Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Writing Community

When I defended my thesis, someone asked, "Now that you've finished your MFA, where you've been working closely with the same folks for so long, how will you keep writing?" If you've ever talked to me in real-life, you know my face says what I'm thinking before I can lie about it, so I gave him the look my teenage son often gives me ("Are you really asking me this question?"), and I told him I would just keep writing all by myself. I'd wake up, and then I'd write at some point during the day as I'd been doing since I started writing... Like Emily Dickinson.

Why would I stop? (Though many people do after an MFA, which is strange to me.)

And I didn't stop! I got an MFA, and I moved away from my place of MFA, and kept writing (because why move a family across the country to just write for 3 years then stop?)! I wrote alone for months and submitted my work in a frenzy of submishmash account-creation. I wrote good things and bad things, and it was perfect.

However, as can happen, I met some poets. (Some amazing poets, click their links and read their work!) And now that I have a full-time job, I'm glad I have them. My poet friends keep me on my toes. Not only are we doing poem a day, which is fantastic, but we also talk about poetry and other poets and publishing and awards and residencies... Sometimes they talk about poets I'm unfamiliar with, which means I'm learning about new poets. We're learning from one another. (Well, I learn from them and contribute to the conversation, so hopefully this is a mutually beneficial poet-relationship.)

My MFA Workshop at UMass
Always a good time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kites are letters (and other things I recently figured out by spending time with a variety of people, which is to say, people)

Each time I come home from teaching in prison, I wonder why I enjoy it so much. Is it that I love teaching? Or that I love talking about poetry so much that even in prison it's a good time? Maybe all of that, but mostly, when people talk about poetry, I feel like a grandma who's just baked molasses cookies.  And all the kids in the neighborhood come over and are like, really? Molasses?  You think I'll like this?  And then they're eating them and "mmmming" and want the recipe.  Then they go home and try to make them, and then they want you to taste their molasses cookies, and sometimes they taste BETTER than your granny cookies... I love teaching poetry.  I love grandmas and kids and molasses cookies. 

But teaching in prison is different somehow than other teaching of poetry. The guys who take the poetry class in prison realize they will learn as much from one another as they will from us. The community is so energetic and encouraging and thoughtful...  Yeah.  I like it.  I like the deer in the parking lot, too.  (Last night, I thought I saw a badger! But it was a cat. Wishful thinking, I guess.)

Anyway, to the point-- yesterday we talked about epistolary poems and many of their poems referenced "kites."  At first, I was thinking "Hey, cool metaphor."  Then, when it came up again, I was like, "Hey... kites? That's what that last guy said!"  I asked about it, and it turns out kites are prison lingo for letters.  Who knew? (Well, I'm sure lots of people did.)  I also learned about moon time and (not first-hand) how acid is ingested with sugar cubes (the drug kind, not just any garden variety).  All-in-all, an eventful week. 

Wait. It's Tuesday?  On to Wednesday! (Insert picture of me running with a flag into Wednesday.)  

(In other news, my last day of my new job is on Friday, and my new-new job will start on Monday.  Eek! So much change, so little time!)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

To do

I am a diligent to-doer.  I have post-its on top of notecards taped to lists of things to do.  So, here I am, crossing "blog" off of my list today.  I should've made a list of things to write about on the blog in a small amount of time.

If you were at the UW-Writers' Institute-- thanks for coming!  I had a fantastic time talking about writing, and I'm so glad you stopped by.  If you weren't at the UW-Writers' Institute, you should go next year-- it was pretty great.  Talk to me if you want to know more about it and what to expect and whatnot.

Did I mention that I finished The Hunger Games?  I've almost started fights with strangers who I've overheard say, "Wah. The movie/book is so violent! I couldn't even read/watch it! There's no point but violence!"  Blah to you and your lack of interest in/attention to morality and thinking.  C is reading it now, and I plan (surely to his chagrin) to engage him in big philosophical conversations about survival and justice and love.  Any book that can start conversations like these are worth reading.  Now, I'm reading Bossypants.  There's not a whole lot of philosophy, but it makes me laugh aloud on the bus, which is good for living.

