Friday, September 30, 2011

Mother-Writer Does Not Equal "Hobbiest" -

So,  I was cleaning out my desk cabinet when I found this--  a sweet little Mother's Day note from my daughter.

Anyway, I'm in my happy place and then I innocently flip over the note and realize she did her drawing on a page from my notebook where I was taking notes in a class about applying for grants I took when she was only about two years old.  Can I tell you I was *shocked* in what I had written down?

Here is the advice someone gave me early on, before my first book, before my chapbook, before I'd ever received anything really significant in my writing life.  Someone told me, "Do not say you want grant money for childcare even it's true because you'll appear to be a hobbiest even if it's not true."

SERIOUSLY?  Reading this advice makes me so annoyed as a mother and poet, mother and an editor, mother and co-founder of a small press.  That was early 2000's and that's the terrible advice being given to women who choose to have children and write.  Don't tell anyone about your struggles with time and childcare or you will appear to be not serious enough.  Don't mention kids or needing help or time or money for them.  Pretend you are not a mother.  Pretend you're not a mother and you'll do better in your writing life.

I'm guessing I must have asked a question, perhaps saying I needed grant money for childcare so I could have time to write and this was the response.

I don't remember, but it's my handwriting and my notes.  It says: "Project Description, Bio, Artist Statement."  It says, "Do not say you want grant money for childcare even it's true because you'll appear to be a hobbiest ..."  But that word "hobbiest"-- it burns me.

I did apply for that grant and I did ask for money for childcare so I could on a writing residency and have time to write.  And I did receive the grant.  My first one.

So let me say this loud and clear-- You can be a mother AND a serious writer.  You can be a mother AND an academic.  You can be a mother AND a working artist.

Before having a child, I had no idea about this bias.  This whole thing brings me back to one of my very favorite documentary-- Who Does She Think She Is?  (you can watch the trailer for the film at this link...)

I'm inspired to watch the movie again.  If you're a mom and a creative person and you haven't watched this film-- you should.

And thank God for mothers as they are the ones who keep having those artist and writerly babies.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why We Must Continue Using the Oxford Comma (and yes, it involves strippers...)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When Good Poets Write Bad Poems (Tom Jones is in the house...)

Ladies & Gentlemen, Mr. Tom Jones!

In 40 minutes, I'm off to my poetry group.  We've been meeting together for 8 years, maybe more.  I've lost track.

What I realized tonight as I tried to find a poem to bring is that I have written a lot of terrible poems.  Not just a few, but a lot.

It hurts to read some of them.  Some of them looked like they had a nice title, but them Top Gun style, they crashed and burned in the end.  I guess this is like meeting a beautiful person then realize there's no one home inside.

If you think you must always write good poetry, you are kidding yourself.

Right now, I am typing this to you to remind myself that I will write another strong poem again.  I am writing to remind myself that sometimes we just have a drawer, a file, a computer filled with bad poems, but we need to write them to get to the good poems.

Like stepping stones.  Or stairs.  Or climbing a ladder where every rung is broken.  These are my poems.

I found decent poem to bring tonight though I'm wishing it was better (I tried revising and it didn't work, I've moved towards wishing).

I guess this is what my group is for.  They will tell me where it worked and where it crashed and burned. Or sizzled out.  The poem I'm bringing has some sizzle, but not that good sexy kind, the kind at the end of a whistling Pete firework when everything starts out loud then gets quiet.  We were rocking out to Jimi Hendrix then someone put on Tom Jones and we were rocking out to Tom Jones and then the power went out.

These are my poems. It's not usually to be loved by anyone. These are my bad poems.  It's not unusually to have fun with anyone.

In October I will get one full week to write poems and work on my manuscript.  Susan Rich recently looked at what I have for a manuscript and told me it was better than I think.  She's a kind friend.  What I think is that I have a lot of work to do.

Better put on my Tom Jones shirt, strike the pose and get to work...

Confession Tuesday

Dear Reader,

It's that time of week where we (I say in plural as I'm not the only one confessing these days) share our sins, our secrets, the things we can't find a good way to bring up.

