Friday, December 31, 2010

Blog Topic Ideas Welcomed!

Someone recently emailed me (or left me a comment in a post that I received in email) about something they wanted me to blog about... and I've lost it!

If that was you, please email me again (or leave a note in this post) about what it was.

Also, this is an open invitation for anyone else to let me know if there's anything you want me to blog about in 2011.  Just email me at kelli (at)  or leave me a comment at the end of this post and I'll put it on my list.

I already have a request for the difference between Facebook and Twitter for writers and the benefits of both.

Looking forward to hearing what you're interested in for 2011!

Cheers and happy new year!


I somehow wandered upon this blog that posted what they thought the 5 traits of successful artists were.  They focus on visual artists, but I think many of these work for writers too.

I'll put my own thoughts below in blue text...

5 Common Traits of Successful Artists:

1.  Art is the core of their lives. Successful artists wake up and go to sleep thinking about art. They carve out time in their day making art or marketing it. (In fact, for these artists, there seems to be no clear distinction between the creativity of making and marketing.) If they have a full-time job, it is secondary in their minds to art and mostly a means to and end. Their real job  is being an artist.

-- This is very true for writers too.  Even if you have families, jobs that aren't related to writing, hobbies, other commitments, your writing is the core of your life.  

I think it's interesting how she mentions "marketing" here as for writers that's an important part of the job too.  I know so many think it's a bad word, but part of the job as a writer is submitting your work.  There is a difference to "smart marketing" or "shameless self-promotion" - you want to be known as a writer, not someone people run away from because they see your book peeking out of your shirt pocket.  

2.  Successful artists understand how business works in the art world. Successful artists understand the entrepreneurial aspects of making a living as an artist. When they encounter something new or unusual on the business side, they investigate and learn to do it or delegate the task. They know the value of relationships and network in person and through social media.  

For me, this one really means, act professional.  If you make a commitment, stick with it.  Don't be flaky, learn how to submit to presses, literary journals, and editors in a professional manner.  Don't respond with what I call "the poison pen" when you feel wronged, rejected, or upset with publisher, literary journal or another writer -- (my Poison Pen definition:  this is when people write fast crazy emails filled with anger and venom then hit the send button without caring how the recipient may feel or what bridge they are burning).

But yes, also when you don't know how to do something, learn how to and do make connections with others (real connection, not phony "build-your-brand" connections, but real I-like-your-work-and-who-you-are connections).

Successful artists have a strong work ethic. They  manage themselves, their creative energy and resources. They balance the time to produce art and to market it. Whatever rhythm of working they choose, they stick to it. Whether these artists enjoy the business tasks or not, they know they must be done  and they do them without complaint or resentment.

---Work ethic should really be #2, it's that important.  Your focus should be on your art first, then the business side of things.  If you're not produce good strong work, you shouldn't be marketing it.

Successful artists are resilient. They know that success does not happen overnight – it requires hard work. These artists understand that things don t always work out the way they expect. When they make mistakes, they focus on solutions, not on regrets. They  learn from experience and experiment to improve on any success they have.

--- I love this one.  I think it's important to remember that everyone gets rejections.  It's not always easy and you will make mistakes.  Be resilient to rejections.  Be very resilient to rejections.  We all get them.  It's again, just part of the job!

Successful artists spend time only with people who are 100% supportive of their art career. They limit their time and emotional involvement with people who are negative  especially about art as a career choice. If people close to them have the skills and inclination to be more directly involved in their art career, the artist can produce more and better. Successful artists do not allow unsupportive people to be an obstacle to their plans for success.

--If you make one change in your writing life this year, this is one thing you should do-- keep the positive, supporting people in life.


6 Word New Year's Resolutions

Many of us have heard of Ernest Hemingway being challenged to write a short story in 6 words (he came up with this: For sale: baby shoes, never worn), last year I tried to write my New Year's Resolutions in only 6 words and here's what I came up with:

(I've bolded my favorites):

New Year's Resolutions 2010:

Try to remember: attachment causes fatigue.

It's about the work, nothing else.

Be open, be giving, be kind.

Never throw rocks at whales- never!
(that was my dad's resolution every year). ;-)

Keep faith close, assume the best.

Realize my path is only mine.

Talking about problems doesn't fix them.

