Friday, August 30, 2013

Day 236 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis





There I was, at a local venue last night. A room that hosts poets from the surrounding towns and cities. I'll admit, my purpose was two fold. Having been away from public view for so long, I need the exposure and, let's face it, it's poetry. If we don't support each other the crowds can get real thin.
Last night was one of those rare occasions when there was no featured reader. Instead, the floor was open and the mic was yours. Three reasonably long poems or less if you were doing epics.
While we were mingling in the audience, a younger woman happened to mention that this would be her first time reading and she was feeling a little intimidated by the caliber of writers in the room. I tried to allay her jitters by reminding her we had all been in her position and by pointing out that the organizers and, as far as I knew, those in attendance were really supportive of new attempts. She asked if the regulars had always seemed so confident and adroit at the craft and how one reached that level. I gave her the only answer I know. Read a lot and write even more. She inquired how much I wrote.
I've put that information out in this blog in the past. I compose and post this blog - everyday. I have written somewhere in the vicinity of ten short stories in the last eight months. I have a longer fiction project which is still in the mill. Add to that about two and a half or three dozen poems, journal entries, notes of ideas and possible projects. Basically, I write everyday - somewhere in the vicinity of twelve to fifteen hundred words, minimum.
A man, whom I recognized as another new face, chimed in that it must be nice to have the leisure to do that. LEISURE! Was he fucking kidding? I informed him that my 'leisure' came into play after a forty-plus hour a week job, this blog, a Monday night study group, an online course in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism that requires a fair amount of reading and a written assignment once a month.  Not to mention my participation in normal household chores and duties and getting around, as much as possible, furthering my efforts at improving my network connections in the literary community. Then there is my writing, rewriting, submitting, resubmitting. You know, the purpose of the evening's exercise..
He more or less blew this off, after all, he was a high school English teacher. Uh, yeah - So? I work for a large southern California school district in a non-teaching capacity. Don't play a bullshit card unless you've got something in the hole. I've seen what a teacher's work day looks like. If you can't squeeze the time out for a little creative scribbling, (especially as a member of the ENGLISH department), then you have serious time management issues.
I kept this to myself, preferring to see, or in this case, hear, what he was capable of producing. Long, clumsy, cliche-ridden, geo-political prose diatribes might be all the rage on talk radio, but behind the podium, baby (even when broken into disjointed, non-rhythmic bits), they are more than disappointing. In this case, however, they were ample proof that he doesn't grasp the first concept of skill development, even in his own field. If you want to write with artistry and imagination, you have to write a lot. It's called practice. Funny he hadn't heard that on the way to his teaching credential.
Just my humble opinion, eh!
Dane F. Baylis
The two dykes from up the block
Had it out on the sidewalk
In front of my door
In the middle of the night.

I stood there listening
Sipping a cup of tea
Which is my usual stupid reaction to vicious love.

Words flashed out of the darkness
An open handed slap
Sent tears sparkling in the street light

I admired the convoluted originality of epithet
The verbal gymnastics
That only those unfettered by gender’s ineptitude
Can be capable of

Tempers cooled
The night emptied
I lay naked on my bed
One hand shielding my cock
Glad the wounds
Weren’t mine to lick

This time.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, love, write. Every - damned - day!
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Dane F. Baylis


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