Thursday, July 30, 2009

Never Surrender


Isn't he lovely?

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Do you know who else is lovely? Rethabile! We had hoped to meet up on his visit to the U.S., but it doesn't look like that will happen. However, I was able to speak with him on the phone this morning, which made my day. Safe travels, my friend!

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Also in the category of amazing instances, today I saw the fully designed book cover for Underlife! It looks sweet! CKP has done a wonderful job making it come alive. There have been many hands at work helping to make my book a reality, and now I'm one step closer to fulfilling that dream. Thanks to all.

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The kids are away with their dad for a few days, so I'm trying to jumpstart my writing with a few exercises. Hoping to write one more poem before the end of the month.

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Yesterday on the car ride home, Joseph and I were trying to think of Cory Hart's other hit single, besides "Sunglasses at Night," which popped up in my iTunes. It's "Never Surrender."

Kramers, Ben's, and Busboys

After the reading in Rock Creek Park, and for few a few hours the next day, Joseph and I got to hang out a bit in D.C.





Kramers. I spent many an evening falling in love with books and their covers in this 24-hour bookstore/eatery/hotspot. Wish I had taken pictures of the interior, but if you've ever been it hasn't changed at all.





U Street







Ben's Chili Bowl. I lived in D.C. for three years before grad school and never ate there (and I know the owner's son, sort of!). But we made up for that with breakfast, complete a chili dog on the side. Yum!









Bringing sexy back!




Busboys and Poets. Another restaurant/bookstore/hotspot that truly impressed me. What a wonderful place to come to if you want to buy a book, get a quick cup of coffee, or hear great poetry. It truly is a neighborhood gathering spot.












Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Poetry in the Park

It was a day filled with calamities, right down to getting lost in Rock Creek Park minutes before the reading. But the Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Reading was so worth the effort. It is a well-run series, with a group of devotees who come out for poetry no matter what. Joseph and I felt quite honored to be a part of it.











Featured in photos are poets Joseph Legaspi and Joseph Ross , and organizer and poet Kathi Morrison-Taylor.



Special thanks to Juan Gaddis for taking my photo.

By the end of the night, it was dark! But what a wonderful setting to experience poetry.

Shatner Turns Sarah Palin's Prose to Verse

To properly convey the meaning of Sarah Palin's exit speech when she resigned from her office as governor of Alaska, Conan O'Brien asked William Shatner to read her words as a poem.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wash D.C.

We have arrived!

After a long day of travel, Joseph and I have finally made it to D.C. From what I've seen, it hasn't changed that much from when I lived here many years ago. But I just love being back in our nation's capitol. Can't wait to visit Adams Morgan, U Street, and Busboys and Poets.

Little does Joseph know, but we're taking a late-night stroll around the monuments after the reading. Photos to come!

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On the ride in, I realized that I have stayed in four hotels in two weeks. Yikes!

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Our reading is in a few hours. So while Joseph takes a quick nap, I'll look through my poems and decide what to read. I'm very excited to be a part of the Miller Cabin Series, and to spend a few hours in my favorite city in the world!

More to come.

On the Road Again



A good omen.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Confession Tuesday

You know the drill.


I'm throwing a pity party. You're all invited.

I'm writing from beautiful Stamford, CT. Why, you ask, am I in Stamford and not on my way to Washington D.C.? Because the temperature gage in my car flared up. Was afraid the car would overheat. I had this problem last week but thought it was resolved. So rather than risk the drive to New York City, I'm going to have it fixed first thing tomorrow morning.

This sucks on many levels.

  1. Not psyched to sink more money into this car after the repairs from three weeks ago
  2. I was supposed to stay with Joseph Legaspi tonight, but I'm currently at a Marriott
  3. We were going to a party thrown by Poets & Writers. *BIG SIGH*
  4. I'm praying tomorrow's early-morning visit to the mechanic gets me in and out in record time, for little money
  5. Saw this little trip to DC and NY as my vacation. So far, it's sucking royally.
  6. I'm 45 minutes from NYC, damn it!
  7. ESPN is based in Connecticut, yet I can't find a decent American League baseball game on TV. What's up with that?
  8. With everything else going on, this simple hiccup seems larger than life

Of course, I'm thankful that I'm not stranded on the highway with an overheated car. It just sucks.