Trust myself, but not my fears.

Stay off the grid a bit.

More quiet time, bye bye news.

Be good to myself and others.

Find art in my life daily.

Become a little more Frida Kahlo.

As I read over these, I'm thinking that they are pretty close to this year's resolutions (or as "New Year's Suggestions"), but here are a few more for 2011 (and a couple added tweaks to last year's resolutions):

2011 6 Word New Year's Resolutions:

Help others in surprising positive ways.

Dream a little bigger than normal.

Keep positive people in my life.

Living with less causes less stress.

Focus on the good in others.

Always have keylime pie when available.

Write more snail mail: postcards/letters.

Always stay focused on what matters.

Facebook causes fatigue: dine with friends.

Talking about others doesn't fix them.

Make art in my daily life.

Be useful like Thomas the Train.

Be a little more Jane Austen.

What are your 6 word New Year's Resolutions? Please feel free to share.


Old School Poet Bloggers...

In yesterday's post, I called some of us who have been blogging for quite a few years now  "old timers" (and I am included in that mix), but as I write today's post with a list of these poets who had blogs back in the day I think I'll change that to Old School Poet Bloggers.

And yes, when I say Old School, I mean it in the good way, not "old school" meaning we're the cassettes while everyone has moved onto CDs, but that we've been here for a while. In fact, I've been reading, corresponding and following these folks since at least 2005.

To make sure I found this group, I went back and checked my old blogroll on the Wayback Machine (aka internet archives) from my now defunct blog to see what names still had a blog today and had done a post in December (the only one with before December post was Anne Haines, but since I always "see" on Twitter, she felt current.)

So here's the list of some of the Ol' Skool Poet Bloggers of who were around back then and are here, writing, and still blogging today.  

Here they are in *almost* alphabetically order by last name--

Seth Abramson
Deb Ager
Ivy Alvarez
Jeff Bahr
Mary Biddinger
Kristy Bowen
Eduardo Corral
Rachel Dacus
Lyle Daggett
Oliver de la Paz
Jilly Dybka
Justin Evans
Jeannine Hall Gailey
Anne Haines
Suzanne Frishkorn
Paul Guest
Esther Helfgott
Charles Jensen
Collin Kelley
Reb Livingston
Rebecca Loudon
Emily Lloyd
Cornshake (who I'm sure is still is not incognito, but if you go to this site, you'll know which poet this is)
Peter Pereira
Russell Ragdale
Steven Schroeder
Matthew Thorburn
David Vincenti
Wendy Wisner
C. Dale Young

***A pretty great list of people who have done a lot of pretty great things...


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday - (Favorite New Blogs Edition & a Look into Blogger Past)

My friend, Susan Rich asked me to send her some of my favorite blogs.  I realized, I read a lot of blogs and this year, have picked up a few of the newer blogs to read. (Note: the blogs aren't new at all, I'm just new to finding them.)

I do hope to put together a list of favorite "old timers" with folks like Charles Jensen, C. Dale Young, Suzanne Frischkorn, Collin Kelley, Jeannine Hall Gailey, Peter Pereira, Paul Guest, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Victoria Chang, Jeff Bahr, Eduardo Corral, and others.  These are the folks who I am very thankful for and folks that were blogging early on.

A lot of us have been blogging for a long time.  Even before many even knew the word blog.  I know a few of us came over from LiveJournal to blogger together.  The first blog post I ever wrote was:  Dec. 31st, 2002|09:25 pm  on my LiveJournal account.

So that makes 8 years this New Year's Eve.  Amazing. (I am thankful for these 8 years.)

There are about 2 years I lost to when I deleted my first blogger account after feeling what Jeannine calls "online shy," feeling as if I had put too much about myself out there then became self-conscious, concerned who was reading it or what they'd think.

Then I remembered I was a writer and that's part of the job.

But Susan asked me what I'm reading now and here's an incomplete list of blogs I have found over the last year that I'm thankful for

(btw this list definitely doesn't include all the blogs I read, I just wanted to share some of the blogs I've started reading this year & apologies for those I left out as I know there are a few I inadvertently missed) --


Kathleen Kirk:

Maureen Doalles:

Self-Improvement/Lifestyle Choices/Changes Blogs:  (about living simple & in the moment from one woman's perspective - very positive person)  I believe she's a Seattlite too!

