Interview with Allen Thobois

How many times have I said behind every amazing manuscript there is an amazing editor?  No matter how good we are as writers, we are all blind to our own mistakes. That’s why it’s so important to have a second set of trained eyes to catch typos. And that’s why I wanted to introduce Allen Thobois of the Writers’ House of Corrections—a service to help writers turn in better manuscripts and get published more.

Allen Thobois

Allen, not everyone is cut out for editing, and not everyone who can want to. Can you tell us how this business came to be and what kind of services you offer?

Of course. I was one of those kids described as a stack of books with legs. Summers, I would ride the city bus downtown to the YMCA Wednesday and Saturday mornings where I could swim, play pool and workout. I would then spend the afternoon at the library, carrying home 15 to 20 books to read.

As an adult, I led an active life, holding a number of different jobs over the years, and through all of that, read profusely. One of those jobs included traveling as I was a truck driver and drove in all but 4 of the “Lower 48” States in 20 years over the road.

As often happened, I would be caught in a strange town waiting over the weekend to drop or pick up a load. There was usually a public library available. While I could not check out books, I could and did sit in their library reading novels until they closed.

My driving career ended in 2011. This has given me more time for my favorite hobby; reading good books. As I was now on a very fixed income, I began doing Advance Reader Copy or ARC reading. This is where authors give pre-release copies of their eBooks out to a limited number of readers in the hope of receiving honest reviews on places like Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, or other places once the book is fully released. This was perfect for me, as I got to read all I wanted, and I was helping authors at the same time.

I ran into a few authors who had great stories to tell, but they were depending on spell check or other programs far too much, and their writing was suffering for it. I could not bear to see the errors and sent corrections to the authors in private messages. After a time, some of the authors began paying me to perform this service and the light went on!

Wow, here is a niche market that needed filling.

Fuel for thought

Those are always the most successful ventures, I think. The ones that just organically create themselves. What is your ideal client relationship like?

My ideal client is an indie author who has already finished her or his manuscript and then has had it gone over by an editor. I say this because as a writer it is almost impossible to correct our own work because we know what we meant to say, and our eyes will gloss right over mistakes.

Once they have had that done, as a proofreader I can then come in and polish of all of the little things that are so important to making their creative masterpiece go from almost right, to ready for publication.

It always amazes me the mistakes I catch in my own work, even after I’ve gone over it until my eyes blur. When you aren’t poring over client manuscripts, what occupies your time?

Well, I never seem to know enough, so I am usually taking an on-line course or two, and try to work on my TBR “to be read” pile. I also have a favorite fishing spot along the Naches River that I try to get to on the weekends.

That sounds relaxing and wonderful. When you are catching up on that TBR pile, what are your favorite genres, and why?

I would have to say Mysteries and Science Fiction both in Adult and YA for my favorites. The reason is that I like the science that goes into well-written Sci-Fi and Mystery stories. When I write, I have to work out the science first and expect other authors to do the same.

Writer’s House of Corrections

Many people have been affected by the stay-at-home orders this year. How do you think that affects authors and other bookworms?

That is an interesting question, in that many authors are already introverts, so in that particular aspect, we have been practicing isolating for years, as many have posted in humorous comments socially.

But what I have noticed is that many established authors, and even new authors, are working hard and giving greatly by offering special low pricing, or even free books during this pandemic as their way of helping people trapped at home with nothing but the television and binge-watching can get boring quickly.

I’ve noticed that about the author community as well. There is a lot of kindness there. But how about you? Tell us where we can find you and enlist your services.

I am on Facebook Writers’ House of Corrections @IndieWriterServices or they can email me at B.AllenWrites@gmail.com

Thank you for interviewing me, Angela. I have read Space and Time Magazine since I was a kid, in the ’60s and I am glad that you are carrying it on today.

I didn’t know that! It’s always a pleasure to run into Space and Time alumni. Thanks for your time!


Special event from The Writer’s House of Corrections:

INDIE AUTHORS!  Special Sweepstakes Sept 08 – 30, 2020. You could win a FREE Professional Proofreading of your Short Story or Novel – up to 120K word count. 2nd place $25 Amazon Gift card, 3rd place $10 Amazon Gift card. Click here for details!

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“Spitting Words” on PoetryNook

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Writing a new poem each week for PoetryNook was a good discipline. At most poets can win a generous sum of cash for their work and some feedback.

At the least, you have a new poem each week. Since I first submitted on June 25, 2019, I have 48 new poems. Most were written for the contest.

I’m feeling more like myself in the past few weeks than I have all year. I’m writing—and finishing—projects. Most important, I’m feeling excited and inspired. Once again I’m up at night tapping out poetry and plots on my phone notepad… until I fall asleep and forget them.

This is one of those forgotten poems written in a half-dream state. I remembered it today when I was trying to find a poem for PoetryNook. I actually found five or six forgotten poems, so I’m good for a while.  It’s not about anyone in particular.

It was a dream that left a trail of ink, so I followed.

Spitting Words

So, what do you want?
I asked, and you told me words…
so I unleashed them.

I gave you molten
slap on the cheek, hot sting words—
mace-in-your-face form.

I let them slip cool
off my tongue, chilly and dark
slicing razor thin.

I shot them out sweet…

Read the rest on PoetryNook.com

Enter PoetryNook.com’s free weekly poetry contest
 for a chance at cash prizes. Previously published work welcome.

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Interview with Amy Zoellers

Amy Zoellers

You are about to meet Amy Zoellers, a.k.a. Hipnness and Outrage, AuntieHipster… take your pick of monikers and buckle your seat belt.

I met Amy first at Woodneath Story Center where Ryan and I have been taking classes to becomes certified story performers. Amy was also at those classes. I didn’t get to know Amy until she came to one of my open mic nights at North Independence Public Library.

Meeting Amy for the first time went like this:

Meeting Aunt Hipster

Me: Stormy dark cloud

watches from the edge of life

trying to look nice.

Her: A burst of light

personality like Coke

dancing with Mentos.

Us: Yin versus Yang—

rainbow and shadow mosh pit.

This is poetry.

And that about sums it up. If you want to see this for yourself, check into Amy’s Hipness and Outrage on Instagram today at 2 p.m. Central to watch us do a social distancing read and chat live. It will probably be available as a post on her Insta after, so I will try to link that here.

And now, meet Amy Zoellers:


I met you at a poetry open mic and immediately became charmed by your edgy, beatnik flavored poetry. From what place does this hipness spring?

Well, boy-craziness is almost always the gateway…I kid, I kid…(sort of). I grew up learning music and experiencing the euphoric feeling certain songs gave me—really, like peeking into Heaven—

Age 9: They showed us West Side Story in school—a sexual epiphany, if you will (Jets, Sharks, Russ Tamblyn, George Chakiris…) I truly awoke to the personal equation,

                         man + music —> thrill bomb.

Age 11: I first heard the Beatles in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and over the speakers as we waited for a 1950s-60s musical revue/floor show at the Worlds of Fun theme park…

The deep need to get at the guts of what made MY guts sing just led up and down a magnificent tree of … hipness? Branch after branch, root after root, one song or group led to another, to a book, to a film, to a way of dressing; it seeped in and became part of my path. Coming of age in a time and place in which fried perms and perm-mullets seemed like a good idea to my peer group certainly drove me into the proverbial arms of the mods.

We need more of that, especially if we are to survive the remainder of 2020. Humanity is in a scary place right now with viruses, riots, wildfires, violence… where do you see poetry’s place in this chaos?

Ok, I tend to feel like a ridiculous figure in times like these…as my poetry alternates between the confessional and a rockabilly song with screams and howls about Look at THAT Guy!! (And that probably means some guy in a decades-old photograph or a silent movie.) Visual art helps here—portraits of those who’ve experienced injustice and violence; a little German Expressionism with lipstick applied to the face mask…

There will always be poets and thank God for them, who are in step and can reflect the times and events with words and images that stir the people, get them thinking and moving toward change, and I would not say no to that calling, even in just one poem or song! But for the moment, I feel more like the B-52’s, playing a club full of sullen New Yorkers and suddenly making them dance. I can’t help it.

I’m glad you can’t help it—that’s part of your charm! Everyone likes to talk about their first time. What was your first poetry experience like?

First was Shel Silverstein from the school library, but let’s jump ahead to fifth grade and Ms. Bruns. Ms. Bruns had replaced our beloved, peppy, adorable, affirming creative writing teacher, Mrs. Reed. Ms. Bruns was sarcastic, a bit lumpy, and ate yogurt in front of us, but GOD BLESS HER, she read us “The Tell-Tale Heart” one October day in 1984, and really, I’m getting a little breathless remembering.

