Category Archives: What I’m saying

2014-04-13 08.53.52

“No people” day here

Yesterday here on the blog, I announced that I was stopping and resetting, first in the larger scheme of things with A Former Poet’s Almanac, which I had been doing this month, and then on the small scale for the day. To that end,  I said I would be “stopping thinking about work for the day and resetting my thoughts by reading poetry, specifically continuing to read Raymond Carver’s All of Us: Collected Poems and William Carlos Williams: Selected Poems.” The hope was that sitting and reflecting on something outside of myself would help me become a better person.

Then I also mentioned that as much as it was possible, it would be a “no people” weekend.

So how did that work out for you?

Um, yeah…Not so much.

I had just gotten settled into the couch for what I hoped would be a relaxing day of reading when I received a phone call from a coworker asking me to come in because she was sick and needed to go home. Instead of saying “No,” I immediately said, “Yes,” and told her I’d be there in about half an hour.

Within the first half hour, I had a “bad day” with a “problem patron.” Without going into details, it involved me having to call the director and while the rest of the day was what I termed “relatively quiet,” that incident weighed heavily on my mind. So as a result, my “no people” weekend has turned into a “no people” day.

This is my view as I type this:

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To my left is my tablet with WXPN’s Sleepy Hollow playing on it; my iced coffee and books of poetry on my right. After hitting publish on this post, I will be reading a few Sunday Salon posts and then making my way back to that couch that I was getting settled into yesterday morning.

Sometimes I believe just as you have to listen what your body is telling you (slow down, for example), you also have to listen to what your mind and soul are telling you.

Today they are telling me to be quiet and replenish.

I leave you with this clip from The IT Crowd, which my wife and I joke about on days like this, and I stress joke because in both of our jobs, we have to “deal” with them in one capacity or another– and most of the time, fingers crossed that I’m not jinxing myself for the rest of the week by saying this ;), they’re not bastards.

Do you ever have days or weekends or even weeks where you need to be free of people? What do you do to relax? Where is your “laughing place” as Uncle Remus used to call it?

Stop Reset

Stop/Reset

Stop / Reset This morning I woke up with this thought in my head: Stop/Reset. When I had it, which was about 7 a.m. this morning, it was in reference to my A Former Poet’s Almanac feature, which I have been doing daily up until yesterday. However, I realized that it’s not just about the feature. It’s more than that… …and before you think that I mean I’m pulling the plug on this blog and starting another one, I don’t mean stopping that. I do mean resetting it and getting it back closer to the target that I set up at the end of February. At that time, I refocused with a new blogging mission statement, which can be found in its entirety on my “About” page above. In short, I want to share how what I’m reading, watching, listening to, photographing, saying, and doing are helping me become a more finished person physically, mentally, and spiritually or how in other words, they fit into my journey as a still unfinished person. Since then, I have strayed from that target, most noticeably with this feature, which is why starting today I am stopping from posting it daily for the month of April and am resetting it for whenever I want to do it and whenever it fits with my blogging mission statement. Now in the larger scope, I think it’s also good to stop and reset in other areas of our lives too. For example, today I am stopping thinking about work for the day and resetting my thoughts by reading poetry, specifically continuing to read Raymond Carver’s All of Us: Collected Poems and William Carlos Williams: Selected Poems. How is that going to make me a better person? Maybe it’s that any time we can sit and reflect on something outside of ourselves can help us become that better person. At least, that is my hope. I also decided this weekend, as much as it is possible, will be a “no people” weekend and is a subject I will explore a little more tomorrow during my regular Sunday Salon post. Photo credit: By Maximilian Barners, via Flickr

Featured image: Photo by Samantha Celera, via Flickr.

A Former Poet's Almanac button

Introducing A Former Poet’s Almanac

A Former Poet's Almanac button

Starting tomorrow and all throughout April, I will be sharing my love of poetry daily through a self-created feature called A Former Poet’s Almanac. April is National Poetry Month, as recognized by The Academy of American Poets. I am naming the feature “almanac” inspired by The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor and “a former poet’s” because I am a former poet.

In college and even after college, I wrote poetry, even having a poetry reading at an arts center in suburban Philadelphia. I haven’t written much poetry in about the last decade, but have dabbled from time to time with writing a few snippets here and there and continuing to read poetry from time to time. Last month, I came down with my latest poetry brainstorm to read poetry every Sunday throughout March. While I didn’t quite do that, I did finish two books of poetry during the month and started on a third. Yesterday, I continued reading All of Us: Collected Poems by Raymond Carver and have decided to extend reading it throughout the Sundays of  April because there are so many poems there. I don’t want to “gobble them all up” and want to let them sift slowly through me.

