Writings & Readings
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
George Bernard Shaw, "The True Joy In Life"
This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
George Bernard Shaw
Friday, October 19, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
Luci Shaw, "Act Now to Avoid Prize Entry Forfeiture (Pending)"
All it takes is a letter opener and an act
of surrender. Among the bulk mail offers
I was drawn ineluctably to the significance of
the words on the manila flap (“Dated material!
Open immediately!”) and my name under
the glassine rectangle on the front. No matter that
I couldn’t remember sending an entry,
nor what the prize was to have been,
my personal lexicon has never included the word
forfeiture. Others might view such a consequence
as a sign of profound personal sacrifice
or a valued lesson in relinquishment
and soul growth. Giving in to such temptation
is what I have always done. And I did.
The treasure flowed in. My address became
the destination for media millions. Catalogs.
Magazines. Samples. Plain brown envelopes,
white, cream, colored, it made little difference.
Friday mornings the neighbors took offense at
the overloaded garbage bins out front. Paper trash
began to clog the gutters. Overworked postal workers
went on strike. Trees were being clear-cut on all
the region’s hillsides. Protests and TV vans blocked
our dead end street. Environmentalists camped
like green mold on our doorstep. It all came
to a head when the Republican Party announced
my candidacy for President; they said only
the White House could handle that much mail.
by Luci Shaw
Tim Anderson, "I too have forfeited prizes in poetry."
I too have forfeited prizes in poetry.
One of my daughters once entered me in a poetry contest online - she being 15 and not knowing the whole deal. Upon seeing that the contest was so easy to enter, she found a copy of a poem on my hard drive (one that meant something to her) and with teen-aged precision quickly did the old copy and paste into the entry form. I wasn’t even involved, but I was entered.
Sure enough, a few weeks later (and this was the first I heard about it), I get a notice in the mail that my poem “To My Daughter at Her Birth” was the winner of a special prize in poetry!! Amongst the sheaves of laser printed pages (Yes, Tim Anderson, amongst the thousands of entries, your poetry has been recognized by our judges…) there was the elevated language of real culture and a suitably baroque certificate of congratulations, assuring me of my place among the literary pantheon. The fact that the envelope had metered bulk postage hardly diminished the personalization.
And (oh happy day!) they were releasing a book of all the prize winners, and I could see my poem in print (and get copies for my friends of course). All I had to do was send in $89.95 per copy. As a graphic arts guy, I had a sense of binding and digital short print run costs - my estimate was they were making about a 900% markup…
Oh – the final irony – they printed out my winning poem on my certificate. But it did not read as I remembered it. It seems their web-based submissions process had to limit the number characters in the submissions and therefore my poem was cut off in mid-sentence, so that the final words were a brief phrase that didn’t quite arrive anywhere, which made the work (presumably) all the more poetic and mysterious.
But my daughter was returning my tenderness, and my voice was heard without me even trying to speak, so who am I to complain? After all, however unsuspecting and abbreviated, I was a winner.
written by Tim Anderson
in response to Luci Shaw's poem
"Act Now To Avoid Prize Entry Forfeiture (Pending)"
Peter Norman, "Rejection Letter"
Thank you for taking the time to reject my work.
I receive hundreds of rejection slips every year,
and unfortunately I cannot accept them all.
Regretfully, yours is not among the few
rejection slips I have chosen to honor this year.
It has been recycled, and the story or poem
in question will soon appear in your publication.
Pleae consider me again with further rejections,
and best of luck in your editorial pursuits.