After that, I just went swimming in Edgar Allan Poe, and my dad (a former English teacher who also dabbled in poetry) put me on to “The Raven.” The rhythm + rhyme + spooky gloom was REALLY my scene, and I was peeking into heaven all over again. I memorized the first 30 lines of it for a reading in sixth grade. I still get shivers to hear James Earl Jones read it in the very first “Simpsons’ Tree House of Horror”—yes, the raven has Bart Simpson’s head, for Pete’s sake, and Homer’s stumbling around going “d’oh!” but there’s James Earl Jones and an organ behind him and whooaaa.

I remember that episode of The Simpsons—James Earl Jones made that work. You create with words but you also do a lot of visual art and play music. What is creativity like for you? I’d love to hear about your process.

It often begins with some magnificent overwhelming eruption of emotion that, without art, I could never wrangle. From a young age, putting things out there through the intense use of my hands has been necessary. I don’t know the whys or wherefores, but sometimes it MUST be a very angry punk song—or a giddy pop song! At other times, a portrait, where I can smear some type of medium with my hands or knit the face of a 1960’s heartthrob into a sock or what have you. So very much breathless emotion going on. If it didn’t go somewhere, I hate to think what.

I can think of something… and speaking of scary things (hahahaha!), if you could collaborate on a poem with one monster from fiction, who would it be and why? What kind of poem would you write?

You totally get me.

I was going to refer to a poem about waffles, in collaboration with the Mothman, but he’s more of a cryptid than a fictional monster.

In that case, I will absolutely collaborate with the fictional Vampyr in the greatest 20-minute West German vampire flick of all time, “Bad Blood for the Vampyr.” Why? Well, buckle up for some big fat mysterious poet wisdom: because he’s gorgeous, and I wish to listen to his put-on Transylvanian accent for an hour or two, and maybe-just-maybe brush that murderingly floppy New Wave hair out of his eyes.

We would write a villanelle. A real swinging villanelle about the city of Berlin and West German cigarettes vs. East German ones and, I don’t know, the WAY of things….

I need to get a copy of that and see for myself, and I would love to hear that poem. Can you share one of your favorite poems with us? Please tell us the story about why and how you wrote it.

Off the top of my head:

                        Dammit, John Greenleaf!

                        Thy bones! I would kiss them!

                        Your verses give way to such

                        Tight-fausting throes!

                        Dammit, guitarist

                        Of stormy North England—

                        The same! (though you’re seventy)

                        Old slayer of woes.

I wrote that maybe 4 or 5 years ago—we were living in a suburb north of Dallas, Texas, which was not a great fit for us. But I did get a lot of poetry read and written. I had read where Helen Phillips (a marvelously poetic writer) had, for a time, resolved to read one poem and write one poem every day. I did that during most of our 3 years in Texas.

And one day, I read a John Greenleaf Whittier poem in which he’s at the grave of a girl he knew decades before, when they were children – found it—it’s called “In School Days,” and the little girl has been dead 40 years at the writing of the poem.

She had cried because she felt bad for beating him in the spelling competition—damn, that poem—however its sentimental honey may gush—was somehow electrifying in that time and place for me, when life seemed weird and misguided.

So the first stanza refers to John G. W. being all electrifying, and the second is about this English guitarist who was a total babe in the ‘sixties, and … well, perhaps it speaks for itself. It’s not terribly oblique but in a way it sums things up.

Words are a good vehicle of self-expression for you. Where do you hope poetry will take you in the future?

Community—as with those Open Mic nights we had at the library, before the pandemic… as with encouraging young poets to be who they are, experience the freedom of creating and sharing.

Songwriting—a compulsion tightly related to poetry. I don’t know why it’s a compulsion. I suppose the reason will be revealed one day.

More and more possibilities of language—man, I love language. I want to push past the walls of my mind and let the language tumble out and soar and all of that, and really capture the moods and sights and sounds of life that make me want to burst sometimes—so I can bring others with me.

What’s more—and this isn’t always a popular point of view with artists of our time—because I get so overwhelmed by the magnificence (and also the splendor of humanness and melancholy, the crushing darkness of the pits, the thrill of anger, the smell of cloves…) all around me, none of it would make sense to me without a Creator—a Creator Who cares and makes these people and things and music and aromas because it’s delightful to spend time creating and then to enjoy what was created, which is how I feel about the time I spend creating.

Said Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way: “We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves… Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God.”

I want to give back to God many gifts!

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Interview with L. K. Ingino

L. K. Ingino

I was lucky enough to come across L. K. Ingino’s work just prior to publication when I came on board to do some light editing. She works with horror and haiku… two of my favorite things. I was excited to check out her work.

