Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Confession Tuesday - The Finding Your Passion Edition

I love his smile...

Dear Reader,

It's been one week, one 3 day weekend, and one headachy week since my last confession.

I am feeling better today.  There is a point when one realizes that life happens and we can go running into the streets cursing at the sky for being too blue, or we can sit on our porch and agree we have a lot to be thankful for.

I must say, coming to the chapter "Finding Your Passion" in Cecile Andrew's The Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good Life could not have better timing.  I have been reread this book yearly since 1998 and honestly, it's like having my own personal therapist on my nightstand who "gets it," who gets what I'm trying to do in my life.

But before I go any further, we might as well make this official.
To the confessional--

Being a Writer During a Recession:

I confess this section of the book is underlined in many different colored pens and has stars everywhere.

Last night, I restarred this line (spoken by another artist):

When the economy collapses, it's not going to make much difference to the artists.  We're the cockroaches of society, and we an survive anything.

Now while I'd replace the word "cockroaches" with the word "stones," I get what s/he is saying.  We can live well in a recession because we're always in a recession.

Someone once asked me if it was hard keeping a literary journal (Crab Creek Review) going during a recession and I replied, "Literary journals are always in a recession."  But that's the beauty, our donations and the orders to our journal have not gone done after the housing market crashed, after stocks plummeted.  The people who support us, support us no matter what the economy is doing.

I feel the same way about poetry readers and poets and writers.  And I am thankful for those who keep their priorities straight-- books before _______________ (fill in the blank).  I know I may not have enough money for the new fashion item of the season, but I always have enough for a book.

On Finding Your Passion--

I confess I love this paragraph:

Living your passion means finding something that you love to do, committing yourself to it, believing in it, and persevering, no matter what the financial rewards.  It is something that is an authentic expression of who you really are.  You get energy from it, you feel alive when you do it.

page 84, The Circle of Simplicity

I am always interested when people say, "But I don't know what my passion is..."

I tend to think they know, I always respond, It's the one thing you'd still be doing EVEN if no one paid you for it... 

But that's the problem many times.  We live in a culture that puts monetary wealth over what brings us joy.  We want to do what brings us money even if it doesn't bring us joy.  We believe in equals:  money = happiness.  And while I believe we need a certain amount to make sure our key needs are met-- food, warmth, housing (and for me, time to write), I have always agreed with Forrest Gump, "Now, Momma said there's only so much fortune a man really needs and the rest is just for showing off."

How Writing Helps the Suck-Factor

When you are doing what you love, you feel more magnanimous, more kindly, less resentful and envious.

I confess when I had what felt like such a sucky time last week, it was writing that brought me back to myself.

Being lost in revising a poem or writing something new is equal or greater to most everything I might want to do in a life, in a day.

It reminded me that while we have to pay for something that is sadly, more than we can afford, that does not affect my writing life.  Yes, there will be sacrifices, a loan, a new monthly payment, but I am still a writer.

The library did not close.  The books were not stolen from my shelves.  No one took my laptop or internet connection.  My paper and pens are still on my desk.  I still have a home. My family still hugs me.  My cats still break things and are loved for their cuteness.  My golden retriever still wants to lick the whipped cream can.  In essence, all is the same except my entire life's financial amount has decreased, so what.  No one was putting that on my gravestone anyway.

I can still write.  And I do.


Finding Happiness:

I confess I made a list to see what I really needed to bring me happiness. Here is part of it---

1)  my family
2)  my good friends
3)  a comfy bed, enough light to read and a book
4)  warm feet
5)  hot showers
6)  writing and my laptop
7)  a good internet connection
8)  playing Boggle with my family
9)  having good food to eat
10) my pets
11) a tidy house
12) time
13) allergy medicine in the spring through August
14) decent health
15) coffee in the morning

My most-expensive expenses are my laptop and the internet.  Writing makes me feel grounded. Time is my most important fortune.  My family, friends and pets are what I value and love most.  I have a warm bed and give thanks for the $29 lamp on my nightstand.

