Friday, October 31, 2008

The Scariest Halloween Image I Could Find

Quote the Raven, "Nevermore..."

Happy Halloween

from Rosie the Riveter & Cat in the Hat

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday Thoughts--

In Difficult Times, Eat Chocolate--

Okay, I have to be honest, there's been a lot of Halloween candy eaten this week. I know it's not quite Halloween, but bags have been opened. Many many bags.

However, there's some new chocolate I just discovered by the same company that make my other favorite treat as you may know (Ghirardelli non-pariels). It seems Ghirardelli now has these new big bars of chocolate called Luxe Milk Chocolate. There are 5 kinds and well, I've tried them all (seriously!) and all I have to say for myself is yum! My favorites are the milk chocolate, hazelnut, and the crisp. Though the almond one was a close contender.

There was even one called "Duet," which was dark chocolate and milk chocolate on top of each other--honestly, I didn't think this would taste good because I like my chocolate was fantastic and gave me that "rich" feeling (the same feeling I have when I buy those small bottles of Perrier).

Anyway, I just found them all online. It says you can currently get them at Borders and Walgreens (just in case I've made you hungry and you need to try your own), though it looks as if they will soon be available at Target & Cost Plus. Dear family & friends, do not be surprised if you get a Christmas gift from me with one of these bars tied on top...and do not be upset if there's a bite out of it as well.

I swear, until this election is over, I'm going to be drowning myself in this chocolate. It's the best.


Sleep Well--

Last night I slept for 12 hours. I went to bed at 7:30 p.m. This is me in bizarro world. I rarely go to sleep so early, but this cold I've had has just been dragging me down and I was hoping a giant dose of sleep would help. It kind of did...



It's been kind of last on my list, which is a little sad considering I am, well, a poet.

I have forgotten about how the holiday season basically begins in October and carries me through New Year's. I've had a lot more on my calendar than in other years, which reminds me I need to say no. Though I think I like saying yes, until I've yessed all over my calendar and have no time for myself. It's a balancing act sometimes. And I'm balancing these days, not very well, but balancing.

Also, I just let myself off down this week, though I've decided to let myself off the hook for it. There was a something I as going to apply for but didn't because I procrastinated. I'm bummed I didn't get my act together, but well, I didn't get my act together and today told myself to just forget it. I'm not happy when I let myself down like that, but well, sometimes I let myself down like that. Maybe it's time for chocolate. Maybe it's time to really let myself off the hook.


Also, if you haven't read Rebecca Loudon's interview here, you need to.

I absolutely loved what she said here--

"My ideal reader is a person who has suffered, who feels apart, who has known trauma, and who is capable of honestly engaging with the lot they've been handed. Everyone has suffered, but some people are willing to embrace the forest that surrounds us, some are not. "

That response is poetry itself. I think one of the reasons I appreciate Rebecca's work is because of the emotional honesty of it, add that to the intelligence of her poems and it's what makes her work so good.

Campaigning in Poetry

I found this on January's blog

Former New York Governer Cuomo once said: "You campaign in poetry; you govern in prose."

You are invited to compose variations on Cuomo's text and post your responses here.

You ______________ in poetry; you ______________ in prose.


You campaign in ____________ ; you govern in ______________.

Feel free to post more than once, post on your own blog, distribute this text to others, collect versions of these sentences from people you meet, and post those here, too.

The responses are to be as spontaneous as possible. Maybe this is the start of that political poem you've always wanted to write.

Good luck!


Here are mine:

You line-dance in poetry; you march forward in prose.

You drink tea in poetry; you drink coffee in prose.

You wear a lace doily in poetry; you wear a cotton tablecloth in prose.

You treat or treat for Unicef in poetry; you trick or treat for full-sized candy bars in prose.

You Joan Jett in poetry; you Pat Benatar in prose.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Confession Tuesday... night!

Me as Rosie the Riveter

I'm almost late for Confession Tuesday and if you're on the East Coast, it's tomorrow already, so here's both a Confession Tuesday & a Confession Wednesday depending on your geography.