I wasn’t disappointed. Her work was fresh and spirited and a lot of fun to read. Her haiku are tight and concise with an economy of words that still manage to convey big pictures in small packages.

One of these days I hope to run into L. K. Ingino at one of these conventions (when they return) so we can chat over coffee. Until then, I’m happy to introduce her here.

How long have you been a poet—is it something that came naturally to you as a child or something you decided on later in life?

While I read Shel Silverstein as a child, I didn’t get into poetry until high school. I enjoyed reading before then and read Poe in early high school, but my junior class English teacher had the most influence in sparking my love of poetry. I’m pretty certain most things I wrote then were… not that great, to put it mildly. But she encouraged me to write poetry, and I think she was relieved that at least a few of us took an interest in poetry, despite our lack of skills. Then again, poetry is like any art, a skill that requires building up, and so I very much appreciate her encouragement.

I’m always happy to hear about teachers that inspire students. What kind of poetry do you write, and is it different or the same as the poetry you enjoy reading?

I really enjoy poetry that is deeply mired in metaphor, to the point where the poem is almost a feeling, less than a complete understanding of the piece, with a vague ending that leaves you thinking ‘huh.’

I often feel my own writing comes ‘short’ of that, which I’m hesitant to say because it’s not so much that I think it’s bad, as it is my style tends to just be different than some of my favorite pieces. It’s appreciation of one style, while having a different style myself.

I do enjoy using metaphors, but I feel like I typically use a slightly less nuanced approach. It’s very similar when I write songs. I want to write metal songs, but I end up writing pop-y/melodic pieces. It’s just what comes naturally.

I think it’s important to write from our authentic self. How important is poetry to humanity?

I think it’s just as important as other forms of art, which is to say very important. Art connects us as human beings and allows us to feel empathy, to put ourselves in the shoes of other people.

We can’t have too much empathy! There is a lot of fear, anger, and misunderstanding going on at present. What do you think the role of poetry is today?

I think the role of poetry is to tell stories that help us to connect to other human beings. And sometimes that can be in anger. It’s not always hope and happiness. Though ultimately, I think that if you are reading and relating to something another human being felt, then that goal of connection has been met.

I find poetry is a perfect medium for seeing how truly similar we all are despite racial, sexual, and economic backgrounds – because, maybe I haven’t experienced the same things, or grown-up the same way as someone else, but if what they are feeling comes through, then I can relate to them. I can see them.

We’ve all known sadness, we all understand sadness, reading someone’s sadness from their experience can help us understand their perspective and empathize with them, which ultimately can bring us closer together.

Beautifully put. Where do you hope poetry will take you in the future?

One of my dreams is to get my MFA in poetry. While it’s not necessary to have one to write, it’s just one of those things I’d love to do for myself. I’d like to see my work in literary magazines and am working towards that end. And a larger goal is to run my own poetry magazine, in addition to my spec. fiction work, so, I do too many things, basically.

All worthy goals, and I think you have a good beginning. Please let us know where we can find you and your work.

Right now you can get my haiku book for free at headlessgnomes.com when signing up for my mailing list. I’m working on getting an e-book format as well as paperback, soon! You can also find more poetry and short stories on Medium at https://medium.com/@leannekathleendaniele

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9/11 Flashback: 19 Years Ago Today

Today reminds me of how much we can heal from. Right now there is a lot of anger, fear, and hurt. I’ve been so caught up in current events I almost forgot what today was—the day we remember the Twin Towers and all who fell with them.

Most of us have our 9/11 memory. In September 2001 I was a contract writer for militarylife.com at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.  At the time of the attacks, I was up early at the gym working out. There were always televisions going but I barely ever noticed them. I never plugged my headphones in to listen.

That morning I noticed they kept showing what I thought was a Cessna stuck in a skyscraper. Every time I looked up the news was zeroed in on it. A reporter’s face filled the screen and I saw real fear on her eyes. I plugged my headphones in so I could hear what was up. Her voice cut in harsh and loud. “… the Twin Towers!”

I knew what those were. Weeks before I had rented a Cessna that took my daughter and me on a flyover tour of New York City. The tour was all the usual sites—Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn… It seems like the turn around point was the Twin Towers. We circled once or twice before heading back. We saw the reflection of our plane in the windows.

My first thoughts were that one of those tour planes had flown too close to the building and crashed. It was only when the cameras panned out to show both towers that I realized it might be a little bigger.

As I was just catching on to the scope of this crisis, another plane crashed into the second tower. The realizations came in waves for me. That wasn’t a small plane… those are the actual Twin Towers… that was intentional… I left, work-out forgotten.

