Archive for January, 2011

Back Down To Ioway

This weekend was all about getting healthy: getting Henry’s sore bum healed and getting Regina healthy too. Everyone (except me) has been sick, which doesn’t make the going any easier for Regina without me around Monday night through Thursday night. Last Thursday in fact, I cut my class short so I could hit the highway to back with them and VERY early on Friday morning Henry and I drove to the doctor’s office to get his sore butt diagnosed. He is doing much better. Nothing a weekend with both parents around couldn’t fix. Today we took a nice wintry walk, Henry strapped to my back. On one frozen pond near our house we saw about three dozen turkeys.

There hasn’t been much to report of late. I had an essay on parenting printed in The Christian Science Monitor, but so far I can’t find a link to the piece on their website. The fifth issue of PANK was just printed, and that magazine has three of my poems. They did a very fine job formatting my work – a really nice publication. My teaching is going along easily enough. It helps to have some experience, to know the syllabus. I’m blessed to have another nice crop of kids.

I hope to begin blogging again more, sorry for my absence.


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Come Monday, I’ll be back on the road. Driving south down to Ioway. What a terrific month it has been. I am ready to get back to my studies, my teaching, my writing, my reading, my friends, and my academic routine. But a month at home with Henry has been amazing. I am already excited for the summer when the weather will obviously be more hospitable and we can take long walks, go swimming, etc.

Netflix has certainly disrupted my nightly writing patterns, but after a month of watching at least a movie a day (and sometimes two or three), I’ve gotten back into my groove. I finished (or lengthened) a novella the other night and I’ve been cranking out some poems that I really like. Now I just need to find some homes for these writings.

In any case, Saturday night we’re headed to a dinner party and I’ll be rooting on the Green Bay Packers. Hopefully, Sunday morning won’t be a bad comedown.

PS – Over the break I read “This Is Just Exactly Like You” by Drew Perry, and I’m giving that novel my endorsement here. For me, it was akin to reading a more youthful Richard Russo. I also just finished reading the short story “We Have A Pope!” by Christopher Buckley – excellent.

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George Washington

The Girl Who Cried Wolf

The New Verse News

I published a poem online today. A piece that I had written almost a year ago when I heard that Sarah Palin had addressed a group of Tea Party members. She had said that America “was ripe for a revolution.” I even blogged about it here. I think you can probably find the post organized in the “America” category (to the right of the screen.)

In any case, I want to say how disgusted I am with politics today. I really am. I find the whole thing astonishingly exhausting. I find both sides repellent. Of course, ideologically I tip the scales much more to the proverbial left, but I am also sympathetic to certain “conservative” values. I understand why conservatives in America were/are disgusted by the current spending packages proposed by Democrats. I get that. I understand why conservatives value family so much, why they feel that perhaps our nation is in decline based on some decay of traditional values. Again, I don’t wholeheartedly agree with their stances, but generally, I can sympathize.

But the tragedy that happened yesterday is beyond my ken. It is repugnant and incomprehensible and ill-informed and treasonous and sickening. And I think the American far-right is stoking people up. Stoking them up to commit these kinds of violence.

Here then is both a link to my poem published on The New Verse News and my original formatting below:


I tell you now that on the teevee yesterday there was a woman
talking about america being ripe for a revolution and she was
talking to a group of people call themselves the tea party. But
the truth of the matter is that most people don’t have no notion
of revolution. The word, it conjures up in them good feelings
about george washington and samuel adams and paul revere,
but you go ask people in guatemala what revolution looks like.
ask someone in chechnya. It aint just talk. It is people getting
killed. People losing their homes and their land and their farms.
Land mines and bombs and automatic weapons. I shook my
fist at the teevee, because I don’t need america getting torn apart
like that in my lifetime. I can point a finger to a gravestone in
gettysburg and show you my distant kin. America saved the world
seventy years ago, and now we got people saying that things are
so bad we need a revolution. I tell you what it is, plain and simple.
A bunch of goddamn greedy people who don’t want to pay their
taxes. We ain’t talking about a king or an emperor. We talking
about sidewalks and atomic bombs. We talking about highways
and bridges. School-houses and hospitals.

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2011 looks like insomnia, so far. Up nights, watching documentaries on Netflix. Scribbling down notes for new short stories and stalling out every time I touch my novel(s). No handbook to do this stuff. You just enter a dark tunnel and hope for the best. Hope that the batteries in your flashlight don’t die. That’s the upshot of short stories – they’re short. The tunnel is short. You can be afraid of the dark and still make it. But everything I’m thinking about lately is longer. And I keep thinking, god Nick, you really ought to wrap that it into something longer. But the tunnel I’m in right now is very dark indeed.

I get a day to myself tomorrow, Henry at daycare. A day for me to make hay. I’m caught up on my letters. Some reading left to do, some prep work before the next semester begins. But I’m in good shape. Good shape to start kicking some doors down. To start pumping out some great writing. I’m right there.

Also, I think I have some good news to share, but I’m too superstitious to say/blog/write about anything at this moment. But it’s good news.

And I’ve been working out. With a Jillian Michaels DVD. It’s something. She kicks my ass every night. In the basement. I say to Regina, “I’m going to do Jillian now.” But the thing is, Jillian always does me.


Happy birthday to my Mom. Who I think today turns 50. Happy birthday Mom. No son in the world could ask for a better Mom than you. Truly.

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