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A continuation of my interview series with bloggers. Patrice is an artist who I deeply admire and wanted to give her what exposure I could.

1. Patrice, how long have you been blogging? How has your own blog changed your life and how have other blogs changed your life?

I arrived in blogland via a side door about four years ago. I’d been trying out online dating (I don’t recommend it) on a site called Matchdoctor, which is actually a pretty neat place – it’s free – no really, it is, and one of the features there was a blog option. Timidly at first – and then with accelerating zeal – I began to write. After a while it became apparent to me that making connections through my blog posts was much more gratifying than exchanging inane emails and dodging instant message types. A man that I fell for introduced me to Blogger, even setting up my first blog. To this day emails notify him of my new posts via his old email addy. They are always returned as undeliverable… Undeliverable – just like he turned out to be – just like the promise of finding a good man online.

Has it changed my life? Absolutely. Living alone in the Deep South with its mostly narrow and negative view of differences and resistance to change or alternate points of view can be stifling and intellectually lonely. Yes, I’ve friends, but my circle is small and my politics and religious beliefs are radical compared to those I know. Add to that my precipitous financial state, and it’s a recipe for isolation. But online I find peers, kindred spirits, fellow artists and creative people of all ilks. Though I can’t afford trips to Atlanta to the galleries and museums, I can see incredible artwork every day and interchange ideas, ideals and methods with those who “get” me. I’ve even sold a few pieces online! But it’s the connections that have meant the most to me and which continue to challenge and inspire.

2. In the beginning, things happened, the world was created and all that. And then artists were created to communicate the things that happened. How did you become an artist? Did you always see things others couldn’t/wouldn’t? Is art innate? (This is the Powerhouse Question.)

And in the beginning, (before photography), civilization depended upon artists to accurately portray events from history, legend and fiction. Art for arts’ sake is a relatively new phenomenon, where the creative and unique aspects of art are more important than absolute realism.

Oh me! Such a tiny, timid little girl, frightened of other children, and so, so shy. The only thing I could do better than anyone else was art. Even at age seven, I could paint a realistic Meadowlark – and the praise and attention for that first masterpiece (heh) gave me a new confidence. I had found my niche. And, yes, I did see things that others couldn’t. I was a solitary child who reveled in nature and insect life and spent hours and hours observing. Most people think art is about drawing. But being an artist is about SEEING. It’s about looking at things with fresh eyes – as if seeing a thing for the first time. You look and look and analyze and only then do you begin to draw. Drawing – and the ability to draw – is more of a technical skill. Learning to see means overcoming the symbolic language that is the first language. You have to trick your brain out of its old patterns. That’s why you often see an artist turn a painting upside down to check composition or value or accuracy of design.


And then, when you learn to see and can draw, paint or sculpt accurately, then it is time to think more about being creative than rote copying. I mean, if you want a perfect copy of something, take a photograph. Don’t get me wrong, one needs the techniques, but they are less important than verve. Technique alone does not make for dazzling art with its own point of view. To me, this is what separates an artist from a tradesman. I can teach anyone to draw better, but I cannot teach them how to be uniquely creative. That is the true challenge of being an artist.

3. In a cage fight between Popeye and Ms. Piggy, who would win and why?

This one is easy. Ms. Piggy would win hands and hooves down. Why? Because we women have the ability to talk and talk and talk. We pummel men with words and reasons and knock them silly with our command of language until they’ve no stomach for battle. Hey, we’ve all seen their eyes glaze over right before they head for the exit.

4. What are your feelings about using “Goddamn”?

As a non-believer, I’m neutral. I can’t condemn it anyway because cussing is important. One needs outlets for rage and pain and cussing is perfect as it harms no one whilst allowing venting. I may avoid the cruder forms of expletive outbursts (such as “you cunt” or “he’s a fucking shit-faced prick”) in mixed company, so as not to offend those who feel differently, but hey – it’s only words. My personal favorite cuss phrases (the ones I utilize when I slam my arm in the gate or stub my toe or whatever) are “Jesus Fucking Christ” or “God Fucking Damn.” As reading this blog is an elective activity, (and it’s not my blog after all), I’ll let you worry about the offenses herein…

In addition. I love italics. You probably noticed I answered all your questions in italics. Italics make me feel like I am having a dialogue. It’s thinking visually expressed. I’m quite sure authors like Proust thought in italics. Total stream of consciousness dialoging with the subconscious.The only problem with italics is that one can’t re-italicize for emphasis. Someone should invent a font for re-italicization.

