Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Washington Poet Laureate Blog - for Washington State Poets!

I mentioned that Kathleen Flenniken started a new blog for Washington State poets and poetry events.


Yesterday she featured my poem, "In the 70’s, I Confused Macramé and Macabre"  on it.

Also, the title banner is a Where's Waldo of Washington State poets -- see if you can find me, Susan Rich, Martha Silano, Oliver de la Paz, Elizabeth Austen, Peter Pereira, Nancy Pagh, Heather McHugh, Linda Bierds, Sherman Alexie, Tess Gallagher, Richard Hugo and many many others.

Thanks, Kathleen!





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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Confession Tuesday: The Cheese Edition

cheese jacket

Dear Reader,

It's been 6 days of Lent and no sweets or dessert.  What on earth to people eat when they don't have sugar or treats?  I'm so bored of my diet AND I have 2 boxes of unopened Camp Fire Mints in the pantry.  Let's just say I'm eating a lot of vanilla yogurt, raisins, and triple berry bran muffins.

But 34 more days for this nonsense to end... wait, that's not a good attitude...
To the confessional--

I confess I recently wrote this in an email:  My life motto in regards to writing is not to be cheesy.

Looking it over I could have written "regarding" instead of "in regards to," but the point is the same, I am afraid that one I will wake up cheesy.

I guess one just doesn't "wake up cheesy," but as someone who mostly writes poetry, I feel I have one foot in the door to the cheesy world already-- add on a fancy scarf, a whimsical pin and/or hat, and give me a wine spritzer and we've hit the cheese-factor like 7-11 nachos.

We have to be careful--cheesiness is everywhere these days.

And there are so many ways to become cheesy--what separates the George Clooneys from the David Hasselhoffs?  It's hard to name, but I know it when I see it.

And I have huge fear about putting on the cheese jacket.

~

I confess I just splurged and paid $7 for a small container of "Wee Bries" at the store because I didn't want to drive 30 minutes to Trader Joe's because of my daily habit to cheese.  (Note: Trader Joe's Mini Brie's are my favorite and are a lot less.)

~

I confess that sometimes I buy cheese because of the name.  Muenster is an appropriate example of this.

~

I confess my family and I have been watching Modern Family and we have two favorite lines, this is one of them--


The other is--

"It's a freak show, but it's *their* freak show!"

This last one has been great as a reminder not to worry what other people are doing.  And it's fun to say.

Amen.


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Friday, February 24, 2012

Hey Writers: You're Looking Sexy in Ireland with that Shenandoah Prize...


Okay, TWO amazing opportunity for poets and writers. 


Anam Cara - this is where Susan is teaching...


The first:  Susan Rich is teaching an amazing workshop in IRELAND (I kid you not!)  If you want to take a class, this is the place to go.  I teach with Susan at Poets on the Coast and she is an amazing teacher, and I have the feeling she'd be even more perfect in Ireland.

If I could go, I would.

Here's the info for anyone who wants to live life to the fullest--

Anam Cara - in West Cork, Ireland has invited me to teach a week long writing workshop

Speaking Pictures: A Poetry Workshop Concerning Art. August 4 - 11,  2012.
Here is the overview of what you'll do --- and soon there will be a day by day schedule available.



Speaking in Pictures: A Poetry Workshop Concerning Art


     The question is not what you look at, but what you see.Henry Thoreau
 Poetry and painting are sister arts according to the Greeks. It’s a natural collaboration to focus on ekphrastic poetry. Ekphrastic poetry simply refers to our poems inspired by visual images. Together, we will discuss traditional and experimental models of the form by Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Hayden, Lisel Mueller and Rainier Maria Rilke; study recent examples by contemporary poets, and sharpen our powers of observation and description. Finally, through a series of provocative exercises, we will write our own poems on a variety of works of art. For the purposes of this workshop, art includes sculpture, collage, architecture and the natural world. All levels of writers are welcome — from beginners to very advanced practitioners. 

And if you don't know Susan, here's a few things about her too--

Susan Rich is the author of three collections of poetry, The Alchemist’s Kitchen (2010) which was named a finalist for The Foreword Prize and the Washington State Book Award, Cures Include Travel (2006), and The Cartographer’s Tongue / Poems of the World (2000) which won the PEN USA Award for Poetry. She has received awards The Times Literary Supplement of London, Peace Corps Writers and the Fulbright Foundation. Her featured appearances include the Cuirt Literary Festival in Galway, Ireland and the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia. Recent poems have been published in the Harvard Review, Poetry Ireland, The Southern Review and the New England Review. Born and educated in Boston, Massachusetts; Susan now makes her home in Seattle, WA.
If you'd like to sign up or learn more -- here's the link to the workshop.