Poem-a-day and I are getting on surprisingly well, considering our sordid past.  I can remember the title of 1 poem I've written over the past 17 days.  I don't know how many poems, in fact, I've written... Is it at least 14?  Perhaps.  Maybe?

Of course, none of this is what I wanted to talk about.  I wanted to talk about something with progression.  Something that moved from point A to point C with a little B stop half-way through... Alas, here I am: 9:30 and ready for bed. I'll just insert some pictures to tie all of this together in a way that makes no sense.

I took a picture of this Cabbage Patch
Kid in NY.  I don't understand it's pink
eye & nose.  Nor do I understand its blue
cheek-dots. Hmph.  

Roger, all-pupil.  

<< This little fella was in a strange, metal box attached to a telephone pole also in NY.  If you know what it means, please tell me!                                             ...I miss NY.            

OK. I'm allergicking all over the place.  I will eye-drop and sleep.  Bis bald...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Well, week, you have gone by.

This is the first time a full week has passed before an update.  In my defense, I got a day job a few weeks ago, so I've had 40 hours fewer per week to do so many things.  This week has been particularly crazy-- I've been planning the middle school Spring Picnic, going to poetry readings, teaching in prison, and it was my birthday on Wednesday.  Also, today, I'm on a panel at the UW-Writers' Institute, & I'm teaching "Secrets of Famous, Prolific Writers" tomorrow, & then I'm finally celebrating my birthday.  Phwew!  AND. I've been writing a poem each day and cooking actual dinner almost every day (click here for my new favorite fast recipe).  Believe it.

So, to follow up with some previous posts:  I'm continuing to get wonderful, friendly rejection letters-- even on old poems I'd forgotten I'd submitted.  My cousin, Josh (see last post), only made it to round 2 on The Voice.  I've never seen the show, but I assume it sucks more now than I assumed it sucked before. There are bunnies mating in my backyard.  The identity of the green plants growing where they play is still unknown to me, but I'm hoping there will be baby bunnies sleeping in it soon.  And speaking of babies, I got to see my sweet-baby-nieces this weekend, and they are getting so big! 

I have a list of 5 things I actually want to write about here.  Stay tuned.  I will have some time to write them soon!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

12 eggs in a dozen, 16 oz in a lb, how many hours in a day?

I'm finding it difficult not to succumb to the desire to eat fried cheese curds all the time.

Hey! Did I already mention that my cousin, Josh, who I brag on all the time without his knowing, has made it to round 2 on "The Voice" auditions?  Pretty fabulous.

And, I got a very nice rejection today from G.C. Waldrep at West Branch.  Now that I have a 40 hr/week job, getting rejections reminds me that I'm still a poet in real-life.  And real-life is my favorite kind of life.

There are three bunnies who play in a patch of green things sprouting from bulbs in our backyard. I can't wait to plant things that I can identify!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hello, yes, I wrote a poem.

Thanks for asking.  I wrote it right after brunch with a friend (we went to Lazy Jane's, which somehow always gets me in the mood to get junk done).  Then, I took nap, took care of all of this Spring Picnic stuff for the Parent Teacher Group, then I worked on some revisions, then I updated my CV and thought of AWP panel proposal ideas and about this reading series I'd like to start this summer, then I took my movies back to Red Box while talking to my mother-in-law (hi Lisa!) and stopped by a friend's house on my way home to borrow a copy of The Hunger Games, then I watched Great Expectations on Masterpiece Classic, which I haven't read since I was a wee lass of 15ish, and this PBS version was the most amazing PBS version of anything... now I'm here, writing on my blog AND watching a show about Abe & Mary Lincoln. OH! And I did the laundry and made dates to meet with wonderful poet/friends this week. I crossed so many things off my to-do list, so I'm pretty happy that I also wrote a poem.  Now, popcorn, a small drink, and sleeping...oh no. Willy Lincoln has typhoid...