Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

So far along our road trip you’ve read Germano, got your solo writing cape on, have a belief in what you’re doing, know for sure why your work needs to be published, and had another piece of pie. Okay, time to check the GPS (online resources) and think about where we are headed by considering all the publishers ever known. It’s Bucket List Time, folks. That’s right, you need to look at all the possibilities so you don’t miss the right possibility. Think big! Now ask yourself some questions. Pretend you are doing a Buzzfeed quiz.

 

1) Readership: who would be interested in reading this work?

2) Academic or popular or both: is the work framed for a more educational/institutional setting or for popular culture? Does it serve both sectors?

3) What is the main discipline? Women’s Studies, Political Science, French Studies, Aboriginal Studies, Shakespeare Studies, Communication, Canadian Art History, Social Sciences, Anthropology, Theatre, Psychology, Creative Writing, Religious Studies, Medicine, Art Education, Law, Fine Arts, American Literature, East Asian Literature, etc.

  • Note: this is tricky especially if you are an interdisciplinary scholar because more than likely you will be able to select 18 possible disciplines. In this case, narrow it down to 3.

4) What is the main theme within the discipline? Write it down in one sentence, for instance, “The main theme that my book follows in the discipline of Political Science is  …”

5) What are two secondary themes? One sentence!!!

6) Which country is the work grounded in? United States, South America, Canada, Indonesia, Finland, Africa, etc. Detail the specific region if possible.

  • Even if your work has a global trajectory, it is more than likely your research is based somewhere (or a few somewheres). Identify these spaces.

7) Name 5 published works that you could imagine your book appearing next to on a bookshelf. Identify the publishers.

  • Note: This is a great opportunity to take a few minutes to close your eyes and picture your book’s cover. Do it! It’s fun.

8) Name 3 publishers that you have already considered, probably around 2 a.m. while you were highly caffeinated and formatting your dissertation’s bibliography.

9) Select one of the above. The dream publisher. What is it about this publisher that makes you believe that it is the right house for your work?

10) In one sentence, write why your work is suited for the above publisher. * Note: I’m a big fan of “get it down in one sentence.”  The elevator pitch. Think Mad Men. Concision is a struggle with constraint. But a necessary one. I’ll talk about this more a bit later.

11) Talk to your advisors. Ask the only other people in the world who have read your work for their suggestions. They are also published, right? They may suggest publishers you have not considered.

Now that you have gone from big picture to a more narrowed field, take the time to examine all the possibilities while reflecting on your answers to the above questions. To follow are 2 online resources for your search. It is not the be all end all list, but it will get you started:

Association of Canadian University Presses

http://www.acup.ca/

International Academic Press

https://services.exeter.ac.uk/bfa/az.htm

When you have finished your research, do the following:

  • Write down 5 publishing houses that you think would be well suited for your work.
  • Short list 3 out of the 5.
  • Return to the 3 publication sites and really consider “the one.” Write down the name of the one publishing house.

Now you are ready to begin to draft your proposal.

Next stop: The Million Dollar Question: How many proposals should I send out?

As with all road trips the pit stop is always a coveted break (for multiple reasons). After a few hours of driving (while you read Germano’s book!), there is nothing better than a piece of cherry pie and a cup of coffee while we talk about how to write a proposal to get your book published. By the way, Special Agent Dale Cooper is my spirit animal and clearly I enjoy metaphors (this might get out of hand, along with my use of parenthesis). You’ve been warned.

So the first piece of the pie is easy:

1) Belief.