Oh and let's make this the Halloween edition--

Halloween Anxiety--
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Around September I start having anxiety dreams that I forgot to decorate, buy my daughter a costume or take her trick or treating. Many times I'll dream I'm at some weird Woolworth-like store looking at Halloween decorations when I realize I need to get home to go trick or treating or to hand out candy. When I wake up from these dreams I'm always thankful I didn't miss the actual holiday.

At the Halloween party this weekend, a guy came up to me and said, "We can do it." And I got that nervous icky feeling that he was hitting on me, then realized he was just reading the Rosie the Riveter patch on my shirt.

My History of Costumes--
My husband and I once went as Edvard Munch and his painting "The Scream." I had a fake cigarette and carried a frame around all night. We've also gone as Dalmatians and the homecoming king and queen of 1963. Once I dressed up as Mary Katherine from Saturday Night Live (SUPERSTAR!) and as a sailor in a true navy uniform I bought at the Goodwill by the Navy base. That was one of the warmest costumes I had--good for trick or treating, bad for Halloween parties.


My favorite thing to do at Halloween parties is to dance.
My favorite Halloween treat is candy corn.
My favorite Halloween shows are: the Simpson's Halloween "The Raven," It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and the Addam's Family Halloween show that I still remember watching as a child.
I like to hear people's "true" ghost stories, even when it's not Halloween.

If I was younger, I'd go to a Halloween costume in a slip with a pageant banner on that read: Rejection.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Check In

Friday my cat Abby died. We knew she was old, but didn't know how old. We found her in the woods 10 years ago. She had been losing weight, but still eating and she had very good energy. Friday morning, we knew she was sick. She went into our family room closet to sleep and just died.

It's been very sad for the family. I have probably cried the most as I felt closest to her and that morning, I had a doctor's appt., so I wasn't home when it happened. I found her when I returned. I had quite a bit of guilt of not being there. I know I'm not psychic and how would I know that she would die, but it still makes me sad. I am thankful she went peacefully and not at the vet (she's the classic scaredy cat, so that would have been traumatic for her).

Anyway, I spent the weekend distracting myself with Halloween events. It's so odd not having her around, even cats have an energy that adds to things. I'll have some photos up soon. I'm feeling better, though today my daughter and I both sick with bad colds, so maybe our bodies just want us to rest.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

You're Invited!

A free reading in Seattle and you're invited!
Stop by and say hello!

Crab Creek Review Reading: Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Contributors from the Spring/Summer '08 Issue
read their work Oct. 22, 2008 at 7 pm
Richard Hugo House
1634 11th Avenue
Seattle, WA

Please join us for an evening of poetry and fiction. Writers James Bertolino, Kathleen Flenniken, Kathleen Alcala, Marjorie Manwaring, Kay Mullen, Ronda Broatch, Brendan McBreen and Monica Schley will read from their work. The celebration will include musical selections from poet and harpist Monica Schley and drawings for signed, first edition books. So far (check back for more updates), our raffle will include:

6 signed novels by Jennie Shortridge including Riding with the Queen, Eating Heaven, Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe
Books from Tom Hunley of Steel Toe Books
Jenifer Lawrence's first edition One Hundred Steps From Shore
Holly Hughes' broadside & signed chapbook, Boxing the Compass, winner of the Floating Bridge Chapbook Award
Signed book of poems from Barbara Crooker
Signed books from Nin Andrews
Editors' Bundle featuring signed copies of In the Convent We Become Clouds by Annette Spaulding-Convy, Small Knots by Kelli Russell Agodon, Becoming the Villainess by Jeannine Hall Gailey, Love is a Weed by Lana Hechtman Ayers, and Shedding Our Skins by Ronda Broatch.

And of course, with Hugo House there is always wine and coffee available, so please mark your calendars for Wednesday, October 22nd so you can join in the literary festivities with us.

More info on Crab Creek Review at our website:

For the Ladies...

My mum sent me this today with a little note that read:

Why husbands shouldn't take messages.

