Friday, March 30, 2012

Earrings for the shop

So I made some more earrings this morning to go into the (still nonexistent) etsy shop. I want to have nine items before creating the shop. My aesthetic for this new shop is focusing on asymmetrical pieces and mixing of textures (specifically metallic and natural).

First pair:

I actually made these over the weekend but cut and filed the ends this morning. Thanks for the jewelry files mom!

Second earring:

I really like the way this one turned out. I can't decide if I make it a plain and simple partner or if it gets sold by itself. Feel free to weigh in on this. The bone got overexposed cos I was taking this with my cell. I'll photograph these again when it gets closer to the time of needing better photos. I might also need ear models.

And here is one I made for myself. It's for me instead of the shop because I'm not happy enough with how the wirework turned out. It was my second attempt at a wire earcuff. When it didn't work out; I went hammer smash smash! Actually more like tappy-tap. And flattened it. And recycled it into a charm.

Here's a detail of the two charms on the end. Also, I finally figured out that I can use bails (top left corner) as earcuffs! I don't know why this didn't occur to me before. Probably because I don't regularly use bails in my jewelry. The bail/earcuff has a cute tribal design on it, which I didn't take a picture of. It came that way.

PS: I finally did make a wire-wrap earcuff this morning. It's cute but not pretty. It stays on my head. The End.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


So I went back to the craft store today (only took 3 hrs 10 mins round trip as opposed to... whatever it was the other day) to exchange $6 worth of merch. Yes, I know. But. I didn't need the stuff, and I got better stuff, plus $0.43 back. That's 1/4 of an Americano.

And then I went to the hardware store, which is like a bigger version of the craft store. And I got some of these:

And some of these...

And I intend to have my way with them when I get upstairs, but sadly may need lunch and / or nap first.

{sigh} I miss the hardware stores like the one I used to work at, more like mom n' pop establishments and less big-box-extravaganza. I thought at least I was more likely to be anonymous, and that would be a good thing, but wouldn't you know it, some dude asked me if I needed help. However, I will point out (so you guys don't think I'm a total misanthrope) he was nice and our interaction was fortuitous. I wouldn't have found the Specialty Washers drawer for awhile. But I know the aisle and rough location now, and the delights that await within.


I found 4 pcs. of (wrapped) chocolate in my trench that I only wear on rainy days.

Also, I picked up *another* reading! At Sphinx on 4/10 which I'm waiting to announce more vociferously until I get the correct spelling of my co-reader's name.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

But I must also mention Teh Happy

I have three poems up on 13 Myna Birds! If you haven't checked out the journal from my post the other day, you should look now... Thank you Juliet for putting together such a well-designed little mag. I am proud to be featured among your new crop of poets.

Paranoia confirmed

So I wrote that yesterday I sent out a bunch of withdrawal notices, and talked about how paranoid I was that the editors will reject the entire MS just so they don't have to go through the trouble of pulling the one poem. WELL, this morning in my inbox what did I find... ? Two of the journals I sent w/d notices to yesterday "coincidentally" rejected me by this morning. The whole MS.

I hate when my cynicism is proven to be accurate.

I am not going to name names, although I am tempted.

I don't think I will ever submit to these particular journals again.

There's a third journal that I have a particular tenderness toward. A few years ago when I embarked upon this same project, this year of what I called "extreme submission," (it was 2005-2006, I think) this journal sent me a rejection but it was very flattering and encouraging. Small kindnesses mean a lot.

I am really hoping this journal does not add to the list of immediate rejectors.

Monday, March 26, 2012

a drop in temperature leads to

me not wanting to go outside today, even though it looks sunny. So:

This morning started off with an acquaintance telling me about a situation. This person is a guardian for two special-needs teens. The teens were molested repeatedly by a family member when they were growing up. The perpetrator was convicted and served his legal punishment for it, but now that he is out, he is being all stalky and intimidating to these teens. I am not mentioning any names/details here on purpose. If you know more about this situation, please keep it to yourself and not comment on the blog or fb. The only reason I bring it up is, my productivity was kinda trashed there for awhile. Listening to my friend go on about this story of violence reminded me of a time in my life when I was young and there was violence and what would happen to me if I told, etc. I sorta had a big ol' ptsd panic attack there. Every time my acquaintance updates me about this situation, I want to tell them, can we not talk about it? because it makes me freak out. But I want to be supportive. This conversation led into a longer one about victims' rights, how they have fewer rights than the prosecuted, then the Treyvon Martin case --for which I think there's a rally at CMU today... and I just ... didn't want to go there.

