Poetry Book Release!! (chapters on ADHD and Grief)

“Provisional Conclusions” is now a reality!

The book contains 53 poems and is organized in 4 sections: “Thinking Out Loud”, “The ADHD Chapter”, “Loss”, and “Love and Nervous Energy.”cover_FINAL

This is from the back cover blurb:

“A diagnosis of ADHD at age fifty-five can make you stop and think. So can losing your daughter to a drunk driver two days after her eighth birthday—or looking up at the majesty of the Big Buddha in Phuket after getting lost in the mountains on the way there.

“Spanning a period from high school in the seventies until a few hours before it went to the editor, the poems in Provisional Conclusions explore these topics and more: being a parent, being a man, living with ADHD, the legacy of Howard Thurman, the myth of objectivity, the delight and terror of raising a family, the dreams of Korczak Ziolkowski, and even a quick peek into hell. Poet Mike Fedel also considers race, sex, love lost and found, philosophy, consciousness, and God—what is she like, anyway? Sections include “Thinking Out Loud,” “The ADHD Chapter,” “Loss,” and “Love and Nervous Energy.”

“Offering accessible observations on a wide range of topics, the verses in this collection consider the raw emotions associated with love, grief, and ADHD.”

If you do buy a copy, please post comments on the site where you made the purchase, it helps writers in the long run for them to see feedback.

AND feel free to make any other comments here or email me directly.

I hope you enjoy some of these poems. Find you favorites and let me know!


Quick history: Over a year ago now, my good friend Catherine Powers asked me “when are you going to put together a collection of your poems?” We’ve both been writing since high school (at least!) and she’d recently put out her own wonderful collection 28 Years Since My Last Confession (check it out!). I went through my writing, both old and new, and chose the ones I hoped would make people smile, think, and feel something.

Poetry Book Submitted to Publisher!

About 2 hours ago, I decided I needed a break. I scanned the tabletop and among all the scattered papers and wires and pencil shavings was a printout of my cover idea for the poetry book I’ve been working on for just under a year. I did that almost 2 weeks ago and haven’t touched that project since. Which was silly, since it was all set to go.

So, I did it. I spent the 10 minutes it took to write a cover letter and ZIP up the files and pressed SEND.

Maybe I really AM more productive under pressure…

Daily Thought for Feb 4, 2015


Over the years, I’ve had conversations with different people about the idea of “law”. You can talk about it in terms of politics, religion, justice, even the rules of writing poetry and blogs. My position has always been that laws are useful in the same way grade school is useful: you need clearly defined boundaries until you are are wise enough to make up your own mind. Then, it can be a different story.

One quote I’ve had around for a while is credited to Plato and shows up all over the Internet:

“Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.” – Laws, Book IX

As a philosophy teacher (at least up until March of 2014), I knew enough to be suspicious of the way that was phrased. I’m a Platonist at heart and I don’t like seeing my guy misquoted. So, I went and found the original reference. Sure enough, it’s different. And not just subtly, enough to make you stop and think.

So, here are two other translations for your consideration:

Laws are made to instruct the good, and in the hope that there may be no need of them; also to control the bad, whose hardness of heart will not be hindered from crime. This is from a web post titled “Pet Peeves and Plato’s Politics“. He doesn’t cite his translation.

The Internet Classics Archive translates it this way: Laws are partly framed for the sake of good men, in order to instruct them how they may live on friendly terms with one another, and partly for the sake of those who refuse to be instructed, whose spirit cannot be subdued, or softened, or hindered from plunging into evil.

The key difference between these two and the original, more popular, quote is this: Plato understood the need for law. Yes, there may be times for civil disobedience and even for ignoring laws that are outdated or senseless, but the idea that we don’t need laws wasn’t his point.

Daily Thought for Feb 3, 2015 – A Poem that Didn’t Make the Cut

I made another pass through some of the poems that didn’t make the cut for the book. For a lot of them, it’s obvious why they didn’t make it. Some are a bit more borderline. This is one of them:



A white flower
in the middle of the table
resting on a perfectly ironed
white linen

A young child
standing on the back porch
seeing everything as a perfect
and exciting new

A couple
still in wedding clothes
lost in perfect love
and anticipation of their unscripted

A weed
warm and fragrant in an open field
destined to be cut and burned
because it is

A teenager
shuffling through the hallways at school
avoiding the glares
of the kids who are

A couple
many years later
taking desperate measures
backs against the wall

Update on Poetry Book Project

Seven months and counting.

When my friend Catherine encouraged me to collect some of my poems and make something called a chapbook, I initially resisted. Most of my effort over the last few years has been on devising Performance pieces, largely around Adult ADD/ADHD. Before that, my main focus was music and all of my writing was songwriting. But every so often, I’d return to one of my first loves: short fiction and poetry.

For most of 2013 and some of 2014, Catherine and I ran a “daily prompt poetry blog” for a small group of writers in and around Ann Arbor. It was called Ann Arbor Poets Online. That was a lot of fun and gave me the structure I need to produce work consistently. It was a great experience and I expect we’ll keep resurrecting it from time to time.

So, back in June, I contracted with a publisher and started going through my backlog of work.

There were a few obvious clusters: high school and early college, my writing after Amy’s death, coming to terms with my ADD, Robert Lee Browner’s Poem-a-Day prompt series, and, of course, our poetry blog. In between, there were a lot of one-offs, pieces inspired by some event that happened or some realization I’d come to. I went through over 400 poems and winnowed them down to about 80. Then, I asked some friends I trusted to help me validate my choices and rework some of the pieces I liked but weren’t quite there.

I am now in my third and, I hope, final pass through the poems. Putting them in order. Dealing with punctuation decisions. Choosing which photos or drawings I want to include. Wrestling (over and over) with whether or not to include the 1 page story fragments.

I’ve given myself a deadline of Feb 28. One year since I left my full-time job to focus on creating things.

Let’s see how it goes.