Yoga (Plus!) Diary: Day 7

March 24th, 2020

Strong, rooted

yet, now

Pulling up fists of anger

and self doubt,

distance between moments,

crushed into one moment,

and another into success.


Yoga (Plus!) Diary: Day 6

March 23rd, 2020

No poem today. Just a note to say… I didn’t totally suck today. It hurt but I held modified poses for the (mostly) intended time! And I’m starting to feel strong.

Feeling = Lumpy
Weight = 201
Lost = 18lbs since Jan 1


Yoga (Plus!) Diary: Day 5

March 22nd, 2020


Arms and legs like

the pain is thick
like syrup.

Yoga (Plus!) Diary: Day 4

March 21st, 2020

There was no day 4. Too sore. Letting my muscles rest. More news to follow.


Yoga (Plus!) Diary: Day 3

March 20th, 2020

While I’m waiting in line at the grocery store… I will share with you all…

Pointing my toes
my legs goes

in circles

tiny tiny tiny and
bigger until my left butt cheek is numb

How did I get here?

My tree pose
is falling

My forearms and thumbs
hurt to type this.

Yoga (Plus!) Diary: Day 2

March 19th, 2020

Shoulders in place
strong – fluid

pelvis up to the sun and
yesterday recedes in deep concentration
on a dot of pain.

One dot into two and three
separating into grains
washing over my joints
and as I end my bridge

Chauncey sniffs over
and sneezes into my mouth.

Yoga (Plus!) Diary: Day 1

March 18th, 2020

I’m quite aware that no one gives a crap but (much like poetry and writing) this is daily practice. Let’s see how it goes. I want to put this out there and not keep it to myself.


This fducking hurts. I’m popping like rice crispies over here. Lots of modified warrior poses. Poem to follow but not yet. I can barely touch my toes.

Feeling = Old

Weight = 202


On Success (and Fear)

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Why is success so terrifying? –Desiree Landerman, Canada

Hi Desiree,

I guess the pat answer would be is that change is terrifying. I’m going to qualify that and say that it’s FAST change that is the most terrifying. Luckily for me, I am not what you’d call a success in the writing world, overnight or otherwise. All of the success I’ve experienced has happened at such a slow pace that I’ve had a chance to process it.

When I was just starting out in the early 90s, I was scared of making a fool of myself. I masked this with bravado and bluster and finally in my 30s, I found true confidence. Still very few publication credits then, though.

I think that decades of writing in obscurity has hardened me a little bit, and taught me a few things. Now, in my late 40s, I’m achieving the success I hoped for, but hadn’t yet earned in my 20s.

There is one big reason why I am personally terrified of success with writing. I hate performing in front of people. I also hate parties, meeting new people, subways, and going for walks on days that end in “y”. Yet I am a public school teacher. Go figure. I think I know why, though.

Every element of my classroom environment is pre-planned and set-up in advance. I know who I’m supposed to be when I’m in that space. When I’m on a stage, I can’t be Josh Medsker, Writer. I’m just Josh Medsker, Awkward Man.

And I know that the more books I write and the more recognition I get, the more I will have to put myself out there. This scares me so much. I am trying to find a good way to integrate these performances into my artistic self-vision, but so far I haven’t.

Thank you for this question. I hope this was a useful answer.



On Happiness

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I kept coming up short on topics to write about, so I put out a call for questions! I took the idea from Nick Cave. On his website, people write in and ask him questions, which he answers at length. So, without further ado, here is my version of that idea. –JM

Are you happy? –John Hocker, Alaska

Hi, John. You know how they say “If you have to ask yourself if you’re happy then you probably aren’t?” That’s me.

I’ve often operated in a fog of self-consciousness. Not my whole life, but for large swaths of it. I’ve found that the times I’ve been the happiest are when I’m focusing on someone else’s needs. Or, if I am focusing on myself, I’m deep in some creative project and don’t have time to contemplate it.

I think that reflection is crucial to being a thinking person, but too much reflection, and you are hamstrung. It can very quickly turn from reflection into neurosis.


Writing = Faith

It’s an understatement to say that we live in interesting times. So interesting that after work, I just want to go home, grab my wife, my dogs and cat, pull the covers up over my face, and go the fuck to sleep. But somehow, this world just keeps creeping under my blanket.

So what do we do? After the floor is swept, the litter box is cleaned and dishes are done, what do you do to organize your mind, or keep some semblance of normalcy in this DUMPSTER FIRE OF A WORLD c. 2020? As a writer, you write. But that is a feat sometimes. I think the key is to please yourself.

I don’t know what’s going to happen with rising sea levels, or the rise of right-wing populists around the world, or any number of issues that are troubling me… but I do know that I can string words together in a way that pleases me. Getting up in the morning, committing to an idea, putting it down –that is an incredibly brave act of faith. Who will read it? Who will care?

To paraphrase Andy Warhol, “Make art. Let someone else figure out if it’s good or not. While they are doing that, make more.