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At Ian's Place - Part One, in which you may find a creature....

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At Ian's Place - Part One I got this house-sitting arrangement with Ian through a mutual. I live at his place when I'm in LA selling art and while he's on tour, which is usually. Like a hippie crash-pad with only two hippies, one at a time. I picked up his keys at one of Cosmo's parties; even then Ian was en route to the airport. "So you need my schedule? Should I email it?" I yelled a little over the music. I was super-thrilled about this arrangement, but the casualness and unknown variables perplexed me, especially in the middle of a party. Did my momma warn me about this? "Yeah, no, there's a guest room. Should be all made up, might be dusty." Ian seemed distracted, maybe feeling awkward, too. "That guy in the pink t-shirt is Jack. He's my manager. Get my address from him. Hey, take care, man, my ride's here. I gotta go. I like your boots." He handed me two keys, no keychain - one for a deadbolt, I assumed

Flash Fiction * The Tom and Dwight Flood

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He was staring through my window in his dingy wife-beater undershirt, sullen, short hair comically slanting backward. I hadn’t seen Dwight Flood land in my flowerbed, but my train of thought easily followed the cursing, the name of my cat, the cat leaping through the small door flap in the entryway and skidding across the tiles.  The property manager’s face loomed, a lone impatiens blossom dangling on one side of his head. As if he could feel me looking at it, he brushed the flower aside with the hairy back of one hand. His eyes looked about to leave his head. I thought it best to go ahead outside and address the issue. “Want some coffee?”  Dwight Flood made a quarter turn to glare in my direction. He was seething. I continued the friendly patter.  “Cement’s slippery when it’s wet. Thank God for the flower bed, huh?” I ventured a friendly smile, which was shot down by piercing eye-arrows. It was no use. Dwight Flood and my cat have held a mutual blood-wish since they met three years ag

Polymaths vs. Growing into an Artist : Academia Nuts by William Bland and art by C. Damon Carter (all the same guy.)

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 by d ebora Ewing buy the book: Academia Nuts by William Bland William Bland is a polymath. Igneus Press published Bland's poetry chapbook Academia Nuts in 2016. Here's some backstory: "in 1998 he began a series of 24 piano sonatas each in a different key, which was completed in 2014. In 2002, a visit from a former student, Alexander Seward, inspired him to begin writing a series of poems to accompany the writing of the sonatas. From 2002-2007 approximately five hundred eighty poems were written under the comprehensive title "Poems Accompanying Sonatas." Several series of poems developed within the larger structure, including the series entitled "Academia Nuts", written cautionarily for Alexander as he entered his university studies." Academia Nuts is perfectly curated. I sense a love of academia running like rails alongside a warning from a tired generation. Ardor is as much a character in the narrative as are clowns, connoisseurs, and h

About the Song 'Home' - a conversation with Tina Ross

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I was looking for a poet,  Charles John Quarto . Any emails sent through his web page, though, are answered by Steve Gillette , Charles John’s writing partner of many years. SG told me how to get in touch with the poet, and told me about his own website: About the Song . I found so much good there that a year later, when I saw SG’s picture on a wall at The Birchmere , I wrote to him again and said, "Looky what I found." We had things to talk about. We’re both fans of Carl Jung, for starters, if fan is the right word. As conversation unfolded, I gave SG a breakdown of why I think Wichita Lineman is a love song about processing grief. He directed me to a TedTalk by Daniel Sherrill which explored why, perhaps, people don’t connect emotionally with the concept of climate change. We thought a love song to climate change would be a good idea. I connected with Tina Ross near the beginning of 2020, the year we’re still in (by my count it is now 2020.2.)  We Belong to the DanF

At Ian's Place - Part XIV, in which we've run out of milk.