You have to believe in what makes your book important (Full Stop). If you don’t believe in it, no one else will particularly the editor who is the gatekeeper of the publishing house. And guess what? Your belief will make writing your proposal easier because once you know for sure that what you’ve basically opened your veins to research and write for the past six years needs to be read, your proposal writing becomes a piece of cake (or pie, in this case). Belief also comes in handy as you begin to think about everything that your proposal will entail:

a) title (and this will change from your dissertation)
* sidebar: I spent 2 days staring off into space undertaking this task
b) length of book and a very brief description about your proposal content including, believe it or not, font size used
c) table of contents
d) abstract
e) chapter description
f) description of illustrations (of course, if used)
g) sources
h) readership
i) your manuscript revision plan

All of the above (which is fairly standard, but will change here and there for each publisher) is rooted in your belief and will ultimately enable you to select the publisher who will best represent your work.

Now, it’s never a good thing to eat an entire pie at one sitting. I’ve done it. I have no shame — it was delicious. Still, for this road trip we are going to take our time. We are going to take this pie and coffee take-away-style and enjoy it along the way.

Before we head out, I will add that I might be preaching to the converted. I am sure there are those of you who are on task with your belief, and very eager to get going. That’s great! However, I will just say: DO NOT SEND OUT YOUR FULL UNEDITED DISSERTATION OR EVEN YOUR REVISED MANUSCRIPT UNSOLICITED. Pull on the reins here, and don’t do it. You might be either full of confidence or just plain super tired, either way, cease and desist. But we will talk about this on the way. Just don’t do it. Trust me on this one.

In the meantime, really think about why the work needs to be published.
Write it down in one sentence.
That’s right, one sentence.
You can use a semi colon.

Next up: Selecting a publisher

The ‘v’ was bleeding.  Almost into a “y” before it dried.  That’s what I’d say, if you asked me.  But why should I tell you?  Tell you about the dark red letters painted on the side of the white truck:  Sam Sheep’s East Side Movers.   Under my breath I practiced my s’s:  “Tham Theepths Eathed Thid Moverth ssh th ss.”   Funny, the things you remember.  I remember my seven-year old body wanting to bounce.  Sometimes it did, but mostly I kept it in.   Start agains.  That’s what me and Butch called our moving days.  The scent of opened paint cans, the shafts of uncurtained window light, the steps of something better walking in and out of egg-shell white, empty, unsorted rooms.  Only thing was, Butch was saying start agains different.   It wasn’t just in his voice; it was in his whole body.  A turn to cold.  A mean cold that would slip in from under a trapdoor.

On moving day the van appeared from out of nowhere.  Its motor rumbled, ready and eager to get a move on – a beast on a leash.  Me and Butch sat in the square open mouth at the back, thrown in with the luggage and the boxes. Told to stay put.  Butch climbed a small crag among the cardboard’s mountainous range.

“All our worldly possessions right here under my ass!” he shouted as he lifted his body up with his arms and dropped down hard on the precarious edge. I sat on a brown vinyl suitcase below him.  He bit his nails and spit white semi-circles down at me.

“Stop it or I’m gonna tell on you!” I whined, waving my arms trying to deflect bits of nail.

“Ha! Who ya gonna tell?”

I didn’t turn to look at him. He just thumped his feet hard on the boxes and sang songs I didn’t know.

Butch leaned back heavy on our laundry basket stuffed with winter coats, almost toppling it. I remember my army green snow pants and a pair of red mittens fall from above and land near my feet. I looked up ready to say something but he was busy reaching his hands into the basket. They emerged with a set of bongos he stole from the grade 9 music room. “Fuckin’ A,” I heard him whisper.”Fookin’ A.”  I looked away to watch the outside. A marmalade cat tucked herself into the shade beneath a parked car.  The only other traffic on the curbless, sun-filled street was some hanging laundry  from the low rise balconies catching an occasional breeze, and the cicadas’ singing, piercing through the summer heat. Then from inside our darkened cavern ever so lightly with his fingertips (oh, so lightly), I heard Butch tap out a rhythm. Skin on skin. Tilting my head up, I watched him from below.  The smooth wood of the instrument was clamped tight between his legs. His long thin back curved over the double-hided spheres. His head poised to one side, his thirsty ear listening. As if he was looking for something far away.  A darkness was lifting. I liked his face this way.  Like the moon.  One side always dark.  Butch liked the moon. At night we’d walk around the empty streets with nowhere to go and look up at the moon. It was like a compass thrown into the dark ocean of sky. Like a spell, he’d rhyme off the moon’s seas: Mare Frigoris, Mare Imbrium, Mare Cognitum, Mare Crisium …

But they’re not really seas.

