Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Confession Tuesday

Time to "Poet Up," as Bruno Mars says. Time for confessions.


This artwork is from an exhibit at the ICA Boston. Recognize the phrase?


I don't know how I'm going to get through inauguration week. 

This morning I went on Facebook and finally read this article on what books President Obama reads. Ugh. Then the tears came. Maybe it's dawning on me that our eight years with the Obama family are ending, and that the sense of optimism about where the country was going culturally and economically is gone. I don't hear anyone cheering, especially on the conservative side. 

I'm saddened that we're losing a president who really cares about books. 

And if you care about books, then I have to believe you have an expanded and open world view. You believe we can't get by on the backs of others. You can think critically. You believe in reason and science. 

Trump doesn't get it. 

As an educator starting classes this week, I worry that we will slide backwards as a nation. All of the progress we've made with Women's Rights, LGBTQ issues, people with disabilities, immigration--you name it, it's all going away. For me, that's translated to a certain degree of stability in the classroom. When I stand in front of my students to say everything will be OK, I'm lying. 


The week after Trump was elected, kids in my son's middle school told him and his friend (who is Filipino) that they will be deported. So don't tell me that things aren't changing,


I'm ready to #resist, but I do so while grieving the loss of the current administration. Don't even get me started on Michelle Obama. I'll save that for tomorrow. 



Courage before comfort. #resist

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Poetry Action Plan 2017

Creating a Poetry Action Plan (PAP) is simple:

  • Define your goals
  • Be realistic about what can be achieved
  • Track your progress
  • Prepare for setbacks BUT be open to opportunities

Unfortunately, my 2016 plan went up in flames.

Even though nothing went according to plan, I swear by this way of thinking. I’m a goal-oriented person. The older I get, the more intentional I am about how I spend my time. More important, none of us knows what will happen with the new administration. I have to stay connected to what's important to me.

I don’t have any idea how artists will be called upon. I worry about federal funding sources for creatives drying up. I worry about poets, writers, artists, and adjuncts—those of us who don’t make a ton of money—losing out on vital services and resources. I’m holding onto the idea, however, that taking care of myself and my writing life will help bolster me in all parts of my life. If I can balance my energy and resources, I should have enough for the people in my life and my community to do whatever I am called on to do.

That being said, here’s how I did in 2016:

This exercise forced me to take a good hard look at what I accomplisheded in 2016, and what I hope to do for the New Year.

In 2016, I ...

  1. Found a home for my next book. CavanKerry Press will publish Rewilding in 2018!
  2. Publish in journals and magazines regularly. Mixed success.
  3. Continue to support Misery Islands. I guess I did this. Even through my most difficult time, I continues to do readings and take on projects.
  4. Take up yoga. Yoga? What's that?

I’m being too hard on myself because I did go to The White House.


In 2017, I will:

  1. Write a poem a week. I’ve written four. So far, so good.
  2. Send out a submission once a week. Haven’t sent out anything yet.
  3. Only take on writing projects that have meaning for me. I am trying to be more selective about how I spend my time.
  4. Yoga!

Here are my past plans for 2015 and 2016.

Good luck creating your Poetry Action Plan for 2017!

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Confession Tuesday

If it's Tuesday in 2017, then it's time to confess.

Thought I would start with a picture of the kids.

Alex is now 13 and Ella is 11. This photos was taken outside of the World of Coke in Atlanta. Yes, there's a World of Coca-Cola. It's delicious. We especially like the tasting room where you can try Coke products from around the world. And yes, Beverly from Italy still takes like fizzy nail polish remover. Never ceases to amaze ...


The kids are back at school, which mean my vacation starts today! WOO HOO!


Public journaling--specifically, blogging--forces me to think about what I will say or do next. What am I teeing up for tomorrow? Where will I put my energy? What is worth sharing? That's what I missed in most of 2016. Maybe it has to do with energy and the lack thereof, but I just wasn't looking ahead beyond the next set of tasks. By December, everything felt like an obligation. Everything was due; therefore, nothing was important.