Bubblegum for the brain blogs...

Totally quenches my Capricorn desire for organization and ideas to keep my less cluttered.

Cool ideas for gifts 

A focus on cool, cute, interesting, orange things (my favorite color)

Inspiration for the unapologetic organized soul


So there we are.  Some blogs I started reading over the last year.  Hope you find one or two you like as well.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Details of Publishing a Book: January O'Neil Interviews me at Poet Mom ~

Sylvia Beach Hotel on the Oregon Coast

January has just posted an interview with me that includes the process of putting my book together and sending it out for publication.

Also, if you're in the Northwest or live in Oregon, or want to travel there, there's a sneak peek at a Writer's Retreat Susan Rich and I are hosting at the famous, literary-themed, Sylvia Beach Hotel next September!


Free Copy of Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room

 Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room (White Pine Press Poetry Prize)

If you haven't signed up for the drawing for a free copy of Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, you can do that by going to this post and leaving me a comment.

Also, take a moment to read the comments on what people are grateful for, really gives you that hot cocoa feeling inside.



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Confession Tuesday - New Year's Edition 2011

Dear Reader,

It's been Christmas wrapping paper and 5 chocolate oranges (at least) since my last confession.  It's been 2 days of wearing only pajamas, 1 Christmas eve day of flying through the city visiting friends and family as well as Candy Cane Lane.

But now we look forward to New Year's.  To new beginnings. To happy endings. To the confessional--

Becoming Emily Dickinson--

I confess I'm always a little melancholy when the Christmas season is over and there is no longer Christmas music on the radio.  I know many people are quite happy to be putting away the decorations, tossing the tree, but I like these winter moments of being at home with sparkling lights.

I also think part of me enjoys that the weather is so bad (wet & cold here in the Northwest) so it's okay to stay inside and read. I don't have to tend the garden.  I don't have to deal with the outside world of landscape, weeds, or lawn.

In the winter, it's okay to be Emily Dickinson in my upstairs room waving to the children outside. I actually enjoy staying in (almost too much) and sometimes I can see my future self as an old woman in a white nightgown sitting by myself reading and the thought is not scary to me, but oddly comforting knowing how much I like to be home and staying in.


New Year's Possible Guidelines -

I confess there is something wonderful about a New Year approaching.

Maybe it's the knowing that we can start fresh.  I know that every day can actually be a fresh start, but this feels more official.  A new date, a new year, a new calendar.  I enjoy looking back at my year. And I also appreciate looking forward at what can I do differently or better.

I confess I actually like writing resolutions, though I've never liked the name "resolutions" as it's too stuffy for me, so I tend to refer to mine as New Year's Suggestions.  There's less pressure to perform that way if you see them as "possible guidelines" or "suggestions" as they become something one cannot actually fail at.  I mean, who wants to start the year by screwing up?

The Organized Poet (is not an oxymoron)--

I confess I love opening new calendars and organizers for the new year.

It returns to organizing and New Year Suggestions for me, to start fresh with new habits to make things easier on me in the long run.  It's my Capricorn nature to be organized and for a long time, I wished I was much more spontaneous and whimsical, as I imagined poets, writers, and artists to be, but now I have learned to like my practicality, to appreciate that I'm disciplined and careful.

No, you won't see me with unbalanced checkbook, dying my hair blue, or forgetting to show up for reading.  As much as I'd love to be the cool poet with the jet black hair drinking my 10th martini dropping the F-bomb in thigh-high boots, I'm more likely to be the one who wore corduroy and went home early to read or get some sleep and dream about the cool poet in her thigh-high boots.  Love me for my To-Do lists, for my ability to organize my books alphabetically by the poet's last name, for my Huey Lewis theme song life-- "It's hip to be Square"-- even if it's not, don't let me know that.


The Organized Poet Shares Her Very Boring Life of Lists--

And I confess, if you're wanting to get organized or need a new calendar, here are my two favorites this year...

2011 BusyBodyBook Personal & Family Organizer - "FALL"2011 BusyBodyBook Personal & Family Organizer - 
I am currently using this book, which was designed to help you keep track of all your family's activities (each family member gets their own column & you can write where they are or what they need to do each day) except I use mine to keep track of my different projects.  I have columns that say "Writing," "Crab Creek Review," "Personal," "Home," and 2 blank columns I change weekly depending on what I'm working on.