I read a cool article about meditating and almost did it but then did not. My mind was too stormy and I was alone... it was maybe a bad time to "go inward." So I answered 10,000 (approx) emails --this is what happens when you don't check your email over the weekend I guess. Then I went on YouTube and watched some jewelry tutorials that I had intended to get to. One video led to another and there I was for two hours watching videos. The last one(s) were of these pendants made out of watercolor paper --so amazingly gorgeous that i started to think how / why would anyone ever buy MY stuff on etsy this guy has an art degree from Pratt... and the self-esteem started to go into decline-mode.

After two potential knocks to my productivity I decided it was time for a shower. It must have helped because after the shower I submitted to Sixth Finch, which was a good idea I had been sitting on. Then I sent out a bunch of withdrawal notices.

Sending out w/d's is a good thing --it means acceptance. But I have this paranoia that when I send out the w/d, the editor is going to be like, "Okay, you really want me to go through my 4,096 submissions to find your ONE poem that you withdrew and keep looking at your other stuff? No thank you." And then they'll hit the REJECT button.

Mike points out that 1) The journal assumed the burden when they said sim subs are okay 2) The editors are probably writers too, who also sim sub, and thus they will be empathetic and 3) Sending a w/d makes you look Wanted, like "you waited too long to ask me to the prom; sorry."

I'm not sure I believe his relentless optimism. But I am glad it is there. In my life. Close to me.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Saga of the Bajoran Earring, pt. 4

So at last, here's the pic of me with the earring on. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. The clip-on finding does not look too bulky to me, although I might place the top charm a little below it next time so it doesn't look so overshadowed. I wore it to Writing Renaissance today and didn't feel that uncomfortable pinchy feeling I was apprehensive about.

Also, Writing Renaissance was fab. It's great to get hugs from so many people you care about and haven't seen in like forever. Also, I got applause, actual applause, for a writing exercise. I mean, the prose-poemlet I wrote in response to it, called "Ataxia." That made me happy. We did three exercises. Molly Bain facilitated. She was fantastic.

Also-also, speaking of fabulous poets, Katie Pierce, a woman I went to grad school with, is on Poetry Daily today. Laaa!!!!

The Saga of the Bajoran Earrings, pt. 3

So I spent all day getting those earring parts, and spending more money than I thought I would ($50 instead of $25), partly because I wanted to get different findings and see what worked best, and secondly because I saw some stuff at the end that I just "had" to have and it oops! jumped in the cart. Ear cuff findings were nonexistent at the craft store, and this is a big craft store. You can order them online, individually, from Fire Mountain Gems though, and I've seen them on other sites for less money but with a minimum order of $25 and a not-as-good user interface. So I decided that clip-on findings were the next best thing. I also found some toe rings in my jewelry box that I may adopt... and also-also, I just wanna get my cartilage re-pierced so that I don't have to put a clip-on or cuff up there --I can just use a stud.

Here's the Process

Step 1:
Here you see the main components: 20 ga. craft wire, 2 lengths of silver-plated chain (I would estimate it's about 3 or 4mm chain), a filigree clip-on earring finding, 2 lever-back earring hooks, 6 jump rings (though I miscounted and ended up needing 7) and the elements of my charms: a hexagonal spacer bead and a hematite cube.

Step 2:
First I made the charms which were to go on each segment of the earring. This is the left ear again,  so the longest charm will go closest to my chin and the "cuff" will go up on my cartilage.

Step 3:

Here I've built the charms and connected them to the findings, so you can see the earring starting to take shape. My last step is to connect all three segments with the chain so it becomes one big earring that goes all the way up my ear.

Step 4:

And here it is! One big earring. I had to cut the second piece of chain (on your left) down because, although I do want a bulky "hardware" feel, I didn't want that chain between my two lower piercings to get caught up in the two charms.