The story from here is similar for most of us. A nation glued to the television, struggling to comprehend what this meant. I don’t think the reality of it dawned on me until I left the house the next day to find the streets empty, everything shut and military tanks guarding the entrance to the base.

This is the post I wrote for militarylife.com (then militarylifestyle.com) the next day.

Distant Shock:
Military Bases Go into Extreme-Security Mode

Kirtland AFB, N.M., Sept. 13, 2001 — Two days ago my biggest worry was hiding birthday presents from my kids. Today I worry that I will have enough milk for their breakfast. The military base I live on has been sealed for security reasons. All non-essential personnel are refused entry at the gate by heavily armed guards, whose attitude is grim and all business. If the guards don’t deter people from trying to enter the base, the massive steel humvee with its barrel pointed directly at incoming traffic will.

Our base is like a ghost town. The streets are empty except for patrols. Parents are keeping their children locked away inside. School is closed indefinitely. The commissary looks strange sitting dark and empty in the middle of the day. Apparently store managers locked up so fast the day of the attacks that they left displays of soda sitting out unattended in the hot sun. The one store still open is the shoppette. More out of restlessness than need, I pack the kids in the car and we head there.

The atmosphere at the shoppette is subdued. I am relieved to see that gas is still the regular price, but the relief dies when I see the ration signs posted on every pump. No more than 10 gallons per customer, due to shortages. My tank is almost full, but I pull up anyway to get what I can. There is a police car pulled up next to the store, the officer is watching customers carefully. I find myself wondering what happens if someone pumps more than their share.

The cashier looks very sad as I pay for my gas. The line behind me is silent, no one feels like small talk today. I ask the cashier if she knows when the commissary will reopen.

“No one knows,” she says in a monotone voice, “we’re taking it day by day.”

Day by day is too vague for me. I want regular hours posted where I can see them. I want to depend on grocery stores, schools, and libraries. The faces around me reflect what I’m feeling. Silently, I pick up some milk, noticing the dwindling quantities.

Even the kids are quiet as we drive back to our neighborhood. The empty streets seem like they are holding their breath, waiting for more news. Ahead of me, nailed to a tree, is a handwritten sign. I slow the car down to read it.

“What’s it say?” asks my daughter. My two sons in the back seat are alert now, peering through the windows at the brown cardboard. I read the sign to myself first, and then smile.

“It says, ‘God Bless America’,” I answer. I pull the van over, and we all sit admiring the simple reminder of who we are and all we have. My eyes are tearing up.

“We are blessed,” I finally say. My tone is much bolder now than it has been since this crisis began. Worries about milk, gas, and school suddenly seem unimportant. “No matter what happens, we are blessed to be here. Let’s save our gas and go home. We’ve got things to do.”

“Yeah,” says my daughter, “I want to draw a flag to hang in my window.”

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New eCorpse, New Ad Page and New Blog Host

Looks like the blog was finally migrated successfully to the new home but the last few posts dropped into cyberspace. Unfortunate, but if that’s the worst of what the end of 2020 brings, I call it a win. If you are looking for one of the last two posts, you aren’t crazy. They’re gone.

But since I have your attention… want to be a guinea pig? Remember the exquisite corpse fun? It’s been a while but here’s the same old corpse game in a new graveyard.

We are testing out Duotrope’s new submissions platform ahead of regular Space and Time submissions with an exquisite corpse and would love your help. Twelve lines will be chosen to create an exquisite corpse poem that will appear in #138.

Since we actually pay per submission to use this manager, we are limiting submissions to one line per person. Go submit that brilliant line at the following link and help our poor corpse live again! 2020 has nearly done the poor guy in. Submit your line here!

And, since I still have your attention, if you are interested in advertising in the next issue of Space and Time we have a new, simplified ad sales page. All you do is select the ad size you’d like, pay via PayPal, and then email the ad—the email to send to is on the receipt. All ads are black and white. Find the ad sales page here!

August was a good month for me. I finally caught up on some writing projects I had owed since the pandemic began and started getting back to myself… but better. Through the pandemic, I’ve migrated from my tiny office under the stairs to a whole glorious room. As soon as I finish hanging the art I’ll post a virtual tour.

For now, stay safe and keep yourself sane in these crazy times. We are in the home stretch to finish with 2020.

