Saturday, November 18, 2017

WHAT TO DO WHILE WAITING ON IMMORTALITY


IS THERE ANY SUCH THING AS DOWN TIME?






I told myself I was going to take three weeks and let the novel I was working on simmer. Steep in its juices, so, when it was time to refine and season the stew, the fat would be ready to skim away. I was going to do nothing until then.

Well, two short stories, a couple of poetry submissions, and decisions taken and releases filled out for the next paintings to submit for an upcoming show - and three weeks have flown by. That's the whole secret to the artistic life. Write, paint, compose, stare at the ceiling until a vagrant idea flits through. Then write it down before it gets away.

Doodle. Noodle. Read, read, read, read, read.

Before I know it I'm headed for my twelfth art exhibit this year. I've taken four awards from the twelve, so far, and I have eighteen short stories out for consideration by eighteen different publications. Not to mention the four poetry submissions my gorgeous wife made for me. Everything from a maximum of three pieces to a complete chapbook.

This all occurs around researching markets, agents, building my platform, re-opening this blog which laid in neglect far too long, and ordering new business cards.

Then there's the constant research for the creative portion. Which involves everything from scouring libraries, the Internet, the daily newspapers, cookbooks (If you're going to crack one open - Damn it, cook something!). Add to this excursions to museums and historic sites, and just plain old fashioned road trips for the hell of it. If you're going to write about a particular area, you might as well know what it looks like.

Is there any such thing as down time? I eavesdrop and people watch, I flip over rocks and poke around tide pools. Take pictures. Make sketches. Whistle, hum, yodel, give out a barbaric YAWP! Down time is coming in abundance. When they put the pennies on your eyes.

Oh, did I mention I'm rewriting a novel?



Friday, November 17, 2017

HAVE I REALLY BEEN GONE THAT LONG?

                   

                                    WHERE THE HELL HAVE I BEEN?


Probably the easiest of the questions to answer. I was wrapping up all those years I'd spent on an everyday job. I was spending a lot of time at open microphones and chasing after the recognition of poetry journals that paid in one contributor's copy. I was getting wrapped up in parts of the literary life I wasn't cut out for or comfortable in.

I was back in my studio, working on my painting and entering things in all kinds of shows. The challenging ones were the juried exhibitions. Who knows what goes through a juror's mind? Whatever it is I have garnered a few awards (some of them accompanied with cash). Sure, it was local, but it led to having pieces placed in Massachusetts, Virginia, Georgia, and other locales.

My wife and I have traveled to wonderful places. Alaska and British Columbia, the Mediterranean. All over the Southwest U.S. I photographed and sketched and compiled enough material for a whole other lifetime. Still, there was a nagging question. Was I really a "WRITER"?

Now I've embarked on a journey into that next level of difficulty. Chasing after that elusive goal of being published by literary journals and getting paid for the experience. Having been the other route, being thankful just for the chance to see my name in print, and, believe me, I always was, I felt it was time to kick it up a notch.

So, I sat down at this infernal machine and began banging on the keys with all the intensity of an enraged ape. I sent out story after story. I self-published two poetry chapbooks that I flogged at readings where, if you were lucky, they passed the hat to cover the gas it took to get there and you sold enough merchandise to cover printing costs.

Stories were sent out. Stories were systematically rejected. All this I have lovingly enshrined on a spread sheet created for just that purpose. What was the main lesson learned? Have some fun while you're driving yourself to distraction.

Don't take rejection personally. There are a lot of people pounding away at keyboards and a shrinking galaxy of outlets. The people who are tasked with reading what is sent to these journals and anthologies see an incomprehensible number of manuscripts all during their reading periods. What you felt to be so unique and divinely inspired may just be the three hundredth treatment of that same plot and setting.

Don't give up. If it gets kicked back with that perfunctory, "Not for us at this time", turn it right around. There are books full of stories about stories that were rejected innumerable times. You might just be the next Papa Hemingway, but even he had to be discovered.

Don't write what you think everyone else wants to read. Write what it is you want to say. Write it in the way you want to say it. Be you! It's all you've got. Most of all, don't quit. I had my first poem published in 1975. I've had dozens of fits and starts. I'm still here. Where's it going to lead. Who cares. In all reality, it is the journey and not the destination.

