My blog was open. My mind began spinning. What to write! Nothing to say! Busy week! No time to read! OK...begin....my fingers hovered above they keys, ready to type NO BLOG THIS WEEK. Wait! It's the door. Someone approaches...the mail carrier. And with him came what I needed to jump start today's post.
What he brought me upped the level of responsibility I feel to this little weekly communication. How often have I apologized to you for sloppy syntax, hastily formulated thoughts, non-sequiters...not to mention the weakness in the spellcheck of this Blogger program? (...and the rambling groups of words that, on a good day, may be grammatically correct, but more often than not contain one or more significant errors defined by an inability to separate, coordinate and/or subordinate thoughts with the use of conjunctions or whatever?)
So, the mail carrier delivered three pieces of valuable inspiration. First, I was invited to apply to work on my MFA in poetry at Drew University, a division of The Caspersen School of Graduate Studies in Madison, New Jersey. A nice, handwritten note at the bottom of the form letter informed me that Carla the Recruiter discovered my blog, and knew I would be the perfect candidate for their program.
You haven't read too much of this blog have you? Have you ever seen evidence of me writing poetry, or showing the slightest interest in or knowledge of that very sophisticated genre? Not so much, huh?
I will admit that the program has some inviting features. I can write poetry from the comfort of my own home for three years. Then, for ten days in January, I get to go to the campus, just 25 miles from NYC, and engage in "critical conversations, lectures, and workshops as a member of a community of poets." What that really means is I sit around and have people laugh at all the garbage I have written in the comfort of my own home with no one to guide or critique my work except me. OR, maybe everyone will tell me what great, insightful, and life-changing stuff I have written - worthy of publication. Then, for my thesis, I will prepare those poems for publication. Because poetry is a hard sell, no one will pick it up, and out of frustration, I will search out a vanity press, and pay thousands of dollars to see my book rot on store shelves. How much you want to bet that Drew University operates a vanity press and would be more than happy to help me out with that process? Then they will give me the pretty letters to go behind my name.
My second excitement from the mailbag was a letter from an artist named Sarah Angst. Come on...is that her real last name? Can you imagine her work? Dark. Brooding. Anger dripping from the souls of scantily clad Amazonian women, posed in a threatening stances seen only on comic book covers. In reality, Ms. Angst creates Tiffany-like prints which she incorporates into jewelry, cards, and wall art...yet another example to support Shakespeare's "What's in a name?" discussion.
The invitation to buy my MFA was quite a gift, but the free book from St. Martin's Press trumped it. Augusten Burrough's You Better Not Cry spilled out of the manila envelope on the very day I was questioning my decision to re-read Pride and Prejudice. Looks like Austen will have to wait...again. How sad. Burrough's dysfunctional family provides plenty of material for his edgy essays. They aren't for everyone, but Sedaris fans are sure to appreciate them.
What am I really reading? I just cracked The Bookman's Tale - A Novel of Obsession by Charlie Lovett. This modern Gothic opens when an antiquarian bookseller leafs though an 18th century study of Shakespearearn forgieries, and what appears to be a portrait of his late wife flutters to the floor. Of course it really isn't her. It's a Victorian watercolor but the resemblance is uncanny. Thus begins Peter Byerly's journey.
Oh, here's a cheery little note from the brain trust at a big box retialer. They announced today that Ereaders have not killed the traditional book industry as they once had predicted. Ya well, the American Booksellers Association has been providing us indies with the stats supporting that for years. But, I suppose that this news comes on the heels of the turmoil caused by dramatically dropping Kindle sales. ABA tells us that 80% of books sold in the US still have pages, covers, and no batteries. Sure, that's not as grand as when 100% of books fit that description. I try to keep this all in perspective. Cavemen were probably upset when someone discovered alternatives wall writing, and that turned out OK.
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