Open Heart, Closed Doors

I confess I think I learn and relearn everything I've written about above.  And while I might sound confident today, I'll forget and have to refind myself again, revisit what brings me joy.

I'll open the door to misery, to the person who tries to steal my energy, to TV news, to garbage blowing into my home.

I'll forget--I always do--and purchase that new thingamabob, thinking, "This will make me happy" (or "This makes me happy, I shall buy it!") only to find, I now have something new to dust and have added work to my life.

I need to open my heart to what really fills me--family, writing, friends--and not much else.  In certain ways, I am Forresta Gump, simple pleasures, simple life.

Yes, it's easy to forget the beauty in the world.

I do it too often then have to catch myself, my net is thankfulness what I do have.  And walls to block out parts of the world, I choose not to let in.  So today, I feel a little more connected and thankful, but as you read this, please don't think it's always easy to feel this way, we are humans being bombarded with messages of "what we're missing" - we're not, we have all we need in this very moment.  I have to remind myself of that all the time.

I confess I am thankful for my imperfections and forgetfulness, as these lessons are always good to learn again.

Women Writers-- Last Day for Poets on the Coast Retreat in Oregon at Discounted Rate

We're filling the final places for this retreat (thank you to the women who have signed up and written us over the last 2 days!) and there was a question I wanted to answer--

If I want to sign up, but am not paying by PayPal, can I email you the registration form for Poets on the Coast then mail the check today on May 31?

Answer:  Yes.  That is absolutely fine.  Just email us the registration form so we can hold your place and mail the check today.  As long as it's postmarked May 31, you are welcome to the discounted price.  


Susan and I met yesterday and some of the topics poets want discussed are putting together a chapbook and questions on publication, so those will be two things we will definitely be discussing.

Plus, yoga in the morning if you choose, chocolate, beach and writing time, dinner together in one of the most incredible hotels around - the Sylvia Beach Hotel.

All information and registration for Poets on the Coast can be found here.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, May 30, 2011

This Memorial Day...

Four-year-old Paige Bennethum really, really didn’t want her daddy to go to Iraq. So much that when Army Reservist Staff Sgt. Brett Bennethum lined up in formation at his deployment this July, she couldn’t let go. No one had the heart to pull her away.
Here's the ending to the story behind the photo...



my father, Gale A. Russell WWII Navy
my step-father, Bert O. Baker, Captain, Air Force, POW, WWII
my father-in-law, Rosendo Agodon, WWII Navy


Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Keep Calm & Make it Work...

This is my personal mantra these days.  My other one is:  I cannot control what life hands me (or shoves in my face), I can only control how I respond to it.

Without going into details (less so my stomach doesn't tie in knots than to be secretive or purposely vague), our old home needs some work.  And when I say "some work," what I mean is this summer we have a huge, somewhat overwhelming house project coming out that we can't avoid.

It's one of those projects that has to be done and is not a choice-- such as remodeling one's kitchen or choosing to put in new floors.  Nope, this is something if we don't do, we cannot live here.

And along with this large project, comes a large price tag.  It's more than I paid for grad school. I feel as if I'm putting my house through college having to pay for this and then giving it a trip to Europe to boot.  

So much of this week has been about trying to remain grateful and not falling apart (falling apart is so 2001).  

And if ever I start to feel sorry for myself, I remind myself that I did not experience what the people in Joplin, Missouri did.  And while this is a pain in my well-rounded caboose, it's not life or death, it's not a tornado landing on my roof.

And that's the scoop, Rupe.  My life minus the poetry part, the things I balance along with writing and art.  It's creativity for the wallet.  I'm trying my best -- Wait, I'm not trying my best, but I'm trying.  As I know this too shall pass.

And right now, at this very moment, the house smells like cinnamon and all the people I love still have heartbeats.   

