What Makes You Live

Update: Apex Book Company revised their website, and my winning poem is no longer posted there, so I’m including it below.

Update the Second: On July 11, 2015, Tom Piccirilli lost his battle with brain cancer. I’m happy to say that his treatment did give him another couple of years to be with us.

What Makes You Die

(for Pic)

Back in the day, death was binary
Alive or dead, on or off, one or zero
Now, there is no zero state
Hit by a car?
Pick a new body. We’ll restore “you” from backup
Brain cancer?
No worries! We’ll grow another one
It’s not about whether you live any more,
It’s about what you create while you live

Art is the new yardstick
Content is the new blood
The more you bleed, the less you die, so
Open a vein and try to keep up

Whatever you do, don’t keep it to yourself;
That is what makes you die.

— Stace Johnson

Original post below:

I got some great news today! Lesley Conner at Apex Publications notified me that I won a poetry contest that they sponsored as a way to promote Tom Piccirilli‘s upcoming book, What Makes You Die, due out on March 19th, 2013. The prize is an advance reader copy (ARC) of Pic’s book, which I will attempt to get signed the next time I’m in the same room with him. I’ve met Tom a couple of times before at readings here in Denver, and I can say from those brief encounters that he’s a good guy. I know he’s been inspirational to several of my writer friends, so I’m glad to be able to pay tribute to him in some small way by participating in the contest and dedicating the poem to him.

Tom has had a rough time of it recently, dealing with brain cancer, chemo, and surgery, and I’m astounded at how well he has been able to recover. He wrote about the experience in an essay called “Meeting the Black”, which you can purchase and download here. All of the proceeds from that modest purchase, as well as all of Pic’s titles at Crossroads Press, go to help offset his staggering medical bills. Go. Purchase and download it now. I’ll wait.

I have a few other poetry irons in the fire right now, and I hope to make some more announcements soon if all goes well. I’m thrilled to have some momentum behind my writing again, and I hope I can build on this opportunity. After all, I firmly believe that creativity is what makes you live.

Apex Digest Needs (and Finds) Help

UPDATE: (2/13/07) Thanks to an amazing grassroots campaign, Apex Digest is alive and well. Read the Louisville Courier-Journal article about Jason Sizemore and the magazine’s success at this link.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post.

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Original Post: (9/20/07) Apex Digest, the critically acclaimed science fiction/horror magazine started by writer and editor Jason Sizemore in 2005, needs our help.

Jason’s story is much like mine, in some ways. We were both unemployed for four months last year, we’ve both had bad dealings with commercial printers (though in different ways), and we both have had a long standing dream of starting our own speculative fiction magazines. Of course, Jason did it, and I didn’t. The closest I came was editing the Fort Lewis College literary magazine, Images, in 1987.

The loss of Jason’s job last year put Apex Digest in jeopardy. The magazine was receiving good reviews and starting to break even, but when Jason lost his job, he could not afford pay the debt he had accrued in starting the magazine. The commercial printer for Apex Digest, which had been understanding about late payments, suddenly lowered the boom, and now the magazine needs 200 new subscribers to stay afloat.

Apex Digest is a quarterly; it puts out four issues per year. Some big names have appeared in its pages in only six issues: Tom Piccirilli, Ben Bova, Poppy Z. Brite, M.M. Buckner, and James P. Hogan, to name a few. Apex Digest is something of a rare breed; a professional, printed, perfect bound market for science fiction and horror stories. Sure, there are other digest-sized SF/F/H markets, but there’s room for more, and we need to encourage the quality of fiction that appears in Apex Digest, not allow it to fade away.

A one year subscription costs $20 (for U.S. buyers, $24 for Canadian buyers, and $34 for all other international subscriptions.) I wanted to subscribe last year, but my own unemployment precluded that. I’m employed now, and I don’t think $20 is too much to pay for a year of good writing delivered to my mailbox.

How about you?

Apex Digest Subscription Page