Last night, after reading Carver’s collection, I wondered if I could find any audio or video of Carver reading his poetry on YouTube, so I thought I’d look. While I didn’t find any of Carver, I did stumble across readings from the incomparable Billy Collins, the former Poet Laureate of the U.S. I also wanted to see if I could find any way to share excerpts from Carver’s poetry collection legally, which I think I found at least one instance from the Random House website. These two things got me to thinking about creating a daily feature throughout April where I could share  poetry in various forms from audio to video to links to quotes about poetry to maybe poems of my own from the past.

All this said, I have a few guidelines for the feature going into this coming month:

Regarding the latter, the guiding principle as outlined in the document is this: “Under fair use, an online resource (such as a blog or web site) may make examples of selected published poetry electronically available to the public, provided that the site also includes substantial additional cultural resources, including but not limited to critique or commentary, that contextualize or otherwise add value to the selections.” Likewise, I will use that as my guiding principle here.

So tomorrow, it begins with a poem or two from Raymond Carver and then a little Billy Collins later in the week.

* I also need to credit Serena Agusto-Cox of the blog Savvy Verse & Wit for reminding me about April being National Poetry Month. She has a blog tour throughout the month called the National Poetry Month: Reach for Horizon Blog Tour that I encourage you to visit.

Bloggiesta Finish Line, A Day Early – Olé!

Bloggiesta1S141

On Wednesday, I said I wouldn’t be participating in Bloggiesta (click on button to see what Bloggiesta is about) during the entire time because of work Thursday and Friday and a 5K Saturday in which my wife and I were participating. The plan was to participate in the “in  between” times, Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Sunday. I said I wouldn’t be participating in the Twitter chats because of giving up Facebook and Twitter for Lent or the Google Plus Hangout either. I also mentioned that I was battling with a cold/allergies and was taking a sick day on Wednesday.

The plan was simple: to create an author box for posts as suggested by Allison of the blog The Book Wheel in this post 5 Easy Ways To Jazz Up Your Blog. So how did that turn out for me? Answer in short, not well, but not a total wash and here’s why:

  • I didn’t create an author box using the plugin Allison suggested because of money right now. Even though it’s only $10 for the plugin, there were other expenses (to be explained later) that needed to be taken care of and every penny counts. However, I did create a Google Plus profile box on my posts which might be a workaround, at least for the time being.
  • In addition to taking a sick day Wednesday, I also took sick days Thursday and Friday, thanks/no thanks to an allergy headache that wouldn’t quit. It’s still lingering, but not as bad as it has been.
  • I did watch the Google Plus Hangout with Amanda Shofner, which was a good overview of Google Plus, and actually got some ideas from her mini-challenge post about Google Plus for the Google Plus profile box now seen on the bottom of my posts. Thanks, Amanda.
  • I didn’t participate in the 5K, BUT my wife did.

The other expenses mentioned earlier were renewing my web hosting, domain registration and backup for the blog for the next year, which I did this morning.

And while I didn’t feel like reading for the first two sick days, I managed to get the “gumption” up to read on Friday and it was one that I had been looking forward to for a while: Code Zero, the direct sequel to Patient Zero, by Jonathan Maberry. Like other Joe Ledger novels, I zoomed through it. It was good, silly fun, even though I thought he telegraphed who the bad “guy” was too early. Other than that, it still had all the action of the other Joe Ledger novels.

I’m finishing early because tomorrow I have my “usual” (sigh ;) ) Sunday Salon blog post and didn’t want this to conflict with that since that also will be a wrap-up of the month here on the blog. See y’all, tomorrow too.

Update: I did the author box anyway as suggested by Allison, with a free version. However, for the time being, I have decided to disable it, because unless I can customize it in the paid version in a couple of weeks, I will be unable to use it with the theme I have. I like the idea, though.

Bloggiesta, with caveats and explanations

Bloggiesta1S141While I won’t be participating in Bloggiesta (click on button to see what Bloggiesta is about) during the entire time because I work Thursday and Friday, and my wife and I are participating in a 5K on Saturday, I will participate as much as is possible…in the “in between” times, Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Sunday.  That also means I won’t be participating in the Twitter chats or the Google Plus Hangout either, the latter of which happens to fall right after I get home from work tomorrow night. As I am battling with a cold/allergies today, even taking off a day of work, that’s not going to happen either.

With all those caveats and explanations out of the way, the main thing on which I would like to focus is creating an author box for posts as suggested by Allison of the blog The Book Wheel in this post 5 Easy Ways To Jazz Up Your Blog. Other than that, I don’t have anything planned but if I have time, I’ll try to find something else. The thing is with a simple blog such as I have, I don’t want to do a lot of “jazzing up”” anyway.

Extra caveat: I also won’t be participating in the Twitter chats because I have given up Facebook and Twitter for Lent, so I guess, blame God too. ;)