Keep calm, make it work...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Color Me Versatile... Or a Homebody... (Award)

The Beatles fishing from their window at Seattle's Edgewater Hotel

Donna Vorreyer chose me as one of the new blogs she is reading under the title--Versatile Blogger Award...  Thank you!

It's always nice to learn someone likes/reads/visits/knows of/is intrigued by/doesn't dislike/accidentally arrived at my blog, so I appreciate hearing this.

Of course, with every award there are rules.  I'm wearing a tiara as I type this.  Okay, I'm not wearing a tiara, but let's say I am as we look over the rules--

• Thank the person who honored you and print a link to their blog. 
Thank you, Donna!  And visit her blog here:  http://djvorreyer.wordpress.com/
• Tell 7 random facts about yourself. 
Check right below...
• Pass the award to 15 new-found bloggers. 
Okay, 15 is quite a lot, but I'll do a post on my 5 new favorite blogs and who I'd pick soon.
• Contact each blogger who receives this nomination. 
Will do. X5

So 7 random facts about myself--

1)  While I am not wearing a tiara, I do keep one in my armoire and I plan to wear it the next time I get my driver's license renewed.

2)  I have no tattoos.

3)  My middle name is the same as Oprah's, though I tend to think our bank accounts not as similar.

4)  I love love love peach jelly bellies.  But I do not love (or even really like) peaches.  
I do like the song by the Presidents of the United States of America (called Peaches)

5)  I believe the children are the future.  Wait, I don't-  that's an old Whitney Houston song. I believe the calendars marked 2012, 2013, and above are the future.

6)  As an undergrad at the University of Washington, I could have gone to a comedy show for $10 by a new cool young comic.  My friend was also a communications major and invited me to meet him while he interviewed him.  It all seemed liked a hassle and well, they didn't get the "really good" comic everyone wanted, Yakoff Smirnoff.  So I said no (as usual) and stayed home.  And the name of that new and up-and-coming comic:  Jerry Seinfeld.
Yep, I've been making those good decisions since 1990.  
(I also said no to seeing these two new groups my friends said I had to see-- Nirvana and Pearl Jam).  Yes, I'm a visionary and trendspotter, as you can tell.
I'm always where the action is not.
(Note:  My much older sister bumped into Ringo Starr at the Edgewater in Seattle when they visited in the 60's.  He gave her a kiss on the cheek, while my other 3 sisters snuck into the hotel to find her and any other Beatle they could find, so apparently, this "staying at home" is not something genetic, but self-induced.)

7)  Despite being "the one who stayed home," I'm kind of like my life. A lot.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Confession Tuesday - New Soul Edition

Dear Reader,

I'm S.O. (slightly overwhelmed) and was looking forward to today.  All week felt like Confession Tuesday or maybe I just felt like confessing because this is how I deal with things-- to talk it out.

So let's talk, let me confess all that is happening in my world that makes me S.O.

To the confessional--

I confess these days much of my life has been about being a home-owner and I feel pushed and pulled out of poetry.

I confess I'm having dreams about writing retreats every night because I am unable to balance my life--wife, mother, home-owner, volunteer, friend, daughter, sister, editor with my creative life:  poet, writer, artist.

I remind myself that life is this way occasionally.

Sometimes we are able to have time for all we want to do.  Other times we have time for the things we need to do.  Sometimes what we need and want are not interwoven separate and different.

Sometimes I'm asking for a clock and I am given an abacus.

Sometimes our lives are beautifully sculpted ice sculptures--angels and clouds, other times we are just melting on the carpet and losing our wings.

I'm confess I'm melting currently.  Mostly because of home projects.

While the mom in me does her mom things and the home-owner in me does her homeowner chores, I confess the poet in me dreams in simplicity, in Thoreau thoughts--a small cabin near a pond, an apartment overlooking the city, a small yard, a smaller home.  But reality speaks the truth--future is not now and you cannot bury your head in that book.  I must deal with the house (like Frida Kahlo had "La Casa Azul" I have La Casa Descuidada - um, The Neglected House). 