I thought it was pretty funny...
signed, Easily Amused Today


Monday, October 20, 2008

Confession Tuesday: The Early Edition

Here's the church where I ended up yesterday after a walk through a larger small town of 5600 people. I followed the churchbells and looked out over the water at autumn happening in every direction.


After the church with locked doors (I tried), I ended up at another church, The Church of Used Books. I lost track of time and entered that space where time moved without me. In an old book by Theodore Roethke, I found my favorite marginalia. Under the poem, "Weed-Puller," a stranger had written, "What is he digging at?"


A construction worker asked me if I wanted job. I said I'm happy enjoying the day.


Later I walked by a second bookstore who had a painted letters on their window that said, "Sherman Alexie Reading!" but someone had erased the R and it took me a moment to figure out what a "She man Alexie Reading" was.


I was out in my poetry shed when a thunder and lightning storm passed above. I survived.


Sherman Alexie Reading, Thursday, Oct 23rd 2008

Sherman Alexie, award-winning author and poet, will speak about and read from his latest book, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian," Oct. 23 as part of West Sound Reads.

The appearance is sponsored by West Sound Reads, a coalition of West Sound Independent Booksellers, the Kitsap Regional Library and its foundation, and the Suquamish Tribe. Alexie won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature and the Washington State Book Award for the story of Junior, an aspiring cartoonist who leaves the Spokane Indian reservation to attend an all-white high school in a neighboring town. Picked upon by nearly everyone in both communities and facing daunting challenges of poverty and discrimination, Junior uses his considerable wit and determination to win acceptance. A book signing will follow and the public is invited.

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Place: The Suquamish Old Tribal Center and Museum. Free shuttle service will be provided from the parking lot at the Clearwater Casino Resort, 15347 Suquamish Way NE, just off the Agate Pass Bridge to Bainbridge Island on Highway 305, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Cost: Free.

Benefits: A portion of the proceeds from book sales will be donated to the Suquamish Foundation.

Info: Call Liberty Bay Books at (360) 779-5909 or Kitsap Regional Library at (360) 405-9021.

Early Confession

This video makes me happy--


Desperately Seeking Sarah

Have any good Sarah Palin Haikus?

Susanna Speier is seeking them on her blog.
Send them here. Or stop by to read a few.


Monday Meditations

See you next year--

I watched the Red Sox go under last night, but it's hard to be disappointed when you see the excitement of Tampa Bay, a team who had the worst season in baseball last year come back like they did. I've always been a fan of the underdog. And this will be their first World Series, so it's all good.

Though I'd really like them to change the TB on their hats as I always think "tuberculous."


Artist Way -

I've traded in my morning pages for morning poems. What I realized that by emptying my emotional vault every morning left me with nothing to withdraw during the day for my writing. Now what I do is write a few brief sentences of what I'm thinking about, what I've dreamed about, how I'm feeling, any challenges or goals, plus a poem. This works better for me and doesn't leave me emotionally depleted in my writing throughout the day.


The Wishing Year by Noelle Oxenhandler:

I just finished The Wishing Year: A House, a Man, My Soul A Memoir of Fulfilled Desire by Noelle Oxenhandler. I connected with it because she is also a worrier and I appreciated the premise of the book that she had 3 wishes-- a new house, to meet a lover who found her because of her writing, and to be spiritually balanced. That's pretty much the premise for the book--can you *create* your desires/wishes and how does spiritually play into our lives.

I interpreted Noelle's upbringing created a belief that she was brought up to believe that to be spiritually full, you must be materially poor. And through the book she tries to change this belief or at least kick it down a bit.

If you're looking for a book with huge plot twists and major life changing events, it's not the book for you. As I said, I'm a huge fan of Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy, so be warned, there is a lot of thinking out loud in here, exploring concepts and ideas, and less with the action.

But for me, it was a book written for something I always think about--how much can we change our reality with our thoughts? How much of life is perception? It was interesting to explore a year of her "wishing," of exploring the many ways we wish in our lives--from rituals to the history of wishing (there are many books similar to The Secret that were written long long ago.)

