Sunday, November 29, 2009

Finding Old Morning Pages, Some Writing Prompts, & How Revision Can Make Things Worse

I found an old document called "Morning Pages," I did last year when I was doing the Artist Way with some friends.

You can get some interesting lines for your work from old journals. You can also get perspective on things. For example, all the things I was freaking out about last year are forgotten memories. All the anxiety I had, concerns, worries-- to be honest, I didn't remember most of them.

That is such a lesson to me. They always say when you're upset to think, "Will this make a difference in my life 5 years from now?" "They" are so smart with their advice.

Anyway, back to my journal/morning pages. Here are some interesting lines I found in them. Feel free to use them as a writing prompt for yourself if you like...

These were a few that amused me--

You have to be smart in this world, in this economy; you have to have something to rely on. I’m wondering if I missed the part on Debra Winger.

I just read that Paul Newman died. he’s on my dressing.

It’s called the Nature of Personal Reality, I found it in the garbage.

I romanticize Irish firefighters.

I had a dream but I can’t remember it, I remember crossing out the word “simultaneously.”

I don’t want mom hair, sing it with me.


And for the writers out there, I found this little insight to my revision process:

I am working on my mss and it’s a pain and a half. I revised it making it terrible, making it worse, but in an act of non-genius, came back last night and saved it. I think I saved it.

This could be a whole other blog post on how we can over-revise our work. Maybe I'll save that for later.


New Book of Poems & Christmas Resolutions...

I just purchased this new book of poems from Kary Wayson called AMERICAN HUSBAND and am so far am just loving it!

This year as you do your Christmas shopping, remember the poets in the world and give someone you love (or like a bit) a book of poems.

My goal for Christmas this year is to

1) Buy from artists & writers whenever possible
2) Buy locally from our local artist run art gallery and local stores
3) Give gifts that are experiences (i.e. an art class, a writing class, tickets to a play, etc.)

Also, not to allow the Black Friday mentality to take me over and overlook what Christmas is about, which for me is doing things for others. Of course, there will be gifts, as I love to give gifts (and honestly, get them too), but I don't want to just be randomly shopping for the sake of shopping.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's not Thanksgiving until

the green jello salad is served.

Happy thanksgiving to all

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankgiving Meme

If you're reading this and have a blog, consider yourself tagged.

A few questions to share my Thanksgiving day with you...

1. Which do you like better: hosting Thanksgiving at your home, or going elsewhere?
Definitely arriving at someone's place! I don't know how to cook so when it's our turn, the holiday stresses me out. When it's at our house, my husband ends up handling everything and I end up trying to keep the cats off the table.

2. Do you buy a fresh or frozen turkey? Organic? Free-range? Tofurkey?
When I was a strict vegetarian for 12 years, I had Tofurkey. I have no idea what kind of turkey we eat as I am not a huge turkey fan, but in it for the stuffing. Though last year, my mum bought an extra smoked turkey on the day of Thanksgiving (she didn't think we'd have enough) and it was fantastic!

3. Do you make stuffing or dressing? What kind?
Again, no idea, but I eat it and love it. My favorite part of Tday plus the mashed potatoes.

4. Sweet potato pie or Pumpkin pie?
Always pumpkin! Yum!

5. Are leftovers a blessing or a curse?
Huge blessing! I will eat leftover for as long as they are around.

6. What side dishes are a must-have in your family?
This crazy green jello salad with cabbage, walnuts, pineapple and marshmallows gelled in on top. You cannot make this type of shenanigans up, I say.

I am also forced to eat a bit of it every year because well, it's tradition.

7. What do you wish you had that might make Thanksgiving easier?
A personal helicopter.

8. If/when you go to someone else’s house for the holiday, do you usually bring a dish? If so, what is it?
Sadly (or luckily!) because of my lack of skill in cooking, no one ever wants me to make something. I'm always asked to bring pickles, olives, or rolls. Or cranberry in a can (that is also tradition).

9. What is your favorite after-Thanksgiving activity.
Pie & sleeping!

10. Share one Thanksgiving tradition.
Going around the table and saying what we are each thankful for.

11. Share one Thanksgiving memory.
The year in our first house, we were in charge of Thanksgiving and that morning my car broken down then our oven caught fire. I remember little of what else happened, but I know we ate and I know we had fun.

Also, one year my husband and I went to Whistler to spend Thanksgiving with friends, probably some of the most fun I've ever had. I was young and in love with the world then. I learned to snowboard and I also learned to stage-dive from large speakers I was dancing on at the Savage Beagle. There are a few traits from that 20-something girl I'd like to get back...

