Self-published at last

A few days ago I released my first Kindle collection of poems, The Virginia Chronicles and Selected Poems. I couldn’t be more excited. Having been a shadow writer for years, barely mentioning the fact that I wrote to anyone, and then beginning to release my poems on this blog a couple of years ago, the idea of actually putting myself out there in the marketplace has been daunting.

What would happen? What kind of reaction would my writing receive? Wild applause, or the sound of crickets chirping in an empty night?

Most likely, somewhere in between.

I think a lot of writers and artists in general, those who didn’t start early in life or follow a linear career path, have been to the place I am now. Move already. Fish or cut bait. Get this out of my head, out of the familiar, comfortable realm of my own head and DO something. Show the universe that I’m serious and willing to do the work — not just writing, but the work of attempting to get read.

And so, one small step for a man. The Kindle book is out there, and the skeleton of my Amazon author page is up. It’s no small victory for this 40 year old shadow writer.

I want to thank you for reading this blog, and thank the people in my life who have encouraged my writing and tolerated my intractable resistance to exposure. They saw something in me that I’ve been at times unable and at times unwilling to see. I’ve been blessed with many people like that in my life over the years.

And I’ll resist the urge to go on and wax poetic, at least for the moment. If you’d like to check out my author page you can find it here.

If you buy and read the book you’ll have my eternal thanks — especially if you reach out and let me know your reactions and thoughts. And if you feel it’s worth a read, you might pass the word along or lend it to a friend. And in any event, watch this space, because God-willing there’s more to come.

Thank you for reading, thank you for writing. Thank you for holding up a mirror and showing me that this urge to create and share isn’t a luxury, isn’t a waste of time, isn’t a distraction, isn’t just ego and pride — it’s one of the most basic human drives, and it serves vital functions. It loosens bonds, weakens the mortar in fortifications, narrows uncrossable rivers, deciphers unintelligible tongues, and every so often wins a pitched battle, or a heart.

So much for resisting the poetic urge. Hell, no apologies — that’s why I’m here, and probably what brought you here too.

Jason Anderson
New York City

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New world

A world exists in a subway car

And from hemisphere to hemisphere

Tourists stare

At picture postcards of cities

They’ve never known

Unguarded, uninvasive

Behind borders

They will never cross

Down foreign streets

Where they never go

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By Jason Anderson

The Universe Begins and Ends Near Borough Hall

crowd-pressed face to face against the center pole near the doors it’s awkward NOT to make eye contact but that’s the maxim — and then it happens and it fixes fast and open, his chest pressed through a thin sweater against my steadying hand between the knuckles, against which hand his young heart beats a strong rhythm amid fleeting warmth long after eyes are withdrawn leaving a vacuum that pulls my gaze spinning after

and when it happened it had always been, and when it ended it had never happened

— somewhere near Borough Hall station

Since last we spoke

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Over the past month and a half I’ve packed up and moved my life from Providence to New York City. I woke up in a sunny Brooklyn apartment this morning and my first thought was,

“Crap, I have no internet yet.”

And then,

“I have no hot water yet, either.”

In that order. I loathe typing on my phone – even texting or Facebook messages. It feels like the 2013 equivalent of Morse code (even swiping). But I thought I should check in since I dropped off the face of the earth for longer than usual.

I haven’t been writing in the sitting down banging away at a keyboard sense, but I have in the recording everything in my head sense. I guess moving anywhere is a lot, but NYC is enormous and complicated, not to mention ridiculously paced. Decisions have to be made instantly or you get off at the wrong parkway exit and head into the Bronx in a fourteen foot moving truck.

I digress.

On the other hand, it’s always been one of the warmest, most genuinely human cities I’ve known. I know that flies in the face of stereotype (and it’s often well-concealed), but it’s true. You want the definition of “we’re all in the same boat,” it’s when the doors close on the 4 train and everyone from the CEO to the homeless guy is there pressed together at the mercy of the MTA.

