Tag Archives: acknowledging you are a writer

LitFest

Three years ago, Telluride presented its first Literary Arts Festival (“LitFest”), and I wanted to go, but I had very recently spent time there, and couldn’t afford another visit, so soon. Last year, I decided, instead, to visit my mom on Mothers Day, which I likely might have done this year, had Mom not passed away, earlier this year. So this go-around, I booked my hotel early, and began dreaming and waiting.

Of course, reality wasn’t much like any of my dreams; but its quality was at least as high as my dreams’. I met one author and one poet, each of whom I only knew by name and photos. And, I got to see nearly all the Telluridians I already knew.

One of the most popular events of LitFest, is its Literary Burlesque, which is both a metaphoric and literal disrobing of its featured poetesses. I wish I could show pictures from it, due to the costuming and such, but alas and go figure, pictures were not allowed. This was also the only event that you had to pay for. It also had sold-out, the previous two years. Thanks to my knowing one of the co-owners of the bookstore where tickets were being sold, I was able to call and get one, while they were still available.

As these thing often happen with writing type festivals and such, I didn’t get much writing done. Well, it’s not the festival that’s to blame—it’s my addiction to YouTube videos. (I’m seriously wondering whether getting wi-fi for my apartment is a good idea.) However, I’m leaving feeling more solid and grounded in being a writer; more thoroughly a member of the tribe.

Meanwhile, back in Salida, Wednesday is to be the last day for our current kitchen manager and dietician. I’ve struggled mightily giving my writing precedence over my paying job. With the upcoming change of management, it seems a good time to make such a change. However, that’s entirely another sack of worms for perhaps another time.

In a few hours, give or take, I’ll get in the van and head back home. My next scheduled visit, here, won’t be until late October, an entire summer and two-thirds of an autumn away. Maybe I’ll squeeze in at least one visit before then. We’ll see. It’s hard to stay away too long from views like these.

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Filed under Honoring Your Writing and Your Being a Writer, Inspiration, Uncategorized

One More Small Step

There’s a local on-line literary journal that’s in the works, and its head-honcho recently put the word out that he was looking for editors. Actually, it’d been a good week or longer, and I was interested in applying for both fiction and creative non-fiction, but hadn’t gotten around to doing so.

Well, yesterday, I finally emailed, asking if the two positions were open, and they still were. A few more back-and-forth emails later, it looks like I’ll be their non-fiction editor—or at least one of them. This is at the very beginning, at the ground-floor level. carbonate may take off, or it may wind up fizzling quickly out. Still, I’m glad that I finally got around to applying to be one of their editors. Writing-wise, it’s another step forward, another way to use those skills, and another connection into the writing community at large.

Like much anything else, it’s a small leap into the unknown, the taking of a risk. Of course, we’re all hoping it pans out well, and in our favor.

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Filed under Honoring Your Writing and Your Being a Writer

Shuddup and Write

Been in a dry spell lately. It happens. A few days ago, mired in a mopey what-does-my-writing-matter funk, I plugged my name into a search engine to see what would pop up. I received a couple hits I’d never seen before. Seems a couple of online sites that sell term papers and essays are offering one of my essays, published two years ago by High Country News.

While I’m often surprised whenever I google myself, this was a different sort of surprise. On one hand, neither I nor HCN has given any such approval for the use of, River Home. On the other hand, even though I do have feelings of disgust about these sorts of plagiarism-for-sale pirates, it is difficult for me to continue thinking my writing isn’t good, doesn’t matter. (And, in the way of further proof, I’ve had two folks ask me how my writing’s coming, and third ask the same, via FB message, within the past handful of days.)

Back when I was taking advanced comp, whenever my classmates and I would commence to whining about an assignment, Dr Cockelreas would eventually snap, “Shuddup and write!”

Twenty-some years anon, still seems the thing to do.

Writers Blocks, a gift from my sister, some Christmases ago.

Writers Blocks, a gift from my sister, some Christmases ago.

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Filed under Changing Perspective, Honoring Your Writing and Your Being a Writer, Shuddup and Write

Outta the Fog(?)

It’s been a month since I last posted. When the Thursday after my last post came, I was feeling kinda forsaken and forgotten, wondering whether I’d be missed, so I didn’t post. Pretty much the same thing, the following Thursday. And after that it became a combination of broken habit and feeling I’d nothing to say.

All this is but one outer manifestation of where I’ve been, moodwise. Not that I was in a bad place, but it wasn’t a good one, either. A dull disinterest, a just going through the motions. A being there without “being” there. We all go through such spells, I’ve been told; and I may be more susceptible than most. For what it’s worth, it does seem that I am coming outta the fog. (After all, lookit: a blogpost.)

I don’t know what got me started into the fog, just as I’m uncertain how I began making my way out. Again, this happens, and (I guess) it was my turn. Maybe both times.

Yeah, some of it was certainly vicious cycling. And, too, a smidge of self-fulling prophecy. I believed no one cared about, was paying attention to, what I wrote, so I stopped the writing, and when no one said anything, I took it as proof of my writing not mattering. (Again, “it happens to everybody.”)

Sometimes you do indeed have to “fake it until you can make it.” Or, rather, fake it so that you can make it. Forcing yourself to take that first step, and maybe no insignificant number of the following steps, gets you to where you’re walking without any assistance. (I hate these sorts of platitudes, and it bothers me further that they’ve wound up being true, but they’re what I have, so here they are.) The small, simple things—like forcing myself to get out and walk to the river (two whole blocks!), and spend some time there; sitting in front of the notepad or laptop and writing something, even if it’s “just” puttering for no more than fifteen minutes—have maybe loosened and opened me enough to get out of the puny vortex holding me in-place. Have gotten me to begin doing the very things that override the whispering pesky nattering doomsayers in my head.