When I wake up I'll have Mike take a pic of me with the earring on... moment of truth! I am worried that the filigree clip-on will be a bit bulky looking next to the charm which looks more delicate, but we'll see. I thought I would be done in an hour. I started at 5:28 and finished at 6:07. Yes, I woke up very early to do this because I was just too beat yesterday after getting home to put the earring together. Because of public transit, rush hour, etc. it took me 4 1/2 hours to complete my journey. I thought it would only take 3. I'm just happy I got it done because I want to wear it to Writing Renaissance this morning... which starts in three hours. Wonder if I'll get a nap between?

I also have to give major props to these craftspeople at Chainmail & More or I would have never thought to do an earring that utilizes that double-lower-lobe-pierce I got in the 80s cos everyone was doing it.

If you like this tutorial or the jewelry, please leave a comment on my blog or on the Facebook link.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Saga of the Bajoran Earrings, pt. 2

Making this type of earring with an ear cuff blank would be super-easier than doing a wire-wrap ear cuff, although less beautiful. This afternoon, I need to head out and get some more bead wire so I will see if they have any ear cuff blanks at the craft store. From my online research, I've seen ear cuff blanks at $6-10 each, which kind of expensive. So I really want to be able to make the wire wrap cuffs. I did some searching for tutorials. 

Wire wraps are not my greatest skill; however I've been wanting to improve. For Christmas this past year I asked my mom to get me these metal "needle" files of various shapes and diameters that are good to work with wire wraps. You can do the actual wrap on the end of the needle. And then you can file down the tiny edges with the filing part.. I had previously been using the end of a pair of chain nose pliers, and filing with a cheap emory board which is kind of a pain.

So here's a picture of my first wire wrap cuff, done using this tutorial. Either this author's first language was not English, or they didn't proofread before they saved the tutorial, because there are certain key words missing. Like prepositions. Words that describe objection relations --with, around, under, through --very important to include! Anyway, I sort of guessed what was going on and I attribute the shoddiness of this work to the fact that it was my first attempt, not their spotty directions.

The little part that's shaped like a U is the part that bends around the back of the ear. Here's another shot so you can see the U-part better.

Finally --okay,  my font and alignment have changed after I added the second photo, WTF blogger? Anyway, there it is. You can see it's not entirely symmetrical. Oops. Finally, here is a shot that shows the cuff actually on my ear. Unlike the proper Bajoran earrings, which are supposed to be worn on the right, mine will be worn on the left. I have an asymmetrical haircut. It's kind of like a pixie on the left and a chin-length bob on the right. So if I'm going to be showing off fancy earrings, the naked ear is a better choice :) 

Whoa, font and alignment have reverted back to the original. Yeah! Am I gonna bother to fix the middle one? No. Cos I'm impatient, that's why. As you can see, the cuff is pretty far down on my lobe. The bottom scroll is where I would be attaching the jump ring / chain to connect the earring that goes to the actual pierced part of my ear. IMO, that cuff should be up way further. What happened was that I got the proportions wrong. The scrolls are too wide and the U is too short to properly wrap around the back of my ear. And I have tiny lobes. 

If you want to imagine something semi-humorous, remember that I have no peripheral vision. Imagine me trying to get this stupid shot of the cuff on my ear w/o being able to see where the camera is in relation to my head. It took about seven tries. Stina, if you are reading this, this moment of disability humor is for you. 

Annnnyway, back to the beading board. 

Urgh. Except this is about the moment where my fibro says... you need a break. Don't you feel sleepy? You could just clooooose your eyes for a few minutes.

[Btw, I persist including all these details about the vision and the fibro because I want you to know what my life is genuinely like. That's part of the mission of this blog, I have determined. So if you're sick of reading fibro fibro fibro every other post... too bad.]

So I may go upstairs and try to do another wire cuff, or I may have a nap and go to the craft store instead. The sad thing is, that cuff only took me about 5-10 minutes. Then about fifteen to take pix and blog it, and I'm tired already. Fuck.

The Saga of the Bajoran Earrings, pt. 1

Mike and I are re-watching alllll of Star Trek on hulu. Right now we are almost at the end of TNG. Last night there were some episodes featuring one of my favorite minor characters Ensign (then briefly Lieutenant) Ro. For some reason it struck me last night --I don't know why it didn't occur to me before --I really love the Bajoran earrings.

Hence, to the internet. My first thought was to buy one. I looked at this one but eventually bought this one. As I was looking around at all the beautiful creations, especially on Etsy, it occurred to me that I could make these myself.

