Saturday, November 23, 2019

Sorry I Haven't Written. I've Been Writing.

Well, I slipped on the blog posts routine. On the other hand, I've been writing quite a lot. I've written a short story for the first time in over a decade. I'm shopping it around to some magazines at the moment, but whether it finds a home or not, it feels good to be back at story making. I've also been working on my poems with more regularity. I've been getting in about an hour session in at the computer about three times a week. And it feels great. Just like having a regular workout, I can feel my head getting into the work faster, not to mention staying there; I find myself thinking about lines of verse or plots while riding the train or brushing my teeth. Still, the daily routine is eluding me, but I think it's close.

After trying to get back to this for years, I've finally achieved it by making some changes in my drinking. As much as I love that after-work beer or two, I realized that once I'd cracked one open, my body knew the work day was over. And of course, that was the first thing I'd want to do after getting home from a long day. So, I started not drinking at all during the week. Not a hard-and-fast rule, but for almost every weekday over the last month I skipped the end-of-day beer. This also slowed my drinking down during the weekends, as I lately I can get pretty drunk on two beers now.

The result, I have more energy in the morning, so I'm quicker to get my day started, and I end up with a bit more time and energy at the end of the day.

I'm not trying to advocate for this or start some cult of weekend drinkers. Just sharing what I did and how I find it working so far.

Follow-up since writing and drafting this a few weeks back. With the holidays approaching and friends visiting Japan, I have been going out here and there during the week and it shows. My routine is off--as the holidays will do, I suppose. So, no regrets there, but I know when it's time to get back to solid work, I need to set aside full-days for it.

Anyway, this feels kind of soft for post--a little bit of just me rambling--but I really wanted to get something up as it's been awhile so here. More to come before the end of the year!

And speaking of holidays! (And the need of an image.) Here's a turkey!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Home (to the Continuing Inferno Summer) from Home (Where Everybody Knows my Name)

Fresh back from the US! Well, some weeks back with the jet lag finally fading away. 

For some reason this trip home had me more reluctant to leave or at least more eager to return. I suppose my wife’s celebration of everything American (from waffle bars and Reddi-Whip at the hotel continental breakfast to the service workers with their frank distaste for their work: “Look there’s food on the floor and no one is rushing to clean it up. I love this country!”) had something to do with me feeling a bit nostalgic for my home country. That, and the easy familiarity of being home when I’ve lived so long so far away: chatting with cashiers and strangers and not feeling like one or both of us have some language or cultural learning motive behind it; not having language and culture be another layer of challenge to everything—whether asking for directions or phoning the bank with a question. I suppose such challenges are part of what I like about being here in Japan (and part of my wife’s excitement about being in the US) but it does wear at you with time. 

Another thing I’m realizing is that everyone is growing old. Well, everyone I know. That is, I’m old and getting older so everyone around me is doing the same, with some young people growing up on the periphery. It’s a mix bag, that. On one hand it’s obviously a little bit of a shock, but on the other it is true we do get better with age. The time and conversations I got to have with my friends and family seemed that much richer with our ever spreading gray hairs and chronic pains. And of course those young people who were little kids when we last met are suddenly young adults with opinions, ideas and goals blooming. Of course all of this just goes back to making me feel old. 

Nowhere did I feel the passage of time more than with my parents. I really had a lot of expectations on myself for this trip. Fatherhood has given me a new perspective and appreciation for what my parents have done for me and what I have—at times, many times—put them through. I wanted to be a good son, for at least a couple of weeks. Of course I fell short. I’m a frustrated son no matter what. But I think I came through at some important moments, even if I also failed at some. It would be good to go back and try again. Although, I guess there’s no reason I can’t try again from afar. But just being in the same country means a lot to them. Maybe I feel I can provide that. 