In the words of Jack Nicholson in, THE SHINING, "I'm baaaack!"

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Where to from here?

The author/publisher,
Dane F. Baylis

THERE ARE WEEKS WHEN THE WORLD SEEMS DETERMINED TO MOVE AT LIGHT SPEED!

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Well, here I am again. I've been away from this site for almost a full week, and what a week it's been!
 
Monday night was the resumption of my Buddhist studies class at the Oxnard Buddhist Temple. Good to be back among the sangha and sharing our understanding of and occasional confusion with the Way. We have a new minister, the Reverend Masanori Watanabe late of Hiroshima, Japan. He replace Reverend Henry Adams who is now in San Mateo, California.
 
 Tuesday night I attended a reading at the Cobalt Cafe in Canoga Park, CA. The featured reader goes by the moniker, Urban Voodoo. His work was strong and subtly emotional with the kind of insight that doesn't just touch you but seems to reach in and take up residence in your psyche. A wonderful evening with an open mic.
 
Wednesday I started work on some preliminary studies for a painting I'm working towards. Simple pencil sketches followed by more detailed graphite rendering of a mountain scape with a lake. The work was inspired by the Big Bear, CA area and I'm looking to a final work reflective of Japanese  monotone brush and ink work.
 
Thursday, another reading. This one was in Ventura, CA and featured Ron Alexander, organizer of the Whitman/Stein series in Santa Barbara, which is now expanding to include a venue in San Francisco. Again, a wonderful voice with a lively appreciation of language and linguistics.
 
Friday I assisted at the inauguration ceremony for Ventura County, California's first poet laureate, Mary Kay Rummel. It was the usual scene full of hurry up and wait filled to over flowing with elbow rubbing and schmoozing, something I readily admit to being a total failure at. It was a smooth affair with the usual dignitaries or their representatives. By evenings close I was done.
 
Saturday, off to breakfast with the Editor-in-Wife. Then a side trip to take photo's for another painting I want to get going on. Back to the house to push the mountain scape studies to the next level and work on a new poem.
 
Today, Sunday, it was down to Highland Park in Los Angeles for a resumption of the Bluebird Readings in the Avenue 50 Gallery, presented by Jessica Ceballos. Jessica was recently honored by the City of Los Angeles as the Angeleno of the Year. The woman has more energy then any ten of her guest readers and musicians!
 
All of this on top of my usual 40+ hours at the day job. Oh, and trying my darnedest to keep a chapbook project for a poet friend and colleague on track. That's without mentioning preliminary planning for a reading of my own in Santa Barbara on the 8th of February from 4-6PM at Grenada Books and a group all erotic reading in Ventura on March 9th starting at 2PM in the Sylvia White Gallery on Main Street.
 
One of these days I want to be rich enough to hire someone to live my damned life!
 
 

 
 
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Meanwhile...live, love, write like the keys were on fire!
 
 
The offer still stands. Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on
the right side of the page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right. I'm also looking for submissions to the Your Work/Your Love page. Authors retain all rights.
 
Tomorrow,
 
Dane F. Baylis
Author/Publisher.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Day 365 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author/publisher,
Dane F. Baylis

AND THERE YOU HAVE IT!

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The challenge was to see if you could sustain 365 days of blogging. I accepted the challenge on the 7th of January 2013 and here we are one year later. I have learned how to post all kinds of links and info. I've learned how to post remotely. I've learned mostly that even a foul tempered old hermit can find an audience if he casts his net wide enough. Speaking of which, I've had visitors from the United States, Russia, Canada, Australia, Germany, South Korea, China, Malaysia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The United Kingdom, Poland, France, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Turkey, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Greece and a few others I can't find a record for at the minute.
 
Total, I've had 19, 534 page views in a years time. This probably doesn't seem like much to some of you, but it's astounding to me. When I first started out I had visions of long periods of churning out page after page with no response and wondering if I'd lost my Internet connection. But not a day went by when there weren't several hits, and some when it seemed like a regular flood. To all who have been kind enough to take a look, and especially those of you who came back repeatedly, my heartfelt thanks.
 
