Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Category: Writing (page 1 of 10)

Posts about writing, editing, publishing, and blogging

Some Recent Publications

For those of you still coming ’round here, I’m excited to share some recent publication news:

“Coyote’s Bone” in Issue 6 of Zoomorphic

“Blown Away” in Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY

“Nicky Rose Driving South” in Crack the Spine Literary Magazine

Thanks to the editors of these fine journals for seeing fit to publish my work, and I hope you’ll check it out. And just because I’m still really proud of this one, if you haven’t already, I hope you’ll click over to White Knuckle Press and read my prose poem chapbook What Stranger Miracles.

What Stranger Miracles

what-stranger-miracles

I’m excited to announce the publication of my prose poem chapbook What Stranger Miracles by White Knuckle Press, “publisher of online chapbooks of prose poems.” My sincerest thanks to editors Dale Wisely and Howie Good for agreeing to publish it, and to Dale for his care and attention to the design, which is just wonderful.

You can read What Stranger Miracles free online. I hope you’ll check it out. And be sure to look around at all the other work published by White Knuckle Press.

Highway Sky: Creative Commons, Remix & Resources

 

That’s the video I made for “God Bless Johnny Cash” which is now part of Highway Sky. It’s the first video poem I ever made, and while it’s a bit rough, I still kind of dig it. Along with “Chasing Westward,” I’ve made two videos for the Highway Sky poems, but what really excites me is the idea of creative remix, which is why the poems in Highway Sky are all licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike-NonCommercial license.

I was inspired by the example of The Poetry Storehouse and its radical sharing/remix culture based on the same Creative Commons license used for Highway Sky. I participated in The Poetry Storehouse as a poet, reader, and remixer and found the whole experience to be so wonderful that I wanted to release Highway Sky under the same terms and see what, if anything might come of it. (Incidentally,  “For Gasoline” and “angels” are available for remix there along with a few of my other poems).

So, for anyone interested in remixing anything in Highway Sky, I offer the following resources:

Text

Free PDF version of Highway Sky (please note, the cover photo is copyrighted by the photographer and the Creative Commons License does not apply to it)

Additionally, early drafts of many of the poems can be found here under the tag highway sky draft poems

Audio

These are all of me reading some of the poems:

“For Gasoline” (text available at The Poetry Storehouse)

download

“Angels” (text available at feathers & The Poetry Storehouse)

download

“Night at the Interstate Diner” (text available at qarrtsiluni)

download

U.S. Highways

download

Chasing Westward

download

 

Of course, please abide by the terms of the license, and if you want to make a hit song, broadway musical, or some other commercial product out of any of my poems, you’ll need to get in touch with me. But we’ll be able to work something out.

And, while we’re at it, here’s the video I made for “Chasing Westward” which is also included in my short collection Birds Nobody Loves.

“Chasing Westward”

 

Highway Sky is Live

highway-skyI’m very happy to announce that my new book Highway Sky is now live.

Highway Sky is a collection of road poems published here on Coyote Mercury and in various fine journals, ‘zines, sites, and anthologies over the past seven years.

As of right now, Highway Sky is available in paperback in the following places: Amazon, my e-storeBarnes & Noble, and probably most anywhere else you can order books. There is also a Kindle edition and a free .pdf edition.

The following poems from the collection were previously published. Where there are working links, they can be read online. My thanks to the editors of the following journals for publishing these…

“Sonnet Found in a Road Atlas” Verbatim Found Poetry (Jun 2015)

“a hundred miles out” tinywords (Apr 2015, Issue 15.1)

“All the Way” Synchronized Chaos (Mar 2015)

“Three Scenes from the Road” The Lake (Mar 2015)

“windshield rain” A Blackbird Sings: A Book of Short Poems (Woodsmoke Press, Sep 2012)

“if there are angels” feathers (Apr 2012)

“North Through Fog.” Houston Literary Review (Feb 2011)

“Night at the Interstate Diner.” qarrtsiluni (Dec 2010 – The Crowd issue)

“Highway 73 to Port Arthur.” a handful of stones (Jul 2010)

“Deeper into Texas.” America Remembered (Virgogray* Press Chapbook Anthology Jul 2010)

“Miles (Never Once Imagined).” Carcinogenic Poetry (May 2010)

“I-10 Eastbound.” Carcinogenic Poetry (May 2010)

“We Talk of Trains.” ouroboros review (Jul 2009 – No. 3)

“A Texas Highway in Springtime.” Bolts of Silk (May 2009)

And, thanks to The Poetry Storehouse for making “For Gasoline” and “angels” available for creative remix. (Incidentally, all of the individual poems in Highway Sky are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike-NonCommercial license so if you want to envideo/remix… have at it.)

