Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Confession Tuesday on Halloween



Dear Reader,

Happy Halloween!

I was on a week plus a few days writing residency and just returned.
It was incredible and I wrote so much.  So much.

But now I am behind on the rest of my life, which didn't stop and organize itself while I was away.  Weird.

I believe I have caught up on email, but my house is trashed, my office is trashed and it is raining.

But it's Halloween, so I'm happy.  Though I wish we got more trick-or-treaters...I give out the large bars, but sadly, they miss them when they don't show up and I am left with a pile of wrappers on my lap.

I confess I love candy. I love candy and ghosts and the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.

I confess I feel as if I want to take a rope and lasso time as it's moving faster than I'd like.

I confess I hope to catch up on things by next Sunday night.  But if I don't, I don't.

I confess I've been sidetracked (aka procrastination) by getting my fill of Hurricane Sandy news and the upcoming election.

I confess if you don't vote and you bellyache about the US, I'll shut you down.  I have one rule--you cannot complain if you don't vote.   And you especially can't complain to me because I take voting seriously and since I was eighteen have never missed an election.  I am not kidding, not even the primaries.  You give me an election day and I will be there.

Amen.



~ Kells

  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Simpson's Version of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" #halloween

I recommend this every year.  It's our family's tradition to watch it.  And a great way to introduce poetry, Edgar Allan Poe & literature to kids.


It makes me happy each time I see it and when Bart asks, "Do you know what's scarier than nothing?" -- You'll have to watch it to find out the answer.





~ Kells

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Monday, October 29, 2012

A Good Day as a Writer



I'm having one of those incredible days when I want nothing to do with TV news, with celebrity craziness, but instead I am in my mind about what an amazing world we live in.

I want to create.

I want to write and say something that hasn't been said before.

I know, who can do that?  We've said so much.  But I love it when I'm in this place of creation.  Of just being in the flow of art.

This doesn't happen often.

Most of the time, I'm an anxious poet hoping this all works out.

But then there are these moments when I can let go. Be in the middle of creating something new.

I want you to be there too.
But it doesn't always happen.

Mostly our lives are the suck and grind of things we really don't want to do.

Sometimes our souls know better.  Though it's hard to hear them in the buzz of everything else.
Once I said "the buzz of money."  There's so much static it's hard to remember why we are here.  It's hard to remember we have work to do, art to make.

Even if it seems no one is paying attention, we need to listen to that voice inside.

It's not about money or success, it's about creating.
And knowing this will all work out.



~ Kells


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Friday, October 26, 2012

Um, if one of these is your password-- change it now! 25 WORST Passwords 2012


Here's the full list:
1. password
2, 123456
3. 12345678
4. abc123
5. qwerty
6. monkey
7. letmein
8. dragon
9. 111111
10. baseball
11. iloveyou
12. trustno1
13. 1234567
14. sunshine
15. master
16. 123123
17. welcome
18. shadow
19. ashley
20. football
21. jesus
22. michael
23. ninja
24. mustang
25. password1



****I kind of love the guy who came up with password1 after realizing last year's password wasn't good enough...

~ Kells  

 ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Today's Writing Prompt:

Write a poem with this as the epigraph, the last line, or just inspired by what it means...







~ Kells

  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Favorite Things

Favorite Things:


Tig Notaro Live ($5 on the Louis CK website)

Tig is an amazing comedian who I love.  One of my favorite stories she tells is on This American Life, where she keeps running into Taylor Dayne.

This summer, her mother died unexpectedly from a fall, her girlfriend broke up with her, she got a rare infection, and then was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The LIVE (pronounced "Liv" not "Live") show is from her set at Largo in August, 2012.

~


One of the poets, Paul David Adkins, I've worked with has had a ton of success recently.  Every time I hear from him, there's a new publication, new excitement and he mailed me this-- The Upside Down House chapbook.

He not only included me in the acknowledgments, but sent me the nicest note.

Thank you, Paul, and continued success to you!

~

Sandy Longhorn started Heron Tree, a new online journal with a couple friends.

And you can submit to it-->  Submission guidelines here.

~

Letters in the Mail $5

The Rumpus does this very cool thing where they have writers send you letters.  They come snail mail and they have some amazing writing.  One of my favorites included a sea turtle the author had drawn.

I've found myself writing back to these writers.



~ Kells

  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Marketing For Introverts: Make it Fun - Lesson 3



I love Tim Gunn.  He's smart, classy, and kind.

Tim Gunn's signature line on Project Runway is "make it work."  Basically telling designers they have the skills, now make it work out.

As writers, poets, artists, and authors, we also have the skills.

There are certain things we are really good at and certain things that are harder for us.
We also have a certain comfort level with things.

We may like reading Facebook to see what others are doing, but not like posting too much there.

We may have a great sense of humor, but also a lot of anxiety.

We may have no problem sending someone a tweet, but not be comfortable with talking to that person in person.


The first thing you need to ask yourself is -- What do I like? What am I good at?

Remember, you don't have to be on EVERY social network site, in fact, I don't recommend being a part of everything at once.  Check out all the different ways to share your work, choose your favorite ways and showcase your work through that.



If you like Facebook, great!  Go onto Facebook, make an author page and add interesting content to it.

I love wordplay.  I like humor that surprises me and has something to do with the English language.
I have found I love to post things on Facebook that have to do with this.  (You do not always have to be talking about your book to make connections.)

For example I posted this on my Facebook author page because I thought it was hilarious:


Use your author page to post things that interesting to you and that people who like your work (um, usually readers and other writers) would find interesting.

If you're posting about your book every time you post, you'll annoy people.

However, with that said, most people do not promote their books or readings enough.  They think they're being annoying, but they're not.  The people who are being annoying actually have no idea.

So maybe don't worry about whether you're being annoying because no matter what you think, you'll be wrong. (My mum always said, "Never worry about what others think of you because you'll never figure it out... maybe this is what I'm saying.)

~
Here are a few things to think about--

Do you like sharing info with people?

Start a blog.  Write about all the things that interest you.  Write about what's happening in the poetry world or in your writing life.

A blog is a nice thing because when someone comes to your webpage, they can see you're alive and talking.

~

Not a lot of time, but you love reading the news in the morning?

Try Twitter!  Read a news story you like, you can immediately TWEET it with your own comments and thoughts.

You can connect with other writers, have online chats with hashtags (#poetparty is one - and the next #poetparty is Sunday, Nov 4th at 6 pm PST).

~

You really love graphic design, photoshop, and art.

Great!  Go to Vistaprint.com, create some postcards about your book, your work, and send them out to your favorite people, your mailing list, journals, reviewers, etc.


I love writing letters, so creating postcards is one of my favorite ways to connect with folks.

~

Marketing is not about shameless self-promotion, it's about sharing your art with the world. --I know, that sounds a little cheesy and I don't mean that to sound too precious or sugar-sweet, but letting people know about your work, about your art and passion should not be a bad thing.

If you look at marketing as connecting and not all the weird, creepy, author-nametaggy stuff that makes you (me)  uncomfortable, you'll be okay.

I also recommend having two role models-- a poet/writer you'd like to be compared to or like and one that will be your anti-role model, one who does things that make you feel uncomfortable.

Learn what to do from your role model, and learn not what to do from your anti-role model.  Each can help you find your place in the writing world.

Hope this helps you all as you share your work with a larger audience.





~ Kells
  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Monday, October 15, 2012

Since We're Talking About Marketing, Here's a Great Link for Bloggers! @AndreeaAyers #blogs



We've talked how there aren't as many of us blogging anymore, but for those that do, here's an excellent resource from Andreea Ayers at Launch. Grow. Joy. blog.


It's a fantastic visual sign with  30 Ways to Promote Your Blog.

There were quite a few things I hadn't heard of on her life, especially in blog syndication, so great info here for bloggers!

I also love her blog success tips such as -- be yourself and authentic, your own voice.  And to be consistent (whether that's once a week or more.)





~ Kells

  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Book Marketing for Introverts: The Benefits of Friends - Lesson Two

Friends help friends.


So we discussed the basics of marketing online here, and today we're going to discuss the benefits of friends (this is much different than FWB - Friends with Benefits, btw.)