So, as I said yesterday, I'm not shutting this blog down immediately, but I am going to go to a much more relaxed every third or fourth day schedule. Also, as mentioned, I am going to be working on migrating over to WordPress and taking things to a regular Internet hosting service. Which one I'm not sure, if you have any suggestions I'd be glad to hear them. In the meantime I can also be found on Google +, Facebook, Twitter, and as of tonight on Linkedin. I'm working on Pinterest, as soon as I catch my breath.
 
 

 
 
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Meanwhile...live, love, laugh.
 
The offer still stands. Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on
the right side of the page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right. I'm also looking for submissions to the Your Work/Your Love page. Authors retain all rights.
 
See you in a couple of days,
 
Dane F. Baylis
Author/Publisher.
 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Day 364 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author/publisher,
Dane F. Baylis

ONE MORE DAY AND I'LL BE THROUGH, I'LL BE GLAD AND SO WILL YOU.

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That's right ladies and gents, tomorrow is the last day of 365 consecutive days of blogging. Yes, I'm looking forward to it. Will I miss it? That really remains to be seen. What will I do as a replacement?
 
First of all, this blog isn't going to just self-destruct. Yes, I am still planning to move over to a WordPress format on another server, but that's only a transition, not an ending. In the meantime, I will continue posting through BlogSpot until I have the other up and running, and probably until I work the bugs and glitches out of my new home. So, despite all of those sighs of relief I heard being released around the globe, I'm still going to be here, just not as frequently.
 
As for what I'll do to replace my daily appearances? Well, I'll be posting every three or four days after this. I'm also looking into opening a Pinterest account and maybe going as far as setting up another page on Linked-In. There will be more photography, sketches, and paintings being presented, some of it for sale, some of it just for...
 
Other than that, I am looking forward to openings. Opening good books of fiction and poetry. Opening texts and technical manuals. Opening sketchbooks and paint boxes. Opening music books and guitar cases. Mostly, I'm looking forward to opening up new areas of discovery and endeavor.
 
I have my brand new publishing imprint, Dane F. Baylis Publications to nurture along. I have begun expanding my services and capabilities in that arena. I still have my studies in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism and am looking at possibility entering the Minister's Assistant program, and there's always my own writing to tend to.
 
To think that, just over a year ago, I was wondering what the hell to do with a blog. Now it seems as if I've always done this very thing. I have a Twitter account and Facebook and more attention than I can handle at times. In the brick and mortar world I have found myself ever more involved with artists, writers, publishers, and their audience. The more involved I find myself, the more I see a need to devote a sizable portion of this daily time to other projects.
 
Tomorrow I'll release the final numbers of blog visits to this site and let you have my new schedule. It's been a hell of a journey and I appreciate every time someone has stopped by and given things a read or left a comment.
 
 

 
 
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Meanwhile...live, love, write.
 
Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the
page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right. I'm also looking for submissions to the Your Work/Your Love page. Authors retain all rights.
 
Tomorrow,
 
Dane F. Baylis
Author/Publisher.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Day 363 of the 365 Bayls of Blogging

The author/Publisher,
Dane F. Baylis

KUDOS TO THE EDITOR-IN- WIFE!

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Not only for the time she's provided to this blog, insuring my syntax is right, and putting up with the all of my pissing and moaning, but also for occasionally giving me that gentle nudge when the machinery seems bound up and I've no idea how to get things moving.
 
Tonight was one of those times. Here we are a couple of days away from closing out the 365 Days of Blogging and I had no idea what I was going to write about. She clipped the whole thing neatly together with one word. CREATIVITY.
 
In the last couple of days I've ordered a new easel (my last was a self-built H-Framed juggernaut that went bye-bye during a garage clean out), I've purchased a new supply of acrylic paint, pastel chalks, and several other things. I'm going through sketch books almost as fast as I do notebooks, and I see only an acceleration in this in the future. I've been asked to host another reading, to assist at the installation of Ventura County, California's first Poet Laureate, Mary K. Rummel, and I've been approached by a couple of other poets who were inquiring after the possibility of having their chapbooks produced under my imprint.
 
I'm writing like a fiend. Poetry, short and long fiction, commentary, not to mention this blog. My consumption of the written word is through the roof and spans everything from 21st Century American poetry, the Fiction of Flann O'Brien and Isaac Babel to the CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE, 16th Ed., and the English Standard Version of the Christian Bible. (No wonder I'm going blind as the proverbial bat.)
 