Oceanus Procellarum …

Usually he stood in its eclipse, but just then, the shadow turned away, briefly. He was a waxing gibbous. Luminous.  A warm light.

“You two bandits okay in there?” From outside the truck came a raspy voice like a chase through loose grey gravel.  Thick with debris. Followed by a long cough.

A man, telephone-pole tall, clad in faded blue coveralls, edged around from the side of the truck.  Pant legs too short.  Sam was written on his shirt pocket all fancy in dark blue.  His eyes were set in a squint from sun and smoke.  A tuque sat atop his head.  A dollop of black wool.  In the corner of his mouth a cigarette burned. Long ash doomed.  He leaned his hands against the rim of the truck as if holding the sides open with all his might.

“Hey, is your name really Sam?” Butch asked with a wide smile, heels thumping the boxes.

The Moving Man looked steady – not moving.  For a minute I thought he was going to reach in and throw Butch out and onto the road. Instead, in a single fluid motion, his cigarette ferried from one corner of his mouth to the other.  The ash broke.  The Moving Man adjusted his cap. “Just helpin’ out my brother.”

Butch shot back in disbelief,  ‘Ha! You mean your brother makes you wear his suit? The thumping stopped. The two stared at each other.

“That’ll be enough outta you little man,” he said pointing, adjusting his cap “Just yous keep ‘er down in there.” A smile appeared across the Moving Man’s lips like a strange wave frequency.  He flicked his smoke to the ground.  Orange sparks.

The panel door scraped downward. Rattling chains to pitch black.  The beast revved.  A low rumble vibrated our bodies.  The truck lurched forward and we both reached out into the darkness.   In moving black, Butch drummed while I kept my unseeing eyes wide-open trying to sing along to songs I didn’t know.

notes from here to space:

Posted: May 27, 2013 in (Re)Memory, Love, Media

did you know that from the bottom of a well looking skyward i can see the stars during the day?
venus has two continents & lava plains beneath impenetrable clouds of sulphuric acid
phobos & deimos (panic & fear) are moons in synchronous rhythm with red mars
jeans instability is a force overcome & causes interstellar clouds to collapse
blue neptune with its great dark spot discovered because it had to be
thermonuclear fusion in the sun’s core & neutrinos fly to earth
shepherd satellites (prometheus and pandora) herd their flock of rock and ice
& circle endless saturn
pleiades (the seven sisters) maia electra alcyone taygete asterope celaeno merope:
zeus changed them into doves
galileo galilei looked into the sky in 1610
the naked eye can see andromeda 2.2 million light years away
beyond our milky way a hundred billion galaxies
during the first second there was the speed of light

imagine

gravity

pleiades_M45

 


Image

50.    IPA.    Redcap.  Stubby brown glass. A bottle-mouth my lips blow a whistle across.
Every Friday the beer truck delivered; we didn’t have a car.
I never really thought about why she put it up there, up there on the mantle.

“A freak of nature,” a neighbour whispered holding it up to the window, then looking at her.

The cap’s metal teeth biting down, sunlight filling the glass,
warming the small dead body inside.

“An omen” my mother said.

I.

