Biting Off More Than I Can Chew?

Never!

But this month is a pretty tough slog. There are things going on that occupy a lot of my attention and there are two activities that I decided to add to this month which makes for a busy time. One is the aforementioned Tupelo Press 30/30 event which I’m doing now. (Please consider sponsoring me!) The other was the 3rd Annual Sioux Hall Memorial Aikido Seminar, which we just completed on Saturday. It was a great time and the Harvard Aikikai students did a great job executing the seminar.

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Now that that’s behind me, I can get back to writing some poetry again!

Amazingly, I’m halfway through the month! I’ve done four haiku so far and am aiming to try to not do more than one more (I really do like to avoid four). Please check out not just my efforts but also the amazing work my comrades are doing this month at the April 2019 Tupelo Press 30/30 page! (And please consider sponsoring me!)

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New 30/30 Set

Well, I’m back at it. I’ve done 4 poems for the Tupelo Press 30/30 and they are up, at least for the time being and before I start really revising them here. Over the next few days, I’ll post my thoughts about my new drafts.

The trick here is I might double up on a few days. I’ve got three really busy aikido weekends coming up and that will take much of my time. If you’re around the Boston area on April 13 and are an aikido practitioner, please consider the Harvard Aikikai’s seminar. Detail can be found at our EventBrite page.

Please also consider sponsoring me in this 30/30 challenge. I am offering a few gifts if you do. See my earlier post for more details. And now, on with the show!

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For Day 1, I wrote a piece titled “The Wetland.” I started April by forgetting my phone at home and rushed home to get it before getting on the morning bus. Neighbors must have thought I was crazy. The mornings are often noisy and it’s easy to get distracted. But just before I got back in my car, I stopped to take this picture and to listen to the birds and the silence between them. Meditation is often best when you listen to the noise of the silences, and that’s the moral of the story.

For Day 4, I wrote a poem in honor of my first donor and classmate, Lori. She is also an Idaho resident. When we were doing our MFA’s all those (ahem) years ago, I started taking road trips. I hadn’t done any as a college student because, well, I was on an island. On one of the earlier one, my brother came along and we drove through the Idaho panhandle. At one point we talked about all these little towns we passed through that we didn’t stop at and weren’t going to. At that moment we were passing through Wallace, Idaho. When I mentioned it to my classmates later, I heard some interesting stories about that town. In any case, that town still represents the freedom of the open road and being young enough to appreciate that.

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For National Poetry Month, I’m Doing the Tupelo Press 30/30 Challenge Again!

Dear Friends,

In celebration of National Poetry Month 2019, I’m going the Tupelo Press 30/30 challenge once again. I had a blast last time, which lead to some of the material in my chapbooks, The Minstrel of Belmont and Leading the Beast Home.

My goal this time is a modest $350 which I’m hoping that you will consider donating to. The proceeds of this fundraiser go to supporting the Tupelo Press and all of its activities. Supporting a small press is an important part of keeping arts in the United States vibrant and alive. Tupelo has been generous and supportive of me over the past few years and I would like to try to support it in a small way.

As a thank you in my goal, I’m offering the following modest gifts. Hanami is my full-length collection. Each book gift will include a thank you inscription.

$25 Hanami & a chapbook of your choice or 1 dedicated poem
$35 Hanami and both chapbooks
$50 Hanami & a chapbook of your choice and a dedicated poem
$60 Hanami and both chapbooks and a dedicated poem

 

Please help me support Tupelo Press and clear out some space in my basement.

Donations can be made here.

Thank you!

 

 

 

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A good article about choosing a martial art for your kid.

This morning my newsfeed directed me to this article: How to choose the best martial art for your child

I was expecting something ordinary and uninspired but was pleasantly surprised by what I read. It’s not earth-shattering, but it does include a lot of comments by parents and students and that is refreshing. As a person who’s done martial arts for a good portion of his life and now teaches some, I appreciate where this article is coming from.

Just as there is no one perfect martial arts system (I’ve said many times before that every system is in some way incomplete and many of us become myopic in our practice) there is no one perfect martial arts system that is the best for children. It depends on the child’s temperament as well as the skill and temperament of the teacher. While there is little we can do about the former, there is plenty you can do about the latter.

Finding a style that suits your child does require that you understand something about a lot of different systems, and there are a lot of good books (don’t just Google this) you can refer to. Do that the next time you take your kid to the library (and if you don’t already, take your kid to the library).

Once you’ve shopped for your system, shop for your teacher. I’ve found I’ve been pretty fortunate over my career. The majority of my teachers (not all have been for Japanese systems) have been good teachers and good people. Not all, but most. Bad teachers can impede growth and progress. A bad teacher who is also a bad person is a whole other mess. It’s better to tell your child to wait rather than take them to someone who will teach them something dangerous or put them in danger. It won’t make them tougher. It will make their lives harder or, worse, tragic.

I think the people in this story did good jobs.

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It’s Been A While

So it’s been a while since I put stuff regularly here. I hope, in the near future, to rectify that. For National Poetry Month I will again participate in Tupelo Press’s 30/30 challenge as my way of celebrating.

I hope that you’ll consider sponsoring me. I will be posting more on that probably tomorrow. The 30/30 Project is more of a marathon than a sprint and I had a blast doing it five years ago. The Minstrel of Belmont was one thing that came from that and I’m hoping to be at least half as productive this time.

Also coming up, I’m hoping to write a few more things about aikido and that journey. A few changes have happened since then and I hope to share that soon.

My little Jewpanese kids continue to grow and that is always a central part of my life. So stay tuned!

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Happy Valentine’s Day

It’s been a while, but here’s something for your viewing pleasure:

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‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘The Good Place’ are Basically the Same Thing

I’ve never seen “The Good Place,” but I have seen A:IW.

I will also admit that I lost track of who died in Infinity War. It was good, but a triffle over-busy towards the end. The Hulk thing I thought was a bit corny and distracting.

The Nerds of Color

by Dominic Mah | Originally posted on YOMYOMF

It took me a weekend of binge-watching to wake up to the fact that Avengers: Infinity War and the NBC sitcom The Good Place are almost the same story. Except, Infinity War is a superhero slugfest about cosmic catastrophe, and The Good Place is an observational comedy about the afterlife. Apart from that existential difference, they have very noticeable parallels.

MAJORLY INFINITE SPOILERS FOR BOTH SHOWS FOLLOW:

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