Tuesday, May 09, 2017

I submitted four poems today! I have been avoiding submissions lately, but a friend told me that another poet she knows counts her rejections, and tries to get at least 100 per year. That is a lot of rejections, so I think I will aim for 50 before the end of December.

The class I am teaching is so much fun! My students are very willing to try anything, enthusiastic, and vulnerable. This makes my job so much easier; I don't feel like I need to drag anything out of them. We have our 2nd meeting next week and I can't wait to see what they've been up to!

Enjoy your week!

Peace & Love,

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Another batch of poems submitted! I feel a sense of relief that I have some poems out in the world, being read and considered for publication.

I started teaching a workshop here in Bemidji last week. We are reading Ted Kooser's Poetry Home Repair Manual and using a ton of writing prompts to draft new work. One member of the class will be performing in a poetry slam to be held in a couple of weeks. I am excited to see him perform some of his more rhythmic poems.

April is National Poetry Month.

Peace & Love,

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

My first batch of poems for 2017 has been submitted! When I looked back at 2016, it indicated I only submitted once. Submissions are a numbers game, so I know that I need to just keep sending them out. I am sending out a lot of disability/sexuality poems right now and hope I can find a worthy home for those deeply intimate poems.
Spring weather is on its way to Bemidji! It is supposed to be in the high forties, so I suspect we will be spending some time outside as a family. The little kitty, Izola, will get her open windows soon.

Peace & Love,

Saturday, March 11, 2017

I often feel that I am not a real poet. I do not give myself permission to spend time working on my craft, which causes anxiety and depression. I am a perfectionist, which means I am fearful of vulnerability and use that fear as an excuse to not put myself out there as a poet.

This time of my life is over.

There will be poetry every day in some form. The only specific commitment I am making at this time is to submit work on Mondays. Publishing is something I have thought and worried about for a long time, so the time has come to just do it. Yes, I am afraid.I will submit anyway. This is the only way to move through the fear and conquer it. I am terrified of coming to the end of my life and realizing I didn't accomplish anything. I don't need to be the best and brightest poet out there. What I want is to know that I tried and that my nieces and nephews saw me work for what I wanted.

My goal is to create a life in poetry, but I need to develop it slowly if I am to succeed. For now I will post on Mondays after submitting my work and build from there. I hope to acquire some readers for this blog, so stay tuned!

Peace & Love,

Monday, January 30, 2017

I am late wishing you all a happy 2017! A new year always brings resolutions and most people abandon them by February. It is human nature to want to do and be better, to become the best versions of ourselves. In the beginning we are hopeful and perhaps over commit, taking on more than we can handle. I have learned that breaking things down into smaller, more manageable pieces can improve my chances of being successful. I don't need to make huge, sweeping changes on January 1st. I can start small and build from there.

1. I have taken on a secret project that must be completed by April 1st and I am determined to to stay on track so I don't have to cram in the last few weeks. I will work on this project daily with the intention to finish a couple of weeks early.

2.  I will work up to walking 30 minutes five days a week.

3.  I will have my full-length poetry manuscript completed by March 1st. A friend has generously agreed to check in with me weekly to help me stay on track. I have procrastinated putting this together because of a fear of rejection. I have prepared myself for the inevitable rejections and know they are not a reflection of my talent or abilities.

I had to put my sweet kitty, Emma, to sleep right after Christmas. It was hard, but I know it was the right thing to do, as she was suffering. She was with me through some of the most difficult moments of my adult life. There were times when knowing that she needed me to care for her was what got me out of bed in the morning. She was a good girl and I will miss her.

A lovely, affectionate orange kitty came to live with me recently. Emma was a bit standoffish, so Izola's need to cuddle has been a comfort. Izola is playful--most mornings I wake to all her toys at the end of my bed!

Peace & Love,


Friday, September 23, 2016

Why does life always intrude on my good intentions?

- I will attempt a poem a day in October. I will make it a priority, as I don't always take myself seriously as an artist. I will try for weekly updates.

-How do you feel about finishing every book you start? There is a book that I have tried to read many times. Currently, I have made it about halfway through the book and it has taken a couple of months. It is a struggle to stay interested.  Many people would say to abandon it, but I have invested so much time into it that not finishing would mean I have wasted the last two months. I have purchased a new novel I am anxious to begin, so I am using it as a reward to finish up this current biography. Can I push through and finish it by the end of September? I'm going to try and will let you know how it goes.

-I have a chapbook manuscript in process and feel it is time to just stop writing new poems and work with what is currently there. I am going to begin working on this project a few days per week to get it ready to send to competitions and open reading periods. I am not going to worry about being perfect and trust that I will find the right publisher to help the manuscript become what it's meant to be.

-Tomorrow, September 23, 2016, I will begin teaching a four-week poetry writing class. I think it will be fun and give me an opportunity to focus on poetry I didn't write.

Fall is officially here in Bemidji. I plan to enjoy it and hope you do as well!