5. As you know, I’m a fan of bleeding trees (Note: I’m buying one of Patrice’s paintings), what are you working on now?

And now and now and now…

My (now your) “When Trees Bleed” (http://patricelynneyoung.blogspot.com/2009/05/had-to-get-this-one-out-of-my-system.html) is probably the highpoint of a series of paintings about the earth and its glories and phenomena. It’s definitely my favorite painting done this past year. (And by the way, thank you for recognizing my serious work! It’s an honor for me as an artist to feel that there are those who honor what I do.)

As you’ve surmised by how long it took me to send you my answers, I’ve been keyed toward survival. That means I’ve taken a bit of a break from what I consider my serious work (such as the bleeding trees) to do some commissions and some more readily saleable smaller pieces. It’s paid off in that I’ve survived the past two months, but it’s frustrating to feel that my best work is not what the public necessarily purchases. I’m not saying the smaller works are just fluff; they’re important to me. It’s just that I like to work larger. I’m working toward a January show where I will be one of the featured artists and the broad theme is one of “branching out.” Thus I’m gearing some imagery toward literal branches and trees – but also allowing for a more expansive definition such as going in new directions, following the light, seeking ones own space to fill, etc.

So you see, I am not just a person of many images, but a person who likes to expound with verbiage.

Check out Patrice’s blog at http://http://patricelynneyoung.blogspot.com.

I’ve been inspired by many of my fellow bloggers and my precious Bunny-Love (who considers me Mother and Poetic Grin his Other Mother, for he is the logical love child of the unnatural union of Bryan and me) has generously answered my probing questions with grace and good humor.

1. There was a skit on SNL once where Will Farrell was playing Harry Carry and said, “If you were a hotdog and you were stranded on an island, would you eat yourself?” Well, would you?

It depends on the type of hotdog I would be; if I were to be any sort of alternative hotdog–turkey, soy, etc–no. Just no. However; if I happened to become, in my hotdog island isolation, a chilli dog, there would be nothing for rescuers to find. If I were to be transformed into a corndog, that would be ideal, because I can only ever eat about half of one. The taste is great, but I get sick of it easily. And really, that sounds like me.

2. Where you do get your inspiration for writing? (Also, please tell our esteemed readers where your name comes from.)

I get my inspirations from a variety of sources. The major provider is just observations I make while wandering around, watching people or animals or plants or documentaries. The second source would have to be love. Friendly, lustful, insatiable, painful, distraught, miserable, wonderful, joyful, manic, light, and especially dark, love. I get little echoes of writings from my friends, but my best work derived from love comes from relationships. There are a lot of gay themes, and gay romances explored in my writing.

In regards to my name, B.R. Belletryst, I should say that the first part was given to me by someone who will always mean a lot to me. B.R. stands for Bunny Rabbit. The name came about during a particularly verbal sexual scene in which he told me to sit and hop on his cock, and called me his cock-rabbit. It developed into a pet name, Bunny, and has since become a name I regularly associate with. The second part, Belletryst, is my own invention. It is a portmanteau, sort of. A belletrist is a writer who writes centered around aesthetics, which is something I’d like to believe I do. The latter half of this word was changed though, because of my influence from love. A tryst, as defined by The Free Dictionary, is an agreement between lovers, especially in regards to a location to meet at. This word making up so much of who I am, romantically, as well as quite a few of my dreams, seemed a natural alteration to the word belletrist.

And so with the poem “in which he wakes,” B.R. Belletryst was born. I had been operating my website before that, but it was really with that poem, and that series of events that inspired it that I became the person and poet that my dear friend MedicatedLady is interviewing today.

3. Can you tell me why I’m so obsessed with my dog poo-ing?

No; but I can offer you this–cat poop is the worst thing in the world. The worst thing in the world. Ever.

4. How did you know writing was going to be a major part of your life?

I never know that it will be. It’s just part of me. I can’t explain to you why I write, why I write what I write, and I can’t tell you, or others, to write, or how enriching it is, if it is. To give you an example of what I’m talking about, I just recently started work outside of writing, and haven’t written anything since September 28th, journaling aside. Writing is a biological function to me, natural. It is a bodily excretion, as someone once said to me. It oozes. It flows. It is important, and it is nothing. Writing is drool, is shit, is cum, is piss, is blood, is menstrual blood, is bile, is tears, is snot, is earwax. It’s slow, it’s explosive, it’s orgasmic, it’s release, it’s scary, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, it is salty, it is gross, and it is beautiful and delicious. Writing is alchemy; primordial fluids coming together.

I don’t control when I’ll write, what I’ll write, or if I will feel like it at all. My idea about writing is that writers are and constantly become. Every day you write something, you become a writer, or tap into it, and it takes something from you, and gives you something else.

