Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Confession Tuesday - The Haunted Armoire Edition



Dear Reader,

It's been one week and two full nights sleeps without a visit from the 2 hours-of-insomnia Fairy.  I have a lot on my mind, so let's just begin.

To the confessional--

I confess after WAY too many years (eighteen, I think) I am getting rid of my haunted armoire.

Hello, I must be going...
For the last eighteen years, I have had sleep issues that I have blamed on this armoire.  From waking up in the middle of the night searching for medicine (I don't have or take) in the armoire to believing a keep a small bird in there that I've forgotten to feed.

I use the haunted armoire to keep my lingerie and pajamas in.  So you can only imagine what my family thinks to find me standing in front of it at 2 am digging through my bras asking questions like, "Do I take medicine?"  And saying random things like, "Oh my God, I've forgotten about the bird."

You may wonder why someone would keep a haunted armoire for so long, especially one that I have such a strange midnight relationship with.

Well, because as much as I've blamed my sleep issues on this armoire, I guess I really haven't believed it's been the real cause of it.  I mean, can you imagine me telling my doctor that I have terrible sleep issues (and have since I was 24) and it's not because of anxiety or stress, but because I purchased a haunted armoire in 1993 that brings me over to at night searching for medicine or birds.  She would think I was looney.

So I've kept it, for the last 18 years believing it's not you, Armoire, it's me.  

But this weekend I visited my friend Nancy Pagh (who is an incredible poet by the way--here's her book, No Sweeter Fat) and I went to sleep in her armoireless room and slept for 10 hours straight.  No waking up, no insomnia, no trying to feed dead birds that don't exist.  It was magical.

I texted my husband from Nancy's house, "When I get home, we must move the haunted armoire out of our bedroom."  When I came home, the had already moved the armoire  out.  And for the past 2 nights I have slept.

I now however am taking the next big step, I sent out an email this morning to my friends that says my haunted armoire is up for grabs or it's going to our local donation center this Friday.  Yes, I am breaking up with my armoire (and I should have done this YEARS ago).

Oh and I did include the details that the armoire is in fact, haunted, or has weird energy that makes you think that birds and medicine live in it, but they already knew that--it's not as if I haven't spent the last eighteen years talking about this.

So I feel as if I'm moving on.  I cannot wait to get to it out of my house completely.

I told my daughter I was thinking of dragging down to the corner and putting a FREE sign on it and she said that we'll probably look out window and see all our neighbors looking for medicine in it and not understanding why.  Which made me laugh.  Which made me realize I have put way too much energy in this armoire and while I love how beautiful it is, it really needs to go.

Amen.


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Monday, January 30, 2012

Fran Lebowitz, Public Speaking Documentary: Movie Recommendations for Writers:



I just watched the documentary Public Speaking with Fran Lebowitz, which I highly recommend.

Okay, I should of course, point this out-- if you don't like Fran Lebowitz or think she's incredibly funny, witty, and smart like I do then you'll hate it because the whole film is her talking, Fran being Fran.

I became a Lebowitz fan a couple decades ago when I read her book, Social Studies.  (You can get both her books, Social Studies & Metropolitan Life here for a lower price in the Fran Lebowitz reader--but I think Social Studies is a much better book).  But I hadn't heard anything really about her in years...

You can imagine how thrilled I was to find this DVD on Netflix (no, it's not play instantly, I had to order the DVD old school).

The film was wonderful in how it explored writing, her life, and her opinions of the current culture. I watched it all including the special features (which I also recommend at the end if you enjoyed the movie).

I just love how her mind works, from her thoughts on women having babies to the color of her car (It's such a subtle shade of pearl graystraight men think it's white).


I know some people will find her annoying, judgmental, and opinionated, which are all the things I love about her.


Below is a clip from the film that starts out with an old interview clip of a younger Fran talking about writer's block and moves into Fran today.  If you have never seen Fran, this might be a good intro to her and her style--











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Northwest Poets--1 Day Class with Poet Elizabeth Austen @hugohouse


Ready to try something new?

 Elizabeth Austen is teaching a couple of poetry writing workshops in February:

Poems from Poems: Call and Response
“Good poems are the best teachers. Perhaps they are the only teachers,” writes Mary Oliver in A Poetry Handbook. This workshop explores ways to let others’ poems not only teach you, but lead to new poems of your own. We’ll experiment with po-jacking, sonic translations, echo translations and other ways to use one poem as a jumping off point for another. Come prepared to write and stretch your craft – participants will leave the workshop with fresh drafts of new poems.

February 4, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Richard Hugo House $96/$86.40 for Hugo House members. Registration is open online or via phone at (206) 322-7030.