So blogging is an attempt to gain some perspective and figure out what excites me. Where do I want to put my energy next?

Today, the answer to that question is writing poem #2 for the year.


I'm hopeful that I'll continue to blog regularly, but I can be fickle.


Right now, I'm sitting in Starbucks on a rainy morning, and listening to "Cloudbusting" by Kate Bush.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye, 2016.

Now what?

2016 was a totally f*ck*ed-up year. Sorry. No other way to say it. So many deaths, personally and publicly. Not to mention the death of our democracy.

For much of the year I have been silent on the blog. It wasn't bringing me joy. It felt like work. And after 10 years, who was reading?

Then, in August, my former husband, the father of my kids, passed away unexpectedly. We've had illnesses and deaths in my extended family as well. The fall was tough. Didn't feel like writing, much less writing poetry. I tried to keep all the trains on the track: family, teaching, po biz. Didn't sleep much. I won't spend too much time breaking down my feelings. I don't need to. Not today.

And the election. OMFG! Can't believe we didn't elect the most qualified person, who *happens* to be a woman, to the highest office in the land. I'm still in shock. #ImStillWithHer Now this I will probably blog about around the election.

Today, I am here because we are ending 2016 and I landed nowhere near my goals. I wrote 12 poems in 2016. Most years I average closer to 50 poems.

I am here because I'm trying to keep myself from completely falling into a sinkhole of despair by making some changes. I'm remember all of the good things that happened in 2016. And there were a lot. I'm remembering what it meant to feel fully myself, when I was in touch and in tune with everything. I'm stepping back in the flow and I believe blogging might help me get there.

What changed my mind? Time off helps. But what I found during this period is that I stopped noticing the world. Blogging helps me think about what I should talk about next. Writing a poem a day will do the same thing. So my goal is to do both, start up with the blog with a few posts a week while writing a poem a day in January.

In 2017, I want to undo my narrative and create a new one. I'll have to evaluate at every turn. While I am grateful for anyone who who reads my blog, I write for myself. I mean, if you are reading, it really is a happy accident, because there are those who do it better and with more consistency. The Poet Mom blog itself needs an overhaul. I need an overhaul.

I am here because I am suiting up like the characters in every Marvel superhero movie. 2017 will be hard for creatives and for the most vulnerable in our population. I feel a layer of armor hardening over my skin. We will be called upon in ways I can't imagine yet. And I want to be ready for anything.

2017, I am ready. Bring. It.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Confession Tuesday

I confess. I miss posting on Tuesdays.

Until June, I had not written a poem since November 2015. Now, for a while I did not want to write. Then, I was too tired to write while planning the festival. And when I finally wanted to write, I had a hard time getting started. Lots of doubts and old insecurities reading their ugly mugs.

Here’s what’s gotten me out of my funk:

  1. Clearing some of the clutter—physical and mental—from my life. From finding a home for my book collection to pushing back on some commitments, making some adjustments to my priorities has made all the difference.
  2. Create breathing space. With the school year ended, I was able to clear my schedule. That helped a great deal.
  3. Getting back into some old habits. I’m eating and sleeping better, and exercising more. Baby steps. 
  4. Trying new things. At the beginning of May, I sought the advice of a dear friend to help me set a new course. So far, with some adjustments, her advice has pushed me into uncharted waters. Now it’s up to me to continue the work.

Maybe the biggest lesson I’ve learned has to do with balancing my time. In late spring, I worked really hard to get my schedule under control. But that schedule doesn’t work for me now. Seems I tended to put my creativity into one- or two-hour time slots, fitting it in whenever I could. But I’m happiest when I can give myself long blocks of uninterrupted time. I mean, if my creative life is the most important thing to me, then my schedule needs to reflect that. So I am devoting my mornings to writing. Chores and email can wait. Also, this is when the kids have camps and activities outside of the home—perfect time for me to write and revise.

As for my blog, it’s due for an update, but for now I will post at least twice a week. This is me attempting to revive an old habit for a new purpose.

Thursday, June 30, 2016


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