~
Then once you get to Ireland, here's a great opportunity for Fiction Writers--

The Bevel Summers Prize for Short-Short Fiction is a $500 prize for a story of 1,000 words or less.  We will be accepting entries from March 1 to March 31, 2012.  The winning story is also published in Shenandoah.  There is no entry fee, and entrants can submit up to three previously unpublished stories for consideration.  Entrants should submit two copies of each story, one with name and contact information and one without, as well as a SASE.  All entries should be sent to the following address:

Shenandoah: Bevel Summers Prize
Washington and Lee University
17 Courthouse Square
Lexington, Virginia 24450

Here's the link with more information--  http://shenandoahliterary.org/bevel-summers/


****


So there you go, writers and poet, explore and submit.  Life is short!  Enjoy it!



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Hey Writers: You're Looking Sexy in Ireland with that Shenandoah Prize...

Okay, TWO amazing opportunity for poets and writers.

Anam Cara - this is where Susan is teaching...


The first:  Susan Rich is teaching an amazing workshop in IRELAND (I kid you not!)  If you want to take a class, this is the place to go.  I teach with Susan at Poets on the Coast and she is an amazing teacher, and I have the feeling she'd be even more perfect in Ireland.

If I could go, I would.

Here's the info for anyone who wants to live life to the fullest--

Anam Cara - in West Cork, Ireland has invited me to teach a week long writing workshop

Speaking Pictures: A Poetry Workshop Concerning Art. August 4 - 11,  2012.
Here is the overview of what you'll do --- and soon there will be a day by day schedule available.



Speaking in Pictures: A Poetry Workshop Concerning Art



     The question is not what you look at, but what you see.Henry Thoreau
 Poetry and painting are sister arts according to the Greeks. It’s a natural collaboration to focus on ekphrastic poetry. Ekphrastic poetry simply refers to our poems inspired by visual images. Together, we will discuss traditional and experimental models of the form by Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Hayden, Lisel Mueller and Rainier Maria Rilke; study recent examples by contemporary poets, and sharpen our powers of observation and description. Finally, through a series of provocative exercises, we will write our own poems on a variety of works of art. For the purposes of this workshop, art includes sculpture, collage, architecture and the natural world. All levels of writers are welcome — from beginners to very advanced practitioners. 

And if you don't know Susan, here's a few things about her too--

Susan Rich is the author of three collections of poetry, The Alchemist’s Kitchen (2010) which was named a finalist for The Foreword Prize and the Washington State Book Award, Cures Include Travel (2006), and The Cartographer’s Tongue / Poems of the World (2000) which won the PEN USA Award for Poetry. She has received awards The Times Literary Supplement of London, Peace Corps Writers and the Fulbright Foundation. Her featured appearances include the Cuirt Literary Festival in Galway, Ireland and the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia. Recent poems have been published in the Harvard Review, Poetry Ireland, The Southern Review and the New England Review. Born and educated in Boston, Massachusetts; Susan now makes her home in Seattle, WA.
If you'd like to sign up or learn more -- here's the link to the workshop.


Then once you're set up to go to Ireland--  here's a great FREE opportunity for Fiction Writers--

The Bevel Summers Prize for Short-Short Fiction is a $500 prize for a story of 1,000 words or less.  We will be accepting entries from March 1 to March 31, 2012.  The winning story is also published in ShenandoahThere is no entry fee, and entrants can submit up to three previously unpublished stories for consideration.  Entrants should submit two copies of each story, one with name and contact information and one without, as well as a SASE.  All entries should be sent to the following address:

Shenandoah: Bevel Summers Prize
Washington and Lee University
17 Courthouse Square
Lexington, Virginia 24450

Here's the link with more information--  http://shenandoahliterary.org/bevel-summers/


****


So there you go, writers and poet, explore and submit.  Life is short!  Enjoy it!



Thursday, February 23, 2012

To Do List: A Planet With Rings

What my To Do List (and yours) should be

So I just was reading over my To Do List and saw this "Prepare Saturn."

Note to self:  use better handwriting.  I do not own a Saturn, nor am not planning on prepping an entire planet.  What the heck do I need to do?!


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Confession Fat Tuesday (On Thursday)

Top photo:  My life on Tuesday & Wednesday / Bottom Photo:  Where I hope to be moving to...




Note:  I started this blog post on Tuesday and am just finishing it up today.  
Here's how it began...


Dear Reader,

Today is Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, a day to celebrate and enjoy before Lent begins tomorrow on Ash Wednesday.

How am I feeling?  Basically, I'm eating a box of Camp Fire Girl mints and finishing up 2 days of preparing my taxes.  If I was in New Orleans, let's just say I'd be letting loose right now.

But I'm not.  Letting loose or in New Orleans.  I'm hear ready to confess, so let's begin, to the confessional--

****And that's as far as I got.  I opened the confessional door, but didn't go in.

So I guess should add a few things here...

I confess today is my day to catch up.  I'm doing my best to plow through my to-do list, make the most of my time and make some progress forward.

I feel overwhelmed when I'm busy, when I'm away from my home too much.

I recently heard the term "adrenalin junkie" and it wasn't regarding someone who runs or is a daredevil, but who likes the daily chaos of not finding her keys or daily dramas.  Some people exist on these things and actually (though they may tell you differently) *love* them.

I am so not that person.

What I like?  Time to read and sit.  Time to write.  Time to be with people I love and like.  Time to myself.  Time to be able to do things well (to put back the scissors, to return the cereal to the cupboard, to not be rushing around like a tasmanian devil).  I need time to think. To daydream.

~

I confess sometimes when there is so much to do, my head feels loopy.  It's the "I don't know where to begin so I think I'll read the Huffington Post" feeling.

This is why I keep a list.  When I'm overwhelmed, my head says "so much so much" and my brain clicks into the "where will you begin," and all I have to do is pick up my to-do list (which I have actually numbered) and pick up where I left off.

(I know. I am an organized nerd who lives a very boring life.)

I usually make my to-do list before bed, writing down all I want to do, then choose the top 3 or 4 that either have deadlines or will make the most difference on my emotional state.

Maybe my adrenalin rush comes from getting things done, making lists, organizing.  Because that is so uncool, I'm kind of thinking it's true for me.

~

I confess Lent began yesterday and I gave up sweets, yes, dessert.  Day one with no candy or sweets.  I kind of amaze myself. ;-)  I have 2 boxes of Camp Fire Mints left-- I plan on ripping them open Easter morning.  Okay, Easter afternoon.

Or maybe by then I'll be done with sweets, have the "Dessert? No thanks" attitude or "I live a healthy lifestyle."  Oh wait, I'm not that girl.

Amen.


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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Where I Am (Under the Table)--



This is a visual representation of how I have felt all week.  And no, I am not the baby.  The baby looks as if s/he's getting things done and that s/he has a short to-do list.

Yes, I missed Confession Fat Tuesday, but plan on posting that. Maybe tonight or Maybe on Thursday.

Anyway, I am here.  I am just hiding under the table surrounded by paper.  No worries.  All of this is only temporary.

Breathe.
Breathe.


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Friday, February 17, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thankful Thursday-- YOU

I may not know you personally.  Or I might.

Either way, here's a message for you today.  Know: I don't lie.  Know: in every way it is true.

You are the fox.  And your life, your passion, is the heart.

Live well friends...




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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

If you keep a baby-inspired blog & are looking for a sign--





Okay, please file this under "My Weirdest Blog Post Yet". . .

but last night I had a dream that the Wicked Witch of the West came to tell me that someone in the world (a mom, I'm guessing) has a baby-inspired blog and wants to go to a writer's conference, but isn't going to because she feels she "just has a baby-inspired blog" and isn't a real writer.

If this is you, you should go to the conference.  Glenda the Good Witch believes you should go.  She said it's a first step before many.

~

(Oh and if you think this is you, drop me a note or leave me a comment... I'm curious if I'm losing my mind, having visions, or just shouldn't eat a plate of chocolate dipped strawberries before bedtime.)



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Being in the Present & Synchronicity...Or How a TV Drama Can Change Your Life

For the last couple weeks I've been weirdly emotional (both good and bad, but mostly bad).

Last night I was trying to tell my husband about the final scene on the last Grey's Anatomy episode and I was holding back tears and could hardly tell it to him because I was so shaken/moved by it.

(If you're interested-- Basically, one of the storylines had this woman who was so upset her boyfriend didn't get her a ring on Valentine's day that when she received a necklace he gave her, she threw it at him and ran out of the house.  He chased after her and was hit by a car.

The next scene is kind of funny where they are pulling up in an ambulance, he's bloody and she's yelling at him for not proposing (He knows I want a ring).  As the show goes on, the girlfriend is still mad, can't believe she's wasted her time with this guy who wouldn't propose, etc etc.  Of course, doctors realize that the boyfriend has internal injuries and needs surgery about midway through the show.  As all good dramas go, he dies.  He dies and they tell the girlfriend who is heartbroken and realizes, I didn't need a ring, I just needed him.

The last scene is one of the doctors putting the dead boyfriend's final possessions into a bag and she sees the necklace he bought the woman who is now full of regret, it's a heart locket.  She opens it and in scratched in blue pen are the words "Will you marry me?"

I, of course, like any normal person gasp, "Oh no!" and start crying.  (Have I mentioned that my family just *loves* watching Grey's Anatomy with me; I'm a complete stress-case through every episode)).

The image that made me gasp.

So yesterday, Valentine's Day morning I walked out to my driveway to say goodbye to my daughter before she headed off to school and I looked down and saw 2 silver hearts, when I picked it up, I realized it was a locket... just like the one in the show.

inside my found locket

It looks as if it's been driven over, but the thing is, we have no ideas whose it is, where it came from, but the fact I found it on Valentine's Day wasn't lost on me.

Outside of found locket

I pick up the locket and immediately think of Grey's Anatomy (and I also think of my dad who died when I was 22).

I think about the lesson on the show-- how the woman didn't appreciate what she had and just wanted more, a little more...

In the last 2-3 weeks, I've been living about 6-8 years ahead of my regular life.  I've been thinking about the future and where I'm going and what I'll be doing and where I will live. Some people use wine or television or food or movies or overworking or running to escape, I use the John L. Scott website.

And here's the problem, when I live in the future I'm not appreciating today.

~

I mentioned to my doctor at my yearly visit that I've been feeling down and my anxiety has been sneaking up on me lately.  I sort of see my anxiety as the least-favorite friend who doesn't have your best interest at heart and arrives with the motto, "Trust me, I'm here to help..."

My doctor being a granola-girl herself, doesn't prescribe any medications for me, but instead prescribes this book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, which oddly enough I had just borrowed from my mum's library the day before.

~

Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's bad to want more.  Or to dream a better life for yourself.  But I think lately, I've been living in the future because I haven't been satisfied with the present.  I haven't been grateful for what I have now.

In 6-8 years, I do not know what and who I'll have around me.  So my future world is fantasy. I'm trying to make choices or plans based on a scenario I have no idea about.

~

So yesterday was a kind of kick-in-the-pants day.

I've had quite a few bits of synchronicity happen lately--the locket, receiving a reading request, the Power of Now book, and a few dreams.   I feel more connected to the world around me, which is a good place for me to be given that my emotions and have be rollercoastering me through my life lately.

I'm keeping the locket on my shelf in front of my desk, so I see it every day.  A reminder that magic happens and that if I'm not in the moment, I'll miss it.

~

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day from Pablo Neruda--





XVII (I do not love you...) by Pablo Neruda
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.




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Confession Tuesday: Valentine's Day Edition

Image from Owly Shadow Puppets Etsy Shop
Dear Reader,

It's been one week and confetti hearts since my last confession.  And since today is Valentine's Day I thought I'd focus on love and relationship confessions today (oh, this could be one long post!)

So let's begin!
To the confessional--


I confess as someone who'd be an uninsured writer, the above image rings true to my heart.

If it wasn't for my husband, I'd be uninsured.  Or partially insured.  Or oddly insured.  Most likely, I won't be going to doctor and would be getting my seasonal allergy medication on the black market.

And I confess, if I wasn't married, I'm not sure I would want to get married except for the above reason of health insurance because I think I'm the type of person who would treat a person I lived with but wasn't married to-- better.  I think when it comes to a husband I see almost every day, I can easily take him for granted and that is a personality defect in me and one I try to improve.