5. Ohio seems like a nice enough place. Can you give me the high points and low points of life there? Also, do people from Ohio support cows?

Ohio. There are decent theme parks and some kind of history involved, but it’s very boring. I live in Lancaster, Ohio–a small city that gets its kicks out of preserving American Civil War history. I’ve heard so much about General Sherman (even went to the middle school!) that I’ve lost a bit of respect for history. I’ve been in all the historical buildings, seen all those meticulously preserved outfits, rooms, and cannons, and the only thing I have to say about it is that it’s like keeping your dead grandfather’s toenails; creepy, unnecessary, and obsessive. But that’s just my opinion. I fully acknowledge that the Civil War and all involved were important to history, and the development of our country, but the extent to which my city revolves around it is ridiculous. In all honesty, my favorite part about Ohio is the people, and getting out of my city to go to Columbus. There’s a bit more culture, the people are more exciting, and there is always something to do.

That was a bit of a rant. Oh well, I’m planning on immigrating to Canada in years to come.

Cows, cows, cows. Nope. No support for cows whatsoever. I think that’s sort of an American thing. Or a human thing, considering Kobe Beef and cows everywhere else in the world, excluding India.

All around me, carnivorous people ripping them apart, screaming, chanting “BEEF! STEAK! JERKY! PRIME RIB! BURGER! RIBS! BARBECUE! TONGUE!”
And I hear their teeth, just gnashing,
gnashing, and holy fuck, it’s like trains
crashing, brains just like potatoes mashing,
something disturbing, but can’t look away,
teeth sinking in, tongue chewed on,
trying not to betray my senses
as I fight off winces, hunger growing,
growing, thoughts start slowing,
racing to realization, serenity or actualization
–Beef. Beef. It’s what I want. Juicy, rip it apart, consume, consume, oh gods it has consumed me, that fucking cow head, that fucking taste, give me more! MORE! I demand it!
MORE! Suddenly, meal finished,
I’m back, I abhor;
I can’t believe it was me, those actions, those … poor cows. Thoughts of meat hooks, slaughter houses, mooing, mooing, chopping, sawing, hooves flying and butchers laughing… Am I repulsed? Am I horrified? I’ll have chicken tomorrow. Or maybe… beef.

Visit Bunny’s website at http://brbelletryst.wordpress.com/

So, I asked and she said yes. And so it is a pleasure to unveil our Val, our rightly nightly warrior. The one who speaks with truth beyond the Fucking Bullshit. I love her and this interview. Which makes sense as Val is perfectly loveable, as you well know, dear readers. Please give it up for our chosen one.

1. Val (dearest of all Vals). You’ve broken this down for me before. Tell me again. How does one endure the Bullshit of Life?

I’m happy you started us off on a topic I consider of utmost importance to a both a writer and a woman. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, being immersed in it, shooting it and philosophising about it.

First, one must identify the different types of Bullshit and their specific function in society/relationships before it can be endured.

Work Bullshit: This can be seen in the embellishment and padding of resumés, outrageous claims made around the coffee pot or water cooler (usually detailing some sort of extraordinary sexual conquest that is obviously false but everyone collectively pretends to believe), stories of active social lives outside the office/workplace that don’t exist ie.; yachting expeditions, cocktail parties with people in upper management, hanging out with famous people like rock stars, actors and writers.

In addition, we have those accessories that are what I term, Physical Bullshit: fake shoes for short men, fake breasts for flat women, botox for anyone wrinkled and makeup applied by a bricklayer.

All acceptable Bullshit, but should be left at work, because it’s not applicable to anything else.

Friend Bullshit: Oh I wish I was more like you, I’m so jealous of you, You look great in that dress/suit/relationship. This is cowardly saving face and not wanting to be alone Bullshit. Anyone worth their salt is well aware the friendship can’t be real without lack of bullshit.

Dating Bullshit: Sure I loooooove bungee jumping/sky diving/rock climbing…this is of course related to: Sure, I can play guitar/was once in a film/loved the movie Titanic. All designed to get in someone’s pants/car/apartment/house/family/life. NOT conducive to anything longterm but fun as a time waster and exercising your inner thespian.

Universal Bullshit: This is a giant umbrella term used to cover a wide range of social illness creating bullshit: Anything said by a politician/clergy/health organization/scientific think tank funded by a government/drug company etc…All lies I tell ya.

Now, how does one endure it.Take control of it, never believe it, treat it like an explosive and only use when you need to move a large metaphorical rockface and NEVER…EVER…ignore it!