The benefits of friends is that while it may be hard to promote your own work, it's never hard to promote a friend's work.

For example, watch this---


I am so excited, my friend (and co-editor of Crab Creek Review and co-founder of Two Sylvias Press) Annette Spaulding-Convy has her very first book of poems out-- In Broken Latin (University of Arkansas Press)!

I have been reading (and loving!) these poems for years and they are finally available!

You can buy In Broken Latin here.

And learn more about Annette Spaulding-Convy here!

____________________

Now, that was so much easier and fun than saying:

Oh my gawd, my book of poems, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room has been out for TWO years and I'm still so excited! I have been writing (and loving!) these poems for years and they've been published for two years and I'm telling you about it again!  I'm using lots of exclamation points because I'm trying to make it seems I'm still kooky about my book, but I think you can read into this post to realize my book has been out for two years and there's not much more to say about it!!

It is so much easier to talk about the good work of others than to talk about myself.

My friends dressed as poets
Back: Ronda Broach, Annette Spaulding-Convy, Ann Hursey, Lana Ayers, Holly Hughes, my mum!
Front: Nancy Canyon, Jennifer Culkin, me, Martha Silano, Susan Rich, Kathleen Flenniken


My writer friends are so organized we've actually connected a group of us who have recently published books. We are connected by email as well as in person so when we need something like--

1) we're giving a reading and we want to get the word out
2) we need help promoting our book
3) we have news we want to share

we email each other and say, This is what I need.

All the writers have different ways they do things. One hates the internet and is never on it, but has an email newsletter that goes out several times a year.  A couple have blogs.  Some are on twitter.  All are on Facebook.

This week I asked them about recommending a literary agent to me as well as any low-res MFA jobs.  They immediately came through.

(Note:  As I typed the above request, I realized this may sound as if we're highly successful and out in the world authors and writers, when I first met my writing group, none of us had books published.  There is an energy in groups and friendships.  And as The Artist Way says, Success happens in clusters.)


Anyway, back to your friends.  Whether they are real friends or online friends, friends can (and want) to help you.

I know when a friend of mine asks if I can help them with their books, I'm happy to.  Especially when it's one of my good friends, I am thrilled to help them because then I get to take the attention off of me and onto what they're doing.

I'm also someone who is more "service" oriented, which in the language of love, means I like doing things for people.


Here's a list of things friends can do for you--

1)   Mention your book on Facebook with a link to your website
2)   Mention your book on Twitter with link to your website
3)   Announce your reading on Facebook
4)   Include info about your book in their newsletter
5)   Announce your reading on Twitter
6)   Do a blog post about your book
7)   Do a book review about your book (on their blog or for a journal)
8)   Give you an Amazon review
9)   Mention your book on Goodreads and rate it
10)  Do an interview with you on your blog
11)  Give away a copy of your book on Facebook, Twitter or their blog
12)  Like your book on Amazon (and it will show up in their newsfeed)


Friends can help you out in promoting your book and you can help them out in promoting theirs.
It's so much easier to brag about someone else than yourself.

So ask a friend for help and tell them you'll do the same when their book/poem/novel/memoir comes out.  It's so much easier to promote others' work than your own.  And actually, very satisfying to do so.



~ Kells

  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Friday, October 12, 2012

Book Reviews & Recommendations

Holy Overflowing Bookcases, Batman, I have a TON of books to tell you about!

Here are two I'll share with you today--



A BOOK FOR ARTISTS AND WRITERS:


An Absorbing Errand: How Artists & Craftsmen Make Their Way to Mastery, by Janna Malamud Smith:

For those who know me, you know I love nonfiction books about creativity and anything that can make you a better writer or artist.  This book is exactly that.

What I love about it is how each chapter shares a problem, struggle, or challenge we have in our creative process, then offers a way to not only overcome it, but use it to be a better at your art.

Here are the topics/struggles some of the chapters look at:

Fear
Recognition
Shame
Identity
Ruthlessness
Going Public

"Going Public" is an interesting chapter because it really looks at the privacy it takes to make art, then bringing it out into the public world.