I have even suggested to my husband that maybe we should get divorced and just live together because we'd have more fun and I'd be a better girlfriend than a wife.  (He thinks I'm a lunatic for suggestion this, btw.)

~

I confess all of the guys I have or had crushes on are what regular people call nerds. (This includes famous people like Conan O'Brien, Lyle Lovett & Elvis Costello...)

~

I confess I recently ended up in touch with my first boyfriend, which was weird.  He was kind, but I was slightly awkward as per usual.  I mailed him back his high school football jerseys and apologized for being a nutty girlfriend back in the day.  Though I wasn't really crazy, just heartsick, lovehappy, an insecure romantic in high school and I wasn't very good at managing my emotions.

I'm a lot better now, though there is a part of me that still loves the girl I was who not only wore her heart on her sleeve, but wore it in bright flashing neon while Madonna's "Crazy for You" played in the background.

~

I confess one Christmas Eve at seventeen I cried in my car over said first boyfriend while listening to George Michael's "Last Christmas" on the radio.   My best friend and I still enjoy reminiscing about this embarrassing scene whenever we hear the song.

~

I confess I always wanted to receive one of those super-cheesy LARGE pink ruffled heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates for Valentine's Day.

Then I did and realized that they don't always contain the best chocolate.

This is a good lesson for not falling in love with super-cheesy men with pinky rings who wear ruffles and use product as like the chocolate-- there's usually nothing of quality inside.

Note: David Hasselhoff could be of substance, but he was the first pinky ring man with product hair I found.  (Also, no Hasselhoffs were hurt in the making of this post)

~

I confess once in my 20's I told my husband not to waste his money on flowers, but if he wanted to get me something, he could buy me tools or something useful.  In my thirties, I began appreciating fresh flowers again, though I've suggested he not waste money on a card.

~

I confess I left the romantic-me somewhere on a high school gymnasium floor under a silver-glitter moon and a crepe-paper sky.  I've grown into too-much of a serious Capricorn.  This is a downfall for me or a blessing for my husband who can never mess up Valentine's Day because I have no expectations whatsoever.

~

I confess I think you can be in love with many people at once, but you have to choose.

I also believe there's more than one soulmate for everyone. I think there are many people you can have that kind of connection, but the trick is choosing the best for you, then working at it.  Love is easy, but relationships require work.

~

I confess I love sending and receiving valentines so much that I have a miniature metal mailbox on my kitchen window where my husband leaves me notes & drawings on days he goes to work.

If I could have a valentine's box outside my door and my neighbors and friends could/would leave me valentines, I would.  To me, there was nothing I liked better than decorating a shoebox and having classmates drop valentines in it-- that was a magical day in elementary school.


Happy Valentine's Day
to all the lovesick and moonstruck!

Amen!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Mary Oliver Diagnosed with Serious Illness : Harriet Staff : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

Mary Oliver was just in Seattle a week ago-- very sorry to read this:

Poet Mary Oliver Diagnosed with Serious Illness : : The Poetry Foundation


Ride Your Own Unicorn Bicycles: It's Okay to Be An Artist -->


So, I kind of am in love with this photograph.

And I was thinking about it and really, this is kind of how I feel being a poet--as if I'm riding my unicorn bike around town.

I'm thankful I live in an artsy-community where it's not unusual to see women in long-patterned skirts, birkenstocks, crazy scarves and funky hats or for someone to ask, "Are you going to the psychic fair or the Renaissance Faire?"  

So many times when I ride up on my unicorn bike, no one even notices, or they tell me they have a unicorn bike too, but they don't show it to anyone.

The older I get, I realize you can't be liked/understood/accepted by everyone and that's okay.

As a young girl, I didn't get this.  When someone didn't like me, I wasn't sure why.  When I told my family that someone didn't like me, they would ask, "What did you do to them?"  I grew up believing if someone didn't like you, it was because you *did* something.  I hadn't realized that sometimes just showing up or being yourself was enough to be disliked.  

Being an artist (aka writer, painter, poet, etc) is difficult on its own.

Being an artist in a culture that values money can be difficult.  You can be riding around on your unicorn bike and someone says, "Shouldn't you have a real job?" or "Why are you wasting your time on that thing?"

Some people look at your unicorn bike and say "Weirdo" or "Stop it! You're showing off!"

