Experience for Life = Material for which to Write

20 05 2015

I promised myself that I would use my May break to write up a storm and I’ve discovered that this is nowhere near the truth. I’ve barely touched my writings. I wake up and throw myself into the day. My day is long and tiring, yet filled with awesome things. And by the end of the day I can do nothing but collapse in my bed and sleep till it’s time to rock and roll tomorrow.

My professors stress that writing is important but so is actually going out there and living life. You have to have material and experience to draw from to have truly deep and enriched writing. As a cliche example: how can you write a captivating piece about a sunset if you’ve never seen one?

So I refuse to be disappointed in myself. The work I am doing is awesome, and important, and I’m learning so many things. So far during May break I’ve met new friends, grown closer with old friends, have helped move a few people into their new living arrangements (my station wagon is like the wardrobe to Narnia, you can fit more into it than you can ever imagine), I’ve gone on a kick butt camping trip with my poetry family, and I’ve actually gotten to draw some.

So here’s a glimpse of some of what I’ve done this summer.

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Me and some of the poetry gang

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Torching some metal for a small pour

Torching some metal for a small pour

More metal working

More metal working

The final product, bronze doorknobs

The final product, bronze doorknobs

Well there you have it! until next time,

Cheers!

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Jilted Lover

11 05 2015

Jilted Lover, I’m quite certain that’s how my blog feels right about now. I’ve not made an update since my November trip to Beaufort (which went wonderfully by the way). So I should probably catch you up on the writerly things going on…

I have successfully finished my first year of graduate school and am passing with a 4.0 (all that writing/studying is why I’ve been so distant lately, sorry bloggers). It feels great to be back in school though I do admit it has completely taken over my life. In other news, I will be teaching English Composition 101 to my very own class of college freshmen next semester.

I have been writing like crazy: flash fiction, short fiction, lengthy memoir pieces, and of course, poetry. I have several pieces sent out to journals across the nation… still waiting to hear back from them though.

The newest editions of the Birmingham Poetry Review and PoemMemoirStory are out and available for your reading pleasure. These are two publications that I am on staff with. So you should go read those things considering how much time I and my colleagues spent on them. Wonderful publications.

Tonight I got to sit with several published writers and listen to their journey down the publishing path. It seems very complicated and daunting, but I’m up for the challenge. I guess I have to actually finish something first don’t I? I have been working on my illustrations and hope to have several more lino cuts done by the end of summer (actually I hope to have all of them done.) Here’s a peek at the most recent one I’ve finished.

hashimotoI still feel like I have forever to go. Just chewing through it one bit at a time.

oh and I did just get back from Monroeville (the literary capital of Alabama). Some pretty exciting things happened on that trip but that’s another blog posts. Don’t worry I promise I’ll post it soon! anyway, hope things are well in your world!

~Cheers for now!





Grad school doth be no joke

7 10 2014

Just kidding. So, I’m in graduate school now and it’s great. I’m a grad assistant so the college has basically decided to pay me to go to school. I think I’ve officially become a professional student. But we all knew that was gonna happen, right? By contract I had to give up all my other jobs, 3 or 4 of them. I think. I stopped counting a very long time ago. I actually don’t get out of bed before 8am now. WHO KNEW SLEEPING IN WAS A THING? And yes, 8am is sleeping in. I’ve also seen more of my family in the last 6 weeks than I have in the last 8 months and it is glorious. It’s amazing the things I now have time for. family, friends, sleeping, writing, HIKING, and thinking. I have certainly missed just being able to sit and ponder things.

I am now also a member of the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators. But I may have told you that already. I don’t remember. Anyway, I’m looking forward to getting some of my picture book ideas peer reviewed and hopefully will find an agent for them. There are so many possibilities swimming around and I’m very excited about it all.

Anyway, just wanted to pop in and say hey. If any of you are working on something new, feel free to share in the comments box. I love making new friends and sharing ideas!