12. Name five things you’re thankful for.

1. My daughter, husband, mother, and nana (who is walking!)
2. Good friends and good people
3. A warm place to live and daily meals
4. My health and the health of my family & friends
5. Being in a place where I am content enough to find things to be thankful for.

Gratitude Journal

1. Family, friends, and sweet strangers

2. Not being in charge of preparing dinner this year

3. Hawaiian rolls

4. Nana is walking again and recovering well (um, this should have been way above Hawaiian rolls).

5. Pumpkin pie with extra whipped cream

6. Christmas music 24/7 (I know, some of you think this is torture, but I SO love Christmas music...I'm actually already listening to it. shhhh.)

7. Dependable friends

8. My husband taking care of all the little details in life while I've had bronchitis

9. People who don't apologize for being who they really are.

10. Having people to love and having people who love me.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Confession Tuesday!

Eek! It's Confession Tuesday evening and I haven't not confessed! Let's get things moving.

To the confessional--

I confess that lately I've been realizing how much I don't know.

For example--

1) I don't know why you'd bookmark a webpage. I understand making it favorite, but bookmarking it? Is it the same thing?

2) The Healthcare reform bill, I'm pretty lost on that.

3) Twitter language. It's freakin' confusing to me. @BigMuscles I love your brains #what do these marks mean, #peanutbuttercrunch.

And honestly, it annoys me when people Twitter-talk on their Facebook status because it just looks messy to me and I have no idea who they are talking to or what is going on.

4) TiVo - I have never seen one in person and have no ideas how it works except that you get to miss commercials and sometimes it chooses shows for you.

What I Do Know--

I confess I do know that if someone is driving slow and I get right up on his/her bumper, s/he will not give me a friendly wave and speed up, but drive even more slowly.

I confess I know I'm not a fantastic multi-tasker, but still get a lot/enough done.

I confess laundry kicks my arse.

I confess there are quite a few books I'm looking to read in December-- January O'Neil's new book Underlife, Kary Wayson's American Husband, and Kim Addonizio's Ordinary Genius (This has been out for a while but I have not read it).


I confess the other night out of boredom and a sense of curious wonder, I started reading/singing stanzas from T.S. Eliot's "A Love Song to J. Alfred Prufrock" into my iPhone's "I-Am-T-Pain" app. (I also have confess I have the I am T-Pain app as well and that I didn't know who T-Pain was until I learned about the app.)

And I confess I do this bizarre stuff with poetry when my family is not home.

I recorded it to T-Pain's "Bartender" instrumental. If I get the nerve, I'll post it here.

Basically it autotunes it, it's kind of hilarious. My favorite part being "With a bald spot in my hair..."

But do dare disturb the universe?

I confess I am a huge dork to do such a thing, and I know this.

I think that's all I have to confess. I'll do a gratitude journal for Thanksgiving day week.

I confess mostly I've been coughing and taking Ricola lately. And pretending to be T-Pain as well.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pushcart Prize Nominations for 2009!

Many of you know I co-edit Crab Creek Review with Annette Spaulding-Convy, well, it's my favorite time of year because we get to choose 6 writers to nominate for the Pushcart Prize.

It was pretty hard this year as we had some wonderful writing, but these were the 6 poets and writers we choose.

Here's our official announcement, now up on our blog...

Crab Creek Review would like to congratulation the following contributors whose work we nominated for this year's Pushcart Prize from either our Fall/Winter 2009 issue or our Summer 2009 issue--

Shannon Robinson for her story "Everyone's Got a Tell"

Martha Silano for her poem "Women are Not Alone and That"

Tod Marshall for his poem "Bait"

Fernando Perez for his poem "In The Mirror When You're Wearing Someone Else's Clothes"

Lisa Allen Ortiz for her poem, "The Tortoise Survives the Fire"

Elizabeth Austen for her poem "Humans"

Congratulations! And good luck!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Blogs to Check Out...

I have added three new blogs to my People in our Neighborhood section--

Susan Rich as you know- she currently has some great photos from Madeline DeFrees' 90th birthday at Elliott Bay Book on Thursday. Lovely!

But I've also added Lasso the Moon, a new blog from a writer who also has a new writing shed,

and writer Midge Raymond who wrote Remembering English

Feel free to check them out!

Also, if you'd like me to add your blog to the People in our Neighborhood list, email me with what name you'd like your blog listed under (your name or the blog's name) and a link to the blog and I'll get that updated.

I'm trying to clean up the old blogs, so all the links are up to date. I am seriously a work in progress!


Friday, November 20, 2009


Nana is out of surgery and doing well!

Sent from my iPhone

My Nana

While she doesn't look it, my sweet Nana (in blue) will be 98 years
old in January.

This photo was taken last night right before she fell and broke her
hip. She's in the hospital today and looks as if she will be having
surgery this afternoon.

