Category Archives: art journaling

New Poem Up at Nightingale & Sparrow

Grateful to Nightingale & Sparrow journal and editor Marcelle Newbold for publishing my poem, “Becoming Silent at Thirteen.”

Becoming Silent at Thirteen

The poem takes place at the lake where my family lived summer. In the following photo, I am about 11 or 12. The lake was not large, but seemed like three lakes that flowed together because of the configuration of the shoreline. In fact, everyone called the different parts first lake, second lake, and third lake. The last was shallow and swampy with weeds sticking up out of the water. You could see the lake bottom from your boat.

Young teen me on the lake

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Review of Rooted and Winged at Savvy Verse and Wit

I’m thrilled with this review of Rooted and Winged at Savvy Verse and Wit.

You can find it here:

Two of the poems in Rooted and Winged are based on Sylvia Plath poems. This is what my Plath Collected Poems looks like after all these years.

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Jade Nicole Beals’ Review of Rooted and Winged

I love following Jade Nicole Beals’ sensitive book reviews, creative writing and art, so I am thrilled to read her review of Rooted and Winged on her blog.

You can find it here:

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New Poems Up at Sheila-Na-Gig Online

Grateful to Sheila-Na-Gig online journal and editor Hayley Mitchell Haugen for publishing two of my wolf poems. These poem are not in Rooted and Winged, but rather in a future project. I really love these poems (haha) and hope you do, too.

Both poems are “how to” poems:

*”How to Make a Hand Shadow Wolf”

*”How to Digest the Wolf”

Two Poems at Sheila-Na-Gig

 

I hope you’re having a lovely holiday weekend and that you join me for the Rooted and Winged blog tour beginning September 15.

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Summer Junky Art Journaling Project

For the past 75 days I have been participating in a class, taught by Kasia Avery, through Everyday Art called 100 Small Steps. The course was designed a couple of years ago which is when others took it. But it’s still up at their site and the price is minimal. So I am taking this class all by my lonesome. The structure is that of a daily prompt, a guideline, and a bonus life enrichment prompt and is meant to “force” one to do something creative every day. There is a Facebook page related to the course, and I am posting a photo every day of that day’s work. Of course, I am the only one doing so. And there are people who took this course in the past who are kind enough to give me regular encouragement although they are long past this experience.

At this point, I am 3/4 of the way through the program. Even when I had to go out of town for work or had distressing life events, I still made sure to do something in my art journal. There’s a lot of crap, but every day taught me something. And there are a few pages that make me very happy. One important thing about pushing myself through the 100 days is that I keep going. It would be easy to miss some days, but then it will be even easier to miss a few more. And time spent with my art journal is my zen time.

For the first 25 days I used a zippered binder and its “cardstock” dividers. This binder had been left at my house by a previous boyfriend of daughter. For the second 25 days I used an address book. 26 letters of the alphabet is pretty close to 25 days! Then I started a journal that Kasia had recommended as an inexpensive type she likes. It’s a Decomposition Book (hahaha), made of 100% post-consumer-waste recycle pages and printed with soy ink. This one has a topographic map on the cover and graph paper inside. The pages are a bit thin, so sometimes I glue two together. And the gesso helps strengthen them, as well. My big dilemma now is whether I continue in this book or switch to a fourth book. I think I’ll switch because the journal is already getting pretty thick with gesso, paint, collage, fabric scraps, safety pins, and the like.

The kitties are a lot of work because of integrating all these various personalities. But they sure are cute. I discovered that Meesker is talented at catch. We bat one of his toy mice back and forth. He catches with his claws extended and then smacks it right back at me. Lily is a talented eater and excellent lovebug.

I had a couple of poems from my Red Riding Hood project accepted at a wonderful journal (I’ll share when they are published) and have one of my Rooted and Winged Grandma poems accepted at another. I want to start a writing project before too long. Maybe when 100 Small Steps is completed. Go have a great week!

