From the Mountains to the Bay

It feels good to be playing music again. The last week and a half has taken me from Pangaea Pub in Quincy, to a Women’s Health Specialists open house, and on to the bay area this weekend. Pangaea Pub was a gold mine of a find up in the beautiful mountains off of highway 70. I had no idea what an artistic little town awaited me with free wifi, great beer and food, and a nice little crowd. I got to meet the KHGQ board of directors who were there to partake of the music and beverages. I’ll definitely be back in the spring and summer when the Quincy farmers market is in full swing and the place is packed. Tuesday took me to the Women’s Health Specialists open house where I was invited to play some background music while community members toured the facility and ate some incredible Indian food. As some of you may know, I had been on the board for another clinic in town that focuses on supporting women in the midst of a crisis pregnancy but does not offer abortion services. It was an interesting spiritual process for me to visit another clinic where there are similar stated goals (supporting/empowering women) but different methods. I was inspired by the messages on the walls and in the attitudes of the workers that expressed a fundamental trust that the clients coming in are capable, thinking women. Music continually takes me on a path of growth that constantly challenges me to participate, think, and stand by those ideas. This weekend is a gladly anticipated girls roadie extravaganza to Monsieur Beans in San Jose, and First St. Café in Benicia. For me it’s a time of connecting with my tribe as they follow me into my sacred world of music making what is mostly a very personal experience even while I’m performing into a party. I’m looking forward to playing songs as I watch my beautiful friends laugh, drink wine, and listen to me with the pride and encouragement we all need to keep going forward in our calling. We’d love to see you there too.


Justin August 21, 2013 @03:50 am
Hey Allen, this is a very good post. I self-published and, while I don't regret it, I citaernly haven't made the effort necessary to assure it's success . Marketing is everything. History is rife with mediocre talents who were exceptionally good at marketing themselves. Artistic talent has never been, in and of itself, a guarantor of success. Marketing talent is a much surer indicator.I'm not sure that your advice should be: Don't self-publish. Better advice: Do so with your eyes open and be honest with yourself. If I haven't sold dozens of books, I can't blame anyone but myself. But you know what? I like that. I would rather blame myself than feel as though some publisher counted beans and decided my work wasn't worth the investment. I own my books. When I'm ready, and I'm getting there, they will be ready. My blog has been my first effort at marketing. And it's worked.As to your question://Has the Internet truly leveled the power structure between the “haves” and the “have nots” or has it simply provided opportunities to succeed and to fail that before were not available to people at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale?//I think your question depends on which genre you're discussing. In the music world, it has *definitely* leveled the power structure.In poetry? You know Allen. You're question is based on a premise; and your premise is that there is, in fact, a power structure that there are haves .I question your premise. The whole poetry industry , in all its guises, has dismally failed in the last half century and more. What does success mean to a poet? Does it mean publishing x number of poems in journals, then winning a book contest, then getting published by whatever publisher has awarded the poet first place? If so, then don't self-publish. But that success is short lived. How many award winning books and chapbooks are published each year that promptly fade into obscurity outside anything but academics and insiders?All of them.I frankly couldn't care less for the poetry foundations or the institutes, publishers or their journals. I want to reach the general reader. I want to be read by the general public. When I look at the publishing industry, as it concerns poetry, all I see is a sustained track record of failure.I'd love to know how many copies of Alphabet by Ron Silliman actually sells. Comparatively speaking probably just a handful.If I succeed or fail, it will be on my own terms. I'm OK with that. I own all my poetry.//This blog achieved high traffic and high search engine rankings within six months with hardly any marketing simply because of my skill in search engine optimization.//Mine too. And that's because I filled a niche that no other poet has filled. Anywhere, or at least to my knowledge.Will that success brush off on my poetry? It remains to be seen. But I'm more than willing to take responsibility for its success or failure.