Your prayers and good thoughts are appreciated.

More soon,

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Writer Career: The Rich Life of the Poet (or How Much Money Does a Poet Make?)

This morning I took a test on the website (there was a link from the MSN homepage, I wasn't thinking of switching jobs or anything).

The quiz was on who makes more money. I apparently have no idea of who makes what as I got a score of 50%. I even thought a prison guard earned more than a teacher, but no, the teacher earns about $20K more. Who knew?

After I took this this, I typed in "writer" into the career search engine and learned the national average salary of a writer is $53,800. Wow, I must really be dragging the average down.

So I decide to see if they had the career of "Poet" and lucky day, they did. Here's what they wrote:

Poet Job Description

Writes narrative, dramatic, or lyric poetry for magazines, books, and other publications: chooses subject matter and suitable form to express personal feeling and individual experience, or to narrate story or event. May write doggerel or other type verse. (Source: eDOT Job Description)

Yes, yes, and yes, that's me! I wonder how much my US National Average Salary is? Answer: $62,035!? What?!

Yes, dear Readers, you heard me right, our average salary for a poet is $62,035 a year (with a low being $43K and a high being $97,482.)

I had thought they had calculated the salary based on Maya Angelou and then the rest of us, but no, it seems this is their average.

Will the poets who are making the national average please contact me and tell me how you are doing it? And will the poet making $97K please let us in on your secret.

Could one of those poets be Wyn Cooper and his poem "Fun," which was later turned into the Sheryl Crow song? Could another poet be Billy Collins for speaking gigs? But the others? I'm scratching my head.

According to Career Builder, here are people poets are making more than:

prison guards
building inspectors
interior designers
bank tellers

I think someone needs to tell my bank account that I am running not only under the National Average of poets, but even below the lowest salary.

I also looked up "Clown" as a career: $30,500.

And "Mime." Yes, that is an actual mime. See their Job Description.

Mime Job Description
Presents serious, humorous, or burlesqued interpretations of emotions, dramatic actions, and various situations through body movements, facial expressions, and gestures. (Source: eDOT Job Description)

Salary? Just a little less than a writer at $53,278.

You know if my job as a poet didn't pay so well, I'd have a couple really good careers to fall back on.

BTW, if you do visit the website, do not be surprised if you get the "Internet Explorer cannot open this page..." error. I received it quite a lot. My thought is that it's been put together by mimes and clowns, as apparently these salaries have been.

Who knew we were all so rich?

* * *

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Crab Creek Review to Feature Book Reviews~

Just a note to let you know that the literary journal I co-edit with Annette Spaulding-Convy, Crab Creek Review, will be featuring mini reviews called "Editors' Choice" in our magazine.

If you're interested in having your book considered for review you can mail it to:

Crab Creek Review
PO Box 1524
Kingston, WA 98346

We will be reading all the books we receive and choosing our favorites for review and to be included in "Editors' Choice."

It's not a guarantee that your book will be reviewed, but it could be chosen and included as one of our picks. However, whether it's chosen or not, your book will be listed under Publications Received in our issue if you mail it in to us. Also, if we don't have room for a print review of your book, we hope to feature some of these books on our blog with a blog post from the author as well and links on where to purchase the book.

So, if you have a book you'd like us to consider for review, send us a review copy or have your publisher do so!

Buddy Holly

Gratitude Journal

1. Hot coffee in the morning already made when I wake up.

2. My golden retriever, Buddy Holly

3. Three cats roaming the house and not fighting with each other.

4. My electric blanket

5. Gum

6. Learning that January won some funding for her 2nd manuscript!

7. Trapster (to remind me to slow down)

8. A morning without rain and a walk with a friend

9. My husband and daughter smiling after they come back from fencing

10. Total cereal and with lots of raisins

11. My family not lecturing me for speeding, but laughing at me (and Trapster "Police sometimes hide here") and telling me not to worry about it

12. Learning you can have 6 speeding tickets in a year Washington state before they suspend your license and not 3 as I originally thought

13. Going to bed early to end the day and start again

Finding Gratitude

I must say, my day of being grateful and thankful was challenged yesterday when I received (drumroll please), a speeding ticket. (urgh.)

Now, for those of you who have been following along know this is my 2nd speeding ticket in 6 months. The last was when I was visiting the lovely Jeannine for lunch in Kirkland.

Now that one, I was really speeding.

I was rushing around to make the ferry. This one, well, I was going 37 mph. I was speeding up to get to the 40 mph sign just after a 25 mph zone. Seriously. I didn't even realize I was being pulled over for speeding. I thought he was pulling me over to apologize for frightening me when he hit his sirens.