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Violent Crime & the Family: New Essay at South 85 Journal

writersite.org

The beautiful South 85 Journal has published my essay, “Family History,” in the new issue. This creative nonfiction piece is about a violent crime that occurred within my extended family. Writing this has been so difficult, but also necessary. I just couldn’t wrap my head around what happened, so I explored it in this way. I hope you read this piece because the sharing of it also helps me process it all. But a warning: it is about violence and family.

https://www.south85journal.com/issues/spring-summer-2022/family-history/

My great-grandfather’s gavel

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Working on 100 Small Steps at Everything Art UK–this is day 15

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New Poem Up at Tipton Poetry Journal

Grateful to Tipton Poetry Journal and editor Barry Harris for publishing one of my Little Red poems.

Thanks for meeting me for coffee

Thrilled to get one of my reds in this journal. The poem is on page 12 of the document, which is page 6 of the journal. Here is how it begins.


These are tag pouches I made with trash, specifically tea bags and price tags.

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Does Shockwave Therapy Work?

Let’s see if I can write this post without any talk about the horrors going on in the real world.

When I got Valley Fever at the very end of September 2020, I whined a couple of times on this blog about my shoulder getting very bad at the same time. In fact, I might always wonder if my flu shot caused the damage. Before you laugh, that’s a real thing. Vaccines can cause bursitis, calcifications, and all manner of painful shoulder issues. In my case, when I finally got an xray, I was diagnosed with both rotator cuff calcification and frozen shoulder.  The reason it took months to get the diagnosis was that with Valley Fever I was terrified of getting Covid. They both tend to look the same on a lung xray, and at my age, I really didn’t want that double whammy.

After the diagnosis I began physical therapy and attended dutifully for almost three months. Then I kept doing the exercises for several months afterward. Surgery wasn’t the best situation for me because of another health issue. But then the shoulder pain began to increase again instead of decrease.

Bottom line about physical therapy: it completely unfroze my shoulder, so that’s a good thing. But it did nothing for the calcification, which was in a particularly painful spot. This pain went on for 1 1/2 years.

This winter I found a sports doctor who believes in non-surgical alternatives. I was specifically looking for someone who could prescribe shockwave therapy. I’d read online about it, and it sounded very promising. When I saw the doctor I found out that he had had the treatment himself and swore by it. I also discovered that he only recommended one place in the entire state of Arizona. It was luckily in the greater Phoenix area.

I went 4 times. Two times I had treatments by one therapist, then the 3rd and 4th were by a second therapist. I could tell immediately that she was more powerful in her administration of the therapy. After the 4th treatment I started feeling a lot better, but was still uncertain about the outcome. However, daughter’s wedding was coming up and I wanted to hibernate for a couple of weeks ahead of time so that I didn’t get Covid and miss the wedding.

Guess what happened? Those treatments had broken up the calcification. Over that two week period they were absorbed into my body. My shoulder is now completely better.

This is my testimonial for shockwave therapy. Why won’t insurance companies cover it? Is it because somebody is making money off all those shoulder surgeries?

I’m not a doctor of medicine (just literature which has a different sort of healing power haha), so this is just my story. From my story, my cautions would be to only get shockwave therapy under the supervision of a medical doctor and licensed physical therapist with shockwave training, not at an alternative medicine office of any kind. Read a lot online about it. Be sure never to get shockwave therapy in areas of the body where there is danger (again, research and doctor’s script).

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Next Monday I’ll be at the workshop in Tucson, so I won’t be posting. I’m excited because the other nonfiction entries have been good reading, so I think the interaction at the workshop should be a good one.

I’ve been #amwriting, #amreading, and #amrevising lately, although not too much of any of them. Just enough to keep me going. My focus has been off because of “world events,” and I am trying to be kind to myself.

That means arty junk journaling :). Here’s a video of a journal I just finished. It’s not one of my favorites, but some of the pages are decent. And I painted it in pale pink after the war started because somehow that color was calling to me.

Here is a reminder that spring is here, and the birds don’t know about all the horrors around the world. They are in “tryst” mode.

 

Make it a good week in the world around you!

