Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Manuscript

So I've been shopping this full-length MS around for some time now. Honestly, not that long, in the grand perspective. But since late December, I've been writing so much more, in a newer, more risk-taking style, that this MS is starting to feel foreign to me. Like, it should be well and published by now, because the material is already starting to feel old.

Until now I've kept the MS apart from the new work that I've been writing. The new pile I've just been calling The Sheaf. However, a lot of my publications since The Sheaf started have been Sheaf poems and not MS poems. Soooo, combining that with the fact that I'm starting to see the MS as too tame, not exigent, enough, if that makes sense... I'm attempting some integration from the Sheaf into the MS.

Even the title, Rounding Down, doesn't seem to fit any more. It was (perhaps) better than the previous title, but it doesn't speak about the whole MS.

With the chapbook (Borrowed Bodies) I went through about three different titles until I settled on The One. That title did not come from a poem title or even an image within the book. It just fell into place one morning, in the shower.

Best thinking. In shower. Seriously.

Even after I had the title I wanted, the ordering did not come at once, nor what poems to include. I fussed with it until all of a sudden it fell into place organically. I was like oh yeah. That's how it's supposed to go. After that, I was a finalist at the next place I submitted to. After that, the book was taken by Pudding House.

This new MS has about 40 poems in it, with four sections. I have no idea if all of a sudden coming upon a form that seems organic for it is a realistic goal.

I get impatient. Really. I'm in my mid-late thirties. No first book out yet. Every poet whom I like, if I can track down their birth date, I figure out when that first full-length book came out.

It's always when they were younger than I am. Usually right around 30.

Except, except, except. I have a lot of exceptions. I'm not going to list them here. This isn't a sob party. So many things have derailed me from pursuing this project that I get to do now. And the reason I get to do it now is purely a gift, from someone I love dearly. But it was a gift. I feel guilty that I needed a gift.

When I graduated from college I thought I would be in grad school by 25. That didn't happen. I totally fell apart. Then I got in a few years later. I could feel time creeping.

When I graduated from grad school, I thought I'd be done with the adjunct gig and on to teaching creative writing full-time, in, I dunno, three years.

That for sure didn't happen. I changed. The world changed.

Since I went into recovery (13-14 years ago now) I've learned to love a plan. To cling to it. It is ridiculously hard unlearning that.

I compare myself and always come out wanting. I'm not saying it's rational. I know it's not. But it feels... it feels. I feel it.

Everything I do is a solitary act. Does that make sense? Sometimes the loneliness fills me so completely that I don't have words for it. Sometimes, and I know this is fucked up AND I'm putting it on the internet ... but I wish I was in recovery for alcohol or drugs. AFAIK, there is no meeting for what I'm in for. Done with. But sometimes I could really use a meeting. Not because I feel that I am in imminent danger of breaking my recovery, but because I want to feel less lonely in my process.

There, I said it. But that is what this blog is about for me. Radical openness. Presenting the good with the flaws and allowing it all to co-exist in one big me-mess. Me-mess. Me-ness. Something like that.

Maybe I'll look back on this post once the MS was published and think, yes, on that particular Sunday everything really started to come together. Or I'll think, shit, I was really in for a long slog after that. What will it be?

Mike is afraid I will always level up, after each accomplishment. Never enjoying, always wanting the next thing. I worry about it too. I don't know how to be content I guess. Or, I'm learning. But I have always been a striver, obsessed with the way forward. It's gotten me to where I am --i.e. through some pretty difficult situations.

Signing off now. Safari and/or Blogger just crashed and I thought I lost this entire fucking post.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

liminality / compassion

So this blog is going to turn into The White Cane Diaries for awhile. You know you wanna read it.

Being partially blind, but having been mainstreamed as a child to rely on my residual vision exclusively for way-finding, has always made me feel liminal. When I was in grad school at OSU, a place of much disability pride, I used the white cane for three years. Not that I didn't have angst, loneliness, etc. But I felt held up by comrades in arms, so to speak, even when they weren't literally with me, so I could do it more easily.

When I moved back to Pittsburgh, I stopped using the cane. Initially, I told myself it was because I knew Pittsburgh well --even though I was moving into a neighborhood which I had never lived in, and it totally flipped my internal map of the city around. A strong underlying reason, which I realized later, was because I didn't have my comrades any more. I spent a long time really mourning them, I think, without realizing that's what I was sad about. I still miss them.

But now that I'm white-caning full time, I might say I have never felt so liminal as I do now. Whip the cane out, I am one person. Put it away, I'm another. Not to myself, but to everyone else who sees me but doesn't know me. And even, I have to say, to some people who do know me.

The transition between non-use and full-time use, while it has happened physically, is still happening in my brain. It's still happening, as A. would say, energetically. I am of two worlds. No, I am my own unique world. But that makes me feel alone, to think that. Which is it? I was never comfortable with grey area.

Sometimes I walk outside and feel so sad and incredibly flawed that I can't look at other people and can't bear them looking at me. This was even when not using the cane.

This sad-flawed feeling would sometimes cause me to respond with anger, either internally or externally, to strangers who tried to talk to me. Often I thought / think : this isn't Peoria. Why do you feel you have to talk to me? Go talk to someone you know. OR. Many times the "talking" was actually guys hassling me. You know what I'm talking about.

[SIDE NOTE: The rest of this blog post concerns strangers who are male. I don't discuss strangers who are female here because our interactions are different. I have extreme social anxiety with strangers of both genders, but this thread here than I'm pursuing is male.]