One of the great things about my life at the moment is, if I want to dedicate an entire Friday to learning how to make Bajoran earrings, I CAN DO SO. So this is part one of the Saga of the Bajoran Earrings. I'll post more throughout the day for those of you who want to follow along with my jewelry nerdery. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

13 Myna Birds

... is a journal you should check out. It's run by good people and it deserves more cred. Okay, ALL small journals / presses deserve more cred than they get but this is the one I'm talking about today because, yes, I squoze out another submission despite my brain's every attempt to blockade and distract me.

From their site:





If you like it like that too, or if you have some poems / blurts / brambles etc. maybe you should GO THERE RIGHT NOW.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Better Keep It

Vegas Postponed

So my husband and I postponed our Vegas trip after he had another, worse, gall bladder attack than the one on Friday. This one had the pain plus nausea, fever, and the shakes. We worry because he is prone to infections. Also, he would have just been miserable trying to be careful in Vegas. The whole point of a trip like that is the hedonism of it all. I'm sad we couldn't go, but a vacation when you or a loved one is sick is often not a vacation at all.

I channeled my Vegas disappointment by getting up early this morning and doing some work in the studio. Made a new prototype for the kind of necklace I'll be focusing on as the first product to be offered on my (as yet to be gotten) Etsy store. It's drying right now. I painted some pendants. I organized all the drawers in the main bead box --it's like one of those Craftsman tool boxes only plastic, not metal. I re-wrote some worn labels, shuffled some wrongly filed beads into place ('pearls' have a whole separate bead box now), and generally cleaned up the work table area.

Surprisingly, all three cats were in the studio at the same time and yet none of them bothered me. Luna and Ravi, at least, are usually up in my stuff. Shiny? Small parts? Pointy? Breakable? Toxic? It's their favorite. But Ravi was in the carpeted window seat having a snooze, Luna was sitting on the back of the brown armchair looking out the window, and Rus was sprawled on top of one of the giant Rubbermaid crates that hold my off-season clothes. So cozy. I wonder if we will have a day like that again soon.

Mike is watching the second Lord of the Rings movie on Blu-Ray. Crispy-clear! Ugh, that movie is sooooo boring. Orc hunting. Now they're walking. More orcs. Etc. I think it picks up at the end but I'm usually so dead that I never remember the end. I wonder how many times he's seen the trilogy. I know this version is a special extra-un-un-cut, 16 hours of special footage one.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Holy crap; I won last week's Trifecta challenge

... with that poem about the guy in the quarry with the accordion. Based on a true story :)

Anyway, this week has been such a whirl, first with fulfilling all the things I had scheduled (which has been so much fun and so rewarding; thank you friends and workshoppers) and secondly getting ready for Vegas. We leave tonight. So exciting. I am ridiculously looking forward to this vacation.

Unfortunately, yesterday Mike had a big gall bladder flare-up, so much so that one of the options on the table is having it removed at some point soonish, and I hope he will be okay for the trip. I know how it is to feel wretched and miserable on a trip because of some health thing that has cropped up, so I'm hoping the 24 hours with bananas/rice/applesauce/toast will calm it down to the point of "okay."

Yesterday I took some spring dresses out of the attic. It seems like it will actually be warmer in Pittsburgh on some of our "away" days than in Vegas --they are having a brief cool spell that includes some rain even.

I probably won't be online much this coming week. Which in a way I will miss but also I need to get away from it for just a few days. Kind of how I feel about the cats too. On Friday, because I was not around much M-Th, they were totally up in my grill. This is difficult when trying to give oneself a pedicure.

Just the thought of wearing those spring dresses as opposed to all my heavy winter sweaters/skirts makes me feel lighter in the mind.

Jewel in the Eye

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cog Fog

So this week I decided to schedule multiple events each day, to try & ward off the depression that's been stalking me. The good news is, it worked. The " interesting" news is that, after four days of keeping myself mightily busy, I've got fibro fog.

For those who don't know, an example: I lose my ability to speak extemporaneously. I forget words, mix up the syntax of sentences. This morning when I first saw my friend (with whom I was work shopping) I blurted "It's so good to see you so bad!" I think I was aiming for "I've wanted to see you so badly." And this kept happening throughout our session. I would, many times, pause and hold my head and say "I'm sorry." Press my temples as if I could squeeze it out.

