Monthly Archives: January 2015

Cover Reveal of Doll God

At long last (as if anybody has been waiting for this moment but moi hahaha) I can reveal the cover of Doll God, my poetry collection.  Here ’tis.

Doll God promo cover

Here is a quote from the book description:

Luanne Castle’s debut poetry collection, Doll God, studies traces of the spirit world in human-made and natural objects–a Japanese doll, a Palo Verde tree, a hummingbird. Her exploration leads the reader between the twin poles of nature and creations of the imagination in dolls, myth, and art.

All I can say is: FINALLY.

We had all kinds of problems transferring the artwork to the book cover. It took four book proofs to get it right. The original photograph was taken by my daughter and artist Kenneth Nicholson created the art. Well, finally. The book should be available online later this week, so I will post the links when I get them.

More champagne is called for. Good thing it’s on my new diet!


Filed under Art and Music, Books, Doll God, Dolls, Photographs, Poetry, Poetry book, Publishing

Time Suck by Choice or By Nature

My new healthy lifestyle is off to a good start. I haven’t had a truffle. I bought a Fitbit. The very first day I walked over 10,200 steps. Here‘s an article about the origins of the 10,000 step goal.


Every year, around this time, a bird attacks a certain window on the back of my house. The first couple of years it was a larger bird, similar to a starling although probably a more mild-mannered species and a bit smaller. Peck peck peck at the windowpane.

I find it very upsetting because I know that birds need to eat all day long–and any bird who spends hours pecking at a pane of glass is not eating enough food.  I always run outside with a broom to shoo it away, but it comes back the moment my back is turned. Let’s assume it’s been a different bird every year, but I can’t be sure.

This year a smaller bird is going after the window, but he isn’t just pecking.

What do you think he’s doing? She’s doing?

Somebody told me that the shiny film that “tints” the windows creates a mirror for a bird. He sees himself in the mirror and thinks he is seeing another bird. So are these birds trying to mate with their own reflections? Can’t birds tell when another bird is a male or female? When the bird was just pecking, I figured it was a male thinking he was attacking another male. But this behavior looks a little different. In fact, it almost looks like the bird is trying to jump up to see inside the house!

Before you laugh dismissively, thinking I’m being whimsical, let me tell you that one time, when I was sitting at the computer, a young bunny ran up to the glass door. He stood on his hind legs and peered into the house, very obviously trying to see inside.

I’ve been thinking about this poor bird. Although I keep trying to scare him away, he always comes back, wasting his valuable feeding time. Does he do it because he chooses to do so or is it part of his bird nature?

Will this baby bird grow up to be as silly as the adult birds?

baby bird

I started to wonder how often I’m like that bird, wasting my precious time on something that doesn’t “feed” me in a nourishing way. All those times I sit there with a numbed brain scrolling through my Facebook home page. That’s a time suck that has to go.

What do you waste your valuable time on?




Filed under Blogging, Creative Nonfiction, Essay, Nonfiction, Photographs

The Words I Didn’t Know I Knew Until I Read Them

Have you ever read a line or two in a poem or a sentence in prose that you “recognize”? Words that seem to speak to you? I’ve had the thrill of that experience many times, and even so, it always feels like something rare and special. As if the words reach somewhere inside me and find a perfect match. A puzzle piece in the proper place.

I began a memoir piece I wrote about the bomb shelter my father built in our basement with lines from a poem by Brigit Pegeen Kelly:

while the one divides into two: the heart and its shadow,
The world and its threat, the crow back of the sparrow.

These lines are from a poem called “Of Ancient Origins and War.” When I read them for the first time, I felt as if I already knew them although they contained fresh images that I had never read.

They reminded me of when I lived in the house with the bomb shelter under my feet. I previously wrote about the shelter here. When I last visited Michigan, I drove by the house. The trees are much more mature today, and the house is no longer white. Is the bomb shelter still there?

I think the reason Kelly’s lines struck me is because they felt “real” to me. The notion that the heart has a shadow. That’s not something ever said, but it’s true. It’s kind of frightening. There is love and there is love’s shadow. There is the beating center of our existence and there is a shadow created by our very existence.

And of course there is the world and the threat to the world, as well as the threat that comes from the world. What better representation of the threat is a bomb shelter. By trying to protect his family, my father terrified us.

Although “the crow back of the sparrow” feels so right here, my understanding of it seems to float. What do you think it means?

What fresh new words from a story or poem have you recognized?



Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Essay, Literary Journals, Memoir, Nonfiction, Poetry, Writing

The New Year’s Post I Never Thought I’d Have to Make

New Year’s resolutions have never been part of my life. It all seems like such a waste of time. I never thought I would make a genuine definitely-gonna-keep-this resolution.

However, this year I made one–actually a slew of them, all related–but not because the year has slipped from 2014 to 2015. I did it for these reasons (and I apologize in advance for boring medical info):

  1. My dad is recovering from an aortic dissection–without surgery, surgical skill, and good luck, this has fatal consequences
  2. My mother had several stents put in her heart when she was 70
  3. My DNA health report lists a lot of possible potential coronary type problems
  4. I have the teeny tiniest circulatory channels (blood drawing nightmare stories abound in my memory banks)
  5. My doctor is rechecking my cholesterol the 3rd week of January
  6. I’ve been letting my health slide during the mad rush to get a book draft done for Stanford
  7. I eat too much cheese

In light of all that, guess what my resolution is?!

Yup, to work on my health! These are some of the ways (nothing radical here–after all, I want this to work):

  1. Veggies at least 3 times a day
  2. Veggies prepared in new healthy ways
  3. Keep both spinach and kale in the house at the same time–and use it
  4. Fruit–try to “gut it” at least once a day (I know, I know, but fruit creeps me out with its bruises, hidden bugs, and sudden rotting)
  5. Never more than one soda a day and try to skip it sometimes
  6. Walk every day (and buy one of those step counting technogizmos)
  7. Stationery bike at least 4x a week (because of my recovered foot I am not allowed pressure on the foot as in running, dancing, etc)
  8. Learn to use the elliptical already . . .  (this exists in my own house!!)
  9. Keep up the other exercise
  10. Limit cheese to one serving a day
  11. Limit chicken and fish to 1-2 servings a day (I don’t eat other meat and am not a big fan of chicken either, for ethical reasons)
  12. Try some new things, such as almond butter
  13. Figure out a healthy and flavorful way to get my breakfast protein (I am a person who needs warm protein-rich food for breakfast and can’t eat cereal, etc.)
  14. Forget the truffle instead of dessert idea. I looked at the nutritional guide on the package. 26% of my daily fat allowance in one of those little balls!

Any other ideas, folks? Nothing too crazy, please ;).

Oops, and champagne (note: champagne is fruit so all is well) contains zero fat, so I can add that to my diet!!!  Happy New Year!


Filed under Essay, Nonfiction, Writing