Motorcycle cop. Very nice though. And he did apologize for scaring me, then gave me a ticket.

I now have Trapster downloaded to my iPhone.

Let me tell you though, it was terribly hard to find something to be grateful for after that ticket. I came very close to climbing back into bed and calling, "Day over. I'd like a day, please."

But I did find something.

I was thankful that it was only a speeding ticket that ruined my day. I was thankful it was less than $200. I was thankful that after the speeding ticket I got to come home to a family that made me feel better (even though they laughed at me first).

I also realized, there is a lesson to be learned.

Lately, I have been very distracted. Completely in my own head. And while driving, also distracted. This strip of road where I was pulled over always has bikers and pedestrians and there are no sidewalks here. It takes one second to veer off the road and onto the shoulder. I need to pay more attention. That was my lesson for today. A $154 lesson.

But I guess I didn't get the message last time. And isn't that life? Aren't we continually relearning the same lessons until we get them right.

I'll be trying to pay more attention while driving, folks. Lesson 2, already in progress.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Confession Tuesday

Another week, a blogoversary, and some soulcards and God Boxes in between, what could I possible have to confess?

Oh, there's always something, isn't there?

To the confessional--

I confess that people think I am better at balancing life/writing/family than I really am.

For a long time I've felt as if I'm not really doing anything well.

I think a lot of people feel that, life keeps us busy and jumping from boiling pot to boiling pot. Though sometimes I have all my pots on simmer, but I'm only cooking stone soup. Sometimes the pot marked "writing" is empty and the bottom of the pot is burned. Sometimes the pot marked "life" is filled with dirty laundry, shoes scattered across the living room floor, and lost keys. Did I say "sometimes," I meant "always."

Sometimes when I find myself feeling overwhelmed I lower my standards. William Stafford taught me this in reference to writing. It also works with life's details.

When someone comes into my house and it's not tidy, I steal from Roseanne Barr and say, "Sorry it's so messy, but we live here."

I do try to do my best and when I learn how to do better, I do.

I confess that when I find myself feeling overwhelmed, I try to feel thankful for what I have.

This morning when I asked my husband if he'd make a pot of coffee and my daughter asked him if he'd download an iTunes song for her, he said, "So many demands..." And I said, "And you have those demands to be thankful for because if you weren't hearing them it would mean we were dead. And you would miss us."

Sometimes I remind myself if things didn't feel chaotic/hectic/busy at times, it would mean that the people I love were missing.

I confess it's easy to forget what we have.

Last night at a Girl Scout's meeting, everyone had to state a goal they were working on. Some girls said, "To be a better friend." Some said, "To be more assertive." One parent said, "To have more fun." I said, "To be thankful each day for what I have and not take things/people for granted."

It's kind of an early New Year's resolution for me.

I confess I haven't written a gratitude journal in awhile so I think it's why I've been thinking about that.

I confess it's easier to see the mess in the living room than to be thankful for the people who made it. (I confess I can be a bit of a neat freak too.)

But I know, I can give thanks for the mess because of who it is attached to.

And I will. While all the pots boil over, I will give thanks for having pots and a stove to burn them on.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Poem in Big City Lit

Photo: Hourglass Nebula as taken by the Hubble Space Telescope: January 16, 1996

Whoa baby, forgot to mention this. My poem "Letter to a Companion Star" is in the current issue of Big City Lit. You can read it here.

It's one of my poems that will also be in Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room.
One thing about this poem, which I mentioned a few months ago on the anniversary of my father's death, is that it still surprises me that I am writing these poems.
Spending the last two days/nights of my father's life in a hospital with him is something I wonder if I'll will be writing about for the rest of my life.


Teena in Toronto reminded me that today is Blog-o-versary! Thank you, Teena! I had missed that!

Yes, Book of Kells has been here since 2006. Amazing.

My first post was on poet Reetika Vazirani and said absolutely nothing, but provided a link.

In looking back, it kind of looks like Book of Kells just dropped from the sky.

But it didn't. I had a blog I kept for about 2 years before that I deleted it. Jeannine calls it a case of online shyness, which I think it was, but note to all of you, if you ever decide to delete your blog- save yourself a copy.

I've been able to return to it through the WayBack Machine, but it's still missing photos and I don't think it's all there. Bummer. And lesson learned.

And even before that I kept a LiveJournal acct from 2003-2004.
Oh we were all so young then and unconnected.

I remembering buying a laptop in 2003 or 2004 and having the option for "wi-fi" - I remember thinking, what's that and why would I need it? Oops. Not necessarily the techie visionary.

* * *

But yes, three years of Book of Kells today. Time to look forward, not back.

