2020 Quarantine Report, Or, My Futile Attempts to Maintain Focus

Well this is a shit-show, isn't it?

I don't have any eloquence for what has been occurring all over the world for the past month, but it's bizarre how the past two weeks have changed our everyday routines. And by changed I mean upended. Smashed. Eradicated.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing in and of itself -- the cause is horrific, naturally, but the actual change, up until this point, for me, has been strangely comforting. When there's a terrifying physical threat to humanity at large, I've found solace in sheltering-in-place with my cubs (or perhaps more apt, piglets, because goddamn my poor house is a wreck, and it was a wreck to begin with). We've had our moments of strain, naturally -- you can't have five people in each other's company 24-14 and be happy and shiny for every hour of the quarantine. But we've tried to make the best of it. Up until now, existence has been kind of dreamlike: not idealistic, like a goal you hope…

It's Been A Time: The Six Months Recap No One Asked For

It's been seven months since I last posted to the blog. A lot has happened since then -- some good things, some bad things, but a lot of *life* things that more or less elbowed out the time I might take for reflection in a blog post. To be honest, I'm not quite sure I've gained that time back at this point, but I feel the need to do this kind of writing again. We'll see how it goes -- I don't know if I'll post regularly or on any kind of a schedule. I'm just going to focus on this one post right now.

My last post (from July 2019) was about the absolutely wonderful, and successful, Artist Residency in Motherhood (ARiM) that I shared with my friend and colleague M.S. The week after the residency I participated in a project run by ARiM's creator, Lenka Clayton: she asked for mother-artists to submit a record of a single day, July 15, 2019 -- and she said that she would select a number of them and compile them in a book that would be part of the inaugural …

Artist Residency in Motherhood 2019

The following is a day-by-day log of my progress and thoughts throughout last week, as I completed an "Artist Residency in Motherhood" with my colleague at Stuffolk, and frequent collaborator (in teaching and in art), visual artist Meredith Starr. During the week I worked on revising a poetry manuscript and finishing one of my plays. M.S. has a year-long painting project she's been working on, and she spent the week catching up/getting back on track with that series. 
This log makes for a long blog post, which may not be everyone's jam, but since I keep this blog more or less for my own edification, I thought I'd include this disclaimer at the top. If you like to read about other artists' processes, read on. (And, I highly recommend Daily Rituals: How Artists Work and Daily Rituals: Women at Work, both by Mason Currey both of which I read in the first weeks of this summer.) 
If you're just here because of a mild curiosity about the Artist Reside…

Micro-Sabbatical/DIY Starbucks Residency 2019: Take Two

I know! Two in one year! It's a small miracle!

Day One, June 10, 2019:  Okay, I didn't follow my plan very well. I DID make it out of my home and to Starbucks but I didn't reread my play there. Nor did I read or revise any of the poems from the new manuscript. But I was productive. I submitted Fabulous Beast: Poems to a book festival, and then I revised a review and submitted it to a journal for consideration. These were necessary things. I consider today a warm-up for getting back in the game of writing every day.

Day Two, June 11, 2019: Rained-Out. (A joke. I had a sick kid at home. I know. In June. Jury's still out about whether or not she was actually sick.) I did manage to work on poems from my manuscript, but basically the end result was figuring out what I definitely DON'T want to do with my poems going forward. Not exactly time wasted, but I don't have much to show for today's work.

Day Three, June 12, 2019: Made it to the Starbucks without incident, …

Returning to Blogging, More Bathroom Renovating, DIY Residency Planning, and a Cover Reveal

I haven't written here in quite a while. I've liked the silence. (I'm sure you have too!) After writing a post a week, more or less, last year for the Poetry Blogger Revival Tour, I felt a little burnt out.  
Since my last post, I've worked very sporadically on poems -- written maybe four of them. Much of my morning writing time has been used to grade, or answer emails, or prep for a class. That last part annoys me because I've really tried to get the classes to the point where I have everything done before the semester begins, but sometimes I make changes to the schedule that seem really necessary and then that means more mid-semester prep. 
At home we're renovating the second bathroom in our tiny cape, so that means everything from that bathroom is spread out around the house and there's a fine film of sheetrock dust over everything -- mostly because I haven't had time or energy to thoroughly dust and vacuum like I probably should. (Renovating the ba…

Martha Graham Martha Graham Martha Graham

M.S. and I are teaching our Creativity class again this semester. It's funny -- not in a haha way, but in a how odd way -- how much questioning I do every time we return to the course and the material. 
Of  course, maybe it's also cyclical, as we're in the heart of winter and low temperatures also do something to keep my mood low, my mind disquiet. But I think it might be the tenets we teach in the class, tenets M.S. and I created together, agreed on, tenets we wholeheartedly believe -- and the way I have to face them again, and in their light confront my own creative practice, see where it falls short, where I might be phoning it in. 
And once I do that, I hold myself up: I confront my own identity, how much I've tied it -- with stubbornness, with obstinacy -- to art-making and creativity. I hold this image of myself up to the weak winter light coming through the window, and I examine all my inconsistencies and flaws. 
It's necessary,  I suppose. It speaks to a …

The Full-Length Fabulous Beast is Going to Be a Thing in the World. Which is Pretty Cool.

Waaaaaaaayyyyy back in September of last year, I wrote: OH. And I kinda-sorta have the best news in the world (for me, right now) but I can't post anything until I know more/confirm said best news in a legit way. Anyway, that's vague, but pretty accurate. When I can, I'll spill. And then it took another four months to actually confirm the best news. So THAT was pretty underwhelming. But now I finally feel more comfortable sharing the following:
In September, I was notified that my full-length manuscript, Fabulous Beast, was the runner-up for the X.J. Kennedy Prize and that it was selected for publication in the fall of 2019. The contract didn't arrive until January, but it's finally signed. (Yay!) And now we're moving into book cover stuff and that's making everything feel more real.
Most of the first section of this manuscript was published as a chapbook by Hyacinth Girl Press in 2015, as Fabulous Beast: The Sow. Having that little book out in the wor…