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Cosmo insisted on helping me with my luggage, but I took my bag from him at Ian's gate. My world was precarious already and I just didn't want unnecessary kindness tipping me off my flat edge. That creaky wooden door without a peephole loomed large at the end of a 14-foot long cracked cement walkway. For the first time, I was relatively certain someone was inside. I didn't know what to do - knock? Should I be like Phil and just walk in?  How long have I been standing here?  The door opened, and a rumpled pile of sweatpants, flannel, and concert t-shirt stood in my path. Ian's hair was poofed and aslant, but he seemed lucid and happy, like he'd been in the process of just waking up for days. He held the door open for me.  "Thanks for coming," he said, reaching for the handle of my suitcase. Thanks for coming. I didn't know what to do with this. I was still standing on the patio. Ian shuffled forward and took charge of the handle. "I've got cof

Dirt Catharsis III: self-seeding

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I was just reading a blog post in which I weighed past decisions against where I am now . I tell you there's been a lot of angry going on around here.  At the moment of this writing, I have been paid for a piece of art, I am expecting payment on another that's been sold at a local exhibit; I have been paid for two freelance editing jobs; I have been paid for books sold - mycelium. xPoetry - both through Amazon KDP and from a neat little pop-up in Texarkana (I don't say whether it's Arkansas or Texas because honestly I don't know.) I'm all over the place and raking in pennies. Pennies are good. I'm not supporting myself this way yet, but I am paying bills with ROI. It feels good. Where the anger comes in is this: I never meant to be doing any of this alone.  These days in the woods have been spent deliberately trying to re-collect what was lost, what I was when I was my most me. I had a true and supportive partner once, and it showed: we brewed our own beer

At Ian's Place - Part XIII, in which we feel horribly invaded.

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At Ian's Place begins here: Part One Cosmo was pulling up to Arrivals just as I walked out the sliding doors. His car was immaculate as usual – like a commercial staging. Sometimes I wonder if he’s even real. “So, cool. Haven’t see you around in a while. How’ve you been?” Cosmo seemed perky, and kept looking at me while he wove his Lexus through the cars, scooters, donkeys, and chickens leaving LAX. Okay, it only felt like that.  If I‘d taken a car service, though, I could have buried my face in my phone and avoided small talk. Cosmo doesn’t small talk, which made this dialogue extra itchy. “What’s on your mind, Cosmo?” I sighed. “Can’t a guy be happy to see you? Okay.” He snapped his attention to the road. Whatever was on his mind was serious, and possibly awkward. “So I’m having a thing at my place on Saturday. You coming?” “Sure, yeah. What are you thinking?” “Excellent.” Cosmo's hands relaxed their grip on the steering wheel. “I have someone I want you to meet.”

Duck Bowling vs. Ill-timed Christmas Gifts

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*this is Annabelle, not a dalmatian. My mom used to give us our Christmas presents early because she couldn't wait, and then she'd buy something else to open on the holiday. She and I started a tradition some time ago, when we no longer wanted to exchange gifts, of mailing each other clipped advertisements. This game was called "This is what I'm not getting you for [insert holiday here]." T he best was an inflatable moose head . ...but then when I lived in Cali she mailed me a duck decoy with white spots painted all over it (to match my Dalmatian, she said.) Mom found the duck decoys tucked under the hedge when she bought her house (the one she moved out of without telling anybody.) A t one point she brought them to the house on Cabot street where I lived with Tim. W e lined them up in the yard and played bowling with his pro bowling balls. It was Tim's idea - an act of defiance against the brain tumor that prevented him from bowling, playing guitar, or anyth
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mycelium. is now available for Kindle at amazon.com . Paperback is coming soon.  I'll tell you all about it later; I'm tired like 30.  Thanks to everyone who had to look at n versions of this cover. I appreciate you!  

Duendes - Modern Folklore **PG LANGUAGE**

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Yeah, I'm between jobs, but I’ve got this car- it’s paid for. When I get a regular gig again I’ll finish painting that mural on the hood – sexy bitch riding a two-headed beast, yeah. Original design, by me. I went to art school back when I lived with my grandma. But Abuela died and they put me out on the street. Back then I had a job...kept working long as I could, living out of la Bestia here, but only so long the management gonna let you clean up in the washroom. Some dickhead walked in on me while I was shaving and told the manager. Fuck him. I don’t blame my boss, though. He let me park at his place for a while but it didn’t feel right. Guy’s gotta have some dignity, especially when he’s the only one left in the family. Last motherfucker right here. I get straight I'm going back to school. So this thing happened yesterday, it was weird. You know I keep my paperwork straight, I was a baby when they brought me over the border. Pa got shot and Mama got deported; I guess nobody

PEMDAS, the Ship's Accountant - A Fairytale.

