Welcome back to the website.
When last we met, several things were coming together – reunion commitments and other travel plans, primarily -- that inclined us to hold off on publishing a blog in August. Then, when Maureen Nicolace, the websmaster, announced plans for a well-deserved vacation, that sealed the deal. Truth be told, that news was quite welcome, because August was shaping up as a “slow news” month.
The other good thing about that timing is that makes it easier for us to get back to publishing the newsletter early in the month. Over the past several months circumstances had caused us to drift toward issuing the update in the middle of the month. Better this way, I think. The September update will be fully in September.
There are a couple of small pieces of writing news to report on.
Consequences Magazine has bought a story of mine called “Sarajevo.” Consequences is primarily a monthly on-line journal, but once a year they publish a print edition. “Sarajevo” will appear in the print version. The magazine will do the layout this fall. The print edition will be released early in 2020. The “tease” on the Consequences website says it is “an international magazine published annually, focusing on the culture and consequences of war.”
Sarajevo and Bosnia have been on my mind lately, so when I saw the magazine’s call for submissions, the timing seemed right. One of the things that brought my attention back to the city was a picture in a recent magazine of the newspaper building in Sarajevo taken during the height of the conflict. The building sat not far off Sniper Alley. We passed it many times and flew over it a helicopter. All who saw the building will always remember it – it looked for all the world as if it had been melted in the fire and explosions. That indeed is the expression everyone used when they saw it: “It looks like it has melted.”
But, the extraordinary thing about the building and the newspaper is that somewhere in that rubble, the newspaper staff continued to put out a daily paper. When they couldn’t get newsprint to feed the presses – the Serbs had imposed a total blockade, and newsprint was one of the items not allowed into the city – they stripped the wall paper from houses and buildings that had been destroyed and used it to print the paper. Then, for three years, couriers braved the shelling that rained down on Sarajevo and delivered the paper across the city. That story, that example, has stayed with me partly because in recent times in our society, the value of a free press has been too often disparaged if not completely discredited. By contrast, the people of that embattled city placed such importance on it that they printed their news on wallpaper and risked their lives to deliver it.
Last month I received an invitation from Eber & Wein Publishing to submit a poem for consideration for their Best Poets and Poems of 2019 publication. It was nice to be asked, although I suspect that the same invitation may have been shot-gunned to every person who has ever had a poem published anywhere in the last decade or so. Then, if the poem is selected, (I don’t know how many submissions are chosen), there is a pretty fair chance that the person who authored the poem will buy a copy or two of the publication. The book is, I think, offered at various venues, but this is possibly sort of back door way of propping up sales. I sent them a poem just before the deadline. I am curious to see what happens (assuming it arrived there in time).
Good news so far: my high school, military, and other friends in Florida and the Carolinas seem to have escaped major damage from Hurricane Dorian. As best we know at this point, all are safe and mostly free from harm to property and possessions. Tragically, so many near them and in the Bahamas were far less fortunate.
Finally, in lieu of the WHO SAYS THEY DON’T WRITE GREAT POETRY ANYMORE feature, here are a couple of gems of wisdom sent by friends. They are incredibly profound: thought you might enjoy them.
From Curt Higuchi: “Keep in mind that the reason the grass is greener on the other side of the fence may be due to a sewer problem.”
From Jim Lloyd: “Sometimes the final step towards forgiveness is realizing that the other person was born an idiot.”
Best wishes to all. Have a great September.