Tuesday, December 31, 2013

And So It Goes

I'm not one to stay up to midnight and beyond celebrating the old year and welcoming the new. Over several years, I've changed from a very nostalgic person to one who doesn't dwell on accomplishments or events very long. Each passing instant is different from the last, a chance to change the negative or keep the positive. No need to wait to make resolutions.

This much said, I can't recall anything remarkable about 2013 as a whole, but I did enjoy reading Keith R.A. DeCandido's Leverage: The Zoo Job for pure fun recently and writing a short story in the past week.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Let's Do Brunch

Amid busy holiday schedules, my friends John Ricotta, Matt Tedesco, and their families made it to my house yesterday for brunch and gift exchange, after which we played Guess The Word - Heads Up.

L to R: Matt and Kim Tedesco, me, Kelly and John Ricotta
L to R: Back - Emma Ricotta, Sophie Tedesco; Middle - Ava Tedesco, Julie Ricotta;
Front - John Stephen Ricotta

At The 5-2: "1990..." by Steve Peacock

For its final entry of 2013, The 5-2 flashes back to 1990 New York City:

Tomorrow is the deadline for love-themed crime poems to be published at The 5-2 in February 2014.

If you are a blogger and fan of The 5-2, consider joining 30 Days of The 5-2, our annual April blog tour.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

One Day Only?

Even in religious contexts, where Christmas lasts several days, Christmas Day is an unparalleled climax. As a writer in a family of doctors and computer programmers, I traditionally don't get many gifts that show knowledge of my tastes and profession on the day. If I'm really lucky, I get a blank journal.

This year—apologies for mixing holiday metaphors—I managed to avoid putting all my eggs in one basket of Christmas. The truth is, weeks before yesterday, my mother and aunts bought me much-needed winter clothes. And my brother bought me Blu-rays of Man of Steel and Bones: Season 7. We also went on vacation, where I put aside the Internet and TV and just read.

Sure. It would be great if more of my family sprung for Amazon or B&N gift cards, but things are swell as they are, too.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I'll Be Home for Christmas

Every year, I convince myself I'll feel just as I'm supposed to feel on Christmas Eve and Day—ready to take it all in with childlike wonder. Inevitably, I get caught up in the work and worry of preparation, even if it's just trying to put myself in that state of wonder.

This year, the family Christmas party will be at our house. That means no travel as the temperature dips back to normal after a weekend in the 60s. I'll be able to duck out of the festivities and nap if necessary, but it also means trying to fulfill everyone's expectations of what Christmas should be. Amid the preparation are things no one can prepare for, that make each season memorable. Every year I learn to accept Christmas as it presents itself. As always, peace and good will to you.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

On Erasure Poetry

As I blogged Monday, Silver Birch Press's NOIR Erasure Poetry Anthology is now available. In this post, I'll describe the feel of erasure poetry, and of many poems in this particular anthology.

One reason I'm drawn to poetry is its independence from narrative. Yes, narrative helps clarity, and erasure poetry can feel disjointed—"experimental"—diverging from an existing narrative. However, poetry's purpose is often to get at sensations that don't fit neatly into stories. Several poets in this anthology used Hammett and Chandler as source material, but each poem feels new and uniquely the poet's.

I don't consider Robert B. Parker a noir author, but I used the first page of his first Spenser novel, The Godwulf Manuscript, for the phrase "Victorian whorehouse". Parker used it figuratively, to describe a university president's office; I used literally, as the setting of my noir poem.

If you'd like to see the NOIR Erasure Poetry Anthology at your local independent mystery bookshop, contact me, and I'll pass the details on to publisher Melanie Villines.

And let me mention another Silver Birch Press erasure poetry anthology, accepting submissions until December 31. Poets are asked to create Valentine's Day-themed poems from page 214 of the book of their choice. I chose Active Server Pages Bible by Eric Smith.

Monday, December 16, 2013

At The 5-2: "Stealing Band-Aids from Hospitals" by Paul Hostovsky

Hostovsky returns this week with something of a holiday poem. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of thieves and pharmacists after all:

While I was on vacation, Silver Birch Press's Noir Erasure Poetry Anthology went on sale. Thanks again to editor Melanie Villines.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

There and Back Again

In the wee hours last Friday, I switched off the computer and turned down the thermostat for a nine-day family road trip to sunny, not oppressively hot Orlando. I visited three aunts, two cousins, two flea markets, CiCi's Pizza, Sweet Tomatoes, and Golden Corral.

On Wednesday, my brother and I tried CSI: The Experience. Cool, if outdated.

We spent Thursday at Disney's Hollywood Studios, my first visit to a Disney Park since 1988. Memories of walking and waiting kept me away more than anything else, but thanks to yoga, I handled the day with no ill effects. Pictures soon.

All seems fine on my return except some combination of forces knocked my mailbox off its post. Ah, home.

Monday, December 09, 2013

At The 5-2: "Stranger" by Kathleen Shaw

This week, retired English teacher Kathleen Shaw lets her imagination run wild about a "Stranger":

Through December 31, I'm accepting love-themed crime poems for publication in February 2014.

I've begun booking The 5-2's 2014 blog tour.