Many of the poems first appeared here in draft form. You can read those early drafts here. Some are draftier than others, but I offer my sincerest thanks to the many people who commented, critiqued and left feedback on these drafts over the past seven years. It has meant a lot to me.

I hope you’ll check it out and help spread the word. Thank you.

Some Recent Publications

Six October Stones CoverI’m very happy to announce that my micro-chapbook Six October Stones is published by Origami Poems Project.

Like all of Origami Poems Project’s micro-chapbooks, this collection of six short poems woven into a longer poem is a free PDF download that can be folded into a very small chapbook using the instructions found on the site. Check it out!

 

 

Next up, I’m thrilled to share that the Take2 Guide to LOST is now available for download. This is a massive compendium of online writing about the ABC TV Series LOST, and it includes all of my LOST book club blog posts (explained and indexed here) as well as my reflections on “The End.” Yes, I really did read and blog about all the books that appeared on the show, and it’s nice to see all that collected with so much other fine LOST writing. More info here.

 

Finally, I’m proud to have had a poem featured at Autumn Sky Poetry Daily: “Made or Just Happened.” Do check it out if you haven’t already.

And, yes, I’m still putting finishing touches on Highway Sky and The Corner of Ghost & Hope. Things move slow.

Writing Process Questions

I’m stealing a meme from Carolee.

What are you working on?

I’m close to publishing two short books: Highway Sky, a collection of road poems; and The Corner of Ghost & Hope, a collection of five short stories. Both have been ongoing and then back-burner projects for several years (I first put Highway Sky together in 2009) but this year I decided to commit to finishing both of them. I’m alternating between them, and they are currently in the proof stage. Once published, I plan to start working on another poetry project, not sure what, but I have some ideas I’m kicking around.

How does your work differ from others in the same genre?

This is a really interesting question that I don’t know how to answer without sounding like I’m full of it. I think it’s the type of question writers and other artists probably struggle with answering about their own work. Probably why author bios are written in 3rd person. Having said that, I write about things that interest me. One of the most compelling things to me is the way we interact, live with, and understand our place in nature. I try to let my sense of awe and wonder at the mysteries of the universe come through in my writing. I don’t think any of that necessarily makes my work differ from anyone else’s; plenty do those things and do them better than me. So I have my take on things, my way of seeing the world. As does everyone else. Naturally, I’m forever grateful to those who are interested in and take time to read what I have to write.

Why do you write what you do?

It depends on what I’m writing, whether it be fiction or memoir and what form I’m working in: prose, poetry, small stones… I write to explore, entertain, meditate, pray, discover, remember, understand, honor, educate. As mentioned above, I try to write from a place of curiosity, gratitude, and wonder. I’m reminded of the Grateful Dead song “Lady with a Fan” from Terrapin Station:

The storyteller makes no choice
soon you will not hear his voice
his job is to shed light
and not to master

I’ve always liked those lines, the idea of shedding light and not trying to have all the answers. I try to keep that in mind when I’m writing, that urge to discover and ask rather than answer. I guess I write more what I want to understand than what I already know.

How does your writing process work?

Too many days, I’d say it doesn’t. Sometimes I start with a prompt or an image. I freewrite and then cut away from what I’ve written. Sometimes, a phrase or an idea just comes along and hits me. I wrote this in the comments on Carolee’s blog:

I don’t always know where it comes from, at least not at first. My students ask me these kinds of things all the time when they want to learn more about writing poetry, and I always feel kind of lame when the best I have to offer are answers like “I don’t know” and “It just kind of happens.” I think the best poetry or any writing comes when we’re not setting out to say something but rather to discover something.

Truth is, I really don’t know how I do it. Sometimes I don’t even feel like I’m the one who wrote something. Which isn’t to say it’s not a lot of work, because it is, especially at the revision stage, but those ideas, that initial surge, just happens. But it only happens when I’m open to it. I have to show up and be there ready to respond. The real work of course, comes later when I have to sit down and turn ideas, scribbles, and drafts into something worth reading.

I’ve recently written two process posts, one about reading and recording other people’s poetry and one about videomaking. So I’ll just end with a quote from the video post that also applies to writing:

[…] maybe this is the main thing I have to say about my creative process: I don’t always intend to write a poem or make a video, but then one thing leads to another: experience, image, something I read, something someone says and then the next thing I know there’s a poem or a video or something waiting to be written or made. I guess it all comes down to being open and willing. And then, as Stephen King says, showing up at the keyboard.