I mentioned yesterday about an incident on a ferryboat. I'll begin with that...

To the confessional--

I confess I did not mean to scare two passengers and a ferry worker, nor did I mean to make the entire ferry look to see who was screaming and running up the walkway.

Basically, here's what happened-- Annette & I were boarding the ferry at the last minute when we looked down from the boarding walkway to see if they were still loading cars (as long as you see cars driving on the ferry, you know you are okay with time).  When we looked down there were no cars driving on and Annette said something like "uh-oh" and I had this deeper inner reaction that I was going to miss Jeannine Gailey's reading in Seattle.

So like the scene from "A Streetcar Named Desire" (see Marlon Brando photo above) where he screams "Hey STELLA!" that was pretty much me boarding the ferry, except I screamed, "NOOOOooooooooo!  NOOOOOOOOO!" as I thought they were closing the doors (this has happened to me before, so I am slightly scarred).

It was one of those moments where I lost all self-consciousness because I was so focused at the task at hand--making the ferry.  What I hadn't realized was how loud I had screamed until I saw the two women jump, and the ferry worker shake his head.  Walking onto the ferry, another ferry worker said, "Wow, you two sound like you're a lot of fun..." To which I replied, "We are."

I am a loud person anyway and can be completely unaware of how loud I am when I'm lost in a moment.  Walking on the ferry, heads turned to see who the screamer was.  Annette said she likes traveling with me because she doesn't have to be the aggressive one and that I'll take care of things like that.  That made me happy, plus that fact that she wasn't embarrassed by my outburst.

I have been laughing about this scene for the last two days as I play the image of myself screaming and running onto the ferry.  Had I not been dressed cute and smiling, they might have called security.


I confess I like that my friends do not get embarrassed by my weirdness and/or quirks.


I confess that same day I managed to say things to two friends to make them feel uncomfortable.  This was not on purpose.  This was me *trying* to be helpful and friendly, but sometimes I have a way of opening mouth and inserting foot.


I confess I was recently talking to a friend about some marriage issues she was having and a few of her complaints.  I told her, A housekeeper is cheaper than a marriage counselor.

And the more I think about this, the more I think it's true.  Many times the things that drive us crazy are the little things-- like the clutter left on the table, the messy kitchen.  It's probably cheaper to pay someone to clean them for you than to 1) go to marriage counseling  2) cheat on your spouse to escape your messy life  3) get a divorce.

Now, while I don't currently have a housekeeper, I think this could be an open door to one. . .  Um, I'm not a therapist, but I play one on TV...


I confess I am much more like a man in how I want to fix things.  Instead of being more feminine and listening, when a friend brings up a problem or issue to me, my first thought is "Great, we can fix this," when really they just want a listening ear.

I confess my listening ear likes to make plans to fix things.  I definitely understand how sometimes men get into trouble with their significant others in such instances.  I think many times this is how my foot-in-mouth issues begin.


I confess I haven't had time to work on my third manuscript and not having time to write makes me obsess about writing and wanting to.  This is the plus side of being busy, it reminds you of what's important in your life.


I confess I am all out of confessions.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Jeannine Hall Gailey reads at Open Books!

Jeannine reading from her new book!
I had the pleasure of hearing Jeannine Hall Gailey read at Open Books yesterday and it was one of her best readings ever!  Truly perfection!

I had her book She Returns from the Floating World in my hands and followed along in the book while she read with many of the poems.  This is one of the treats about poetry readings--you can hear how the poet interprets the poem by their voice and read it in on the page to see the actual form of the poem.  It's almost as if you're given another key to a poem when one does this.

I won't do it for every poem otherwise it feels as if I missed out on the reading, plus Jeannine will do a fun gesture every so often when she reads so I like witness those.  She was funny and charming and said something like, "I don't do the filthy talk" then proceeded to read a poem with a short rated R moment, which she swears is advice she learned from Redbook magazine (if you want to see the poem I'm referring to-- go here "Advice Given to Me Before my Wedding" - stanza 5 is the so-called "Redbook advice").