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This is Today

I try to keep my blog a healing and nurturing place for myself and maybe a bit of an escape for readers. So I don’t like to write here about political issues. In fact, I hate politics, although I recognize how important they are. I can wish for permanent world peace, but I know that humans are deeply flawed and that the concept is a utopian ideal. Even without taking into account sociopaths and psychopaths, humans are gnarly, snarly selfish creatures. That said, there are plenty of mainly wonderful people doing wonderful things in this world.

Anyway this is leading up to me saying something about a political situation. And that is war perpetuated against Ukraine by Putin and Company. I find it so distressing, both for the Ukrainians and for world stability. There are constant wars against people all around the world, but the reason I am commenting here on this isn’t because these are white Europeans, although I’ve seen people argue this. It’s because there is a domino effect that can occur and there is a pattern of war in Europe contributing to or leading to war in many regions (world war).

Additionally, all four of the gardener’s grandparents were Jews from Ukraine, although it was part of the Russian Empire in those days.  Jewish history beyond the Pale has a lot of sad chapters, but there were also happy times and some good neighbors. Volodymyr Zelenskyy being selected as president of Ukraine was a big deal. He not only was a comedian and not a politician before this top office, but he is Jewish. How significant and hopeful that someone Jewish could be elected president of Ukraine. And now this horror.  Please send Ukraine what you’re good at: prayers, protesting, positive vibes, money, whatever you can do.

Here is a poem Rattle just published by a Ukrainian poet. She took Putin’s speech from Feb 21 and created an erasure poem, where words are erased to find a different meaning. Mir in Ukraine

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I had to get a piece of my memoir ready for the workshop at the Tucson Festival of Books. I received the manuscripts from the other participants the other day and am eager to read them. Some of them are probably the same pieces that made them finalists. For mine, I chose a different one. For the contest I sent in the first section of the memoir, about when I was a little kid. For the workshop I sent in the next section, where I was ten to 14 or so. I know that makes it sound like an autobiography, but it’s definitely a memoir, focused more on my relationship with my father.

On the subject of my arty junk journals, I began to prep the book to use for daughter’s wedding journal. First I had to gut my 2nd year French book. That felt great! It also provided me with some collage materials–music, maps, French passages. When I first saw people altering books, I didn’t like it. I couldn’t imagine violating a book. The teaching I had received about treating books like treasures was strong within me. But now I realize that there are plenty of books that end up in landfills and that there is a difference between an out-of-date textbook and a first edition of Peter Pan. It’s fun to give the book cover and the “collage materials” from the inside new life.

Reading some good books, such as Ashley C. Ford’s Somebody’s Daughter, a memoir, and Caroline Goodwin’s Madrigals, a collection of poetry and collage art.

 

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70s Fashion Skirt

I’ve been remembering wrap-around skirts. If you’re from my era, you probably remember them. They were large circles of cloth, open on one side. You wrapped the cloth around yourself and tied, buttoned, or buckled it at the waist. The overlap was in the back, so you had to keep smoothing the back of the skirt to make sure part of it wasn’t stuck up on the cloth underneath.  If you don’t know what I mean and do a google search you will find a lot of skirts that end in the front, but I remember around 1970 ours were always ending in the back, like in this image.

These skirts were very easy to sew because you didn’t have to worry about fit. But they did tend to accentuate what we called a stick-out butt, which I had. I sure hated that feature, never knowing it would come into fashion when I no longer had it hahaha.

I am planning to make my daughter a junk journal for her wedding. I haven’t made a bound journal before, so I experimented by making a bound version to use for my regular arty junk journaling. I took an old adolescent lit textbook (I used to teach it to college students who were in the secondary ed program) and took out the “signatures” inside. Signatures are groups of sheets folded in half that are put into the binding as a unit. Each book is comprised of several signatures. Then I decorated the cover with old fabrics from my teen years, buttons from Grandma’s collection, and some doodads I found. I created three signatures of about 7 folded pages and bound these signatures into the cover.

For the wedding journal I got the idea of knitting a cover for it, and Marie Bailey at 1WriteWay gave me a lot of help. I haven’t knitted since I made a basketweave baby blanket for my son ahemahem years ago!

Make it a good, safe, productive, and peaceful week!

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