Here's a something Janna wrote about poet Elizabeth Bishop, which I think shows the gift this book offers, learning about other artists to better learn about ourselves:

Elizabeth Bishop found the privacy she needed for while by "ex-patting" herself to Brazil.  She made a new life for herself far from America, and far from everything familiar in her old one.  Her lover built her a studio which stood apart from the bustling main house, itself up in the hills of rural Brazil.  On the wall of her workroom, Bishop tacked up photos of Charles Baudelaire and her close poet friends Marianne Moore and Robert Lowell.  She removed herself from public view and carefully chose the eyes that could see her as she worked--as she lived...the distance itself helped her get free of the pressures of "poetic ambition" which had contributed to her misery in her native land.  She felt inadequate, and compared herself unfavorable to all the poets she met.  In her own eyes, she continually fell short, even after considerable success.

...The actual distance between Brazil and New England aided her.  The studio helped.  But such concrete aids were not the only ones needed by her, or by many people, since much of one's sense of privacy is psychological. Our own minds are our first public, and they can be as harsh as an audience as well encounter. . .Whatever accommodation you manage, one day the more solitary phase ends.  You finish the book or poem or painting or musical composition.  And however you have carefully arranged geography, furniture, and psyche to create a sheltering space, the internal sojourn is now over...

She goes on to talk about getting your art out in the world and Walt Whitman being "his own best tout."  (I recently heard on NPR Walt Whitman was able to buy a house by what he made on self-marketing his book, Leaves of Grass.)  And continues letting us learn about ourselves through others.

This is what I love about this book is that you don't feel alone in your insecurities, fears, concerns, struggles as an artist while reading it.

You see other artists struggle.  Elizabeth Bishop felt inadequate!

And while she offers wonderful stories to help each artist improve their own artistic lives.  It shows us how so many of have these struggles and the positives we are rewarded with in our artistic lives if we move through them. But she never says, "do this, this and this."  What she does is guides us, gives us the choice of how to proceed with our own life.

I loved Janna's writing style in that it too offers a kindness, a gentleness, but with powerful stories, ideas, comments, and details.

This is an amazingly well-researched book, I'd recommend.



Oh, and here's another great write-up about the book that mentions the Four Insights towards mastering your art by Susan K. Perry in Psychology Today--If you go there is has the comments behind the four insights written out :

Four Insights

 


Highly Recommend:  An Absorbing Errand: How Artists & Craftsmen Make Their Way to Mastery, by Janna Malamud Smith



~

POETRY BOOK:


What a poetry book looks like after being dropped in the bath-- it held up pretty well!

An Individual History by Michael Collier:  This is Michael's 6th collection and while he definitely is known in the poetry circles, I admit he was new for me.

What I loved about his book is that while it was in a narrative, accessible style, his poems are interesting and feel as if they each have a reason for being written.  I know, that sounds odd--don't all poems have a reason to be written?  Well, many do, but some seem to slide off course a bit.  Michael's poems don't. He mixes personal history with public history--poignant poems with an emotional connectedness that I don't always see with poets.  Some tough sub

Of course, one of my favorite poems is rather humorous and unexpected in the collection--and maybe that's why it stands out--"In Certain Situations I'm Very Much Against Birdsong," which begins "When poets put the sound of birdsong in poems/it's a form of babytalk that gives me the creeps."

And I loved the poem "Object to be Destroyed" about a painter that ends with: "the unblinking stare/and hypnotized myself/with what I thought I loved." Absolutely a beautiful close, a line I wish I'd had written.

Beautiful lines throughout.  Many poems about deeper subjects, but a good mix of light and dark in here, you don't feel as if you spent the day chewing bubblegum after reading his poems, but you also don't feel as if you spent the day watching CNN.

(Oh, and a side note: I've never met Michael Collier, but when I mentioned his name to a friend, she had and said he was a really nice guy.  His kindness came through in the poems for me, something I can't really explain, but I could feel it.)


~




~ Kells

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Best Tool For Writers EVER! *Self-Control* (for the Mac!) No really, it's software for MacUsers!


Okay, I have raved about Freedom (which is $9.99)  computer software that disconnects you from the internet for a certain amount of time, but now, here's an even better tool where you can disconnect just from a limited number of websites you tend to go to for procrastination (such as Facebook, Twitter, Huffington Post, name your poison!)

