RT has double-checked: his post After Sappho is the Rag Tree’s official post #1000, according to WordPress.
RT is amazed he’s gotten this far with the blog; he remembers his first few tentative postings, all without images, and the many wonderful things and superb people he has encountered since those days. He is developing further thoughts on what to do with this blog, most prominently, moving onto WordPress.Org. Money is still tight, however, and he is biding his time.
By way of thank you to his loyal readers, RT lists some of them below. These folks have stuck with him through the blogging ups and downs he has negotiated over the past three years:
1) Margo Roby, Wordgathering. The one and only (so far) Queen of the Dragons of Grammar.
2) Aubrey. A gifted writer enamored of all things Victorian (& then some).
3) X-ties. More is going on in New Zealand than you think…
4) Leanne Cole Photography. …and the graphics from Down Under are impressive, too.
5) N. Filbert (a.k.a. “The Whole Hurley Burley.”) Notebooks, videos, thoughts worth finding, and more.
6) SIMONHLILLY. Poetry, The World Tree, and beauty, generally.
7) Calmgrove. Books: serious fun!
8) Jeffrey Harbin. Great photos from Texas!!
9) The Glyptodon. Tiny porpoises and other miracles.
9) Esther. poems, images, lovely ladies from France…
10) Cindy Knoke. Book reviews!!!
11) thehumansarah. Photos, some of them even funny!!!
12) Elephant. Old-fashioned picture book pictures, just like we used to read!
Thank you all for your loyal interest!!!
Photo: Bouquet of flowers; Author: Paolo Neo. WikiCmns; Public Domain.
Could Gilgamesh (or at least Enkidu) have something to do with the Abominable Snowman? Well, probably not, though the idea will doubtless exercise RT’s roving writing at some level.
And roving it has been! Van Gogh, a fine collection of personal essays, and a book on the 2008 disaster on K2 have all come across RT’s already sagging lap-desk.
On a more serious note, RT has begun work on tablet 6. Nothing is quite what it looks like with a Gilgamesh tablet. Tab 6 is the most complete tablet (except 11) in the original materials, and RT breezed through it the first time around. RT is satisfied with much of what emerged as a gift back then, but he is also aware that the most difficult part of the epic is its continuo, all the stuff that makes the story coherent as a whole–transitions, themes, meters, and what not. So it with a wary (but not weary) eye that he proceeds. All roads (however unlikely) lead to tablet 6… RT
RT sat down at the computer table today and realized it has been some time since he cruised the net looking for new blogs and web sites. So he spent thirty or so minutes doing just that, first giving himself a list of topics to search on. The links below will guide readers to something a little different (for RT, anyway). Enjoy the discoveries!
1. Writer Adept. (topic: flash fiction). RT has never attempted flash fiction before; here is a fine guest-post by FF writer Alissa Leonard relating her experiences with the form and linking to two pieces of her flash fiction, one written with a 500-word limit, the other with a 55-word limit (whoa!).
2. Six Sisters’ Stuff. (topic: dessert). OK, RT, what with his sweet tooth and all, has been known to post on desserts. On the other hand, this dessert looks pretty yummy…
3. Fencing Net. Well, RT has never shown too much interest in the big sports, but since middle-school he’s harbored a secret desire to learn how to fence. Anyway, this site looks like a good place to beginning learning something about this poetic past-time. En Garde!
5. Belgian Pearls. (topic: pearls). From a literal point of view, no pearls here, just some reflections from a life lived large.
RT’s Related Posts: Poetic Tweets.
Photograph: Christmas lighting in Weinstadt-Endersbach (night photo), Germany; night photograph. Author: Wildfeuer. WikiCmns; CC 1.0 Generic.
You read it here first, folks: the Rag Tree has crossed the 50,000-hit mark!!! Add to that 2,200 social media followers and RT doesn’t mind saying he is just plain proud of himself! But he will also add something he learned soon after starting his blog: blogging is mainly about the relationships it generates, that is, the amazing people that you get to know–and RT has met many in his nearly 3 years of blogging. & that reminds him of something he realized long before he began The Rag Tree: writing isn’t about getting published; writing is about community.
That being said, there is no doubt that publishing this blog has given RT a stronger sense of being a writer: of writing everyday (or so) for an audience. And that may have something to do with his continuing progress on Gilgamesh and improvements in other aspects of his life.
At 53+ and still kicking, RT has had a few recent reminders of his place on the timeline: a floater that appeared in his right eye and after several days vanished; a strained muscle in the right hip region (now better), the painless loss of a single tooth. His mother, on the other hand, seems to be doing better with her macular degeneration (she recently received freebies via federal program such as a powerful magnifying glass and a telephone with big numerals…she’s even been reading a bit!).
this is life… RT
Painting: Emma Zorn Lasande (1887); Anders Zorn. WikiCmns; Public Domain.
Yes, dear readers, The Rag Tree is indeed undergoing renovations. Here is a list of the improvements currently in hand:
1) RT’s page, tours, tours will include descriptions of each post.
2) RT has converted the page formerly devoted to his poetry collection, Amassunu, to a page on RT’s sister blog, Ampersand Press and its publications.
3) RT’s page The Line, will soon have more complete information on this fundamental unit of poetry.
and there will be more changes aimed at making The Rag Tree as user friendly and informative as possible.
Illustration: A London Newsboy (1893); Augustus Edwin Mulready. WikiCmns; Public Domain.
Give me enough medals and I’ll win you any war.
Awards, or public recognition of any kind, have always been a problematic enterprise. Surely outstanding performance and heroic behavior deserve recognition, but the standards used to determine such things can be lax. And no matter how strict the criteria, there is the matter of what to tell people who didn’t win the award.
Be that as it may, recognition is vital to any enterprise that does not reward its participants with a regular paycheck. RT is inclined to think that honor is the primary human need, eclipsing even food–after all, just why are we eating, and what will we do when we have left the feast?
Nowhere could this be truer than in the realm of poetry blogs, written as they tend to be from a need to share the heart’s passions. The desire for recognition is keen, and RT believes that the main purpose of the various WP awards is to comfort and encourage such folk as they begin to share their work with a broad audience. After all, and in the not-too-distant past, RT was himself a novice blogger, thrilled by the first handful of hits on his site. Honor is one thing; self-image is something else.
All of this is by way of introduction to the fact that at an unacceptably distant time in the past (a couple of months?) RT received an award nomination himself: the Liebster Award. Many requirements attach to this award, but for the sake of time and sanity, RT is boiling them down to just two, thanking my nominator and naming 11 blogs worthy of the award.
So, to begin again, let me thank Aubrey for nominating me; she is a wonderful writer with a keen eye and intellect. Now, here are the 11 blogs:
1) Book Peeps. Very fine book reviews.
2) A Leaf in Springtime. Panang; Finland. Exotic and socially minded; happy.
3) Belle Typo. Typography and printing enthusiasts, dive in!
4) Shrinksarentcheap. Surreal and therapeutic poetry, sharp and from a woman’s perspective.
5) Cindi Knoke. Interesting life story; beautiful images and words.
6) Hortus Closus. This blog lies a bit off the beaten path; for one thing, be prepared to read her poems in French, for another, be prepared for a certain attraction to women. Tasteful and heartfelt.
7) pdlyon’s weblog. Irish to the core, meaning tea, soda bread, beauty, and Buddha.
8) Becky Van Deusen Pinups. Retro and refreshing material from a practicing model.
9) Types of Typography. A great resource for type and images.
10) Tiaras and Trianon. Who could resist a blog with a name like this?
11) the poem epoch. Poetry, interviews, a touch of humor.
As the end of the year approaches, it’s time for RT to look back at the crop of Rag Tree posts for 2012. As was the case in 2011, RT is sure that several of his better pieces will not make WordPress’s pick of the blog’s most popular posts, so here are a dozen or so that RT thinks can stand a second reading:
1) Hangul, Literacy and Culture: What an Alphabet Can Do For You. January. The forces of history can work in subtle ways. Whoever would have thought that the relatively small kingdom of Korea would produce the world’s easiest-to-learn alphabet? It did, and a social revolution ensued.
2) The Ivory House. February. Histories written in ancient times are few and far between, and the history contained in The Book of Kings sheds light on the emergence of the first Biblical texts, the very roots of western civilization.
3) Mexico’s Lincoln. February. Benito Juarez, by common consent Mexico’s greatest President, advanced the cause of nationalism, democracy, and native peoples in Mexico (and around the world).
4) The New Scottish Parliament Buildings. March. Just too cool for words. A modernist masterpiece and a wonderful addition to Edinburgh’s distinguished architecture.
5) Support Your Local Poets. March. The Chinese have long considered poetry to be one of the healing arts, and RT thinks that the poetic impulse is basic to our humanity. Local poets, those purveyors of healing and culture, deserve our wholehearted support!
6) The Independent Scholar’s Handbook. March. Writing a history of the Persian Empire in the cafe around the corner? Working on a study of Wordsworth at the local library? This book will support you in your endeavors. Come in from the cold!
7) “Talking Leaves”–The Cherokee Alphabet. May. Indian culture is rich with invention and story, a point that Sequoia’s diligent effort to create an alphabet for his people underlines.
8) Stephane Mallarme: “Apparition.” July. Oh, those French poets, perfectly willing to break the rules to create something new and beautiful! Here is RT’s version of a poem by one of their finest.
9) Elsewhere in Outer Space, New Earth. August. RT steers people’s eyes away from the amazing photo-stream coming back from Curiosity, the latest of the Mars Rovers, to consider an even bigger prize: locating an earth-like planet!
10) QuikScript: An English Alphabet for Everyone. September. The Roman alphabet was designed to write Latin, a language significantly different from English. Here, in RT’s opinion, is the finest proposal for an alphabet designed for English.
11) Wheeling, WV and the Dream of an American Fifth Coast. October. Could a renovated canal system help revive inland American ports? Read on!
12) Shawnee: Martinsburg, RT, and the 4th Person. November. Some posts are just a gift. Here is one about RT’s roots, grammar, and the Shawnee origins of West Virginia.
13) Mediterranean Vacation: Lost Landscapes. November. So, what was a Mediterranean vacation like 6 million years ago?
14) The Golden Thread. December. RT looks forward to his offerings in the New Year and the way he will tie them together.
Painting: Roses. Vincent Van Gogh. WikiCmns. Public Domain.
More often than not, RT’s mind resembles a crowded, dusty attic. His notebooks are scattered across two apartments and a storage unit; they go back years. What is worse, despite his best efforts, he keeps getting interested in new topics: he swore, for instance, that the Bible was too big, too contentious a subject for his occasional forays into non-fiction. Then he started reading the Bible.
So over the two plus years he’s been publishing The Rag Tree, his entries, once again despite his best efforts, look a little haphazard and even discombobulated. Lots of branches in this tree, but do they suggest any coherent whole, contain any common message(s)?
To answer this question, RT is introducing a new branch, a golden thread, if you will. The Golden Thread will offer posts that seem to RT especially important in general or relevant to The Rag Tree‘s overall goals. This thread will contain bits and pieces of work that go back many years, and in some cases, right to the start of RT’s writing efforts in the early 1980s. RT will be airing his attic, putting on display materials that, frankly, had no publishing venue before the advent of blogging. He hopes to discover some materials he forgot about in the dusty piles and to be inspired to finish stuff that just seemed too crazy, impossible, or hard to finish.
RT has been wondering about threads in poetry for sometime; here’s a piece that goes back to 2005:
the Story that holds the world together
we’re always killing
we can’t help it
time is the usual suspect
thrown up against
still, we should
is the culprit
I you try to
and it won’t
the facts into
its voices snaking
through the garden
the needle of its rhyme
caressing the ear
the golden thread
of the poem
the poet’s mind.