The stone fireplace has a mantle (as all should);
a carved wooden crow with one glass eye
watches the room entirely      convinced.
She’d walk her dog, Rocco,
a grey German Shepherd, along the riverbank.
Pant leg hems muddy.  She comes in through the backdoor
wiping his paws with a tea towel.
Her dog swam out, brought driftwood back held tight between his teeth
Growled when she took it away.
A piece of fallen oak, she liked its uprootedness.
A boat with holes to secure her square Kodachrome snapshots
sepia-toned-passengers
set careful
beginning to curl, teetering
children clutching her hands on either side
next to the convinced crow with the glass eye
watching

en neem er vooral een glas koel bier bij?

II.

a case of twenty-four
a well     a spring    a fixture
in the middle of her kitchen floor
Rocco at her feet
she divines from a chrome chair
elbows on her bare legs
smoking a cigarette the driver left
pulls the kerchief from her hair
thinks about cracking open
glass rubbing glass clinking glass
hooked in her crooked fingers
brown headless bodies
full of ale “good for breast feeding” she says
a consolation prize

in one bottle she sees a small vagrancy
caught by its tail
as it slipped through the air vent the crack, the cage
breathless fugitive
weightless body
heavy plans gone awry
bottled then capped
“think i’m dead?”

they muse

her floating eyelids up and down
did she just wink?
“cheeky”
mouse inside her glass house
winks back
she places her bottled stowaway next to her boat next to her snaps next
to her cocky one eyed crow next
lighting another cigarette, she admires her mantle (as all should)

they both wonder:

“how shall i be got out?”
cigarette ash drops to the floor
“how             shall i be got out?”

mis/pronunciation

Posted: August 28, 2012 in (Re)Memory, Love, Sovereignty

“Room One is for the slow people,” Frances said when I told her where I go on Tuesdays on Tuesdays, in the school’s basement, Room One waits for me as I walk the sharp cornered corridors (small steps muted) I try not to think about Frances because I can’t pronounce her as I practice my s’s thay my ethhis’s. Under my arm my robin-egg-blue notebook red lines crowned with pencil chubby sea shore sea shore thhee e thoorre (concentrate) thh ee thore theee thhhore. Room One’s door is notebook blue with a small window way up high yellow-warm with light opens and then Miss Sutherland’s sandy hair done up and her green blouse well-tucked in a rose coloured skirt. Her barefeet in open white sandals and the edges of her heels patched with hard cracking garden blackened skin an April earth. I dangle my legs under me under my small chair with the plastic orange seat. Swallow hard. My mouth is broken. Needs fixing. Miss Sutherland’s shoulder touches mine  and I smell spring and open books with sheep. shores. shoulders. shouts. seashells. songs. sad ships she senses six-year-old’s suffering suffocation in/articulation. Then a tin cup with gold stars. Licking her finger with her tongue a star for my robin-egg-blue notebook. Am I slow? I want to ask but I can’t pronounce her. My tongue can’t find its place. The blue door closes behind me. I leave the soft room and go upstairs where Frances is waiting.

I’m late.
He’s sleeping in his bed, one leg uncovered, running shoe half off, the sun
not even up yet.
He grew tired of waiting.  I know
he’s sleeping even as I stand at the elevators; his snores can penetrate steel.
I push open the door to his small room, his breathing

suspended in apnea

I wait :

It comes like a long piece of cardboard ripping from top to bottom.
Two quick inhales and a return to steady snores.  His pills
know how to keep him.

I shake his shoulder; his eyelids pull open, one at a time:  nightglue.
I put a tin of sardines in his vest pocket.

One of his paintings hang on the wall, next to his bed:
“Vermeer’s light comes only from a window.  See,” he says, pointing, as I pass him his teeth.
The lacemaker’s uninterested.
Her head bends, two fingers, two needles, two threads making lace on polished oak.
She’s used to his noises.

Exercises are posted under his painting,
to keep his left side from atrophy

bend knee up, straighten knee down, bend knee up, straighten knee down, bend knee up

One of my hands holds his ankle, the other under his knee
weight  of a fallen branch.
He looks up at the ceiling.
His eyes watering.

“Don’t hold your breath,” I say.  “And no holding the side of the bed!”