~Cheers





You are here…

25 08 2014

OK guys just figured I’d show a little proof that I’ve been working on my illustrations. This children’s  book is drafted in comic book fashion and told without words. Regardless it’s still a harrowing plot filled with plenty of ups and downs. Figured I’d give you a teaser of one of the most climatic points.

:). Cheers!

image





Spending Money to Make Money… Eventually, Hopefully

19 08 2014

Welp, I’m $100 (about 75 Euro for my international readers) lighter. I just forked out some dolla billz to become a part of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators or SCBWI for those who know. My professor has been urging me to join for quite some time and I just now managed to scrap together enough play money to join. Hopefully this will help launch me into my publishing career. I have a least a half dozen children’s books written and awaiting illustration (some I will illustrate myself and some I’m ok with other’s working on.) And at least another 2 dozen bouncing around in my head waiting to be written. My newest story involves Slue-foot Sue and it’s turning out to be quite quirky and awesome. Anyway, they gave me this spiffy little badge for spending my money. So here we go, it’s official.

Member badges

 

 





Fillin’ up your Belleh in the ‘Ham

4 08 2014

You have my new friend Ellen to thank for this post. Ellen comes into my work place on the regular and somehow we always wind up talking about the history of Birmingham and the cool things to do here. I actually started writing this article and discovered it was going to be entirely too long. So I’m going to have to break it up into sections. Today we’ll start with food (because food is always the most important.) It’s no secret that Birmingham has unbelievable food. I am such a big foodie it’s no wonder I’m not 500 lbs. Here are some of my favorites.

MELT: Melt started out as a food truck that had such a large following it built a brick and mortar. Located in Avondale, Melt is a whiz at slinging the all American grilled cheese. They put a new spin on this classic with locally sourced ingredients and gourmet flavor. I love Melt so much that I actually work here. Basically I showed up at the food truck so much that they came to know me by name and offered me a job. I agreed only on the terms that they pay me in cheese. My favorite menu item would have to be the Mac Melt (mac-n-cheese between texas toast) but my all time favorite is a special melt called the Honey Lavender (mounds of ham with monterey  cheese on sourdough, grilled with Alabama honey lavender butter.) The butter is so good I would lick every piece of toast that came through the line if they would let me (they don’t let me.) As if that wasn’t good enough they also have a killer desert known as the banana stand… trust me… there’s always money in the banana stand. Oh yeah and they have vegetarian and gluten free options out there for those that want it.

 

SLICE: If you’re looking for the best pizza in town… look no further than Slice. Some people debate that they like Post Office Pies  better, which is fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, even if it is wrong. I really can’t tell you what to eat at Slice because I never can decide myself. It takes me 20 minutes of pouring over the menu for me to come to a conclusion and then the waitress tells me the special and I wind up just getting that. Everything sounds delicious. Everything is delicious. Slice sources all of their ingredients as fresh and local as they possibly can and they have several local brews on tap. If I had to pick my favorite menu item it would probably be the “CRAWFISH MAC & CHEESE – Bacon, Jalapenos, Fresh Red Bell Peppers, 7 Cheese Blend” But you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.

 

El Barrio is one of my favorite Mexican places [rivaled by the Cantina (best fish tacos in town) and theLittle Donkey (just plain good)]. If you’re looking for the best cheese dip, El Barrio is the place to go and while you’re at it get the Al Cabron tacos. You won’t be disappointed… unless you’re a meat hater…

The best place to grab a Sunday brunch imho is without a doubt is Five Bar. They only ever have 5 things on the menu at any given time. Don’t let that deter you though. It’s all delicious. I had the best chicken and waffles. I still dream about it at night. Everything is fresh and presentation is beautiful.

For slap-your-momma-good BBQ no one will debate that Saw’s is the best. I haven’t actually had their BBQ yet. I never can make it past the other delicious items on the menu like the fried green tomato BLT or their shrimp and grits.