Yes, Jeannine was fabulous.  If you ever get a chance to attend one of her readings, do attend.  You won't leave disappointed, she reads in a way that is interesting for the audience and we all left with paper cranes with poems on them.  Love!

Tomorrow is confession Tuesday and one of my confessions has to do with my travel to Jeannine's reading--many of you know while I spend quite a bit of time in the city, I don't live in the city but in a less-than-3000 person rural community (no, I'm not in a cult, just a small town).  But to get anywhere, I need to take a ferry, which brings me to my preview of tomorrow's confession--getting on the ferry I made 2 women shake and had a ferry worker tell me and my friend (co-editor, Annette), "You gals sound as if you're lots of fun...."   Stay tuned.  When poets travel, hilarity ensues...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Olympia Poetry Network & Their Reading Series at Traditions Cafe in Olympia, WA

The only photo I took at the reading- Washington State Capitol in background

Good morning creative people.  I returned from an amazing poetry reading last night.  

When I arrived at the reading a woman was setting up a large tv camera, apparently, it had been learned early in the day that the reading would be filmed and aired on cable access.  The hosts of the reading were incredibly kind in making sure that I was comfortable with this and if I wasn't, they wouldn't film it. The Olympia Poetry Network was hosting the reading at a funky cafe called Traditions on the corner across from the Washington State capitol building (see photo above).    

And while the large camera and lights surprised me, here's the weird thing --  I wasn't nervous.  Not even while drinking only water (yes, I know sometimes readers have a glass of wine to calm the nerves, but we were in a cafe with only herbal tea options).  But I didn't have that weird stomach knot feeling or flushing that will sometimes come over me in larger events where someone is taping or it's an important venue.

The fact I wasn't nervous at all knowing that I was going to be on television kind of freaked me out.  I almost wanted to be nervous (note: this is a comment on how sometimes our neuroses are a comfort to us ) and couldn't figure out why I wasn't.  I knew when the reading appeared on TV that I would/will dorky and uncool.  I am definitely not the hip Olena Kalytiak Davis type poet, ready to smoke a cigarette on stage in my tight jeans, long straight hair and attitude.  While I did wear black boots, I also wore my glasses and my hair in a bob. Maybe I've come to peace with my dorkiness and just embraced it?  

Or maybe I've come to the realization that it's not about me, but the poems.  I'm just the speaker, the reading is about the poems and about poetry.  I just happen to the human form up there speaking them.  

I guess too, the older I get the less I care what anyone thinks about me as well.  A younger Kelli would have been concerned "how she appeared" -- this is different than "how she looked"-- how she appeared played into my youthful belief that I could actually shape the way people saw me.  If I did, said, and acted the "right" way people would not only like me but I think I was cool, popular, someone-who-has-things-going-on. (Um, all things I am not).  Appearances are frightening tiring to keep up.

My older Kelli self realizes that while she looks better in lipstick, she's just herself-- she sometimes messes up a word when reading, she is not the prettiest, hippest, or coolest one, she has problems eating salad (especially when the lettuce leaves are too big), while you think she is looking out into the world daydreaming about what poems she's going to write she is mostly likely thinking about her golden retriever and planning her night around him.

I guess the older I've become the less I feel I need to change who I am to fit in.  And while I wish someone would have told this to my 16 year old girl self, I think sometimes you have to live through something to learn it.

So I read my poems, met some people, and signed my books.  The energy of the place was wonderful.  The audience was many and kind.  And I still can't believe I wasn't nervous, maybe I'm getting comfortable with new habits-- not being nervous, not worrying about fitting into a group-but belonging to it (there's a difference), and just realizing like Popeye, I am who I am.

Anyway, I'm thankful for this reading and all the lessons that came with it.
It was one of my favorite poetry readings I had in a long time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Confe$$ion Tuesday...

Dear Reader,

It's been one week of finishing projects since I last wrote.  It feels so good to finish something, to make a check and mark it off your list.  Ahhh...