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photo by Masreth Fatima P EMDAS was a sailor, or he wanted to be...in truth he wasn't a good candidate as he  had one short leg and wasn't older than 12 years. His mother sewed him excellent suits and sent him to the grammaticus for tutelage in exchange for her tailoring skills.  She never told her son that his father was Poseidon, whom she'd met once in the agora. The old god was drunk on mead and didn't seem very godlike at the time, or maybe his swagger was from lack of familiarity with solid land, not so much intoxication. He was alluring, whatever the cause, and she succumbed to his allure on a pile greens and potato peels behind stacks of chicken crates. "You're so smart, and so smart," she'd joke with her son, who also swaggered a bit due to his leg. "The grammaticus is very impressed with your mental acuity. And you have the best suits! One day you'll be accountant for a senator!" Pemdas did not want to be an accountant; he'd

Judg(e)ment Calls and Wild Pollinators

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I received an email invitation to Zoom with a new client just as I was about to mow the lawn. Instead of responding, I went on outside. She might not be thrilled to know that I chose yard work over speaking with her. But she does know that mowing is something I do to offset rent, and more importantly for catharsis. Mowing allows my brain some creative free roaming. I write blog posts while the catbirds give me dirty looks.  With deference to our bee friends, I mow around wildflowers, but not all of them. I have to gauge effort vs. expediency – how many extra steps will preserve how many blossoms for how many bees? When I make these decisions, I strive for balance. I’m lousy as a capitalist, because I keep shucking something to the little guy. That bee isn’t giving me any honey; I just want us all to win.  Bigger entities than myself make similar decisions every day:  Choosing where to draw state lines or voting districts Choosing whom to feed Choosing whom to vaccinate I know what’

Excerpt from upcoming book: That Internship I Didn't Take Is One of My Few Regrets

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As my guitar player got progressively ill, I tried to find ways to take care of myself, to keep alive what we’d built together on my own, on his behalf. One of the things we’d done together was learn to make  homebrew and engage with that community. Bell’s Brewery 's head brewmeister Mike had founded our homebrew club. Also, my hotel coworkers held “staff meetings” at Bell’s sort of monthly, so that venue was considered safe territory. A guy could let his girlfriend go there alone and not be worried that she’d meet weirdos or healthy musicians.  I was seated at the bar next to a couple of clowns I didn’t know and we were passing a magazine back and forth, laughing at some article. I don’t remember what it was about. But I yelled at one of them:   “YOU’RE TOO PARSIMONIOUS TO BUY ME A STOUT!”  A guy behind me turned and said, “Excuse me?!”  I half-apologized, because I was sorry for nothing, and told him I was yelling at the blokes on my other side.  Clowns, blokes. Whatever.

Another Fun Ride Murder - Flash Fiction

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"Open the gate. " The tall man in the disheveled tweed suit flipped open a badge and ID: Detective Robert Semones, Jackson, NJ Police . A nervous park attendant peered at the badge through the gate, then released the latch.  Semones ushered in his partner, Detective Grant Ambrose, and followed behind.  Ambrose touched his fedora and nodded to the attendant, who looked miserable. She latched the gate after them. "Which way, ma'am?" Ambrose asked.  The attendant waved a limp hand down a path already populated by police and Six Flags staff. Her eyes teared up; she made a croaking sound.  "Snake ride...follow them. Oh, gawd!" she wailed into her hands. Ambrose fumbled through his pocket for a handkerchief.  Semones slapped his arm.  "C'mon, Grant." Semones ambled up the path. Ambrose gave up chivalry and shuffled into step beside him. Camera bulbs flashed against the rosy sky of dawn like earth-bound images of the stars that were fading into

Getting the Cattle to Abilene as a Conceptual Skeleton - on Writing and Diversity

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Harry Youtt teaches a writing device he calls Getting the Cattle to Abilene. It means you can spend half a page on minutiae  –  the kettle falls into the fire, or Jim Bill shoots himself in the foot  –  but if you don't get the cattle to Abilene, your story has no raison d'etre , just a bunch of beef out among the tumbleweeds. Social rules and cues exist to herd us along the road to Abilene, in this case meaning where Society wants to go, the  marketplace where cattle will be deemed of some value. Cattle that never get to Abilene have no assigned value. Our protestations stand mute and don’t defend us in situations where we don’t want to be defensive:  We want so much, just this once, to fit in. So instead of jumping into the conversation, we run an eternal slideshow against the back wall, looking for a similar scenario with a positive outcome so we’ll have a template upon which to act. But if I’ve done my job right, there isn’t a similar scenario. I’ve tried to throw mysel