Oh silly reality, you do not know me well-- I confess I have six lovely defense mechanisms for chaos and anxiety--

1) Writing:  This is where I disappear into my own world of words and I always find myself happy here.

2)  Sleep:  When others panic about their lives, I nap.  When others burn anxiety by running, doing something physical, I climb into bed.

3)  Books:  As many of you who were childhood readers know, when your world is too much, find yourself in someone else's world.

(BTW, to ignore my life, I confess I'm currently reading the extended eBook of Bossypants by Tina Fey - and it is hilarious.  I am really bummed that I am going to finish this in no more than 3 days.  I love it that much.)

4)  Talk:  I talk with friends who make me feel better.

5)  Gratitude:  Reminding myself all I do have.

6)  Music:  Sometimes a little Dave Matthews or Jack Johnson can save the day.  Or the song New Soul by Yael Naim (above) always makes me happy.


I confess the more I live my life, the more I discover about what really makes me happy.

I guess this is really the key to making life's choices-- where you live, what you spend your money on, what you choose to do in life.

Still, sometimes I make such incredibly wrong choices like trying to do The Hustle when everything inside me just wants to waltz.


I confess while my most immediate family members (husband and daughter) are old souls, I am the new soul still floating around on this pond.

But I'm working on pushing away some walls and letting the light in.


Monday, May 23, 2011

"You've got to read this book, it changed my life..." Elizabeth Austen & Sheila Bender on writing...

Elizabeth Austen (author of Every Dress a Decision)  has a great post on her blog by Guest Blogger Sheila Bender author of A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief.

Here are some wise words from the post--

(Elizabeth) asked Sheila Bender to tell us how she sees the difference between writing that is personal vs. writing that is private.  Where and how do we draw the line?
Here’s what Sheila had to say:
I believe the more deeply we write from the experiences of our lives, the more universal and significant our writing is to others. This significance, however, comes only if, as writers, we find fresh insight through our words’ journeys, insight we realize only after following our words to wisdom we would not have if we hadn’t shaped our experience in reflection.
But how do we do that using personal writing without making readers uncomfortable in their voyeuristic role?  By making sure we are pursuing a question that will become the reader’s question, too, so the reader is not an observer and judge of the writer’s life, but actually on a quest along with the writer.
As my colleague Jack Heffron recounted, “You have probably never heard a person say, ‘You’ve got to read this book; it changed the author’s life.’ Instead you’ve heard, ‘you’ve got to read this book; it changed my life.’” 


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Poets on the Coast: A Writing Retreat for Women

Susan Rich and I have been talking about the first ever Poets on the Coast: Writing Retreat for Women and I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to this.

The Sylvia Beach Hotel is a very special place; I know this because the title of book Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room was inspired by it.

Susan made this list on her blog and honestly, I'm ready to jump in the car and go today.
Here's Susan's list--

What makes Poets on the Coast different from any other writing retreat you might attend?

1. We will provide gourmet chocolate to inspire you.

2. The sound and scent and sight of the ocean will infuse your dreams with new poems (we expect).

3. You will have a private time to discuss your writing with Susan or Kelli at no extra charge.

4. There are two cats on the property to keep you company (or you can close your door).

5. As poets, we have been on many different retreats and given hundreds of workshops, but this is the first one we've actually designed. We are invested in making this an amazing weekend for everyone.

6. The weather on the Oregon Coast in early September is magical.

7. The breakfasts served (included with your room) are legion for style and size.

8. Optional morning yoga relaxation will be available to you from one of our participants (free).

9. Our group is diverse in age, geography, ethnicity... All women welcomeregardless of genre.

10. And did we mention the dinners? Food, laughter, and lots of writing. What could be better?


Our goal in this retreat is make sure woman writers have the time, nurturing, and support they deserve.  We are welcoming women of all levels, from beginner to published author.  We want to make your time there something you will not forget.  