But now it's time to confess all the things I'm thinking about and yes, possible small sins, but mostly, just the details of my life I don't usually talk about or maybe things I noticed this week...

To the confessional--

I confess I've really felt stretched in the money department.

After the $eptic $ystem fix, a recent splurge on kayak/surfboards (though they were a great deal!), my daughter's school and school shopping, car fixes, and just the things that make up life's every day needs, I have actually come to the place where my stomach knots if someone in my household asks for something or in fact, just typing this right now is making my left eye hurt.

I know it will get better and that sometimes we are in these places of tight spots, but I don't like the person this worry/fretting makes me.

I try to feel grateful about how much we have (we work hard and play hard), but sometimes I'd like to be in a place where I can just buy something without having to budget for it or even question if I can afford it.  We've been discussing next year's vacation and we are definitely going to need to cut back (or make more) if we want to go to the places my family has been suggesting.   I used the term "staycation" in the conversation and no one was impressed with that suggestion.

I confess saying that I want to buy what I want when I want it without thinking about it sounds a little selfish and I know as a friend once told me, "having to be creative with money makes one a more creative person," but I don't think you have to be poor to be an artist and well, I think it would be kind of cool buy a pair of Uggs for winter without having to worry about the price tag. Oprah, if you're reading this, I take a size 9.    Thanks.

I confess that last confession makes me feel a little shallow for coveting Uggs.  Though I know there is at least one poet reading this who has a pair and her feet are toasty warm!

I confess the most overused term in these hard economic times is "these hard economic times."

I confess to feel better about money, I think about art and artists and poetry and writing.  I am currently working on manuscript three and it's while it's currently terrible and a big mess it's my mess and I'm excited about it. And yes, I'm working on it.

Mostly, I have a lot of poems thrown into a file and I'm calling it a manuscript.  I should be calling it Messy Bessy or These-Papers-are-Overwhelming-Me because that's really what it does when I work on it.

I would rather be overwhelmed by my poems than by money.  And actually, I'd rather not be overwhelmed, but will choose poetry over anything to be overwhelmed by if given the choice.

When I feel overwhelmed, I always turn to gratitude.  There's going to be a lot of gratitude this week.   And for me to be thankful for all I do have.  And I have a lot.


Monday, September 19, 2011

You Like Us, You Really Like Us... Two Sylvias Press --->

Fire On Her Tongue & @PublishGreen eBook Creation...

To be published in late Autumn 2011
I mentioned I spent all day Friday on this project with my co-editor, Annette, but we are done, well, at least our part.  Because this is a poetry collection and the first eBook Two Sylvias Press choose to publish, we decided to get some help from Publish Green.

We did our research and they were a bit more than other companies that help with ePubs & book formatting, but we were hugely impressed with their communication and how they have one person working with you to make sure your work is formatted.

The eBook formatting went past my comfort zone with poetry.  While we were the ones who ordered, edited it, cleaned it up and prepared it for publishing, we wanted Publish Green to double-check it and make sure our presentation would be correct when it was appeared in its final eBook format.  After reading the Smashwords formatting guidelines, I just didn't feel completely comfortable, especially as they use a system called "the meatgrinder" to move your book from document to eBook.

So, Publish Green it is. I know many of you are interested in eBook publishing, so I'll let you know the challenges we have as well as all that goes right.

The book looks incredible though.  We have about 70 women poets, each having their own "section" to showcase their poems.  The cover is about and I just love it.  I expect to learn a lot with this book and Annette and I definitely want to move forward with other projects in the future, so I'll be taking notes and learning.

If any of you have any experience with eBooks (the good and the bad) please feel free to share!

I'll post more about the book later, but I'm just so happy to have passed this project off into capable hands and now have a few weeks to think about my own work...Yes, I've started on manuscript 3.

