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  • I am compelled to open my response to Alex's 'Competition' with the poem 'Other Writers' by Leonard Cohen.

    "Steve Sansfield is a great Haiku master.
    He lives in the country with Sarah,
    his beautiful wife,
    and he writes about the small things
    which stand for all things.
    Kyozan Joshu Roshi,
    who has brought hundreds of monks
    to a full awakening,
    expresses the simultaneous
    expansion and contraction of the cosmos.
    I go on and on
    about a noble young woman who unfastened her jeans
    in the front seat of my jeep
    and let me touch
    the source of life
    because I was so far from it.
    I've got to tell you, friends,
    I prefer my stuff to theirs."
    ************************************
    That last line is the crux of the biscuit.

    As good as any of the writers whom I've read on Cowbird might be, and a few of you are superlative storytellers, I prefer my stuff to yours. That is why I write. It's my shit and I dig the way it smells. Thank you, Billy Childish.

    Scorekeeping? Competition? A popularity contest? Really? Crazy. I hadn't thought of it that way. It is my opinion that a "READ" button, past tense, would suffice far more effectively than the 'LOVE" button does.

    "Joe Blow just read your story."

    I've addressed this issue in 'There Oughta Be A "BRAVO" Button' http://cowbird.com/author/sean-m-poole/#!/27658 as well as in "Not "LOVE", 'Profoundly Moved By' "http://cowbird.com/author/sean-m-poole/stories/#!/27619

    I read many stories on here. Some of them move me to empathy or anger or tears or laughter. Some of them are well written. Some are not. But the 'LOVE' button just doesn't cut it for me. More often than not I will refrain from clicking it but I do want to acknowledge that I have read the piece.

    I’ve been invited to join a few different writers sites online. I generally decline. I did accept one invitation but soon tired of the place. The feedback tended to be superficial and pretentious. I was mightily unimpressed. I initially accepted my Cowbird invitation - Thanks, Annie Correal! - but I waited months before I began to post and contribute.

    There’s a grassroots, ‘down in the trenches’ sort of aura glistening around the writers and the work I’ve discovered here that fascinates me, intrigues me, keeps me coming back to read more. I've read a few things on Cowbird that resonate so strongly with me that I wish I had written them myself. I am always pleased and surprised when that happens.

    I worked in a vacuum during the decade I researched and wrote "GATTORNO: A Cuban Painter For The World". I had a few trusted Beta readers but they were the extent of any outside influence on what I wrote. I didn't workshop the manuscript. I had no agent, no manager, no publishing house. I did collect rejection letters from some of the finest of them in the business.

    I am as far underground and outside the margins as a writer can be.

    Cowbird, for me, is a welcome exercise in reading and writing. The only scorekeeping in which I have the time and the inclination to engage are my book sales. They are down now. Perilously so. I may have to write a poem about the tribulations of independent publishing.

    Want to buy a book? Let me know. I've got a garage full. Want to swap books? I'm happy to trade your book for mine. Want to compete? Sign up with one of Hawkeye's ball teams.

    Yes, friends, I frequently engage in shameless self promotion. It's the hallmark of a bona-fide independent writer/publisher.

    Visit the website and drop me an email. http://www.artbyantoniogattorno.com

    Keep scribbling!
    **************************************************************************************************************

    " Parachutists With Skull and Flowers" - Antonio Gattorno 1943 - Goauche on heavy wove paper
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