Finally having just arrived back from a three week trip to Istanbul and Israel, April 4 – April 23, 2013 has been basically such an inspirational experience. Somehow this experience has fired me up and given me an impetus to feel/think about the Montaigne Medal and where this is leading me? How it is shaping me for my next literary adventure? How has experiencing Agia Sophia in Istanbul (Constantinople) impacted me? How did the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Western Wall, Masada, Sea of Galilee, the Mount of Olives, etc. all have activated me? What effect has all this had on my own personal life? All I do know is that there is a deeper and deeper joy of life; and being in the present moment as much as possible.
Oh what an awakening! Since that moment my head has been spinning with this larger focus and what I was really doing when I created Unmasked. This award opened a new doorway of my thinking. That I did have a a new thought-provoking title, making new inroads and progress into human emotional growth and personal evolution, and re-directing human thought and illuminating our future human path. This has me thinking of my second book. I am kind of groping toward expressing my ideas that all my complete poems are offering my vision of life; that these 9 facets trace the journey all thinking human beings have to make to arrive at a higher plane.
And so I have been becoming more and more conscious of a “facet 10.” Perhaps this will be my second book; a companion book to Unmasked. I am beginning to see how I am squeezing down, a distillation, the essence of Unmasked down into the emotional/feeling/affective state of “compassion.” Naming my second book: “Ousia=Essence” and even with a new mask to capture that Facet Ten will be Compassion. But will it be all poems? or will it be prose and poetry? Distillation of some of the more “compassionate” poems? Or pushing the limits of human enlightenment and expanding it through old poems, new poems, and prose. Who knows? Just lots of ideas spinning.
The Eric Hoffer Book Award is an annual award given to recognize academic, independent, small press, and self published books that were released or copyrighted in the last 2 years, including unique books with small print runs.
In January 2013, I submitted Unmasked to be judged in the Eric Hoffer Book Award 2013. It was a risk, but one that I wanted to take to see what professional response my creation would have. It was an exciting and an apprehensive period of waiting. Then on the 29th of April 2013, I was formally informed that I am one of the 37 finalists (out of I do not know how many entries) in the category of the Montaigne Medal. The Montaigne Medal honors books that have a “thought provoking title” or books that “either illuminate, progress, or re-direct [human] thought.”
It was such an unexpected but nonetheless thrilling event! It was and still is an unbelievable event for me. And for my first book attempt ever!! But more than just the “ego lift” this award has given me some very important information about my book as a whole versus each of the poems therein. These professional judges alerted me to a larger vision of where my book is heading to. That the collective progressive manner that I laid out the 9 facets, the gestalt of it, where Unmasked is heading is “larger than the sum of its parts.” Somehow even-though I had conceptualized these 9 facets of affects so that I could triage my poems, I was not completely conscious of what I was doing on a more over-riding “higher” plane. It was only when I received the news of my being a finalist in the Montaigne Medal, did the light bulb lite up in my head.
Many heartfelt thanks to all who have read my first book of poetry, Unmasked; most particularly for your responses. These have been extremely insightful to me. Your own personal responses have given me new windows into understanding the un-thought avenues that my poetry have lead each one of you. This has been the most exciting and fruitful experience hearing and reading your feed-backs. And in that, I have been able to expand and deeply appreciate how poetry is always in the “eye of the reader” not the poet’s per-SE. I am happy and very pleased that my own personal, idiosyncratic experiences and affects and emotions did not preclude nor color your own personal emotional lives. I feel that poet and readers are in a mutual human cocoon where there are no boundaries that separate us from our mutual humanity. THANK YOU!