He used to walk the tightrope with these two legs; a steel wire
strung like a clothesline in front of his cottage on the edge of Erie’s eroding shoreline.
He’d hop on the wire like it was a bus, swaying       catching balance
stepping forward and back, balancing a broom on his nose, rings spinning fire on his arms.
“Swaying side to side makes the old ladies scream,” he says.  Laughing.
“Boats came in from Ashtabula to see me.”

 bend knee up, “yeah right,” straighten knee down, bend knee up, straighten

He lived alone with his paintings and books and unpredictable shoreline
“One Christmas I strung candy-coloured lights around me from head to toe and walked the wire.
Damn near fell in the lake.
The neighbours had to come round to untangle me.”

Fresh pants clean shirt nylon jacket.  Combing his hair makes him still.
I put his feet into his shoes, left ankle swollen to a stump, wheelchair
opens like a story he never expected.
Leaving his small room, I glance at the lacemaker and her window of light:

she doesn’t bother to look up.

lucky

Posted: January 25, 2012 in (Re)Memory, Love, Trials

she didn’t see it get hit
its wing sweeping circles painting the pavement red
spinning in a small circle a spinning grey circle with its wing
and its soft head

no one saw as she ran down the five wood steps
tea towel flung over her shoulder and her hands wiping dry on her cotton shorts
she ran out into the road not looking as her hand held up a sixteen wheeled truck
it’s a wonder what hands can hold up

holding them until she was sure until she was certain it was all gathered in her blue white terry folds
“it was like picking up air”  she said
she used wood satay sticks from her drawer
she ripped thin strips of batik with her teeth
a bit of her spit held its brokenness
“the best medicine” she said
and then careful in an old fedora hat its beak tucked in terry folds its eyes closed softer than anything

she tried to set it free every afternoon
she tried while standing ankle deep in a field deeper with summer
the wind tugging her dress against her thighs
her hair across her face, her lips resting on its smooth head softer than anything
for the longest time

then its grey wings flapping frenzied from her two hands a healed thing lifted into a cloud piled sky
her hand shading her eyes as she watched its grey wings flap rising away making circles above her making circles
for the longest time
only to settle back on my mother’s shoulder and she would say what she would say as she gathered it
in the summer field this softest healed thing

 

 

 

 

 

 

I came across an August sky …

Posted: November 13, 2011 in (Re)Memory, Love

I came across an August sky until I felt the ground that holds you.  Amsterdam was raining when I landed. A taste of sea. I knew all the paths, streets, windows, walls, and tunnels.  The church bells told me.

It’s taken me awhile to ask what’s needed to be asked, to turn our things to ash.  But I always return.
I always seem to come back to your garden, your tomb, your kitchen floor.

I waited, like you told me, for the crows to speak; instead, the old caretaker in wooden shoes fired up his weed-eater.
I chased him until he stopped.  And from behind the stone walls, he watched me.  Like I was crazy.  Loose.

I’ve been wondering why we are here?  Me. You.  Life and death scribbled on our bodies, like these stones.
When I came home from school you were gone. Never got to ask how your leaving got built, about the walls you tunneled under, swung your legs over, and then running running until you became sky.

These cedar hedges can’t hold back the smell of farms or the warm four o’clock winds.

He was vacuuming that day.  And I knew you were gone.  He never looked up again.  Your stone is cut with words that fly out of my hands stirring up wounds with your wooden spoon until I can’t even taste them anymore.  You tied this thread – a butcher’s string – around my wrist:  I could hear your breath when you made the knot.

May the rest she missed on life’s journey…”

The knot is still tied, but it’s still not right is it?  I always spelled your name with a “y”
Listen close:                I will find our way to ash.

My mother would tell me this story, a fable, a legend of sorts as I sat on her kitchen floor; the broken linoleum was cool under my crossed legs. I remember tracing the torn bits of the floor with my finger tips; slowly I’d follow the sharp lines, the broken lines like a map that led me to my mother’s stove.