Yeah, when they get off the train they go to very different places, but in many cities they’d never end up standing shoulder to shoulder at all, ever.

That’s the most amazing realization I’ve had so far…you can’t easily segregate or shelter yourself in this city. We’re all thrown in together in this jostling, arrogant and very human crowd, on sidewalks, in subways, in elevators and grocery stores. It makes for stories.

I’ve had another realization…I have to get better about food shopping. The hipster grocery I’m frequenting is like food shopping at a hotel gift shop. Pricey.

Time.

Flash poem and a brief word about my favorite subject

No, it’s not another poem about Flash boys and luminous men, although there is potential there. “Flash” just means I wrote this in an instant right after the precipitating event. It’s even time-stamped.

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4:24

At this black hour

The bird first takes to song

His voice remembering

Bright the dawn

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A mea culpa.
Try as I might lately to keep up, I slip behind on reading blogs. Apart from normal everyday (he says, tongue firmly planted in cheek) life and trying to keep writing, I’m scrambling to find a new job, and recently acquired a nasty bug. My doctor assures me it’s just a cold, but drama queen that I am I bought a headstone just in case. I didn’t have them fill in the year of my death, because I’m not a betting man. But I did have an epitaph inscribed:

He lived among heroes

When people talk about me long after I’m gone — maybe even at dinner after the funeral — maybe they’ll have some fun trying to figure out what I meant by that. You see, I don’t generally have a reputation as a rosy optimist. It’s my “Rosebud” moment.

Quick, true story.
I went to a local convenience store yesterday and the kid — ahem, young man — behind the counter was wearing a Captain America t-shirt.

“I like your shirt,” I said.

“Thanks. It’s my roommate’s,” he said with a slight blush. “All my clothes are in the laundry.”

I thought, well isn’t that exactly how you become a hero. Maybe not a superhero, that takes secret government programs, jacked-up spiders or exploding homeworlds. But you get my drift.

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#OklahomaStrong

Always be Batman

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Always be Batman.

Superman or Batman?

Slightly off topic: I want to call dibs — Iron Man 4 with Jay Gatsby as the villain. I’m so writing that.

So that’s me holding a venti dark roast labelled Batman, instead of my name, by an observant Barista. I recently asked some folks the question  “Superman or Batman?” and figured I’d answer it too. While I can see both sides (and I’m a pretty big superhero fan in general), if I had to choose one it would be Batman every time.

I identify with Batman because he’s human and he’s not sure. It’s not a foregone conclusion that he’s always right, or even good. Characters in the Dark Knight universe refer to him as an idea but I think that’s a faulty word — he’s a template. Anyone can be the Batman. Even Michael Keaton, and Tommy from 3rd Rock from the Sun. (It has to be true, Christopher Nolan may or may not have said so).

“Anyone can be a hero.”

He’s a template.

And Iron Man is a rockstar.

Ok, I’ve been slacking off a little this week, but stand by for some more poetry…

My official movie log

Since December 1, 2011 I’ve been keeping a list of every movie I’ve seen — big screen, Netflix/Amazon, DVD or otherwise. As an (aspiring) screenwriter and a storyteller I try to watch a lot of different movies. In many cases try to take apart what the screenwriters do and figure out why they did it that way.  In other cases I just sit back and watch stuff blow up (I’m talking to you, A Good Day to Die Hard).

My recall is pretty good, so questions and debates are welcomed. Just don’t diss The Princess Bride, that’s all I’m saying. I’ll keep this list up to date, adding new movies at the bottom. Someday soon I might attempt a favorite movies list complete with mini-reviews. Now that’ll be a weird list of movies.

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Jason’s Official Movie Log (12/1/11 — ?)

Title (Year/Director)

Rashomon (Kurosawa/1950)

Metropolis (Lang/1927)

Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein/1925)

Coraline (Selick/2009)

The Crow (Proyas/1994)

Reservoir Dogs (Tarantino/1992)

The Only Son (Ozu/1936) Continue reading