Finally, my wife and I want to be in the US again at some point for our son’s sake. On one hand we want him to know both cultures, but bigger than this we find many things we don’t like about secondary education here in Japan. There is no sense of cultivating the mind, only knowledge to be assimilated and tested to see your ranking in the next stage of education and then employment. Let me say, though, I have many friends and good parents who think the system here is better than what we have back in the US, largely in that the teachers are very active in helping students succeed at every step. And I think they make a strong point. But at the end of the day I’d rather be supplementing or encouraging self study to fill in for an inadequate education, than be trying to fight against the flood of facts and methods to be learned by rote here. 

 So, we’ve become more committed to the 10-year plan we dreamt up in recent months. That plan being to return to the US, likely Boston, and finally put my teaching certification to use in that great, little city. 

Still, things can change a lot in that time. For one, our son will be talking and forming his own opinions on this plan by then. And of course there is work; my wife and I have good jobs here, and moving in my late 40s/early 50s might not be the easiest of transitions. If things keep improving at work as they have been, it will be hard to pull away. And I won’t say more than to dip a toe in, but there is the politics to weigh in as well.

But, at the very least, thinking about it is exciting. And putting a bit extra into savings can’t hurt either. 

Anyway, here’s a picture of my folks’ backyard.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Summer Effect

A bit of an exaggeration there, but not much. Anyway, here's hoping I can get back on the weekly with this while traversing the northeast from today. That's right, the Breyaks are coming home. (For a couple of weeks.)

One of the strangest things about being a parent, I've found, is how the simplest things you know how to do--stand, walk, for example--can feel like disarming a bomb when you just through a baby in your arms. 

Flying out today has never felt so stressful. And of course, it's just the idea of the whole thing. I've taken precautions: booked a flight early, got the bassinet seat; sent our suitcases ahead of us to the airport so we don't have to juggle them with the stroller. And really my wife has done all the work when it comes to making sure we have what we need when we get there for Alex. Still, I feel like I'm flying to Mars. 

And when I get there, I'm supposed to drive! I've been driving for more than half of my life, and I feel like I'm going to screw up the gas and brake pedals or something. It's just crazy.

Of course, I just need to relax. Stressing out, if anything, will cause a problem. It's just strange how things change when you have this little life attached to yours. 

Anyway, going to leave it at that today. (Sorry, no visuals. Might add a pic later.) Hope you're all having a great summer. Will try to write again and keep you posted on mine as it unfolds. Stay cool, interwebs!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Some Rambling on about Studying and (Somehow) Wilco

Preparing for the JLPT again. For those of you that don’t know what this is, it’s a standardized test to show your proficiency in Japanese. I missed the 2nd highest level last winter by about ten percentage points. Not fully sure why I’m taking it again. Other than revenge. And the possibility it might be handy on my resume at some point. And it does kick my ass to study. 

A little late to get my study on, but I think I can gear up in a couple of weeks. I’ve been doing a practice test every week and trying to dig in on my weak point, grammar. Seems to be working.

It’s interesting how necessities shift as you learn a language. Of course, all aspects of the language have their value and work together, but at different stages of development, different skills need more tuning.

For example, early on in language learning, I find that speaking and listening are the most important aspects to develop. Getting the sounds right and some basic back and forth is what you really need to build from. It gets you using the language as a tool to communicate rather than be tested on. Well, test in real life as opposed to filling in dots on an answer sheet. 

But you can only get so far focusing on listening and speaking alone. Saying something like “Where’s the toilet” or “I’ll have the noodles, please” is easy enough to pick up just in conversation, but something as seemingly simple as “I prefer noodles to rice” or “If it doesn’t rain, let’s go to the park” require some real hours of grammar head scratching, which, of course, also means reading.

I find the hardest part of making this shift in focus is recognizing when it’s necessary. Like any skill as you become better, you want to keep improving on your strengths, even if it means ignoring your weaknesses. Or, if you’re like me, finding ways in which your weakness are somehow, magically not weaknesses because where they lie are in aspects of your learning that are unimportant (ie grammar). In truth though, I now realize with some focused study in grammar I can really improve my understanding overall; what might seem like a boring task trying to improve something I’m not good at, can help me find breakthroughs in my strengths in ways that working on them alone just wouldn’t accomplish. 

