Anti-Heroin Chic

It’s November.  It’s dark.  I’m plugging Vitamin D and my happy light like it’s nobody’s business.  It’s also six days shy of the two-year marker of when Bruce died all too suddenly two years ago.  On my darn birthday.

The following summer, I took off north for a couple of months.  I had been awarded a month-long writing residency through Alderworks Writers & Artists Retreat.  Let me tell you, a month holed up in a cabin is balm for the soul.  I read a lot, books like Carmen R. Gillespie’s The Blue Black Wet of Wood and Karen A. Tschannen’s Apportioning the Light.  I read poetry by Emily Wall, Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, Joanna Lilley, Gord Downie of Tragically Hip fame, Margaret Atwood, Carlos Reyes, Gary Snyder, C.D. Wright, James Wright.  I read books on grieving, books by Pico Iyer and started to read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.

But I also wrote.  A lot.  I sifted through the winter’s writing, buried the poems that were too dark, unformed and worked with those that maybe flashed a bit of spark.  My intent was to assemble a collection of poems on bereavement and accomplished that.  A manuscript tentatively titled Clutter & Scree emerged from those efforts.  It shuffled from the table I worked at in a little cabin to the entry in a writing contest with this little niggling thought that this collection wasn’t fully ready or vetted. The poems felt too raw, too close, and frankly, on the other side of hitting submit, I wasn’t quite certain I wanted such a narrowly focused collection to my name.

To say I miss Bruce is a gross understatement.  For 25 years we savored this amazing life together, covered so much wild space, and still, two years out, I feel adrift.  I never felt unmoored with Bruce, in fact, quite the opposite.  So to abandon the intent of Clutter & Scree came to make perfect sense.  A year later, a second draft emerged from the ashes of Clutter & Scree.  Curating the House of Nostalgia (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions) will publish in the spring.  Bereavement may skirt the shadows of my writing, but I don’t want it to be the sole focus, the motif, of a body of work.

So I offer my sincere gratitude to editor James Diaz for including a couple of my poems in Anti-Heroin Chic’s November issue, Grief & Loss.  Both are poems that emerged from this grieving path that wanted to see the light of day. And they are in such fine company.  It’s November.  It’s dark.  And there’s comfort in reading this issue slowly and with intention.

From Anti-Heroin Chic:  Our grief and loss issue is now live. Thank you to everyone who shared a piece of their heart and their loss with us. Beyond all else, in reading each of your pieces, it helped us to grieve and to mend, our hope is that it helped you as well, and now, the world.

 

Sheila-Na-Gig Editions

Three years of writing, these poems have sprouted in the wildest of unlikely places.  They caught the sun and breeze in the windows of a Dyea cabin and later wintered taped to the walls of an empty room.  They have been shuffled, torn apart and revisioned.  Last weekend I signed a contract with Sheila-Na-Gig whose editor Hayley Mitchell Haugen will see them through to publication.  I am so grateful and look forward to reading, in final form, Curating the House of Nostalgia, Spring 2020.

Writerly friends, the application period is open for Alderworks Alaska Writers and Artists Retreat.  Apply!  Apply!

Curating the House of Nostalgia

Sparks of Calliope

Thank you to Sparks of Calliope‘s editor Randal Burd for walking into November with “Solar Flare,” my riff on Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese.”  It is here I am in fine company as fellow poet and AWS editor Ray Ball has published her poem, “Return.”  In the spirit that the writing community can sometimes mirror Alaska in the idea of ample ground and many connections, Randal Burd is poised to release his new collection of poetry with Kelsay Books, Memoirs of a Witness Treein spring 2020.

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EV Lacertae (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

my (small press) writing day: Writing in the House of Fall

Last summer, I received an email from writer Rob Mclennan who runs a blog called “my small press writing day” modeled after The Guardian’s occasional feature, “My Writing Day.”  He wondered if I’d be interested in writing an entry.  Interested?  Yes!

So his email sat in my inbox through August, September and now through the first autumn storm in October.  Last weekend the winds creaked the house, the rains swarmed the windows and I sat down to write.  The end result with photos of my writing space published this week:  Writing in the House of Fall.  Thanks, Rob!

We’Moon 2020

I’ve been an avid consulter and reader of We’Moon since 2000.  In this stack, 19 years of documented happenings, letters written, poems published, Solstice gifts gifted, Costco lists recorded, travel dates noted, daily destinations logged.  You know.  The stuff of life.

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In my moon of all full moons, I love finding a home for my poems in We’Moon.  Once, an entire poem of mine was published, titled “From One Good Year to Another.”  I wrote it in 2011 and it published in We’Moon 2014:  Radical Balance. What made its publication especially special is that the editors placed it as the final poem of the year.  That particular New Year’s Eve was blustery.  Bruce, Rie and I were hunkered down at home lit by twinkle lights sparkling against rain splattered windows.  I received a Facebook message that night from beloved poet, UAA MFA faculty member, teacher, sage, amazing human Eva Saulitis who, from another island in the Pacific (albeit warmer – Hawaii) and taking one last look at her own copy of We’Moon for the year, inquired if I was indeed the poet behind the poem.  I was!  I am!  It was a sweet and memorable exchange of New Year greetings, well wishes and writing encouragement all bundled up into a stormy night of one year’s end and another year’s beginning.  But this moment also taught me that when you read a poem that grabs you by the heart, you need to engage in some outreach, either let the poet know or post a good word, a review of the work and share the word with others.

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This year, again.  I am over the moon that the editors have included an excerpt of my poem “For Gloria” in We’Moon 2020:  Wake Up Call.  Just six lines are included, but the poem is placed in the opening of the issue, next to Earth Dancer’s “Call It In.”  I can’t know what in three months’ time I’ll be hoping to call in for the year to come.  Without a doubt, the last two autumns have served up so many painful challenges:  dark followed by darker yet, but the darkest has been losing Bruce.  I plow through the season with fall-scented candles, lots of Vitamin D and a SAD light to push me through these months ahead.  So this news of once-again publication, another round of merry, makes my heart light.

Thank you, We’Moon.  Thank you.

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Read more about We’Moon here.