Tuesday, July 12, 2016

As Yearning Is Red - Visions with Waterbirds

This weekend we drove to Sebastopol, over the top of the San Francisco Bay, through marshlands filled with waterbirds.

I'm lucky to live near a creek where egrets hunt and nest. I take walks alongside this miniature waterway and appreciating the ducks keep an eye out for that white, upright stillness near the shore, often half hidden by tall dry grasses. When I come upon a lesser or greater egret, I stop at the pure white form the way you'd stop if you suddenly came across a living saint in prayer. They have a quality of prayer as they fish.

Once, when I was heading down toward the creek, I came eye level with one in flight. And this poem came in a rush of wings.

As Yearning Is Red - A Poetry Storehouse Reading

This lovely version is read by Marie Craven, who honors my poem and the egret with a lovely, soft voice beautifully precise and accented in a way that endows it with the hush and formal awe I was feeling. The poem is from my newest book Gods of Water and Air, available on Amazon.

Platform, platform -- I thought those shoes went out in the 80s

Author platform: what is it, do I need it for fiction, and other brain-freezing topics. There's so much written about this ugly word (I keep thinking of those awful shoes you can literally fall off and break your ankle), that my research has frozen my mind on the topic.

So here's my hopefully refreshing take on Platform for Novelists. You don't need one. No, you just need to be your most authentic writer-self, and in public, without asking people to do things for you. No sales pitching, no bragging (or only subtle and elegant bragging), and stuff to offer to help and amuse your fellow writers and readers. Assume you have readers and you're all sitting around in one of those gatherings that used to be for workshopping, and how has become the circle of your favorite people to hang with and discuss life and books. Those people are your (platform) audience.

See? It's not hard at all. It's pleasant. It does have to be done regularly, but it can take any form that satisfies you and amuses you. I like coming up with pithy poetic fragments and coupling them with nice photos I've taken, usually of plants and landscapes and yes, my adorable dog. Of course, I refuse to aggressively hawk my books (except once in awhile to offer discounts but mostly through email), but I do like to talk about my three books and my WIP, a novel involving time travel and the great Italian Renaissance/Baroque sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini.

And I also like finding and sharing writing resources for my hard-working writer colleagues. That's why you can go to and find under Resources a long listing of literary journals and presses that accept submissions without charging contest fees.

You can scroll down here at Rocket Kids and find links to all sorts of my favorite literary and publishing resources. And here's the soothing picture: