celebrate a 19 year old teenage novelist, published poet, working journalist

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= about =

I am officially at the University of Connecticut (UConn) at Storrs, living on campus but crashing off campus in Coventry at a cottage by a lake with some people.

I get good grades, mainly because I concentrate on Liberal Arts (languages, History, English, and the like) subjects where I do really well without going to class a lot. I spend much of my time either with a girl, or hanging out with my friends. I don't care for weed or drugs, but I do like to knock down beers with the guys. We've each been carried to bed by our buddies more than once.

I have a few really close girlfriends, but nothing serious in any permanent sense. Not ready. One really sweet girl is frustrated with me and calls me Elusive because half the time she can't find me. That's because I spend a good deal of time running away from her and other girls who want to get very close. I'll be ready for that some day. Right now, I just have to keep moving.

About my home life in the New Haven area, I don't really have much of a one. I love my parents and they love me, but there is always a lot of tension and I'm basically on my own for the most part. I have a part time job but not much money, so I scrounge. Luckily being a poet is not an expensive hobby or occupation. I work summers at a newspaper, as a summer interne.

Part of the home life thing is that I'm not allowed to have a car until I'm 21 and totally on my own. My parents are paranoid about having to pay more insurance, or worse; so I basically hitch-hike everywhere. I don't even question my fate anymore. Hitching is so much part of my life every day that it's second nature.

All of that shows up in my poetry, especially my time on the highways. It's kind of an other-wordly feeling, almost like being on an alien planet (I love SF) to be out there at night, totally alone and suspended between life and death, never knowing what will happen next. It's a huge artistic thing, I feel. The cities, the office buildings with all those lights, and the cars rushing, and all those people and lives going this way and that. What happens is that your life is like a sort of parentheses that gets randomly inserted into other people's lives. I've been pretty lucky. Never had much trouble nor was I ever really scared.

I do have to take that back. The scary ones are the drunks who pick you up. They are often angry, and always incoherent. Makes you feel that they have a death wish and want to take someone with them as they weave around. I'm always amazed they can navigate at all. Always glad to be back on firm ground, alive and in one piece. Sometimes my knees are shaking after an experience like that.

I am definitely a Liberal Arts guy, but I don't know if I want to go as far as an advanced degree, and I really don't know what I want to do in life other than my dream, which is to write novels and earn enough to support myself. And yeah, buy a car so that I can put hitch hiking behind me. It gets old here in New England with the harsh climate. Try hitching some time at three a.m. when it's minus 25 with the wind chill, your feet are freezing, and you're contemplating breaking a window somewhere to get arrested, just so you can stay in a warm cell. That's desperation. Other than that, life is good. I love the concrete world with the streaming lights and the big sky. It's almost like living in a painting. Or an alien world. Or a Biblical scario-scenario

I enjoy reading a lot of different writers and poets, mostly modern. For me, writing poetry has a quiet, insistent jazzy music underneath the surface. If you read my better poems slowly and carefully, you can usually pick up the soft backbeat if you have an ear for it. I think Charles Olson had an expression for it: "From the eye to the ear." You see it, but you hear it somewhere deep inside. It's music, for sure. I am definitely modern. I think sometimes I'm painting with words, often expressionistic, but I try different things and I'm certainly not bound to any particular meter or line beat. I think at heart I am a frustrated musician. I never did manage to master an instrument, and I really love progressive jazz in addition to the rock music we all love. Some classical, some everything, but I like soft, cool jazz the best. It's amazing when they improvise, which is what I think I do mostly. It just comes to me, often in a restaurant or on a bus, and I just start writing.

Poetry: there's no money in it unless you're one of the lucky few shysters who create fast food for the masses. Few people really 'get' real poetry, and that includes most so-called educated persons. You don't need to get a formal education to be poetic (meaning, you either write it or love it or both). The real stuff isn't roses-are-red sort of gibberish (…violets-are-blue, I-see-you, let's-go-to-bed). It's like being a talented musician, which of course involves both having a great ear and also a lot of formal training. You need both to be really good at poetry (formal training, whether from studying years of Classics and Literature, or teaching yourself while you drive a cab or shovel acorns to survive; and none it matters if you don't have a natural ear).

I'm getting a few things published, including in some U.S. and Canadian literary magazines, but so far I haven't earned enough to buy a cup of coffee; and it looks like I'd better think about maybe becoming a teacher (of what?). Oh yeah, I have worked a few summers in journalism as a student intern reporter, out on the streets at night, or interviewing city officials, but that's all so boring. I wonder if I could make a career of hithhiking, since I'm good at it. Look at Jack Kerouac and his book On The Road that seems to sell pretty well, especially to the college crowd. Speaking of crowds, I think I'll always be an outsider. That's just me, alone and hitch hiking on the highway, amid Biblical landscapes so you can almost see time and history flowing by. Maybe I'm a Classical Argonaut, an sailor on the Argo back in the wondrous Bronze Age, looking for adventure…what a story that made, still being recited after thousands of years, and they've made more than one movie about Jason and the Argonauts searching for the Golden Fleece, Argo-sailors, aboard the ship Argo built by the shipbuilder Argos back before both Classical and Biblical times. Yeah, this life only comes around one time, and I think I want to grab as much of it as I can, not losing myself too much in our daily bread and all that. We'll see how it all turns out.

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