Oh poetry, you surround me these days...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Life in the (Poetry) Fast Lane--

I feel as if I've sort of abandoned my blog and life and yet, I've been doing to so much recently.  Here are a few things I've been up to this week--

1. Poets on the Coast:  As you know, this was an incredible retreat, so good, we've decided to do it again next year September 7-9, 2012!   It was a ton of work, but incredibly satisfying to me as a poet and as a person.

2.  Fire On Her Tongue: An eBook Anthology of Contemporary Women's Poetry:  I spent 12 hours with Annette Spaulding-Convy yesterday preparing this anthology to go out into the world.  After that, we worked on our website, Two Sylvias Press.  Check it out and if you look around, you might see the cover of Fire On Her Tongue-- it's kind of awesome, if I do say so myself!  (Oh and the photo on the cover was taken by poet Nance Van Winckel.)

3.  Redoing my own website:  Okay, this wasn't planned, but after a glass of wine and the feeling I could do anything, I ended up buying 2 years (at $2.50 a month!) at iPage and starting the transfer process of my website.  I've been wanting to do this for years, but haven't known how to go about it, Annette said, "Just do it..." and the next thing I knew, I had 2 years of new web hosting and was transferring my account.

4.  Crab Creek Review email submissions:  Crab Creek Review now takes email submissions!  We are really excited about this, but again, the set-up and the learning how we will all do this has taken some time.

Still, I'm absolutely thrilled we now offer this to our poets and writers!  And since our editors are all over the Northwest, this will help cut down in the time we take responding to our submissions. (Note: if you do submit & it's taking awhile for us to get back to you, that's a *good* sign!)  Learn how to submit by email here.

5.  Applications:  One grant and one job application, both still on my list to do.

6.  My *own* Manuscript:  Okay, it's kind of sad that what has fallen to the end of the list is my own work, but here's the deal--I'm on a week writing residency in October, so my work becomes my only priority for 7 full days.

Here's what I can tell you--

I have two projects in the works--a long nonfiction work that I have written and need to revise and a third poetry manuscript currently without a title and is mostly a poetry ghost floating through my head.  I hope to put a body to this ghost and give her a nice hat in October.  


So there I am and what I've been up to.

What projects have you been working on or what are you looking forward to in the fall?

I'd love to hear what everyone is up to, I feel a little disconnected from the poetry world, but slowly tying knots back in the threads...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday - The Washington State Book Awards Edition

So I'm thankful.

Not because I was a winner, but because I learned last weekend that my book Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room was chosen as a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards.

I'm in great company, Susan Rich's The Alchemist Kitchen and Oliver de la Paz's Requiem for the Orchard were also chosen.

Susan Rich and I found out we were finalists while we were standing in the Emily Dickinson Room in Sylvia Beach.  Could there have been a more perfect place to receive this news?  It felt as if we've come full circle, from writing the poems there to giving it a prize.

And if you're around Seattle on October 12th, come and celebrate with us at the Richard Hugo House from 6-8 pm.  All the winners and finalists from all the genres will be there and it's free and open to the public too.

But wait, I haven't mentioned the one thing--

The winner!  An incredible collection of poems by Frances McCue called The Bled
I have read poems from this collection and they are amazing.  I just ordered my copy from the publisher (see the link if you want to).

Here's the description for anyone interested--

The Bled by Frances McCue.  Winner of the 2011 Grub Street Book Prize. "Frances McCue's book is the most moving account of a spouse's death I have ever read. While living abroad in Morocco he died suddenly, and the aftermath of that event is detailed here with astonishment and heart-rung love"—James Tate.

 I also feel a little ahead of the crowd as we included Frances' book in our last issue of Crab Creek Review in the Editors' Choice section!  

Congrats to all winners and finalists!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Confession Tuesday: Poets on the Coast Edition

Susan Rich & me at the Sylvia Beach Hotel for Poets on the Coast (with Sylvia B. & James Joyce behind us...)
Dear Reader,

It's been a week, a roadtrip, a womens' writing retreat and 4 days at the Sylvia Beach Hotel since my last confession.