I started using this last year and love it.  Every Sunday night while watching Amazing Race, I organize my week and what I need to get done.


A Working Writer's Daily Planner 2011: Your Year in WritingA Working Writer's Daily Planner 2011: Your Year in Writing
***This will be my first year with calendar on my desk.  I plan to use it to keep track of what poems I'm working on and notes on my writing projects, inspiration or ideas.


And I confess I wish happiness for each and every one of you in 2011.  You have brought me much happiness and satisfaction with this blog and if I could dish out happiness to you like ice cream scoops, I'd give you extra helpings.

To a whipped cream New Year's with sprinkles, wafer cookies and chocolate sauce!
And if you're gluten and/or dairy-free, I wish you an acceptable alternative. . .



Monday, December 27, 2010

Life After Christmas: New Poetry Books (thanks Santa) & a Blog Remodel

Good Monday, Friends!

If you celebrate Christmas, did you enjoy it?
If you don't celebrate Christmas, did you enjoy your day?

Christmas Past & Christmas Presents:

I had an incredible Christmas.  Being around my family and good friends really just reminds me why we are all here and yes, what's important.

I think I am finally to the point where I actually feel like an adult in that I get much more pleasure giving than getting.  This probably seems normal in your life, but I must say, even in my 30's I loved to get gifts (think Sue Sylvester on the Glee Christmas special).  Yes, I would rig a Secret Santa giveaway if I could.

But I must be growing up.  I was 28 before I got my cheekbones, maybe I'm just a late bloomer in life.  Yes, I am pretty sure I am.

As for Christmas gifts, I only asked for a few items this year, 2 new poetry books, a new pillow and some ragwool socks from Eddie Bauer.  And guess what, Santa brought me all of them (the bonus of having a short list).

My two new poetry books:  Dear God, Dear Dr. Heartbreak  Aliki Barnstone (and I believe White Pine Press will be publishing a new book by her next year - I love her work!)  and Terrance Hayes Lighthead.  Okay, admittedly, I'm the last person in the poetry world getting this book, but I got it!

Also someone a couple months ago commented on this blog that her husband got a water-based pillow when I was complaining that I spent $20 on what I thought was the perfect pillow (but wasn't) and I got one of those--Mediflow Waterbase Fiberfill Pillow  and I'm loving it! (Thank you for that comment!)

I do keep a fleece pillowcase on it because underneath it can get a little cooler because of the water (and I'm one of those people who sometimes sleeps in bizarre positions with hands under pillow, arms grasping pillow, etc. etc.) so I did notice it was cooler.  But I love being able to add water to change the firmness of the pillow.

It's crazy-heavy (I think I filled mine to medium-firm), but it's been great to have it stay fluffed all the night.  I'm sounding a little obsessive over my pillow (I am), but if you have pillow issues like I have, this might be a life changer for me.  I'll keep you informed.  (My biggest concern is that there is water in this pillow and I may inadvertently be growing sea monkeys in my sleep).


New Year's Remodel:

And yes, it might look a little different around here.

I'm trying to clean up my blog and remodel a bit.  If you've been a reader to this blog, you know this is normal for me. I remember one reader saying something about it reminding it of his mom when he was growing up, sometimes he'd come home to find the couch in a new place.  Yes, I've moved the couch as well as paintings on the walls.

I hope you can still find a place to sit here and enjoy and hope you're liking the new look as well as the content.

We will see how it ends up on January 1st...


Want Your Name on the Walls?

Oh and by the way, I'm adding/cleaning up my People in the Neighborhood blog list and if you're not on it and want to be - please leave me a note in this comment with your full name and blog link and I'll add you.

Or if you're on my list and want off, please let me know that too!



For the Love of Dickinson

I read this in the Boston Globe.  I love people who do these acts as they make life a little more special, a little more magical--

A young man’s love of Emily Dickinson’s poetry blossomed into a tradition almost as mysterious as the woman herself. Now the anonymous donor of roses to celebrate the poet’s birthday has unmasked himself.