This fibro fog is one of the reasons I did not renew my contract for the spring. It is one of many reasons, but it was in the mix.

These events that have kept me busy are less demanding than a day of work was for me.

I've had full nights of sleep every night, with some days having naps.

Hm. I really should have this looked at. And I told myself once I was done with PT, that I would finally go see the fibro docs.

I think I'm scared they are going to tell me there's nothing they can do about it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Graduation" from PT

I received: 2 resistance bands, 2 pages of exercises, and ... a t-shirt. I have to figure out how I'm gonna repurpose it. My inner 13-year old points out that, if you black out certain letters, it will read either CRABS or Center for Rabies.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Trifecta Week Eighteen

Here's Trifecta's challenge for this week and my response:

Mid-March Storm

Wheeze and peal
trail up from the quarry.

I thought that graffiti'd shack
had been abandoned. 

On the culvert's far side, a man, 
made tiny by distance,
plays the accordion.

On my side, the tips
of the hedge are clotted
with snow like full-blown dandelion.
I blow and wish.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Flashback to 2005

I had just graduated from an MFA program ready to take on the world and all that idealistic BS... and then my mentor passed away, and then I couldn't find a job right away and then I was just ... stuck. So I'd decided to try to start a jewelry business.

I built a website and attended these free classes at Pitt for women who wanted to start their own businesses. I sold some stuff to consignment stores and some stuff at flea markets and got a lot of orders from relatives who wanted gifts for their other relatives at holidays (and also a lot of "hey can you make ME a holiday gift... which was flattering). But it wasn't profitable. And I'd applied to one arts festival and was rejected. I don't think it was because of the quality... I just didn't fit the profile. This particular festival, which I love going to whenever it comes around, is all about the ironic reappropriation of the traditional female stereotypes so, you know: pot holders with guns on them. Onesies that made your newborn babe look like an adorable zombie. Also, a lot of upcycling: typewriter keys, scrabble and mahjong tiles, etc. And lastly, something that is beloved to me but as of now beyond my purview: the elaborately delicate steampunk creations that I can neither afford to buy, nor create.

In the meantime, when I wasn't doing that, I was submitting to journals like crazy. I found my old submissions tracking chart and it brought back some nostalgia for me. I remember how long everything took. How much work it was, and how much uncertainty. Eventually the success came, but it took awhile.

So, flash forward to 2012. The waiting, the uncertainty, of the submission process, is crushing me. I just see the uphill climb without a glimmer of the success. Yet. I hope it's yet. And not never. I keep succumbing to days of crushing depression. Spending too much time in bed crying. I know I'm putting this out there on a public blog, and if it makes me look like a loser then fuck it. This is what's happening. I remember when I was an undergrad we bore our rejections like badges of honor. Taped them to the wall. It was a defense mechanism that worked, at that time. That person isn't me any more. For example, my community of writers is much smaller, more sporadic, and we're all older. Each rejection feels like a little sting. Sometimes the stings add up.

So what am I driving at here? Well, I'd like to adjust my expectations a bit and try to start making jewelry again... "professionally." I have arthritis in my neck, which prevents me from wearing many of my old creations that I'd made for ME, and also many of my vintage finds that I was once so proud of. This time, I think I'm gonna focus on making lightweight jewelry... maybe with some varnished paper / collage elements. My favorite necklace that I made Back Then that I can still wear, has these type of components.

I need another thing to strive for that breaks up the waiting. This I could do out of my house. If I had a bad fibro day, I could do less instead of more. And now there's Etsy. This time, breaking even would be okay. I don't care if there's 5,000 other jewelry designers. I just want to throw something up there and see what happens.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Stop touching me

Sometimes I am sooooo jealous of people in cars. Of their sweet sweet isolation.

The bus to my neighborhood (the 48), I would argue, has slightly more than usual of ... inappropriately behaving ... people on it. However, transit in general.

I was on my way home from massage therapy today, which was not as painful as usual and actually quite lovely. I was feeling all dreamy and relaxed. Then the bus shows up. The one that will take me practically to my door step. Huzzah! Excellent bus karma! But then I had to pay for it.

