So, What’s Been Happening, And What Comes Next

I hope you all enjoyed my Poem-A-Day series this year for National Poetry Month! I loved curating it and am already working on next year’s series. (In case you missed the poems from this April, though, click here to begin with the 1st and then follow the links at the bottoms of the pages to read them all.)

And then what came after National Poetry Month? May, also known as National Stress Out About Grades Month, or the Month of AP Exams and (in Texas, at least) Finals and More Grading Than Ought To Be Allowed By The Laws Of Human Decency. (Yes, I’ve heard the adorable arguments about assigning fewer papers so I’ll have fewer papers to grade. Doesn’t seem to help. Funny that.) At any rate, May is universally stressful for teachers here, and, well, that’s where things are with my day job. But I’m getting close to the end of all of that, because summer. I have, at the time of this post, 29 essay tests, 7 screenplays, and 29, in-class writing assignments left to grade before my final exam on Friday morning.

I can do this.

I think I can do this.

At any rate, it’s a finite problem. The semester always ends.

And once it does, I’ll be back to posting here on the blog. Not every day, dear readers. But the Monday Earworms, which seem to be popular, will probably come back, and there’ll be more substantive posts here and there as well. Maybe some poetry — maybe even some of my poetry.

What else is taking up my writing time these days? Thank you for asking.

Look for a new book of poems to be out later this year. (That’s Priority One at the moment, due to my editor in probably fewer weeks than it seems like.)

I’m also shopping around a high fantasy novel that’s the first of a trilogy.

For those of you who loved Finis. — and I’m so happy and grateful to those of you who have sent me emails and tweets and letters and marvelously illustrated cards about how much you’re still enjoying it! — there’s another story set in that world, currently in revisions. Want to know whom it’s about? (Think wolves. I’m really excited about this one!) Finis. is now also available at a new venue where you can purchase it as an ebook, or even read it for free: click here for the Myth Machine experience.

And because I just don’t have enough to do, I’m developing a textbook for the AP Gothic Literature class I’ve been teaching for the last quite-a-number-of-years.

Finally, as if that weren’t enough, I’m about a third of the way into writing a brand-new standalone novel. This one doesn’t have a working title yet, but imagine a Steampunk-flavored ghost story which includes political intrigue and romance, and you might get a little idea of what’s coming. Wouldn’t it be amazing if I had that manuscript ready to send out this time next year?

Yes. Yes, it would. We shall see.

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Bonus Poem: Charlie C Petch

I hope you all enjoyed this year’s Poem-A-Day series in honor of National Poetry Month. I know it isn’t still April, but one poem caught my attention after all the poems had been curated for this year, and I really wanted to share it now rather than wait till next year because it is so relevant now. In truth, it has always been relevant, and frankly, I’m not under any optimistic delusion that it won’t still be a year from now — sadly.

In case you didn’t see John Scalzi’s blog today, he discussed in excellent detail some of the ugliness surrounding the nonsensical “incel” garbage movement. If you’re not sure what that means, go click on that link to his blog. It won’t take long to read, it’s funny, and it summarizes some of the problem rather well. (There’s also a good bazinga at the end.)

It’s useful to note that the poem I’m sharing with you today is directly related to the recent Toronto murders-by-vehicle, which was a result of an “incel” pudknocker getting his panties in a wad believing, erroneously, that the world had wronged him.

Thanks so much to poet Charlie C Petch for the use of this poem.

***

Forward & Reverse 9/30

The day after
toxic masculinity
turned a Toronto/Tkaronto rental van
into an automatic weapon
to kill women with
I was afraid to walk faster
than the man ahead of me
of the men who spilled from
bars to pat my dog
afraid for her when she
didn’t want their hands
clawing at her
helping themselves to her body
“is it a girl” they say “she looks like a girl”
she looks at me why she looks at me stop
and because they are each a cocked gun
I say that she is and smile and walk away
aware we are always moving targets
who are only allowed to not smile
in death
.
The day before
toxic masculinity
turned a Toronto/Tkaronto rental van
into an automatic weapon
to kill women with
I was afraid to walk faster
than the man ahead of me
of the men who spilled from
bars to pat my dog
afraid for her when she
didn’t want their hands
clawing at her
helping themselves to her body
“is it a girl” they say “she looks like a girl”
she looks at me why she looks at me stop
and because they are each a cocked gun
I say that she is and smile and walk away
aware we are always moving targets
who are only allowed to not smile
in death

***

Charlie C Petch is an award winning playwright, spoken word artist, haiku deathmaster, host and musical saw player. Petch is touring two spoken word theatre pieces, their multimedia piece “Daughter Of Geppetto” and their vaudeville play “Mel Malarkey Gets the Bum’s Rush” which got “Best of 2017” from Electric City Magazine for the radio play accompanying album “Odes & Acts.” They have published books with WordPress and LyricalMyrical and poems with Descant, The Toronto Quarterly, Matrix, and Oratorealis journals. Petch is the creative director of “Hot Damn It’s A Queer Slam,” a multi-city touring poetry slam series.
Find out more at www.charliecpetch.com.