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I'm now on Twitter—one more distraction to keep me from writing.

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How many ways are you digitally connected to the world? Besides the blog, I tweet, I'm on Facebook, Ning, BlogHer, Red Room (sort of), and now SheWrites. I'm sure I'm forgetting something. How many social networks are too many?

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The hotel has complementary wine and cheese in the lobby. I'm on glass #2.

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Earlier, before the car went on sick leave, I was listening to a conversation on talk radio about work/life balance. Do men think about balance in these terms? I read a lot about this subject from the female side of the equation. But I never hear men, single or married, talk about making choices to maintain stability in their personal lives. In my case, I work because I enjoy it, and now I'm the breadwinner for the family so not working is not an option (sorry about the double negative). But I'm constantly thinking about how to spend more time with the kids while remaining effective at work and nurturing a writing career. Is work/life balance a term women created to make us feel better about ourselves?

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Keep your fingers crossed about the car, and I promise to do some mobile blogging tomorrow—with photos.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Night Musings

Today was the last day of my vacation. *sigh* It was a really fun week with the kids. My intention was to give them a few new memories and experiences with me, and it was extremely satisfying to do so. We spent the afternoon playing miniature golf.

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Later, I spent some time collecting my manuscript. It’s divided into four chaotic sections. Trying not to pass judgment on the work but just focus on revisions. Again, it was extremely satisfying to put things in order. I feel like I need to live with the work for a while before this group of poems is truly a collection.

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Tomorrow after work, I’m headed to NYC and then to Washington, D.C. with Joseph Legaspi to read at the Miller Cabin Reading Series. Pray for no rain!

This is mommy’s mini vacation, back to two of her favorite cities with one of her best friends. Woo hoo! Will be blogging from the road.

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Sarah Palin … Whatever!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Coco Keys


We just spent the last few days at Coco Keys Water Resort at the Sheraton Ferncroft Hotel. It's an indoor water park adjacent to the hotel. We’ve been here before, most recently on my 40th birthday, yet this was the perfect way to end our staycation week for many reasons.


  • The weather the past three days has reverted back to what it was like earlier this month, upper 60s and rainy

  • The price was right

  • The kids really love this place, and so do I

  • I had help! (Thanks Suzie!)


While I was disappointed to let go of my original vacation plans for a road trip, I’m glad I was able to do a week of mini-adventures. Doesn’t hurt that I spent half as much money and still wound up with a fantastic week with the kids, my silver linings.

Now, onward to my next destination: Washington, D.C.!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. speaks out on racial profiling after his arrest by Cambridge police.

Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. speaks out on racial profiling after his arrest by Cambridge police.

Shared via AddThis

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Even the president had something to say:

Obama defended Gates on Wednesday night, while admitting that he may be "a little biased," because Gates is a friend.

"But I think it's fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry; No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, No. 3 ... that there's a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately."

The incident, Obama said, shows "how race remains a factor in this society."


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I have a few questions of my own:

1. What's up with Skip's neighbors not knowing who he is?
2. When inside the house and Skip was providing ID, why didn't the police take a look at the photos in the house? Apparently the valid driver's licence and Harvard ID were not proof enough.
3. Was it necessary to arrest him? I mean, really. He provided identification, standing in his own house.
4. The man uses a cane. Does this fit the profile of someone capable of B&E? Where was the common sense on the part of the Cambridge Police?
5. Disorderly conduct? It's not like he was trying to incite a riot.

And for Skip's part, I can understand the outrage he must have felt. But why make the situation worse by talking back to the cops?

I've certainly been in situations where I've felt like I was not given the benefit of the doubt because of the color of my skin. So this touches a nerve in me, and for many people of color, I suspect.

Miller Cabin Poetry Series -- July 28


If you're in the D.C. area, please stop by!

Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Series
July 28 * 7:30 p.m.
Featuring January Gill O'Neil, Joseph O. Legaspi, and Joseph Ross
Rock Creek Park, Picnic Area #6, Beach Drive at Military Road Overpass

The Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Series takes place Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. in Rock Creek Park, during June and July. Two poets are usually featured, reading their original poetry. The outdoor programs held next to poet Joaquin Miller's Cabin are sponsored by The Word Works, and the National Park Service. In 2009, co-directors are Kathi Morrison-Taylor, Rosemary Winslow, and Deborah Ager.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Free and Tribes

As if I don’t have enough to read, I downloaded two new audiobooks for my iPhone. I downloaded Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Wired Magazine's Chris Anderson. This book fascinates me. First of all, I downloaded it for free on my iPhone as an audiobook and as an e-book for my iPhone Kindle app, my first! How will the publisher make money on a free book? (Hardcover sales?)

As a marketer, the concept of free fascinates me. I mean, much of the content on the Internet is free. Social networking sites are free. YouTube is free. And look at their popularity. Yet most poetry is free and no one buys it (I'm speaking very generally here.).

As someone who puts her writing on the Web, I think I’ve benefited by freely sharing my work, but how will that affect book sales in terms of reaching an audience? If one can get something for free, at what level will a reader pay for it? Does getting something for free affect its value? Of course it does, but is it valued less? For me, it’s all tied into worth and value in our culture.

And, I downloaded Seth Godin’s audiobook Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. Overlaping concepts, I think. I’ve been a fan of this marketing guru for a few years, ever since his “purple cow” days. Tribes talk about developing a devoted following to champion a cause, whatever that may be. In my case, the blog has become a way to reach out to the community of poets and writers.

Both books share an unconventional way of looking at how to get a message across. Personally, I don’t think the community talks about poetry and business enough. But for me, it’s a fascinating exchange between art and commerce.

Me Time!

Today I put the kids in day care so I could have a day to myself. And what have I done? Nothing! Well, I blogged a lot today.

Not even thinking about all the things I’ve left undone. Of course, the day is not over yet.

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Thinking about my parents and friends at lot. Couldn’t get through this time without them. XOXO!

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Just received a very nice thank-you note from a dear friend. She says, “…bet you didn’t know you were such a good juggler.”

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I think I just picked up a third opportunity to read at the Mass Poetry Festival! I’m excited. As long as the times don’t overlap, I’m good. Now, is it excessive to read three times in four days at the same festival?

Also, I picked up two Boston-area readings for January 2010. Woo hoo! Thanks Harris.

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Decided to break out my book comments into a separate post.

Storyland



Woo hoo! We just returned from Storyland in Glen, New Hampshire. Didn't think I would like the fairy tale theme, but the park was terrific. And the kids had a great time, too!

It was a quick overnight trip. We left home at noon on Monday and traveled 135 miles north near the White Mountains where Storyland is located. The kids and I played Michael Jackson songs the whole time! ("Mommy, can we hear 'Beat It' again?")

The weather was sunny and warm on Monday but rainy and downright awful on Tuesday, but we didn't care. In fact, the rain kept people away so by the end of the day, we rode many of the rides, like the Bamboo Chutes water flume (in photo), multiple times. Can't tell you how many times I heard, "I want to ride this ride again!" I really enjoyed spending time with Alex and Ella, watching them romp around, ride their first roller coasters, make silly jokes, get their faces painted, and just have fun! And as a parent, I loved seeing how they decided to spend their time.

The only wrinkle we hit was a little car trouble, which turned out to be nothing, but at the time I thought it was a big deal. On the ride up, the temperature gage started to fluctuate about 10 miles away from the hotel. The car was fine to and from the park. Yet, in the back of my mind, I kept imagining worse-case scenarios for the ride home: the car will overheat, we'll be stranded by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere in the pouring rain. What am I going to do? I also kept thinking, my husband would know exactly how to handle this. Damn.

Thankfully, we drove home without incident.

(Seems that the temperature gage will do that in the mountains because of the higher altitudes, I guess … I dunno ... When my mechanic told me what was happening, my eyes glossed over. I'm not one for car talk!)

