My Own Private Iowa

In my memory, the carpet was orange but it may be a memory from a faded photo of that living room. Or the carpet may have degraded from brown from the years of college kids that tramped in and out of this 2-bedroom garden level apartment, with their disposable furnishings and found cats.

But the memory is of me on the floor smoking, most likely drinking a beer, and there is music. I face the armchair containing Kathi with freshly died red hair, also smoking, with Venus digging her claws into flesh, and Glenn Danzig looking on from the poster on the wall. Heavy metal posters, original artwork, and late nights of conversations that ran the gamut…

We were writers after all… Read more…

P.S. 2019

“Why do you blog?” he asked.

I had to think about it. My original blog was on Blogger.com in 2004: ‘Writing is a Tapeworm’. I am quite sure no one remembers it. It was pre-Face Book and during the height of My Space (they’re still around, did you know?). It served me much the same way my current social media does- random chatter but without the audience. I closed it right around the time I was looking for a new job… cmmounts.com launched in July 2014, died in January 2015, then like a phoenix rose out of the paper shredder in January 2017 with regular posts and visitors ever since. Read more…

In Defense of Winter

It is a tired subject: winter in Minnesota.

It doesn’t help that the jet stream often covers our state in a deep blue-purple swath or that International Falls actually went to court for the official trademark title: “Icebox of America”. Yes, by some people’s calendar, winter lasts six months here.

By the astronomical calendar, the winter solstice will occur at 10:19pm Central Time on December 21, 2019. This means in very real planetary terms that the South Pole of the earth is tilted toward the Sun and the Sun will be at its southernmost position in our sky, the Tropic of Capricorn.

But for those of us living in Minneapolis on the 45th northern parallel, which is halfway between the North Pole and the equator, winter has already arrived. As of Wednesday morning, the day before Thanksgiving, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport measured 9.2 inches of snow. We got an additional 2 inches last night and they expect another 4+ inches of snow tonight. Read more…

Natalie Diaz, Mojave American Poet

It is Thursday night and I ride the #2 bus along Franklin avenue, through the heart of the Minneapolis Native American community. My destination is McNamara Alumni Center on the world-renowned University of Minnesota (UMN) campus.

In 1851, seven years before Minnesota was admitted into the Union, the territorial legislature chartered the university. That same year, the Dakota were forced to cede nearly all their land in Minnesota and eastern Dakota in the treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Mendota (though Minneapolis and St. Paul are built on land ceded in 1805).

I am headed to see Natalie Diaz, Mojave American poet and language activist, read her poetry. Read more…

Months in review: Jul-Sep 2019

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” -St. Augustine

I have been so lucky as to read many, many pages of that book. And it is traveling that now disrupts the regular flow of my blog. It’s a good problem to have. Many people are not able to take time off work to visit family or for pleasure. I know how fortunate I am.

These past months, my writing career (such as it is) has been marked by an upswing in attendance of events, not performance of my own work. Open mics have been replaced with workshops, conferences, performances, and readings. And I have submitted my work for possible publication, I trend I hope to continue with more frequency.

On September 27-29, I attended the 16th annual Power of Words conference at the Casa Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. The conference ran Friday night to Sunday afternoon and though there were accommodations, I stayed in a hotel off-site with a patio by the pool and palm trees. Read more…

Social Media

On April 29 , 2013, I logged into Facebook and saw a photo posted by a friend. There was a tall plume of smoke rising out of the uptown area in Minneapolis. A building was clearly on fire. I thought, “Oh no, those poor people!” and said a prayer.

It was my apartment. Read more…

Audio Blog

I had an audio blog.

When I told friends that I would produce this audio blog, this podcast, a lot of people got excited. I have posted my written work on my blog for over two years, but I never recorded any of it. It seems we are in the midst of yet another generation gap. I am generalizing here so please forgive me, but my older friends prefer to read my blog while my younger friends have asked for a podcast. They say they don’t have time to read it, but they can listen on the commute.

So, here I am. Read more…