2023 Coming In Like a Monster

First an apology: this is not an uplifting inspirational Brand New Year post.

While I was desperately hoping that the new year would bring a lessening of troubles into my life, a couple of days ago I got a call from the veterinarian that told me 2023 is going to be another difficult year.

In my last update about my dear darling Perry’s health, I explained that the results of his abdominal ultrasound showed that he had either IBD (irritable bowel disease) or lymphoma of the GI system. We were going to decide on treatment after he underwent an echocardiogram to make sure his heart was ok. The reason for this was that the vet had noticed that Perry had developed a heart murmur.

Now, going back to 2017-2019, the first three years Perry came into our lives, the gardener and I were concerned about heavy breathing episodes that Perry would have. We worried about his heart or possibly a lung condition. We didn’t get very far with the specialists at the time. In fact, the esteemed cardiologist talked us out of an echo at that time.

For anybody who doesn’t know, by the way, Perry is the kitty who showed up in our yard in spring 2017 seeming completely feral. I worked so closely with him (reading, singing, reciting poetry, holding his food bowl while he ate) that he got over his extreme fear of humans and showed himself to be the most amazing cat EVER (and that is saying something since I was “mom” of the amazing cat Pear Blossom and have been mom to many cats). One of the many Perry highlights: Perry lies on his back nestled in my arm like a napping toddler.

Back to the echo we didn’t have at that time. Sure wish we had done it. Turns out now his heart is very bad. Three of the four heart chambers are enlarged, and he might have a hole in his atrial septum. He is so ill from his heart that the vet says it’s a moot point whether he has IBD or lymphoma. He also tests positive for the feline coronavirus (which causes FIP) so it’s possible it’s behind his illnesses. He will begin two new medications as soon as we receive them from the compounding pharmacy.

I can’t tell you how HEARTsick I am over this turn of events. Perry is seven years old. So far his worst visible symptom is severe diarrhea. Please send healing vibes and, if you pray, pray for my dear catboy.

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New Poems Up at Book of Matches

I’m so happy that Book of Matches has published two of the poems from my upcoming chapbook Our Wolves. A big thank you to editors Kelli and Nicholas! These are both persona poems–one from the perspective of the wolf in the Little Red stories, the other from that of the so-called rescuer character–in this case, a woodsman.

Here is the link to “You All Been Waiting for a Wolf Confession” on page 6 and “I’m a Woodcutter, Dammit” on page 39. Here is the link so you can check out the whole issue which is chockful of good writing:

https://online.fliphtml5.com/qoqiq/drun/

Here are screenshots of my poems for your convenience.

 

While I was eager to kick 2022 to the curb (as I know a lot of you were), I had news at the end of 2022 that will make 2023 a pretty grim year again. It’s about my boy Perry, and here is a link to that story.

2 poems up at Book of Matches

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An Interview by Christine Butterworth-McDermott for Gingerbread House

This post is about something exciting to me at the same time that it is sad. Gingerbread House Editor Christine Butterworth-McDermott has interviewed me in the new issue up today. You can read it here:

Gingerbread House Lit Mag, with its emphasis on fairy tale-inspired literature, is one of my very favorite journals. Very sadly, I must say that this is the final issue of GH! Butterworth-McDermott will go on to do exciting things in the literary and artistic worlds (she’s an artist as well as a poet/writer), but this feels like the end of an era.

Please check out the whole gorgeous issue through the link above.

And here’s to a healthy and peaceful 2023.

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Millicent Borges Accardi Interviews Me for CutBank Literary Magazine

What fun to be interviewed by poet Millicent Borges Accardi, author of the new Quarantine Highway, for the beautiful CutBank Literary Magazine. Her questions really made me think about my life, and in the process, I discovered things about myself. You might, too!

http://www.cutbankonline.org/interviews/2022/12/cutbank-interviews-a-conversation-between-luanne-castle-and-millicent-borges-accardi

Let me know what you think!

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Happy Holidays to All and to All a Good 2023

May your holidays be wonderful–or if they are a difficult time for you, at least, tolerable.

Yesterday I made latkes and fried ricotta balls with vanilla caramel syrup (a gluten free choice instead of sufganiyot/doughnuts).

A little update on Perry: he had another test come back with more info, so he’s now on a long-term antibiotic and a different probiotic. Then we wait for the echocardiogram two days after Christmas to see how to proceed. Another cat note: Lily got through the barricade twice yesterday and made her way to Sloopy Anne to try to cause trouble. But the very tall cat tree I searched for weeks ago paid off. We have it in the middle of the bedroom, and Sloopy climbed to the highest perch while Lily looked up at her with confusion. (hehehe)

Sending love to you and your loved ones!

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Elaine Pinkerton Coleman Reviews Rooted and Winged

Thank you, Elaine Pinkerton Coleman, for the review of Rooted and Winged and other books on her blog. Her blog is a wonderful mix of posts about travel, New Mexico, and adoption.

https://elainepinkerton.wordpress.com/2022/12/12/reading-the-nights-away/

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Anti-Heroin Chic Publishes Review of Rooted and Winged by Elizabeth Gauffreau

So excited to see such a beautiful review of Rooted and Winged by Elizabeth Gauffreau in the new issue of Anti-Heroin Chic. A big thank you also to editor James Diaz.

You can find the review here: http://heroinchic.weebly.com/blog/luanne-castles-rooted-and-winged-reviewed-by-elizabeth-gauffreau

See below image for update on Perry.

Perry’s ultrasound showed that he definitely has either IBD or lymphoma. Our decision was narrowed down to starting steroids or having investigative surgery. A complication is that he has recently developed a heart murmur so nothing can be done (except food change nightmare) until after his echocardiogram which is after Christmas! If you are a praying person, please put us on your list. Or send healing vibes or demands to the universe that this is IBD and that the steroids will make him well!

