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.
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.
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.
In April 2019, I had two poems accepted by the Saranac Review. Then crickets. All through that year and then the first year of the pandemic, also: nothing from them. I didn’t want to withdraw the poetry as I really wanted it published by SR, but I worried that they were struggling with problems, especially the “covid factor.”
Finally, as if by magic (hahahahaha), the issue has been published. And it’s gorgeous. I mean really gorgeous. It has very thick glossy pages, which makes it a wonderful coffee table journal. I don’t think you can see how great it is from the photos. You have to touch it. I am thankful that SR has published my poems in this beauty.
I’ve blurred out the last half of both my poems because I don’t think it’s thoughtful (to the journal) to post complete poems immediately upon publication in a print journal. But the poems will be in my new book (preorders in May 2022)!
Look at the details of this cover.
And here’s the back.
I got the idea for the poem “April Things” on an April drive to California from Arizona.
The second poem is about a subject that is threaded throughout my new poetry book, my maternal grandparents.
I have been having a difficult time in the last few weeks. Family and (annoying-type) health issues. Some holiday celebration changing. Worries about my daughter’s upcoming wedding (early February) with covid news. So I started doing a mixed media junk journal free “course” called #caredecember. It lasts 20 days and is about self-care as well as self-expression. In this stressful holiday season, I am focusing on staying in touch with nature and just “letting most of it go.” I’m wishing you all peace and love and kindness.
2021 is a weird writing period for me. I am awaiting presales of my new poetry book in May (release is scheduled for September 2022). I have sent out my memoir to see what happens to it. That will probably take a long time. Then I have 3 essays that are taking forever to be published–in fact, one of them, I don’t know if it will be published or not as I’ve lost contact with the journal’s editor. Maybe I should send the piece out again. I’ve been waiting on a few poem publications. And I stopped writing. That doesn’t usually happen to me.
I think it has to do with waiting on these books. I feel disoriented and unfocused.
Luckily, my creativity group is working on two books by Eric Maisel that I think will help. We are reading Unleashing the Artist and doing exercises in The Creative Workbook for Coaches and Creatives. For the first exercise, we listed all the creative projects that we have going on–either in process or imagined. Then we had to assign values as to how important they were. That was eye-opening. Give it a try!
I wrote a book review of a new poetry book this weekend and sent it off to a journal. And I have one more review I committed to for December. Then I have to say NO for awhile. I do not know how anybody can tackle NaNoWriMo in November because of the holidays. That blows my mind to even think about it! If you are doing it, you are probably not reading this right now.
This past week we went to Cali for one night for work. That was exhausting, especially with the stressful traffic. I also worked more on the memoir. I feel as if I have two unpublished books just sitting here now because the poetry book doesn’t start preorders until May! and this one, who knows. But I also know that I have been working very hard on these books and all the cat issues. I feel drained. It’s time to get some rest and renewal.
Pioneertown published three of my poems, so I was grateful to get this sense of renewal over poems I wrote before this period of memoir work.
Here is the link if you would like to read them. I would love it if you do :).
Kitties are hanging in over here, as are we humans. I am eager for cooler fall weather. October is my favorite Phoenix month: please, October, don’t disappoint!
This week I plan to do just what I need to do for work and life, then hang with my kitties and mystery novels and crafting supplies. Oops, I do have to finish one last book review I promised for Main Street Rag. There’s always that one last thing, isn’t there?
Make it a good one! XO
In this photo of Perry there is a black mark I must have made by accident with the edit function on my phone. Please ignore. That is how lazy and tired I am. Putting up a flawed photo of my perfect lil guy. Doesn’t he look as smart as he is?!
Yesterday, the gardener, our daughter, and I were sitting on the patio of the front yard. Suddenly I saw a bobcat walking the top of the wall. It kept walking the wall until it dropped down onto the grass of our lawn !!!! and scratched on the tree as if it were a cat scratcher. Then he/she climbed the tree back up to the wall and kept going. Our jaws had dropped to our chests. Something seemed a bit off, so we pulled out my daughter’s video from last week. Keep in mind that the pix of the bobcat I’ve shared have been the backyard. Sure enough, that bobcat in the backyard is an adult with long legs and dominant black stripes. This bobcat was an adolescent, much like the one I saw by the bbq before. I don’t think there were any family jewels on the adult, so maybe it’s the mother and her baby or babies still hanging around our neighborhood. None of us had our phones outside with us so we couldn’t get a pic, but that baby was definitely not concerned with us at all.
I’m not sure where the week went! A lot of work, house repairs, and then add in the three physical therapy visits. I have two weeks left of my six weeks, but I am sort of hoping that we can add a once a week or something for awhile after that because my shoulder won’t be completely better by then. I am doing the exercises every single day that I don’t have PT, but it also needs the manipulation by the therapist.
