“A man came to the stage one night, He smoked a big cigar, drove a Cadillac car, And said boys, I think this band’s outta sight, Oh, sign a record company contract” Tom Scholz
“Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions, I keep my visions to myself, it’s only me, Who wants to wrap around your dreams and, Have you any dreams you’d like to sell? Stevie Nicks
Every poet, every singer, every athlete, every writer, every musician, every artist has dreams of reaching the highest heights. But there is scarce room on the top, I am afraid.
I hate American Idol, or maybe despise and abhor it as well. The reason is that I am against exploitation and cruelty. I had the show on the other day and they were talking to a contestant who wasn’t good enough. The man on the show was saying to the contestant that he was a good singer and all but he just didn’t have what it took. The poor man was weeping like a child. The contestant’s dreams were shattered, all on public television. His hopes were sacrificed for ratings.
I strongly believe in kindness. At the same time, I believe in honesty. There is a lot to be said for constructive criticism. There is a lot to be said for being gentle and caring. I am a writer and I face rejection every day. I am looking for an agent and I get trite form letters, polite and direct, in expressing their lack of interest. My poetry gets rejected all the time. I can’ t even get anybody to take a look at my song lyrics.
I once got a patronizing reply in the form of a poetry rejection. The letter went on to explain how hard it was to get rejected but just keep trying and you’ll do fine. Well, that is an outright lie. Some people don’t have the talent to be a good poet, let alone a great one. I felt the response wasn’t measured for the rejection, after all, it was one person’s opinion. An opinion, mind you, of somebody who didn’t have any credentials to boast over. I replied to the rejection with something like this, “Don’t worry I’m sure I’ll get over it, and it’s easy to receive and rejection letter with typos in it.” They never did reply.
At this point in my career, I’ve had enough success to claim that I have some measure of talent. My poetry has been in over a hundred outlets and I’ve had over a dozen books published by small publishers. Whenever I get frustrated and feel like giving up it seems like something encouraging happens, like I sell an article for a few hundred dollars, or sell some books.
Fame and success are fleeting. Three giants Emily Dickinson, Vincent Van Gogh and H.P. Lovecraft have achieved the status of superstars after their death. My friend ‘Downtown’ Ken Brown jokes with me telling me that I will be famous after I die. I hope that my success is around the corner. My dream is to become an ‘overnight success’ thirty years in the making.
In all honesty, the majority of my early stuff is terrible. I didn’t know how to write a short story, let alone a novel. I remember several aborted attempts at writing a book. I lacked formal schooling in the matter, but in the long run, my lack of credentials might serve me well. I learned independently how to write. For poetry, I simply read the masters and tried to replicate what they did. I also schooled myself and wrote in various forms, like sonnets, villanelles, and such. I am currently aggressively reading and writing prose learning as I go along.
Finally, the artist is made in the journey. With the tenacity and perseverance comes an attitude and confidence, that yes I will be successful. I had a friend in college who wrote poetry. One day she shared her poems with me. I liked them. They weren’t great but they had merit. I believe I was the first person that she had ever shared her poetry with. I felt honored. But thinking the matter over, whenever a person sends something to submit they are taking a chance. The vast majority of poetry magazines receive more submissions they can handle. Rejection is part of being a writer. If one can continue to believe during the process there is something to be said positively about the artist.
Note I have posted “Me and Rosie” one of my early works. I had a friend Rose, that is where I got the name. It is probably one of my only songs that could pass for rap. But it holds a constant beat and rhyming scheme. Leave a comment and tell me what you think.
I’d like you to check out this book, “Poet To The Poor, Poems Of Hope For The Bottom One Percent,” https://amzn.to/2jtqXMA
Me and Rosie (An early work)
I know a man who sings the blues
He ain’t nothing but bad news
Drives a caddy with tinted glass
Look at him wrong he’ll kick your ass
Sweet Rose she was a beauty queen
The loveliest thing I’ve ever seen
I kissed her lips and gazed in her eyes
And I went on a trip past the skies
Well the dude he came down my way
Looked at Rosie and made his play
But she took his hand off her knee
And said “You ain’t the one for me”
Well the dude said “Jackson’s my name”
And I play a mean evil game
So if you don’t come lay with me
I’m gonna take you forcefully
Well I was chillin’ but that’s enough
I didn’t care if the dude was tough
I grabbed the sleaze right by the shirt
And said “Jackson you be dirt”
Well Jackson did a China man (that is the fellow turned yellow)
Ran to his caddy fast as he can
And as he cruised down the avenue
Rosie yelled “boy I won’t be missin’ you”
Well we were out livin’ the night
When Jackson game ready to fight
He had with him four mean old dogs
And they were ugly like frogs
Well Jackson came to me sly
Looked me straight right in the eye
And said “Get ready to die”
Well I usually don’t pray
Except on Christmas day
But right then I said a little word
Calling for help to the Lord
Well Rosie she gently spoke
Saying “Boys you’re quite the joke”
Then she took out a forty five
And said “We don’t need your jive”
Well glory when they saw the gun
Did they sure take off and run
And I said “Rosie you saved my life”
“Won’t you come and be my wife”
Well exactly one week later
We took it to the alter
And the dude called Jackson
He’s doing time in Fulson