As she cooked, I played with one of her wooden spoons and I’d pull all the pots and pans from out of the open cupboard door beside her bare legs.

As she stirred, I stirred

and I’d watch her saute the onions and garlic; the smoke would rise in an alchemic cloud to the ceiling and disappear;  I’d watch her as the steam made her face turn like a ghost as she lifted the lid from the jasmine rice.

And she would stir.

It was a crazy legend, this story that she would tell.  It made no sense to me at all but I do remember liking the word “volcano” … even as she told the story I would repeat the word – volcano – over and over sometimes without making a sound:  only my lips would move:  vol cane oh.

“The volcano,” she would begin as she tamped the spoon on the edge of her iron pot, “was made by a daughter, a meisje, who, to win the love of her mother, had to dig a sea around the sand upon which she stood — in one night. This would not be an easy task, for you see the sand stretched out for as far as the girl could see until it slipped out over the edge of the world.  And all she had, all this girl could use was half a coconut shell, a klein kop – like this.  And so the girl began to dig; she made a circle, a wide circle.  She dug deep for she knew the sea was running beneath, and as she dug she piled the sand in the centre of the circle to make the volcano; she dug, and she dug,

and she dug

so deep that she stood hip deep in a water of sea and the sand pile had grown into a mountain so great that when she would hold her breath for a moment … she could hear a fire growing in its belly, and its groan beneath her feet.  The girl, you see, was doing very well, but she was doing so well that the gods got angry.  So angry because you see, meisje, they wanted her to fail.

It is here, in the story, that my mother would always look at me; her green eyes so clear and sharp that I thought I could hear them speak, “Meisje, what you must remember is that the gods were only afraid.  They were afraid that this girl, the daughter would make what couldn’t be made by mortals.”

“So the gods began to pound and POUND … pound seed between mortar and pestle. The sound of stone grew so great, so fierce that the dark sky shook.”  And my mother would have her stone and pestle resting in her hands, its centre still with bits of cumin husks. “Like so … the stone against seed against stone.   It was this sound of pounding, the sound of girls in the morning preparing meals around a fire and water boiling hot for washing as the sun would cut the night horizon with light, softening the dark … but you see,  it was a trick.  It was still dark.  The girl still had time but she did not know the trick that was being played.

and the roosters, they too were fooled; they thought the sun, the morning, was rising, ready to come up — so they began to crow

So, the girl, the daughter stood up, climbed out of the sea,  her hand over brow.  She looked at her mountain and then to the east.  The empty cup in her hand. The sky was still dark and filled with the sounds of cocks crowing and gods pounding.  It was then the girl knew the gods were fucking with her.  The gods were always always fucking with her.  The shape of the sky told her that much.  But by then it was too late.

And so the girl never completes the task.  And the daughter dies … longing, a half cup in her hand.   A broken sea of sand and an unfinished mountain was all that remained.

And my mother would stir.  Silent.  And I would follow the lines on the floor like a map, a map that led to my mother’s stove.  And I would for a moment hold my breath, like the girl, the daughter in the story … and it seemed as if the floor moved from somewhere below me and I could hear a fire from somewhere as I looked up at her, the steam rising and then disappearing into nothing.

I never knew what that word meant; the name she always called me:  Meisje.  No clue. But the funny thing is my body knew.  My arms, my legs, my face, my mouth all knew the meaning better than anything else I have ever known.  It felt — warm.  Like the heat from her oven.  Steam from her rice.  Her skin in an August garden.  Even though I never knew what it meant – I always went to her – always went to her — no matter what.

And I remember the two of us standing across from each other, each facing one other; our hands on our hips wanting to know more than anything else in the world the answers to the questions that could only be found in legends, the truth that could only be found in fables of sea and sand that were told to us.

—  excerpt from my play “red bridge”