What am I trying to say here? That is, beyond playing around with some thoughts on studying for a test most of you could care less about? 

It’s this, that learning is a wild thing. Tangential fields can open your mind in ways that you won’t know until you try. The things that you find dull, if you can find some interest in them, you can gain a better understanding for the things you love. And maybe even find something new to love. Hey, maybe you should study some Japanese?

I recently heard Jeff Tweedy of Wilco talking about how most of the music he listens to lately is music from genres he hates because he’s looking what it is he doesn’t know, trying to understand what there is to that music that makes people love it where he hates it. 

Who knows, maybe such exploration is what will help us find one another. Or maybe I'm just studying a little too much lately. 

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Allow Me to Speak Briefly on My Little Experience

Well, struggling to keep this thing going weekly. So here's a quick one just to try to get back in the rhythm.

Really not sure what to write about, so I suppose I can take advantage of my still recent role as a father. I'm still amazed by how quickly that transition happened. I imagined an adjustment like any big event life: moving to a new city, going to college, getting married. But becoming a father, it just changed. One day I wasn't a father and the next I was. I wonder if this is something all fathers feel.

The little guy is going to be 4 months old later this month. I'm sure I've come a long way since that first day my son came home. But I never felt like I was learning on the job. Sure, I was bad at it for a while. And I'm sure I have a lot to learn. But I've felt up to the task (even when maybe I wasn't) since day one. It feels like I was reprogrammed. It's magical, which is to say it's amazing and a little scary.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Why Game of Thrones Needed to Hurt Your Feelings

Sometimes social media shows itself to be the strange lens that it is. Lately, I’ve had this experience with Game of Thrones, the popular TV show (I mention for posterity or anyone waking from a coma), where I find that the more people dislike the latest episodes, the more I tend to like them. And this isn’t just people in their free time, but reporters and other professionals laying out elaborate analyses of just how this show has gone off the rails. Many even saying the GoT staff should apologize or, stunt or not, remake the final season. 

The fault, dear viewers, is not in the art, but in ourselves. For one, social media gives us the illusion of power to dictate how our media should be made. I say “illusion” here in the hope that we succeed less than we have already. I’m certain that most of the media we consume is made by people imagining how it might be tweeted about. It’s a scary world where art is democratized. 

Also, I think the distaste for how Game of Thrones is ending is a symptom of our feasting on the candy of superhero narratives for the last decade. Not that I have anything against superhero narratives. But for the last decade Hollywood has been saved by a constant outpouring of comic book superheroes from our childhood.  We’ve grown so soft from these narratives that it seems we can’t recognize tragedy even as we’re watching it unfold. 

The story people are coming down from, the Avengers, ended with a guy snapping his fingers and making the world back to what it was. Granted, we are watching fantasy here (both in narrative and in every great hero also having their own great costume designers) but the idea that things can become so terrible and that a magical act of sacrifice will not only stop the worst from getting worse, but will put everything back the way it was before is, well, Disney as it’s always been. 

Game of Thrones final episodes works to wake us from this fantasy. (Yes, I am talking about the show with dragons and ice zombies, but at its best—why we all fell for this show—these aspects are meant to show us humanity from a new perspective.)  The superhero of GoT is made historically accurate. The Iron Man of the last eight seasons becomes Thanos in the penultimate episode. Daenerys is elevated to such power that she becomes a brutal dictator (the image and the speech clearly meant to hit all the notes of 20th-century fascism/Stalinism). 

The only complaint I agreed with regarding this last season is that this turn in Daenerys felt rushed. But with the final episode I see that this transition happening in just two episodes was intentional. Liberators can become tyrants in the blink of an eye. Take your pick from history. 

In the end, Game of Thrones, in part at least, wound up being an allegory about absolutism and revolution. The wheel that had to be broken was not just that of kings and rulers seeking power, but of an underclass defeating the ruling class and then becoming the ruling class only to become corrupt and taken over again. Compromise is the message, or at least the political message, of this tragedy. 