#52 What Jeannine Misses About Seattle

Bassets for Obama

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

FYI - Seattle Poets....

we STILL need poets for...

Saturday 18 October 2008 at 2P
Coordinated by: Aaron Silverberg & A. K. "Mimi" Allin

if you're wondering, YES, you're a POET! please join us.

This 2hr instigation happens Saturday Oct 18th at 2PM at Green Lake
(on the path at the promontory between Meridian & Orin Ct. --Arrive no
later than 1:45). 20+ poets will sit in a line along the speedway. We
will each wear something red (I've got red scarves for those who
forget). We'll say in turns, to passersby, "I LOVE YOU." "I LOVE YOU."
"I LOVE YOU." This is about poets getting out of their heads and INTO
THE WORLD. Do you think this needs to happen? I do. All are encouraged
to participate!! Just show up. Bring a fold-up chair, a sense of humor
and layered clothing. This is an RSE (Rain or Shine Event). I'll
provide umbrellas! We'll finish by no later than 4 and walk to a cafe
for hot cocoa. Then.. and only then.. can we share the poetry.

This action is brought to you by working poets in Seattle. With every
poem we write, we love you. We love you. We love you. We love you.
Thank you for being there. Thank you for hearing us.

Press Contacts-

RSVP if you can... thanks!


I'm not exactly why it has to be a poet shouting "I love you," but it sure sounds interesting! And I wonder if anyone will leave with a date!

I called it...

During the 2nd or 3rd inning, my husband said, "It's over." I said, "They'll come back."

During the 7th inning, we watched many of the Boston fans leaving the stadium. I said, "They're going to be sorry they left."

I put my daughter to bed, then fell asleep myself and missed the rest of the game.

This morning, my Boston Red Sox hat was on the kitchen counter with this note: "Keep your hat. Largest comeback in playoff Hx. Final Score Boston: 8 Tampa Bay: 7 Great call."

I love it when I'm right!

* Go Red Sox!

In the News Today...

Did you read this article (from CNN) about how the song is helping doctors & students maintain close to the ideal number of chest compressions while doing CPR? I liked the doctor that noted that there was another song with a good beat to it (Queen's Another One Bites the Dust) but that it has the wrong message. ;-)

There has got to be a poem in this...

From the article--

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- "Stayin' Alive" might be more true to its name than the Bee Gees ever could have guessed: At 103 beats per minute, the old disco song has almost the perfect rhythm to help jump-start a stopped heart.

Story Highlights
At 103 beats per minute, "Stayin' Alive" has the almost perfect rhythm

In small study, people doing CPR chest compressions listen to old disco song

Doctors, students maintain close to the ideal number of compressions

Doctor: "Another One Bites the Dust" has right beat, but wrong message


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday Thoughts---

What I'm Listening to: Sister Golden Hair Surprise (by America)
Weather: windy
Mood: here

I've been submitting poems today. I went 25 days then submitted two days in a row. I usually submit when I'm not writing, but I also wrote today.


I've had this belief I need to be writing fiction right now, that poetry doesn't pay the bills. Corporate K (my alter ego) seems to have returned with her shoulderpads and business attire and has plans for me.

I sometimes think Artist Way, while centering me, also brings out all my fears about being a writer. The wasting-my-time stuff and the $$-stuff--the poetry-doesn't-pay blues. But I remind myself how it does pay, in ways that don't always come in a check, but sometimes it also pays in that way too.

Maybe I'm trying on new suits this month, trying to see how I look.

I'm not sure, I was a fiction writer before I was a poet (shhhh....) But then I fell hard for the genre that doesn't make the best party conversation. "My name is Slimshady and I write poetry. Here's the cheese dip."

Who knows. Maybe a little growing pains in the poetry barn, the writing shed. Maybe a little worry, a little wonder what's going to happen next. The idea that I have chosen to live my life as a poet feels kind of big these days, Talking Head big, same as it ever was. But here I am thinking and instead of writing, and that, my friend, my maverick, may be the problem.

