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.

Calling All [Music] Composers!

Photo: Head in the Clouds

To all the teachers and grownups who ever complained that I always had my head in the clouds: [insert vigorous *RASPBERRY* here]!

I said I would do it long, long ago, so ready or not, here goes: a passel of potential poetic [and other] lyrics. When I write, rhyming or rhythmic or not, I very often hear music in my imagination. Too bad I don’t have the musical chops to set my own texts, whether for solo or ensemble singing, accompanied or a cappella…or maybe it’s not sad at all: I also love collaborative arts. So join me, if you like!

I will likely publish some of this stuff in my upcoming books. The only published book so far, Miss Kitty’s Fabulous Emporium of Magical Thinking: Drawings & Other Artworks, Tall Tales and Weird Creatures (Volume 1), is up for your perusal as well—just grab a copy through Amazon.

[May I suggest that you use Amazon Smile—smile.amazon.com—where you can get Amazon to make a small charitable donation of your choice from their profits]).

This post is not an endorsement of Amazon, paid or otherwise, though I happily use the behemoth’s services extensively myself. Including as my book publisher, since I am far too “unmarketable”—thank you, gallerists, publishers, and agents of the past who classify anything non-repetitive, unprecedented, or wildly varied as impossible to package and sell. This post is not meant to be a whining snark-fest, either, since I am genuinely grateful that said business persons were honest enough with themselves to recognize their limitations in promoting unusual or unclassifiable works, and honest enough, in turn, with me to help me recognize that my vocation isn’t in making a living out of my arts but in making a life with and through them.

Meanwhile, I still love to join forces with other creatives, no matter what our project or theme, when the muse brings us together. I have collaborated with other artists to create numerous visual, written, and performed artworks over the years and am always delighted with the learning, bonding, challenges, inspiration, and joy that come from such interplay. If you find anything in here that sparks (no pun intended) your imagination, I welcome you to my playground. If you’re just here to read and—hopefully—enjoy, you are most welcome as well. I’m happy for the company.

Photo: Afire with Inspiration

Here’s hoping to fan the flames of your imagination…

To read any of the dozens of sets of poems and texts, grouped loosely by theme or topic or mood, just click here or on the freshly minted Poems & Lyric Texts link at the top of my homepage.

Photo: CHEESE!

I’m not above grinning at you crazily if you’re even remotely a kindred spirit. Cheese!

What is the Metric Equivalent of Thirtyhunnert Pazillion Words?*

Digital illo: Birds' WordsA Flock of Words

How fleeting is the flight of birds

Compared to mine, on made-up words!

Vast verbal ventures fly me high

Above their wings—above their sky—

Above the reach of angels’ thought,

So lofty are the words I’ve got.

Proliferation I can send

Beyond the universe’s end,

Where birds and angels, so it seems,

Fly only on the wings of dreams,

And I, the master of the words,

Master the dreams, the angels, birds,

The flimsy few whose flight intends

To float to those far-reaching ends

Where language takes me—but I know

Linguistic lands where they can’t go,

Because they lack these fragrant words,

Unknown to angels, dreams, and birds,

And all whose wings are not enough

To keep up with such heady stuff.

Wafting aloft, flaring with fun,

I leap the moon, the stars, the sun,

The past, the present, times not yet,

The known and unknown, and I get

No weariness from flying here

Above the mental atmosphere,

But elevated past all birds,

I’m wild with joy on wings of words!

* One of my posts.Digital illo: Word Wizardry

Wiggle & Giggle

Welcome to another episode of “All Words, No Meaning.”

I just get these strange, tickly tics at times, you know.

And I was just thinking about my wonderful brother-in-law’s wonderful mother, who once upon a time delighted us by asking in her musically lilting Norwegian-tinged English to explain the weird word one of us had used: “What is ‘wiggle’?” It made us all laugh, not least of all dear Mor. The word itself is funny. The ingenuous way she asked it was so irresistibly adorable that it made the word all the more funny, and we fell all over ourselves snickering and writhing with laughter. “Vot iss viggle?” V words are often special anyhow, I think. They are vivid. Vital. Vigorous.

Violently Verbose Vapidity

Voluminous in velveteen and vivid in velour,

That Venus eating Vindaloo, in the vernacular,

Was very villainous, it’s said, vermillion in her faults,

But veiled in verisimilitude, her vices hid in vaults,

Vile vortices of vermin, varmints, vipers, vexing pains,

And vigorously vinegary vapors in her veins,

Yet always, these vituperative and vast, voracious ills

Veered, voicelessly averted, by her villa’s windowsills;

So virtuous seemed all in view from vane to vestibule,

From valance to verandah, I’d avow that, as a rule,

Veracity had lost its vim, a victim to her vibe

Of viscous, vain verbosity in every diatribe,

And via Violet’s vertiginous, vindictive lies,

Her vow of victory o’er all, valid and otherwise,

Would void the verve of every nerve, veritable or vexed,

And vanquish, make it valueless, in this vale and the next.

Her viands—vermicelli and Vidalias and veal

And vegetables with Vegemite were her most voguish meal—

At last revealed her venomously covert, vile inside,

When Vi’s vast vessel of vermouth rendered her vitrified,

Made vitreous her venal guts, visiting visibly

Those virulent and vengeful, vulgar bits, for all to see.

