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Martha Graham Martha Graham Martha Graham

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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.

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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…

Micro-Sabbatical 2019

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My first post for 2019 is about my third complete micro-sabbatical. It's nothing short of a miracle that it occurred, too, considering that my family traded viruses and recovered from illness for no less than three weeks following New Year's Eve. For real, peeps. It was gruesome. But it's over now (knock wood) and we're moving forward. Kind of. I mean, everyone's sniffly or coughy, but roughly back to our normal schedules.
So anyway: micro-sabbatical. It was really micro this year, as I could only spare mornings for the writing. I had to use my afternoons to prep for spring classes. But I kept a log each day inside this blog post, after I worked toward each day's primary project/aim, and here's what happened. Essentially:
Day One: Tuesday, Jan. 22: I used my early-morning writing hours to read and also write my micro-sabbatical plan. I am nothing if not last-minute, as the rest of this sentence will prove: after putting the kids on the bus (and doing dishes…

Mother of the Year, Teacher of the Year, and Other Awards I'm Not Earning

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I solidified my Mother of the Year status by forgetting I'd volunteered to help at the Holiday Cookie Decorating Party in Little Miss Talkalot II's kindergarten class Friday morning. BECAUSE I'M A GENIUS AND A GOOD PERSON.
She wasn't traumatized. I think that by now, at the wise age of 5, she recognizes that everyone else's mothers are far superior, better and more capable of this parent-y stuff, than her own mama.
The missed cookie appointment put an appropriate cap on a very very very tiring week, as I attempted to manage my own anxieties about the end of the semester and also talk my students off of various metaphorical ledges. 
One of the more mystifying aspects of this semester is finding out how many of my students just didn't bother to submit major papers. Like, finally going through the grades and seeing the holes, and then going back to those students (who are usually "good" students in the sense that they keep up with reading and participat…

Germs and Grades and Emails, Oh My!

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This week featured only one day of teaching, thanks to a fantastic virus that struck Little Miss Talkalot II. I guess her body was already kind of run down from having that 24-hour stomach virus the week before, because she came down with a fever on Monday and it didn't leave until yesterday. 72 hours of fever is a little extreme in the kid-world.
As a result, I've worked a little bit on my play (reformatting, mostly, into an old-fashioned standard script form -- which is really, really counter-intuitive and highly fucking annoying, but necessary if I'm going to start submitting the thing) and very little on poems. The rest of my time has been divided between running between the kitchen and the living room for Little Miss Talkalot II, who -- despite being feverish and congested and generally miserable -- still had an immense appetite, and sending and answering emails in an effort to keep the last weeks of the semester from turning into a complete tire fire.
Also, some gra…

Writing Practices, Processes, and Productivity

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Kristy Bowen, founder, editor, and publisher of dancing girl press, wrote this blog post about her writing habits since earning her MFA, and even though Bowen and I lead very different lives in terms of particulars, I found this passage resonated with me especially: Other related things were happening during this time--girl show, my thesis mss, which was rendered adrift when Ghost Road went under in 2010, was picked up by Black Lawrence and slated for publication.  Noctuary solicited shared properties... and released it in 2013.  The JF poems were a huge success when Sundress published them as an e-chap.  All of which drew me out of the funk I'd been in for awhile and made me less likely to doubt my commitment to sparkle motion. I felt more like a poet again--so I guess I started to act more like it.

But even still that pace, since around 2013, has been much slower and less productive than this year all by itself, and I feel like it's for a very simple and rather unc…

Blergh and More Blergh: Notes from the Week

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11.13.18: Just logging this here, as one does when one keeps a blog that tracks one's writing process: I've reached a weird, uncomfortable place with the poetry manuscript. Here's a list of my ridiculous fears/problems: I fear I've jinxed myself by calling this collection of poems a manuscript.I've written myself into a weird space with the narrative arc. I don't know where to go next.I'm not having as much fun writing the poems, which tells me they probably aren't good.Part of this is because my mind feels pretty divided. Feeling like I should be grading instead of writing really squashes creativity.Blergh. 11.15.18: Feeling better. Did some whining in the above notes, got that out of my system, and then managed to write another two poems I kinda like. So. In one of my "I-don't-know-what-to-write-lemme-look-over-what-I-already-have" moods, I noticed that since September, I wrote about 9 poems in one two week period, then 6 in the next two …