2. For that matter, Val (dearest of all Vals), how do writers endure? Tell us your secrets.

Writers endure by getting the crazy out of them and committing it to paper. If we didn’t have paper or laptops, we would see a whole lotta crazy people chipping away at granite boulders with a hammer and chisel a la Fred Flintstone. What is in must come out…it’s therapy really and same people call it art. Hehehe

3. You’re quite the scandalous Canadian. And by scandalous, I do not really know what I mean other than you’re Canadian and because I’m American, that seems scandalous. I know you understand what I mean and do not take offense. Do you (heart) Obama? Did you ever watch Alf? Don’t you think Obama and Alf would make a cute couple?

Yes, I fully embrace my hockey lovin’, snow shovellin’, prime minister electin’, maple leaf adornin’ gay marryin’ weed legalizin’ scandalous canuck self. :0

Do I heart Obama? NO. I don’t heart him. I only heart people I feel I know to be real. I’ve yet to see that person. When he emerges…oh say halfway through his term, ask me again. 😉 I think Obama would make a cute couple with Rahm. I’m just sayin’. Hmm, Rahm does look a bit like Alf…especially the eyebrows. hehehe

4. How did you celebrate your birthday? I need to know specifics. Val (dearest of all Vals), I feel as though I might take to stalking you. I have a great affection for you. Tell me about your birthday, dammit! I will not be ignored.

I opened presents: A painting of a medieval door, an ornate pie plate I’ve been coveting for eons, an African Violet, a journal for…wait for it…writing, a large lovely Swiss Chalet dinner and one more day of breathing, living and winding up anal people.
If you stalk me, you should be warned that I’m NOT a boring stalkee. Peculiar things seem to happen to me on a regular basis, so be forewarned. I won’t ignore you medicatedlady because I don’t want that sharp scathing weapon of wit turned in my direction. I’m wise about these things, I’m old now and I know stuff. 😉

5. Such a clichéd question but where do you get your inspiration? And also, when did you know you would be/were a writer?

Bullshit of course. Well, that and pain. The agony in pain that causes a person to give up or emerge stronger. The humour in pain…oh yes, it’s a veritable flourishing field of hilarity on the frontline of suffering. I’ve met the funniest people on the street. True comic geniuses with nothing to lose.

I knew I was a writer when I was three and I told a lie and someone believed it. I then told it the next day with more details and they still believed it. Oh god I knew I was on to something then and when I learned to make letters into sentences I wrote those lies down so they would be permanent. Now, it’s called fiction HA! Of course as I grew older, the truth started creeping in and now it’s called ART…Remember? Therapy for crazy writers.

I enjoyed your probing questions my dedicatedmedicatedlady and I’m flattered as fuck that you chose me. Many are called to this blog, but few are chosen. HUGS

Please be sure to check out Val’s blog! http://valbrussell.wordpress.com/

I sometimes wonder if I’ve made an impact on any of the men’s lives I’ve dated. I don’t understand man emotions because they have never been explained to me, but I wonder if I’ve caused them pain or sadness. In such times, I take comfort in the possibility that I might have mattered in some way. Not enough to come after me. Not enough to not let me go. But maybe I mattered in some way that I’ll never understand.

But.
Then.
I remember.
Comfort is completely self-serving.

What keeps coming to mind is this guy I dated once who was really nice (I’ll call him Larry Kerry because he had a name that rhymed just like that). I liked him, but the other guy I was dating was just more exciting and I had a greater chemistry with him. The other guy, I ultimately chose, and he turned out to be an asshole of astronomical proportions.

Larry Kerry was a computer analyst and former Navy man. He tried out for the SEALS but had to drop out due to an injury. He pondered working for the FBI. He was tall, graying a little early but it was sexy. He was always so nervous around me. I felt flattered and sympathetic. He wore a little too much cologne. And he downed a glass of red wine right before we left a restaurant and I realized once I was in his car, I should’ve insisted on driving.

Still. There was nothing wrong with him. He just wasn’t an asshole or The Asshole I wanted. I let him go and do not regret it. I do not think of him with any particular fondness. I mainly feel nothing.

Which is why comfort is completely self-serving because I imagine I’m the Larry Kerry of most of the men I’ve dated.

In my continuing James Lipton-channeling interviews with fellow bloggers, I’ve had the pleasure of picking 1writegirl’s mind in typical ML seriousness/silliness. Be prepared to laugh and think, dear reader. Enjoy…and I know you will.