In the last 4 days, I have been baptized with Trader Joe Pomegranate Sparkling Water in a Prius, looking out the window of the Emily Dickinson Room, considering Mark Twain's bed and clawfoot tub, spent numerous hours with women poets and feel blessed to have met so many incredible people.

To the confessional--

I confess I feel inspired this morning.  Susan Rich and I just returned from our first ever Poets on the Coast in Oregon, where we worked with 18 women poets--the energy and creativity of working with writers in such a literary atmosphere still glows around me.

When we first decided to create Poets on the Coast, we thought it would be a great way for us to help women writers find time in their lives to nurture their poetic selves and leave the everyday into the magic of the Sylvia Beach Hotel.  What I didn't realize is how much I'd get out of meeting such incredible women and spending the weekend talking about creativity and how to continue keeping it in our lives once we left the retreat.


I confess I forget how much I LOVE the Sylvia Beach Hotel.  It's funky.  It's old.  It's on the beach. And every room is after a new literary artist.  They have replaced the Edgar Allen Poe room with J.K. Rowling.  I guess while everyone *loved* the Poe room, but no one wanted to sleep in it.  The pendulum hanging directly above the bed was apparently too much for many (it was a creepy room).  Now visitors sleep with an owl looking at them than a stuffed raven and dream about Harry Potter.


I confess the best thing I heard this weekend was from at least three women told us that this weekend changed their lives.  And in that good, things-won't-ever-be-the-same, positive, inspired way.

One of my favorite parts of the retreat was meeting one-on-one with the participants and helping them with their poems or goals or their individual artist lives.


I confess there were many hilarious moments and fond memories I have from this trip.

One being, in the car on the way home, Susan while trying to pry our snackbag from the backseat caught the lid of the pomegranate sparkling water on my seat offering a random champagne toast/fruity blessing/dousing all over me.  The funniest part though was how  innocently oblivious she was to how much water went shooting out of the bottle-- looking at her side of the seat (which wasn't wet), "Oh, it looks as I only got a few drops on my sweater" completely unaware I was soaked and sitting in a small pomegranate sea.


I confess after much talk and hearing the responses from the women who joined us... Susan and I booked the Sylvia Beach Hotel and marked our calendars for 2012 as we will be planning the second Poets on the Coast: A Retreat for Women Writers for September 7-9, 2012.

It was a ton of work to organize this, but it also was a ton of fun and incredibly satisfying to hear how we made a positive difference in people's lives.

And while I stayed in the Emily Dickinson Room this year, next year, Emily's room will be open for another poet to experience...

I confess staying in the Emily Dickinson Room this year brought me some closure.  This October will be the 1 year anniversary of the publication of Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room  from White Pine Press and as the title of my book suggests, this is where the manuscript came together for me in 2008.

I found a shell I had written the names of all the women writers I had traveled still in the desk from 2008.  I left a copy of my book in the nightstand.

On the night before our big dinner, after Susan and I had learned some incredible news (some I'll be sharing with you later this week!), the beaded dharma bracelet I always wear broke and the wooden beads fell onto the bed.  This is a bracelet I wear as a reminder to hold faith not fear within me.  I wear it to remind me I have a choice whether to live in anxiety or not.  The bracelet reminds me live in the moment and not in the future, or in my head, or in my fears.

And there it was, broken on the bed.

And I realized, this was full closure for me.  That part of my life is over.  I will probably still feel worried and anxious again as I'm human and I'm Kelli, but I have ended that chapter of my life--that book as been written, I am done with those poems. My Emily Dickinson self, the one who keeps herself safe in her room (literally and metaphorically) doesn't speak as loudly as she once did nor take up as much space--what was once a presence is now merely a shadow.

I put the beads from the bracelet in the drawer with the shell from 2008 and closed the door.

I'm thinking about the Mark Twain room next time...

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.  ~Mark Twain


Thursday, September 08, 2011

In Case You're on Facebook, Please Join Me --->

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Confession Tuesday: Life is not a fairy tail (as that would be wrong & abusive to fairies)

Dear Readers,

It's been a change in weather since my last confession.  80 degrees.  We have not really had a summer this year in the Northwest.  Mostly overcast.  But with the new weather, we feel as if we've been handed a gift.  Sunshine.  Let the simple things in life always make us happy...