On the way in, this drunk (you could smell it; he was slurring) guy is all like, "How are you ma'am?" He did say ma'am, but I don't acknowledge the questions / comments of male strangers on the street / transit unless they are trying to get my attention for a good reason (i. e. "Hey, you dropped your wallet"). My husband thinks this is quasi-rude, but I would like him to try being female for awhile and then reassess.

Anyway, I ignore this guy. Then he sort of reaches out and goes PATPATPATPAT on my upper arm and repeats his question. I'm like internally {e e p} but externally I brandish the cheeriness. "Great!!!!! How are you?!?!" while speeding toward the back of the bus.

And eventually I got a seat and eventually he reached his stop and I was wearing a thick coat and it wasn't a super-unacceptable place to be touched AND it wasn't nearly as bad as the drunk guy who embraced me because he wanted to "spread the love." But my ptsd kicked in and I felt my insides roilingroilingroiling. And then I felt this one muscle (the worst one) in my back start to tighten and I thought "nooooooooooo...." because : nice expensive massage appointment.

Now I am home. I am very grateful for our also nice also expensive home security system where I can press buttons and then it will give an ear-ringing beep if someone is trying to break into my personal space. The end.

Today's journal submission

... is to Juked.

I want to say nice things about Juked but I broke my reading glasses which has left me with a walloping head and shoulders ache and nooooo able stare @ computer anymore cnt c tny ltrs

I want a rock

As I walked to the bus stop this morning, mostly stepping around the discarded packaging that people leave to scatter on the sidewalk and blow against the banked edges of our yardlets (observed today: the wrappings and vessels of beverages, snack foods, cigarettes, and condoms), I spied-with-my-little-eye a perfect rock. Egg-shaped, but larger. Butterscotch colored. A smooth finished surface. Like one of those purchased river rocks that escaped from a garden or the concrete island of a gas station.

Every time I see a lone rock, I really really wanna throw it through a window. No one's in particular. But I am thinking house or storefront rather than car. I can imagine the heft, how it will fit the curve of my palm.

I have never thrown a rock through a window. How hard would I have to throw it?  I'm thinking of the big panes of glass on front windows. Would the window break all the way or would it just make those cool cracks like a huge jagged asterisk? With my luck, there would be a window screen that I hadn't discerned and the rock would bounce right off. But if all went as planned, I imagine myself as immensely satisfied.

This reminds me: at the university where I used to teach, they offered a major called Entrepreneurship. I thought this was bogus until at lunch one day I eavesdropped on this student, surely a product of that major, who had an idea for a business that I thought was pretty genius.

Basically, he wanted to rent a warehouse where he could amass unusable breakable items. He would give people skin/eye protection and weapons and let them beat the crap out of stuff that was destined for the landfill. He would employ people to load in the items and then to clean them up after. You would pay by the hour and/or the types of items.

Maybe because I'm a girl and socialized thusly, but I have rarely engaged in the on-purpose breaking of things for my own delight. How awesome would it be to whip rocks at an abandoned greenhouse or bust up a console tv with a sledge hammer? Very.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Today's journal submission

... was to Salt Hill.

I'm trying to get back on it. I had lunch plans that fell through and the fact of it made me crumble completely and then have to re-assemble. Don't tell anyone.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I finally submitted...

... to another journal today. I'm hoping this is a break in my crisis of confidence. It would be nice to get back up to five subs a week. Or even a steady three. I think the waiting is the worst part. But then of course, the waiting can lead to rejection, so you don't really want the wait to be over. Ugh. Anyway. The journal is Fourth River : [from website] "We welcome submissions of creative writing that explore the relationship between humans and their environments, both natural and built, urban, rural or wild. We are looking for writing that is richly situated at the confluence of place, space and identity..."

Weekend Trifextra

The Weekend Challenge and my response.

The phone rang at 4 am.

My mother, her panic—
a long dilution of vowels.
What? My heartbeat’s
windup, halt and clip.
Cody died. This is where
his organs must have
burst. How will I
clean it up?

I like this blog and its community. I like their challenges and the responses they get. Hopefully they will like me too, in spite of the fact that I will continue to inflict my poemlets on them. 

Writing exercises nearly always made my brain feel good, provided I have a tiny bit of latitude. For example, I think they want 33-word flash fictions and this is a poem. That's okay --I'm fine with not "winning." But a challenge puts me in a box and says, now find your way out. I like finding my way out of the box.