Elizabeth will also teach a shorter, free version of the class on February 26, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Lopez Island Library.


Contact Elizabeth at eaustenpoetry(at)gmail.com for more information.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

thankful Thursday: storybook mushrooms

On the ferry home from a literary day and thankful for writer friends as well as my life as a poet, editor, and writer. This is how writing makes my life feel-- a red umbrella sheltering me in a gray world.


Yesterday I felt sad. I felt as if I couldn't or didn't do anything right. I felt worried and anxious and all the emotional stuff that comes with being human and caring about other people and wanting to do a good job. I was a gray world. Today my writing life reminded me that there can still be beauty, art, friendship, inspiration, even when another part of your life feels bad. I needed to be reminded of this. I needed to remember I am more than just a mushroom, but a storybook mushroom. I have no idea what my purpose is, but I do my best to be me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Confession Tuesday - the Yin & the Yang

"Purple Love" by Lawrence Yang - http://www.blowatlife.blogspot.com/


Dear Reader,

It's Tuesday again and time to confess all I've been up to.  Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with Brenda Miller's class at Western Washington University, where the students are making their own blogs.  They were a great group who asked smart questions and their blogs varied from life in the Roller Derby to making beer.  Pretty interesting stuff.

But now, it's my turn again to confess confess confess.  So off we go.  To the confessional--

I confess I do censor myself on my blog and on Confession Tuesday.

This was a question asked by one of the students and I thought it was an incredibly intriguing question.  My first gut response was to say, "No, I share what's on my mind," but I realized there are things I don't post--say confessing how there's a male poet who annoys me just for being him or personal things about my family as I try to keep their lives private.

While my main promise to myself when doing this blog was --be honest--I also have a stronger belief that comes first-- do no harm.

So instead of ranting about a specific poet who drives me nutty (and not in that good happy way), I leave out names.  I guess I feel life is hard enough for all of us and who I am to smack down someone who could be an incredibly kind and wonderful person, but through my dark-cloud sunglasses, I only saw ego, coldness and more ego.

~

I confess while I do censor things on my blog that may hurt other people, I think it's important to point out the bad stuff along with the good.

Like rejections.  Like feeling down about the writing life, or stuck, or just unconnected.

I think a blog that just shows a well-painted home and happy smiley people leads others to believe their lives are inadequate.

And it's not true.  We all struggle with something.

I think blogs like poetry, needs to be a mix of both, the sugar and spice.  The wow-I'm-so-excited-about-this and I-may-never-write-again-I-have-been-fooling-myself-for fifteen-years-that-I'm-a-writer.  Two completely true thoughts that can happen in one person's life.

John Berryman would wake up feeling like a genius and go to bed feeling like a failure, a hack.

While regular folks have these feelings, I think many times they are stronger in artists.  Sometimes I wonder if it's because we are responsible solely for us and what we achieve, accomplish, or spend our time doing.

There is no middle manager, no receptionist to blame that we didn't get that call.  Our lives are our own creation, they can please and disappoint us daily.

~

I confess I used my birthday money to buy a surfboard--a SUP board (stand-up paddle board).  It's currently in my living room taking up a huge amount of room.

Amen.


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Monday, January 23, 2012

Hello Western Washington University!



I'm heading up to WWU today to talk with Brenda Miller's class about blogging!

Brenda (author of Listening Against the Stone & Season of the Body: Essays) has started her own blog here, Spa of the Mind.  You may want to check it out as her posts are small gems about the world around us and our walk through it.

Today in class we'll take a tour of Book of Kells, share how it developed, and the role of blogging in the writing life & the business of writing, along with a few other things.

I'll do a follow-up post to this one and let you know how the day went!

And HELLLLLLOOOOO Brenda's Class!



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Carbon Copy Magazine Issue #1 is Fantastic!




Just received my contributor's copy for Carbon Copy Magazine in the mail.  I LOVE it. (You can buy a copy here, or learn how to submit to it here.)

It's a pop-culture issue so it's ridiculous fun.  I have a poem called "Because I'm John Stamos" which basically makes fun of myself for being a B-list poet, along with another poem called "American Gothic in Technicolor" and "Unfinished," a poem which suggests God was Marilyn Monroe.

There are other pop culture poems throughout, my favorites being "Word of the Day" and "Upbraiding Amy" about Amy Winehouse by Allison Joseph, and three incredible poems by Denise Duhamel, my favorite being "Facebook Kisses Off."

But the magazine is packed full of poems mentioning Anne Sexton & Grace Kelly, Batman, Graceland, & Abe Lincoln.