To the confessional--

I confess I have a new favorite hobby-- SUP Boarding or Longboarding (stand-up paddling on a surfboarding).  We have a local business that rents them for $10 an hour.  I was hooked on my first try. It's meditation on the water and yes, you feel as if you're walking on water.

Yesterday, I saw a flounder in the shallow part of the water, along with a kingfisher, bald eagle, osprey, blue heron and a zillion types of other seabirds.  It was afternoon and the moon was out.  I felt when I saw the blue heron fly towards the afternoon moon I was in a perfect world.  That is what it takes sometimes-- nature, a few minutes to notice, to be aware of the world around you.


On a completely different topic, I confess, I'm regretting my recent short haircut decision.

I know it's not unusual for me to cut off my hair in autumn for a quick, easier style so I can have less time getting ready in the morning and more time to write (I cut off 7") but I'm starting to think I don't have a cute-enough face for it anymore.  And these shorter haircuts walk a very thin line between stylish and mom-hair (I can say this because I am a mom).

I once heard a woman poet say to me after cutting off about 8"-10" of her long blonde hair for the cutest pixie ever-- "I think I lost my mojo."  And I get what she means.

Still, I am thankful that it takes me all of 5 minutes to do my hair and yes, as hair tends to do--it will grow back.


By the way, you may think the shorter hair looks better but my vain-self chose the best photo of me, plus it's summer, so my moon-colored skin is looking a little more golden, which helps my overall appearance.


I confess according to my Amazon sales numbers for my book, Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room, while it was not a surprise to see I've sold most copies in the Seattle area, it was a surprise to see Atlanta, Georgia as a consistent second.  Thank you, Georgia folks!

I confess I think spelling is important.  Especially people's names.  And in an age where our devices SPELLCHECK for us misspellings should be the exception and not the norm.

But then there's not knowing the right version of the word to use.  Like what if I wrote about "misspellings should be the acception and not the norm."  (By the way, acception isn't a word, though I'm betting it's been used before.)

And when we confuse one version of word for another, when we create special unique images for the ones who notice.  Like us.

So with that introduction, I give you this--

dear gawd!  Which fairy lost her tail?  Please give it back.

When I read the above, I see this:

           or this

But at least she didn't use this type of "ferry tail" -



Monday, September 05, 2011

The Art of Practice

Goal in Life:  Never to waste a three-day weekend.


So here we are on morning of Labor Day.  I am putting away my white shoes and white pants, which is easy as I own neither.

Here's a secret I haven't shared with you, a pre-Confession Tuesday confession-- I have completely forgotten how to write a poem.

I'll be honest, this summer, I didn't write.

I edited.  I read poems for Crab Creek Review.  I went camping.  I watched people dig up my yard.  I read.  It feels as if drank wine more evenings than not.  I went to see The Go-Go's in concert. I worked so much on a poetry eBook anthology of contemporary women poets.

But I really didn't write.

It was actually funny getting together with Susan Rich to write last Thursday.  We would use first lines from other poets to get us writing and then realize, the best line in our entire poem was the other poet's!  At one poem I had used an image that included the AARP (ah, I did some terrible writing that day).  But here's the thing, as we wrote, we got better.

And by the end of our 90 minutes of 7-8 minute writing prompts, we each had something new to work on.

So while I realize that while I have no idea how to write a poem anymore, I will if I write daily.  I will arrive to the blank white field ready to hit a homerun if I practice more and stretch my mind each day.

Some people do not have to write daily to write well.  I am not one of those people.  And if not daily, then at least several times a week.  Without writing daily or every other day, I become the old player aching around with nothing interesting to say.  

I need to be a working writer, a practicing writer. I am not Babe Ruth in the World Series pointing to center field and hitting a home run. I am the kid with a stick and rock in a field of wildflowers. And the more I swing, the more rocks I hit.

And by rocks, I mean poems.

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