Selfishly, I needed to do this for myself. I seem to need constant reassurance that we will be OK as a family, and I can make it as a single mother. In truth, this would probably be a ho-hum summer if things were status quo. So I'm happy for the chance to plan these little adventures for the kids. Who knows, we may even attempt another Storyland trip before the season ends.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Confession Tuesday

If it's Tuesday, it's time for a few confessions. Time to share with the class! And don't forget to stop in and say hello to the sinners in The Confessional!


I'm writing my confessions on Monday morning because the Summer o' Fun vacation is in full effect! Will post pictures later tonight.

Yesterday, I took the kids bowling (candlepin, small bowling balls). Wish I had taken my camera because it was a riot! We let Ella bowl a few steps down the lane because it took so long for the balls to reach the pins. All in all, it was a fun outing, and Alex was the victor with a score of 77!

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Ella has been rather needy the last few days. Don't understand it because I've been spending more time with her, not less. She's literally been clinging to my leg. Really hope this stage passes quickly because her clinginess makes me want to run the other way. *sigh*

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I'm going to write a column or two for the soon-to-be relaunched Read Write Poem, based on poetry confessions. The relaunch is happening in a few weeks, and my article should post in last August.

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I have declared Wednesday as a "me"day. The kids will go to day care while I regroup a bit. I'll take a look at my to-do list, but this will be the day I finish getting my manuscript in order (although revisions will take a few weeks), write, and catch up on my reading.

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I signed up with Twitter, but I'm not active yet. Not ready to commit. Baby steps!

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Happy Tuesday, folks!




Sunday, July 19, 2009

A&E

Uploaded by www.cellspin.net

Poetry Roundup

Amy King put together a great list of Poetry Calendars from all over the U.S.

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In their electronic newsletter, Tupelo Press offers prompts for writers. This is an excerpt from their newsletter, which they have not posted yet but as soon as they do I will update the link.


Tupelo Authors Offer "Prompts" for Writers
"Getting Started and Keeping Going"

Seamus Heaney quipped that the challenge of being a writer is "Getting started. Keeping going. And getting started again."

In our newsletter and on our website, we'll be offering prompts and exercises for poets and writers, which you can try out, adapt, use with students, and transform in surprising ways. Send us your own ideas for Tupelo Press's Writers' and Teachers' Resources archive, available soon at http://www.tupelopress.org/.


In this issue of The Tupelonian, we send you a sampling of the dozen Writing Exercises from the Reader's Companion created by Karen An-hwei Lee for her book Ardor :

# 1. You are a well. Jing shui. What's at the bottom? Write in the language of water.

# 3. Create a rainstick or any musical instrument out of paper. Write a poem describing how to make rain or how to make paper.

# 4. Write a poem about sweetness arising from bitter things or the reverse.

# 9. Compose an aleatory (chance-based) poem using the dictionary, algebra, or any formula for data.

# 10. Without using e-mail and the internet, find an economical way to share your poems as gifts or as forms of witness. Share with one hundred people.

# 11. Research or invent a marginalized (rare) language. Write a poem in this language.

# 12. Set up a typewriter in a place where there is a lot of foot traffic. Post a sign offering your Poem-Writing Service. Write poems for free.

In addition to Ardor (Tupelo Press, 2008), Karen An-hwei Lee is the author of In Medias Res (Sarabande Books, 2004). She lives and teaches in California. She is also a novice harpist.
Also, Tupelo's Open Submission Period runs until the end of July.

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Over at Poet Hound, a great suggestion to comb your used poetry book stores for poetry titles. Makes sense in these difficult economic times. (Thanks Jilly)

Also, if you have a used bookstore or local library that will take your titles, this is a great way let go of old titles to make way for new ones.

The Boston Lobsters

These are pictures of Martina Navratilova at Thursday's team tennis event. She's part of a professional team tennis team called the Boston Lobsters. I forgot my camera, so these were taken with my iPhone. Can't believe she's 52; she still plays as if she's 22.



