Nervous Lethargy: Proof Copy

My proof copy of Nervous Lethargy was shipped yesterday. It should arrive next week. Once I look it over and approve the file, my book will be live and ready for purchase via Amazon.

Beyond any typos I may have missed, there may be two substantial issues with the proof copy.

First, one of the images I use on a chapter title page might look blurry. How blurry, I’m not sure. If I’m really not happy with it I may remove it, which means correcting the file, uploading it, waiting a day for Amazon’s computers to check it, ordering another proof copy, waiting for it in the mail, etc. Point is, if it’s better than “OK” I’m not going to remove it and start the process over.

Second, the book is 134 pages. CreateSpace says a book needs to be 131 pages or more for the spine to be wide enough to display the title and author’s name. Since I’m cutting it close, it’s possible the letters will look fuzzy. Again, this isn’t a huge deal, but it’s something I’m looking out for. To correct this issue I simply would need to remove the two blank pages in both the front and back of the book. And then re-start the proof process.

I spent three days formatting Nervous Lethargy (I’m a perfectionist). Hopefully my (neurotic) attention to detail pays off. There will be no Kindle edition. Formatting a poetry book for e-readers is not easy, and I prefer people hold a physical book anyway. I’m old school like that.

Note to anyone who buys a copy: You may find it interesting to search for the Poetry category on this blog to see what changes I’ve made to poems in the book that first appeared here on Sharp Left Turns. By changes, I mean things like cutting unnecessary words, altering line breaks, turning ampersands into “ands,” and other stylistic concerns. I believe the “intention” of the previously published poems remains, if intention as it relates to a poem can be defined. Basically, my worldview hasn’t been edited out of any poems you may recognize from five years ago or last month. I believe in some cases I found a more poetic way of conveying my ideas, thus making them “better,” if that can be defined. Or perhaps some changes have stolen some of the previous magic.

I’m excited to receive my proof, and I hope to go live soon. More updates to come.

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Nervous Lethargy: Assembly Stage

The writing and rewriting and rewriting again and again process is complete. There are 60 poems in Nervous Lethargy. Some date back to 2000; I wrote the latest one two days ago.

Next up: converting each Word document to the proper format I’ve devised for the whole book. Need to set up consistent font size, font style, page orientation, margin settings, page breaks, page numbers, headers, etc. Then merge all the files into one Word file and convert it to a PDF. Then upload the PDF to CreateSpace for their magical computers to check for errors and measure the extent of my madness.

The cover is done. The intro is done. The postscript is done, as is the “about the poet” page. The contents page is not done, but I have already determined the order in which the poems will appear. There are three chapters, each with 20 poems. (I’m nuts for symmetry.)

Once Amazon accepts my file (even if their computers don’t agree with my worldview) I will order a proof copy, which will arrive in my mailbox with free shipping. Thanks, Prime! Then if I’m happy with the whole thing, I’ll say “GO AHEAD, I’M READY TO BARE MY SOUL.” And Nervous Lethargy will go live and I’ll let you know it’s finally here.

 

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Nervous Lethargy Update

Making tons of progress on Nervous Lethargy. Been a (mostly) fun process. Will keep plugging along. Peace.

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Second Book In The Works

I am happy to announce that I have begun writing my second book. Last year I self-published The Intimacy of Communication: A Spiritual Encounter via CreateSpace, and I am using CreateSpace for book number two.

Nervous Lethargy is a collection of poetry from 2000 through today. Some of the poems have appeared here on Sharp Left Turns, but many have not. Still determining what to include and how to arrange them.

I’m excited about the process, and I want to thank my brother Tom Trebswether for “strongly suggesting” I publish a book of poems. More info to follow as I move through the process.

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Core Beliefs

Core Beliefs

my therapist says overthinking
can be a defense mechanism

overthinking can be
a defense mechanism

overthinking can be
an unfenced metaphorical prison

it’s not my fault
my therapist says

confessional poems
can be used against me

my therapist runs a mom & pop
Oedipal arrangements shop

with thirty-one flavors
of oral fixation lollipops

overthinking can be
a dense intellectual prism

a defense mechanism
defense mechanism

anxiety is a preexisting
human condition

paid for by a
state institution

my therapist ties
Freudian slip knots

to agoraphobics flying
kites in parking lots

it’s not my fault
it’s not my fault

I don’t believe
it’s not my fault

my therapist is the reason
I’m in touch with my feelings

c b snoad
2-13-17

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Cynic-In-Chief

Many of us are familiar with the definition of a cynic. Disillusioned by “politics as usual,” cynical Americans don’t trust Washington insiders to work for the common good.

This is not how the Ancient Greeks defined the term. According to Robin Hard, translator of Diogenes the Cynic: Sayings and Anecdotes (2012), the word is attributed to a philosopher named Diogenes who lived from approximately 412 to 323 BC. “Cynic” roughly translated means “dog.”

