Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Behind the Words "New Rules"

The following is the third posting in a series I am calling "Behind the Words." These posts will include a poem from either Today Then Tomorrow (2011) or Independent (2006) and some explanation of how and why I wrote this. I will use this series to provide some insight into my method of fostering an idea from inspiration to completion. There are some of poems that I will not cover because they need to stay as they are; open to interpretation and there for the reader to understand what it means to them.

The following poem "New Rules" is included in Today Then Tomorrow. The inspiration behind this poem came from the personal experience of becoming a professional adult. At a certain point we transform from a young adult to a professional adult. The evolution that takes place involves adapting to this new world with a learning curve that is different for everyone. Personally, I am lucky to work in an interesting, but fairly laid back atmosphere. There are others in my office that do have to wear that ultra-professional sales & marketing hat. My observations of these wonderful folks and also others in my life who similarly tread in these waters were the basis for the idea and the specific language used in the poem. I find the culture of an office an corporation interesting in the regards to how people on the rise try to adjust to the way things are done and the unwritten rules and customs that are involved in climbing that career ladder.


NEW RULES

This is what you do
in a given position,
as rising status
bears standards
and a suggested vision

At first unsure
of steps to pursue,
past tendency yields
on new passages
to pass through

Now stumbling
with discretion
to win a part
in this play,
you lean on walls
and on others
just to find
the next day

Old rules
become altered
in stage shows ahead,
as risk dances
to melodies
of whatever is said

With ascension higher
humility is essential,
small success
should give way
to a next time’s
potential

Broader concepts
develop
with firm repetition,
as flat scenarios
assemble
into tangible non-fiction

Chances ahead
corralled raw yesterday,
become today’s moves
in new games
that are played



Andy Levine
Author & Publisher
Vizion Books

Monday, February 14, 2011

Behind the Words: Wind From a Shadow (for Leroi Moore)

The following is the second posting in a series I am calling "Behind the Words." These posts will include a poem from either Today Then Tomorrow (2011) or Independent (2006) and some explanation of how and why I wrote this. I will use this series to provide some insight into my method of fostering an idea from inspiration to completion. There are some of poems that I will not cover because they need to stay as they are; open to interpretation and there for the reader to understand what it means to them.

The following poem "Wind From a Shadow" is included in Today Then Tomorrow. This was written in memory of Leroi Moore, the late saxophonist of the Dave Matthews Band. Leroi tragically passed away in August of 2008 from complications following an ATV accident. I am a huge fan of the Dave Matthews Band. I have seen them perform live over 15 times. Their music means a lot to me as do all the members of the band. I was extremely sad when news broke about Leroi's passing. He added so much to the band and to the music they played both in the studio and in concert. This is the third DMB-centric poem I have published. In my first book Altered Vizion (out of print) I wrote a piece about the band in "The Fire Symphony." In my second book, Independent, there is a poem "Three Thank You's for David." This was in dedication to David Gray, Dave Matthews, and my father.

When Leroi passed, I felt compelled to write something for Today Then Tomorrow. I went through many drafts of the poem. I wanted to do everything I could to capture what he brought to the stage and to the ears of his listeners Leroi always worked so hard in hitting the exact notes that would fit the overall mood the band was trying to convey. He did this beautifully. Songs like #41, Rapunzel, & You Might Die Trying were some of favorite songs where he shined.

In closing, I remember feeling sad when he died for not only his family and friends, but for the fact the he would never get to join his family of Dave, Carter, Stefan, and Boyd on stage ever again. Rest in peace Roi.
___________________________________________________________________

WIND FROM A SHADOW
(FOR LEROI MOORE)

Amid rhythms
exhaled
a powerful sound-
air charged with beauty,
soothing heaven
to the ground

As flights of performance
blitzed rampant
to his right,
he set styles
for evenings
in the outskirts of lights

While assaults commenced
he sketched
careful projections,
as ambition met eardrums,
precise flair
was accented

Thunderous notes
hailed fierce arrows
in a battle-
a crescendo immortal,
by the wind
from a shadow
_______________________________________

Andy Levine
Author & Publisher
Vizion Books

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Behind the Words: Sad Axis

The following is the first posting in a series I am calling "Behind the Words." These posts will include a poem from either Today Then Tomorrow (2011) or Independent (2006) and some explanation of how and why I wrote this. I will use this series to provide some insight into my method of fostering an idea from inspiration to completion. There are some of poems that I will not cover because they need to stay as they are; open to interpretation and there for the reader to understand what it means to them.

The following poem "Sad Axis" is included in Today Then Tomorrow. This was written in the Fall of 2006 and was actually the first poem written for what was to be Today Then Tomorrow. That in itself is special to me for a few reasons. For one, this poem survived four years of editing and making hard choices of what to include in the book. This poem is also largely unchanged from it's original form, which is also rare in my writing process. I have changed the title several times and also re-worked the verse and language, but the basic core of the poem has remained mostly unchanged. The original title for this poem was "New York City Daylight."