1. I’ve heard people say that they can’t write because they haven’t had anything terrible happen to them…or at least nothing interesting in comparison to what others deal with. (For example, someone might say that it’s silly to write a poem about split ends when there are people who could recount their death camp survival stories.) Do you find yourself needing to justify or validate the importance of your writing?

Not really. I mean I compare my work to that of other writers, I can’t help doing so, but everyone has their own story to tell, and not everyone can be a death camp survivor (Alas? Fortunately?). Granted, if all you ever wrote about was split ends, people would quickly tire of reading your stuff, but the trick is to take whatever you have to say and say it in such a way that other people find it intriguing. I think it’s true that much of the great writing in the world comes from either great despair or great joy, these are the times we are most inspired to write and as a result, produce deeper and more reflective pieces. But it can be done at any time, it just takes a bit more digging and more imagination when you aren’t being bombarded with some catastrophe or ecstasy. Look at Jane Austen. She wrote detailed novel after novel about complicated and intricate relationships between men and women, while in reality, she never experienced anything like that. Ditto with the Bronté sisters. It was strictly their imaginations that created those works that, amazingly enough, at least half the world could relate to, generation after generation. The other thing that keeps me from feeling a strong need to justify my writing is that I write first and foremost for myself, and secondarily, for others to read. Most writers I think are like this, at least those of us who don’t make a living from our writing – compelled to write, not sitting at a computer generating words because that’s our livelihood. We find time to write in spite of all else that’s going on in our lives, so naturally, what we write about is going to be important (to us, anyway.)

2. Let’s just say you are on a deserted island and there is little hope of rescue. There is, however, a broken CD player that constantly plays one song over and over and over again. Let’s also say you cannot access the CD player. It is in a tree and being guarded by a tropical raven-hawk beast, but you can choose the song. What would it be?

Ha! Okay, well, I guess I could rack my brain to come up with a song that I wouldn’t mind hearing over and over again for the rest of my life, but truth be told, there probably isn’t one. So I think I’d pick Beethoven’s Für Elise, that way I’d know the tune by heart but wouldn’t have the lyrics scrambling around in my brain interfering with all the great writing I’d be doing while stranded on this desert island.

3. How do you think blogging has influenced (your) writing?
First and foremost, it’s encouraged me to be more disciplined, writing almost daily. And secondly, it’s allowed me to experiment with other genres (like poetry) besides creative non-fiction and lengthy fiction, which is where the majority of my energies went previously. Prior to starting my blog, I wrote very little poetry. In addition, having an audience, one that gives you feedback, is conducive to improving qualities like clarity and subtle meaning you want the work to reflect. It’s harder to get these things when your work doesn’t see the light of day.

4. If you were sitting in a bar with your brain and you had a conversation, what would it be like?

Me: So, I’ve noticed you light up every time you’re in the presence of this guy, or even just thinking about him. Are you crazy-in-love with him, or what?
Brain: Most people would refer to it as being crazy-in-love. Apparently, however, I’m chemically addicted to him.
Me: I see. Is he chemically addicted to you?
Brain: I think so, but to a lesser degree.
Me: What will you do now?
Brain: I could really go for a cappuccino. Or, I could go jogging, and then get a cappuccino… I made it all the way down to Orcutt Street yesterday without stopping.
Me: Very funny. You know what I mean.
Brain: Damn, I just can’t fool you, can I? Okay, what will I do… just accept my feelings; accept his feelings. Stay unlocked (that’s brain slang for “keep an open mind.”)
Me: What’s your latest unexpected and/or random thought?
Brain: Hmmm…Well, I’ve been toying with the idea lately of joining a convent. Patience is a virtue, you know. I hear the nuns are all over it.
Me: I thought you didn’t believe in God?
Brain: Is that going to be a problem?
Me: Besides, what would you do with your son?
Brain: What, Catholics don’t like kids? That’s not what I’ve heard. But maybe you’re right. Maybe the convent isn’t the best place for someone like me. I mean, do they even serve cappuccino? And what if I want a smoke with my cappuccino? No, probably not a good fit…
Me: So, what are your plans?
Brain: What is it with plans, anyway? Does there always have to be a plan? Okay, okay…For now, work, make money… Learn to play the guitar. Learn to speak Spanish.
Me: What about long term?
Brain: Write. Travel when I can. Find joy in little pockets here and there. Live simply. And try to grasp some sort of comprehension, if possible, with regard to our existence, or lack thereof, in this universe. Then, of course, the grand finale: Die.