As painful as it is to come down from this sugar high, thank god we have Game of Thrones to pull us back into balance. 

Depth of character does not come in always winning. It comes when we see heroes torn down in their prime, or decay before our eyes. It also serves to remind us that the world is not as simple as good conquering over evil. The decisions we make in life should come with caution, not just a rally cry.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

A Week Off

I missed last week. Sorry all. Had a bit of a stomach bug that had me hurrying to get ready for the week of work. But also, I have this week off!

So, I figured now would be a good time to tell the world about Super-Golden Week. This week marks the end of an era in Japan, literally. A new emperor will be named and in the land of 12-hour, six-day work weeks, everyone--well, arguably many people--will have the longest holiday they have seen: 10 solid days off. That is, unless you have any responsibility involving the calendar changes. The year in Japan will be going from Hesei 31 to Reiwa 1 on May 1st. This means there will be countless Japanese IT workers chewing on pens at midnight the way the world did for y2k.

For many people though, it seems a great time to travel, camp and relax. I hope this is truly the case.

As I'm sure many reading this know, those of us here who are not Japanese live a blessed life. Though there are of course certain problems (glass, nay, concrete ceilings, always being an "outsider") for the most part (and I know there are exceptions; and in particular with people newly emigrating from other parts of Asia to do manual labor) we're not expected to pull the crazy hours that our colleagues must.

Some of you not in Japan may have just a sense of how much people work here, so let me clarify it for you. Many white-collar workers in Japan work hours of overtime everyday. Many people with well-paying jobs are expected to work most weekends too; some people I know work 6-days a week every week, others get only a few days off a month. In addition to this, many are also expected to work through part or all of the longer holidays (Golden Week this time around being an exception) and are expected not to take contracted days off work.

People actually die of overwork here. Not suicide due to overwork (although this happens frequently enough) but die of exhaustion.

I don't think this nonstop-work is the case for all workers here, but it is for enough that it seems the norm. And with very little interest from the powers that be to enforce any restrictions, it seems to be a growing trend.  It's a hard life.

I worry in particular about having a family here because I think my immunity to working those hours (or, in other words, the fact I have the work I do have) is achievable only that I'm not Japanese. Though my son may grow up to be better than me at the work I do, he'll be expected to preform his duties as a Japanese citizen.

So, for those of you reading this who, like me, have found a way to enjoy these long breaks from work and make a living, let's keep in mind those of our friends, colleagues and family who are still plugging away. Let's help Japan make much needed reform or help our help the next generation find a way away from this country working them to death.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Person Eaten by Lions : D

Every so often there's a link to an article on Facebook about a poacher or big-game hunter being killed by some animal. It used to be I'd only see such stories celebrated on Ricky Gervais' page, but just this week I've seen (and I imagine many of you have seen) an article shared from news sources including CBS News and The Guardian about a poacher being trampled by elephants and then eaten by lions. Usually this article is shared with some joke about karma and many people laughing about it. 

I find this troubling for a few reasons. But first let me say I am on the poacher side here, but the human side. I find it odd to celebrate the death of some unknown person doing an illegal act that doesn't involve harming other people. I mean if, say, a cocaine dealer was murdered by one of his clients, would we similarly celebrate? Even though this is a person much more directly harming other people? Further, many of the same people I see celebrating animal justice are also fervently against capital punishment. Again, not supporting either position here, but I just find it a strange dichotomy. 

Another interesting aspect of this is that many of those so adamantly for the animals in this situation, have never seen these animals outside of a zoo. I, like many of those I see sharing these articles, see lions and elephants much in the way Europeans did hundreds of years ago; they are semi-magical creatures from another content. Although, unlike Europeans of previous centuries, instead of wanting their skins on a wall, I find their lives to hold more value than chickens and cows. That seems obvious I suppose, but why? I've touched cows and chickens, I've never touched an elephant or lion. Perhaps this distance keeps these animals in their majestic state?

