Power to the Poetic People
"It’s easier to sell junk when you’re known than works of genius when you’re unknown." -Iris Murdoch
It was a pleasure to hear and see Sandra Cisneros speak last month in the heart of the Texas State Capitol building. She’s a fierce warrior for justice, an eloquent person, and a gifted writer.
She read this poem from her new collection, Woman Without Shame, from the Speaker’s dais:
Cisneros also advised the writers in the room—and there were many—to make a list of things they’d prefer to forget but can’t, and then to write the stories or poems from this personal slush pile.
Ever since she said this, I’ve been conducting an inventory of these moments in my life. I don’t know that I’ll write about these moments, but I do know that embarrassing, shameful, or difficult times make a rich compost. What grows there is for each artist to discover.
Sonora Babb Was Robbed, Then Redeemed
I just finished reading Sonora Babb’s novel, Whose Names Are Unknown. The novel chronicles the struggles of Dust Bowl farmers on the southern Great Plains and their rough and tumble transition into migrant workers in the corporate-owned fields of Southern California.
In a painful twist of fate, Babb’s book was not published until 2004, almost 70 years after it was written. The book was not released because John Steinbeck beat her to the punch. What’s worse, his 1939 book Grapes of Wrath was informed in large part by Babb’s work with the Farm Security Administration. Without her knowledge or approval, her notes and reports from the field were provided to Steinbeck by her boss, Tom Collins, a manager of a federal camp for migrants in Arvin, CA.
I Tweet, Therefore I Am (Wasting Mental Energy)
While my mom was visiting for Thanksgiving, she asked me if I was going to quit Twitter, now that Elon Musk is steering it over a cliff.
I said no, I’m not moved to quit by the rich man’s trollish antics. I said that I’ve been part of Twitter since it emerged at South By Southwest in 2007 and that I’d rather leave the social media platform on my terms, not his.
Leaving Twitter on my terms, not his, means recognizing that the return on typed investment is not positive enough to stay. It means admitting that as often as not Twitter (and social media generally) leaves me feeling bad about the state of the world and my place in it.
I know there’s no turning back, no final escape from digital’s dominance. At the same time, I don’t need to give it any more energy than I already have. Waving one’s arms around to say the Twitter Sky is falling is giving it more energy. Sure, the new owner is making dumb, possibly dangerous, moves. That’s what tech bros do. I’m interested in what I do, or don’t do, and why (and quitting Twitter and all social media has been on my To-Do list for some time).
Steve Jobs's Birkenstock sandals sold at auction for $218,000.
Douglas Rushkoff discusses the plans that tech billionaires are making to survive “The Event,” a future catastrophic occurrence that will make the planet uninhabitable.
I decided to remove the pay gate from my articles published on Medium.com.
About 1 in 6 Americans 55 and older — do not have children. What does this mean for their later years?
“We’re looking for work that has line-by-line energy, verve, snap, conviction; we’re looking for work that, whatever its tone or form or aesthetic, takes risks." -Michael Griffith, Fiction Editor, The Cincinnati Review
Please visit DavidBurn.com to learn more about my writing and professional services.
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