Virtual Blog Tour - Welcome To My World

Welcome virtual tourists! Make yourselves at home. It is sweet to imagine you here. 

Peruse back through my 18-day poetry journal experiment, back through the sneak preview pages of poetry and illustrations that comprise my forthcoming book One Way to Ask, back through the poems I created in InDesign, all the way back to the word games I hosted, and all the random stuff in between. Enjoy your stay. Feel free to comment.

Even sweeter that imaging you here is imagining that someday I might meet you in person. I love when a virtual friendship enters real life. That's a deep joy I experience in knowing Ina Roy-Faderman, who brought me into this blog tour. 

I have long admired Ina's poetry on Poetic Asides, the Writer's Digest poetry blog and forum hosted by Robert Lee Brewer.  Finding out that she is only an hour away by car, I knew that we would meet in person.And so we have. I was delighted to embrace Ina and read with her at my wife Lauren's art opening in Berkeley last month and to have visited with her and her charming family soon after. 
An amazing poet of rich imagery and deeply felt response, Ina has also agreed to be a contributor to my other blog IMUNURI, a small group blog run by rotating invitation. Soon, you'll see Ina's poetry there, too.

I'll also mention that Ina and her co-blogger Andrea Heiberg featured me in their connections column. 

Now the blog tour questionnaire

What am I working on? 

Lots. There’s a personal story I want to re-pitch to the podcast “Risk,” which I love. I pitched it in March and got really good feedback from the show’s creator Kevin Allison, but it took me a few months to actually digest his input and think how to deepen the story. I'm working on getting a revision ready to send his way for reconsideration. 

I'm also working on a card-based writing/creativity tool, playtesting it in different contexts. At some point, I think I'll pitch it to Chronicle Books. Some of their best selling stuff tends to be interactive, creativity things.

Meanwhile, I have been working on getting my book, One Way to Ask, into print. The book is a collection of poems in an original form I call “queron.” I started writing queron in 2009. Late 2012, I decided to make a book with a selection of them, each paired with art by different artists. I spent 2013 putting together the art-an-poetry manuscript, and since January 2014, I’ve been submitting to publishers, about a dozen so far. It feels like I’m honing in on my eventual partner(s) in bringing the book out, but I won’t say more right now. 
by Derek Wilson for the poem "Discharge"

I notice that the book had to reach a sort of finality before I started shopping it to presses, but now that its venturing into the world, it’s gone a little fluid again. I find myself questioning some of the poems, some of the art-poem pairings, some of the art—and wanting other artists to come in. Maybe that’s part of the process. It feels as though once a publisher says yes, I’ll want another 3-6 months to re-finalize the book, hopefully with the input of the publisher or an editor. Know anyone?

I continue to write poems. Golden Shovel is a big thing for me now since that’s the Poetic Form Challenge currently live at Poetic Asides.

My co-run blog continues apace with Ina coming on board.

Last weekend, I taught a class on narrative using the card-based writing tool I mentioned above at the Interplay Arts Plunge weekend intensive. Interplay is a fascinating improv storytelling and movement form. You can learn more about it at I recommend it.  I am also frequently performing with the Interplay improv troupe Wing It in Oakland.

Teaching also at the Writer's Forum in Petaluma and guest blogging there. 

And writing professionally, now in my 10th year at this agency. Current clients include SuperCell, AT&T, Central Garden & Pet, TXU Energy...

I work on a lot at once, juggling, advancing, venturing, attempting, and always writing and looking for ways to flare creatively into the one life I have. Loving it.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Apart from the fact that there’s really nothing new under the sun, I do have an original poetry form I’m working in — that's queron. I’m also all over the place, into corners and quarters that probably don’t exactly match any (or many) other writers/artists out there. The blend of poetry and professional writing seems unusual to me.

My book has a nice spin in combining poems with art by different artists, but that’s hardly new. The only real difference is that it’s me and not someone else.

Why do I write what I do?

I like having FightsWithPoems as a container for whatever ideas come to mind, to shake even my own expectation of what I might post. When something occurs to me, I can say yes to it and give it a try. If I like it, I can keep going, and if not, I can stop.

What comes out has to be honored. The Internet lets you give creative flights a space to unfold without expectation. Poetry is good preparation for blogging because as a poet you learn not to expect money, attention or respect. Any amounts you get are a pleasant surprise; meanwhile, you're free to follow any creative whim that blows strong enough to get pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard.

How does my writing process work?

I write everywhere, many hours every day. I often break up a workday by writing poems or other personal creative experiments. That breaks my attention from what my writing job demands so I can return to it later and see it from a fresher perspective. In the same way, I often jot work-related copy or ideas in the evenings or early in the morning, out of the office.
A page from my most recent notebook showing
draft work on the queron "DIKE SUNSET CASI"
with some random notes inserted between the pages.

I like writing on the train, also while walking around town. I always carry a scrap of paper and a marking implement on me so I can jot any ideas that come. Sometimes I take a walk with the conscious intention of writing as I go.

I write on the toilet, I write before bed. I write things at lunch.

The way the process usually goes now is that I have a raw data journal for all the drafts, marks, attempts, revisions. Always unruled paper! I like the chaos. If I've written something worth saving on a separate scrap, I'll tape it into my journal.

When something good happens in the compost pile of my journal (that’s a Natalie Goldberg idea), I type it up. I have a word doc for all my poems in the calendar year. It’s an arbitrary break, but makes file size manageable. I start new docs for anything that seems new and back up to DVD about twice a year. I keep many files as PDFs on my iPad for easy reach and reference.

I submit stuff for publication several times a month – poems, essays, the manuscript, and “other.”

When stuff gets published, I try to keep hard copies in my “Look Book” that I take with me and display when I perform or teach. I sell the small chapbooks I’ve self-published at these kind of events, too.

I stay open to opportunities and ideas, and my friends and family know my proclivities, so they send things my way when the meet them.

Chaos. Input. Output. Surrender.

Who's next?

Janice Sandeen Janice Sandeen is a long-time friend and the consummate artist. As much as anybody I know or have met, Janice practices engaging the world in its immediacy; that is, without mediation. What she creates in writing and in physical artwork — and in the art of her living — fills with deep ideas, understandings and curiosity about the world. This is just to say that I love Janice's mind. I find her blog heady and fascinating, begging a careful reading and meditation. 

Madeline Kane
Mad Kane flat out makes me laugh. Her humor blog is the best limerick wellspring I know about on the Internet. I also really like Madeline's involvement in creating a limerick-writing community; in soliciting submissions to her weekly contest; in delivering current events in limerick form; in following, commenting on and supporting other bloggers — and being a good Net denizen. I love to read her blog because it makes me laugh, and I love to participate because writing limericks is a natural kick for me. Wanna try it? You'll find a generous host in Madeline and a friendly audience in the community she's built.

Linda Goin 
I've admired Linda's poems at Poetic Asides for a very long time. The depth of her writing astonishes me, and at the same time her willingness to experiment and write outside her middle-zone is inspiring to me. She has been a contributing author to for several months. 


  1. Thanks for this fascinating look into your writing life. You're an inspiration to so many of us!

    And thanks so much for your generous words about my limerick blog and my weekly Limerick-Off contest. And for inviting me to participate in the Virtual Blog Tour.

  2. Daniel - your vibrancy and ever so slightly delightfully off-kilter unique way of looking at this world of ours just crackles here in this visit. How wonderful to "hear" you speak. Sending all the best positive energy I can muster out to you - you absolutely do not need luck with the wealth of talent and bubbling love of life you hold and share :)


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