The great thing about this is that if you're researching something (as I was this week), I could turn off Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, HuffPost, and MSNBC, my six worst habits on the web, but still use Google to research my project.

It worked fantastically!

It's called Self Control (and it's free!)

It also has this cool spade with a skull in it for an icon, which makes me feel cool and hip.

Anyway, HIGHLY recommend this for writers who use a Mac!  So happy I found this.

(This is my Thankful Thursday post as I'm very thankful for not getting sucked into Facebook, etc.)




~ Kells


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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Marketing for Introverts: The Basics - Lesson 1



It seems my poet friends and I are always saying this-- We just want to write, we don't want to market our book.

We speak of earlier times, when writers just wrote and the press or publishing company did all the work promoting them.  There were big book tours with nice hotels set up by the press and now we're going someplace to read and sleeping on someone's couch, a reading we set up ourselves or were asked to do.

Part of the deal here is-- we kind of feel robbed.  We want to live the life where we wake up, get a cup of coffee and write.  Around 2 pm, the mail carrier the mail carrier arrives with our tickets to Paris, a reading at Shakespeare & Co. set up by our press.  We smile knowing there will be announcements sent out without our help, ads in the right magazines, and all of it taken care of, then we return to our work.

Wait, did that ever happen?


Life has changed so much in the last fifteen years.  All jobs have gone through some changes with the economy, with new technology, with the internet, with the busier we've gotten, with everything.

Doctors are walking around with iPads documenting our health.  Celebrities are being photographed without makeup buying their toilet paper.  Clothing designers are on television shows and selling their clothes at Target. Musicians are living their tour schedule by the Ticketmaster empire. Ferry workers & toll operators are losing their jobs to electronic ticket-takers.  Cashiers not only have to ask you if you paper or plastic, but also have to ask you if you want to donate a $1 to some charity, call you by your mispronounced last name, suggest the $1 special of ChexMix, then tell you how much you saved while the receipt is printing out extra coupons we earned that they also have to tell you about.

Everyone's jobs have changed.  Some for the good.  Some for the bad.  But I bet everyone can look back and see what they liked about it before.

One excellent thing about being a writer or poet or artist today is you have this HUGE connection to other regions that other writers NEVER had.  You have the internet.  You have an audience who can find you that isn't just in your city.  There is a potential audience at your fingertips.

And what's best, especially for introverts--You can sell books without leaving your home!  

As someone who hates to go out, this is fantastic.  You can buy my book from your house, I can sign it at my house to you, and mail it directly to your house.  Look, none of us had to walk any farther than the mailbox!  Thank you PayPal!

Yes, the interesting thing about being a writer, poet, or artist is that many of us are introverted or have strong introverted tendencies.  We live in our heads.  We like our alone time.

Sometimes it's hard for us to meet strangers.  Sometimes we feel overwhelmed at large events.  Some of us can do only X number of social events before locking the door, pulling the covers over our head and grabbing a book to read. Sometimes it's hard to be the one suggesting that we bring attention our way, to us, to our book, to what we're up to.

But this is part of the job now as a writer, poet, and artist.  It's not the main part, which is writing, but it's part of the job.

The nurturing part of me wants to tell you-- it's okay, just take it slow, everything will be okay.

The tough love part of me wants to say-- get over it, it's part of the job.

And the author part of myself wants to say-- You can do this.  And it's actually not too hard.

~


So for Lesson One on Marketing for Introverts, here is the minimum list social networks & websites you need to be part of to market your work--

1)  Facebook  (either a public page, a personal acct, or both).  If you have a personal acct, but not a page, you will most likely have to be friends with "strangers" or allow your personal account to have *subscribers.*  This means that your public posts (which you can change in the settings when you post your status, will also show up on their newsfeed).

2)  Linked In  (this is less for marketing your book, but making sure you have a professional profile and being aware of what paying jobs are out there.  As poets, we make most of our money from teaching rather than poeting.)

3)  Have your own webpage where you can sell books online (Make sure you have a PayPal account!) --This should really be #1 though.  It's the MOST important thing you should have of all. (I have a couple posts about setting up your homepage/personal webpage that you can read here and here.)