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Some Art Fun for Rooted and Winged

Artist Kelsey Montague has painted art wings all over the country (and elsewhere). One of her murals is at the Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale, Arizona. When my daughter and I had lunch at the mall, she took my pic with the wings to celebrate the 2022 publication of my poetry collection Rooted and Winged.

You can purchase a copy of my book here: https://www.amazon.com/Rooted-Winged-Luanne-Castle/dp/1646628632/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3RCAIJJKAUOVE&keywords=rooted+and+winged&qid=1670344522&sprefix=rooted+and+wi%2Caps%2C394&sr=8-1

 


 

Book description:

The poems of Rooted and Winged explore the emotional and physical movement of flight and falling. They are of the earth, the place of fertile origins, and of the dream world we observe and imagine when we look upward. Golems and ghosts that emerge from the ground, as well as the birds and angels that live above us, inhabit the collection. We will always be striving for flight, even as we feel most comfortable closest to the earth.

There are poems about Arizona, California, and the lakes of Michigan. My maternal grandparents are the characters that most inhabit this book.

The poems of Luanne Castle’s Rooted and Winged are embedded in land and weather. “Bluegills snap up larvae in slivers of illusory light,” she writes early in the collection, hinting at the sensibilities of the companionable speaker who will usher us through the book. 

Diane Seuss (2022, Pulitzer for poetry)

Cover art: Leonard Cowgill

 

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Art Journals and Poems and Cats

Perry had his abdominal ultrasound on Friday, but I have not yet heard the results. I am giving him lots of hugs because he was feeling pretty sorry for himself going through the medical tests. Notice how his ears are down in a frown.

By the way, I was a little premature about the gardener and I being over Covid. We are but we aren’t. We just aren’t feeling that good yet, and I have a lot of congestion still.

I signed up for Everything Art’s Wanderlust 2023, which is a daily art program with prompts that lasts the whole year. Last year I participated in Care December which is similar, but only lasts for three or four weeks. This summer I did another program through EA that lasted ninety days. Think of what they offer as “mindful, intuitive mixed-media art journaling.” I haven’t felt very creative lately, so I have been preparing backgrounds and/or prepping pages in a journal, readying it for January. I’ve also been fooling around with Visual Poetry. We’ll see how that comes along. And I’ve been working on daughter’s wedding journal. This might sound like a lot, but compared with what I’ve done in the past it is not.

I’ve been making some headway in my reading stack. That’s good because I wanted to write reviews for some of these books. Writers love reviews!

I’m trying to write a poem a day this month, but not holding out hope of anything brilliant coming out of it.

The other day, when I was driving Perry to his appointment, a creamy white bird flew across right in front of us. It was so unusual to see a white bird in the sky around here. I’m sure it was an egret, flying low and slow, but powerfully and illuminated by the sunlight. I’m going to assume this sighting is a positive symbol.

Let’s make it a splendid week, shall we?

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An Update on My Dear Darling Perry Cat

A couple of months ago I wrote that I was thinking of changing my weekly posts from Mondays. After trying things out on other days, I have to say that I like my old pattern best which is to try for Mondays and if other days arise, then post then instead or additionally. So it’s Monday. And I’m posting.

I want to tell you about my darling Perry (in the photo he’s nestling up against Kana). It’s been years now since he first showed up in our backyard and we trapped him, got him neutered, took him to the shelter where he was all but kicked out. They thought he was feral because he was completely shut down emotionally. I ended up bringing him home and earning his trust over weeks and weeks. I read poetry and stories to him, sang to him, and held his food bowl while he ate. Then one day when I stuck my hand under the bed, he came toward me and started to touch my hand with his paw. That was the moment when I knew he wasn’t feral and was going to be a big sweetheart. Video of Perry Hiding Under the Bed Touching my Hand

Perry has been a member of our family for 5.5 years now, and he’s the King of the Castle. He’s been the babysitter of cats and kittens. He is in charge of it all. I have expected to have him around until I was really old. Imagine my shock to realize something is wrong with his health. He’s got weird poos that have gotten increasingly soft, light-colored, and smelly. He’s lost weight–down a couple of pounds in the last two years. He feels skinny. And yet he’s a picky eater which gives me anxiety as it reminds me of Felix and Tiger when they got sick. On top of the GI symptoms, he suddenly has a level 3 heart murmur. This isn’t a terrible one, but it’s significant and especially for a seven-year-old cat. So he needs medical tests. The GI troubles could be Irritable Bowel Disease–or they could be lymphoma. The vet want to start with an abdominal ultrasound. Perry’s going to get an echocardiogram to examine the heart murmur. Please send all your prayers, vibes, and general good wishes for my dear darling special boy. The ultrasound is Friday, and the echo is in a month (they are hard to schedule). 

As you may realize, we took in my son’s two cats six months ago. Two older cats who have their own ingrained habits and don’t get along that well to begin with is a pretty big thing to bring into a household with three older cats (two seniors plus Perry). It has not been a smooth six months. Not. smooth. at. all. 

The gardener and I are over our Covid (we hope). It wasn’t fun, but it sure wasn’t anything like Valley Fever (I’m only speaking for myself here). 

If you haven’t picked up a copy of Rooted and Winged, please consider it as a way to support the poetry community :).

If you have one and haven’t posted a review at Amazon (and maybe Goodreads, too), I’d sure appreciate it.

If you would like to review it for your blog or a lit journal, please email me at luanne[dot]castle[at]gmail[dot]com and ask for an ARC.

And if you have already bought a copy and reviewed the book, a million thank yous!!!!

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