L Is For Liver

While Jenny was away in Rhinelander searching for the Hodag I downloaded all the panels from our new book to my laptop so I could blog about each one individually. The files were huge, and I had to download paint.net to open them. L Is For Liver.

If you don’t think children hate liver, consider this: my father began a lifelong fued with his older sister over being forced to eat liver as a boy. They never fully reconciliated, and the mere mention of liver was forbidden in our household. But not in our new book Atrocious Poems A To Z.

I understand the nutritional benefits of liver. and have made many attempts to embrace it as an adult, but it’s still… liver. Nothing anyone does to it can change that.

In a book about things that kids hate liver almost had to make an appearance. And Jenny came up with an ingenious illustration for my poem.

L

It’s one of my favorite pieces from the book, which is now available at Amazon and at the gift shop of the Rockford Art Museum, where all twenty-six poems from the book have been written on the wall by me next to the illustrations by Jenny Mathews. The show is called Bittersweet Observations, and will run until October 1st.

Eye Rhyme

Bullies

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Outlaw Poet Writes Second Children’s Book

Outlaw Poet Writes Second Children’s Book

Outlaw Poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg has written his second children’s book, Atrocious Poems A To Z, to be released at a book party at Rockford Art Museum June 9th.

D

True to his nature, Vaultonburg has cunningly written a book about mean, nasty things, and sold it off as a children’s book. It’s a true feat of termite insurgence. Infiltrate, inculcate, and educate.

Indeed educating people has become an act of trickery in trump’s paleolithic America. But then again, so has accepting the discordance for what it is: an act of self-defense by the planet.

Pro forma I am required to try and sell you this book. I will not be able to do so, but I will check it off my list and go get tacos, which is a win, also.

Even as the book is at the printers I realize a million ways I would have wanted to make this a better book. Even as I struggle to remember how to use words like inculcate in proper context I realize marshalling the creative verve to even finish another book may not be in my ken, I simply offer it as is. If I said it, I meant it.

My partner, Jenny Mathews’ illustrations are so good that all 26 are going to be on exhibit at the Rockford Art Museum this summer. I have to find something to wear for that. I’m teetering between wearing something zany and pretending to be this goofy eccentric and just wearing a black tshirt and blue jeans, which is what I’ve decided to do all summer to eliminate having to think about that anymore. I’m sure Jenny will weigh in as the show gets closer.

I’m left starting to panic over the questions I know they might ask me. “What did you mean by this poem?” “How did you get this idea?” Twenty years ago I would have had answers. I actually thought about such things. Now there are no real answers. I don’t mean anything by any of this anymore. The Universe has gone mad, and all creative endeavor is pointless now. Just ways to pass moments. Just distress signals sent nowhere particular.

I anticipate we’ll see the book back from the printer some time this coming week. That I am legitimately excited about. Creating is the only part of the process I have any influence over, and I accomplished my mission. The crushing feeling of defeat almost all artists and creators know when their creations do not inspire others to act is known to us all.

What a beautiful May day to be wracked by such needlessly torturous thoughts. I have a container of sparkly water, it is a nice May day, and the children will be home from their grandparent’s soon. I have fulfilled my obligation here to ask you to support this book. That alone is a testament to Schopenhaur’s thesis that we do all the things we do merely to avoid pain, not achieve any sort of pleasure.

Buy Atrocious Poems A To Z  a lovely and light-hearted children’s book that helps children cope with the anxieties of childhood and teaches some literary lessons, too.

 

The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company

Another book I wrote was this childrens’ book titled The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company. I wrote it for my now almost six year old guy, Jack, when he was just two because he had these stubby little legs and he reminded me of a rhinoceros for some reason. Four years later he has gotten skinny and soon his legs will get long and he hasn’t reminded me of a rhinoceros in a long time.

His mother, the artist Jenny Mathews, my partner, did the artwork for the book.

Rhinos

I wrote most of the book over a couple of days of Christmas when they were all in Texas and I was here in my small apartment.

Abbey Road Rhinos

The Abbey Road Rhinos. Jack did something that kind of blew me away last week. he made a pop up book. By himself. Well, he did ask me to cut out some trees. The book is titled Paper Out.

Pop Up Book

For me the part that blew my mind is the trees he drew look exactly like the ones Jenny drew for The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company. He’s only seen that book once, and wasn’t really very interested in the story. He engineered the pop up book so it worked without anyone’s help. I don’t have much more to say about Rhinos. I wanted to write a book for my little guy, and I did. We sold out the first printing, then did a second, but we haven’t sold many this time. I get tired of trying to hawk books. It’s a soul-crushing process. I think Jenny managed to update the listing so it is available at Zombie Logic Press.

Everyone in my house now is a much better artist than me. All of my friends are better artists than me. I am happy because I have plans to publish all of their books and I hope I am allowed enough time with my heart condition to do a lot more work.

I think this is the last book I have to profile here that I either wrote or published. I have edited a few. April and May have been extra exhausting for me for some reason. I can’t say response has been brisk to any of the writing I am doing here. But I never expected a large response. I’m proud of the work in and of itself, and I hope with the literary reviews I also edit, Outsider Poetry and Zombie Logic Review that I am at least doing my part to encourage others to believe in themselves and their work.