Friday, August 21, 2009

Sage Advice, and Work

First, thanks to Sage for his insightful review of Write With Fire. Much appreciated. The book is getting a fair number of reviews, so far all good ones!

Work is kicking my ass and I’m way behind. So, it’s standard operating procedure for first thing in the new semester. I’m keeping my head above water so far, although with the pouring rain outside at the moment I don’t know how long that will last.

Lana seems to be almost completely recovered from her surgery. She’s already feeling much better than she was before so I’m happy about that.

While listening to the rain and helping students, in the background I’m running “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” by T. S. Eliot. If this isn’t a masterpiece then I don’t know what is. I wish I could write a poem this fine.

"The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep."

No time to write poetry now, though. The students are coming, hungry for overrides, in need of schedules, wanting me to fix all their problems with a few taps of my fingers on the keyboard.

And guess what: The electricity just went kaput! Better save this before the laptop battery loses its charge.

I’ll post this when our current returns!


Heff said...

Life without power these days is no life at all.

Rick said...

Hey, Charles. You might want to head over to William's blog ( as he's issuing an open invitation for stories a follow-up collection to "High Seas Cthulhu."

Just a heads up. Don't tell anyone else.

Heather said...

I'm right there with you getting my ass kicked by work. Here's to hoping we both dog paddle well...

Scott D. Parker said...

I've been out of grad school for over a decade now but I still miss the going-back-to-school fun.

Oh, and next time the power goes off, grab a pencil and paper and write the old fashioned way. It's neat to hear the scratch of pencil on paper.

Greg said...

hey Charles - that is a great poem. hope you find some time away from work soon.

Charles Gramlich said...

Heff, it certainly makes you feel like you're back in the stone age. I was just about ready to start hunting for my supper with a stone knife.

Rick, I'll check it out. Cool! BTW, I'm reading your horror collection. Will post about it after I get further along. I get so little time to read these days.

H. E., I'm paddling but I sure could use a nap.

Scott, I do write sometimes by longhand but I have to transcribe it pretty quickly or I won't be able to read my own writing. I so wish I had neat penmenship.

Greg, the whole thing is just amazing. I'm planning on sleeping this weekend.

Steve Malley said...

Be wary of TS Eliot's poetry: it sets a seductive trap. A small amount of exposure will improve your writing tenfold. Too much, and you risk going the route of Dean Koontz...

Shauna Roberts said...

Not to brag, but I'm farther behinder. (Being out of town for six weeks will do that to you.) Hope you and I both get on track soon.

Travis Cody said...

You forgot to take your magic wand to work, didn't you?

It's been ages since I read that poem. And yes, I agree that it qualifies as a masterpiece.

ivan said...

Great to hear Lanais on the mend.

As for the power, the other shoe always seems to drop, doesn't it.
Yes, the wise Eliot helps during the blackouts. He and his cookie monster rewrite man, Ezara Pound.
I especially like Ash Wednesday.

I emulate Eliot and Pound again and again, causing Mark in Detroit to almost ask, "What in tarnation are you talking about?"

Stewart Sternberg (half of L.P. Styles) said...

This kind of list is bullcrap. How do they pick these books. I've read thirty six, and tried to get through probably eight more. But how meaningless. You know, this is the sort of stuff that reinforces my negative opinions about the literary types who wave their snobbish noses at the proletariat. They LOVE reading stuff they feel is representative of the proletariat, but they wouldn't rub elbows with the working class if their life depended on it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go and eat some worms.

laughingwolf said...

good to hear lana's feeling so much better :)

i know all about the power probs, my friends in florida are suffering from em as well :(

hope most of hurricane bill misses you all, last i heard it's a cat 4 :(

Cloudia said...

Thanks for this vivid taste of your life at the moment!
Listen to that rain!


Comfort Spiral

Lana Gramlich said...

Sorry about pre-reg. I know it's a rough time of year. *hugs*

Charles Gramlich said...

Steve Malley, I've read a couple of his collections, but Prufrock is just so grand! It may be too late for me. Save yourself.

Shauna Roberts, I can see that! Good luck on catching up soon.