Or if you get "too successful" someone who was riding a unicorn bike with you disappears into a ditch, throws rocks at you, or doesn't like that your unicorn now wears a tiara.

Or if there's insecurity, someone decides your unicorn bike is looking at them wrong, giving them the stinkeye, when really, your unicorn is just tired or in its own little world.

So many reasons to dislike someone...and yet, aren't we all just trying to get by the best we can?





Sometimes I need to reminded that it's okay to take a different route.

Even after fifteen years of following my own path, I have to check-in with myself and say, "It's okay you don't want to do what the masses are doing."

It's okay you don't like shopping or baking or scrapbooking or big parties or small talk or socializing or gossiping or watching American Idol or jogging or cheesecake.  It's okay you want to live on a houseboat and not in a neighborhood.  It's okay you prefer reading to athletics, documentaries to dramas.

I think as artists we need to remind ourselves that we're okay.

Even when we drive through Thanksgiving dinner on our unicorn bikes and our family says, "He has always wanted the dramatic entrance" or "Her and that silly hobby of hers" or "____________________________" (fill in the blank, you know you've heard something before)--

always know there are a lot with you who are also trying our hardest to live our dreams, to live the best life we can without trying to run anyone over.




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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Kathleen Flenniken is our new Poet Laureate!

2005 (I think) Kathleen Flenniken (who now has longer hair) with poet Sharon Bryan


Kathleen Flenniken is our NEW Poet Laureate in Washington State!! This is only our second poet laureate, our first was Sam Green from Brooding Heron Press (if you remember that Ted Kooser letterpress book I mentioned, that's his press.)

I was excited the chosen poet was a friend of mine and also a woman (how's that for selfish interests?!) But it's true, I was (maybe that should be on confession Tuesday...)

Kathleen was a classmate of mine in our MFA program: Rainier Writers Workshop at Pacific Luther University. I met her in 2003 when the press she volunteered at, Floating Bridge Press, published my first chapbook, Geography.

Kathleen's next book, PLUME is out next month, so the timing on this is perfect for her. Her first book was called FAMOUS and a wonderfully enjoyable read.

Here's the full article from the Seattle Times: Seattle woman named state's 2nd poet laureate

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Valentine's Day Gift Idea: Ted Kooser's book VALENTINES

"Map of the World" by Ted Kooser
If you're looking for gift ideas for your favorite loved one on Valentine's Day, I may have an idea for you...

For twenty-five years, Ted Kooser wrote a valentine poem and mailed it out in February. These collected poems are available in the book, Valentines by Ted Kooser.

Here's the Amazon description of the book--




I have the book, though mine is the letterpress version through Brooding Heron Press in Washington State and is called "Out of That Moment."  If you can find one of these copies, they are gorgeous, but only 50 were made so I truly treasure mine.

I love this idea of writing a poem every year for a certain occasion and mailing it out.  And Valentine's Day is the perfect poet holiday!

Also, if you've never read Kooser, he's extremely accessible, so if you wanted to get this gift for someone who didn't really read a lot of poems, it would be a great introduction to poetry without that scary "I don't understand what I'm reading" feeling some new poetry readers have.



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Thankful Thursday: Ordinary Genius & Writing Dates



I met with Martha Silano yesterday for good conversation and some writing too.

We situated ourselves in a French cafe that doesn't just serve French food at a large table that could hold both of our laptops.

It was good to see her.  I needed to discuss some mom/poet stuff with another mompoet.  It's amazing how checking in with someone else can help me feel better.

We used Kim Addonizio's book, Ordinary Genius to help us revise two poems-- Make a short poem longer and make a long poem shorter.  I had heard good things about this book, but never owned a copy.  After browsing through Marty's, I'm buying a copy for myself today.  (Martha said it's one of her favorites.)

Also, while revising these two poems, I went into my New Work file and found 2 other poems I had written but forgot about (and never moved over to my "Done" file), so I now have 2 extra poems added to my work-in-progress manuscript.  (For me, finding a completed or almost completed poem in my "New Work" file is similar to finding a $20 bill in my pants pocket.)

After a few hours in the restaurant (we were there so long, I ordered both breakfast and lunch, then we finished with a keylime tart for dessert), we headed over the Starbucks.  Marty pulled out a bag of Dove chocolates and we made ourselves comfy at a small table where we wrote longhand instead of on our laptops.