Diogenes gave up his possessions for the life of a beggar to show that true happiness is possible only when humans satisfy their basic needs in simple ways. Material wealth, he argued while shamelessly displaying his half-naked body in public, bankrupts the soul.

The father of the contemporary performance artist, Diogenes strived for the virtuous life, challenging social conventions by shocking citizens out of their stupor. He famously carried a lit lamp through Athens in the middle of the afternoon, looking for (but never finding) a man committed to the truth. In an act of civil disobedience, he walked into the theater as crowds poured out, forging his own path against the herd.

In the final chapter of Signs and Machines: Capitalism and the Production of Subjectivity (2014), Maurizio Lazzarato discusses Michel Foucault’s belief in the revolutionary potential of the original Cynics’ way of life. Foucault valorizes the Ancient Greek principle of parrhesia, or truth-telling. A citizen who stood up in the assembly to speak difficult truths risked his credibility, his very life, in the name of democracy. Cynics risked their lives every day in the streets to save the souls of their misguided brothers and sisters.

What is the status of truth in the era of alternative facts? Conservatives have accused liberals of championing relativism for decades, but when philosophers argue that Truth is socially constructed they aren’t suggesting that nothing is true anymore.

Today a Republican president and his inner circle are flat out lying.

An important story the liberal media refuses to report: Diogenes’ top adviser, Kellyannopoulos of Jersey, spoke to supporters outside the assembly shortly after his death and said that the number of people who attended his funeral was twice the amount of those who mourned the death of Socrates.

“Amazing crowds, tremendous crowds,” she said.

Too bad we don’t have aerial shots—or any shots—of the ceremony.

The Reign of Trump begs for spectacular displays of outrage. I agree with Lazzarato that we need to cultivate new ways of being in the world as economic forces beyond our control condemn more and more global citizens to a sub-human existence.

But how do we overcome cynicism to summon the moral strength of the Cynics? How can we be sure that images of our dissent won’t be co-opted and sold as prepackaged lifestyle choices?

“He will not divide us. He will not divide us.” Actor Shia LaBeouf and his comrades have been chanting this slogan outside the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens since the day Trump took office. They plan to have at least one person repeat the refrain into a webcam all day every day for the next four years. Is this the start of a movement bigger than ourselves? A call to arms for brave truth-tellers to stand up and follow each other on social media?

Will the revolution be live-streamed across all compatible devices?

I admire Lazzarato’s poetic sensibilities, but is romanticizing the archetype of the eccentric street prophet all we have left? Am I entitled only to an esoteric, navel-gazing revolution in my corner of the internet because collective political action is no longer possible? Does holding up clever signs or publishing obscure blogs challenge the constitutionality of Trump’s hastily produced executive orders?

He wasn’t on Facebook but Diogenes had a huge public profile. He’s seen as the first cosmopolitan philosopher, a mystic roaming from city to city in the hustle and bustle of daily life, shouting his worldview at people more interested in Ancient Memes than ethics.

What if Diogenes believed he was really more dog than man?

To “figure out what the hell is going on,” Trump has banned all pagans and pantheists from entering America against the flow of the crowd. Diogenes wasn’t Christian after all.

The president doesn’t really want to be president. He wants to build walls and promote the “bigly-ness” of his brand name. He wants to stir the passions of God-fearing Americans longing for a sense of security that no longer exists. He would rather pout over perceived personal slights than listen to the so-called expertise of five-star generals.

Anointed by the Resentful, Maligned and Dispossessed, the leader of the free world doesn’t believe in the rule of law. He disrespects federal judges on Twitter and insults congressional leaders of his own party (also on Twitter).

Donald J. Trump is the democratically selected winner of the Cynic-in-Chief sweepstakes. Against the common good, he’s the executive seducer of a reality-show circus in which his hubris is the main attraction for a mass of cynics who require more and more spectacle to conceal the truth of their (political) impotence.

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Star 69

phone-sex

the luscious lull that seeps through cellphone ear
zero-one zero-one
floating off Robotic Tonsil
up in throughout buzz-hum Fiber-Optic veins
running beneath these Sacred States—
I’ve called you
automated-voice-woman-drone
I need phone service missing dial-tone
or cable TV all fuzzed out
(I desire CNN this instant I must be informed this instant)
or demand faster internet access the Porn too slow to come
I need help now
you tell me press 1 for this or 2 for that then 5 for a repeat
submissive shit I follow
touch-toning my way to Digital Gratification
hungry for your binary-sex-speak
your zero-one zero-one sweet-nothing-vibes
I want to drop my khaki shorts & spread for you
have test-tube psychopath-introvert
(I’m not afraid are you afraid)
The first auto-child of Truth & Silicone
a sin-less pile of junk with no Unconscious Mind
but automated voice-woman-drone
I’ve called you
& you’ve like a Plastic Cock Tease placed me on hold
promising a representative will be with me shortly
my call as always important
my Satisfaction as always Guaranteed

c b snoad
published in Lynx Eye (spring 2002)
edit 2-5-17

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