Now, that's the minimum.  Honestly, you should probably choose one or two of the list below if you really want to really do a good job making sure people know about your book (really, that's actually what marketing/promoting is--making sure readers know about your book.  It's their choice if they buy it, but do your part so they know it's available.)


Once you get those three taken care of, here are others I also recommend:

Amazon Author Central  (Important if you are selling books on Amazon, which will probably be where most of your books are sold from, especially if you're a poet.)

Goodreads 

Twitter

Having a blog (blogger or word press seem to be the best free options)

~

And if you actually find this stuff fun, you can also do--

Red Room

Pinterest

Tumblr.com  (I deleted my Tumblr account because Tumblr was becoming well, kind of porny, but I know other writers use it to keep images/ideas for stories and poems, so that's an idea too.)

She Writes (for women authors)

~

The great news is YOU get to choose which of these you do.  All of this is your choice.

And as writers, I know we LOVE to procrastinate on our writing, so you get to be on Facebook, on Twitter, AND you can say it's part of your job!  (Oh, you can't just be lurking though, that's not part of the job, you have to be interacting.)

_____________________________________________


If any of this scares you, here's a few things to realize:

1)  You do NOT need to be on social network sites or online DAILY.

2)  You do NOT need to believe your life needs to revolve around social networking and that you need to share *anything* that you're not comfortable with.

3)  You do NOT need to feel afraid of "putting too much out there" because our world, lives, social lives (online & off) are SO busy, no one is even noticing anyway.

4)  Wine & chocolate helps.  I'm serious.  Ignore "social networking" or "promoting your book" until 5 pm then get a glass of good wine, your favorite chocolate (or dessert), get on your computer and then just have fun with it--   Connect with a writer you've always wanted to connect with on Facebook.  Respond to someone's tweets.  Mention your book on Facebook.  Email someone who has a blog and ask if they'd mention your book or do a giveaway for you.

Just pretend you're at a fun cocktail party where you get to choose who you want to be there.

Just pretend it's an online book launch and you get to choose who's invited.

Just pretend you're an author and you're promoting your work (oh wait, congratulations-- you are!)


You can make this part of being a writer a big drag, or just have fun with it.  You wrote your book so others would read it, so you could be part of the literary conversation.  Allow your work to do what it's supposed to do-- get read!

~

Because we now have so many tools literally at our fingertips-- we can make or break our own writing life, people can learn about our work, or not.  And much of this depends on ourselves and what we put into it and put out into the world.  But it can be fun, or less painful than we make it out to be.

You can play on the internet all day and it's exactly what you're supposed to be doing.  Getting your name, your book, your project out there.

So hang out in your PJs and enjoy being an author.  See, it's not that bad...
I'll post more about ways to make it fun in Lesson Two, as well as the benefits of friends...





~ Kells

  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Confession Tuesday

Dear Reader,

It's been a week and reading poetry in my pajamas since I last confessed.  And when I say "reading poetry in my pajamas," I don't mean in my house or in my bed.  Yes, a public pajama event - The  Poetry in Improbable Places tour featuring Susan Rich, Elizabeth Austen, Novelist Harold Taw, and me.

Here we are--

Tired poets after a fantastic reading.

But now it's a new week and it seems poets are questioning things, their writing lives, and the universe... more on this soon.

To the confessional--


I confess this PJ reading was probably the most fun I've had a reading.

I've decided the key to good readings is to keep them unexpected, provide fun, and add surprise.  Also, reading with people you like helps too.  People who enjoy a good time and love what they do.

It also helps when a big audience attends, a big happy audience who just wanted to try something new.

You can see many of the photos here.

Things I did-- Dropped my pen, knocked my "I read past my bedtime" pin off my pjs, jumped on a bed, took photos, signed books, ate pistachios, met new people, stood in a bathroom we called our "green room," sat in bed with three other writers, and ended the night by ordering room service with five of the nicest and most fun people around.

~

I confess I found my old copy of The Triggering Town by Richard Hugo and realize how much I LOVE that book.

Every poet needs to read this book sometime in their life and the earlier the better.

