Ordinary Average Thoughts started out in February 2011 as my personal blog, but then morphed into the online home for my poetry, and then into my website.

Since 2015, I have endeavored to write and post a new poem every day; for the most part, I have kept up this practice (though I admit it has become more difficult these last two or three months), as well as with the daily ‘love notes’ to the days of the week I started writing and posting back in October 2013.

More recently, I have started posting a new featured image with each poem, since the thumbnail for the link when posted elsewhere defaults to a gross close-up of the PayPal donate button I started adding to my posts. (I want to give folks the option to donate, but not make that representative of the blog.)

So, to paraphrase Q, who the hell does Kevin J. O’Conner think he is?

I am a poet. I’m one of those people who wrote lots of bad poetry (and the occasional worthwhile poem) in high school, but got discouraged by a snotty rejection letter and didn’t write again on a regular basis until about six years ago. As a poet, I primarily write about what I experience in my life, for better or for worse. To avoid stagnation, I regularly try different approaches to my writing, with the goal of writing things that don’t sound like things I would write. Since 2014, I have published twelve full-length collections of poetry; as of May 2019, the latest is Wishes sometimes have consequences. I have also been published in Spindrift, two editions of The Poetry Marathon Anthology, Raven Chronicles, and the Voices That Matter anthology. In October 2018, I also published my first self-produced chapbook, Interval. In addition, I regularly read my work at open-mic events in the Seattle area.

I am an editor. I started out as a translator (Japanese to English), but I’ve always been really good at spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Over the years I have attempted to move into other fields—audio engineering in the mid 1990s, and graphic design ten years ago—but somehow have always come back to editing or editorial roles. Since mid-2013, I have worked on a number of projects for I-TECH (International Training and Education Center for Health, a collaboration between the University of Washington and the University of California, San Francisco), and the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health.

I am a photographer. Since I was a kid, I have used a variety of film/camera formats—126, 110, 35 mm, 120, Polaroid (peel-apart, Spectra, SX-70, 600), and digital. You can view some of my photography on flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lennbob/.

I am an occasional graphic designer. Unfortunately, I graduated from my chosen graphic design program after the economy tanked in 2008. That, combined with my total lack of interest in web/UI/UX design, scuttled my prospects for paying work in the field. Fortunately, I was able to put my skills to work producing my own books, with the occasional project done for others (e.g., the cover art to Kim Nathan’s ebook Dreaming Montana). Some examples of my work can be found at https://www.behance.net/alarmcatdesign.

I am an occasional composer. I used to fiddle around on the family piano when I was a kid, and briefly tried teaching myself to play sax using my dad’s saxophone, but it was the synthesizer that sparked my interest (thanks largely to Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album). In December 1988, I finally bought a synthesizer; that led to a decade of creating my own music (and noise), and releasing several DIY cassettes under the names Tinty Music and Observe Zero. Most of my musical equipment was stolen in a burglary in 1998, ending that particular phase of my life; since then, I have created a few new pieces here and there by editing material (both existing and new) on my computer. You can listen to (and purchase) much of the material I released on the Bandcamp website at https://tintymusic.bandcamp.com/.

I am an artist. I have had a couple of pieces exhibited in galleries (in 1997 or 1998, and in 2002), but mostly painting serves as an outlet for nonverbal expression (could that sound any more pretentious?). Since November 2018, I have been creating digital sketches and paintings on the iPad, first with the Notes app, and now with AutoDesk Sketchbook; examples can be found in the iPad paintings and sketches project gallery on Behance.

Regardless of the venue or medium, we all have our own voice; I figure mine is as worthy of being heard as anyone else’s. Whenever I have doubts of the validity of my writing, I remind myself of this.

(4 May 2019)