What 3 things I hope to give you over the next three years (and hopefully more than once)--

1) Useful content related to poetry, writing and the writing life

2) A good feeling, a smile, something positive in your life

3) More confessions (it seems some of you really like these) ;-)

What I want to say to you--

Thank you for reading and/or following this blog.
Thank you for your comments and responses.
Thank you for showing up even if you never say anything. (I know you're out there, I see your numbers...- she said, not trying to sound Big Brotherish).

I will try to find ways to continue to improve this blog because I appreciate your support and readership.


New Blogger in Town...

There's a new blogger in town, poet Susan Rich, now blogging at The Alchemist's Kitchen - (which is also the title for her new book due out this spring by White Pine Press).

Take a moment to visit and welcome her. You can also check out the cover art to her new book! Enjoy!

And welcome Susan!

How To Make Soul Cards

Materials Needed -

Cardstock or Non-bendable paper/cardboard/mat board (cut these into 6"x4" cards)
Old Magazines

These are what a friend of mine nicknamed "Soul Cards" - the goal is to eventually have a large collection of them to browse through, use like Tarot cards if you wish, use for your writing, use as a daily meditation, or just display in your work area for inspiration.

To make them you just basically cut out images or words from magazines that interest, inspire, intrigue, amuse, or connect with you and glue them onto the cards however you like. You make a busy collage or something a little more simple.

There is no wrong way to do this. Some people make them as mini-vision boards with things they would like to achieve or create into their lives. Some just randomly put images down that inspire them and see what it leads to later.

The way my friends and I do it is that we sit down and browse through magazines choosing images that appeal to us. Sometimes we think of a theme, goal, or a challenge we want to work on in our life. Other times we just rip out a picture in a magazine because we think it's cool.

Once we have a stack of images and words, we go through and begin to chose them for our cards.

The image above consists of a painting I found in More magazine, an 8-ball (as 8 is my favorite number), the words "Skillfully inspired," the pattern from some sort of furniture (I just remember liking the colors and pattern), and the very tip of a gardenia in a bowl.

I put the 8-ball with the painting because I made a connection with numbers, but the rest of it I just put together because I liked the way it looked.

Once you have your images, you glue them to your 6" x 4" card. (You can also glue an image on the other side if you like).

I keep my images in a stack above my desk and chose an image to display until I get tired of it then I choose another. Currently, the above image is displayed.

Sometimes if I'm stuck on a poem, I pull out these cards and browse through them looking for interesting images to use.

Creating the cards, for me, offers the most benefit as it allows me sit down and think about my life and goals by way of images.

It's a great project to as a group and especially good for people who don't feel they are artistic because you don't have to draw anything, just cut out images and glue them on to cards. How easy is that?

Three more examples of Soul Cards

Soul Card- Skillfully Inspired

My Office Sunday Morning

Friday, November 13, 2009

Crab Creek Review Short Fiction Prize...

If there are any writers out there who want to support our lit magazine, you can check out the Crab Creek Review Fiction Prize for short fiction judged by author Kathleen Alcala!

We haven't received a lot of entries so if you're interested, check out the link below...and good luck! Postmark Deadline: Nov. 15th

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Great Interview with Sam Hamill

Speaking of Copper Canyon Press, here's a great interview with Sam Hamill, the founder...

Sam Hamill:

I've always liked Ezra Pound's famous comment, "Poetry is news that stays news." Poetry is a very large house with many rooms, closets, attics, basements, bedrooms and kitchens. For me, the practice of poetry is a way of life - as it was for many of the ancient Chinese and Japanese poets I have translated. For me, poetry is for re-reading, a world to be explored and revisited, a world that enriches the quality of one's life.

Read the full interview here at

Review of Mister Skylight by Ed Skoog

* * *

It's a blog tour for MISTER SKYLIGHT by ED SKOOG organized by Read, Write, Poem.

From the book description:

The phrase “Mister Skylight” is an emergency signal to alert a ship’s crew, but not its passengers, of an emergency. This debut collection is alert to disasters—the flooding of New Orleans and the wildfires of California—and also to the hope of rescue. Interior dramas of the self are played out in a clash of poetic traditions, exuberant imagery, and wild metaphor.

Ed Skoog, who worked for years in the basement of a museum in New Orleans, developed personal connections to objects and paintings. “Working on an exhibition about the building trades was important to this book,” he writes. “Spending weeks listening to the oral histories of plasterers, steeplejacks, and carpenters connected me to my own family’s stories.” Marked by uncommonly intense and considered use of language, Skoog demonstrates a rich attention to form and allusive narrative as he attends to the details of contemporary politics, culture, place, and relationships.


I first heard about Ed Skoog when he became the Poet-in-Residence for Richard Hugo House. For some reason, I assumed he was older, but reading this bio I learned that this poet was born in 1971 in Topeka, Kansas.

