Will there be a Fourth CLOUDBURST COUNCIL? I started saying last year that the fourth council would really be the telling one. I base this on my and others experience in the area of small press magazine production. Putting together a new literary endeavor and starting a new poetry and poetics conference have to my way of thinking similar energy flows. We know from small press work that most small press magazines do not make it past the third issue. Why is that and does it really pertain to CLOUDBURST? This analogy goes on and on for me but to put some of it down it goes like this:
First Issue/First Council:
First time you have all the initial energy. You have fresh ideas, pent up and built up creative energy from possibly years of preparation. You meet some people for the first time. You have the energy of “new.” You have cohorts meeting together and the clash of ideas without marked off territory and stubborn certainty (or at least less of it). You also have unrealistic economic thinking about costs and revenue. You have no idea who or what you are.
Second Issue/Second Council:
Second time you are still riding some of the pent up energy of your origination. Not everything could be fit into the first issue so part of the second is still carried over and for at least someone longstanding in importance. There are people who want to jump on and just a few that have already had enough. The agenda for the second is based somewhat on the response to the first. There is still an optimistic feeling. New people return and their input expands the focus (or worst confuses). There are no money problems and with one in the books the cost of the endeavor is more realistic. By the end of the second it starts to become clearer what your purpose could be.
Third Issue/Third Council:
The original energy is pretty much spent and it is a time when some of the expected principals have left. It is still an interesting gathering with some new people bringing great new energy and for originals a deeper bond and personal clarity of why they want to be involved. By the third, you do have an idea of who and what you are. The successful completion of a third is rewarding and although changed from the original conception the complexity has grown and human relationships moved to the forefront. When you fail after three, it is probably because you have not formed a new core of people ready to contribute energy and materials in a cooperative way. Everyone now can have an opinion, including those distant without many facts to base it on. For the failed small press magazines it is often the unrealistic thinking about income and popularity that makes it impossible to go on.
Fourth Issue/Fourth Council:
For the Fourth CLOUDBURST COUNCIL, we do have a core of committed poets and friends. We had the greatest number of people working on the logistics and the program.
There is another reason why getting to the Fourth might present difficulties. Going back to the failure rate of small press magazines, are there other, cosmic forces that make it difficult to reach the fourth(which I am also saying is the sustainable level). Jack Clarke spoke of an awareness of the “Time Factor”. When the time is right to do something then the gates open, the highway is smooth and clear, and you own life is ready and willing to go forward. When the time is not right, then it is one of those days when everything goes wrong. I think I said I would crawl on broken glass all the way from Albany to the Gell Center to make it to this year’s CLOUDBURST. Not to jinx (although this is exactly in the area of jinx) but I just am putting it out there to be careful and be prepared to have to push uphill a little to make it to this year’s CLOUDBURST COUNCIL
Best, Alan Casline
Attending CLOUDBURST 2015
Mark W. O'Brien
Larry Belle (Saturday and Sunday)