5. Seriously, what is your stance on black being neutral and “going with everything”?

ML, you’ll never catch me saying that black is over-rated, though neutral probably isn’t a word I’d use to describe it. Going with everything? Come now, a white cotton strappy sundress with clunky black heels? A navy blue suit with black pumps? I think not. I do love it, however; it’s the predominant color in my wardrobe. Not everyone looks good in black either. I happen to wear it well because it contrasts nicely with my blonde hair and fair skin. Or so I’ve been told. And I choose to believe it. Please don’t burst my bubble.

Check out 1writegirl’s blog at http://1writegirl.wordpress.com/.

  • “Don’t you think orphaned Asian children are the cutest things ever?”
  • “I have been wanting to introduce you two for a while now. This is my lovechild, Bunny, who I share custody of with his other mother, Bryan.” [It’s the Other Mother part that is confusing, not the Honey-Bunny part.]
  • “Do you ever have questions about questions?”
  • “What is your stance on double snaps?”
  • “Will you hand me the fuchsia scarf? No, not the lilac scarf. No, not the dusty rose one. My God, are you color blind?”
  • “I don’t think we want the same things.”
  • “    .” (silencio)
  • “Tell me again, because I do not recall, who are you?”
  • “I know exactly what a Phillips screwdriver is and where you can find one.”
  • “I would not like to cook you dinner. I do not cook for anyone.”
  • “I feel that you’re a little too needy, yes?”
  • “Um, no.”
  • “I do not appreciate your lazy ass.”
  • “I will not tolerate your lazy ass for one more second.”
  • “I would encourage you to remove your lazy ass from my house before I send you to the pokey, motherfucker.”
  • “I do not like huntin’.”

Over the course of the last two weeks or so, I have had the pleasure of being involved in a fantastic discussion about writing and living well. As interviews go, this one offers insight and sincerity, and I hope you, dear reader, appreciate the self-depricating wisdom of our very own Uncle Tree.

#1. What made you an Uncle and not a Father or a Cousin or a Step-son Tree?

An anonymous young fellow, or dame, named Diablo, penned Tree on me. At a site called Intentblog (now closed), I talked about camping by the Missouri River, and mentioned a few of the things, including spiritual awakenings, that I’d experienced at my favorite spot. He must have thought I sounded like I was stationed there, or had put down roots there, in order to call me a tree. Since he claimed to be in his 20’s, I thought of him as a nephew, which made me his uncle.

Father Tree would have made me look like a priest, and Brother Tree sounds to me
like a deacon, and I really didn’t want to be cornered into anything too specific, such as Elder Tree, Sir Willow or Mr. Elmwood.

#2. If you had to choose between wilting in the sun or crumbling from the cold, which would you prefer?

Uncle Tree would prefer a climate ideally situated on this earth. That place would be a habitat that allows all of nature to express itself fully throughout the four seasons in equal measure. He feels that the coldest part of the year is the toughest to endure. Summer’s sun is warm and penetrating. In good years, when spring brings plentiful and copious amounts of refreshing rain, he reserves some of the moisture in defense against the blazing heat, and only wilts on top.

#3. Your cheekiness and wit in your writing (blog, poems, AND comments) are rays through clouds. How do you maintain a sense of humor?

I don’t believe anyone can timelessly maintain a sense of humor, no matter what is going on in their personal lives. Ups and downs, and highs and lows are to be expected, and they definitely contribute to my so-called moodiness. That I cannot deny. I never intentionally wish to bring someone down, just because I feel a certain way at the time, but I do suppose it happens sometimes.

Before I had my own blog, all I used to be able to do was comment, so I learned to make the best of them. For the most part, I try to say something appropriate, and attempt to keep my views on-topic. Humor has its place, and laughter is the best medicine, but we can’t always rely on them to get our point across. I can sympathize with Al Franken in that regard.

Me2 was my first moniker. This symbol contains a few meanings for me. It’s not funny or sad, in and of itself. It is rather more neutral than Uncle Tree, which I see as putting me in the category of goofy and kooky, but in a familiar, unassuming sort of way. It’s been fun to play with, and I’m still growing into it. I don’t always write from his perspective, as if I were actually a talking tree. That’s impossible! I do have a couple of poems which he wrote though, and I hope to create more at some period in the future.

My outlook on life is not always positive or optimistic. I accept the full range of emotions as a matter of course. It’s only natural. To deny is to lie to one’s self, and when we do, we’re not fooling anybody but ourselves. The reasons I have for writing poetry the way I do are too numerous to go into here. I want to read your thoughts for you and speak about it, when you can’t seem to find the right words to use yourself.
And of course, if I can bring someone to tears, whether they be joyful ones, or sorrowful ones, I would rightfully call that my crowning achievement.