So, like I said, yoga on Friday night felt really good. But then I was, like, a little stiff yesterday. Then I woke up alarmingly stiff this morning. Like, hurts to raise hands above head and back muscles are rock hard. But --very important distinction --not spazzy. Yay!

I have determined that I need a hot paraffin capsule bed. It's a slight hindrance that these haven't been invented yet.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I returned to yoga last night

... and it felt good. I had a more ambivalent / articulate summary of the whole thing all planned out in my head, but it's a weekend. And weekends are easy for me to lapse into negativity so we'll just say IT FELT GOOD. I'd had a rough day (long, many tasks, errands, meetings + PT). K saved me a spot.

I felt strong. Thanks Kelly (PT therp) for preparing me to take this step back into something I need-love.

Of course I came home and flopped on the couch half-asleep almost immediately. My husband had to go get me a juice and a granola bar so I could eat "dinner" before going to bed. Then I was like, "Okay, now can you chew it for me?" :)

I plan to go again on Monday.

Friday, March 2, 2012


The other day, at a coffee shop, I was juggling my laptop, a printed copy of the manuscript and a pile of poems I've written since I started this project (i.e. My Semester of Quitting possibly aka My Year of Quitting) that I just call The Sheaf.

I noticed that, when you look at it from the top, the thickness of the MS and the thickness of The Sheaf are about equal. I was like, holy sheaf.

So I counted today. 42 poems in The Sheaf. 39 poems in the MS. Now, I'm not saying that all 42 in the The Sheaf are Freakin Amazing. They are first / second / third drafts. But there's 42 of them. And they are individual completed poems, not fragments or notes for poems.

When have I ever written 42 poems in, let's give a nice wide estimate here, ninety days? I need a reader. I need a reader who is going to patiently tell me which ones of these are going somewhere and which are better left on the launch pad. I need a reader who is qualified, honest, but not needlessly brutal. Some of these have been shown around, but most have only been seen by me. Some of them are in a writing style drastically different from what is in the MS.

I really do feel like I was semi-catatonic for six years and that my brain is trying to make up for lost time. But those were six years of working. Six years of good teaching. I was a good teacher. I was lost in the work. I am a good teacher. I apparently am not so good at multi-tasking. Before I let this blow up into a big unwieldy existential question about my future, I really need to take a shower and leave the house.

jim ferris

... reads at Poetry Speaks in Toledo.

"... save us from the selfless / may they each earn a self" (or at least this is the way I heard it)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Danielle Pafunda

I wish I could find more of her reading on the web.

"The Dead Girls Speak in Unison."


Hrm, I just realized that it is not in my nature to, as many shrinks, psych professionals, counselors, and "life coaches" suggest, to set small reachable goals.

Instead, I set goals that are way too lofty and then inevitably end up falling short of them. However, I try my best to meet the lofty goal, so I still end up accomplishing something.

For example, my goal at the beginning of this semester was 1 journal sub per day and 1 contest sub per week. I found out rather quickly that 1 contest sub per week was unrealistic. Good contests do not come around regularly; rather, they come in chunks. The 1 journal sub per weekday is still a good goal, but I have still fallen short of it. I think the whole feeling of:

1) Gee, I'm sending my stuff into a black hole here
2) Time dilation because this IS my project right now and so not a lot of distraction from it
3) Rejection with no feedback --how close did I come anyway? Did I pick something that was almost but not quite the right fit? Did I miss by a mile? Should I quit my life's work and go back to processing life insurance claims?

leads me into an unhealthy well of self-doubt. I've had four rejections so far since 1/5. My friend Joan (chapbook + 1 full length collection + sending second full-length around) says that she expects 5-10 rejections per acceptance.

I really need to get off myself. I mean: I have been published before. There also exists the chapbook, though I noted yesterday that chapbooks don't rate highly enough with [an institution that shall remain nameless] to qualify as "a list of our alumni's creative accomplishments." This is one of the reasons that I am not sure the posturing and B.S. of academia is something that I want to deal with long-term. Then again, in my experience, there's posturing and B.S. in any competitive job, and if your job isn't competitive, then you have to deal with your boss's posturing and B.S.

What is my damage?