As you've probably noticed, I've begun posting a bit of my own photography and go hardly anywhere without a camera in my hand. I am partaking of museums and galleries, movies and music, travel, cooking, and just quenching the fire in my soul with all the world has to offer. When I think how foolishly I let the rigors and boredom of the everyday get in the way of all this, I could be sick.
 
The only thing that ever really stands in our way, when it comes to our own creativity, is our own doubts and sloth. You don't have to be killing yourself to mount a gallery exhibit or produce a three act play, all you have to do is sit down long enough with a pen, or brush, or pencil, or clay, or a musical instrument - or whatever your chosen medium is, and do something. You cannot make a finish unless you first make a start.
 
You might say, "Well, I'd like to try but..." and I would find myself reminding you of what Yoda said. "Try? There is no try. There is only do." You might think I'm being facetious, but it was that, combined with the past advice of my boxing coach, Fitzie, who was fond of reminding me, "The fight don't start until you step in the ring, and it ain't over until we cut the tape from your hands!", that finally got me moving again.
 
Sure, creativity has its element of inspiration. There's that flash of an idea or a new technique that starts the motor but, if you don't do the work, it all comes to nothing. In the end it may only serve as a small marker to prove your own existence, or something that served as an augment to your income. But that's a hell of a lot more than will be left of the vast majority of people crawling across the face of this globe. It all comes down to to words - CARPE DIEM!
 
 

 
 
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Meanwhile...live for it, love it for its wonder, and don't tell me about it - Show me!
 
Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the
page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right. I'm also looking for submissions to the Your Work/Your Love page. Authors retain all rights.
 
Tomorrow,
 
Dane F. Baylis
Author/Publisher.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Day 362 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author/publisher,
Dane F. Baylis

BUT WHAT DID HE SAY?

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Alright, when it comes to giving out my opinions, I'm no wallflower. Neither do I mince words. If anything, you could say I have the occasional rough edge. You could also say that about my prose and poetry . At least that's been my style, and if there are three things I believe in, it's clarity, consistency, and communication. Which is why I'm a little put out with some of the horribly artsy crowd I'm running into in the poetry scene these days.
 
There's a trend that surfaces every so often among the wordsmiths in this game that gripes my ass. Someone steps up to a mic and begins reciting in the common language I'm familiar with, English, and before you know it, I have little or no friggin' idea what the hell it is they're trying to say. Words that one might only encounter in an obscure text begin to creep in, images are eviscerated and the mess that's left has little correlation with anything familiar, cadence is about as relevant as a John Cage composition (at least he had balls enough to be outrageous in a carefully calculated manner), and the author adopts a context so personal, the audience hasn't a clue as to what to derive from the performance.
 
I've been around long enough to see this attempted more than once. Each time with the same agonizing results. Can we agree that the literary arts are about communication - the transmission of emotion, tension, and conflict, resolved or not? If the words are not serving that function then they are like bird feathers hung from branches. Sure, if I do enough investigation, I might determine species, genus, and sex, but by then the beauty of the creature is lost in a clinical quest for substance. Am I impressed? Sorry, horseshit just stinks, no matter how you package it.
 
Some of these budding young Ezra Pounds even make the stupid mistake of explaining what it is they're not communicating, either before or after they read their piece. Really? That is the resort of the gross amateur who hasn't the confidence or craft for what they're attempting. Jesus H. Fucking Christ on a crutch, ladies and gentlemen! If you're not able to say it with clarity in the body of your written words, what the hell do you think explaining it is going to accomplish?
 
Let me help you out with that one. You're either going to turn off your listeners, because they came to listen to your poetry, not your lecture on its arcane symbols and allusions, or you're going to piss them off because you're baffling them with bullshit instead of dazzling them with brilliance. Not only that, but when you become even mildly pedantic, you lose any claim to style, and Honey, you'll get a lot more kudos for a rough job done with style than a job lacking any style done roughly.
 
 

 
 
Just a helpful hint from your Uncle Dane.
 
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Meanwhile...live, love, write as if you're life depended on my getting it the first time - without addendum!
 
Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the
page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right. I'm also looking for submissions to the Your Work/Your Love page. Authors retain all rights.
 
Tomorrow,
 
Dane F. Baylis
Author/Publisher.