So that was my writing day, a sort of mini-retreat with good coffee and conversation in a busy world.


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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

A Month of Letters (for February!) Take part...



Drew Myron connected me with this incredible project-- A Month of Letters Challenge.

Here's the thing-- if you know me, you know I adore snailmail, realmail, postcards, mailart, notecards, and stamps.

I always have.

So when I read that writer Mary Robinette Kowal came up with this idea, I had to take part.

Here it is with a link to her original post:


  1. In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs.  Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch.
  2. Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.


I plan on taking part.  I do Valentines, so I feel slightly ahead of the challenge, but will sit down by the fire and write some special correspondence as well.

happy letter writing.


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Confession Tuesday



Dear Reader,

It's been 5 full days of straight sunshine, a straight-shot of sunshine here in the Northwest since I've last written.  Been writing, working in the yard and kind of in the house.  Enough so I don't feel that I could be an episode of Hoarders; I'm cleaning up and cleaning out.

But enough on that, it's time to confess.  Let's start with the weather and the Northwest.  To the confessional--

I confess I learned this week that the Seattle area has only 58 (!!!) days of sunshine a year, the rest is overcast and cloudy.  58!  No wonder we lead the country in suicides and serial killers (we all suffer from S.A.D. - Seasonal Affect Disorder), but we also have the most percentage of library card holders and we buy 2x as many books as the rest of the country.

I realize why so many writers, bands and artists come from the Northwest-- we're the kids that are always inside and we have to do something to keep us entertained.

But only 58 days of sun?  That seemed so low.

Still, I am thankful for the days I stay inside and write because it's pouring outside.

~

I confess I've been sleeping better now that the haunted armoire is out of my house.  Except for last night.  Last night, my golden retriever woke me up crying.  Do you need to go outside?  Are you okay?  My dog is frozen still on his bed and won't move, but keeps doing this long sad cry.

So in the dark, I rush over to my golden panicked that he's hurt or dying or in pain.

Turns out, he is fine, but our 20 lb. cat had fallen asleep next to him on his sleeping bag and he was afraid to get up off his bed and move to the floor.  He outweighs the cat by 65 lbs and yet, he is afraid to disturb the cat.

I moved the cat and all was well for another four hours until the cat returned to sleep with the dog.

~

I confess I've been working a lot on manuscript 3 because I'm swapping it with another poet on Valentine's Day.  I confess it does not have a title yet, but the above image from my vision board this year is a huge inspiration for it.

I completely lose myself while working on this manuscript, but deal with a huge worry that it's not very good.

I haven't submitted many poems from the mss, so of the 40+ pages, only 3 have been published.  I tell myself this is not the fault of the poems, but the fault of the poet for not submitting the poet.  But the poet says she so dislikes submitting work that she hasn't done so very much this year.  Bad poet.

But I still love the manuscript even with its quiet existence.

~

I confess I think I'd feel a little better if I had a title.

Amen.

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Monday, February 06, 2012

Want a Poet-Inspired Valentine? - Sorry this year we are FULL!



Thanks for all your addresses!  I am now poet-full!  Valentines to go out shortly!


If you didn't know, Valentine's Day is the Poet's holiday (despite Hallmark's insistence that it's theirs.)

So for Valentine's Day, I'm sending out Poet Valentines and I have a few extras I'd like to send to you.


The above image is NOT the valentine you'll receive, but just a nod to who inspired this year's card...

I'll let you know when I've run out on this post by updating it or deleting it...


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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

@webbish6 Jeannine Hall Gailey Writes about her path to becoming a poet -->

Kelli & Jeannine in tiaras as they should be.


I am always interested in how we ended up as writers, poets, and artists because the path is never the same, nor straight.

Jeannine Hall Gailey writes at SheWrites how despite health issues and being a tech-writer first, she ended up as a poet and going back to school to get her MFA.

 And you know what I wanted to do? The same thing I wanted to do when I was ten years old: write poetry. My husband encouraged me to go back for an MFA in poetry, to try to send out a book of poetry. Why not give it a try? What did I have, at that point, to lose? The answer was: nothing.

If you want to see the path Jeannine took from child who loved poetry and wanted to be a poet to now, you can read the whole post here.

I think it's a good reminder that we each have things that take away from our time.  We each make a choice every day to write or not to write.  Make your challenges work for you and listen to that inner voice to tell you where to go.



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