Posts Tagged ‘WordXWord’


Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

So, in only a few weeks, the annual WordxWord spoken word festival will hit Pittsfield, and as always, it promises to be a fantastic event. Also free, through the magic of generous grants. So if you will or can be in the Berkshires from Aug. 17-23, you should check out some of the amazing performances going on — and I’m not just saying that because I’m in the poetry slam semi-finals.*

Before that, though,  I have some freelance work to do. I’m currently working for Mtelegence, a company designing entertaining and engaging programs to help students struggling with literacy. So, my job is to come up with creative ways to help make the world a better place. This has set the bar pretty high for my ideal jobs. My other ideal job, of course, is getting paid to write my books, hence the pair of query letters I sent out to agents last night. I managed to change my template salutation from “Dear AgentFace McGee” to the correct name for each of the two I sent so far, but I figure it’s only a matter of time before I forget when sending one.

Excitingly**, I had a short poem published online in Rogue Particles magazine. Seriously, it’s quite short. Go read it, and then feel free to poke around the site for other people’s interesting stuff too.

Otherwise, things continue much the same. While my neighborhood may be in constant celebration mode, I more quietly aged another year recently, which I celebrated by walking to Jack’s and buying myself a hamburger. Gaming continues, and while my most recent review is of a new game called Bedpans&Broomsticks, the game we’ve played most recently is oddly*** the Kingdom Hearts CCG.

There’s a temptation to write my next column about the situation in the Middle East, but I think making it humorous may be difficult. Still, can’t go worse than my stand-up about mass shootings, right?

*I’m saying it because I’m contractually obligated. Kidding! It seriously is a great festival, and you should go.

**Excitingly for me, that is. Your own level of excitement may very depending on your enjoyment of the poem. Consult your doctor for details. Offer not valid in all states.

***Odd because it’s rare I play boardgames based on videogames. Or any non-Magic CCG, really.

WordXWord Is Coming!

Friday, August 9th, 2013

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because my life already has enough mistakes.

Most recent mistake entertaining enough to blog?* Probably the other weekend where I was invited to a party where I was supposed to perform. We drove out to the correct town where we found that the GPS had no reception. We knew the name of our target street, and spent an hour driving in circles trying every road and even asking a few people for directions, all to no avail. We eventually left the town just to get GPS reception, then looked for the road, but when we returned to the road it was a dirt path so steep the car couldn’t get up it. So it was that we returned home defeated, and I emailed the hosts an apology, but got no reply… hopefully they don’t hate me for failing to show up.**

Anyway, while technically local little WordXWord events have been happening every Tuesday night for a while now, next week is the annual WordXWord Festival where talented poets and spoken word artists from around the country are brought in to perform, and the whole thing is free! If you are within striking distance of the Berkshires, this is a festival not to be missed. I am honored that this year not only will I be participating in the poetry and story slams, but have been asked to be part of the Encyclopedia Show, for which I have prepared a brand new piece about which I am pretty excited.

I am also excited about my hip underground rap song Moral Turpitude, to which you could listen. I entered a limerick contest based in Limerick Ireland, and became a finalist but was told to progress further I’d have to attend the contest in person. Still, huzzah for limericks in Limerick.*** My latest column is about the CBS/Time Warner dispute. And my rapping deckbuilding card game Legend of the Cipher continues to receive rave reviews. Perhaps you should give it a play.

*Keep in mind that’s a low bar. I have also blogged about my toenails. Well, if I hadn’t before, let’s make that retroactively true. It sure is annoying when you clip them over a trash can and then they fly all over the room only to be stepped on later and cut your feet. Okay, I’m done blogging about toenails now.

**After all, there are so many better reasons to hate me.

***I hope that lime rickeys are served,
As a drink that is clearly deserved.
As the anapest verse
May go from bad to worse,
But at least it will be well-preserved.

The End of National Poetry Month

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Yes, April was National Poetry Month. So, in addition to participating in a few local poetry slams and open mics, I once again signed up for WordXWord’s 30/30 Poetry Challenge, a site where I (and many other poets) produced a poem a day every day during April. It has been pointed out that if I were a capital-P Poet*, I would produce a poem a day every day all year round, or at least if I were a capital-W Writer, I would do some creative writing every day all year round. But as I oft lack this motivation, April was good for me to get me writing more often**.

