Blink Poetry

A few words to the wind, as soft as a whisper. My first ebook was quietly published on October 15th. It’s a secret… just like this blog. Out there, as public as can be, yet most of the people in my everyday life don’t know that I write anywhere about anything.

Only two people knew about this ebook project until one of them (my bold and brazen daughter) found Blink Poetry at Barnes & Noble and just had to share a link on social media. She restricted her share to omit family, but I still await the backlash.

So, why am I so paranoid? It’s just bad poetry representing 40 years of raw and real emotions. Some poems reveal too much.

In some ways, putting this collection together was just tidying up the past, end of chapter, turn the page. Blink and it’s gone… time to move on.

The second purpose was purely technical. It was a practice in formatting my written words for ebook publication. Perhaps poetry was a bad choice for a first go… it’s so not perfect. Some of my formatting morphed a bit, lost my larger font size for titles and a couple poems with lines that indented visually on an angle all came in plain and straight. Nothing major, just little things that make me wonder how to make it survive the process in tack, but not enough to go on a revision quest seeking perfection. Yeah, it would be easy to get bogged down instead of moving on to the next project.

(SEE UPDATE BELOW)

I am considering an audio book version, on my daughter’s suggestion. She gave me the greatest compliment, said my poems “come alive” when I read them out loud. Maybe I should practice on street corners again. That was always fun, so doing an audio book might be fun, too. It will take awhile, of course, because I will have to learn how.

If you would like to check out my ebook, you can find Blink Poetry at Smashwords. It is rated for adults due to content and language. Yeah, six of the poems do contain profanity and some of the topics are not kid friendly. Or, parent friendly… as in my own.

Oh my gosh, the dreads hit me hard yesterday. I seriously thought about pulling it. Yeah, here I am, 59 years old, thinking about hiding my own words. And, for what? To protect other people’s fragile feelings?

Nah, it’s a bit more complicated. There are reasons why I cannot live in the same town as my family. I love them dearly, but they think everything I do or say somehow reflects on them. The pressure to conform, to toe the line is very real. Surely, if my family reads Blink Poetry, I will be shunned.

Straight up, I broke the rules.

Little girls are supposed to grow up, get married, and live happily ever after. Divorce is not an option. If a marriage fails, if the man sets her aside, the woman is supposed to maintain the highest fortitude of moral propriety until she marries again. In other words, my family believes that sex (correction, marital relations and anything that might lead up to marital relations) is for married people only. My husband left me in 1987. I was supposed to live by the rules, remarry or spend the remainder of my days without ever being touched, as if I had taken a vow of celibacy.

So you see, poems like “Sex with Neighbors” will not go over very well.

The title does sound slutty as hell, but in my defense, it was just one neighbor, the same man who practically lived with me for a couple years after I bought this house. I wrote the poem when we both lived in the same apartment building, when I wasn’t sure if we had enough in common to make a go of anything. My family knew that he stayed here. It was kind of obvious, with his clothes and stuff. Mom flat out asked if we shared a bed. She wanted to know if we intended to marry. I told her I’m like Aunt Betty, figured that would explain it in a nutshell and stop her questions.

Ye gads, that proved to be more true than not. My dad’s sister had a special friend for the last decade of her life and she couldn’t live with him either. That’s me and the Vet, but as just friends now.

There’s also a possibility that the Vet will disapprove of Blink Poetry, too, mostly because he would think that some poems should have been ripped up and tossed out long ago. But, I’m not shredding my words for someone who can’t even tell HIS delusional wannabee girlfriend to stop posting hearts and stickers asserting her fantasy relationship with him on Facebook. He knows I don’t believe his “I’m not messing with that woman, it’s all in her head” BS and has gone from total defense to just rolling his eyes now when I mention anything about his girlfriend. Bottom line, as he’s told me so many times, he can’t control what that woman does… well, ditto.

Thanks for reading!

UPDATE 14 NOV 2019: I’m on a perfection quest, almost done revising the ebook to eliminate that one blank page and some other odd things. I will update again when the revised version replaces the original. Blink Poetry will be released as a paperback soon, since several people have asked me for a hard copy. As for an audio book, that can wait as I don’t have access to equipment capable of doing that myself (or know how to use it) and the audio book service I checked into hires people to read so odds are, they wouldn’t read my poems exactly as I would. But, who knows? Maybe they could read my poems better than I do. Doesn’t matter… I don’t have money to do that anyway.

UPDATE 28 NOV 2019: Just deleted some links and edited the paragraph containing the links because I just opted out of global distributed to ensure compliance with the fine print for global distribution of the paperback. I get it… totally not cool to have the same book available from two different sources at the same retailers, even if they are in different formats with their own ISBN. I kept the Smashwords link because the ebook version there is the Smashwords edition, same poems, different back matter, etc. By opting out of global distribution, the Smashwords edition will ONLY be available ON the Smashwords website. In time, there will be an ebook version of the paperback so readers can choose… right now, I’m waiting on my second proof copy to arrive in the mail. Yeah, I rejected the first proof… my own screw-up, had the cover image too far off center and found a missing punctuation mark, plus a couple other little things. I absolutely LOVE the fact that the author must purchase a printed copy of their own book, see it with their own eyes and hold it with their own hands, before it can be approved for distribution. That extra step makes good sense to me.