This morning, I put the finishing touches on a book review, and also wrote down some thoughts that might cause two or who know how many other writings to come forth. And the wonderful thing is I had to force neither of these. There was this tickling inside, and I heeded it.

By the way, the end-of-street mountains, this morning:

What's visible of the Sawatch Range, this ides of March 2015 morning, from the middle of my street, in front of my front door.

What’s visible of the Sawatch Range, this ides of March 2015 morning, from the middle of my street, in front of my front door.

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Filed under Sorting It Out, Staying With the Writing

Re: Leaving

For anybody’s who’s followed this blog, or who has spent much time around me, it’s no secret I’ve fallen for Telluride, and have seriously considered moving there. Within the past couple of years, I’ve gone there no fewer than seven or eight times, spending at least one night on all but one of the those visits. To be sure, the beauty of the place is one of its attractions. And because all my visits there have been directly connected to writing, it’s pretty much impossible for me to disconnect Telluride from being crucial to my writing. Even all of the locals I’ve met and have gotten to know are themselves connect to writing in some way.

Telluride's main drag. THAT sorta beauty.

Telluride’s main drag. THAT sorta beauty.

But, Salida has its beauty, as well.

But, Salida has its beauty, as well.

Meanwhile, here in Salida, even after living here for twelve years, I’m so far from where I wish my writing to be. So far even from where I expected it to have developed after just three or four years. Further, in a lotta ways, I’ve kinda stopped living here. Instead, I’m merely going through the motions. I don’t feel the connection to this town like I once did. Don’t feel a part of it, don’t feel much like one of the locals. This is all my own doing. Or, rather, my own lack of doing.  My life has become centered on the job at the hospital. I’m either there, working, or hunkered at home recovering from, resting up for, it. If I’m feeling apart from this town, it’s because I’m not taking any part in it.

I spent most of yesterday at a local coffeeshop. I knew a good number of the other customers and all of the employees by name. More than that, I knew each of them well enough to have engaged in a conversation, asking about their family, latest projects at work, the trips they’ve recently gotten back from. Also, while there, I saw the editor of the local monthly magazine, who gave me my first assignment of the year. In the previous paragraph, I said I, “Don’t feel a part of [Salida], don’t feel much like one of the locals.” Well, yesterday’s time at the coffeeshop belies that stated feeling. Chalk it up to selling short the effects of my having stayed here for twelve years. (Not that I’ve any tendencies whatsoever to discount the value of who I am, what I do.) I’ve accomplished more, here, than I typically give myself credit for.

I would love to be living in Telluride. But If I moved there, I’d lose so much of the good, here. Very likely, I wouldn’t even realized what I’d be losing until after I’d lost it.

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Filed under Changing Perspective, Honoring Your Writing and Your Being a Writer, No [One] Is An Island

My Farewell To My Dad

Last Friday was the one-month anniversary of my dad’s passing. I’d recently cut my hair from upper-back to nearly-shaved, saving it in a ceramic bowl someone had given me; and I’d decided to commemorate my dad’s passing by distributing the hair into the Arkansas River, which is just a couple of blocks from my apartment. I posted this event on FaceBook, inviting sixty-some folks.

Three generations of male Brummels: my grandfather, Basil Edward Brummel; my dad, William Davis "Bill" Brummel; and my older-by-six-years brother, Daivd.

Three generations of male Brummels: my grandfather, Basil Edward Brummel; my dad, William Davis “Bill” Brummel; and my older-by-six-years brother, Daivd.

The days leading up to last Friday were overcast, snowy, and cold. Friday, though, was sunny and warm[er]. Still, when the 6PM start-time came around, it was 18 degrees. When I arrived at river, two folks were already there, and then two more joined us, very shortly after. I had my laptop begin playing the John Denver song my dad loved, picked up the bowl with my hair, and made my way carefully down the bank, into the river, and cautiously made my way to the spot where I’d let the river carry my hair (eventually, theoretically) to my folks’ home-city of San Antonio.

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The writer in me realizes there’s a story, here. Maybe, for High Country News, where I’ve already published an essay about Dad and this same river. Maybe somewhere else. At the absolute very least, I need to write this story—having it published is a whole other affair, albeit, one I’ll be pursuing.

Sometimes, our actions have to step in for when there are no words.

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Filed under No [One] Is An Island, Parental Passing, Sorting It Out

What To Say, Another Day

Don’t know what to say. Thursdays typically do turn out to be my days to veg, where I kinda mope around the apartment, taking most of the day until I finally get out and check the mail, do my online stuff. I don’t know whether it’s a seventh day, sabbath sort of thing, or whether (maybe still much the same thing) it’s because I go back to work, early the next morning. I do know it seems I’m never able to get enough sleep. Thursdays, however, my body does seem more game to stay in bed, more hesitant to be up and moving about.

Still, I have to get done what I have to get done. Just because my body’s more agreeable to resting and sleeping doesn’t mean I can take the day off. Just because it’s my day off from the paying job doesn’t mean I can take it off completely.

On the plus side, there was snow when I woke this morning. Roughly two inches. It was below zero when I went out to shovel the sidewalk, so it was dry powdery snow. The sun was shining through the cloud cover. There was a brilliance to the early morning. Possibility seemed possible again.

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But it’s five hours later on, and I’ve still not put any words to any page. I’m feeling nearly as dry as the snow. Definitely more socked in by clouds. Doesn’t seem much is possible, here at the writing desk. But just because it’s being an off day doesn’t mean I get to take it off. I still have to get done what I have to get done.

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Filed under Staying With the Writing