Friday, December 30, 2022

Top Ten Blog Posts 2022 per views (Which one is your favorite?)

 This is a weird end of year tradition, but there are many (see video). 

Top 10 most read posts from my blog: Four are essays, two are about published pieces, two are about Dire Literary schedule, and one each on Wilderness House Literary Review, and Joe the Salamander

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Final 2022 List of Publications

But Grateful for this tally in 2022: 1 Book, 3 fictions, 5 poems. 

which is not at all like 2013's numbers, for example. I mean....

The output was very 2022 (and 2022 was a GIF), which about covers it. I spent a lot of time doing promotional work for Joe, and that paid off.  


Joe The Salamander,, July, 2022, Golden Antelope Press


"Her Hotel", August 19, 2022 Fried Chicken and Coffee

"Hey, Benni", June 30, 2022 Tell Tale Inklings #6

"Beloved Do Us Part", June 3, 2022 10 BY 10


December 28, 2022 Oddball Magazine

(after Fathers and Daughters (Spoiler Alert))
June 30, 2022 Tell Tale Inklings #6

"Not Perfect Does Not Make Practice"
April 29, 2022 Muddy River Poetry Review


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

New poem, "Shared Bathroom at the Oceanic Hotel," appears like a ghost today in Oddball Magazine

     The first thing you may think of based on the title, probably involves all of your senses, but this poem, written in September 2021, used the sense of sight. IT is about the largest spider I'd ever seen, in a huge web over an industrial style bathroom sink. The Hotel itself, a marvel, with limited amenities (shared bathrooms, limits on showers) opened in 1873, often documented as haunted, just seems to capture people in its large web, and hold them there. The poem itself indicates change, and growth. 

     Many also believe spiders are reincarnated from people you love. Others, think birds. People that I love get reincarnated in my dreams---I'd rather not think about every spider, or bird that I see. 

photo credit, Charles Timothy Gager, Sep. 2021

Monday, December 19, 2022

REPLAY CENTRAL: Virtual Dire Features Autumn 2022, plus links to ALL previous features


First watch all the readings and interviews from September 2022-December 2022 starting with Jon Papernick and ending with Nina Shope. Then links every recording, and every feature from Vitual Fridays Dire Literary Series, 2020-2022

9.9.22 Jonathan Papernick

9.16.22 A.K. Small

9.22.22 Aaron Tillman

9.30.22 David Rocklin

10.7.22 Kimberly Ann Priest

10.14.22 Sain Griffiths

10.21.22 Harris Gardner

10.28.22 Lisa Taylor

11.04.22 Michael Keith

11.11.22 Jim Shepard

11.18.22 Zach VandeZande

11.25.22 Rusty Barnes

12.2.22 Daniel Nester

12.09.22 Publisher Kurk Lovelace reads from 
Annemarie O'Connell's book Glock

12.16.22 Nina Shope

The Rest of the Replay Centrals

Sara Lippmann, Robin McLean, Gregory Orr, Rich Murphy, Diane Suess, Ron Tanner, Aleathea Drehmer, Christina Adams, Sharon Applegate Greenwald, Lucas Scheelk, 
Joseph Milosch, Barbara Legere, Ellene Glenn Moore, Vincent Cellucci and Chris Shipman

Renuka Raghaven, Jessica Cuello, Jen Knox, Daniel Biegelson, Alison Stine, 
John Rosenthal, Peter Crowley, Maggie Doherty, Erin Khar, Elan Barnehama, 
Marguerite Guzman Bouvard

DeMisty Bellinger, Cheryl Pappas, Matt Bell, Michael Keith, Gloria Mindock, 
Molly Gaudry, CD Collins, Kevin Prufer, Beth Robinson/Chris Joseph, Alina Stefanuscu, Meg Smith, Gregory Wolos, Damian Dressic, Jason Wright, Blake Butler 

Natalie Brobin Bonfig, John Domini, Anna VQ Ross, Rachel Yoder

Sandra Simonds, George Wallace, Caroline Levitt, Charles Coe, Susan Henderson, 
Major Jackson, Kara Vernor, Meredith Goldstein, Kimberly Ann Priest, Joanna Rakoff

Rick Moody , Laurette Folk, Mark Saba, Sarah Anne Johnson, 
Josh Barkan/ Jennifer Haigh, Keetje Kuipers, January O'Neil,  Elle Nash, 
Danielle Zaccagnino, Marty Beckerman, Nathan Graziano , Steven Cramer

Carly Israel, Daphne Kalotay, Ryan Ridge, Marge Piercy, Kerry Beth Neville, 
Yuyutsu Sharma, Chris Joseph, Elizabeth Gordon McKim, Diana Spechler, 
Jonathan Escoffrey, Dewitt Henry, Brian Sonia-Wallace, Rebecca Fishow,
 Marguerite Bouvard, Pamela Painter, Kim Chinquee, Jessica Keener, Amy King




















Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Total Number of Dire Readings after last Virtual Fridays Dire

 Here is the series full count to date, after Nina Shope's reading this Friday. We will have a great Thursday Night Schedule in 2023, 7 PM ESD

329 = 7 x 47.

329 is the smallest 100-digit power of 2.

329 is the number of forests with 10 vertices.

329 is the sum of three consecutive primes: 107 + 109 + 113 = 329.