But here's the unsettling part: does celebrating the death of a poacher over the death of a criminal whose victims are human place the lives of these animals over the lives of humans? Again, I think those who break such laws (abusing animals, threatening a species, etc) should be punished, but should the punishment be death? And you might say, "Well, this is nature acting, not society," but does that mean we should celebrate it? How far removed is the act of celebrating the death of a poacher and killing a poacher? Are we heading for a world where killing a poacher will be seen as fair punishment? Are we already there? 

With this, another question, what is the life of a poacher? How many of us can imagine any likely details outside of killing rare animals illegally for money? Are they rich? Are they desperate? In either case, what do we think these words translate to in their world? That is, if they are rich, what is "rich" to them? I don't imagine them idling they Porsche in front of Starbucks on their day off. If desperate, what is that to them? Like the lions and elephants, their roles in this are also preserved in their distance from ourselves. The poacher too is a semi-magical creature. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Notes on Routine

Pardon this self-help guru opening, but I want to share a secret with you. This is definitely the most valuable thing I’ve learned in life. Many of you may already know it, but it never hurts to say it again—and I could really use hearing it again. It’s this: that if you want to do anything in life, it’s all about establishing routine. This can be for good or bad, of course, but you can also replace bad routines with good ones. The only hard part is starting. Especially, I find, when it comes to restarting. 

I’ve been trying to get back into writing. (Hence, the stuttering restart of this blog.) I feel like I forgot how to ride a bicycle. 

When I first came to Japan some 10 years ago, I was a marathon writer. (I suppose it helped to reset my entire life by picking up and dropping myself off on the other side of the world with two pieces of luggage and pretty much no knowledge of the local language.) I used to go to a cafe after dinner and spend 2 hours every night working on my poetry. I even had the days down to a routine. First, I would read some poetry by some real masters of the craft, ideally works and voices that were in tune with what I was working on at the time. After about 30 minutes of that, I would try starting a new poem. This sometimes just led to some journal writing with a few images, or at other times would pick right up into laying out lines and stanzas. After finding a stopping point there, I would begin editing poems I had started and preparing them to be put into submission packs. 

This worked really well. While I wasn’t spending long days on single works (like during my MFA days) I was steadily producing decent work. Some of it not so great, but some of it really good. Without a doubt this was when I was getting the most readership I had had. 

Then, as happens, the system broke down. There were some factors that led to this. Success definitely lowered my own standards on myself, and possibly those of editors I was writing to. Also, I feel that I was beginning to try to write poems that were more like the ones that were being excepted into journals. However, it was when I broke from this that I found I was publishing less. Then again, at the same time I was trying to publish is harder markets at the same time, so of course I was publishing less. In the end, actually, rejections probably were what wore me down. I was still writing, but only occasionally. And it grows more and more difficult to move through the medium and to find that flow. 

Over years of only occasionally coming back to it, I’ve decided to give the routine another go. I know expecting the same level of work from myself now as at my peak would be a brutal attack on myself. Maybe this is why it’s so much harder to come back to something? That you can’t help but compare yourself now to who you were? No matter how fast it comes back, stumbling through what was once effortless (well, relatively effortless) can be enough to kill any effort. 

Anyway, the plan is to keep this blog posting thing up on a weekly basis and then start putting in a couple hours a week for more creative writing ventures. 

In conjunction with this, I’m thinking to post up some of the poems I’ve written more recently that haven’t found a home in any journals and maybe along with some comments on them. I know this is not really what poets do usually. But I watched Bill Knott put his work out there at a furious pace in his blog back when I was spending my nights at cafes. He would post several times a day, replacing drafts with markings and comments and posting full volumes of his work. It was something special. I am not the master Bill was, but I think what he did should not be seen as taboo. The internet has altered all communication, it’s up to us to make those changes for the best. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Insisting on the Hard Way

Another delay, but I think next week will see some chance to get a rhythm going.