If you stay at the Sylvia Beach Hotel (you're also welcome to commute in to the retreat if you're local), you get to choose a literary-themed inspired room.  And this isn't just a "kind-of" inspired room, like a copy of To the Lighthouse in the Virginia Woolf room, but a full-on, don't hold back, Shakespeare with capes, Edgar Allen Poe stuffed raven, sexy canopy bed Colette and over-the-top Dr. Seuss room with colors galore.  This hotel was created for writers and it is truly one of my very favorite places in the entire world.

 I'm bringing this up now because some of you asked me to send out a reminder before the retreat fills up and as I look at the calendar I see the registration price goes up after May 31st, so this is it - your reminder!  We're filling up.

So women writers, if you're interested, here's your chance to get a little time, nurturing, chocolate, poetic support for you and your writing life.  We will be there, and if you want to come, right now, you can too...

For more info or to register for Poets on the Coast: A Writing Retreat for Women, visit here. 

Registration goes up after May 31st - plus registering now also gets you a free issue of Crab Creek Review .

Looking forward to seeing some of you there!  I cannot wait!

Register by May 31st to receive a free copy of Crab Creek Review and a $50 discount!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Poets & Recipes! Roast Salmon & peppers with caper vinaigrette

I do not consider myself someone who likes to cook.  In fact, "Don't assume I cook" was a motto of mine for quite a long time.  My husband, who is a firefighter, does most of the cooking, thankfully.  I think firefighter-husbands tend to do this, maybe because they have to cook for their crews when on shift, but I know I'm not the only firefighter wife who has a husband who cooks (and cooks well!)  I probably do about 10% or less of the cooking.

When I do cook, I tend to do huge meals then freeze them. This has become my new favorite way to cook because it saves me SO much time on the night of dinner.

Here are two of my favorite books for that--
Don't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer: Great-Tasting Meals You Can Make Ahead
Don't Panic--More Dinner's in the Freezer: A Second Helping of Tasty Meals You Can Make Ahead

But when I do cook, just one meal (and not a huge batch of it), some of my best recipes are from a fav magazine of mine, Real Simple.  I keep a folder of favs that I rip out of the magazine and let my family know that I'm open to cooking anything in this folder.

Here's one of my favorite, easiest, healthiest and yummiest recipes from that folder.

I'm in the NW so salmon is pretty inexpensive here, so hopefully, I didn't just choose a meal that will put my poetfriends in the poorhouse.  But I'm hoping you can find a deal somewhere.

Salmon and Peppers With Caper Vinaigrette

Serves 4Hands-On Time: 10m Total Time: 25m



  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Cook the rice according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large roasting pan, toss the bell peppers, fennel, 1 tablespoon oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Roast for 5 minutes.
  3. Season the salmon with ¼ teaspoon salt and 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper. Nestle it among the vegetables.
  4. Roast until the salmon is opaque throughout and the vegetables are just tender, 14 to 16 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the parsley, capers, vinegar, and remaining tablespoon oil. Drizzle over the salmon and rice and serve with the vegetables.

A few things, I had never had fennel before this recipe so I wasn't even sure what to do with it!  Just cut the bulb like an onion and throw it in, that's it.  And if you don't like fennel, you can substitute onions, but honestly, the fennel is delicious, so I don't recommend that.

So there you are, my favorite easy recipe.  And I'll leave you with a "poem" I wrote a few years ago which is basically my life as a recipe --

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I am back from Western Washington University where I spoke to a class of incredible grad students.  Western is one of my very favorite colleges in the Northwest.  The students there are so grounded and very down-to-earth.  It's a very "Northwest" school meaning-- casual in dress and attitude and a laid-back lifestyle.  I always love visiting there.

Normally on Thankful Thursday I highlight someone or something I love and I may or may not do that as I post today, but I think I need to just check in here as I've been feeling a little disconnected.  Less since my trip to WWU, but still, not quite myself...