It's what I loved about the magazine, each poem a surprise, and full color artwork included in the pages.  I know how much it costs for full-color pages, so I appreciate Carbon Copy for going the extra mile there.

Oh and they are playful with their bio notes, which I love.  None of that, Kelli was published here, here and here, they have me admitting to using lines from a Marilyn Monroe biography on my dates when I was younger.  How can I not love a magazine that turns bio notes into intriguing reading


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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Diane Lockward Reviews Fire On Her Tongue @dianelock

I'm so thankful to read this incredible and generous review by Diane Lockward on her blog, Blogolicious

Here's part of the Fire On Her Tongue: An eBook Anthology of Women's Poetry Review

This 460-page anthology includes over 70 women poets. Each poet is represented by 2-5 poems. Each poet's poems are preceded by a brief bio and a link to the poet's website. Acknowledgments follow each poet's poems. Given the way an ebook works, this arrangement makes good sense as it eliminates the need to scroll to the end of the book to find this information.

As might be expected, there is an enormous variety of poetry—formal, free verse, prose poems. The poets cover the US landscape from East Coast to West Coast. One characteristic the poets have in common is that they are all still living. 


and 


This book is ideal for curling up in a comfortable chair but also makes a terrific traveling companion. In print such an anthology would most likely be priced around $30. But this ebook is available for a mere $7.99!  


***NOTE:  I just checked and it's on Kindle for $6.59


As I said, you can read the full review from Diane  on her blog, Blogolicious and check out today's post on what's the right time to submit a poem...  It's a good one!

Thank you, Diane!!


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Asking for a vote is a sign of desperation, but life is short and ...

I've never won a trophy.

For good karma points, click below. Thank you all!



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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What's @Klout? How I raised my score & why I received free #MOO Cards #socialmedia



For the last couple months, I've been trying to figure out what Klout is.

When I first went to their website, it said I had a "Klout Score" of 36.  I had no idea what that meant, but I could see that it wasn't the lowest score nor the highest score.  But what was I being graded on?

What Klout says on it's website is that it believe "Everyone has Influence" and "Our goal is to help you understand and leverage that influence."

I learned it uses social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. to measure your ability to reach and/or influence others and then Klout gives you an overall score.

Because I had a relatively low score, I decided to challenge myself to raise this score.

I wasn't sure exactly what to shoot for, but I realized you're invited to "Perks" (something I'll talk about more below) if you have a score over 40, but being a competitive person, I decided wanted to shoot for a Klout score over 50 and figure out how to do it.

As I said, one reason for choosing this number is that I noticed there were these things called "Klout Perks" where you could get free items (from business cards to $10 at a sports store) or be part of things.  To be eligible, you needed a higher score. I would see these perks and all of them said, "You are not eligible." (Gee, thanks for giving me a low score then keeping me out of the prize club too.)

So I added the Klout website to one of the first webpages I checked in the morning and they gave me perks (such as +K, which were Klout points I could give other Klout users I liked such as Collin Kelley, Jeannine Hall Gailey & Michael Wells.)  And usually, whoever gives me Klout, I give them Klout back in that good karma sort of way.

What I learned was, checking in to see my Klout score daily, made me use Twitter more and Facebook (because if people share your tweets or respond to your posts, your score goes up...)  This fascinated me.  And I loved that I could see it rising, though honestly, wasn't really sure what would make it go up.

I don't take part in Google+ (honestly, it confuses me), but I have a Twitter, blog and Facebook account.  I began to use Twitter more, tweeting articles I found interesting, using it in ways I hadn't really-- like engaging more in conversations with others and when I found things other writers and creatives would find interested, I tweeted them.

In the last few days, my score took a big 4 point jump and have no idea why.  I had a few people retweet me and a few Facebook posts people responded to, but nothing huge.

And since "joining" Klout, my score has risen from 36 to 57.

Here's my page on Klout if you want see what it looks like.  Each person who has connected with Klout get their own page with information created for you.

But what does this mean?

I'm not sure except I have finally earned a few perks from all of it.

My favorite perk being Moo Cards (which are the coolest business cards ever).  I have known about Moo Cards forever, but never bought them because they were $20.  I know, that makes me sound a little cheap (I prefer thrifty), but I just never wanted to buy a set and be disappointed as I had only seen the online.

Here's what I received from MOO-- very cool literary cards I created myself--


I chose image of my book and other writers for the backside, then the front is just your basic information.  They are about half the size of regular business size.  I ended up just paying shipping for them ($6).

And if I understand this correctly, I can send this same benefit to you with this link.  (let me know if this works or not, if you choose to do it. I don't get anything out of it, I'm just still trying to figure out the point of Klout.)