Vast vanity and venom may vouchsafe the dark crevasse,

But even vampires are revealed, converted into glass.Digital illo: Violet & Vermilion

If Words are Food for Thought, Writers should Always Play with Their Food

Writing, like most other creative problem-solving processes, can sometimes best coalesce into sense out of utter nonsense. Untrammeled play is often the precursor to productive work, and if it remains unproductive, there will be less cursing afterward anyway. If you know what I mean, and since you’re hanging around here I can only assume that you, too, understand the importance of letting your silly side out for regular exercise.

So today, no more from me than a hearty helping of hooey. How shall I refine the ridiculous on this occasion? Perhaps not at all. Maybe I’ll just throw it on the table and let you decide what’s worth a nibble or a nosh, for once. Play on, pals.

Noises On

Bye bike bicycle
Far farce farcical
Pop plop Popsicle
Drip drop dropsical
Miracle spherical
Fanatical dramatical
Hysterical historical
Oracle Coracle Rhetorical
Trickle mickle pickle tickle fickle nickel prickle
Hackle spackle cackle grackle tackle
Chuck chuckle chuckling Buck buckle buckling Suck suckle suckling

Duck…Duckle? Duckling…

Oh, F…I mean, Yuck.

Definitive Thoughts

Aberration [/ˌæb.’bɛər.ˈreɪ.ʃ(ə)n/ noun]: the odd ursine meal.

Harbinger [/ˈhɑːr.bɪndʒ-ɜːr/ noun]: one who chortles incontinently.

Jasmine Tea [/’dʒæz.men.ˌtiː/ noun]: Thelonious and Tatum play golf.

Protuberance [/prə.ˈtuː.bər.əns/ noun]: in favor of liquid-cleaning one’s brass instrument.

Rapscallion [/ræp.ˈskæl.i.ən/ noun]: green onion that induces stream-of-consciousness chanting.

Raisin Bread [/ˈreɪ.z.ˌɪnˈbred/ noun]: what’s the matter with cousinbrother Raymond.

Saline [/ˈseɪ.lɪŋ/ verb]: what square-riggers do over the bounding main.

Scalawag [/ˈskæl.ɪ.wæɡ/ noun]: opera house humorist.

Digital illo: Psychedelic Food for ThoughtWhat, you wanted sense? Why’d you come here, then?

Maturity is So Overrated

I make this claim boldly, though as all of you know by now, I have never supped of maturity myself. I simply rely on the expertise of my betters who have visited the halls of grown-up-itude, however unwillingly or briefly, and am assured that my current Peter Pan flight plan will serve my needs and interests far better than the perhaps morally uplifting or civically productive ones others pursue. Sorry, world. What you see is undoubtedly what you’ll get.

Still, I flatter myself (another of my peculiarly abundant gifts) that many of my true role models, from my esteemed pater on out to remoter avatars like, yes, S. J. Perelman, have made careers and lives out of similarly irresponsible seeming stuff and yet managed in the greater scheme of things to have marvelous adventures out of those lives and careers, and even influenced others so to do. While I have no delusions of my own future grandeur based on their successes, I at least think of them as a partial excuse.

Mixed media artwork + text: A Push in the Beezer

All Kinds of Music

Drawing/painting illo: Three ComposersIn my head, there is music. Mostly, it’s a rambling, meandering thing without much form or direction, just a little ditty that my subconscious seems to hum to itself along the journey of the day. Once in a while, it’s an earworm, some tune or phrase caught in the soundtrack of my brain and put on long-term Repeat because I heard it or remembered it recently and didn’t have another thing to replace it with soon enough. Often, when I’m drifting off to sleep or marking time while I wait for something to happen, there’s a sort of internal theme song of mine, a mere snippet of a melody that might be a simple part of a Bach invention or might just as well be something of my own invention inspired by Bach or some similar composer, a line that becomes more or less complicated, turns from something slightly Baroque to a more Classical seeming style for a bit and then becomes a very plain little row-your-boat kind of canon before returning to its silent corner to wait for my next moment of internal quiet. On rare occasions, there might be words attached or an obvious external source of whatever song seems to have sneaked and snaked its way into my frontal lobe for a lope or two around my one-track mind.

Yet I have not the gift of composition. When I think about it in a more determined and purposeful way, I have all sorts of ideas about how I would probably set a particular poem or story text of mine if I did have compositional skills, how I might voice the piece or what instrumentation I think would be just right for the words and ideas therein. But it would be helpful, if I really intended to do any such a thing, if I had the slightest notion whatsoever of music theory or how to read a score (let alone write one), of what certain instruments can and cannot do, and whether the human voice is actually capable of making the sounds that might be required of such a project.

I am ever so glad that there are composers in the world capable of carrying a musical idea to magnificent, magical fruition. I sincerely doubt that any of them would set any text, mine or another’s, in just the way that my moseying mind seems to believe it would—for good or ill—and that is the way the universe operates. Each of us has skill sets and desires and training and passions that make us better, or worse, fitted for the tasks and arts that we imagine to be useful or pleasurable, and each has limitations even on our own abilities to recognize where we will excel and when we might fall short. What a wonderful thing it is that, though I’m not a composer myself, there are excellent composers who can and will set my words to their own music, because after all, choral music is one of the most clearly collaborative of activities anyway.

What a wonderful thing it is that, though I will most likely never master bringing what rings inside my skull out of it in an intelligible way, let alone anything like the one I imagine in its internal incubator, somebody out there is busy penning loveliness and longing, drama and dreams, that will carry their music forth into the hearts, minds, and ears of a waiting world’s humming silence.