiction this way,
and if you want your life this way,
the truth of the matter is that you don’t
want good fiction writing or reading
and you don’t want the life we’ve got.
You want something else altogether
and you will be disappointed over and over
when life doesn’t mirror your particular
brand of story book resolution.
Is this worth any points? they ask.
And I say, of course, but you won’t
see them in the grade book; instead,
you’ll feel them somewhere inside
your head or your heart–that’s why
we call it extra soul credit.
Very few students are motivated
by this. I don’t care. While I’m not
opposed to enrichment work, I am opposed
to extra credit, in principle,
because the work we do in class
is the work for the class.
You don’t build a thing for someone,
do a terrible job at it,
and then ask for something else
to do better. No, the person
will either fire you or make you
build the thing correctly that
you were originally supposed to build
in the first place. However,
you might go the extra mile for someone,
or, more importantly, for yourself,
ad that little something special at no charge,
or just be super cool and caring and understanding,
and at first, you get absolutely no compensation for that
except the warm fuzzy you feel and they feel for having
shared something positive with other humans
or for having created or accomplished
something unique, worthwhile, good.
You do the extra thing because it is worthwhile doing
in and of itself. You’re doing the extra soul credit.
It’s good for you. And, eventually, maybe,
even in some tangible way, it pays off.
So, I’m almost 50 and
I still think about my hair.
I’ve written poems about my hair
and here goes another one.
I’m growing it out again–
which I’m pleased to say,
I’m still able to do,
but embarrassed to say
that I’ve given it this much
thought. I’m revisiting
(this time around) my
hair from the last decade
of the 20th century,
which basically means
I’m growing a kind of fountain
off the top of my head,
keeping it short around the ears
and in the back and letting
all hell break loose above.
The stylist, barber, hair artist,
(what do we call them now?)
who gave me a beer and cut my
hair today said to me she thought
I was going for a professorial look,
and I was at once complimented
and insulted. Complimented, because,
yes, I am the professor, but insulted
because the real motivator behind
growing more hair is about the rock and roll.
This is rock and roll hair, you, girl with scissors,
or, at least, what this particular old guy
imagines when he thinks of rock and roll
and his own silver hair in the same sentence together.
Filed under Music, Poetry
What the hell is wrong with that book,
he asks, listening to Dad attempt a reading
out loud of the third paragraph of Finnegans Wake.
What the hell is wrong with that book, Dad?
Well, for starters, there’s a word in the paragraph
in question, the third word in the first sentence,
in parentheses, that’s 100 letters strong and ends
in an exclamation mark, of course.
The boy hears the word
and understandably wonders about
the novel’s literary merits,
clearly does not understand the word
as a possible metaphor for the origin
of everything, eventually spewing out
Finnegan at short notice,
sending any unquiring ones
in quest of his tumptytomtoes.
See? As plain as the day is long.
The title of this little blog post, I realize, is deceptive. Please know that you will not find included herein 100 poems by a person named April. Rather, it is my hope and goal (hence, this public announcement) to write my 100th blog poem by April 1. My rationale is, initially, silly. In April of 2013 I participated in the National Poetry Writing Month by writing a poem a day every day in the month of April. For some reason, I think, maybe to distinguish the poetry from other things decidedly NOT poetry, I decided to number these poems. 1 through 30. But then I kept writing poems. And I kept numbering them. I just posted #73. And my secret (now public) fear is that if I participate again in NaPoWriMo (which is my plan) I will find myself in the unenviable position of writing poem number 93 on the 17th day of April. That’s just not good. So the silly reason for writing 100 poems by April 1 is so that on April 1 I can post poem #101 and on the 3oth of April I can post poem #130.
The second reason for writing 100 poems by April 1 is simply to have written 100 poems in a year’s time. I’ve said this before. I don’t know if they’re good poems. Because mostly they’re written quickly, they may read kind of like Anne Lamott’s concept of the shitty rough draft. And because they’re public, they may not “delve” in the way some of the best poetry delves. In other words, there may be subjects I’ve avoided, or incidents of self-censorship I’ve allowed. There may be artful risks I’ve side-stepped. All of this may be true, but it’s still a pretty cool thing to say you’ve written 100 poems in a year, and if I’m able to do this, I’ll be able to say it. I’ll say, hey, I’ve written 100 poems in a year. Cool.
So, if I just posted #73, I will need to write 27 new poems in February and March. Over two months, it’s about half of what I will do in April. It will be good exercise, I think. And maybe you can help. Do you have any suggestions? Are there kinds of poems or subjects that would amuse you in a Michael Jarmer composition? Let me know. Seriously. Really. Please. I have my work cut out for me anyway, but without your help, I may have even more work cut out for me.