Missed out on meeting her because she came to the "meet and greet" an hour earlier than scheduled. Still, a good time was had by all. (Thanks HG!)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Staycations and Stuff

Today at 4:30 p.m., my “staycation,” or stay-at-home vacation, begins. Taking a break will help me rejuvenate other parts of my life, I hope. I’m looking forward to spending time with the kids on day excursions and mini-adventures, as well as sleeping in and eating too much ice cream! I’m also planning large chunks of time by myself to read, write, and relax.


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Tonight I’m going to a charity event where I’ll get to meet none other than tennis legend Martina Navratilova. Go figure! I'm a huge tennis fan so I'm really looking forward to it.


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I’ve been thinking about Phoebe’s Confession Tuesday post. In it, she said something that really resonated with me:

“… I confess that I've never been confused about my own power. I am a powerful person, always have been. This comes up a lot … me marveling at my own ability to move through the world the way I want to. Me wishing I could use more of that power for good. If only I can make that strong sense of self and creativity connect with some ambition. I often feel like I'm missing the ambition.”


Like Phoebe, I have a keen sense of who I am—always have. Yet, I don’t suffer from a lack of ambition (neither does Phoebe, in my opinion). For me, the bigger issue is intent. I have a lot of good intentions, but no follow through. It’s easy enough to talk/blog about stuff, but to act on intention is often difficult. If I acted on half of my intentions, I wonder how much different (maybe even better) my life would be. And what if I used my intentions to help others. What if I championed one cause—what kind of difference would that make in someone else’s life?

Something for me to ponder on my staycation.


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I'll be blogging and posting with wild abandon this week. Stop in and say hello!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Confession Tuesday

It’s Tuesday! Time to share that pound of flesh with us (metaphorically, of course), and don’t forget to visit the repeat offenders in The Confessional.


It’s very rare that I get out for a kid-free night out. But last night—yes, Monday night—this Poet Mom went out with another poet mom for a few tasty beverages. Let’s just say that I’m feeling it this morning. And that’s why I don’t go out that much anymore! We did have fun chatting away. Thanks CM!


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In my new-found frugality, I’m finding a lot of deals that have always been around but I’m just now noticing. Writers, check out whatever office supply store is in your area. These stores are gearing up for back to school sales, so lots of basics on sale in the upcoming weeks. (Back to school already… can you believe it?) I bought two packs of Staples brand copy paper for $3.69 each. By taking advantage of an online rebate, the paper costs just $0.01!

*Writers, how are you being frugal during these difficult economic times?*

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Being more frugal has also led me down a path of greater self control! Had to talk myself out of buying a Lenovo Ideapad S10-2, a mini-laptop, for $315. *big sigh* But truthfully, it is a “want,” not a “need.” That’s how I make most of my financial decisions these days, by asking myself, “Is it a need or a want?” Usually puts things into perspective for me.


Oh, but I really, really want it. Someone may need to talk me down off the ledge. I’ll get one later this year. I love that the minis are lightweight, no larger than the size of a book, and cheap. It’s perfect for writing in a coffee shop or for use during travel. Did I mention this laptop is blue?


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Haven’t made much progress on my poetry to-do list. Honestly, after a long day at work and a few hours with the kids, I crawl into bed at 8:30 p.m. Doesn’t help that I’m up at 5 a.m. during the summer to take advantage of my college’s flexible work hours. So it’s hard to motivate myself to write. Ugh. I need to stop complaining and just get on with it.


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I’m slowly working through the second manuscript. Will fell better once I solidify the poems in the last section. There are three sections currently, but that could change the deeper I get into the process.

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I’ve lost 15 lbs in 3 months. It may be the one benefit to the chaos in my life.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Superhero Sunday

The kids and I spent Sunday morning at the Wenham Museum and their exhibit, "Colorful Characters: Storytelling Through Comics."

Superheroes in training













"Yes, Alex, we used to have these things called 'phone booths' to make telephone calls ..."



Friday, July 10, 2009

Kibbles and Bits

Finally, the sun is out in Boston! The kids and I will be hanging out poolside at our local Y this afternoon.