So if that works, that's cool.





I also received this Person of Interest TV Show Screen Cleaner (that they mailed to me at no cost).  And I think 10 people can receive these too.  It's kind of weird because Person of Interest is not my type of show, but I like the cleaner and I maybe getting a surprise in the mail--okay, I liked getting a surprise in the mail, I am a twelve year old girl.

So I like that aspect of Klout, you get things and you can share the wealth.

Also, when you're signed into Klout, you can search for people who are "experts" in certain areas, and I like being able to find new people on topics I'm interested in such as creativity, books, authors, etc.

Klout also has decided I'm "influential" on a few things-- poetry, writing, eBooks, spoken word, books, libraries, and coffee.  Coffee?  That one made me laugh, but I am in Seattle so I still think Starbucks is a good thing.  Plus, I do have a beautiful large cup of coffee every morning, and I'm guessing I must put that in my blog or status update more than I thought.

The other strange topic to me is I'm influential about economics.  Economics before editor?  This is the part of Klout where I'm just not sure where they grab their info from.

As for my final thoughts are that I'm still not 100% sure I even get what Klout is or why it's important.  I wonder what they will do with this info, of knowing who is influential in what?  If you have a high influence in coffee, will coffee companies want you to try their coffee?  Or does it just mean, I'm highly addicted to caffeine.

Whatever it is, Klout does have a fun element to it as well as one that can help you find other interesting people or topics, and there is satisfaction of the score going up... of course, what goes up, must come down...so I'm guessing as this experiment comes to an end (and as summer comes and I'm not as active online) my score will drop.  And that's okay.

I will stay on Klout and as I learn more about it, will let you know.  I'm hoping one day to get a better understanding of lists and doing more with those.  And maybe use it more as a tool for helping me research topics I'm interested in.

In the end, I doubt my Klout score will be featured in my obituary, so it's something to know is out there, but it's probably not something that will change your life too much, with the exception of perhaps, some new business cards.



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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Confession Tuesday

Dear Reader,

It has been one light snowfall and an unused sled since my last confession.  I have been busy with writing and creative thoughts.

Last night after watching one of my very favorite movies ever-- Midnight in Paris (with Owen Wilson, a must-see if you're a reader or writer) I had a literary dream and I confess I did not write it down, I can't remember the exact authors I spoke with, but I know they had interesting and inspiring things to tell me.  I am so bummed I have forgotten.  Note to self: Do not trust that you will remember the dream in the morning.

But there's more, so to the confessional--


I confess I recently heard Oprah say this quote and I so believe it--

When people show you who they are, believe them the first time. 


I want to add something more here, to say something interesting about this quote, but I think it speaks itself better than I do.

But it does also remind of this quote I love:  If you see crazy coming, cross the street.


~


I confess there's a snowstorm coming to our state and I'm thrilled.  We don't get a lot of snow, but I love how snow makes you have to stop and slow down.  We plan to go sledding and take long walks followed by hot chocolate (I better get whipped cream, I think we're out).  I love being home and "stuck" in the house.

On a recent writing date with Susan Rich, I told her, "I know this might sound weird, but I'm looking for new ways to be productive, creative and to also support myself financial without having to leave my house."  She laughed and said, "That doesn't sound weird to me at all!"

Susan also loves her house, being home, and appreciates her alone time as well, she's a writer.  I'm realizing more and more, my favorite place is home, I prefer it over adventure, over exploring, or going for a drive.

If you've read Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, you may have noticed that part of my anxiety was causing me to become the next Emily Dickinson (not in sense of writing, but in her reclusiveness).  I could be the woman lowering bread down from my bedroom woman to the children below.  And I think, in certain ways I moving towards that.

But this other love of home and solitude, comes from a healthier place.  It's not that I'm afraid to leave the house, but I am just so happy here, I make sure I only say yes to things I really want to do.

My present-time optimistic self is always signing my future-self up for events I don't want to do.  My optimistic self thinks-- how much fun, yes I'd love to do that.  When the event comes around, future-self rolls her eyes and says, I'd really like to stay home. I'm always seeking that balance of extrovert activities vs introvert activities.  It shouldn't be so hard to do, but I struggle with it.


~


I confess some of this love of home and solitude comes from my introverted side in needing alone time to recharge.  For every hour with people, I need about 2-3 hours to myself.  I know, it's kind of crazy, but I realized it.

I'm not someone who loves big groups.  I like one-on-one time with people.  A large group to me is anything more than four.  It took me quite a long time to realize this about myself.  I hadn't understood why in high school, I used to hope we didn't win the football game because then my boyfriend wouldn't want to go to the party afterwards.  When we lost, we stayed home and watched movies...and I loved staying home.

