Monday, December 31, 2007

2008 Goals

By far, this is my favorite time of the year. This is where I look back on the year to see how far I’ve come with my goals. So as I look back on the year that was, it ROCKED!!

With the acceptance of my poetry manuscript by CavanKerry Press, I blew my poetry goals out of the water! I also wrote 70 poems, surpassing my goal of 52 for the year. On the workout front, while I didn’t learn how to swim, I dropped 10 pounds—two more that I anticipated. Tim and I have gone to the gym consistently in 2007 so it’s nice that all of our hard work is paying off.

So here are my goals for 2008:

1. Get our financial house in order. Tim turns 40 this July, and it’s been our goal to pay off our mortgage by the time he’s 50. So in order to do that it’s time to get serious about paying off debt, saving money, and investing in our future.

2. Get serious about the PoBiz. Since the book comes out in late 2009, I need to devote myself to doing all those things to make it successful. That includes developing my own personal marketing plan, finding freelance opportunities, doing more local readings, applying for grants, and getting my work into journals. And blogging, of course.

3. Read more books. Sad but true, I have as many unread books as an independent bookstore. My reading list is here.

4. Learn to swim.

I never put in goals about being a better mom or wife because I think that goes without saying.

Good luck to you in the new year. I wish you much poetry and love in 2008. Be safe!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Few Random Thoughts on a Sunday Night

This is my brother-in-law yesterday at a holiday party showing that he still has the goods after all these years. Over 40 and feelin' sporty!

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So I mentally checked out from the blogosphere for a few weeks. What can I say? With Christmas my mind turns to sugar plums.

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My parents have returned home to Virginia. There presence, for Tim and me, gave us a break from watching the kids. And their absence is a reminder that we're getting back to our usual, chaotic routine. That makes me incredibly sad.

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Much of my time lately has been spent getting information about my book to the publisher. I thought arranging the poems was difficult, but my gosh! Writing a book description is hard.

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The title has changed from "The Kerning," to "Underlife." I think the change is a good one.

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New Year's Eve is in my top three of holidays. Will post at length with a year-end review and goals for 2008. Woo hoo!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Where the Writers Are

Red Room is live, well … beta testing.

If you haven’t heard about this project, it’s a social and creative network for writers. Based in San Francisco, they’ve rounded up some significant literary luminaries, such as Maya Angelou, Amy Tan, James Patterson, Clive Barker, Candace Bushnell, and Khaled Hosseini, Alice Walker, and Salman Rushdie, among others. The site features blogs, videos, podcasts, and the creators promise to roll out new community features in the upcoming weeks.

While I’ve read in articles that demand for Red Room is off the charts, I’m skeptical about how vital and robust the community with be. With 16 authors listed un the poetry genre, many of the initial blog posts are quotes pulled from old magazine articles. How active will these authors be to foster community?

If you’re a featured author, however, it’s a great place to promote your work.

Since this is a new venture, I hope Red Room finds a rhythm to succeed, because it would be interesting to hear from Maya Angelou about contract negotiations, or what Ishmael Reed thinks about the current state of poetry in the U.S.—that’s the down and dirty stuff I want to know as a writer. Anyone can join, so check it out.

Friday, December 28, 2007

X-mas Pics

Usually I take more photos at Christmas, but this time around we were overwhelmed by the kids' excitement. Sheer joy! Santa came and he delivered, in style!

Despite Ella's expressions, she was a happy little girl Christmas morning.










Monday, December 24, 2007

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

My son was so excited about Santa's visit that he went to bed early--his idea, not mine!

Here's wishing you a very merry Christmas and all the blessings of the season. Hope to get back to blogging in a day or so.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

You're A Mean One Mr Grinch

My son loves this video! Although, lately, I've felt like a Grinch with the holidays around the corner.

I've been caught up in the holiday sprint to Christmas. Today I'll be out at the mall looking for last-minute gifts and grocery shopping. Ugh. Why do I do this to myself every year?

Fortunately, the cavalry comes in today--my parents arrive from Virginia in about an hour. We're all looking forward to their visit (and I need the extra hands around the house).

To my I Promise blogroll participants, I hope to visit your blogs this weekend.

And now, how are you doing? AND, have you been naughty or nice lately?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Confession Tuesday

  1. I just had my photo taken for promotional materials. What a surreal experience that was! Don't know how celebrities and models do it, because I felt like a goofball in front of the camera. Of course, celebrities make lots of money to pose. Poets? Not so much.


  2. I'm also working on a book description, creating a list of potential media outlets, and updating my bio—things I should have done a month ago.

  3. And I'm halfway through my Christmas shopping. Still can't believe Christmas is a week from today. YIKES!

  4. My parents come in for a weeklong visit on Saturday. Hurray! Tim and I need extra hands around the house.

  5. Cabin fever is starting to set in. As a result, I'm going to have to make up some crafts. I am SO not crafty. I'd rather be inside a Starbucks writing a poem. So I think we'll end up painting, making Christmas tree ornaments and baking cookies—I hate that stuff. Sorry, I don't get warm and fuzzy over handmade items. As it is, I have more crayon drawings than I know what to do with.

  6. Lastly, my coworkers and I are going to a BBQ joint for lunch. Yum! This is the last day I'll be in the office until after the New Year. True confession: I miss them already.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The View from My Front Door


Sunday Scribblings: Dance

The History of Dance, as told by January Gill



Everything I learned about dance I learned from Janet Jackson. I’m referring to the Janet of What Have You Done for Me Lately—long before Nipple-gate. Back when her brother, Michael, was somewhat normal. You know, when MTV still played videos 24/7.

When my friends and I were old enough to hit the clubs, but under 21, we’d head over to a dance club called Ferrari’s—and I danced until I became a sweaty mess. Obviously, we couldn’t drink, but Friday nights (and some Saturdays) we’d be the ones in the center of the dance floor showing off our best moves until closing.

Some of my most favorite dance songs from that era:

Poison, BBD
Funky Cold Medina, Tone Loc
It Takes Two, Rob Base
It Takes Two, Cover Girls
Bust a Move, Young MC
Push It, Salt n Pepa
Kiss, Prince
Lean On Me, Club Nouveau
Need You Tonight, INXS
Anything Madonna


When I met my husband in 1997, we met at a New Orleans bar called F&M’s. It was the kind of place where they’d let you dance on the pool table and, literally, swing from the rafters. Since then, the only time we seem to go dancing is when we’re invited to weddings. *sigh* But whenever I hear these songs it takes me right back to one of the happiest times in my life. And who knows what 2008 will bring—with any luck, it brings ’80s night in Boston!


Visit Sunday Scribblings to see who else is bustin' a move!

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Announcement

You probably could have guessed, but I am pleased to finally reveal that my first manuscript, The Kerning, will be published by CavanKerry Press. The publication date is set for October 2009.

I've been carrying this secret since October, but I was waiting on a little more information to trickle in before sharing the news. Can't tell you how many times I've thought, "Gosh, maybe they got me confused with someone else!"

I sincerely believe that I couldn't have done this without the support of all of you who read this blog. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I'll definitely keep you in the loop about the process from start to finish and beyond.

So let the games begin!


(Gosh, I'll be 40 when the book comes out!)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Poem

The Little Mermaid Walks Away

There’s too much water in the ocean.
Each wave an echo, an unanswered wish
calling her to the surface. The pulsing current
through coral reefs means nothing to her
when the ocean’s craggy floor
is pocked with the things
others throw away. She brushes her
cyclone of tangled hair with a fork.

How perfect does an apple taste?
A steak? A kiss? At night, she writes
her girlish notions against shafts of moonlight.
The morning hands them back.
There are no flaws in nature, so to walk
on pronged feet, to leave a footprint,
means walking out of a dream.
It means destroying a kingdom
only to build it again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Confession Tuesday

I had much more to confess last night than I do today!

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Our day care provider needed to complete some home repairs in December (it's a home day care), so we've had the kids most of the month, and it's been extremely stressful. The kids are out of their routines, Tim and I are juggling schedules, and since it's so cold we can't get them out of the house as much as we'd like. Fortunately, I think they can go back next week, and then my parents arrive the following week for Christmas. Extra hands make light work.

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Still waiting on an important piece of mail before I can share my good news. I've been waiting since October so I'm a little frustrated. I mean, this is a huge secret and I can't share it—not even on Confession Tuesday.