Travis, I thought they'd installed "easy" buttons at work but those weren't working either.

ivan, half the time I don't know what Prufrock is about but I don't give a damn. It just rings so purty.

Stewart Sternberg, hey, they slummed pretty darn good when they picked The Da Vinci code. Had me thinking they were tards there with that one.

laughingwolf, yes, I'm hoping Bill sails well out to sea. We get nervous down here when we hear of these storms these days.

Cloudia, black skies at noon today where I was.

Lana Gramlich, it helps to come home to you sweetums.

Lena said...

Who wouldn't want to write poetry like this :)
Wish though that despite everything you still could find time to write poems.

glovin said...

They LOVE reading stuff they feel is representative of the proletariat, but they wouldn't rub elbows with the working class if their life depended on it.

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the walking man said...

and they say power outages are a pain in the ass...I beg to differ.

David Cranmer said...

First it's good to hear Lana is recovered and based on all the reviews I've read you've written a winner of a book. Kudos to that.

Sam said...

I'm so glad to hear Lana is feeling better!
TS Eliot has long been my favorite poet - I think I love 'The Straw Men' the best.

Sam said...

Now why did I write Straw? I meant Hollow. LOL
And this is how the world ends...

Miladysa said...

Congratulations on both the book and the review Charles.

Sorry to hear that Lana has not been well and pleased to hear that she is making a good recovery.

You have me thinking about those students - are they all very different year after year or do they often remind you of others you have taught in the past?

laughingwolf said...

bully billy is on course to strike us sunday... :(

btw, alexandra's post on 'the mist' breakdown, and more, were gobbled up by blogger, so she reposted:

Charles Gramlich said...

Lena, One of these years I'm going to take some time off of prose to focus on poetry. I'd like to delve in more deeply, but I haven't given it the attention it desrves.

Glovin, I think that's true.

Mark, I remember a couple of power outages that turned out pretty OK! ;)

David Cranmer, there have been some good reviews. I'm very happy about that. I sweated about having that book published given my lack of fame as a writer.

Sam, oh yes, Hollow men is great. And Lana is a trooper.

Miladysa, thanks, I appreciate that. As for students, they change, not from year to year, but from generation to generation. I've been teaching long enough to see that now.

laughingwolf, I hope Billy won't cause any serious problems. Thanks for the link.

j said...

Sending you positive thoughts filled with energy and organization :)

I hope the power is stable now. Aside from the computer, August in the South with no air conditioning is a booger bear.

Travis Erwin said...

Hope you got your juice back quickly.

Spy Scribbler said...

While I miss the kids (not the parents), I am SO relieved not to be teaching this year. I knew, of course, how stressful and time-consuming teaching was, but I don't think I realized just how stressful it was.

Charles Gramlich said...

jennifer, we get a fair number of outages but fortunately they have usually happened at night when it's not so brutally hot. But yes, AC is something you don't want to lose down here.

Travis Erwin, it was only out about half an hour so we survived pretty well.

Natasha Fondren, yes, at times it really is. I know it's amazing how tired I can be after a day of teaching just a couple of classes.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Glad to hear about Lana.

ivan said...

Stewart Sternberb,

Yes, booklists and creative writing could be conscrued as elitist.
But never mind. Come the revolution, Comrade! :)

Charles Gramlich said...

pattinase, me too. I hate to see her in pain.

ivan, What's the saying, the revolution will be televised?

laughingwolf said...


billy is making a mess all around me, but so far i'm good :)

Michelle's Spell said...

Hi Charles,

I hear you -- Prufrock is just so perfect, I could cry. Always aspiring for something like that, always falling short. But I do love to read it.

Charles Gramlich said...

Laughingwolf, good to hear that nothing serious has happened so far. Luck!

Michelle, I just don't know if I have it in me to put in the concentrated high level intensity that fills that poem. Maybe some day.

jodi said...

Hey Charles,, Glad to hear Lana is gettin' back up to speed. That is a very cool poem with images that even I can understand. Being without power is a drag!

Charles Gramlich said...

Jodi, thanks. Yep, great poem, and no power sucks.