~


I also confess since the reading, I've been a little down these last two days.  Nothing big--a rejection, a grant I didn't receive--but other poets were discussing having these feeling too.

Is it autumn that does this?  Just being a poet in general.

I do not want to use up my "sympathy chips" on this--a phrase I recently learned from a friend meaning that we each get so many sympathy chips from people and we can use them up on insignificant things or important things, it's all up to us.

To me, feeling down as a writer isn't insignificant, but it's expected.

When I feel down, I try to understand why and push on.  Pushing through ________________ (fill in the blank with words like depression, anxiety, sadness, hard times, etc.) seems to be my favorite technique of dealing with things. (I don't have a lot of techniques for dealing with things besides pushing through and sleeping.)

So, yes, it's an evaluating time in my writing life, figuring out my "fall plan," where and what I want to spend my time on, but realizing I don't want to cash in my sympathy chips on this, as I'm sure I'll need them for something else.

~

I confess on the complete opposite side of "feeling down"-- I am going away on a writing residency and this makes me SO excited about that.

AND, I won't be working on poems, but a nonfiction book.  A memoir currently called:
Retreat:  A Poet’s Escape from the Real World. 

I confess I'm also looking for a literary agent, so if you have any recommendations, drop me a line (kelli (at) agodon.com) 

~
Thanks for listening.
Amen.


~ Kells

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Sunday, October 07, 2012

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Confession Tuesday: Time Keeps on Ticking into the Future...

Dear Reader,

It's been a week and a new month since my last confession.  Since then I have not lost my new obsession with Ghiradelli chocolate chips (however, my hiding place for them has been found out) and have now added Trader Joe's milk chocolate covered raisins to the mix.

I have realized I'm eating less vegetables and wanting more protein.  I'm craving meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and hot sandwiches.  It must be fall.


To the confessional--


I confess my life has been so busy, I've gone back to only checking email on Monday and Friday.

I find I do much better if I organize my life in large blocks of time.

Here's a quick bit of my week--

Monday:  Consulting work with poets (am), volunteer work 10-4 pm
Tuesday:  Two Sylvias Writing Project (am)/ mss consultation (pm)
Wednesday: Volunteer time (am) / consulting projects (pm)

As you can see, my own writing time has been what's been left out.  But I know there will be large blocks of time for it later in the month, so I'm okay with this.

I also find that email is a way that I can apple-fritter away hours without even knowing it.  And a lot of email checking is me deleting email.  Checking it twice a week is good for me.

I confess I'm trying to unsubscribe to everything that I delete without reading anyway.

~

I confess sometimes the busier I am, the more I get done.

There can be a crash and burn aspect to this.  Sometimes it's illness.  Sometimes it's lashing out at someone I didn't mean to hurt.  Sometimes it's just an overwhelmedness feeling that make my shoulders feel as if they are up past my ears--the no-neck syndrome.

Because of this, I've been having those weird dreams/night frights where I wake up because I think I've forgotten to feed or take care of a pet.  Or I'm watching someone's pet and have forgotten to feed it.  It's that fear I've forgotten something.

As you may see, I live with a constant sense of responsibility.  Which isn't always a great thing.  I've had to say no to people lately and to things I'd normally take on.

This is life though.  Finding balance.

We constantly have to readjust, listen to our limits, our feelings, and ultimately, follow our heart and gut.

 I took on a big volunteer job (outside of Crab Creek Review), but I did so because I believe in the organization very much and I know that things will calm down in 6 weeks as I'm done with this volunteer commitment November 17th.  November 18, you are looking beautiful standing there in your emptiness. 

~

I confess I still want to do the Artist Way and pull a group together to do that, but it looks as if beginning in late November may be best for my schedule right now.  So I haven't forgotten, got very behind in September due to being sick and am still catching up.

~

I confess I didn't want to make this confession seem like a "poor me" because that's not at all how I'm feeling.

I'm actually feeling really good, just more aware of my time and what I say yes and no to.
Just more aware of how I procrastinate and trying not to.
Just making sure I'm getting my priorities straight.
Just enjoying this incredible Northwest weather-- have we seriously had 3 months of no rain?

And always thinking about what I need to do, which I need to head off, life and its projects await.

Amen.



~ Kells

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