Issue 22. February update
Welcome to ESCHORAMA newsletter, creations from Jim’s workbench. If you are a first time visitor, sign up for a free email subscription so you won’t miss upcoming issues.
How did my almost weekly newsletter turn into a monthly? I had such a good run for a while. Somehow, the writing body got severely damaged in recent months. It’s like I’ve lost a couple limbs. We need to get the bionic scientists’ asses in gear. They say they can rebuild him; they have the technology.
So what are they waiting for? At this rate, the series is going to be ripe for midseason replacement.
The only actual creative news I have this month has to do with my recently launched podcast, The English Suite. This month, I posted a new episode, an extended interview with comic artist Jon-Michael Frank.
Though we are about 20 years apart in age, Jon-Michael and I were influenced by the same high school creative writing teacher, Thom Williams. In our extended interview, you hear some references to Thom, but the real focus is on Jon-Michael’s writing career and rise as a comic artist. He has more than 80,000 followers on Instagram and has found a way to make a living writing one panel comics, ten panel stories, and graphic novels. You’ll hear how he found ways to sneak his poetry into a comics mold. There’s also talk about Bergman, My Dinner With Andre, and much more. Widener alumnus Victoria Giansante explains how she discovered Jon-Michael’s art last year and became an instant follower. She speaks of his knack for blending dark self-revelation with self-deprecating humor. If you’ve got about an hour of listening time available, check it out. It's a free ranging conversation that covers a lot of ground.
Occasionally I do freelance blog posts for Marketing Systems Group, and this month, they had the wonderful idea to share some Black History Month themed posts. I contributed two pieces. The first to go up is a brief tribute to the deep track "Black Man," on Stevie Wonder's masterpiece Songs in the Key of Life.
Since my own writing life has been in a coma, it is a fitting time to celebrate new publications from my writing pals.
I am thrilled to report that writer Emma Irving has published her first ever literary pieces in a print journal. The inaugural issue of Millenial Pulp includes two of her works. Emma writes, “These pieces represent the very beginning of my quarantine writing last year. I'd just gotten back from some international travel in India and Indonesia and within weeks the first shutdown order came, so I spent a lot of time journaling every single detail I could remember from my trip to fill the time. "Overlooking Mount Bromo" captures this godlike experience I had traveling overnight through rural Indonesia to watch the sunrise over a volcano with my friend Dwike. She had been an exchange student at my high school and it was the most wonderful shock to see just how different her culture was when I visited her home country, especially when it came to her faith and the calls to prayer she had to respect whether we were at the top of a mountain or at an amusement park. At the same time, she's just a young woman like me and we share so many things. "Voladores" combines the visual of the Danza de los Voladores "Dance of the Flyers" ceremony with part of a conversation I had with a Mexican friend about how translating love across languages and cultural practices was a strange struggle for them. It was a very intimate conversation but also one that made me think about performance and the act of sharing with others that we struggle with communicating across people in our own culture.”
Congrats Emma! You’ll be hearing more from her in an upcoming episode of The English Suite.
A number of years ago, I published a chapbook by Jane Rosenberg Laforge through Spruce Alley Press. Jane has two (count’ em, two), books coming out in February. On February 20 at 3 pm EST, Animal Heart Press will host an online launch event for Jane's third full-length poetry collection, MEDUSA'S DAUGHTER (preorder at https://animalheartpress.net/medusas-daughter/). The event will include a reading, a Q and A session, and an open mic for other poets out there. To attend, please complete this form for access.
But wait...there’s more! On February 27 at 3 pm EST, Jane will host an online launch for her new novel, SISTERHOOD OF THE INFAMOUS. The book, to be published Feb. 23 by New Meridian Arts Press, was inspired by the life and death of Jane's sister, Susan Rosenberg and how their difficult relationship complicated the task of telling their story within a murder mystery. To register for the event, click here. Expect to see an interview with Jane about both her books for The English Suite podcast in March.
And so we close out with the only creative writing I did in February, a small batch of haiku. Maybe less is more?
dog scratches his butt
on the deep red carpet
while I meditate
place bananas in bag
insert/remove card, now
for the third time
dog wants out
oak moss and myrrh
two silent flames
swimming in a jar
black ribbon road
snakes across the dotted grid
of my writing journal
the fruit bowl provides
enough weight to dry
the tofu brick
Till next month, be well, friends! To share this newsletter, click on the button below: