In January, I had another ekphrastic piece, this time a poem, taken at Visual-Verse. I neglected to mention last time that we only get one hour to write these to the art prompts. It’s a very intense process. https://visualverse.org/submissions/the-tournament/
Main Street Rag has published my review of Justin Hamm’s Drinking Guinness with the Dead. While I can’t post a copy of the review as it’s a print issue, I can tell you I give it two thumbs up. Hamm’s work is really tied to the Midwest and its vast once-farmland, so while anyone would love it (I think), Midwesterners would especially cherish it.
My daughter’s wedding was a year ago this coming Sunday. So look what I made for daughter and son-in-law. A wedding junk journal.
I had to find this nifty little suitcase after I realized that with the fragility of the book (cuz junk) and their lifestyle the book wouldn’t last long without protection. I was able to add in their wooden ring boxes, little place cards, extra photos, and the napkins from their previous courthouse wedding where we drank blue prosecco and ate cookies. Last year’s wedding was the whole shebang because that’s what they like.
See inside on the left? That’s a little clutch I made out of plastic grocery bags to store the cassettes of their wedding music.
That project was loads of fun, but now I’m about hearted and laced and sweetthinged out.
I know how precious your time is, and it’s very meaningful to me that you reviewed Rooted and Winged!
These are some tags I made for the first “water” prompt at The Ugly Art Club. Yup, still doing art journalling. I am starting to find little things about my “style.” It’s been slow coming, but–for instance–the half woman (skirt half) in the top library card. I like using women’s skirts. Go figure.
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:
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.
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.
No poet could ever suffer from writer’s block when she has access to any of Diane Lockward’s phenomenal craft books. Now she has published her fourth, The Strategic Poet. The book is a #1 New Release in Poetry Writing Reference on Amazon. Click on the following image to find the book.
The back of the book lists the poets whose work appears inside as either prompt poems or sample poems.
One of my poems is featured in the book. It’s a formal poem, a triolet, but rather than being a single triolet, I made it a triple!
The description in the book of a triolet:
I accepted the challenge to use the form for a significant topic as I based the poem on a cat hoarding situation we had in Phoenix last year where 133 cats were found in one apartment lived in by a couple with children. Here is the very beginning of the poem. To read the entire poem you would need to purchase Lockward’s book.
Although I haven’t mentioned my arty junk journals in awhile (other than using supplies for my cat nicho), I am still working on them. Here’s the latest completed double page where I jumped all in with purple.
Speaking of my cat nicho, look who decided to check it out from behind. Tiger Queenie Princess Mimi Josefina. I don’t know if she realizes that I made it for the cats or not, but she never goes in my study and then yesterday she did, only to investigate the nicho.
Last week, in the middle of the sudden illness and passing of my daughter’s sweet cat Izzie, my Felix (cat #3–he’s 15) was developing symptoms. He tested positive for anemia. He is on medications to keep him eating, plus I started giving him daily subq fluids (i.e., under the skin) on Saturday. By yesterday I was feeding him by hand. However, he acts pretty spunky, so it’s pretty weird.
He was scheduled for an abdominal ultrasound today. Yesterday afternoon, on a Sunday, that office called and said the appointment was made by mistake. That they don’t do outpatient ultrasounds. When I made the appointment Friday morning, I was clearly told to avoid that issue he would be scheduled as an emergency patient and would get an ultrasound at 11AM. Today the woman who called kept repeating “no outpatient ultrasounds.” Because I made the appointment there, I missed out on scheduling elsewhere. She just kept repeating her script and obviously could care less about whether Felix survives or not. This is ANIMAL MEDICAL AND SURGICAL CENTER IN SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA. I could not believe they did that to Felix. I will be contacting the veterinary board of Arizona. And I have to start from scratch again for Felix.
Prayers and/or strong healthy vibes for him would be much appreciated.
Between work and cat care I haven’t had much time for art journaling, but I try to spend at least 5-10 minutes almost every day. Over the last couple of weeks, I completed these two that I like (except for their amateurish quality and the flaws I see heh). The first I posted on an art journaling Facebook group because I wasn’t sure whether to leave it as-is or not. I created an abstract background, and then I saw a partial wing in it, so I enhanced the wing with black acrylic paint. Only when I got done, because of the background, it looks as much like a bird (raven?) as a wing. So I asked the group if I should finish it into a bird, get rid of the top part that makes it look like a bird, or leave it alone. Forty people have responded, telling me to leave it as-is. Not one person said to make it wing or bird. That was cool because I like the ambiguity, you know? But I needed people with more experience to weigh in.