329 Svea is a large asteroid discovered in 1892.

       LIVE                                                                                                                               TOTAL

February-March 2001 - First Tuesday reading at Cantab Underground                            2

June 2001-Aug 2002- First Friday, Out of the Blue Art Gallery                                       15
                                    168 Brookline St., Cambridge

Sept 2002-Oct 2011-First Friday, Out of the Blue Art Gallery                                         110
                                    106 Prospect St., Cambridge

Nov 4, 2011-                -First Friday, Yarrow                                                                        1
                                    106 Prospect St., Cambridge

Dec 2011-Sept 2014-First Friday, Out of the Blue Art Gallery                                          34
                                    106 Prospect St., Cambridge

Oct 2014-Nov 2017-First Friday, Out of the Blue Too                                                       38
                              541 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge 

Dec 2017-June 2018 First Saturday Afternoon, The Middle East Cafe
                               480 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge                                                    7

July 2018                   First Saturday Afternoon, Zuzu
                               480 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge                                                    1

Aug 2018-                Oct 2018 First Saturday Night, First Friday too
                                 Center for Arts at the Armory
                               191 Highland Ave., Somerville                                                             3


March 2020                Virtual Fridays Dire Literary Series  on Zoom                              119
 -December 16, 2022 

January 5, 2023             Virtual Thursdays Dire Literary Series on Zoom                         0                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                __________

Monday, December 5, 2022

Why we check-in with others and why the F*** it matters.

During heat waves, cold snaps or such emergencies your local News station will advise you to check in with your elderly neighbors.  It’s important because they may be struggling (or dying) and unable to reach out for help. It’s a reminder that probably probably doesn't need to exist, but it does.  

In my 12-Step Program, these check-ins are almost automatic. You are told to call someone else in the program every day. If you have a sponsor, you may receive a suggestion to do so with them. It helps because even if you have nothing to say. you get into the habit of doing so when there is something important that needs to come out.

I sponsored a man in 2019 I’ll call Waylon, and during that year he became an important person, and friend in my life. We would meet and have dinners, shoot b-ball, or throw around a baseball. He was full of energy, humor and just a one-of-a-kind type of guy. He showed a lot of support to me as well. We would talk every day, until the calls stopped and I would learn that it usually meant a relapse. Then. I would receive a call 6-months later and he was ready to meet up, hit a few meetings and work on his recovery.

Things got weird in 2020 for all of us, but somehow, after some time passed, we would meet up and sit outside, safely, a good 15 feet from one another. During this time, he was in-and-out of recovery, and as they say, once you go out, it’s hard to get back in. We still stayed in touch until May of this year, and then, once again the contact stopped. Often Waylon was on my mind, but I didn’t reach out, until about a month ago, but the texts weren’t returned and the calls went straight to voicemail.

This past weekend was a pretty difficult one for many personal reasons, but I’ve been told to reach out to others who may need help. Once more, I texted Waylon, and tried to call---right to voicemail again. Then I decided to just get in my car and drive to his house, thinking worst case scenario might be that he was having a hell of a relapse.  I kept having the strange feeling that it was worse, that Waylon was dead.

His girlfriend Jane answered the door, and when I asked if Waylon was there, her face dropped. “He’s not here, and oh…you haven’t heard…,” and were then, suddenly in that space. I think we all know that space where you don’t want to talk, but it’s important, painful, and awkward that you do. So, Jane and I spoke on the front steps of a house I’d been to many, many times for about twenty minutes. She told me that he didn’t die from drugs, or alcohol but from a head injury, causing a brain bleed from a fall at around 6 AM on October 23, nearly six weeks ago. The details are few, but apparently after the fall, he called the police in a very disoriented state, not knowing where he was at all. He needed their help to tell him, as he couldn’t tell them where he was, and they could not figure it out either. By the time they found him, he was unconscious and needed a MedEvac to get him into Boston. Where he was found was an area that was known to be a very rough place. He never came to. He was 42.

Would a check-in have helped? Perhaps, but only if the assumption was that the rough location was an intended place to score drugs. Even then, a check-in may not have stopped him. Still, given those low parameters, 10% of a defense, is better than zero, but I believed Jane when she said he had been doing well and was clean. I want to believe that life hadn’t taken him back to that dark place, that we all in the program know all about.

Something though didn’t feel right. The Walpole Police still have his phone and other belongings as part of an ongoing investigation. Why would that be. Perhaps Waylon was mugged and the blow to the head was not from a fall? I don’t know---and I don’t really want to know. It doesn’t matter.

When I got back home, I searched the internet to see if there had been a service or not. I found the obituary and also watched the 15-minute video of his life that was on the site. After holding it together with Jane earlier, I completely lost it and sobbed for a long time. These are the times when I usually say, "I'm broken." After, I drove to my 12-Step meeting, because that helps me not drink or use, still crying while driving. Some people at the meeting knew Waylon, but most of them asked me if it was drugs or alcohol that killed him. I found myself responding, “What the fuck does it matter?” the bluntness catching me by surprise. Honestly, it shouldn’t matter, but those in recovery want to somehow reinforce their ability to live by associating the worst of those who don’t make it. I didn’t want to talk about that specifically as I said earlier, what the fuck does it matter?

So, back to check-ins, and their importance, even if this example may not support the need for them directly. They are important! Very often we have no idea that people are struggling. Whether it be family issues, or depression—or just about anything, nothing is as important as someone reaching to see how you are doing. I know about this first hand, when I’m walking through difficult terrain, the difference in people reaching out vs. not. Nothing is worse than sitting with things by yourself, alone with them those destructive thoughts and feelings. Life is short, so mend bridges, and reach out to those you care about.