His book, Mister Skylight, is his debut collection and what a way to begin with Copper Canyon Press, one of my favorite presses. As the book description says, "the book is alert to disasters," but I felt the strongest poems move beyond that topic and into the more intimate, such as the poem "Little Song" where Skoog writes:

Returned to your hand, I'm the astronomer
unable to lower this telescope, or look away.

You're the telescope, too. Close, you show me
far reaches that are themselves not even beginning.

Not to be the one who is left is to live in an alarm.
The unstraightened bed.

In the title poem, "Mister Skylight," I am reminded of John Berryman's "Dream Songs" with its reoccurring "Mr. Bones." But here, we have another character throughout the poem. "Mr. Skylight":

When I tell Mr. Skylight my dream

he doubles my prescription. Pen in hand,
he gestures at his shelf of resources
and says take your pick. At the same moment,

your butcher jabs his butcher knife
toward the row of basted ham shanks,
take your pick.

I like how Skoog takes what is an emergency signal and turns it into character that can be conversed with because in my mind, this becomes the individual dealing with their own emergencies in their lives.

These moments in the collection are what shine through for me. Lines like, The boy with the web painted on his face/pursues this thoughts through the vineyard from "Party at the Dump" and The oceans may not have a center but here are its margins from "Pier Life."

Another favorite place in the book is in the poem "Inland Empire" where Skoog writes:

. . .What I don't say
anymore, I say in fall
to various people in a paper
leaf-like tradition
who remember in falling leaves
various people, while I keep trying
to lose you, in my fashion
failed and constant.

Skoog's poems can be dense. He is not one to offer much space in his poems with a few exceptions; most of his poems are built line upon line. His stanzas and lines tend to be longer. Because of this, the reader needs to pay attention or the wonderful lines I mentioned above will be lost in the read. This book demands you to stay focused.

I always enjoyed turning the page to find a poem made of couplets, or the spacing he used in the poem "Mister Skylight" so his images and lines get to stand out a little more. Many of his poems, like Richard Hugo's poems, focus on place and each line ends on a strong noun or verb and rarely (if ever) have enjambment.

While not all the poems pull me in as much as other poets I have read from Copper Canyon Press such as Peter Pereira, Heather McHugh, and Matthew Dickman, I think readers who enjoy the work of Ben Lerner, Joshua Beckman, and Matthew Zapruder would appreciate this book as well.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Form Poem

Photo by brew ha ha

I'm working on creating my own form poem today... I'll let you know how it goes.

* * *

Poetry Break

From "Like This" Pg. 136 from The Essential Rumi
translated by Coleman Barks --

When someone quotes the old poetic image
about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,
slowly loosen knot by knot the strings
of your robe.
Like this?

. . .

When someone asks what it means
to "die for love," point

. . .

The soul sometimes leaves the body, then returns.
When someone doesn't' believe that,
walk back into my house.
Like this.

. . .

When someone asks what there is to do,
light the candle in his hand.
Like this.

Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

This made me laugh today, in looking up the correct spelling of "wasabi" (I thought it was "wasabai") in my confession Tuesday post I came across this on on the Wasabi peas page--

Frequently Bought Together:

Customers buy this item (Wasabi peas) with The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection DVD ~ Little Rascals

* * *

Is that bizarre? "Oh, I think I'll buy some hot wasabi peas AND the complete collection of the Little Rascals to watch while I eat them?" Who thinks this way? I keep trying to figure out the connection.

Just thought I'd share this interesting part of my day.

Confession Tuesday

Dear Reader, it's been a week of fevers and not sexy fevers, like I'm hot-blooded (check it and see), or fever in the morning, fever all through the night, when you kiss me fever, but my God another fever day, and I hope this isn't serious fever, and let's all take a nap and keep our immune systems up so we don't catch this fever.

But now, we're feverless and better.

So let's begin. To the confessional--

1) I realize this week how cranky/judgmental I've been lately about a few people who just rub me the wrong way. I know when I feel this way it's time to look inward to see what's up with that... (Or maybe they just are annoying...) ;-)

2) Someone told me today that when you eat sugar, you're basically knocking out your immune system for about 30 minutes. WHAT? Is this the worst news ever? I had no idea about this. And I *heart* candy/chocolate. So today I mixed organic cocoa bean powder with agave nectar and dunked a banana in it. Does this count as sugar? It tasted like chocolate dipped banana. It would be easier just to continue eating chocolate and pretend I don't know about this fact.

3) Today is a writing day so I'm in my writing clothes-- corduroys, thermal long-sleeve t-shirt, big sweater cardigan, warm socks, slip off shoes. I'll be off to the shed after I finish typing this.

