The New Year’s coming up Roses

Cheers, everyone, and here’s hoping your New Year is off to as fine a start as this little Spartan scribbler. Between a fine hat, some energetic friends, and screens getting flooded with green roses (you’ll understand momentarily), it was a unique (exhausting) and probably one of the better end of the year experiences in which I’ve partaken.

But I mentioned exhaustion, so while I hope the days to come will treat you all well, and I guarantee you this site will begin getting back into the swing of things, this is just going to be a quick, drive-by wave of a hello.

So, in essence, I’m just going to set these here…

A certain band of Spartans refused to back down...

A certain band of Spartans refused to back down…

...and I may have acquired a shiny new hat.

…and I may have acquired a shiny new hat.


The Music of Life

Photo by Chris Galford.

This time of year always gets me to thinking. On life. On death. On family and friends. Toss in a little bit of “purpose” in there to boot, and we have a veritable medley of late nights ahead. This year’s kicked it into overdrive, though—far from home, far from what I know, first book out there, struggling to make sense of it all. But tomorrow, I head home. Amidst snow and ice and the sodden flight of the night, I head back to Michigan for the holidays.

And the mind cranes toward the whimsical.

There is a certain music to life. It is in the air. In a lover’s eyes. Reverberating in our own delicate touches upon the world. Even when you inevitably ask the bleary-eyed teenage neighbors to turn down the racket, and the bass fades into nothing, the music of existence still resounds. Sometimes it’s just a whisper. But sometimes, it is a veritable symphony.

The real wonder, I find, is trying to puzzle out the notes. We can identify the chords as they come, but putting them all together can be more of a puzzle than a tune—for while there might seem some pattern in a series of certain moments, it is gone in the next. This might frustrate some. In fact, I know it does. Yet I can’t help but find it beautiful. Wondrous, even.

Close your eyes. Breathe it in. Senseless wonder—is that you?

Soulful artist Grace Kelly. Photo by Chris Galford.

So often we try to attach purpose to everything we do. In fact, I dare say it’s a human imperative. We are so distraught if we cannot master “the tune,” drumming up a performance to put all our ancestors to shame. Yet I must say there is a certain freedom in realizing it doesn’t all have to make sense. We don’t always need a purpose—that is merely a construction, to add some unidentifiable quality of “worth” to life.

You know what is truly priceless? A sunset. Drink that vision in. Crisp mountain air. Feel it on your skin. The smile of that like-minded soul just across the room. Let the sensation pool inside you, and stir that heart to motion.

Now try to do it without calling me a hippy. Thank you.

Life does not always need to have purpose. It is a chaotic tune, often enough—a jazz-like echo through which each and every one of us grind along. Sometimes, all life is—truly—is the simplest of moments, where we can stop and breathe and hear it all stirring around us.

I think if we could find more moments to just…stop, we would all be a little saner for it. But then, maybe that’s the writer in me talking. And I don’t think anyone would ever accuse him of being the sanest man in any room.

(P.S. Almost forgot to let you all know—this week and this week only, e-book versions of The Hollow March are on holiday sale if you purchase through Smashwords. At just 99 cents, it’s perfect for a virtual stocking stuffer for that fantasy lover in your life—because nothing says Merry Christmas like the ring of steel and magic.

See that? Now you know what I meant when I said the writer in me’s not the sanest lad in the room!)

Hopes, Memories, and a little Creativity…

Michigan State Capitol Building, by Chris Galford

No Present

Caught himself along the past–

years passed before he ever realized

No Present.

So many are consumed by the past, and what has gone before, they forget to live in the present. As 2011 looms, I hope you reflect, but I also hope you take the time to look around you and enjoy a touch of the now.

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone!

Image care of Demotivational Posters.

I’d like to thank you all for all the support you’ve shown as readers, and peers…fellow writers and photographers all. That you’ve shared your works and encouraged and supported me in the sharing of my own has been a joy without end. I wasn’t sure how well the whole “young writer hitting the Big Bad Web” angle would go for me…you seem to see everyone everywhere trying it these days, and it certainly seems daunting to try and wade into such a hefty mass–amateurs, experts, and all manner of unseen forces lurking in the background, with the looming horror of plagiarism and creative theft.

And yet, things have gone better than I ever could have imagined. When I first started the Waking Den, I never would have dreamed there was such a vibrant and accepting community out there, just waiting to nurture and support fellow creative types. It has been an honor, yes, an honor, to read your comments on my own work, and to see and to read and pick through yours. There is a lot of talent out there, and it’s always a pleasure to discover new gems.