I think this learning about yourself and always remembering your future-self is so important.  Sometimes, when I'm about to do something half-arse, I think about my future-self and how annoyed she'll be that I didn't do it right when I had the time to do it.

~

Here's a great article called The Rise of GroupThink from the NY Times that begins "Solitude is out of fashion..."   But Susan Cain writes:


Solitude has long been associated with creativity and transcendence. “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible,” Picasso said. A central narrative of many religions is the seeker — Moses, Jesus, Buddha — who goes off by himself and brings profound insights back to the community. . .



Privacy also makes us productive. In a fascinating study known as the Coding War Games, consultants Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister compared the work of more than 600 computer programmers at 92 companies. They found that people from the same companies performed at roughly the same level — but that there was an enormous performance gap between organizations. What distinguished programmers at the top-performing companies wasn’t greater experience or better pay. It was how much privacy, personal workspace and freedom from interruption they enjoyed. Sixty-two percent of the best performers said their workspace was sufficiently private compared with only 19 percent of the worst performers. Seventy-six percent of the worst programmers but only 38 percent of the best said that they were often interrupted needlessly.


_________

Anyway, lots to think about on this snowy day.  And I can, quietly, as the snow continues to fall.

Amen.



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Monday, January 16, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Some Thoughts on Switching Over to Facebook Timeline: #socialmedia



So, I've decide to make the switch to Facebook's Timeline (now that I made the commitment, I will have 7 days until it's published --it will go live on January 21 unless I choose earlier.)

I decided to make the change because I didn't want to wake up one morning and find my page in Timeline and not have had the chance to view the information and choose what they call "Your Cover Photo."  (My worst case scenario is I walk up to my giant face plastered across my Facebook page in my most unflattering photo ever...)  So vanity won out as it usually does and today I began creating my Facebook timeline.

I wrote some notes as my status for others making the change and I'll include them here along with others--



1)  If you choose to do Timeline you have 7 days before you have to publish it.  The bonus with this is that gives you the opportunity to take anything off Timeline that you want to keep private.

2)  While you can still keep your friends private, your Timeline will show when you become friends with someone, so it looks like you will need to delete these updates on your timeline if you want them private.

3)  There is a little bit of the "creepster" element to timeline if you have checked into places, as it allows people see where you were and if you use location check-in, it will show where you are (it does this now, but for some reason, having maps seems creepy to me).

I have learned you can go into your privacy settings (under "tags") and set it so people can't check you into places.

4) I just realized you can delete maps (choose Hide from Favorites)-- I'm hoping it doesn't show up anywhere else once I publish this.

5)  If you are friends with people you don't know, I'd recommend being careful with any dates since sometimes those are used for security measures with your accounts

6)  When choosing your cover photo, something simple works best

7)  You can still see if how your page looks to other if you click on the little star next to "Activity Log"

If I learn anything else, I'll let you know.

Surprisingly though, I'm not hating Timeline as much as I thought and do see a few benefits with it.




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Friday, January 13, 2012

What's a Blog Hop? Meet New Writers & A Chance to Win a Free Kindle!

Not a Bunny Hop, but Blog Hop


Collin Kelley is participating in a Friday the 13th blog hop today.
What a fantastic idea!

Basically, what you do is you go from writer's blog to writer's blog until you get to the end when you have a chance to enter to win a Kindle among other prizes.

The fiction authors sure get things done!

Here's what I liked about it:

1)  You get to "meet" new authors and learn about their books.

2)  Authors get a chance to increase their readership and have more people connect with them through their books and blog.

3)  It's rewarding-- both in clicking through the links, then finishing and being able to enter to win a Kindle

4)  It's fun and was set up on a very memorable day-- Friday the 13th!

5)  Each author had his/her own style, but you could see how this blog hop was all connected.

6) Everyone did it correctly-- the concern with such a big blog hop is that one person doesn't link up correctly or forgets to do their post, then it would be a not-so-happy mess (but it wasn't).

7)  I think it's a win/win for readers and authors.


Poets should do something like for poetry month to learn about new poets.

Anyway, a great idea!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Beatles Photobomb!

I know, what kind of gratitude is this?  But this photo makes me smile. In fact, I love it.

Paul McCartney in the background, George Harrison with the girls.  Maybe the first photobomb, but I'm grateful for this photo because it makes me happy...

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Confession Tuesday - In Bed

Dear Reader,

It's been a week and I'm a year old since my last confession.  Amazing math is happening at my house, from being the meaning of life (42) to being another prime number (43).

But we're readers here, why am I so caught up in numbers?  Could it be that I was always better at math? (Truth: I was.)

