Slow and Steady Gets Books Written

It seems to take me forever, but generally speaking, I do eventually work to finish up my plans. Some of them I even manage to accomplish in reality, not merely simmer internally until they’re fully formed imaginings. Another book, for example, that has finally hatched.

Photo: Hot Flash Fiction (photo credit: Blurb.com)

The newest baby from a past-childbearing-aged person….

Hot Flash Fiction is coming your way.

Yep. I have completed another book, and there are several more in the proverbial pipeline. This one, of course, joins its predecessor Miss Kitty’s Fabulous Emporium (Vol. 1), which is still conveniently available at Amazon, and the new book, Hot Flash Fiction, will be for sale both at Blurb.com and Amazon as soon as it ‘goes live’—I’ve submitted the posting materials and only await the gnomic decree from Amazon to finalize the book’s availability. While MKFE-1 is only available in soft cover/paperback, it has hundreds of poems and graphite drawings. Now that I’m going full-color and making the new book available in both paperback and hard cover versions, it is necessary to keep the book shorter in order to make it affordable enough to be worth my while (and yours!), but then I think a shorter book, since this one is dedicated to ultra-short fiction, is entirely apropos. And I’m pleased with the rich color and crisp details of the print. I think you will be, too.

MKFE-1 (photo credit: Amazon.com)

The one that started it all.

Hot Flash Fiction is a collection of tales with tiny twists, terrible turns, and ticklish tidbits everywhere you look, both in their texts and illustrations. A jot of the ridiculous here, a dot of the delirious there—from science fiction to steampunk, from romantic follies to childish fancies, from cradle to grave and back again, it’s all squeezed into the compact form of exceedingly brief flash fiction. The illustrations, collages of my photographs interwoven with vintage finds and digitally drawn and painted elements into complex treasure-maps to enhance the stories, are a complete turn-about from the entirely hand-drawn black and white images of MKFE, but merely reflect another aspect of my many visual loves.

I look forward to returning with somewhat greater frequency to this blog in the year ahead, but am working in the meanwhile to put together yet more and further different books, so I shall leave you for now with this invitation to dive into these two while the others are still in their formative stages. Happy reading, image-gazing, and most of all, a happy autumn to you all!

Oh—and lest you think I’ve been lounging around listlessly while not posting and only writing books of my poetry and short fiction and art, I have also produced, with the help of a nice company in France called BlookUp, the first of a series of books documenting this blog. Which, I suppose, is yet another book of my poetry and short fiction and art. Never mind! But in case you’re interested, Art-Colored Glasses is now available, too. I recommend the e-book version of that one, because it’s printed on lovely glossy paper in full color and loaded with content, so it’s expensive. But pretty darn entertaining, too, for all that.

Photo: Art-Colored Glasses 1

Book 1 of my blog-documenting series, Art-Colored Glasses. With a Certain Someone silhouetted on the cover, no less.

I Zig, Life Zags

We rarely go the same direction, Reality and I. And when the day is long and complicated and my brain can’t quite keep up with it, I wander ever further from the appointed path of sanity and logic. It is decidedly my nature to diverge from what’s natural.

And I’m okay with that. You may as well be, too, because I’ve gone all abstract on you and must needs go to bed. I may or may not be wiser and clearer tomorrow, but I suspect I’ll still be very much myself and enjoy it. Cheerio!Digital illo: Life Goes Its Own Way

Sunniest Side Up

Digital illo: Lemon or LemonadeIt’s said that if life hands you lemons, you should make lemonade. That’s a charmingly cheery, sunshiny idea, and one that seems plenty valuable to me, if perhaps occasionally a bit difficult to realize. Even life’s complications can have complications.

That’s why your best bet is to have the finest lemonade-makers handily available to you throughout your life.

I’ve always done well in this department. I was, in fact, born to one of the premier practitioners of both literal and figurative lemonade artistry. Having just chatted with her on this, her birthday, I can confirm that she is still as gifted at it as she is a gift. Mom, whatever the lemon crop at hand, makes the finest sunshiny lemonade out of it. The day may be rainy, as it has been up there today, but I could sense the warmth and light as soon as I heard her voice. It’s a grand thing to feel as though I’ve just sipped that most summery citrus drink when I hear my mother’s voice. It makes me glad that she is having an appropriate day of good cheer and pleasantness for celebrating her birthday. And it makes me glad that I have the blessed privilege of having a mom who retains her skills for day-brightening as the birthdays pass. Who knows but what I might master the recipe for lemonade myself, if I stick by her side and learn from the best.

Happy birthday, Mom! May there be many more, each filled with the most refreshing and renewing joys that, if they’re not already as much a treat as you desire, can be converted with a bit of your special knowledge and skill into the most wonderful lemonade. Cheers!Digital illo: Sunny Sunflower

Selfie of the Day

A marvelous post I read yesterday by the amazing Joseph P. Kanski at his blog  Implied Spaces—illustrated with his simply spectacular images, each of them in its unique way a self-portrait—mused on the whole topic of self-portraiture and autobiography, considering what the artists and authors in question are choosing to reveal or conceal, to present or pretend. Every time we interact, or for that matter, fail to or choose not to interact, we are making statements. Some of us are constantly focused on, and perhaps occasionally obsessed with, the verity or clarity of what we present to the world.

