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.

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A Winter’s Walk down the Lansing River Trail

In Lansing, the capitol of Michigan, lies a trail for bikers and hikers alike. The Lansing River Trail is an approximately 13-mile trail through urban and rural stretches alike, lying in the shadows of Lansing’s bustling streets, twisting through masses of deep-rooted forests, rising up in boardwalks or smoothed out in easy footpaths, and all the while trailing the river for which it is named, providing a scenic route for anyone looking for a little exercise. Not as much of that in the Winter, of course, but even in the midst of this most frigid season, it remains a popular destination. It helps, of course, that the trail stretches all the way to East Lansing, and to the MSU campus.

Saturday, I decided to take a walk down the trail in spite of the frosty weather, and investigate the sights I had been denied since the summer, when a long jog was often a morning’s routine. These are a few of the results of my walk. Enjoy.

Observe the breaks. Just a few seconds prior, I had been standing there, on what I thought was solid ground.

Part of the trail runs under the highway, and where there are bridges, there is graffiti.

Several sections of railroad also run over the trail, and the river.

One of the numerous boardwalk bridges that are a part of the trail.

A Winter Checklist, for Michigan

The Red Cedar River, MSU. By Chris Galford.

Checklist for a Michigan Winter:

1.       Thick coat. Get your dang Northface out of here.

2.       Boots. Preferably fluffy. Leather also good. Steel-toed = best.

3.       Thermal socks. Because your normal whities just aren’t gonna cut it, sweetheart.

4.       Scarf. Because that floppy little hood you’re wearing is just the wind’s plaything.

5.       Hot Cocoa. For the kid inside. And also that numb sensation you seem to be experiencing.

6.       A car that isn’t a Ford Taurus. Snow makes them go into concrete poles, you know. Er, or so I hear…

7.       Salt. Take a step outside after the first winter rain and you’ll understand why. “Boy the ground sure is shiny to—hell!”

8.       A heater. In your home if nowhere else. Don’t got one? Ignore all aforementioned then, cause you’re probably as stiff as Frosty the bloody snow man by now anyway.

9.       Purple fingers. Because hell, even with all the above, you’re still going to get them after any real time outside. It’s a real Michigan color.

Just came back from a 2 and a half hour jaunt through a frozen Michigan State University and a snowy Lansing River Trail. Cocoa now firmly in hand, I have begun the appropriate after-ritual of sitting in a corner with a space heated on and a sweat shirt pulled snug until the feeling returns to hands and feet. Fingers crossed that it’ll be soon.

We've been spending a lot of time together, these books and I.

Productive day though – a good end to an equally productive week. Poems have been sent to four publishers now, with two more publishers picked out with poetry waiting to be sent to them as soon as they begin receiving again come February. Two more publishers will be getting the e-mails tomorrow, and then, it’s time to move on to short stories. Keep an eye out, you may see some on here soon as well (and yes, I know I’ve said that before. I mean it this time…I’ve got dozens).

The last of my editors just sent in their notes about my novel, so I’m all but ready to go on that as well. One last look through, comparing notes and checking final edits…and then it’s off to another, more intricate publisher hunt, and all the stress that’ll bring. But I look forward to it, anxiously.

As for the job front…well…Michigan is Michigan.

Photos will come tomorrow, along with next week’s quotes of the week (no, I haven’t forgotten. I know you’re all watching and waiting for me to so you can say I told you so).

Graduation

Photo Credits: MSU Commencement. Year Unknown.

Graduation is here at last. If you needed an explanation to why the Den’s been a little quiet this week – look no further than that. In a wash of green robes and final papers, my week has been a flurry of continuous movement, continuous demands, and this single Saturday stands as the peak at the end of the long crescendo. After this, I still have a few finals (really, whose idea is it to have final papers AFTER your graduation?) but they are merely the final stepping stones bridging the gap between this life and the next – the entrance to reality.

All next semester will be spent hunting down a job, sending out swarms of short stories, poems, and (hopefully) my novel to contests, publishers, agents, and what have you on the march to creative advancement, and preparing my law school applications. Just have to remember to keep telling myself to breathe in the meantime.

I’d like to take the time to thank you all for all the support and kind words all of you have shown here on my blog over the past year. I never would have thought I’d find such a warm reception to this little creative outlet of mine…and it’s been a kindness, truly. I’ll be back soon enough with more. In the meantime, though…excuse me as I step off into reality. Be back in a bit.

Of College’s End

On Saturday, I will be undergoing my college’s commencement ceremony, and for all intents and purposes in the eyes of Michigan State University, I shall be henceforth a graduate…nevermind that finals aren’t until the week after that. Because that makes perfectly logical sense. Nevertheless, in honor of the day, and the nervousness of what’s coming after, I give you these quotes for the week…

“We acquire the strength we have overcome.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”

~African Proverb

I Still Have a Voice

Just because I cannot hear

Does not mean I have no voice.

My hands are my words

Flowing out like rivers

And these eyes,

They see

Though you look at me as a man blind—

Blind enough to see

Your hands in motion

Signing off my rights

Signing off the hope

That brought me here today.

I am not silent

But you silence me

Bury me in paperwork

Another numerical nonentity

Less a face than a dollar sign—

Black ink rain down

And you break my world

With a pen for a sword—

How can you look at us this way

Hear our pleas, hear our cries

And still sit, as statues

Unmoved, unbroken

Drowning us

With care.

This Wednesday’s post has several dedications. It is first and foremost dedicated to the Deaf Education and American Sign Language students at MSU, who this year, as part of budget cuts, had their programs completely cut from the academia here. I also dedicate this to the deaf community at large, who all have felt the pain of this loss. Eastern Michigan University is the only other University in Michigan to offer such programs to the community.

As usual, it is also for the wonderful One Shot Poetry Wednesdays–once you’ve had a look, check out some of the other One Shot Poets as well– they’re a skilled bunch of poets, looking to form a community and support one another.  Enjoy!

Photos by myself, Chris Galford, from the final MSU Board of Trustees meeting last school year. The alphabet presented below is the alphabet of American Sign Language–a language certain board members previously claimed was “not a real language.”

Of Spring

In honor of the now fully arrived Spring here in Michigan (70s in April? This is a miracle for us), a poem about this beautiful season. I can only hope everyone around me is enjoying the day as well, given all the booze that’s already starting to flow. Final Four Championship today–this place shall be a madhouse. Nevertheless, I give my obligatory shout-out to my fellow Spartans: Go Green!

Anyhow, this poem was composed back in High School, during one of my major poetry bouts:

Spring

Look now the snow is fading,

The grape vines now are creeping

And the frogs once more are leaping.

Flowers reach out for the light-

They had put up quite a fight,

Surviving all the winter fright!

Watch the little children playing-

Lovers on the green grass laying

Death’s dark power now decaying.

The sun’s bright light is beaming,

And the choirs take up singing,

As the Poets start their dreaming-

Dreaming of the days long past-

Spring is here at last!