{writer’s almanac}

I have decided that I need to be exposed to more poetry.  I was only exposed in High School, like everyone else, and it did nothing to help me foster a love or even a real appreciation of poetry.  Of course I was not taken with what little I was exposed to.  I don’t think that a love of poetry is like a love of opera in that you either LOVE opera or you can appreciate it, but it will never be a part of your soul.  I think that poetry can be different in that there are infinite styles, subjects and levels of complexity and you can find a poet or poem that speaks to you, it doesn’t matter where you are in your life.

I have found a website that is exposing me to a different poem everyday.  It is really exciting to me to expand my knowledge and appreciation of the world just a little bit everyday.  I was searching for a way into poetry and this is giving me a way to find that road.

Writer’s Almanac

Today’s poem about knocked my out of my chair, so I thought I would share.


by Wendell Berry

How much poison are you willing
to eat for the success of the free
market and global trade? Please
name your preferred poisons.

For the sake of goodness, how much
evil are you willing to do?
Fill in the following blanks
with the names of your favorite
evils and acts of hatred.

What sacrifices are you prepared
to make for culture and civilization?
Please list the monuments, shrines,
and works of art you would
most willingly destroy

In the name of patriotism and
the flag, how much of our beloved
land are you willing to desecrate?
List in the following spaces
the mountains, rivers, towns, farms
you could most readily do without.

State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes,
the energy sources, the kinds of security;
for which you would kill a child.
Name, please, the children whom
you would be willing to kill.

“Questionnaire” by Wendell Berry from Leavings. © Counterpoint, 2010. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

{still working on it…}

She blinked at the elf beside her at the bar.

“Save me?”

“Yes, save you.”

“From what exactly?’

“Not from what but for what?”


She paused and tried desperately not to rise to the bait.


She failed.


“For what exactly?”

“The afterlife of course.  The eternal reward.”


Damn elves.  You never knew what you were going to get with elves.  And damn her love of pretty men. Just…damn.


“I think your idea of an eternal reward and mine are a bit different.  Mine involves fangs.”

“You wish the change?”

“When I find the right one, yes that is exactly what I want.”

“And if you never find the right one?”

“Well,” she grinned evilly “at least the hunt was fun.”

His return look of boredom peaked her interest.

“That is a fools errand.  The change never delivers what it promises.”


She looked at him steadily. “ You sound as if you have experience, but that is impossible, elves can’t be changed.”


“Elves can be changed, but not completely, so we revert back.”


Interesting.  She wasn’t even sure she could be changed.  Her nature was already predator, so there was a more than decent chance that it wouldn’t work on her, but she pressed on.  Changelings were so much fun to tease and the sex was amazing! Aw dammit, she had gone and gotten interested in this elf.  She so didn’t need this.


“Wow, that would totally, and completely suck.” She grinned slightly at her semi-unintended pun.

He was not amused.

“This is no game.  This is also no way to live your life.  I have seen your like and watched them fall into the Pit never to be seen again.  Mark my words. You will not last long in this place with your easy morals and playful banter.  This place will eat you alive.”


“Are you through?”


He nodded, looking at me as if I had finally gotten his attention for the first time since he sat beside me and started his soul saving spiel.  Well, what do you know, maybe this might be fun after all.


“In this place you dare to judge me?  Really? You know nothing about me.  If you have been in this place as long as you act as if you have, how could you dare to think you know the first thing about me.  You have seen my kind before?  Look around you, you have never seen the kind of half of the beings in this Inn!  So, by all means, you sit beside strangers and roll out your beliefs, which you don’t even seem to believe anymore, and decide who, or more importantly, what these people are.  I would love to see how that works out for you.”


He smirked at me.


“They told me you had a brain and a fiery mouth to match it.   How intriguing.”


“They who?” I glared at him with intensity that masked my instant mortification.  I had been played.


“Your parents of course.”




“Yeah, no, I just don’t think so.  You can try to take me back.  Try.”


“They have no wish to have you back.  They just want the family name protected from whatever trouble you get yourself into.”


He knew what I was.  He knew…wait a minute, Mom and Dad didn’t want me back?


Inexplicably my eyes welled with tears. Damn it.


The elf in front of me froze.  I imagine that this is the last response he ever expected from me.  Inside my triumph of flummoxing the elf and the pain of his pronouncement warred. I stared at him for a few moments more then silently got up and walked out of the inn.  I had learned a few rules from my father, the most important being, always leave with the upper hand.

{brotherhood 2.0}

I was going to go to bed before 12:00 last night.  I promised myself I would.  Then I made the fatal mistake.  You know what I am talking about, the one that takes well laid plans and turns them into so much future guilt. I was in the mood for the Vlogbrothers.

The Vlogbrothers are Hank & John Green. Hank Green is a YouTube media guru, wizard rocker & founder of Vidcon (a convention/conference for Youtubers and and new media).  His brother John is a New York Times best selling author whose latest book The Fault in Our Stars is about to become a movie that both Keith and I are fairly vibrating with anticipation to see (please, please, please just let them do it justice!!!).  Together they are the Vlogbrothers.

We are relatively new converts to John & Hank and of course as I have said before the converted are always more zealous than those born to it. After all we are nerds and the very definition of nerd is that we unironically , enthusiastically like stuff!  Hank & John have formed a organization that is called the Nerd Fighters.  The mission of Nerd Fighteria (yes, this is a word. It is a word because John wills it so.) is to decrease world suck and increase awesome.  They do this by explaining complex subjects (like what is happening in Ukraine) in a way that can be understood, raising money for charities via The Project for Awesome, a youtube centered event that challenges nerd fighters to create videos for their favorite charities.  Last year they raised over $721,696 that was divided among 20 charities.  There are other various projects and craziness as well.

So, yeah I made the mistake of looking over at the play lists at the Vlogbrothers youtube site.  What I found was the beginning.  The initial idea was a project  that these two brothers would spend the year of 2007 in textless communication.  No email, no texting, no letters, nothing.  They would only communicate via phone or Vlog.  They would alternate days (nothing on weekends) and post them on youtube.  The Nerd Fighter community grew out of this project and still thrives today.

I can’t tell you how exciting it was.  How many goose bumps I got watching.  Knowing where things were going and saying “There, right there that was the first time we heard the word Nerd Fighter” or “That is the first time Hank played his own music on the internet.”.  It was an awesome trip backwards.

The downside is envy.  Why couldn’t we have known?  What was going on in my life that I didn’t get to participate in this wonderful maddness?  I personally don’t know how to answer that, my memory is horrible about last week much less what was going on in 2007.  What sort of person would I be if I had accepted my nerd long before I did?

All the speculation is useless of course.

I have found it now and I am excited by it and it gives me joy.  Even at 46.  You never get too old to be a nerd.  Never.