To the confessional--

I confess that I spent most of my birthday in bed.

If I had turned 23, this statement might suggest the day included champagne with two glasses and whipped cream.  If I had turned 30, you might think I was depressed.  In my early 40's, when I say this people assume I'm sick or that I've pulled something.

What's really going on?  I'm down with a cold and having been knocked down by it a few times in the last weeks (thinking I'm better, but am really not), I'm taking it easy, super-easy, babysteps to my regular life, that kind of thing.  Since I'm never sick, I find all this sickness a drag, a limiting drag.

But don't feel bad for me, I actually *love* my bed and love spending the day in it.  To me, this is a treat, a luxurious life, a love affair with down comforters, pillows, and a new electric blanket.

While there is another part of me that signs up for ridiculously long races that include paddleboards and medals, my other self loves lounging, reading in bed, napping, and lollygagging the day away.  This is the self I feel like today, as I type this from my bed, laptop on lapdesk, two cats asleep next to me, and a view of the sky.

~

I confess one reason I love my bedroom is that it's on the second floor.  I hate being on ground level, I love being up.  Someone told me that this is because I'm a Capricorn and we climb mountains. I have never climbed a mountain (besides a day hike), but have climbed stairs to get a good view of my neighborhood.

~

I confess I've been reading and reruns of Will & Grace.

I have returned to rereading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, which is one of the most quotable books, I have highlights & notes all through it.

But mostly, I've spent my first hours of being 43 in bed just reading birthday wishes on Facebook and sleeping.  I remind myself that time isn't wasted if you enjoy what you're doing, but still, I'm ready to run at the world, clean the house, get into my writing studio and create.

But not today.

Amen.

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Monday, January 09, 2012

It's My Birthday - I'm a Prime Number...



This is not what I look like today.  I've been resting in bed trying to allow the last of this cold leave me for good.  I'm wearing yoga pants, a thermal t-shirt and a fuchsia scarf around my neck.  It's not sexy, but this is what 43 looks like today.

43 is optimistic despite this long dragged-out cold.
43 isn't so sick she couldn't eat carrot cake and chocolate chips all day long.
43 has not watched televisions but instead watched her Facebook page fill up with well-wishers.
43 did shower, she loves to shower, long hot showers where she gets her best ideas.
43 sometimes thinks of Frida Kahlo right before she gets into the shower, she isn't sure why.
43 realizes she may be thinking of Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo and not Frida Kahlo as Frida Kahlo.
33-42 has watched that movie quite a number of times.
43 is not in the best shape of her life, but she just signed up to paddle 10K on her stand-up paddleboard in August.
42 also gave 43 a kick in the pants by signing her up for a half marathon.
43 does not like to run, so 43 will walk it...with friends.
43 thinks/hopes/prays this will be a good year of health, happiness & success.
Though really, 43 is searching for a four-leaf clover in a glass of champagne.

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Friday, January 06, 2012

For the LOVE of Typewriters...

Midge Raymond at Ashland Creek Press helped create this little Adopt-a-Typewriter Public Service Announcement. The Ashland Creek Press videos always make me smile.



And Ashland Creek Press also sells the cutest Typewriter Notecards here (12 for $15).


I own 3 typewriters my favorite being this one:



And speaking of Typerwriters-- I LOVE this:



Thursday, January 05, 2012

Thankful Thursday - A Year of Success

In December, a friend and I were talking about goals for the New Year and she asked me what I was most happy about achieving in 2011 and I said, "Well, I didn't really do too much."

Really? 


"Well, I worked on Crab Creek Review and did a few readings, but that was about it," I said as if her tone was completely uncalled for.

My friend responded:
Hmmm, that's interesting, Kelli, as I remember your book winning the ForeWord Book of the Year Prize in Poetry and that it was a Washington State Book Finalist.  You also edited an anthology and co-directed Poets on the Coast Writing Retreat.  And didn't you start Two Sylvias Press, have two writing residencies, teach at Centrum, Western Washington University, Field's End, have poems published on The Rumpus, in the Alaska Quarterly Review, Cerise Press and continue to volunteer with seniors helping them write their stories?


My response?

"I forgot."

* * *

This conversation with a friend made me realize how easily we forget all the good news, accomplishments (large &small) and successes we have throughout the year.  So I decided to change that this year; I created a Success Chart--

I created this chart to keep on my desk and write down any successes that happen in 2012, from Fire On Her Tongue showing up in the #1 spot for downloaded books on Kindle in Poetry to being asked to being contacted by a stranger who liked a poem of mine.  Anything that made me feel good about my writing life will be included.

And maybe you need one too to help you remember.