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I've spent the last two days reading blogs for inspiration—there are a lot of wonderful musings happening in the space of a blog post. I feel like blogging is this wonderful gift that only a small number of us knows or cares about. I'd like to keep it that way.

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With the holidays around the corner, I've found it difficult to focus on writing. I would like to write 3 more poems before the end of the year. So I'll hunker down and post something soon.

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I'm thinking about investing in a Poet's Market book for 2008. I haven't owned one since the early '90s, and with submission information so readily available online, I haven't needed one. Now I'm also applying for grants, but I haven't found one great source of grants and submission info targeted to writers. Does anyone have a recent edition or have any suggestions here?

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I could go for a big bowl of chocolate ice cream right now.


 


 


 

Sunday, December 09, 2007

2008 Book List

I’m embarrassed that every year I make a book list yet never complete it. *sigh* But I do enjoy making the list! Unfortnately, I think I’ve carried over the same books for more than two years. *big sigh*

Next year’s list will contain only 12 books, comprised of books currently collecting dust on my bookshelf—at least I have a reasonable chance of reading one a month. Notice there are no poetry books here. That list is really more fluid for me. For instance, in late January, I’ll attend the AWP conference and pick up a few titles while I’m there, not to mention new journals and anthologies, too.

Note: I’d like to read a John Edgar Wideman book but he has so many I don’t know where to start. He’s coming to speak at my college in February. Any suggestions?


2008 Book List

1. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe (int’l fiction)
2. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou (classic fiction)
3. Brevity and Echo anthology (short stories and prose poems)
4. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote (classic fiction)
5. Against All Enemies, Richard A. Clarke (history)
6. A Personal History, Katherine Graham (autobiography)
7. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (classic fiction)
8. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, Audre Lorde ("biomythography")
9. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, David Sedaris (nonfiction)
10. Vinegar Hill, A Nanette Ansay (fiction)
11. White Teeth, Zadie Smith (fiction, a re-read for me)
12. John Edgar Wideman (Need a suggestion)

So, what's on your book list for 2008?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Go Elf Yourself!

Me like you've never seen me before. Click here.

(In real life, I'm a much better dancer!)

Friday, December 07, 2007

New Poem

First Snow

December, like a torrid romance,
rolls in and takes over with its granular
white beauty, making the ordinary extraordinary,
only to harden overnight and become dirty slush
by dawn’s early light.

Look how it demands respect,
makes a city groan and grimace
at the mere mention, only to send weathermen
and school kids into unfettered delirium

how it dredges up images of Frost and Dickens,
holiday memories on 34th Street,
when, in fact, it turns vehicles into bumper cars
and roads into beds of salt.

A torrent of snowball fights follows—
those complex lumps of packed snow
hiding ice hard as doorknobs,
hurled from the arm of a gangly teen.

What it is about the first snow
that makes our own dreams edible
as we hold out our cold, red tongues
against a gray sky?

How easy it is to believe in God,
or miracles, when nothing else adequately explains
the wonder of it all.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Few Random Thoughts on a Wednesday Morning

As I type this, I forgot that yesterday was Confession Tuesday. Oh well, I’m still a little NaBloPoMo-ed out so I’m taking it easy on the blogging and getting ready for the holidays. I guess this post will make up for yesterday’s non-post.

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Today, I’m off from work—woo hoo! I rarely take days off, so as a result, I have built up more time than I can use in a year. In fact, I have three more days to use before we’re out for the rest of the year on December 21. If my calculations are correct, I have a mere nine days left to work this calendar year—just one more reason why I love where I work.

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So the kids and I are going Christmas shopping. Need to get a present for Tim; although, I think once we pick it out my son will tell his dad what we bought. *sigh*

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I have been sending out poems to journals like a mad fool. I have about eight submissions out there working for me, both print and online—that’s a record. I hate the submission process but I look at it as a necessary evil.

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Currently, I’m working on a new poem. Hope to post it sometime today.

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Also working on two articles for here and here. Hope to wrap them up sooner rather than later.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I Put the "Mom" in Poet Mom!

When I'm not blogging or poeting, I do a little of this...




















... and a little of that!















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