Posted in #amreading, #amthinking, #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #Poetry, #ReadLocal, #SpaceandTimeMagazine | 2 Comments

R.I.P Frank W. Smith

I called him Frank-N-Furter and he thought it was an awesome nickname. We co-hosted the JournalJabber show together a few times. A few people confused us for being a couple since we had the same last name. We did have a lot in common: horror writers, twisted humor, a love of insects, and photography.

But Frank was more than a friend. You always say the nicest things about people when they’re gone, but for Frank it’s all true. He listened, really listened. He cared for everyone around him whether they were old best friends or someone he just met.

As an artist, he was genuine. He created out of a driving inward need. His creativity radiated. Whether or not he ever “made it” was not his concern. He wrote and created his magical digital compositions from an honest place in his heart.

I’ve been so busy the past few years our relationship had settled into a drive-by like and comment affair, but with Frank there was never a demand for friendship. You just knew whether you had spoken yesterday or a decade ago, he was there to listen if you needed it.

I just found out he passed away. I’m not sure how, but it doesn’t matter. The exit isn’t the point. It’s how we cross the stage that matters. As far as Frank Smith is concerned, he was/is a shooting star.

Goodbye Friend. You leave a Frank shaped hole in the universe that will never be filled.

From the past…
Spotlight: Wolf Song by Frank W Smith
Journal Jabber Night With Frank W. Smith
Poetry Slam Sunday: Frank W. Smith
A New “Song” by Frank W. Smith

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This Blog is Moving

Hopefully, this is not goodbye to a decade of work on this blog. After ten years of being hosted by GoDaddy I’m moving to a different host. I’ve loved being with GoDaddy, but lately, it comes down to money. I pay $10 a month to keep it on GoDaddy.

If I move it to the same servers as SpaceandTime.net, it can enjoy one of the free spots they give the magazine as a service. I’m not a techie, so that’s my best explanation.

There’s always the risk that the whole thing can vanish into cyberspace. If that happens, I guess I will start over. So cross your fingers. If this goes right, none of us will notice anything… except $10 more in my bank

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“She Said She Was Bored” on PoetryNook

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

A new normal sets in!

I haven’t published anything to PoetryNook since June 1! I’m not crazy about this poem, but I’m saving some of my late poems for a couple of anthologies and contests right now. Mostly, I want to get back into the rhythm of things. Things are moving again, and movement is good.

This week was a good one for it. I found out a story I submitted last July was accepted. I just proofed my poem that was accepted for the upcoming HWA Showcase.

Fall is coming, and that means the Black Cranes: An Asian Women in Horror Anthology will be released soon and I’m really excited about that—I have two stories included. You can read more about that from Lee Murray and Geneve Flynn in this WiHM interview.  And (on top of all the urban homesteading) I’ve been taking classes to be a grant writer.

But for now, here is a simple poem for PoetryNook… may we never succumb to the curse of apathy.

She Said She Was Bored

She said she was bored
so we went to the circus
but she hated clowns

so we went for art
but she thought the gallery
was full of posers.

We went to the park
but the trees were the wrong kind
and the grass too green.

Read the rest on PoetryNook.com

Enter PoetryNook.com’s free weekly poetry contest
for cash prizes. Previously published work welcome.

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How is a Spoon Like a Mask?

There is an old, old story attributed to Rabbi Haim of Romshishok that I love. It features two rooms and two feasts.

One feast represents Hell, the other Heaven. In each feast, the diners are given very long spoons making it impossible to feed themselves.

In the Hell feast, there is pandemonium. The diners flail about, smacking each other with their unwieldy spoons in an attempt to shovel the food into their mouths. They fight each other for mouthfuls they are incapable of eating. The food is wasted, the feast spoiled and the diners remain starved.

Meanwhile, in the heavenly feast, there is lively conversation and laughter. Every morsel is savored and appreciated. Every belly is full. There is only one difference between the two meals: in the heavenly feast, the diners use their long spoons to feed each other.

This classic and oft-quoted allegory points out that it isn’t what we have that brings us joy, but what we do with it. When we think of the people around us, and when they reciprocate in turn, everyone wins.

Masks are like the long spoons. They don’t do a lot for the wearer, but they are meant to protect those around us. If I protect you, and you protect me, we both win.

If we flail around, fight and refuse to consider others, we end up with a wasted feast. In this case, normal life is the feast and we are starving for it.

Right now, no one is winning… but I have hope. Kindness has a way of showing up at the last second, like the superhero that stops the falling bus inches above your head. Any second now I expect kindness to do the same for us.

Any… second… now…

Posted in #amthinking, #KCLocal, #ReadLocal | 2 Comments