4) I want to learn how to make those cool little necklace pendants people are making that have a cool image in them (like above). I want to make myself an Emily Dickinson one, though I think these pendants might be beyond my jewelry making skill.

5) Yesterday I went to a friend's house and made "soul cards." It's where you use images from magazines to make Tarot-like cards to ponder on. Kind of like mini vision boards. I'll do a separate post about this soon with photos and some synchronicity that happened as I was looking through my old "soul cards."

6) I think soulcards is kind of a cheesy name, but I really like making them.

7) Sometimes I get the urge to write really inappropriate things on my Facebook status.

I will share one here, but the way, it is a little TMI (Too Much Information), which is why I didn't post it so be warned. (Though it *is* confession Tuesday...)

Anyway, the other day I was at a doctor's appointment and was sitting there waiting for her and was so tempted to write on my FB status, "Kelli is in a paper gown waiting for her OB-GYN listening to 'I'm Every Woman' on the clinic's speaker system." (All true, btw.) It kind of cracked me up to hear that.

But I'm afraid a status like that could end me up on, which I think is a hilarious website (though if you're easily offended, you might not see the humor in all the posts.) Again, be warned. It may not be work-friendly if your boss checks those kind of things.

8) While writing these confessions, I ate too many wasabi peas.

9) I think that is the last of my confessions. I wrote more than I thought, I though I didn't have anything to confess, but my imperfections sparkled through. Yah imperfections!


Monday, November 09, 2009

What I'm Reading... (Mini Reviews)

I'm going to do some larger book reviews coming up in the next few weeks, but just wanted to let you know what I'm reading or have read lately--

Marrying George Clooney: Confessions from a Midlife Crisis
by Amy Ferris - I'm completely hooked on this book and am almost finished with it. The author is both honest and hilarious in her look at menopause and being in her 50's. Complete candor, she has no fear to say how she's feeling, what's annoying her, odd things her husband does, and just her thoughts on life in general.

She dropped the F-bomb throughout the book, so if you're a reader who dislikes that word you'll either get used to it by page 7 or be completely annoyed and put down the book (sort of like my mum did when I suggested she watch "Pulp Fiction" - dear God, what was I thinking with that recommendation?)

Anyway, fantastic book! I plan to devote a whole blog post to it because it has some things (such as font size, photos of cats, etc) that I haven't seen with memoirs that I want to discuss.

Final thoughts-- HIGHLY RECOMMEND (while women may like this more than men, I think men with a wife 45ish and up might appreciate having a look into what craziness happens -or may happen- during menopause)


In the world of poetry, I'm reading-

Sharp Stars (American Poets Continuum) by Sharon Bryan.

First a note of full disclosure- Sharon was my mentor at PLU for a year, but I have been a fan of her work for awhile now.

A remarkable collection of poetry full of well-crafted poems with humor, wordplay, and poignancy. Most collections have a couple "clunkers" in them, a poem that just doesn't feel as well-crafted or reworked, but all of Sharon's poems shine. You will not find extra words or anything in the poems that shouldn't be there.

Then, Something: Poems
by Patricia Fargnoli - Another collection of poetry that brings in nature and meditates on aging and life. I plan on doing a larger review on this book as it's one I've really loved reading this year.

Mister Skylight
by Ed Skoog- On the 12th, I'll have a full review of this book. I wasn't a reader of Ed's poetry, so his work and style is new to me. I have favored his shorter poems over the longer ones, so far, but I am not completely finished reading it, so full review to come soon.

* * *

These final three I'm reading are just my kind of books. They are all non-fiction, include some sort of studies in them, and discuss the human thought process or our human experience in them. I love the weird facts they each include and they are what a friend called "edu-tainment" - educational stuff shared in an entertaining way. These are the books where I always learn something and understand myself or the world better because of them.

These make great Christmas presents because 1) you look smart giving them 2) people feel smart receiving them 3) they are gender-neutral - both men and women love them (though if I think I had to choose what gender would prefer them, in general, I might lean towards men- though I've had a few women friends read them and enjoy them greatly)


Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina

Okay, I love this book. It has great information (including that the brain needs an afternoon nap- I knew this!) There are 12 principles on how the brain works and how we can improve our minds. While that sounds a little self-helpy (and maybe there is that), it's intriguing to learn these ideas on how our brain functions best.

Like the other 3 books, I'm in the early chapters, but really enjoying this. (Though for some reason, I spent the week referring to it as "Brainwise" and not BRAIN RULES - which tells you a lot about why I am reading this book...)

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
Dan Ariely - I'm in the early stages of this book, but already am fascinated about how companies and restaurant market us knowing how humans make choices. Even we might choose a mate in bar (clue: always go to a bar with someone who is just a little less attractive than you, if you want to be picked up!)