I just finished this huge project that ate up these last 2 weeks. Not sure how much I can say about it, but I think I can say that I spent many hours reading mostly terrible translations of Japanese phrases into English. There were some really good ones as well, but even those were 99% of the time clearly off the mark.

I really don't know why Japanese businesses are seeking out Japanese people to translate Japanese into English. As I've learned in studying Japanese (and heard from others who are more proficient in the language than I), translating into a second language is a recipe for disaster. There are a few people that can do it without many errors, but there will always be errors. Perhaps in languages with a common root it's not so bad, but when you're going from something as broad as the East to the West or the West to the East, you need native fluency on your side.

I've thought about this a lot lately (especially after reading this article). With all that Japan is doing to prepare for its cosmopolitan debute in 2020, hopefully they'll realize that when they want to communicate with the world, breathe out with Westerners, breathe in with Japanese.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Language Tests and What I've Learned (Besides How to Take a Language Test)

After many years of trash talking language-proficiency tests of all kinds, I finally decided to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (the one and only JLPT) last year, and I'm currently studying to take it again this summer. 

The reason I hated--and in many ways still hate--such tests, is that I feel they often aren't used as a measure of one's skills, but as a method of studying to reach a level mastery. The fatal flaw in this, of course, is that studying for a test only makes you more proficient at that test. 

Or at least so I believed over these last few years. Friends had told me, though, that having a goal really kicks your studying into gear. And they were right. Before I signed up for the JLPT last summer, I was mostly reviewing material I had been trying to bring into my everyday conversations and occasionally adding new material but with no real system to it. It was like I thought some word or phrase was interesting or useful and I'd try to memorize it. But after signing up, I began studying the test material and adding new words, grammatical structures, and reaching up with my reading at an intense rate. 

I definitely improved my vocabulary and reading ability. However, I know that in this time and as I continue to study my speaking ability is getting worse and worse. 

This is something I often see in my students of English as they begin to study for English proficiency tests. My youngest students become more and more comfortable conversing in English, but when the testing begins, they stop talking and start memorizing. 

It's like if I give you a toolbox and a hammer and a screwdriver, then teach you how to use those two tools, you'll get comfortable using them. When you see a nail you'll think "My hammer can handle that." But then one day I come and give you a hundred tools and say, "Okay, I'm going to teach you how these work this week," after that week you see a nail and you begin thinking, "Um. I think the hammer could work this. But I also have this claw, this mallet, oh and that finishing hammer." So after a few moments of panic, you decide to just leave the nail hanging out there. 

Still, eliminating such tests is certainly not a solution. But I think language learners, especially young learners whose parents haven't mastered a second language, must be careful not to lose balance between gaining knowledge of a language and gaining use of a language. Too often the tests win out. It's far easier to praise a grade then it is to praise one's ability to accomplish tasks in a learned language when those opportunities are so limited when the language is not the local language. 

Anyway, as I said, I've decided to take this test again. I'm hoping that having it on my resume will help me make a move into some new fields of work, but I also hope that studying for this test will also improve my writing and reading comprehension. But I'm definitely going to spend less time buried in books this time around and be sure to get out and speak to people more. What use is learning a language if you all you can do is take it in? Keep that output up, folks. 

And, hey, that goes for all this messaging and social media stuff too. Knowing how to talk and knowing how to read a book are very different things than talking to people and reading books. If we don't use it, we'll certainly lose it. 

Well, that's enough rambling from me. Sorry for the lack of editing on here. Hope you enjoyed the read! Email me! 

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Ok, a Slight Delay...

A little behind on my weekly promise, but I have a good excuse. On February 19th my wife gave birth to our son, Alexander.

It was a wild couple of weeks, but in the end we're all home safe and sound.