Copyright © 2012, The Rag Tree
Photo: Men’s Semi-Formal Court Robe, 1st quarter 18th century; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Google Art Project; WikiCmns; Public Domain.
It’s about inspiration isn’t it? You plan something out, work your way though most of it, then realize how to finish it. And so with RT’s unexpected nomination by the Jenny Mac Book Blog. A sense of vindication is hard to avoid, especially since this is an award from one blogger who has shot more than a few sacred cows dead to another. Thank you, JMBB!
Seven (Very Inspiring) Things to Know About RT
1. RT believes that we have an obligation to make the world better.
2. RT takes one Centrum vitamin and three Fish Oil pills a day. (The better to think you with, my dear!)
3. RT has two cats he adopted from the municipal parking lot across the street from his apartment.
4. The cats are Zarina (big white & a bit of a scairdy cat) and Licorice (small black & a fierce panther in miniature). Both are adorable when they are not fighting over hug-time privileges.
5. RT has discovered the magic of peanut butter and orange marmalade on whole wheat bread. Go PB&J!!!
6. RT fixed curried lamb chops for Turkey Day. Always the instigator (even if they were delicious), that RT…
7. RT prefers to use legal pads when composing Gilgamesh (tho he does not use the top of an ice box, or whatever it was, as a writing surface, as did Thomas Wolfe–he was over 6′ 6″ tall).
Now here’s the really tough part–nominating 15 bloggers for the award (or maybe not so tough; there’s a lot of talent out there!):
1. G.E. Gallas. And they’re out of the starting gate! It’s always inspiring to see folks in their 20s emerge into the adult world with lots of energy and verve. Screenwriter, graphic novelist, alternative press enthusiast, Ms. Gallas certainly qualifies as an emerging writer/artist to watch.
2. Kellikillion. Local lady makes good! Farmer’s daughter, teacher, poet, fiction writer, artist, this renaissance woman combines common sense and sophistication to offer fine posts and images.
3. Danny Breslin. Across the Himalayas! Talk about going to extremes for research…A man in love with the written word and the world.
4. Ray Sharp. The Bard of Liminga. A fine poet this gentleman (& in spanish, too). Like RT, Mr. Sharp has seen some things, been some places, and has the eloquence (and humor) to show for it.
5. le chien noir jewelry. Sea glass, paper clips, chalcedony. Going boldly and tastefully where few have gone before, LCNJ nonetheless produces many pieces that have a contemplative feel to them. Water influences more than a few of these imaginative works.
6. Conor Cullen. Hello from the heart of Ireland! Always wanted to visit the Emerald Isle but never had the resources to do so? Try this photographer’s down-to-earth site. The magic and beauty are still alive.
7. Simon H. Lilly. A Celtic Bard via Japan. Buddha, James Joyce, and the Isle of Skye meet in this writer’s work. Some very fine images, too.
8. Sue Silver. Auckland Meets Shepherdstown. East and West meet again in this gifted poet and photographer’s work. Worldly wise, this.
9. Coco J. Ginger Says. A Walk Along the Beach. This blogger’s secret boils down to a single word: happiness.
10. Man of the Word. Worm Ouroburos. The life of the mind played out on the plains…check out the reading list!
11. A Few Short Words. Flash fiction, for real. Young, interested in women, down in the trenches.
12. ljclayton. Deadly Nevergreen. Cool, restrained, gothic. & don’t overlook Le Fanu!
13. LadyRomp. Full Spectrum Femininity. Straight-on women’s empowerment–inspiration, health, motherhood. Did I mention empowerment?
14. chester maynes. federal gods, sparrow lines. Fine haiku and poetry.
15. The Illustrators Journal. Remember when Newspapers were Fun? Marathons, photo shoots, life coaching, cartoons.
Last but not least, instructions. Nominees must write a post that 1) links back to their nominator; 2) reveals seven things about themselves; and 3) nominates 15 more bloggers. They must also display the award’s logo on their blog. Congrats, one and all! RT