Next Generation Indie Book Awards

So, over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to garner a few awards for my cds and books (Nashville Music Award, Independent Music Award, Independent Publisher Award), but NEVER two for one as with last year’s “Ten Seconds In-Between” collection.

Yep, last year it bagged the Royal Dragonfly Award for Best Collection of Short Stories, 2021, and just now, a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Medals are in the post, which I will wear around my neck ala Flavah Flav, at my next live performance.

This is no mean feat, as the competition is plentiful Of course, you knew this, having read the book. And if you haven’t, well, check out the link. Thanks!

The Osprey

Happy to be part of the Summer 2022 edition of “Whimsical Poet: A Journey of Contemporary Poetry,” a fine collection edited by Sarah Altman and available at Amazon for purchase (link right here). Other poets included are Teresa McLamb, Bruce Parker, Kim Malinowski, Stan Sanvel Rubin, Kate LaDew, George Kramer, Stephen Cavitt, Maureen Sherbondy, Daniel Gonzalez, Jason DiFlippo, DS Maolalal, and John Stocks.

My contribution is the following piece, titled “The Osprey” – enjoy, and then pick up the journal if you can, for the whole sha-bang.

The Osprey (Doug Hoekstra)

On a broken log by the water
The waves hold up a mirror
The elderly couple walk together
Gingerly on the sand, always in step
Nothing but time. Ahead. Behind

I sense something, hear nothing.
Look up. An osprey spreads its wings
Glides. White, with brown spots
It coasts to its destination. Silently.

Like a Zen master, a fount of wisdom
Coming from the east, heading to the west
Reversible toes, laser eyesight, super power
The good sense to say nothing
When nothing needs to be said

A Mythology

A Mythology

Pale rust, desert air
Dry dust falling
Over boots
On the ground
Repurposed past
The end of the line
The tourist trail
An abandoned mill
A mythology
Man at the center of everything
Chasing survival and permanence
In the autumn haze
A Pinyon jay bounces through the brush
Scattered seeds on the wheel
Of the abandoned talisman
Framed by red rock rising

Prickly cactus, smooth steel
Flowers poke through the cracks
Baked by the sun and the wind  
And the sand, speckled by sweat
Dropping to the ground, from
My brow, and her brow and
The brow of the assembly line
Worker in Detroit
Turning bolts and screws
Until he can’t turn no more
Until the whistle sounds
For the flat-bed truck
The freight train, or
The storeroom in the suburbs
Somewhere outside L.A
Before things got really crazy
Where a boy and his family
Watch silently from the sidewalk
As the car rolls onto the floor

Shiny and unspoiled
Bought and then resold
Driven to the desert
Where it lived for awhile and
In the rain
That used to come
Before it finally disappeared

Carry Me – Video Premiere – Top 10s

We all know time is an artificial constraint, particularly in a pandemic, so promotion on the still new Doug Hoekstra CD  The Day Deserved  continues, as we work on new material for the next project(s).

First up, “Carry Me,” a new video and track from the album makes its worldwide premiere at Americana-UK.   It’s a reggae song about fatherhood, interconnectedness, and the notion of change and continuity as flip sides of a coin.  Doug wrote the song, played rhythm guitar, melodica, and organ on the track, and also edited the video, from 22 different “sources”.  Check it out at link, backstory below.  Thank you, AUK!

Words from Doug: “When my son Jude was little, we’d go for a hike at Radnor Lake in Nashville, and it wouldn’t take long for him to reach up and shout “Carry Me.” And I would. Time goes on, things change, but it’s still something you do as a parent, in a different way. Somehow I get as much or more from this dynamic than he does, over the years, and this song tries to get at that idea – we are all connected, taking turns carrying each other as our lives go on.”

“For the video, I had this idea of digging into my archives to cull footage from the many places we used to go, to hike and wander and share – but I wanted the clips to be focused on movement or the trails themselves always going forward. When I started editing, I also pulled on other images that mirror the lyrics, in a direct or parallel way, so as you see the changes in place, time and my son, as he grows up, from a little guy at the beginning at Radnor to a young man at Acadia National Park at the end.  So more than just a cache of cool places, the song and the visuals are about change and continuity coming together.”

In other bits and bobs on  The Day Deserved news, we are happy to say that the fine folks at Twin Vision are carrying the torch with some digital promotion these next few months.  Thanks to Kate Hay for leading the charge in that department and more news as we know it.

The Day Deserved also clocked in on several Top 10 lists at the end of 2021, of which we are grateful and appreciative:

–Top 20 of the Year at Lonesome Highway (Dublin) – nice to be up there with Jackson Browne, James McMurtry, Steve Dawson, and some other groovy folks.  Thanks Paul and LH!

–Top 10 of the Year at Powerpop (NY) Just behind Robert Plant and Alison Kraus, but a few steps ahead of Mickey Dolenz and Willie Nile – not that any of it is a competition.  “…brilliant somewhat minimalist New Wave folkie singer/songwriter stuff (think Leonard Cohen produced by John Cale)…this new one is a) his fists in nearly a decade and b) absolutely insinuating, i.e., the kid’s still got it.”    But it’s nice to get the kudos, and at this point in life, anytime someone says “the kid’s still got it,” it’s a kick (the kid part, you know).  Appreciation to Steve Simels, on that one.

Bandcamp (purchasing opportunities)

YouTube (visuals)

Perspective and the Camerman

So you know, people have to process the pandemic and the ups and downs of life in their own way and I realize sometimes it’s good to vent for the sake of it, as well. But for me, it helps to have perspective.

I’m reading this new Buster Keaton biography “Camera Man” by Dana Stevens right now. It’s a great book (see below) I’ve always loved Buster, but she also does a good job of putting his life in historical context. Some of the following bullets come from her book, but some are mine. 100 years ago life was like this:

—Alcohol had just been made illegal and as a result, organized crime boon
—We just came out of a pandemic (Spanish Flu, worst in history – 50 million dead)
—On the heels of World War I (arguably the worst re; warfare – 20 million dead)
—Life expectancy was about 55 years (men and women)
—Average education was only 8 years of school!
—Harding was president and there was the Teapot Scandal (accepting bribes from oil industry)
—Professional baseball and most of American life was completely segregated (It would take another list to unpack all the examples of injustice re; African Americans, immigrants, Native Americans, in this period tho, this is of course, ongoing)
—There were no environmental laws – in fact, in a key case of 1920, the US Supreme court allowed New Jersey to dump sewage into NY Harbor.
—The five day work week was only just beginning to be phased in
—The National Park Service had only been created, meaning most public lands were either inaccessible or vulnerable to corporate exploitation
—There was no rock and roll! Hell, there was barely jazz!

I could go on and also make a list of all the good things happening then (like Buster’s films!) and now, as well. But – the overarching point is that while we might be in a rough patch right now, it’s always a process, or as MLK said, “the arc of moral justice is long, but it bends toward justice.” The best time to live is right now, because we have made progress for one – and because we have no other choice. We are here now. We are in this thing together and as Patti Smith said – “people have the power.” So, all we can do is enjoy the good things we have, take care of each other and press on to right the wrongs, as we can. Thank you for this bloggy public service announcement inspired by a Buster Keaton bio. Doug