I wanted to take a moment to talk about this book as I haven’t nearly enough. As I wrote the poems that would become Real Big American Zen, I knew the book would be a tough sell. The idea for the cover featuring my masked face would rub some the wrong way; the title would cause some to assume (wrongly) that the writing would lean to one side of the political aisle or the other, and it would stand as a reminder of a year that most of us would rather forget.
I also felt in my bones that it would be, in some way, disingenuous for me to try and steer the work in a different direction; This was the world I was inhabiting; these were the decisions my family and I faced; this was the feeling of my country and the world teetering on the edge of the unknown and unthinkable.
Fast forward to May of this year, my publisher and I are putting the final product together; we’ve managed to incorporate some of my artwork and photography into the book, and though I’m thrilled with our work, I’d come to realize that significant change was needed in my personal life.
In the two years since my father had passed, I hadn’t been treating myself very well. My mental and physical health had gotten away from me, and I was relying heavily on alcohol to suppress the sadness and rage I felt inside. I knew that significant changes were needed, and there was no time to waste.
Now here we are in late September, and I’m proud to say that I feel I’ve regained some control. I feel happier and healthier than I have in years, and though I’m still learning how to steer my creativity with a clear mind, I know the next chapter will be an exciting one.
One of the casualties of these changes was the promotional efforts for Real Big American Zen. I’m going to attempt righting the ship and shining whatever light I can on this collection of poetry, of which I’m still so proud. In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be sharing pieces from the book, perhaps some readings, as well as my Recent Abstractions series.
If you haven’t purchased a copy, I hope you’ll consider doing so. If you’ve bought and read the book, I hope you’ll consider leaving reviews at Amazon and Goodreads or anywhere else you like.