The One Shot Wednesday Mike

Another thing I never could have anticipated this year: One Stop Poetry. When I first started posting my poetry, and my photography, I thought I would be lucky if anyone swung through. I would have been happy with a couple comments here and there, be they critiques or praise. Yet then Leslie Moon came along, and through her I met the other wonderful founders of One Stop: Adam Dustus, Brian Miller and Pete Marshall. To be a part of that community, of such an up-and-coming site for creativity, was a joy among joys. Suddenly all those fellow poets were in one places, and they were sharing, and reading, and writing…it was the promised land.

When Leslie asked me on-board as a fellow manager, I was not only stunned, but ecstatic. Never in a million years could I have predicted that – and I couldn’t have asked for more. Since then I’ve gotten to work with Gay Cannon and Claudia Schoenfeld as well, two more managers added to the One Stop family. Between them and the founders, it’s a team without equal – and the experience has been both a blessing and a treasure. I get to interview photographers about their passion, see into the minds behind an art that has always fascinated and intrigued me. I get to share something I genuinely enjoy with the world-at-large.

And one can’t put a price on that.

Pure Michigan, by Chris Galford

Joy? I have a lot of it from this year. 2010 was a great year. I graduated, and not only that, I did so while acing every class. I had a great internship with the Lansing City Pulse that showed me first-hand how a real news organization works, and gave me an

See that guy in the fancy hat? That's me. Post-graduation with my father.

opportunity to flex my knowledge of the arts, as well as my photographic eye. I’ve climbed mountains, wandered beaches. I finished my first novel in a trilogy, “The Hollow March,” edited it, and gotten quality reviews back from its first readers. I’ve met new friends, joined a community of fellow writers, established a writer’s group in my own town, and have set about the ground work for hunting down publishers for short stories, poems and that fancy novel of mine. I’ve applied to law school, gotten my letters of recommendation, and now…I’m ready to hit the ground running.

If 2010 was a great year, I plan on making 2011 an amazing year. I hope you all will continue to support me as I do so – I couldn’t have come so far without all your kind words, your critiques, the inspiration of your presence.

And I hope above all that you all will have a wonderful year ahead as well. Here’s to the old year, and to the new – Cheers to all of you!


"Foggy Notions of Photography," by Chris Galford


They would not toy with it, nor move it by and by,

for some irredeemable quality smothered within the sheet,

the colored tape amidst a sea of flashing life cries,

this rainbow city borne on secret chambers of the heart

no monitors nor viewfinders might seek,

and such writhe the passion, blinding hot,

its heaven lain beneath the glittering sheets,

fed upon the blood, all same scarlet–

they are mighty walls they raise between the dying and the dead,

but beneath the sheet, the flash enfolds

the bone, always bone–

the city all men walk, though the hearts might beat them down

and grind them into dust.

* My contribution to the last One Shot Poetry Wednesday before the New Year! One I wrote several months ago, during a philosophical bent following a rather long and heated discussion between several friends on man, and the world, and all that fun stuff.

And as an aside, let me just take a moment to thank you all for all the support you’ve shown this year, both to me, and to One Stop Poetry. It’s been great delving into the online poetry community, and to find so many of you so willing and supportive of reading, and sharing the art we all love. I hope the year has been as good for you as it has for me.

I know I look forward to seeing more of what you have to offer in the days to come – and I hope you all continue to enjoy what you find here in my humble little den.

Cheers, everyone.

Merry Christmas!

A Christmas greeting and well-wishes from all of us at One Stop Poetry! May all the season treat you well, and find you right, as we wind our way through these wonderful holidays, and into a New Year.

And featuring, “Christmas Bells,” a Poem by the famous Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882):

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!’”

Homeless Holidays

Too often this time of year, it is habit and standard to think of those closest to our hearts, those we love and cherish and hold above all others. We think of those presents we wish to give them, the smiles on their faces. We think of the cheer on their faces and let it become the holiday, and that is beautiful, and good.

But in that process, we often forget the others – those people that do not have the luxury of that cheer. This is not a wholesale judgment of others, for I recognize the tendency in myself as well – it is only natural, but we must force ourselves to face reality, to turn our minds and our hearts beyond our own.

To that note, for this Christmas Eve I grant a more solemn contribution to the season, the reality of the above:

Carolers sing out,

cheer static smothers cardboard

hides the ringing cups.

This season, just remember, as you are opening gifts and trading smiles with those you care about, that there are others, much less fortunate than we, who will not experience that joy. There are those with naught but memories of these things, and some that have never gotten to experience that holiday joy…please, keep them in your thoughts as well.