#4. If you were me and Bryan cyber stalked your new boyfriend, how would you make him pay?*

Dear lady,

Your wish for revenge is in jest, of that I am sure. Nevertheless, it was your boyfriend, as you said. Paybacks are a bitch, but we can be fair about it. You don’t have to raise the ante. The punishment should be a fitting one; one that matches the dastardly deed that Bryan has committed. Unless, of course, you wish to start a war, for wars are not required to be just.

I can’t imagine that ‘Facebooking’ someone is a serious crime. Having said that, I came up with this as I was toying with the idea:

If I were you, I’d tell Bryan that I need to speak to him and his beloved at their place of residence. I would persuade, or talk him into setting aside a time, say 9 or 10:00 o’clock in the evening. Make it a Friday or Saturday night. I would tell him that I had an important announcement to make, and that I wanted the two of them to be the first to hear of it. I would leave it at that, and not hint around or make any wise-cracks.

As soon as I can get him to make a promise about the date, then, in advance, I would hire a professional to perform a session for these young men at said time. And by professional, I mean a dancer. And by dancer, I mean a blonde, gorgeous, well-proportioned, sexy and provocative female stripper.

*Note: I must mention that Uncle Tree answered this one with characteristic grace and a kind sensibility that is incredibly endearing and almost makes me question my urge for seeking revenge. 😉

#5. What makes a poet “good”? (And you are good, Uncle!)

Thank you! It’s nice to know you think of me as such.

Success in any endeavor is highly personal, and the meaning of it depends on where one currently fits into the mix, and one’s general expectations, hopes and dreams. Like happiness, once you’ve had a taste of success, you inevitably wish to savor it again. If at first you only receive a morsel, the next time you’ll want a bigger bite, and so on and so forth until you believe your plate is as full as the possibilities allow.

I take the title of poet very seriously. Within the elite literary circles of today, I honestly do not know the requirements necessary to earn such a lofty label. Personally, I do not consider myself to be worthy of the name, nor can I say that I will ever rise to those heights of grandeur. Therefore my thoughts on the subject will pertain to the ladder as I see it, and the steps that might be involved in the process from beginning to end. Again I will stress that this is my guess, my opinion, my estimation.

Anyone with a firm grasp of their own language is capable of writing. That doesn’t make them a writer. We can say the same thing about poetry. By the age of 10 or so,
most anyone can create and produce a finished product, but that doesn’t necessarily
make them a poet, however easy and natural it seems to seep forth, as if it were on it’s own, and only needed a little direction.

When first starting out on this road, success would simply mean a piece of work that pleases its author, and brings to them a sense of pride and satisfaction; a poem with which the originator may be well pleased.

The next step might be to show off, or to display your new wares to family and friends in order to receive some friendly feedback. It’s up to the author alone to decide whether or not the praise is worthy, or if the unwanted criticisms are well intended. It is highly likely that you will procure positive, reinforcing encouragement from this group of readers. The worst bit of advice you may hear is familiar to all: “Don’t quit your day job just yet.”

If the author is attending a school of higher learning, they could gather up enough courage to show their beloved poetry to a teacher, or professor of literature. Here one would hope to obtain an objective viewpoint, constructive criticism, and maybe even noteworthy praise from an ‘experienced’ reader of letters.

Another venture might entail a step that would allow complete strangers to freely read what you have done, as in the case of internet exchanges such as we have at wordpress and blogspot. Just how difficult it is to get a comment from someone you don’t know at all is another short story that I’ll not get into at this time. Again, if you do get one or several replies, it’s up to you to determine their trustworthiness. Your perception of these can then be the deciding factor in the measure of your success.

My personal knowledge of the ladder ends at this juncture. That doesn’t mean I’m done here, nor does it mean that I’m through climbing myself. Moving on up —

If you are now more certain of your abilities, entering a poetry contest may be in
order. From what I’ve heard, there are usually a lot of competitors, and taking the first prize would be akin to winning the lottery.

One more option would be the act of submitting your unpublished work to a magazine or journal that specializes in art and literature. Let us say you are successful. Let us say that you are now one of the critically acclaimed authors of your generation. You may choose to write a book that contains a selection of your finest poetry. The meaning of success from this point forward will depend on the quantity of books sold.

Let us assume your book of poetry becomes a best-seller. I would have to say, “You’ve made it to the big time!” Certainly, at this point you should be deemed worthy of the label, and have a right to think of yourself as a poet. Others will now call you by that name. They may even take a vote, and choose you to be worthy of holding the honorable office, and dignified position of Poet Laureate. This is what it means to be highly successful. And yet there is still more to be had.