Green Acres Cafe serves up the tastiest grease in town. They serve everything from pork to fish sandwiches to fried livers and wings. My favorite thing to order there is a Whiting Fillet sandwich (make sure to order the fillet and not whole so you avoid those pesky bones). You’ll get the tastiest fried fish you’ll ever have on two slices of good ol’ gummy white bread and if you order it all the way that comes with salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup and hot sauce. Be sure to order some fried green tomatoes on the side for the complete experience. To. Die. For.

And if your pocket book is hurting and you’re wanting the best hot dog of your life you just need to tool on down to Gus’ Hot Dogs. George and L.A. will take care of you. Everything on the menu is under 5 dollars  (be aware they only take cash) and is drop dead delicious. Gus’ is a family tradition. My grandfather use to work at Alabama Power right around the corner and would drop by for a special dog all the way, a Grapico and sweet heat chips. Two dogs, two chips and two grapicos will run you about 7 dollars, so treat a friend to lunch today.

 

Well that should be enough to get you started. There are still plenty of places I could tell you about but you need to start with these. Now go out and get some grub and support your local restaurant owners.

 

Cheers!





“I Cannot Tell a Lie…

24 06 2014

…I did it with my little hatchet.”

Those were the words supposedly spoken by our illustrious first president, George Washington (if you didn’t know), when he was asked about a felled cherry tree. And I am here to tell you that’s a load of bologna.

Firstly, no one chops down a tree of any size, for fun, with a hatchet. I should know. I recently felled a dogwood of about 10in in diameter, with a full sized ax.

It was fun for about the first two seconds.

Secondly, of course good old George cannot tell a lie, probably because he was caught red handed with a horizontal cherry tree and an ax (obviously not a hatchet) in his hand. To lie would have been stupid.

I think George and I ran into the same problem, we only had our mind on taking down the tree and didn’t think of what to do with it afterward. He was probably mulling it over when he got caught. So since he told the truth I’m sure Poppa Washington helped him clean up the aftermath. I on the other hand had no such help. I was stuck with a 20ft dogwood and no idea what to do with it.

Now before you go all save the trees on me, let me explain that this tree was mostly dead and in danger of toppling someone in the noggin at some random time in the near future (I don’t know about you but I don’t want “done in by wayward tree” as my epitaph).  So it was coming down at one point or another.

I would have rather used a chainsaw, but the chainsaw has recently decided to take a holiday. This left me with trusty ol ax. I’d say all in all it took me 20 minutes of all out chopping to bring down the tree. That’s including the short break I took to recover from the heat stroke that was setting in (these 90+ degree days are a little on the warm side.) I rejoiced when I saw the remaining fibers bend as the tree gently began to fall exactly where I had planned. But it didn’t take long for the joy to stop short as I realized…

Now what?

I’ve got a huge tree down in the front yard. It’s probably at least 4 times my size (I grew to be a strapping 5 feet 2 inches so that’s probably not saying much) and what’s more, there’s thunder rumbling in the backyard. At this point I would usually cut the tree into sections and cart it off to a burn pile. But usually I would have a chainsaw and there is no way I’m axing this tree into sections. That’s just not gonna happen. Then a thought occurs to me.

Remember that beaver out of the movie Lady and the Tramp? If you need a refresher here you go…

I went to the garage and grabbed the first length of rope I could find which happened to be an old fashioned jump rope. Laying nearby was one of those fake wool, slip on, seat belt covers. I grabbed it up and thread it through the rope (so it wouldn’t cut into my flesh) then looped the rope around the lowest branch of the tree and slung it across my body commando style. If you’re wondering how this works, let’s just say “It works swell!”

The tree is now laying somewhere in the woods behind the house. I’ve surrendered it to the critters. I have no intention of messing with it again. However, I should probably go fix the ruts I tore though the yard dragging it along. It wasn’t murder but I still feel the need to hide the evidence. Imma go do that now. Y’all take care.

 

Cheers!

 

 

 








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