People in hiding are not limited to refugees and criminals on the run. Many of us assure ourselves that we are being thoughtful, mindful, when we speak and act, yet there are so many more delicate and subtle bits of identity emanating from us at all times that it would be utterly impossible to control every iota of sensory information we convey, never mind how others in all of their complexity are receiving and interpreting the whole. Regardless of the natural intent most of us have to reinforce our own ideals and wishes, we tend to speak volumes in the myriad ways we present ourselves to the world. The challenge to be true to ourselves only increases with maturation and self-knowledge as we grow and age.

In the present culture of self-revelation, this is, as Mr. Kanski observes, a time when any and every image we present is widely and rather permanently available to be seen and interpreted by ever-increasing numbers, most of whom we will never come to know in any true sense. No time like the present, then, for reevaluating what those revelations are, can be, or should be, according to our own estimation. My hopes and fears inevitably become more visible or available for speculation in every self-image that I offer, so perhaps I shall just see how close I can get to telling my story the way I want to tell it.

My latest: Selfie, 2.0.

Digital illo: Selfie 2.0

The updated version—still Me, more Me, less Me? I’m sure it only depends on whom you ask.

Transitional Style

Digital illo: Wilbert & Wallinda had Hoped for the Bright Lights of BroadwayWe’re in the process of selling our house, my spouse and I. It’s something we’d considered for a couple of years, downsizing to an apartment closer to a size appropriate for two adults, but we hadn’t made any serious motions because we’d not found anyplace that met our wishes for location, price, condition, and covered parking. (Texas-sized hailstorms, anyone?) When we found such a place, it was when we weren’t really looking anymore, of course.

We’d been out on a Sunday expedition and were heading home when we saw a sign for an ‘upcoming’ listing, called the owner, and discovered that he had something different and probably even better suited to our wishes. Three weeks later, we’re close to closing with buyers. Crazy. What’s fascinating to me, in addition to the oddity of the situation itself,  is being reintroduced to the world of Real Estate and its intriguingly arcane, euphemistic, and otherwise idiosyncratic processes and language. Like all other legal and commercial ventures, it’s wondrously weird. Sometimes aggravating, often amusing, and especially entertaining to me when it comes to the times when one party or another is trying very hard to find a word to describe something that is—well—basically indescribable.

I was reminded that both buildings and their furnishings, for example, that are neither clearly classic nor modern can be called Transitional, and that this nondescript term has been so often used in this way that it has become a recognizable style itself, but still lacks many distinct characteristics. It’s more about what it isn’t than what it is. There are long lists of words and phrases and concepts that are equally vague and yet relatively easy to interpret by those of us who have read enough Real Estate-speak and seen the reality of the properties and objects being described to begin to recognize the connections, as tenuous as they may sometimes be, between the word and the actuality.

So when I read “park-like setting,” I am more inclined to think a place is going to require massive injections of cash and labor to sustain its massively over-groomed acreage. “Designer’s dream” usually means someone with far more money than taste hired a person only marginally more skillful to make everything in the building match too well and fit trends so perfectly that they’ll never be wholly in style after their current popularity fades—or, conversely, that some self-declared Artiste so personalized the joint that no one in her right mind would think it anything but a gut job as a purchase. One of the best is always, of course, “starter home” or “DIYer’s delight,” either of which can only mean that the home’s toilet is an open hole in the middle of the living room floor and the last time the roof was repaired it was done with a bright blue tarp.

It’s not so different from the brain shift required of a viewer expecting obviousness and objectivity from abstract images. What looks like neon lights in bokeh, perhaps, or a wallpaper pattern of whimsical orangey bubbles can certainly represent nothing more than a blurry photo of a vintage neon sign or a repeating design made from imagined circles. But it could also be that both images were created, however indirectly, by beginning with the very same photo of a small handful of earthworms drowned in rain, beached on a concrete slab, and desiccated into interesting squiggly shapes in varying shades of brown. Which is what these two happened to be. A DIYer’s delight, if you’re an artist with a post-rainstorm messy patio. A transitional sort of place, I guess, for the worms and for my eye for images, both.
Digital illo: I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles

Braggadocio

Digital illo: Clever Bird!Crowing

Let me never be so craven as to be hubristic, crass,

Boastful as my cousin Raven, who (though he’s a silly ass)

Calls himself the Wise, the Clever, poses as a sage and wit—

I should hope that I would never be so wildly full of it—

All my fellows know my talents and my intellect and skill

Well enough that, on the balance, bragging would be overkill.

I prefer a steady diet of humility and style,

Being modest, cool, and quiet, and yet brilliant all the while.

Nah! Just kidding! I’m as happy as ol’ Raven is to brag;

I’m as boisterous a chappie, yelling out from crag to crag,

Tree to tree, tunnel to tower; I’ll announce my greatness, too;

Any reason, any hour, tell you I’m better than you!

Don’t assume because I’m smaller I’m less dazzling or less proud—

I’ll be glad to give a holler, shout my excellence out loud!