So I've uploaded onto MediaFire (something else I'm thankful for)--

if you want a copy of the Success Chart for yourself, you can download it free here.


I think it's easy to forget what we've achieved, so today I give thanks for remembering and for all the successes of last year and the ones in this year to come (and be documented).







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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Reviewers Wanted for Fire On Her Tongue: An eBook Anthology of Women's Poetry


Okay, we've got our links up at Two Sylvias Press if you want to purchase our eBook anthology, Fire On Her Tongue (or as we like to call it --Over 460 Pages of Crazygood Poetry).

We can also email you a PDF version if you prefer, just click here.

All versions from Kindle to iBooks to Barnes & Noble are $7.99.

We are looking for reviewers, so if you'd like to review our anthology, please drop me an email at kelli (a) agodon.com

I'd LOVE to see it reviewed for Literary Mama or Huffington Post, but honestly, we'd be happy to see it get reviewed most anywhere!  So if you have some ideas and would like a review copy, drop me an email.

Oh and Fire On Her Tongue is now available at Barnes & Noble for the Nook! It just released there today.


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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Confession Tuesday

My New Book of Kells blog banner is the left upper corner of this painting...


Dear Reader,

It's been a year-change and a new anthology since my last confession.  I am catching up on the things I let slide winter break, mostly emails, mostly emails and laundry.  I'm not sure what's on my mind today, let's see if there's anything worth sharing.

To the confessional--

I confess, so far I've been doing pretty well with my resolutions (okay, I know it's only day 3, but it's a start).  I have not gone onto Facebook (I have returned to Facebook Fridays) and have been spending much less time online.

I've been doing a sketch-a-day in my journal and really enjoy getting lost in drawing.

I confess I have always wanted to be a visual artist, but have never felt my talents were there or have even known where to begin.  With writing and poetry, I can just sit down and create, with art and drawing, it's a struggle for ideas, for what to do and what to do next, and I never really like my own artwork, so that's a huge bummer right there.

But what I love about art, museums, and artists is how they inspire me to live more authentically and they inspire my own work.

~

I confess new year's always make me think about beginnings and what I can do differently, how I can start fresh.  Like my new banner and blog colors (if you're reading this on GoogleReader, you may have no idea what I'm talking about), but I like to mix it up a bit, not because I like change, but because I don't like change.

The photo of the cakes is one I took at the Smithsonian.  Wayne Thiebaud's, Cakes (1963)  It makes me incredibly happy to look at it because it mixes two of my favorite things--dessert & art.


I chose it because my next manuscript is dealing a lot with art and I wanted a visual reminder of artwork in my blog (I also like cake a lot).  


It will take me a little while to get comfortable with the new look of my blog, but I do this each year.  It's kind of annoying if you don't like change (like me), but I make myself feel uncomfortable every so often just to see what I can gain from it.


I confess I am most happy in my routine and habits.  Sometimes it scares me how happy I am there.  


Amen.





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New eBook: Fire On Her Tongue: An eBook Anthology of Contemporary Women's Poetry


Annette Spaulding-Convy & I have spent the last year editing this eBook anthology of poetry from some of the most incredible poets writing today and on December 28th, it became available for sale on Amazon.com

The Details--

What:  Fire On Her Tongue: An eBook Anthology of Contemporary Women's Poetry
(Two Sylvias Press, 2012)

A 460-page eBook anthology of poems by women poets writing today.
It is the FIRST eBook anthology of contemporary women poets and features over 70 women poets writing today.

Why:  Annette and I both purchased eReaders and were discouraged by how few poets were represented on this technology.

Where:  Currently available as an eBook on Amazon.com (for your Kindle), Barnes & Noble (for your Nook), iBooks and coming soon to IndieBound.org, eBooks.com, Powell's, Sony Reader Store and many other eBook outlets.

It will also be available in PDF form at Two Sylvias Press (twosylviaspress.com) later today.