The photograph is one I purchased in a lot from ebay, by the way. I might have had wings on the brain because my new poetry book that will be coming out in a bleeping year is called Rooted and Winged. By the way, the poet who wrote the nesting/chickens/golden goose poem on the right page is named Miriam Flock. Flock! Isn’t that the best?
This next one began with the magazine image of Marilyn that I liked. My ideas progressed slowly, but when the #FreeBritney movement heated up, I knew what I wanted to do. I have a soft spot for her as my daughter grew up as a big Britney fan. She choreographed dances for the high school dance team using Britney music. Anyway, this whole situation that Britney is in reminds me of the classic short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, first published in 1892. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. The frightening story shows a woman under the control of her husband and doctor. Unfortunately, the woman’s plight mirrored that of many women then and apparently now. I will never forget a story published in my college newspaper when I was a student. The woman who wrote it said that her husband had her committed to a mental institution to get rid of her.
But Britney and Marilyn are celebrities with fame. Britney has lots of money. Both of them have been objectified and treated as something not human. The protagonist in “The Yellow Wallpaper” was treated as subhuman. Britney (and Marilyn before her) is a real woman.
This post’s title “On a wing and a Prayer” refers to a bombing mission in WWII. As the plane limps home short an engine, it travels on a wing (wings of the plane) and with a prayer for its safe arrival. Isn’t everything we attempt on a metaphorical wing and a prayer? (Reminder: please pray for my dear Felix or send healing vibes!!!)
Let me say this up front: have a thoughtful Memorial Day. You might want to read posts from blogger Joy Neal Kidney who writes about her grandparents who lost three beloved sons during WWII. As Joy reminded on Instagram the other day, Memorial Day is to honor and remember those who died serving the United States. Veteran’s Day is for those who served and came home. We do tend to blur this distinction. Since so many who die in battle are young, they often leave no children behind. In part for this reason, more of us have veterans in our families or are veterans ourselves, and it is left to nieces and nephews to mourn the fallen family member. In my own family, only one person died during war for the United States (my ancestors arrived in the 1800s, so it’s possible that some siblings of my ancestors perished in war for their countries. This young man was the younger and newly arrived from the Netherlands brother of my great-grandmother’s brother-in-law. That doesn’t sound like a close relation, but our family was small and close and I knew Aunt Jen very well until she passed away when I was twelve. After being in the United States for less than a year, Gerrit Leeuwenhoek volunteered for this country in the Spanish-American war and was shipped to Cuba where he died of malaria. This letter was sent to Uncle Lou and Aunt Jen.
Later, Uncle Lou had Gerrit’s remains moved to the cemetery in Kalamazoo.
The dove kids are thriving. We see them hanging out on the railing near the plant that held their nest.
The hummingbird mama is doing well taking care of her twins. She feeds them regularly. Here she is sitting on them.
May is when the saguaros blossom. This year has been a little bit different, though, because they are blossoming more generously. Usually they bloom off the “top of their heads.” But this year the flowers trail down the sides as if there are so many they are spilling over. Nobody seems to know why, though they have made guesses. The gardener says it’s because we didn’t have much rain this year. Click on the image and you can see the flowers growing out of the sides of the tree.
I’ve been reading a novel manuscript, and Kana has been spending her time in the manuscript box, even as it gets filled up with the just-read pages.
My sweet Pear (the 21-year-old) seemed to be unwell, but now I think that she was having trouble getting up and down from the couch–and that in the early morning hours Perry was traumatizing her with his attention. I tried putting things in front of the couch so that she would have a “stairs” of sorts, but she is too fragile to learn something like that at this point. Finally, I had an epiphany. I needed to subtract from the couch instead of adding to it. I took out one of the seat cushions. Now she can step down to the couch without the cushion and then on to the floor. And Perry is now locked in our bedroom at night. What is surprising is that he’s being so good although he can’t roam the house.
Sorry for annoying you with some of my journal pages, but I am enjoying it so much and you can always skip :).
This one is in a very small book. The quote is from a poem called “Sisters” by James Lineberger.
And this one is all about the memories.
I’m moving forward on the memoir, and I would definitely call it a hybrid at this point. I hope a few people like it when I’m done because I feel better writing this version than any of the previous 18 versions. (No, not kidding). I really hope it works this time. Needless to say.
I’m not sending too much out right now, but just thought I’d let you know I have a new poetry book in the works!!! (Shhh) Yeah, but publication date will be in 2022. That sounds so far away! More info to come.