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Looks like I'm reading in two different sessions of the Mass Poetry Festival this October. Woo hoo! Also, I'm on the list for NYU's spring 2010 alumni reading. And I just applied to read at the VA Festival of the Book for 2010. Keep your fingers crossed because I am a Virginia native and I would be a little crushed if I didn't read at this event in my home state.

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Don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of stories about poets making no money. Old news, if you ask me. Nonetheless, NPR has a nice story about emerging poet Elizabeth Haukaas and established poet Mark Strand.

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Tomorrow, I plan to take a substantial about of time revising my second manuscript. I should get in some reading and writing, too.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Dunken Boat 10

Finally, Drunken Boat 10 is up! Go check it out. I'm one of 100 poets and writers included in the 10th anniversary issue. Tickles me to no end to be in an issue with Kim Addonizio and Marilyn Nelson, and so many others.

Check me out, and listen to the audio clip.

Confession Tuesday

Welcome to the first Tuesday of July. You know what that means? Time to confess. Share a little of yourself with us and we'll do the same. And don't forget to check in with the sinners lollygagging in The Confessional.


True Confession: I've been reading the same book for months: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Now, I love this book, yet I've become a very casual reader when it comes to novels. Poetry, newspapers, magazines articles and blog posts I'm voracious about. But novels? Not so much.

Feeling incredibly guilty about my lack of effort, I picked up the book again and fell right back into the story. I seem to pick it up during the times when I need it most on an emotional level. So the passage I read yesterday was this:

"And the question now for me is, What are my choices to be? What do I believe that I deserve in this life? Where can I accept sacrifice, and where can I not?"

I've spent a good portion of my adult life taking care of others. Now that the marriage is ending, I must focus on me. I have to move in a direction that brings peace and stability for my children and me. It's quite a daunting task to go it alone, but here I go, slowly moving toward happiness. I will accept nothing less.

As for Eat, I've decided to finish it this month so I can fill my cavernous heart with more words. Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is waiting patiently for me.

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This summer I had planned to take the kids to Sesame Place. But the thought of taking two kids under 6 to an amusement park by myself scares the BEJESUS out of me! So I've decided to stay local and plan a staycation full of awesomeness! We'll stay overnight at a local water park, visit the "other" Children's Museum in the metro Boston area, take a ferry ride from Salem to Boston, hang out at the pool at our local Y, go bowling, play miniature golf, eat well, stay up late, and just laugh a lot. I'm even planning a few excursions for myself. Maybe even a SPA DAY! Figure I'll spend half as much money and we'll get just as much enjoyment.

I wanted this to be the trip that said to the world, "I'll be OK. We'll be just fine." But I think the most important thing is to relax and enjoy this time with the kids. Maybe this week with mom will be a time they cherish for the rest of their lives.

We'll save the big trip for next year when I have help.

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Still mourning Michael Jackson. *Sadness.*

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And on the poetry front, here are my July To-Do's

  1. Read a friend's manuscript to write a blurb for his upcoming book (I haven't forgotten, J.B.)
  2. Finish the first draft of my second manuscript
  3. Write four poems
  4. Finish Eat, Pray, Love. Start Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (I have a thing for three-word titles)
  5. Update marketing plan for Underlife.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Today's neighborhood is Fenway Park. The Red Sox beat the Mariners 8-4. Pictured are Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew (7) and Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (51).





















Friday, July 03, 2009

The Runners Up

These are the covers that were "voted off the island." Let me know what you think. Any favorites? I have a few.

Looking back, this represents a great collaborative effort between me and Eric, cool guy/designer extraordinaire.


1. Kitchen

2. Beach 1

3. Beach 2

4. Black w/Legs

5. Breast (not mine)

6. Light Bulb

7. Doorstep 1

8. Doorstep 2


9. Shoes


10. Fishnets


11. Fingers (not mine)

12. Face (not me)

13. Doorstep 3

14. Stairs 1

15. Stairs 2

16. Washing Machine 1

17. Washing Machine 2

18. Washing Machine 3

19. Washing Machine 4


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