I think I need my own personal gratitude list.  So here it is.  What are you feeling grateful for today?

My Gratitude List:

Family and Good Friends and good energy people

A good friend's guest room with a Moonstruck Chocolate Bar hidden for me under the sheets.  (Thank you, NP!)

The *unsubscribe* button

This book:  Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century

Sunshine + warm weather

Salami, good crackers, cream cheese (who knew?!) + Mad Housewife Wine

Taking a new way home and seeing chickens, goats, and a new view on the world

Not running with the wolves, but lollygagging with the golden retrievers -- (a nod to Martha Silano here)

Dreaming about someone from the past

Audio Books

It's Fun being Smart magnet (see above image from  Etsy shop - SimplyCutebyKarin )

Pinterest website

This quote:  "Everything will be okay in the end.  If it's not okay, it's not the end..."  (unknown)

Wishing you all good things today...


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Confession Tuesday -

Dear Reader,

It's been one week of pumpkin muffins, frittatas and cordon bleu since I last wrote.  What have I been doing?  I'm not sure, but I know it involved whole wheat flour and cake spice and I know where I was: home.

I should probably tell you what I've been up to. To the confessional--

Becoming Emily Dickinson--

I confess this last week I've pulled away from much of the outside world.  I've been very Emily Dickinson--though I'm betting Emily didn't listen to NPR or her audio books when she baked.

I confess over the last week I've made these meals in large batches so we can have one for dinner and I freeze the rest in the freezer-- cordon bleu, twice baked potatoes, asparagus & spinach frittatas, blueberry muffins, pumpkin muffins, burritos and yes, I made my own refried beans--next time, I'm buying canned. I also made crockpot granola (though I didn't use butter, but a mix of water and brown sugar).

If you are reading this and you know me well, you might be fearing that "Kelli cooking" is one of the seven signs of the apocalypse, but I think it's just me cozying into my safe place. I'm not sure why I've been retreating from the world, but I have been.  Maybe to counteract all that time I've been away, and out, and social, since my book came out.

Whatever it is, I just try to follow what my body/soul/heart needs and listen to that.  Right now, it's saying: avoid everyone.  Or I should translate:  Avoid most everyone.

There are certain people who are my light and always carry good energy.  I'll be seeing a few of them tonight actually. And a few other good friends I've made future plans with,  so I'm not fully in one of my Ms. Dickinson moods, I haven't started lowering the muffins in a basket from my bedroom to the children below.  Maybe that's next week...

James & the Giant Peach, I Mean, Lie--

Okay, it wasn't Jersey Shore, but I confess last night I stayed up last night to watch James Frey on Oprah (part 1).  I had to.

I wanted to see the follow-up to the trainwreck that was his second interview with Oprah when she confronted him on his lying in the memoir five years ago.

I'm not sure what I thought.  He did keep saying he was accountable and made mistakes.  But he also had some unusual answers like after the "ambush" interview (a word he used to describe it), he was in a cab and he broke out in an overwhelming laugh after the interview driving home.  But he also felt other emotions as well.

Here's the thing though--once you know someone is capable of that kind of lying, it's hard to know if anything they are saying is true.  I think that's was the hardest part of watching the interview, I kept wondering -- is this just spin? Does he mean this?  Did things really happen as he said?

Now that said, I could understand why Frey published his book as a memoir--his dream was to publish a book.   And I can understand how the deeper he got in and the more successful it was, the harder it was to admit it wasn't true.  He changed his life with that book in so many ways, and I think ultimately, this is what I love about this whole story-- it's all because of a book.

For me, this is huge-- in the age of so much technology, entertainment, screen-time, the fact that this is still such a big deal is because books and words matter.

A Special Note to Mac Owners--

I confess I learned yesterday that Macs can get malware.  It's not quite a virus, but wow, did it feel like one.  It was downloaded accidentally by my daughter after clicking on a google image of a teddy bear holding a Canadian flag (seriously, could anything seem *less* dangerous for your computer than that).