Alex really digs his sleep, so we're also blessed in that way, too. Forgive me for sparing you all the baby pictures, but my wife and I have decided to keep Alex off social media until he's old enough to know what the Internet is and whether he'd like his image all over it or not. It is hard not to splash him up for the world to see (as far as babies go, he is indeed among the cute), and I have of course emailed photos to friends and family that are just too far away to see him. But I can't help thinking back to my own childhood, and really my life now. That no one reading this can simply search and find my baby photos is a very nice thing to know. Privacy is a treasure, and giving it away (as I often do with my life as an adult (case in point)) comes with its own rewards, but I feel that giving away his privacy (well, the privacy of the person he will become) is something I don't have the right to do.

So, if you want to see pictures of my son in varying states of sleepiness, you'll have to catch me in person.

For now though, I'll be happy to describe him to you! (Feel free to skip to the next section if the description of a baby doesn't strike you as an exciting read.)

Well, he came into the world at 10 pounds and 22 inches long with a full head of hair, big ol jowls, and a thespian's range for facial expressions while defecating. His eyes are lightening from the nearly-black brown they were at birth as he gets some sun. He loves staring out the window. A lot of his day he spends looking at the sky. He rarely gets fussy outside of diaper and feed-me time, but when he does he usually just wants to be carried around and rocked a bit. The only hard part is he fights off sleep when he's being held so unless he's exhausted it's nearly impossible to get him to sleep this way. When he gets a belly full of milk though, he'll be out for four hours easily.

I wonder if all that is maybe worse than a photo or two? Well, here's to the old gods of print.

As for the poetry I've been thinking about sharing here, I'm still thinking about it. I've since placed one of them with a blog ( and I'm still thinking to share a few here. Maybe even with some commentary if I feel I might get some readers. So, watch this space.


In other news, there were a couple of incidents that occurred over these last two weeks that really got to me that I'd hate to taint this post with, so I'll leave them for another entry. Next week!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Really Got to Cleanup Around Here

For starters, I doubt most of those links to the right work. And much has happened between now and when I started this blog, so apologies for any inconsistencies. I've considered giving a quick recap on my life, but I figure it will all come up eventually. Any questions, please refer to the email that should soon appear where those links are.

But in the spirit of cleaning up, I've been thinking about how this blog first came to be and how it came to slip away. I meant this to be a vehicle for my poetry, which I was publishing pretty regularly back then. Well, more so then than now. This got me thinking of how did this happen, this production freeze?

I've come to think it has a lot to do with the pace of the world versus the pace of publishing and really the state of publishing. That, or the state of my poetry.

Most of the poetry being published in magazines today, or at least what gets my way, I just don't get. There are some fine magazines out there, though, and great collections, which lead me to great magazines (through their acknowledgments). However, I haven't found much luck with these places lately. Part of it may be due to the overwhelming challenge of the slush pile, but I think a big part of it is that my work is just not up to that level yet.

So, here (for about 4 years since my last publication (big thanks to Richard Peabody and Gargoyle; a great magazine and my highwater mark)) I've been stuck.

I have recently, though, been thinking of how to get unstuck. I'm thinking to just self publish this old chapbook I've been shopping around for ages. And maybe put up some of my works that never found a home on here. I wish I could find them a home with a magazine I admire (and I might yet) but I feel that they are finished and have been for some time. More than that, I think they're of my best work. This might be delusional, but this feeling keeps me tied to them and tied down.

So, keep an eye on this space of me. You might get to read some of my latest works, and maybe some new works to come.

Of course any advice or comments (or anyone interested in reading my chapbook to be) please email me at steven<dot>breyak<at>gmail<dot>com.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Found This in the Attic

Had the funny idea of starting a blog. Was racking my brain for ideas and suddenly remembered, hey! I have one of those! And it has a pretty decent name, too!

Can't write much at the moment as there is a lot going on, but consider this a little preliminary post to let everyone know I'm still alive.

The goal here is to stop giving my longer posts to social media (looking at you, Facebook) and just linking them here instead.

So, please keep an eye on this space. More to come I promise. Trying to set aside time weekly to write about whatever comes up. Anyone still out there?