Who:  Poets featured in this anthology--
Kim Addonizio, Deborah Ager, Ivy Alvarez, Nin Andrews, Elizabeth Aoki, Elizabeth Austen, 
Lana Hechtman Ayers, Dorothy Barresi, Judith Barrington, Mary Biddinger, Elizabeth Bradfield, 
Ronda Broatch, Gloria Burgess, Jill Crammond, Barbara Crooker, Rachel Dacus, 
Madeline DeFrees, Susan Elbe, Patricia Fargnoli, Annie Finch, Kathleen Flenniken, 
Rachel Contreni Flynn, Rebecca Foust, Suzanne Frischkorn, Jeannine Hall Gailey, 
Maya Ganesan, Arielle Greenberg, Kate Greenstreet, Lola Haskins, Eloise Klein Healy, 
Jane Hirshfield, Erin Coughlin Hollowell, Anna Maria Hong, Holly Hughes, 
Ann Batchelor Hursey, Luisa A. Igloria, Jill McCabe Johnson, Tina Kelley, Janet Norman Knox, 
Keetje Kuipers, Dorianne Laux, Jenifer Browne Lawrence, Kate Lebo, Carol Levin, 
Rebecca Loudon, Erin Malone, Marjorie Manwaring, Frances McCue, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, 
January Gill O’Neil, Alicia Ostriker, Nancy Pagh, Alison Pelegrin, Susan Rich, Rachel Rose, 
Natasha Saj√©, Peggy Shumaker, Martha Silano, Judith Skillman, Patricia Smith, Ann Spiers, 
A.E. Stallings, Joannie Kervran Stangeland, Marilyn L. Taylor, Molly Tenenbaum, 
Ann Tweedy, Nance Van Winckel, Katrina Vandenberg, Sarah Vap, Kary Wayson, 
Katharine Whitcomb, Wendy Wisner, Rachel Zucker.  

And the best part of this anthology besides the most incredible poets involved, is that all of this amazing talent and 460 pages of poems can be yours for $7.99 (no kidding).

One thing Annette & I wanted to do was to bring poetry to a larger audience, so we priced it lower than what we believe it's worth.  We want more people to know about these poets and to read their poems. We wanted this anthology on every eReader, so we priced it not so we could vacation in the French Riviera, but so we could cover costs.  

It was truly a fulfilling and challenge project.  We have learned so much about eBook production.  We worked with PublishGreen.com to help with the challenges that come with formatting poems and they were absolutely incredible, professional, and really helped us so much with this first project (I would highly recommend them if you choose to publish your own eBook as they work with individual authors as well.)

I know I'll be blogging more about this, but I wanted you to know that it's here.  

I'll also post when it's available by PDF as we've learned the #1 eReader in America is the laptop!  

Happy Reading! 



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Monday, January 02, 2012

Poets On The Coast: A Writing Retreat for Women is Happening in 2012!

On of my favorite photos from the retreat (Sylvia Beach & James Joyce on the wall behind us)
Welcome to 2012.

I'm writing to you on the last day of winter break after a snowfall of endings and beginnings.  I'm thinking about my year ahead and how I will make time for myself as a writer.  Last year, I did quite a few projects that promoted others' work.  It was incredibly fulfilling, but I found it left me with this huge desire to work on my own writing this year.

So I've been thinking about how I will take time for myself this year.  I have one residency planned in the spring, but am also looking for other new things to spark new work.

~

One thing I will be doing again with Susan Rich that I hope will spark new work for others is Poets on the Coast: A Writing Retreat for Women, Sept 7-9, 2012.

We are excited that we have already filled about 1/3 of the spots in just a week of announcing it (and it was a pre-announcement, the official registration started yesterday!)

If you're interested in attending (it's on the Oregon Coast near Cannon Beach) at the most incredible literary hotel ever-- The Sylvia Beach Hotel-- where every room is decorated for an author, you should probably sign up for this year, as I can't guarantee this will happen again in 2013.  We may take a break from it next year, this year, we returned because we had such an incredible time and were asked to keep it going one more year.

Also, I will not be staying in the Emily Dickinson Room this year, so that room is up for grabs along with the Jane Austen room!  This year I will be sleeping with Mark Twain (I know, that sounds bizarre, but it is true.)


Of course, if you're local in Oregon, you can commute in, but most of the guests have chosen to stay at the hotel or close by.  The Sylvia Beach Hotel prices are very reasonable and include the most delicious breakfast & an inspiring author's room.

What I loved about this retreat was how kind the women who joined us were.  We had brand-spankin' new poets to poets who have written books.

This year will have a lot more longer writing times and a Master Class Poetry Workshop each day where you can share your poems and receive feedback on them (if you choose, there's also a writing session that will happen at the same time as the Master Class).  Susan and I also do one-on-one time with each of the women poets were we look at your work or talk about whatever you want to talk about--this was probably one of my favorite parts of the retreat.

So if you're a woman poet, writer or interested in becoming more of a writer in your life,   you can find out more about the retreat here on the website, there's a Frequently Asked Questions sheet and you can also register online. (Oh and prices go up on Valentine's day, so we have the lowest price right now until then.)

And if you're ready to go to Poets on the Coast right now,  here's the registration form.

~

I am looking forward to the year ahead.  I hope it is filled with health, happiness, creativity, and poetry, and I hope your year is too.

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