Peace and Love,


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Arrived home today from a four day vacation at a house on Lake Itasca. We had fun, but I am glad to be in my cozy apartment with my kitty, Emma. Being around toddlers every day makes me realize how much I really do not want children. I love my nephews a lot and would do anything for them, but my personality type needs a lot of alone time and low anxiety situations. So, tonight I will relish my high-pitched scream free zone and queen bed!

I am finding that I do a lot of things because I want to please other people. I think other people know what is best for me; I do not trust my own judgement. So, tomorrow I will let go of a project I am involved in to please other people. I will spend time with my writing and organizing the manuscript. There is a grant I will be checking into and will research a few journals where my work might fit. The problem with depression and anxiety is that sometimes I need to make mistakes in order to find what is best for me. A couple tweaks need to be made, but in general I feel like I am doing what I need to do.

That doesn't mean, however, that life is rosy. My depression is rearing its ugly head and I have been feeling like I am stuck and that all parts of me are broken. But, I am taking small steps toward some happiness and fulfillment. For the rest of my life I will have periods where my depression is worse than others, but I do not need to let those times completely derail me. I will always need help: therapy, medication, supportive family and friends. I am learning to be okay with that.

On September 1st I will start a month-long challenge to write a poem-a-day. There will be a day here and there where I may be out of town, but I will do my best to write daily. In the interest of my writing career, I will not be able to post these daily poems, but I will try to update the blog weekly to let you know how it is going.

These last days of summer will pass quickly.

Peace and Love,


Sunday, July 24, 2016

I am the kind of reader that needs to be reading the right book at the right time. So, I have a lot of false starts. I begin books with the best intentions, but end up not "feeling" it and trying something else. I don't get rid of the discarded book, because it might end up being the right book at some later time. I suppose I have a weird relationship with books; they are emotional objects. Once I've read something, it is definitely a part of of my life forever. Especially with my poetry books, giving them away feels like they are being ripped from me. I mourn them. So it makes perfect sense that the book I am currently reading needs to "click" with me. I am, essentially, in a relationship with them.

Working on my writing is becoming more of a priority. I can see clearly that my future is in that world, so motivation is less of a problem. I am taking it slow, so I don't freak myself out. It is important I start sending poems out again, so I will take Wednesdays to do that. Having poems out in the world for consideration feels like I am a part of something, instead of living on the fringes, holed up in my apartment.

Peace and Love,

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Welcome to summer! As usual, I have spent June with the best intentions regarding reading and writing.  However, I was lucky enough to land a spot in Natalie Diaz's workshop at the 2016 Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference, held right here at Bemidji State University. Natalie is an amazing poet and teacher! She helped me approach my writing and editing processes in a new way. It was truly an amazing way to spend a week!

I finally finished the Anthony Doerr novel and was blown away. His sentences are so lucid, strange, and wonderful. I feel I have changed as a person as a direct result of reading this novel. War is not something I generally choose to read about, but I am glad I took my mother's advice and picked it up. I am starting a collection of short stories by Lorraine Lopez titled Homicide Survivors Picnic. I am also starting Saeed Jones' collection, Prelude to Bruise.

Motivation is difficult for me. I want to work on projects and get things accomplished, but I am just so scared of starting.  What if I fail? What if I succeed? What if I devote time and energy to things other people might not find valuable? I read somewhere that one of the most important things we need to learn about motivation, is that we don't have to "feel" like working on projects. You get up and work on them anyway. Poetry is important to me and I need my schedule to reflect that. So, I will be starting a new schedule tomorrow and experimenting to find what works best for me.

It feels like my depression is finally stable and has been for a while. This is scary for me, but I am going to move forward with my poetry and reading lives as if the next awful thing isn't around the corner. I know I will go through periods of depression and anxiety for the rest of my life, but it is time to stop letting those setbacks derail my whole life.

Peace and Love,


Friday, March 11, 2016

Starting Over

In the interest of starting over, I have deleted all my old posts. Originally, this blog had no real focus and I felt like I jumped all over the place. Entries were easy, breezy, and lacked any depth.

I have decided that the second half of 2016 is going to be all about my reading and writing lives -- Following are the ways I intend to use this blog:

 I will use the blog as a place to keep track of what I have read (which I've never done before).  I hope this will help motivate me to not read at a snail's pace.  I want to set a reading goal, but I am afraid I will fail miserably. However, if I set a reasonable, achievable goal at first, my chances of succeeding increase.  I can re-evaluate my goals later and push myself to read more.  Right now, I feel safe committing to reading one novel and one book of poetry a month.  I started out the year reading very slowly, so I find myself still reading that same book.  My goal for these last few days of May is to finish Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See. I will start a new novel around June 1st and pick a poetry book to start things off!

Another way I intend to use this blog is to keep track of my life of poetry. I will list upcoming events, publications, and general thoughts about what is happening in poetry. Living in northern MN, I struggle to find people with whom I can talk about poetry, so it is my hope that you will read this blog and interact with me!

Here is to a productive second half of 2016!