For the past 13 years, James Fraser, a retired physicist living in Acton, has bought roses to commemorate the poet’s birth on Dec. 10, 1830. During the open house at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst held on the Saturday closest to her birthday, roses have been handed out — one for every year since her birth. On Dec. 11 the first 180 visitors received a rose.

In a recent phone interview, Fraser said that he wasn’t a particularly serious student as a teenager, but he was drawn to Dickinson’s work. “There was something about her poems that was a little different,” he said. Then he turned to physics, earning a PhD.

Decades later he acquired Cynthia Griffin Wolff’s biography of Dickinson, but it sat on his shelf for years before he opened it. “By reading the book, I got a much better understanding of how she [Dickinson] put words and ideas together. My interest just sort of snowballed from there,” he said.

He visited the Dickinson house, joined the Emily Dickinson International Society, and initiated the annual gift. This month’s open house and gift of roses was the last of its kind. Times change and so should birthday celebrations, Fraser said. Next year’s observance is a mystery for now.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Martha Silano's poem "It's All Gravy" on Poetry Daily today!

Martha Silano is featured on Poetry Daily this Christmas eve!

You can check out here poem here!  Congrats, Marty!


I *heart* Poetry Daily!


Dear Santa... and please get Kelli a GoodReads Viewer's Choice Award...

Merry Christmas Eve, Batman!

I just learned my book (and it's cover!) has been added by GoodReads to their selection of best poetry books as a write-in. (Thank you!)

If you want to help make a Christmas miracle, please feel free to click on this link to GoodReads to vote.

I'll be honest though, I'm just thrilled to see my book cover on their website! What a great (early) Christmas present!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thankful Thursday

It's the day before the night before Christmas (and I'm busy, busy, busy being good... -- Does anyone else remember that song from the 70's?)  Well, I'm trying to be good, but if being good includes not eating a chocolate orange for breakfast, then I'm out.

But as Christmas comes into our town with a splash (yes, it's pouring here) I have a lot to be thankful for.

1)  Friends and family - Okay, I always say this, but here's the thing, you might be the friend I'm referring to or who has made my day and has no idea.

You could be one of the incredible women in my poetry group or a friend or family member who supported me. You might be the anonymous stranger who sent me a kind note.  You may have just commented on a blog post.  You might have just posted a note on my facebook wall, commented on my status or just "liked" it.  Or maybe you mailed me a card recently.  We may have never even met in person and yet, you've done something to enhance my life.  Thank you.

As I move forward in 2011, I think one thing I will be trying to focus on is how I can make a positive difference in someone else's life.

2)  White Pine Press and 2 people with the name Dennis.  - Last year around this time, I learned my book won the White Pine Press book prize judged by Carl Dennis.  Dennis Maloney called to tell me I'd won.  I was overjoyed.  Though on the phone I leaned more toward speechless, I couldn't even explain my excitement and/or gratitude.

But here's the funny thing (and something to think about if you submit to poetry book prizes), had I known Carl Dennis was judging, I probably wouldn't have submitted.  I would have thought-- Why would a Pulitzer Prize winner who is male and born 30 years before me like my work?

So maybe it's some good advice to the poets who are submitting their work-- submit to the presses you want to be published by, not to the judges you think will choose your poems as sometimes our guesses on who will like or dislike our work are incredible wrong.

3)  Books, indie booksellers, small presses, authors, writers, poets artists, literary journals, readers, libraries, librarians, bookstores, used bookstores, online journals, blogs, literary communities, festivals and conferences--

Yes, this is a long (and incomplete) list, but if I were to look at the things that really feed my spirit, they usually are connected to one or more things in the above list.

I do not think I would feel as good if these things or people did not exist in the world.  For me, writing is a way where I feel connected to something larger than I am.  Sometimes it offers me wonderful synchronicity I couldn't have planned for.  Sometimes, I feeling that there is a reason for things.

When there is chaos in the world, there is the simplicity of words, one after another.

4)  ___________________:  I'm leaving this spot blank a way to say, I cannot speak my heart.  As much as I'm a writer, a poet, and I'm supposed to be good at these kind of things, words sometimes cannot show what I carry inside me and inside you that is hard to write out in words.

Even explaining it, I've had to use the word "heart" (a so-called no-no in poetry), but how do I share something when I'm not sure how to write it?  