I can save you a lot of headache, by having you do one thing if you surf the web on your Mac using Safari-- 1)  Go to Safari & open "Preferences"  2)  Go to "General" --  If the box "Open Safe files after downloading " is clicked --unclick it!

That is what our problem was, when my daughter clicked on the image, which was a secret malware link, the whole shebang was downloaded on my computer.  Good times.

It makes it seem as if you computer is infected and all these alarms keep going off and I read it will eventually go to porn websites (even more good times) if you leave it on-- this is to make you think your computer is really infected.  The goal of this malware is to make you "register" this Mac Detector or Mac Protector as it's called for $49 (or more), basically getting your credit card number.  (Whatever you do, don't give them your credit card number.)

Thankfully, we weren't fooled but did have uninstall it, which was a pain.  If you do accidentally install it, go here, print out the directions and follow them one by one and your computer will be fine.

If you want to learn more about this new Mac malware, which is attached to Google image search and other google searches, you can read about it here.

And while Apple users really don't need a Norton Anti-Virus yet (or so says my favorite Mac guy), here's something free for Mac users just to help keep their systems clean- It's Sophos, a sort of "anti-virus" detector for Macs that hangs out in the background of your Mac making sure you're not clicking on Canadian teddy bears.


I'm a Goal Girl--

So while I have been homebound, houseloving, inyogapantsandlovingit, I have been still been working in the writing world.  What am I up to?  I'm working with a couple wonderful writers as well as submitting my own work.  What?!

Yes, it's true.  I'm finally getting some new poems out in the world.

Not many, but some.  SOME!  Some is definitely more than zero.  I had been having a mental block when it came to submitting, I'd start to submit then think "nothing I have is good enough" and then go back to something else, usually writing, blogging, or organizing a cabinet.

So I chose what I thought were my best poems and send them out. And honestly, that feels good.


I confess I'm off into the world as I'm teaching a class at Western University tonight.  So Emily Dickinson life, I adore you, but I must leave you and your pumpkin muffins for a while.  Stay spicy.  While I add a dash to my social life, a dash of everything good.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thankful Thursday - David Kirby

I think David Kirby is a fantastic poet.

I chose him for this week's Thankful Thursday after reading this article about him in the New York Times traveling as a poet.  

Two favorite lines from the article:  Who says the arts don’t pay?  
Other times, I’ll say there are all kinds of wealth, and while everybody needs to make a living, it’s really poetry that makes me a rich man.

Other things:

This is my favorite book by him (see below), but he also just edited Seriously Funny: Poems about Love, Death, Religion, Art, Politics, Sex, and Everything Else with his wife Barbara Hamby that includes poems by Martha Silano & Nin Andrews.

The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems (Southern Messenger Poets)The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems (Southern Messenger Poets)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Great Article about Facebook for Writers & Review of Linda Pastan

Midge Raymond (author of Forgetting English and Co-Founder of Ashland Creek Press) wrote one of the best articles I've read on using Facebook well as a writer.

It's called Book Promo 101: Facebook for Writers and it's in the Seattle PI.  Great info on using it to help promote your book, but also security things too, such as your privacy.

Midge and I do Facebook Fridays, which means we avoid (mostly!) Facebook, except on Fridays. I know I go through times when I am on it more -- as for Mother's day and after big news events.  Also, I'll go on during the week to highlight something (such as this article or my review on the Rumpus- coming up below), but I try to stay off it.

Anyway, I was impressed with how well Midge thought about the best use of Facebook for writers and her advice.  Check it out if you get a chance, especially if you're a writer using Facebook to promote your work.


And second, I reviewed Linda Pastan's new book, Traveling Light: Poems on the Rumpus.

You can read the full review here.

