My poem “Why We Wait for Rain” was published this past week by Red River Review. You can read it here: WHY WE WAIT FOR RAIN. The poem came about because Arizona has a very dry climate (usually), and the smell of rain just about does me in. It’s the creosote, just so you know.
I’m usually so lax about my submission process, including record-keeping and goals. But this year, as you might recall, I have set a goal for myself. This publication is the third one so far (although one of the others published five poems, I am counting publications, not pieces), and there is another one that will be published near the end of this month.
I had a lovely package to open the other day. Sheila Morris’ latest book, Four Ticket Ride, with a beautiful inscription and . . . wait for it, my name in the dedications! Made me so happy I could have cried if I wasn’t smiling. Read about it on Sheila’s blog here. I can’t wait to read it! Click the book image to purchase through Amazon.
Who is with me? Let’s write a poem a day, starting March April 1! I did it last year, and I felt quite productive! Of course, this year I will have company. That might cut into my productivity. Merril, a big thank you to you who pointed out my error. I won’t have as MUCH company in April (I think) as in March so actually April should be better for NAPOWRIMO.
This is a tangent, but the gardener and I bought some new flowers for the yard.
Let’s talk about Sheila Morris‘ new book The Short Side of Time. It’s a collection of some of her best blog posts. Click through the cover image to order her book.
I’ll let the blurb I wrote for her book (yes, she asked me to write a blurb–woohoo!!!) describe The Short Side of Time:
These hand-picked treasures from the blogs of Sheila Morris showcase her humor and heart while immersing the reader in the day-to-day life and decades of experience offered by a lesbian now on the “short side of time.” Morris loves her sports teams, the written word, and her friends. What means the most to her, though, is family, including her partner Teresa, her dogs, and her late grandmother. Morris’ lively and thoughtful voice draws readers into the drama of her Texas upbringing, as well as how recent milestones for the LGBT community have contributed to her life.
Sheila and I first met through her blog about her dog The Red Man, Red’s Rants and Raves, and my family history blog The Family Kalamazoo. Red writes the blog posts in his own voice, which is very appealing to this animal lover. Sheila has two other blogs, as well. Imagine my surprise when I first read I Will Call It Like I See It, written in Sheila’s voice, rather than Red’s! Sheila showcases her photographs on The Old Woman Slow’s Photos. Slow is what Red calls Sheila. Sheila’s partner Teresa is called Pretty. After reading Red for a long time, I had to get used to thinking of them as Sheila and Teresa, rather than Slow and Pretty!
One of the most distinctive qualities of Sheila’s writing (and there are several) is the way she uses humor. She uses it liberally, yes, but also with a carefree flourish that I admire. She is someone you would want to have around you a lot, maybe a coworker who works in the same space, or a friend you spend a lot of time with. Since that isn’t possible for most of us, reading her new book is the next best option. Then, if you haven’t yet, read her memoir, Deep in the Heart. You can read my review of that book on the post “A Lesbian in Mayberry.” You’re going to want to get your hands on a copy of that one, too!
Go, read, enjoy!!!
I’m closing comments today because I have to travel so please take the time to go check out one of Sheila’s three blogs!
Remember idyllic small town Mayberry? Imagine a town even smaller and put it in Texas. Deep in the heart of Texas.
Imagine the small local school, a nice small town man its principal. The Baptist church where he sings in the choir. Now imagine his little blonde daughter who also sings in the church choir.
Slam on the brakes. Wait. Now imagine that his little blonde daughter is a lesbian, ogling the other little girls.
This is WordPress blogger Sheila Morris’ coming-of-age memoir, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing.
Sheila writes the blog, I’ll Call It Like I See It. Her rescued Welsh Terrier, Red, writes another blog, called Red’s Rants and Raves. I read both blogs, but I admit I have a real affinity for hilarious Red and his worldview–admittedly one low to the ground.
By reading Sheila’s book I’ve gotten to know her better. I was surprised to learn that she came from such a small town–one so small I can’t even imagine living there. Even the food seems different from what I am used to. Take Ma’s (her paternal grandmother) fried pineapple pies. They sound a bit like turnovers, and they clearly are delicious.
This book was a comfortable and enjoyable read. The main tension was young Sheila’s attraction to other girls in the midst of that tiny town and the Baptist relatives. Three of her grandparents had a big hand in raising her, and she was obviously doted upon.
I’m not saying that there aren’t other negative elements that occasionally pop into view. The racist viewpoints of one of her grandmothers, for instance. Her disconnect from her mother, for another. The beloved grandmother she shared a bedroom with losing the last part of her life to serious depression. But she paints the story with a loving wash that makes her childhood seem as if it’s ideal (if only there wasn’t this huge secret that she carries and doesn’t understand).
The structure of the book is different. In fact, I’d call it a book of short stories–each one in the genre of memoir, but each one holding its own as a story. Frequently the end of a chapter (or story), brings that particular story to a conclusion, then the next chapter will zip back in time and pick up just a little later than the previous story began. I thought this was interesting because I have a chapter that necessitates a flash forward, and I couldn’t figure out how to work it in with the rest of my book. But maybe it takes another “rethink” about structure.