You may become world famous. Your work may be translated into several, if not hundreds of languages. You may be nominated, and you may win the Nobel Prize
in Literature. What a success you’ve now become! But have you finally reached the highest heights? Have you reached the pinnacle of success?

Nay, not if you ask Homer and the Bard! If your name, your poetry, and your achievements are remembered, talked about, and taught in educational systems all around this homey globe of ours for hundreds, or even thousands of years, that my friend…that must be the zenith. That deserves the praise of The Masters. That is when we all can say, “You, dear poet, you have shown us the true meaning of success, and the ideal way to live and love that leads to a successful life. Thank you!”

Please visit Uncle Tree’s House at http://me2watson.wordpress.com/.

It’s happened. A continuation of a saga I thought was as over as it was going to be.

Maybe it’s predictable. But the wind is knocked out of me and I feel as though my life depends on how I recover my breath.

My ex-boyfriend emailed me, asking how the world was treating me. When I saw his name in my inbox, I started shaking. I felt like crying. Now, I’m just shaken.

How long have I wanted to hear from him. How long have I wanted to tell him off. How long did I ache because of him. I still want to tell him off, but I do not want to open Pandora’s Box. It is a bitch to close. I resent this shit being brought up again. Let me do a brief refresher: My ex was an asshole. He told me in bed that he had no affection to give me. But apparently he had other sinister things to give, which have since cleared up, but who can forgive someone for making them skank.

And so since I’m trying to stay in my right mind and not having a knee-jerk reaction, Bryan has encouraged me to take this to my blog and faithful readers. And I will say this: Bryan is probably one of my biggest supporters when it comes to the menfolk. He does understand that there is a lot of first-hand learning that must go on in a girl’s life. He also said this is a good thing because even though I am stunned, this gives me a chance to control “closure.”

 

Possible responses:

 

  • No response. Stony silence.
  • “Well, ex-boyfriend, the world recently told me in bed the other day that it had no affection for me and then gave me a STD.”
  • Part 1: “Fuck.”
  • Part 2: “You.”
  • Nothing. No stony silence, no tell-off. Just be strong and leave it be. I’m not sure I’m strong enough.
  • “The world is treating me great.”
  • “The world is treating me great since I got the restraining order.”
  • “Well, to tell you the truth, there are no sunshine and rainbows. Let me catch you up to speed: a friend of mine got jumped by a grizzly bear and a “grizzly bear” if you know what I mean, I suffered the loss of my aunt, I have had approximately 1.5 mental breakdowns since we last spoke  and approximately 1.5 of them were a direct result of you, I hate peas. I have had a guy leave the country without telling me, had one who wanted to cuddle, one who is very available, one who emailed what is the most confusing rejection slip I’ve ever gotten (to be highlighted soon on this blog, if I get bored), one who was leaving the country to go fight in Afghanistant when I met him, and one who is a therapist…”
  • “I’m not going there with you.” (This was his response whenever I wanted to talk about horrible things like feelings and meaning.)
  • Send a link to this blog so that technically all responses are delivered.
  • Any ideas? Thoughts of encouragement? Truly, I would love your input and I can assure you I have affection for you, dear reader, and I will not give you a STD.

I swallow a deep sob because some things are best swallowed. That’s not dirty, swallowing. Take it down, your medicine.

Kind words make me sad because I can feel the hard edges of them. I can feel the tenderness of my own soul, and I wish I was just a hair harder. Which makes no sense because hair breaks very easily but there is nothing that can be done to make it stronger. It’s already dead.

My aunt died. She’s dead, not dying. I wasn’t around much when she was just living.

What I remember most is how her blue eyes welled with tears when she was in pain and lonely. At the funeral, did they cry for her or did they cry for me? I didn’t go to the visitation. I didn’t want to see her dead. I’d seen her plenty when she was dying. They said she looked as though she were smiling. What I remember are tears that they didn’t see her shed. And then at the funeral, I saw their tears, too, and realized I am maybe only witness to her dying and her death. Her collapse and theirs.

This isn’t a poem, only a thought. This isn’t broken, this is breaking.

 

At the funeral

it was brief

the service

the prayer

my unmuffled sobs

 

They were all doing fine

not a sound

and then at the end

my shoulders shook

until everyone’s shoulders shook

 

At the funeral

they had their suffering too

and then at the end

unmuffled sobs

and shoulders that shook

bored

not hurting anybody

scrolling through the numbers in my phone

 

I saw the name

had forgotten the name

already

was surprised it was there

in my phone

when she no longer is here

 on earth

 

I pressed delete before I could think

too much

time spent thinking

 

how long will it be before I recover my breath

SOB with me

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