I'm getting very close to releasing my first book of poetry, which will be published by Mezcalita Press in Austin. 'You’ve Changed' is a collection of poetry that was born over seven years of working on a novel. I may work on the novel for another seven years or another seventy. 

    A song can be held in the mind whole as you work on it. Only so much can happen in a song, or at least only so much can be said about it. To be fair, each word carries more weight. Still, a novelist is obligated to come up with a minimum of forty thousand words that can grip the modern attention span for at least an afternoon. Paul McCartney’s ‘Blackbird’ has thirty-four words and is done before you can plunge your French press. 

    To maintain a sense of wonder and play in this highly disciplined writing environment, I created exercises for myself. I would remove time. I would introduce two characters from different books. I would tell a modern story using only words from Genesis. 

    Mostly they were weird little monsters I shared with my friends on the internet. But some were very moving. Some made me cry or laugh out loud. Some still do, even just now proofreading the latest version. Somehow my heart got into it. 

    That's the magic of art. I show up and do things every day. Suddenly one day my hand says something my heart has been trying to say for years. It feels as if a cog has moved inside me. As if my internal machinery has wheeled forward another inch in its specific mission, a mission that is maddeningly hidden from me inside the ink of a thousand hotel pens. 

    You’ve Changed is a seven-year journey of inches. I didn’t even know I was making a book and now it's almost done. I hope you get to hold it in your hands. 

 

You've Changed

 

We had breakfast with a friend

it made us late for an appointment

but we got some great photos

 

I was reading the side of that building on Queen Street

when I stepped out in front of the bus

In letters three stories high

it said You've Changed

 

I have.

 

it's no surprise that your taste buds choose your mood

The softness of light saltiness

The pleasure of discovering everyone

The rare salvation of satisfaction

 

Mary Oliver said on the radio

 

There is no nothingness

but there might be an end to consciousness

 

That's why I shouted Thank You

in the middle of Queen Street

as I was about to die

 

just in case

 

Thank You

 

It was hard but in the end

I loved life

most of all I loved my senses

I had breakfast with friends

I'm ready again

 

Thank You

**********************************

We're playing this weekend in some of our favorite places

 AUG 3 THU
The Purple Fiddle
Thomas WV

AUG 4 FRI
Club Cafe
Pittsburgh PA

AUG 5 SAT
Oak Grove Folk Music Festival
Verona VA

and next weekend...

AUG 10 THU
Birthplace of Country Music
Bristol, TN

AUG 11 FRI
White Horse Black Mountain
Black Mountain, NC

AUG 12 SAT
Sertoma Amphitheatre at Bond Park
Cary, NC

AUG 13 SUN
Listen Speakeasy at Hush
Greensboro, NC

and the next weekend! 

AUG 18 FRI
Bear Creek Folk Music Festival
Grande Prairie Alberta

Your fan, 

JByrd

 

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