What I'm listening to now: Dancing in the Moonlight (by King Harvest)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Confession Tuesday

I confess I can't believe it's already Tuesday as today's holiday made it feel like a Sunday. But now that we have our dates in order, let's begin...

I confess, I ache for this time of year.

There is no other way to say that autumn is my favorite season and October with its month of creepy travel ghost shows. I love spooky and have always been intrigued with graveyards, with haunted houses. I used to play kickball in a cemetery when I was a kid. I used to have my mum drive me to the gate of an old cemetery behind The Drift On Inn after we went to the Drive-Thru Rice Pudding Hut just so I could see if I saw any shadows behind the gates.

Fall brings me to my childhood watching It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and that scene where Snoopy sneaks through the countryside to the Halloween party is probably how I ended up in the country, how I wanted to live in a place with fields and pumpkin patches. How I wanted to have a countryside I could disappear into.

To me, it's perfect this time of year, the color of the moon, the fog, the leaves falling everywhere, asters blooming, the farms and their harvests, the cornstalks, all of it. I like that we feel a little closer to the otherworld, with Halloween, and All Souls Day comes November 1st and Day of the Dead begins with its sugar skulls and marigold altars.

And even with ghosts and death, I see it as the romantic time of year with football mums and homecoming, nights at stadiums and wet wool uniforms, the sound of the crowd, hot chocolate spilling across a metal bench. Many years ago back in high school I remember running onto the field in the rain, I remember having someone to run to and the orange moon on the other side of the stadium watching over it all.

All this beauty and a feeling I can't put my finger on, a feeling that mirrors joy, contentment, and yet, last week I just wasn't quite right. A little sad. A little anxious.

This is the fall I am part of. The girl with the homecoming mum crying in the hallway. The trees losing their leaves in a sudden windstorm. The crisp air and the night blanket shutting down the sun a little earlier. All this and its beauty, over and over again.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Aimee Nez at the Poetry Foundation!

Meet the Beetles
Linda Pastan captures the sound of mortality in “The Deathwatch Beetle,” echoing Poe's “The Tell-Tale Heart.” By Aimee Nezhukumatathil

If you haven't checked out Aimee Nezhukumatathil's essay over the Poetry Foundation, please do so now!

It's on Linda Pastan's poem "The Deathwatch Beetle," perfect for Halloween and a great essay for anyone who likes to look a bit deeper into a poem. Check out and let me know what you think!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Confession Wednesday

I confess I am a day late.

I confess time has been a kite I've holding and my string breaks again and again.

I confess I taught a poetry class in my daughter's class and the students said magical things like: When I am sad, my name is sliver and When I grow up, my name will be ocean wish.

I confess I have been in the Poetry Barn less time than I would have liked this week.

I confess I've been letting my work slide to the backburner. And I confess, this makes me sad.

I confess while I like the name Poetry Barn, I've written fiction in it and would like it to have another name that reflects all the writing I do in it. The Writing Shed has been working, but I wondered if there was something a little more special.

If you have any ideas on what to call my writing shed/barn/studio, either post them in the notes or email them to me. If I use your suggestion, I'll send you a copy of my book and if you have my book, I'll send you someone else's book from my poetry library.

I confess I may have only a few blogs this week, but I will try to stop by and say hello. Hello.

On Revision

Sorry my blog has been so political lately. It's on my mind. I think Biden said it best when he said, "This is the most important election you can vote in..." Actually, it seems the most important election was actually 2000, but who knew it then. But looking forward, yes, this is the most important election of our lives.


But I just apologized for politics so let's talk poetry...

I haven't been writing many new poems lately, but doing a lot of revising.

I was talking with someone last night and she said that many times women revise more than men. Men will be more happy with what they originally come up with, where women will want to tweak things more and change things. I do have male poets who write like that, but a couple of guy friends does not make a rule, so I wanted to talk about how true this is.

I'm a crazy revisionist, so I can only speak for myself (and not other women, and esp. not men), so just curious, if you're a man, how much time do you give to the revision process and when you finish a first draft, are you pretty much happy with what you have? And to the women--how often when you finish a first draft do you consider it done?