I guess for me it was like watching the Nutcracker last night, I tried to take a photo of the Waltz of the Snowflakes because it was beautiful and there was fake snow falling.  I wanted you to see it, to put it on my blog.  But my camera couldn't capture it.  The snow magic disappeared into the background, it couldn't capture the moment and what I was feeling, what I wanted to share.

So I guess if I had to choose a word to name it, I'd choose compassion.

I am thankful for all the compassion in the world and the kindness we carry inside us.  For every small act done to help a fellow human, friend or stranger, for that peace that is so deep in us that sometimes we forget to hear its voice (or maybe like Horton Hears a Who, we don't always hear it until we listen hard).

It's the "I Believe" part of us that knows there's more to this life, more to us, more to the connections in the world.  There is more than a photograph of snowflakes, more than a blog, a word, but the moment we look around and realize we are all in this together.   That  is what I am thankful for, that and so much more.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Confession Tuesday - The Christmas Edition

Dear Reader,

So here we are, 4 days (or "daze" depending how you feel) before Christmas.

I promised a Christmas version of confession Tuesday, one that included tears, so let's begin with that, what on earth would make someone cry at Christmastime?  Wham UK, that's what.

To the confessional--

George Michael Always Knew What to Say--

I confess when I was 17, I sat in my car outside a friend's Christmas party and cried because "Last Christmas" came on the radio.  It was 1986.  My life was Christmas tree made of broken-heart ornaments.

What I remember-- the hedge to my left that hid me from my friends at the party, my cold old car, and believing I would never ever be happy again.

For the love of Mondegreens--

I confess I just learned *this year* that the lyrics to "Last Christmas" are not "A crowded room, friends in tie-dye, I'm longing for you, but you're so shy."  No, the lyrics are actually, "Crowded room, friends with tired eyes, I'm hiding from you and your soul of ice."

Um, I have sung that song wrong for the last 26 years?  Nice.

In truth, I think my lyrics are better (and I still sing them like that when the song is on.)


Written by Scrooge, perhaps?--

I confess I think the very worst line in a Christmas song is from one of my favorites, "Feed the World (Do they know it's Christmas?)

Here's the line--

And the Christmas bells that ring there
are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it's them
instead of you

I understand what they are saying about appreciating what we have, but sheesh, it's written in a way that's a little uncaring.  And "clanging chimes of doom," I'm guessing that's the opposite of "silver bells" or "jingle bells."

Dashing through the snow, with our clanging chimes of doom...

Holy Chocolate Oranges, Batman!

I confess I am honestly addicted to these:

  Terry's Milk Chocolate Orange Ball, 6.17-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6)Terry's Milk Chocolate Orange Ball, 6.17-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6)  (BTW, I have no idea why a 6-pack of these are $36 on Amazon, ours was $2.99 last night and I will say they seem quite a bit smaller than last year (as does everything).

And for some reason, they are selling out all over my small town.  I had a minor "you-better-not-pout" moment in Albertson's last night when they said they didn't have any.

If you have never tried one, you must.  It's our Christmas tradition to always have one...or two, well, more like five.  And what's also fun about them, is you get to slam them on the table before you eat them (it breaks up the slices).  Love that.


Let's start the sugar early--

I confess every Christmas morning we wake up to satsuma oranges, chocolate bars, and maple bars.

I, of course, eat what I always have for breakfast-- coffee and swiss muesli with raspberry yogurt.  But sometimes (read: always), I eat the maple frosting off a maple bar.


For the Troops & their Families--

I confess that this year there is another song that makes me a little emotional.

I look forward to the Christmas where we don't need a song to wish that no one was overseas in a war--

Wishing everyone peace in the new year.



Happy Solstice ~

For My Pagan & Christian Friends--

Dar Williams singing "The Christians & the Pagans"

Happy Solstice, Dear Ones


Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Gratitude: Free Copies of Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room

To celebrate this holiday season, I'm giving away some of my books as a way  to say thanks.

Thanks for reading.
Thanks for commenting.
Thanks for writing.
Thanks for the poems.
Thanks for keeping your own blog.
Thanks for linking to my blog.
Thanks for all the things I forgot to say thank you for.
Thanks for the things I never knew or noticed.
Thanks for listening.

Thanks. Thank you.  Thx.

Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room (White Pine Press Poetry Prize)

To kick things off, I'm giving away a signed copy of my new book, Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room (White Pine Press Poetry Prize).  If you already have one, you can still enter as I'd be happy to sign it for someone else.

If you'd like to win this book, just leave me a note in the comments that says something you are grateful for by December 31th, 2010.

I'll randomly pick a winner on January 1st, 2011 and help you celebrate the new year.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The second way I'd like to give away a few books is in "loaner copies."

NOTE:  I am currently out of loaner copies.  Thanks everyone!  I have sent them all out into your hands... Enjoy!

I know this year has been hard on many and many of us have been scrimping on things to save money.  While it's almost impossible for me to scrimp on books (I am an out-and-about bibliophile), I know some of us view poetry books as a "treat," and can't give in to every temptation.

So I've been thinking about how you too could get my book and I decided I can't make sure you win a contest (as that's cheating) and I'm not really sure who has wanted to buy my book, but hasn't because they just haven't had the extra money, so I've come up with Loaner Books.

Here's how it works:

I've set aside a few copies of my book (I even put old fashioned library checkout cards in them) and if you want a copy of my book to read because you haven't really been able to afford it,  and I will mail you one of these copies.

When you are done with reading my book, the only thing I ask is that you pass it on to someone else to read.  And then they can do the same.

Does that make sense?  (It does in my mind, but these days that doesn't mean much.)

It's kind of my own little library except no late fees, no return dates, no record keeping, and well, there's only one book.

 I'll let you know at the end of this post when I am out of them.

~ ~ ~

So there we are, your free ways to get a copy of my book:

Loaner Books
(Sorry, all out!)


a drawing for Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room
(don't forget to leave me a comment on this post to be entered into the drawing)

Happy Everything!

I'm out!
Loaner Copies are all out in the world!  Thanks for writing!  

Thanks. Thank you. Thx!

~  Kells


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter Break Report & Free Books on Monday

Dear Favorite Readers,

I'm going to be away from my laptop the next two weeks as well, it's Christmastime.

Christmas has always been a big deal in my family.  Honestly, it begins the day after Thanksgiving and doesn't stop its insanity until New Year's Day.  It's both overwhelming and magical, beautiful and big.  I complain about it, but deeply love it.  (You know, I've been listening to Christmas music since November, so I'm not quite as innocent as I seem.)

This year, I announced to the family that I would like a small Christmas--less of everything.  It's a funny thing about families, it seems that when you make a request, they seem to do the exact opposite.

And to be honest, with these self-imposed restrictions of "smaller Christmas" it has grown larger-- a new added tradition, an extra Christmas party, a surprise outing, a community country Christmas celebration in a rainy downpour.

My calendar is filled full until Christmas (except today) when I will wrap and clean, then look over my list to see if there is *anything* I've forgotten.

I'll be putting some posts up over the next two weeks, but probably be on the quiet side- more photos than words I think.  I will have a Confession Tuesday, Christmas Edition with Confessions from Christmas Past (oh, there were tears, sad teenage tears, but more on this later...)

I'll try to email a photo to my blog from where I'm at - I plan to see the Picasso exhibit, we still haven't been to the Nutcracker, life happening in real time images, sent here.

But in thinking of the next year, let me know what you'd like to see on this blog or anything you'd like me to blog about (I'm keeping a list, though not checking it twice).

I can tell you a few things 2011 will hold--

* Some new colors for the blog (and I'll put away the holiday decorations)
* Posts on how to bring a "Retreat Mind" home with you
* How to be (or find) a good roommate on a retreat (with photos of our coffee pot)
* Maybe some goal setting (remember, I'm a Capricorn-- we love this kind of stuff)
* Of course, posts about writing and creating

If you can, show up here tomorrow, as there will be some chances for free copies of Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room.

As well as this week will have some things that make me feel like a cup of cocoa during Christmastime.  Happy things.

So wonderful reader, I hope you have (or had) a wonderful Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, December, Sunday, birthday, holiday season, Lady of Guadalupe day, writing retreat, Black Friday, workday, snow day, writing day, or whatever it is you are doing that brings joy into your life, I wish you more of whatever that is.

Cheers to a new year, new blog colors, and hope for a peaceful, well-fed, well-loved, well-cared for, art-filled world.



Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Review: Heather Cadenhead's Inventory of Sleeping Things

When I first received Heather's chapbook, Inventory of Sleeping Things (Maverick Press, 2010), I almost mistook the Table of Contents for a poem because she has such interesting titles such as “The Cracking of Bones Makes the Same Sound as Falling in Love,” “A Coat on a Love Seat, Translated,” “The Difference in Being Dead and Being Alive is Motion.”  Reading these titles, I knew there would be some expected moments in this chapbook and as I read, I was right.

The first thing I noticed about Heather’s work is her ability to create fresh images out of every day words.  She writes in the first poem of the chapbook,  … but I want a sky that swallows ideas. And guess what? So do I.  Who knew I did, until she wrote that?

This is what I love about finding a new poet, the surprise of how she sees the world.  The next poem, “Idea” has another image that I haven’t been able to remove from my mind:

            I sift through it like my grandma used to sift through
            my candy bucket on Halloween.  GOOD and NOT GOOD:
            chocolate bars lined up like gravestones by the garbage bin.
            Sometimes the best ones get thrown away.

And I love this poem’s meditation on what an idea is, each stanza is a unique image of what an idea may be.  She ends with another favorite couplet:

            Finally, I put it in the closet like a finished sketchbook,
            once useful to me.  But, really, just taking up space.

The whole book is filled with these insightful lines taking our ordinary language and turning it into something extraordinary.

From “Our Share of Plums”:

My hair is a house
for your fingers.

From “Crooked Here” after next-door neighbors have installed a new light on their porch:

…Now they shine
when they move, like actors in a spotlight. Sometimes, I applaud from the window, soundless.

From “The Difference Between Being Dead & Being Alive is Motion”:

With you, the order of living things is broken…
Some mornings, you spend hours underwater.
It is a way of hiding.
You wonder at the fish…


For me, this is what I so enjoyed about this chapbook, how the poet writes to create a new and fresh look at the world and less about wanting to dissect meaning or force the reader to see her perspective.  She allows the poems to exist on their own—through images and moments—and the reader is there as the observer and allowed to establish to her own feelings and ideas. 

There is no pushing by the poet with judgmental language to make you feel one way or another, you are given a poem, a moment, a meditation, a poem spoken to another and as readers, we are there to find the freshness in the moment.  We find the surprise in the relationship and taken to a new place where, as in the poem “Dusk” someone might be in the stars tomorrow or finding out she kept that letter you told her to throw away.

It’s a gift to find a new poet.  This is my first time reading Heather’s poems and if this is just her first chapbook, I can only imagine the good things she has in front of her in the poems she will write. 

Heather Cadenhead resides in Nashville, Tennessee. Her poems have been featured in journals like Ruminate, Relief, Illuminations, and others. In 2009, her poem “The Wedding” received an Editor’s Prize from New Plains Review. In 2010, her poem “Illiterate” was nominated for Best of the Net anthology and she was featured as the June poet for Chantarelle's Notebook. She also works in publicity for Thomas Nelson Publishers. For more information, see

Heather Cadenhead


Reason #152 on why I love where I live - Morning & steam off the water

Crab Creek Review Pushcart Nominations & Molly Tenenbaum wins Editors' Prize!

Crab Creek Review has nominated the following poets and writers for the 2010 Pushcart Prize:

Two Lies and a Truth by Midge Raymond, 2010 Vol 2  
Live Model by Laura Maylene Walter, 2010 Vol 2

Not Love by Rachel Mehl, 2010 Vol I
Inherited Music by Michael Schmeltzer, 2010 Vol 2
Girl Walking in Wallace, Idaho by Tim Sherry, 2010 Vol I
The Aprons of Adam and Eve by Molly Tenenbaum, 2010 Vol I 

Congratulations to our nominees!

The Co-Editors of Crab Creek Review (Kelli Russell Agodon and Annette Spaulding-Convy) are awarding the Crab Creek Review 2010 Editors' Prizeto Seattle poet, musician, and teacher, Molly Tenenbaum, for her poem,The Aprons of Adam and Eve (2010 Vol I). Our annual Editors' Prize is awarded for the best poem, short story, or creative non-fiction essay published by Crab Creek Review in a given year. 

Congratulations, Molly!

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