Tuesday – Keep Calm and Carry On

There is a lot of stress in the world right now. Unease mixed with outright fear, I think even those who are professing anger and disgust are deeply afraid inside that this will turn out to be everything they say it is.

The bottom line is, the British were right, Keep Calm and Carry On. Thats all you can do. In that vein, I’m enjoying my Spring Break mornings, the kids are sleeping in, the dog is relaxing on her bed, and I’m enjoying some coffee, and catching up on reading. I subscribe to a few literary journals, but I read mostly, “Gulf Coast” published by the University of Houston that I’ve been reading since about 1993. Back then I didn’t plan to be a communications guy, or an english major, I just liked the poetry and the fiction. It’s fully edited, published and managed by the student body of the U of H English department, though it was originally founded by the Blumenthals.

A few years ago I learned that Austin Community College publishes a journal as well called “The Rio Review” and I find that I enjoy it equally. The Rio still has some of the raw creativity that I originally enjoyed in Gulf Coast, but with suitable polish to prevent it being a garage journal.

The University of Texas has a number of journals, each with an area of focus, but I like “Bat City Review” most consistently, as its focus is on creative writing, both fiction and non.

There are so many writers out there with wonderful voices that will never find widespread publication just by nature of the writer’s market these days. We’ve all read stories of the literary journals of old where a writer such as Arthur C Clarke made a solid living publishing short stories in science fiction magazines before publishing a novel, but those days are seemingly behind us. I think that most of us these days just write for our own satisfaction. Sharing our views with the world outside of the shout chambers of the internet, and satisfying that creative urge that drives us all in some way.

If you enjoy creative writing, and you can live with the occasional rough edge, you should absolutely pick up your local university’s journal, it can open your eyes to great gems out there hidden in the creativity crushing muck of the modern world.

I wrote this post while listening to Herbie Hancock’s “Takin’ Off”, which was his first release, and dropped some pieces like “water melon man” into our laps. For which we should be ever grateful. I enjoy that defining track as much as anyone, but I find “Alone and I” and “Driftin” to really speak to me. A lot of folks today only really know Herbie from his later works, during the MTV era, like “Future Shock” and some of the other techno jazz stuff, but he’s as classic as Miles or Coltrane behind all that.

Have a Nice Day.

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