Kind Words

It’s nice to know that Michele Cornelius, whose awesome stock photo graces the new cover of A Place Without a Postcard liked the book. Enough to write about it even. Take a few minutes to visit her site and check out her awesome work.

Thanks, Michele!

Postcard Cover Art

postcard2013_cover-kindle-lo-resWhen I made the decision to Kindle-ize and relaunch A Place Without a Postcard, I decided to redo the cover. While looking around Shutterstock, I came across the photo that you see on the book. A UFO flying over the desert is exactly the kind of cover image I was seeking for a book about a photographer who makes fake UFO photos and gets lost in the desert.

This photo led me to try to learn more about the photographer, Michele Cornelius. She lives and works in Alaska, and her photos eloquently capture the beauty of that remote place and her deep concern for its wild spaces.

In addition to selling stock photos, Michele also has a great many of her prints available for purchase, and she has a beautiful photo e-book called A Back Road Traveler’s Alaska. Visit her site, Observations of a Backroad Traveler, and check out her work. It will be time well spent.

Also, if you’re looking for good stock photos, she has a lot more than UFO pictures available on Shutterstock.

Kindle-izing and Republishing My Old Novel

I’ve been Kindle-izing my first book A Place Without a Postcard. I started it in 1993 on a legal pad and then began typing it into an old Brother word processor, a beast of a machine that was part typewriter, part printer. It had a small screen and a floppy drive too. It was the transition step between typewriters and computers for those of us who couldn’t afford a computer.

Eventually, I got a ’94 Mac Performa and moved the files to that where I was running Claris Works. Then in 2000, around the time I finished the first draft, we made the move to a PC and it went to Word ’95 and then Word ’98. The master file has been through a lot and so the first step in prepping it for Kindle, a device as unimaginable as the cloud when I began, was to clean the source file, which now resides in iPages on my Mac. So I’ve been making changes to the file that never mattered when it was for print only.

But that was the easy piece and was partly a dodge to avoid the real challenge: rereading my ten-year-old novel. Gulp. I don’t tend to reread my stuff once it’s out there, and I had largely forgotten much of what was between those covers, and I shuddered to imagine what horrors I had penned so long ago. Would I want to change it, make major revisions? I didn’t want to.

But I did read it, and it was fun. It was like reading a book by someone else and other than the odd missing comma or unnecessary adverb, I didn’t find that I had to fight the urge to rewrite large sections or change much of anything. There are a few things I might have done differently had I been writing it now, but I’m happy to say I still like the book, and I still really like those old characters, Paul and Sergio and the coyote Mercury for whom this blog is named. I think I told their tale well and did them justice.

The Kindle edition will be out sometime in the next month or so and I’ll also be updating the paperback to a second edition and bringing it to my own Coyote Mercury Press. I’ll keep you posted and let you know when that happens including the free day when I intend to give away the Kindle edition.

Have you ever gone back to read things you wrote and published long ago? What was that like?

Taptaptap… Hello? Is This Thing Still On?

Barton Springs 2007

I guess so. As with my last accidental hiatus back in 2008, my site was hacked while I was away. This was due to not upgrading WordPress just like last time. I’ve done that now and have made some decisions for simplicity’s sake.

First off, I’ve switched over to a minimally modified version of one of the WordPress out-of-the-box themes. This will keep it updated and therefore more secure since I don’t have time to constantly update my old homemade theme to account for changes in php calls and theme functions. Plus, it was starting to look a bit jacked up so Coyote Mercury is now wearing Twenty Ten, which is what I’ve been using at a gnarled oak for 2 years now, and I rather like it.

Speaking of a gnarled oak, I’m closing it up. Not because I’m done with micropoetry but because maintaining two blogs just isn’t sustainable for me. Call it downsizing, but at least there were no layoffs. The entire gnarled oak staff is now here at Coyote Mercury. I posted my micros here during NaPoWriMo, and I liked how they fit in with everything so I’ve made it permanent. I’ll keep the old site up but unmaintained for the most part. If you’ve been reading there, thanks, I hope you’ll visit here and if you’re only interested in my micro poems, here’s the category link for my small stones and the small stones category RSS for subscribing to just that feed, though I hope you’ll consider subscribing to the main feed.

I’ve also updated the publications pages and created a book page with links to info and reviews about my books including Birds Nobody Loves, which now has its own page with both videos and links to all reviews.

Now, let’s see if I can get around to doing some more blogging.

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