Admittedly, maybe only half of those daily poems were of any substantial length, and I probably wrote about a dozen of them as haiku. But this isn’t always bad. Actually, one of my favorite poems came from a prompt where I spent a long time writing a poem, became frustrated with it, and threw the poem away, deciding to write a haiku about that instead, which I will share here:

sadly, a bow drawn
on a second fiddle string
sounds just like a whine

Other poems of mine (and many other poets as well) are available on the site linked above. Naturally, I have continued writing my column this month as well, and so if you would like to read about Laundry Day (and a terrible pun) or The Invention of Meals, I encourage you to do so.

On the gaming front, I’ve got a review up about Road Rally USA, which is a reasonable light racing game but not my cuppa. I’ve been playing more Innovation, which is totally my cuppa, and I continue to think it’s a brilliant game. And I tried a 4-player co-op video game called Monaco, which is basically like an 8-bit Oceans Eleven — or the way my group plays, a Keystone Cops meets the Four Stooges heist movie. Either way, pretty entertaining. And lest I forget, Legend of the Cipher continues to not get very much press, but people who try it tend to like it, and people who take a look tend to be intrigued, most recently the gamer geeks over at Shut Up & Sit Down, who mention it in their latest round-up.

Tonight, I am off to another story slam at WordXWord, where I will tell the audience about a weird food I ate this weekend***. And then tomorrow it will be May, a month where I haven’t signed up for any particular enumerated challenge, but should really try to write more regularly nonetheless.

*e.e.cummings, of course, never had to worry about such things.

**Not to mention bringing together an International community of poets. There’s something cool about having a random highschool student from Malaysia say that she liked your poetry.

***Which, oddly enough, was from Malaysia. What can I say, I like living in an international world where ideas, art, and food can be freely shared and exchanged.

Magic and Rhyme

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

No, not a reference to my music video for Dump Stat, delightful though it is. Of course, I believe there is a magic to rhyme itself, but in this case the two topics are separate.

On the Magic front, recently I’ve been wondering if the way I think about money is related to the way I think about Magic. For example, it’s so easy to make my money disappear; it practically happens without any effort on my part.* But what I was actually thinking about was Magic: The Gathering. See, I’ve always felt that any serious gamers can’t help but look at the world sometimes through the lenses of the games they play the most. And while Magic has roughly a bajillion rules**, the one that has always stuck with me is upkeep.

In the game of Magic, upkeep is something you have to pay at the beginning of each of your turns, and it sucks. It can be anything from life to cards, but is most often mana. Mana that you have to keep paying each turn, and thus can’t spend to cast the really cool cards in your hand. And sometimes there’s even cumulative upkeep, which just gets worse every turn, until attempting to pay for that spell makes it impossible to do anything else.

This is how I view credit card debt. I have avoided getting a credit card largely out of fear of this kind of upkeep, and a supreme dread of credit card debt. And I found myself wondering whether as a group, those who had played Magic seriously were less likely to find themselves in credit card debt that those who had not.*** I don’t think anyone’s going to commission a serious study, but it is something I’m curious about.

Enough of that! Let’s talk about rhyme. Rhyming is fun, that’s why I do it all the time. And just last week, about an hour away, I was performing at the BTF’s Cabaret. There was magic and rhyme, in the form of MacBeth, interspersed with a few bits of rap from Seth. And you might think, “Why tell me about that show? It already happened, so it’s too late to go!” And that’s technically true, but if you haven’t heard, this week Pittsfield is hosting WordXWord. And on Tuesday the 24th at this spoken word festival, you could go and see poetry from the best of fools****.

And speaking of***** rhyme, the book I’ve been working on since 2001 is FINALLY almost ready to release. Yes, God To Verse will, barring unforseen circumstances, be available for purchase on Amazon within a few weeks. Expect a post early in September with lots more details and exhortations for purchase. Meanwhile, please ignore any rumors you may hear about my sub-standard nutrition being again the subject of a column in the Washington Post, and trust my humor column to provide you with accurate information on my commitment to nutrition.

* More accurately, without sufficient effort on my part, it disappears right quick.

** Creature: Serrated Bajillion. 2/2. Tap to cause Wizards of the Coast to drastically revise combat rules yet again.

*** People who foolishly went into debt to feed their Magic addiction notwithstanding.

**** By which of course I mean yours truly, though I don’t mean to praise myself unduly.

***** But no longer in. Because it’s a sin. Damn, I can’t win, I really mean it. Anybody want a peanut?