Main Street Rag published another one of my poetry book reviews. This one was for Speaking Parts by Beth Ruscio. Here is the beginning of it to give you an idea. You need to purchase a copy of the magazine to read the whole thing :). Here’s the link: CLICK HERE. There are some amazing writers featured in this issue, so if you are looking to buy a lit mag issue this month, make it this one!
Speaking of character actors, think of all the regular characters you’ve known in your life. My mother used to say “what a character” whenever she encountered someone eccentric or a little different, particularly someone with a big personality. Here’s a Mr. Big Personality I remember from my youth. The only title this poem could have is “Walter.”
Walter stopped by my father’s store
on the first day of shore leave every year.
While he waited for my father to finish up,
Walter picked a wallet from a wooden tray
and handed me some cash to start the process
of spending banknotes stuffed in his pockets.
Walter was a sixteen-ton giant, his enormous chest
encased in a turtleneck, his skipper cap snug
on a head like a stone Colossus. I’d ask him
what happened to last year’s wallet, and he’d
guffaw with a joy that at twelve or sixteen
I could not imagine. All these decades
after Walter, I barely understand its origins.
Dad said Walter joined the merchant marines
after leaving the orphanage: what could he do?
His head twitched as if his inside and outside
were at odds. A woman I knew saw him out
one night; after buying drinks for everyone
and every drink for himself, he slammed the face
of a man into the sticky counter. She suggested
he looked confused, maybe he didn’t realize
his fingers were thicker than the broken nose.
I disregarded her story because my Walter
carried the luggage boxes up from storage
for which I earned a paycheck; he bought us
all lunch to eat in the back room, us peeking
out for customers and trying not to choke
when he had us giggling at his silly sailor jokes.
I’ve been very slowly working on the memoir, my current WIP. And I try to work on my art journals every day, even if only for a few minutes. It’s more relaxing than naps, reading, or TV. That said I am watching the Vera series and wishing we got the Shetland series here. I saw one episode when I was in California, but there aren’t any stations airing it in Phoenix.
Here’s a little conversation between the gardener and me this week:
G: There’s a dead squirrel on the road!
Me: Oh no! Why do you tell me something like that?!
G: So you don’t trip on it.
Me: What? Did you make sure he’s not still alive?
G: [Laughing] Perry’s squirrel.
Then I see it: one of Perry’s stuffie squirrels is in the middle of the hallway, right before you get to the bathroom (one place I am always running to).
This past week was better than the week before, although I did have medical tests for two days which was a big time suck. Tests for the Valley Fever (no results yet) and for the arm. I most likely have tendonitis of the biceps, and that is why it’s so painful. I’m now icing three times a day, but I might need some PT. Do you know if they will do PT via telehealth, at least until I get both vaccines? Yes, I’m a wimp.
When I came out of the Xray office, these birds were holding a noisy concert.
Before I forget to tell you, next week I’m going to post on Tuesday instead of Monday, but then I will probably go back to Mondays.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve been selling part of my wardrobe on Poshmark. I’m sick of a cluttered closet although I usually choose from a handful of yoga pants and tunic-Ts to wear. Also, I feel less guilty about all these art supplies I’ve been stocking up because what I am making at Poshmark is just covering my new purchases. I particularly love pan pastels, but they are expensive at about $10 each!!!
I’m going to share a page from my art journal with you to give you an idea of what I’m working on. If you haven’t been keeping up with me starting an art journal, I will let you know that I am a COMPLETE AND UTTER BEGINNER, which becomes clear when you see this page. But it is a good representative of me teaching myself how to use art supplies and experimenting with what works and what doesn’t. So here goes. [Covers eyes and ears at the same time with all 4 limbs.]
I worked on a separate sheet of paper which I then adhered to a background page (scribbled with pastels and water) in a temporary-type way. My daughter’s face is a transfer. Learning to do a transfer was the most exciting and most difficult thing I’ve done so far. It meant another supply I had to buy: Fluid Matte Medium. I used watercolors and acrylic paints. A scrap of a poem called “Daughter Poem” and a ticket from a production of Rent my daughter was in. A “Love” stamp with gray ink. Gray pan pastel with 2 different stencils and a die cut. A pocket made of tracing paper with a plaid secret note and a gold star. I would have liked to stitch the pocket with colorful yarn/thread, but the paper has been weakened from all the coats of paint and products–and the transfer process as well.
A pick-me-up that occurred this past week is that I had an essay accepted at a journal with a very nice editor–we worked a bit on revision. And . . . I had three poems accepted by another wonderful journal. The essay and the poems are all about my father, so maybe this is a trend for 2021.
I am hoping to get the vaccine this week. If not this week, then certainly next week. Keeping these fingers crossed until it happens.