Five Things I Wish I Had Known When I Published My First Book by Tayari Jones

This is a great article.  I think Eduardo posted it as well.  But if you haven't seen it, here it is...

Every new book, every new launch has its own personality, its own blessing and challenges.  To start off this new column—which I am filing under “new blessing”—I am going to list five things I know now that I wish I had known when I launched my first book.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Confession Tuesday -

Dear Reader,

It's been a long week of house issues that I will not bore you with (I've been boring all my in-life friends with those monotonous details, such a clever conversationalist I am), but it's life in an old house. (My house was built in 1931, then added onto twice.  It's very funky with no perfect lines - like myself.)

Sometimes I talk about life A.H. - After house.  In this A.H. world, I'm a renter or living in an Airstream trailer (by choice, mind you).  There is no hedge to cut, to blackberry bushes trying to take over the world.

I love my house and I think it's wonderful we are working to own this house, but I don't romanticize home ownership as I once did as young women in belief of "the plan" - you know, get a good job, get married, buy a house, have a family, and so on.

Honestly, I confess I've been hooked on this simple living thing lately and maybe I need a few house issues to help me sort out where I'm going. Or maybe I need a yard of concrete.  But that's another post and I'm starting to confess already, but what have I been up to besides losing my mind over a clogged sink?

To the confessional--

I confess I had to laugh that I made a point of saying I wouldn't be around as much then had the weather change back to the cold wet endless winter we've been having, so yes, here I am still in the house while the ick weather is doing it thing without my consent.

Still blogging.  So hi.  Here I am.  My name is Kelli, I'm optimistic, but I live in a place of random weather that doesn't carry my optimism.


I confess I fell asleep watching Andy Goldsworthy's Rivers and Tides documentary on making art out of natural items.  I think it was the sound of the river that did me in.  I slept from 7:30 pm until 6:30 am.  Who does this?

On a positive note, this year I've been getting more sleep and didn't get sick this whole winter flu season.  I think this is the first time that's happened in a while.


I confess I don't understand clothing makers who put itchy, scratchy tags in their shirts. I rip them out and have done so without care causing a hole where the tag was.  I prefer holes to tags any day though.


I confess I visited my 99 year old Nana for Mother's Day and she still remembers who I am (it's been questionable the last couple times I visited.)

There was another woman who was anxiously waiting for her son to come and get her.  Time ticking on and he didn't arrive.  We were there 45 minutes and he still hadn't arrived.   She said he was late.

I wondered in my mind if her son really said he was coming. I even wondered if she had a son.  She waited.  We visited with my nana and I watched the woman look out the window.  No son.  She moved closer to the door.  My son will be here soon, she kept saying.

I was ready to find her family contact info and call the son myself.  *My* stomach was getting into knots waiting for him.  Where was this guy?!

Finally, over an hour late, he arrived.

He didn't even come in.  She went outside to meet him.

Sometimes it makes me really sad thinking about lives and being too busy for what really matters.  I tried to tell myself that maybe the son was stuck in traffic or she had the time wrong or there was a good reason he was over an hour late to pick up his mom.

Honestly, I wanted to tell him off.  But he showed up.  I wondered if he had any idea how much that meant to his mother.  I hope he did.


I confess I am working on trying to make sure the people who are important to me, know they are important.

On my residency, I even drew a circle inside a circle inside a circle with the names of my most important relationships, friends and family.  It reminded me of Robert De Niro's Meet the Parents "circle of trust"  -- Did I not clearly explain the circle of trust to you, Greg?

This is the time residencies allow you, one can draw circles, write names of favorite people.

But it's easy to be overwhelmed in life and forget the things that make a difference vs. the things that do not.  On my week away, I really tried to sort out my main priorities/goals vs. the minutiae that I waste my time on.

This might show I think too much, but maybe it's where I am right now.

But where I really am right now, is feeling hungry, so I confess, I think this is where I'll end.

Wishing you goals, dreams, and visions over the minutiae.  And wishing you shirts without tags.

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