Confession Tuesday

Dear Reader,

It's been one wild week of 2 Nancys, border crossings, of a pocket of Looneys, sushi in a foreign country, playing with cats, red wine and a walk to an indie bookstore with friends, Oprah magazine (the poetry issue), finalist, finalist, finalist and stress=hairloss?  Friends, I've been busy.

Let's begin!  To the confessional--

I confess I learned yesterday (while inside my doctor's office) that Susan Rich (The Alchemist's Kitchen), Megan Snyder-Camp (The Forest of Sure Things) and me (Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room) are all finalists for the Foreword Book of the Year Award in Poetry!  (Yes, that's 3 poets from the Seattle area!)

The full list of the finalists can be viewed here.

I'm completely honored to be chosen and I guess we find out the winners this June.  Fingers crossed!  (Thank you Foreword Book Prize judges!)


I confess I have to friends in Bellingham who I love-- Nancy Canyon & Nancy Pagh (author of No Sweeter Fat) .

I love that they are both named Nancy and this was much fun as we crossed the border into Canada with the Nancy-Nancy passports & fancy driver's license.  I always feel like I'm a character in a sitcom when I'm with them-- "This is my friend Nancy, and my other friend, Nancy" (Remember: This is my brother Daryl & my other brother, Daryl.)

But they opened their homes, internet connection, hearts and refrigerators to me.

And I am thankful for all of fun moments, talking about Nick Flynn's book Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir as we drove into Canada, a refrain on the word "vulnerable" and seeing a flock of eagles together-- I kid you not, there were at least 25 eagles if not more as we drove the rural community to downtown Vancouver, BC.


I confess I gave 3 readings in a row and have never given 3 readings 3 nights in a row.

Each reading had its own feel.

My first reading in Port Townsend was cool, calm & collected and a treat as I read with Susan Rich.

My second reading was quite relaxed with a show & tell from Oprah's magazine, April 2011, the Poetry issue.  I was thankful that so many people showed up as I was the only reader and I worry about an empty room.

My third reading in Canada felt the best to me, both fun and calm and an incredible audience that laughed loudly and listened intently to all five readers.

The trip was filled with old friends and new, books and new books.  And thank you Oliver for joining us and for the antipasto platter!


I confess I love border guards.

I loved the Canadian border guard who thought we were "riders" (not writers).

And I loved it when the US border guard said, "Welcome home."


I confess I drove over 300 miles mach 5 with my hair on fire. (Um, sorry, I just watched part of Top Gun last night.)

And speaking of hair (and vanity kills)--

I confess I made it back home last night to realize that I have a small bald spot in my hair (see confession 1 for why I was at the doctor's office).  It's a perfect circle, it almost looks as if someone put their cigarette out on the top of my head.  Fancy.  (I could have been a character in Nick Flynn's gritty book.)

Thankfully, I have a side part, so it's hidden, but I noticed it last night before bed.  Apparently stress can cause these, but I haven't felt stressed, just busy.

Of course, I confess, at the first Nancy's house after the Bellingham reading, I was up from 3-4:45 am with anxiety that I forgot to introduce myself (the bookstore man didn't give me an intro and just said, "Take it away, Kelli" ) and in my excitement and easily distracted personality, I got to the mic and just started talking about Oprah magazine.

I confess, I'm not someone who is really hard on myself, but the voice that came at 3 in the morning was quite critical.  My first question was "What are you doing up this late critical voice?"  But she seemed to think I could have done the reading better, that I was too relaxed, too forgetful (no intro), too ________ fill in the blank, my critical voice was singing my faults.

So maybe, I have been a little stressed or weirdly anxious.

It's not as if I'm some laid-back beach bum, some fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants gal, but I also didn't think I could stress out a perfect circle in my head-- like crop circles, Martha Silano's (The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception) aliens have landed on my head, and the hair thing, well, me no likey.  But I am thankful it is small (a little smaller than a dime) and hidden.

And looking at the world today after a weekend of no news and seeing Japan, seeing devastation in color, in waves and cracks and tears, I can't feel bad about anything personal.  My heart has left the building and is somewhere over the Pacific.

So I confess, thankful, thankful, thankful.

Even with all the events, the deadlines, the chores, the commitments, the the the, I -the one with the interesting scar signaling the stars from the top of her head- can only say thank you to the people, the life, the books, the world, around me.

And I do. Again and Again.




  1. I went through a very scary phase of physical symptoms that were found to be all stress-induced when I didn't even feel as though I was feeling stressed out. Very scary what your body can do in response to stress that you may not even really be aware of. Turns out us happy-go-lucky and super positive people have such a high threshold for stress that it builds up without us even realizing it - that is until our chests ache or our hair starts to fall out!

  2. I recognize this critical voice; mine, too, wakes me up in the wee, small hours of the morning. I used to think it was my dad's voice, but really, that's only when I'm being self-critical about weight issues. These days, I'm willing to forgive my body for wanting to carry around some padding, since my body is working so much better than the bodies of many of my friends these days; I don't have diabetes or high cholesterol or early onset arthritis (I could keep going, but you get the idea).

    I love that you talked kindly to your hypercritical voice: "What are you doing up so early?"

    I try to take a page out of Julia Cameron's book(s) and see that hypercritical voice as the voice who loves me and wants me to do well and live up to my full potential, but we may be defining that differently.

    As I type that, I see it's still a parental model (circa Algebra class in 9th grade). Hmmm.

    And, as you say, the Japan catastrophe puts the silliness of my inner and outer voices in perspective.


Post a Comment

Always love to hear from you...and the anonymous option is open for those feeling shy.