This is a quick summary of how the brain works and as I said, I'm still in the early chapters of this book, but already loving it.

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubnar - This book is currently receiving pretty poor marks on Amazon, which makes sense to me as it's the follow-up book to the fabulous Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (P.S.), a book I loved.

Had others not read Freakonomics first, I think they'd love or highly like this book, but because there is something to compare, it comes in second. I feel this would be a fair assessment so far (again, I'm still on the early chapters of this and I read one review that when the authors hit the chapters on global warming, the books goes off a cliff...), so I'll let you know.

So far though, I'm finding it quite interesting.

For Christmas gifts, start with Freakonomics and move to this for a follow-up birthday gift.

* * *

Check in... (Not poetry, just flu stuff)

Sorry to have been away for so long, but it's been a week of healing as my daughter woke up with a fever on November 1st and basically spent the whole week getting better. We don't know if it was the H1N1 virus, but her fever stayed 4 full days.

Our doctor gave us some great advice that I will be repeating in my family as when my daughter gets sick my husband goes Tylenol crazy, but she said, "Treat the patient, not the fever."

This is interesting to me because when my daughter first woke up with a fever of 101.7 my husband bought Tylenol and her fever went down. The next day it was 102.5 and we gave her Tylenol and her fever went down. Our doc told us to only give her Tylenol if she wasn't feeling good (headache, body aches, etc.) and not to freak out if the fever went up to 102 or 103.

Anyway, our daughter felt fine (actually, felt pretty good which was a little odd to have this sweet girl with a high fever) and so when her fever hit 103ish, I didn't give her Tylenol and it went down on its own and the next morning she woke up and it was gone.

Of course, she still has a little bit of an awful cough, but no temp and her energy is back. Anyway, there's a part of me that wonders if her fever/sickness would have gone earlier if we hadn't treated it with Tylenol so early and let the fever do its job? Either way, she is better and that makes me happy.

Oh, there are two bonuses when your child is sick and you are stuck home with her, indoors for a week- 1) You save a lot of money on food & shopping. 2) Daily naps.

After a week of taking a 2 hour nap with her in the afternoon, I'd really like to bring into consideration the daily siesta from 2-4 pm or 3-5 pm (your choice). I swear, I think it was these naps that helped me stay healthy and not get her virus. And gawd, they felt good.

* * *

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Confession Tuesday

It feels as if it's been a week plus forever since I've confessed. I have a sick daughter, so a quick confession and back to snuggling with her so she can get better...

To the confessional!

I confess I am thankful to the poets and people who read my blog. Last week I felt a little vulnerable sharing how my book became published and the details, but the response was so warm, I really appreciate it. Thank you for the comments, the personal emails and the FB messages.

What it tells me is that people (like in life) might not share the full info on publishing. I think it can be hard to share our rejections or our hard journeys sometimes.

It kind of reminds me of the moms who pretend their marriage is perfect, their kids don't eat junk food or watch TV, and all is always well. I'm always interested when I meet someone who seems perfect and tells me she's perfect only to get a glimpse into her real life (which is never perfect) and sometimes completely different than the facade she has created.

I don't blame her or the writers who don't want to tell the whole truth because it's a protection mechanism. We don't want to be hurt or we don't want to be vulnerable.

But I think honesty is important.

Last year during a creativity class I had to write a life motto. Mine was really long at first, it included supporting my family, friends and myself with their passions, yadda yadda yadda. It was so long, I could never remember it and that was part of the assignment, to write a motto (or life mission) and remember it! In the end mine was this, "To live authentically with faith." Really, that's what it comes down to.

Also, the older I get the more I realize it's not my business what other people think of me.

* * *

I confess I didn't mean for that confession to be so long. I just wanted to say thank you for your kind words, support, and responses to my blog posts last week. Thank you.

* * *

I confess having a sick child puts the entire world into perspective. It makes you remember what's important.

It makes me remember the words from Fight Club...

"You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your f'ng khakis." (Though he doesn't say "effing" in the book, that wouldn't make sense.)


I confess I love the book Fight Club as well as the movie.

I also confess I went to one of the very first readings with the author Chuck Palahniuk in Seattle and only 5 people showed up to the University Village Barnes & Noble to hear him read. My husband and I were 2 of them and 3 others were his friends.

At the time he said, "And I hear it *may* get made into a movie with Brad Pitt."

* * *

I confess I just bought Sharon Bryan's new book of poems, SHARP STARS but haven't read it yet. It's gorgeous though. More on that soon.

* * *

I confess I spent the last 3 days mostly in PJs and it's felt really good.

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