In the Fall of 2006 I took a short weekend trip with two of my best friends to New York City. None of us had spent much time in the city. Because of this, we wanted to check out Times Square and see what some people deem "The Crossroads of the World."

The moment (or trigger - more on that in future posts) of inspiration came when we exited the cab late at night (not by NYC standards apparently) and were met with Times Square in full force; crowds, neon, and a sort of controlled chaos. I remember thinking that there was something amazing but also very melancholy about this place.....
__________________________________________________________________________________

SAD AXIS

From a yellow
at midnight,
came daylight

In this center
of greatness
and tremendous flaw,
they slow
among commerce
in a state of awe

A synthetic rush
has senses shifting,
as the more
that’s explored
corrupts each
merging victim

At a time in the world
when most
are at rest,
intersections
confide secrets
these corners confess

It's a polar paradox
to cold urban blocks,
with walkways
of mobs
and doors
without locks

There are mountains,
not here,
crushing slogans
and clich├ęs,
real places
of true beauty,
unlike this
flamboyant maze

How can this
be an axis
where society spins,
as neon glows
mask a sadness
lurking shallow within

Please explain
why this idea
holds attraction,
as it's just a circus
that survives
for distraction
__________________________________________________________________________________

Now I must admit, I have not spent much time in New York City. I am loyal Bostonian and the fact that people view NYC as a superior city is most likely my New England bias not agreeing with that notion. I recognize the wonderful aspects of the city, but I also do not like the hectic nature that exists there. I know most people enjoy it and most New Yorkers absolutely love it. Beyond that, I did feel a sense of underlying sadness in Times Square.

I felt that all the glitter and glow of the city certainly kept your attention, but for what? New York City reminds of the internet in some ways. There are wonderful parts that you can learn from and appreciate it's splendor, but there is also a constant stream of commercialization trying to sell you things and ideas that you may or may not desire.

I also felt that in a "city that never sleeps" those hours of being awake when most are rest can be filled with "secrets that these corners confess." That is not say that the city is filled with the worst parts of humanity, not at all. NYC has a sense of anonymity to it for better or worse.

I was fortunate to see the Southwestern United States a few summers ago. On this trip I visited many National Parks included Zion, Bryce, and the Grand Canyon. The wonder of those places to me outweighed the fake brilliance of Time Square. On that trip, which had started in Las Vegas, I came to appreciate the true beauty of this world. There were no neon signs or 24-hour locksmiths, just lush landscapes that filled my soul.

I do not hate Times Square or New York City, I just question it's importance sometimes. This country is a big place and part of an even larger global community. Times Square is similar to Las Vegas and Disney World...they all serve as a great temporary distraction.

Andy Levine
Author & Publisher
Vizion Books

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The first week....

It has been over a week since the release of Today Then Tomorrow. Overall it has been interesting on many fronts. I was very happy to share this book with the world. I am very proud of the 4 years of hard work that went into the creation of the book. The mode I am in now has shifted from artist to businessman. It is a change that is full of emails, humble sales pitches, research, and a lot more. It has become a lot of work trying to get the book "out there". I am currently trying to line up some stores to carry the book, media outlets to cover the book, and some internet word of mouth to promote the book. There have been discouraging moments, but also times when I see even the smallest bit of progress. This is a burden I have chose and I keep trying to remember what co-worker told me recently; every bit of promotion is like trying to fill a bucket with an eye-dropper. I am starting to find both the bucket and eye-dropper. We shall see if one day the bucket becomes overflowing in a good way. In the coming months I plan to use this blog to go over some of the work included in the book and offering what went into some of the poems on a stylistic and inspirational level. If you have a particular poem you would like me to explain, please send an email to: social@vizionbooks.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tomorrow is Today

Well, the day has finally arrived when my 3rd book, Today Then Tomorrow is available for sale. I am filled with pride as I see my hard work enter the world, hopefully into the favor of some willing readers. I cannot tell you how many days and hours it took to get to this point, because honestly I have no idea. I am publishing this post after 1am on January 11, 2011...there have been a lot of nights like these where I work into the night on some aspect of writing, editing, designing, marketing, etc. The journey this book has taken me so far is just starting. I hope that you will consider this book. I am not a great salesman, I will just say that it was written with the best intentions and complete honesty. I would never offer anything without out those two qualities. Thank you, Andy Levine

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book Day

Today I received the shipment of books. This is a proud day for me. It has taken a lot of time and effort to get to this point... but I am proud that today has finally arrived. In the coming months I hope to provide some insight into the works within the book and also what it is like to be an independent publisher and poet. The books will be available next week though me or at http://www.VizionBooks.com

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Getting social

Social media...this is world we live in now. We have the power to promote ourselves. Six months ago I was not really into the whole thing. As the time came closer to to publication for Today Then Tomorrow, I felt the need to dive into this medium. From this portion of the social media side I hope to provide a glimpse into my world as a writer, editor, designer, publisher, and now social media promoter.