It's obviously a general idea and obviously cannot be true or false because we're all individuals, but I'm interested in knowing --when you have first draft, how close it is to done for you?

I have friends who write and rewrite a line throughout their poem or essay, so when they finish, yes, they are pretty close to done because they've been revising the whole time. But when I have a first draft, rarely do I place a crown on it and put it in the palace of manuscript. Mostly, it has to sit around for awhile. It has to do some chores, change its clothes, scrub the cellar.

It's a hard long walk to the palace of manuscript. Once I put what a thought was a prince in my manuscript and it turned out to be a frog 3 months later-- how did it happen? It happened because I was so in love with the new man in my life. It happened because I could not see past his symbolic jewels, this metaphoric velvet robe. The prince rode in one night on a white horse when I wasn't expecting him and I yelled, "Prince!" From there is was just a series of bad decisions. Three months later when the infatuation ended, I was reading through my manuscript and found a frog on page 16. It happens.

For me, I find it's best to write the poem (essay, story, etc) and put it away for awhile. Not a huge chunk of time. Not Donald Hall's 3 years in a drawer. That seems crazy because when you find that writing 3 years later, you are no longer that person and not in the space. I'd say a week is good. Sometimes two.

I return to the poem and read it with fresh eyes. I always love it when I return to my poem and have no idea what I was talking about it. If I can't understand my own poem, how do I expect anyone else to?

The best advice I've received on revising was from the Stephen King book,On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. He said something like: write with the door shut, revise with the door open. Basically don't worry about your reader when you write, but when you revise, consider them.

This makes sense to me.


What Would a Maverick Do? (WWMD?)

What Would a Maverick Do? (WWMD?)
****Interesting, it seems to spell be the same letters for "Weapons of Mass Destruction." Probably not a good thing.

Friday, October 03, 2008

On a Personal Note... 15 years today

Started dating Halloween of 1987 (I was a freshman in college). Married, 10-3-93 - where does the time go?
Happy Anniversary!

By the way, this was at the Tacoma Art Museum, note the Chihuly glass behind us....


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Definition of a Maverick

someone who exhibits great independence in thought and action

an unbranded range animal (especially a stray calf); belongs to the first person who puts a brand on it

irregular: independent in behavior or thought; "she led a somewhat irregular private life"; "maverick politicians"


Honestly, with the world as chaotic as it is, I'm not sure how having a "maverick president" is a good thing. I would not trust my money with someone who's called a "maverick financial planner." Nor would I trust my child with a "maverick babysitter."

I want the controlled, the thought out, the think-before-I-act type of president. I've had enough of mavericks. I want someone whose not willing to take a chance with our country or the economy. I want "change" not "chance." What a difference a G makes.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Poetry of Sarah Palin...

This was on Slate today. Here's two of her best works--

"On Reporters"

It's funny that
A comment like that
Was kinda made to,
I don't know,
You know ...


(To K. Couric, CBS News, Sept. 25, 2008)

"Small Mayors"

You know,
Small mayors,
Mayors of small towns—
Quote, unquote—
They're on the front lines.

(To S. Hannity, Fox News, Sept. 19, 2008)

* * *

Oh and no worries, if you're looking for more, there's more. Go to this link to read the full collection.


Barbara Crooker on the Crab Creek Review Blog

Poet Barbara Crooker blogs about the idea of "poetry as therapy" in the Writer's Notebook series at the Crab Creek Review blog.


My Day in Moments

Things I did today

wrote a poem
lost my wallet
met a stranger who found my wallet
pet a baby Clydesdale
ate lemon sorbet
ate lunch outside
spilled apple juice
lost my palmpilot
found my palmpilot
read poems for Crab Creek Review


Things I didn't do today

write my morning pages
say no to dessert
visit a blog that's been bothering me
where the right clothes (it got hot today!)


Things I will do later today

go to the library
pick up delicious pastries for a friend
go for a walk
mail five postcards
pick lettuce and argula from my garden
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