I haven’t been writing much poetry lately, but I love reading at open mics, and I’ve got lots of conflicting feelings about launching my new book, so I wrote this for Poets Speak Loud, the monthly open mic at McGeary’s Tavern in Albany. The applause was music to my ears. My shadow side is set in italics.
Me and My Shadow
HOPE DAWNS ETERNAL! That’s the title of my brand new book, available at last on Amazon. My state of mind is sunny too.
Watch out, Julie. Hope is just one step shy of mania. Trust me, you don’t want to go there.
Small likelihood of that. I haven’t been manic in years.
Oh yeah? You still dream of being a best-selling author, don’t you?
Of course, but this time it’s totally within the realm of possibility. It’s not like the time I thought I’d collaborate with the President of Bard College and Robert Rauschenberg to save the Hudson Valley. A vampire soap opera thriller – how can it possibly miss?
Vampires have been done to death.
I beg to differ – they’re immortal. Hence, HOPE DAWNS ETERNAL.
There’s nothing new to say about them. Besides, your writing is pedestrian – you’re no Bram Stoker or Anne Rice.
I’m as good as the Twilight author, and a hell of a lot better than that British broad who wrote Fifty Shades of Grey.
Touche. Her writing’s an abomination and her heroine’s an idiot.
Yes, and an insult to liberated women everywhere. But reading trash that terrible gives me hope.
Cling to your pitiful delusions if you must. But soap operas are going the way of the dodo bird – they’re practically extinct.
They still have millions of fans, and that’s my biggest target audience.
Good luck with that – those soap fans don’t read books.
You’re stereotyping a bunch of people you don’t know. Anyway, lots of people don’t read books these days. Even elitist snobs like some of my so-called friends. People who claim to support the arts, but only patronize the artists vetted by the New York Times or the New Yorker. Shell out $11.00 for a friend’s book? Fuggedabout it, as Tony Soprano would say.
Hey, wait a minute, Julie. I’m your shadow side, your Debbie Downer. You’re sounding every bit as negative as me. I thought you were upbeat.
Maybe your cynicism’s catching. Or maybe it’s my Scandinavian heritage – I’m three-quarters Norwegian and one-quarter Swedish. Depression’s in my blood.
Speaking of depression, didn’t you fall into a suicidal funk after your first two books came out and failed to set the world on fire?
Yes, and I can’t afford to fall into that death spiral ever again. That’s why I’m marketing like crazy.
But you hate marketing.
Hate’s too strong a word, and marketing’s a necessary evil. I’ve got to suck it up and grin.
Good luck with that. Anyway, it seems you’re pretty stable all in all.
Maybe that comes with age. Or maybe it’s my meds. Speaking of which, my shrink may be retiring. He wants to work exclusively in nursing homes.
Hmm, that’s interesting. You’re getting up in years, are you not?
Yes, that’s why I’ve christened my publishing imprint Norse Crone Press.
So maybe you’ll get lucky and keep the same shrink when you go to a nursing home. By any chance does he work for The Eddy?
Shadow, you’ve got a warped sense of humor.
You think I’m kidding? I’m just being practical.
Practical’s for dullards. I’m way past practical, and just pissed off enough to banish you from my brain. I order you: begone.
In other words, fuck off.