BTW, sister Jai… I went ahead and ordered extra copies with this second proof as I expect to be pleased with the results. Yes, one is for you.

1-2-3

Long before my time, my grandfather said something to my father about, “You better measure that. Not everyone makes things the way we do.”

Today, I smile because my father called me after opening the package I had mailed to him.

“Did you make these 1-2-3 blocks?”

Yes, daddy. They’re one of the first things I had to make as an apprentice. We weren’t allowed to do company work until we made our own tools.

It was dual purpose. New apprentices don’t have the skills to do company work and there are some tools you can’t buy precise enough for the tolerances required to work in this shop. Or, that’s what we were told. (A google for ultra precise 1-2-3 blocks found blocks made flat, square, and parallel within 0.0001″ but when I clicked on the description, it read within 0.0001 to 0.0002 so maybe they were right.)

I smile because I know he is going to measure them.

I know he’s going to measure them because he has measured 1-2-3 blocks found at yard sales, mostly purchased out of curiosity because of what his father had told him. When the dims were off, he’d call to tell me about it. Yes, you can find 1-2-3 blocks at yard sales around here. This is Rust Belt Ohio, where industry once flourished and Tool & Die Makers are now a dying breed. Literally. The old guys are dying off so their personal tools occasionally land in yard sales.

I smile because, when I called and told him that I was going to sell off some tools that I haven’t used in years, he asked me what I had and said, “Oh, I could use those” when I mentioned 1-2-3 blocks.

Perhaps the initials threw him off as he forgot what the T stood for, then told me that he ran into my ex-husband’s sister at the Walmart store and talked for a bit, she was always nice… what’s their name again?

He forgets odd things.

I also mailed him a double angle block and a set of forstner bits for his woodworking. It was a trade deal, I can’t charge him more than yard sale prices and he had sent up an odd looking antique screwdriver and some handmade tongs for me to sell on eBay for him that I wouldn’t mind buying for myself.

I smile because he is 82 years old, recovering from a stroke, and still making stuff. He builds little wooden models and does some wood carving. He’s also active, serves on an honor guard, goes on outings with his clubs, and does things with his friends. He’s also doing some kind of home study course on CD or DVD to learn a new language and takes drawing classes when offered for adults at a nearby school. Mommy won’t let him drive anymore, that’s what he tells me, but it’s all good. He laughs and makes jokes about it, claims he drives like Mr. Magoo, and tells mom “you’re not supposed to leave old men in cars” when she wants to run into a store. I love how they still like each other, get along so well, their love laced with laughter after 62 years of marriage. These days are precious.

Thanks for reading!

872

872: landline, Newton Falls.

Nah, can’t be… no one has called me from that tiny speck on the map in over 14 years ago. Who would call me? I don’t know anyone there.

I was greeted by silence, so I repeated my hello and waited for the caller to speak. Ticktock, thirteen seconds of silence followed by a soft click. Whoa.

Wrong number? Nah, they would have said something… asked for someone by name or apologized for accidentally dialing as that’s what older people with landline telephones tend to do.

Every pore of my being feels that call was not accidental.

I did the reverse lookup thing: unfamiliar names at an unfamiliar address. Then I started googling for newspaper obits, anything that might bring my old friend back to visit anyone in Newton Falls. Stray thought: maybe I’m on some old contact list… nah, the caller would have said something.

I googled his name anyway. Sigh of relief: no obit, no death notices, assume he’s still breathing.

Oh, he’s got a new Facebook page… cats, art, links to his old blog posts… he’s in a relationship, nice photo, big smiles. Good, that makes me smile.

Hey, maybe he got his shit together, got over his fear of Ohio, came to visit his family, maybe just maybe… one can only hope his most elusive dreams have come true.

Little clue: that’s what old friends DO… always hope and wish the best for you.

Friday launched an odd weekend as other phone calls and messages made me the bearer of bad news… I had to let my dad know someone was in hospice, then later call back to let him know that she died. I had to pass news on to a cousin, let her know that the elderly relative she asked about now has cancer and he was recently moved to a nursing home. And no, she cannot have first “dibbies” on his private plane as it has done been sold. Couldn’t help but smile passing on that tidbit… hold onto your memories kiddo, that’s all you get. Want a plane? Go buy your own.

Saturday started with a call jarring me from sleep in the wee hours. It was a niece in dire need of immediate assistance. I’m a disabled non-driver so all I could do was relay the message. A sister texted just before dawn to let me know that she had stepped in to do what needed done. It’s not the best solution, so there were calls and tears flying all weekend. Those old aunties can be bitchy witches.

Sorry, I’m not a fairy godmother. My magic wand is a wooden spoon. It can stir love into food, encourage ornery children to “straighten up and fly right” (ye gads, my mama’s words), but it cannot wave away the consequences of bad decisions.

Can I have a phone free Monday… just turn that thing off and hide from the world?

Oh hell no… the first call came at 5:14am and left me wide awake. I got up, made coffee, played solitaire, got into a Facebook conversation, and ate a cold chicken sandwich for breakfast. Welcome to Monday. I really should go back to bed.

Thanks for reading! Artwork is a postcard size colored pencil drawing.