Pre-cane : The guys who I might actually want to talk to have enough of a functioning superego to refrain from making comments as I pass by, or engage in conversations overtly designed to pick me up and for no other reason.

But now, post-cane : I have actually not been hassled by the guys with the non-functioning superegos yet. I think either it's only been a week; give it time or at last! with an obvious disability I'm too ugly for you to be a jerk to. 

Instead I have had several interactions, instead, with guys who do NOT seem completely deranged, unhinged, strung out, or unaware of the basic rules of hygiene. Not that I didn't have these interactions before, but there's a lot of them crowded into a short period of time.

[SIDE NOTE: It occurs to me that people who drive their cars everywhere might not experience this phenomenon. Most of these interactions, bad and good, happen when I am in transit. Sometimes, during one of my sad-flawed days, I am seethingly jealous of people who can drive. The blissful isolation. The power to be alone.]

Anyway, these guys. The things they say. The way they say them.

[At coffee] : Pardon me, if you don't mind my saying, I really love that tattoo. Can I ask where you got it? I wanted one similarly done (exposes his own beautiful tattoo on forearm) but you can see they didn't do the lines like yours... 

[On a super-crowded bus, a pale, gaunt, chipped black nail polish hand extends to me out of a crowd] : ma'am, we have arranged a seat for you.

[At my usual bus stop, at the edge of departing my neighborhood. I'm on the sidewalk, guy in car, who does not overtly display the signifiers of crazy or creepy asks] : do you want a ride down? 

I have now encountered the challenge of being kind. To male strangers who are being kind to me. Not grabby, pushy, or throwing their weight around.

Guy 1: I'd never previously encountered a guy who asked about my ink in such a kind way, period. I was disarmed enough to have a complete three minute conversation with him.

Guy 2: Internal: WTF, "ma'am?" how old am I now? do you think I'm feeble? External: [Eye contact. Big smile.] That is so sweet; thank you.

Guy 3: Internal: Do you think I'm insane enough to get in the car with you when you might be an axe-murderer or something? Does this cane make you think you have an extra-strong chance at axe-murdering me?! External: [Smile. Wave.] No thanks, I'm good. 

I hear N.'s voice in my head : compassion for others starts with compassion for the self. I'm trying.

chocolate / acts of negotiation

Goals for today: go to the ghetto market (I'm not including the name; I apologize to anyone if it offends you that I repeat this phrase) to pick up chocolate that I have a coupon for sometimes I go to the schmancy chocolatier and sometimes I go to the ghetto market to get the chocolate I have a coupon for, send out more poems to journals, buy a nicer french press than the tiny travel one I have now I need to brew more than 16 oz. at a time dammit, and read / annotate the Joanne Kyger poems for tomorrow's class.

So far accomplished. Ghetto market. It was the first stop down the hill, so to speak. As I've mentioned, I've been using the white cane full time now. Yesterday, while discussing the integration of this piece of my identity into the whole with A., I had a full-on freak out. She let me go into the studio a sacred space and do yoga for an hour until I calmed myself down.

One of the first lessons I learned after beginning my sessions with A. --she does massage therapy / energy work -- some years ago now, was how to make my aura big, so to speak.

To paraphrase A.'s words as I remember then from that time: there used to be this practice in energy work, where practitioners would encourage their clients to create a sort of force field around themselves to protect themselves from fear and harm. But that is now seen as old school. The best way to protect yourself no that is not the right words,  perhaps "allow oneself to fully be present in the world is to be radically open. So open that others cannot deny you your space.

I stumbled yesterday, mentally, emotionally, when I realized I would have to re-learn this lesson SO HARD TO LEARN... but with the cane now. Every time someone comes toward me on the street, I am negotiating a way-of-being with them.

I decided this morning that I would give myself permission to, once I was on the perimeter of the street surrounding the ghetto market, that I would fold up the cane and blend in. The ghetto market it being a) ghetto and b) a market is one place that causes me to want to blend in, not draw attention to myself.

However when I approached the ghetto market, using the cane felt so natural and seamless that I did not put it away until I was pretty close to the entrance. Which is where I would put the cane away naturally, when entering just about any building except the airport / train / bus station.

And then when I exited, I took extra time in the lobby to pack up my crap just so and I immediately starting using my cane as I exited the building. Just as I would any other building.

So, that happened. And I wanted to make a note of it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Might as well call it neurotica

[just ocd thoughtfragments, not poem]

I am freaking out about bugs
specific bugs
glossy black
three lobes
wood eaters
the shower
wherein this morning
Mike found
a silverfish
he stoically dealt with
the silverfish


my coffee is rich and frothy
my skin vibrates right off my body
I tune into
tv shows
about disasters
bridge collapse
folds into itself
kills a small village
subway tunnel
on fire : to a living corpse
dancing in a puddle
of flaming diesel
a silverfish
would not seem like much

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cane Coming-Out Day

So I've been trying to integrate the long white cane back into my life. When I lived in Columbus, it was easier to do so. There was so much disability awareness around campus, and well, campus and its adjacent neighborhoods made up most of the parts of the city I hung around in. In Pittsburgh it is not as easy, especially in my neighborhood. People are free with their comments. Sometimes (most of the time) I don't want to be noticed for my cane, or to be a one-woman disability education-service (e.g. "Not all people who use a cane are completely blind...")

But the cane needs to come back. I'm just safer when using it, not only at night, but in the rain, in bright sunlight... lots of lighting and terrain conditions are made easier for me when I use it. Also, cars and people tend to stay out of my way. It's taxing to my identity though. I can't "pass" any more. So yesterday there was supposed to be this really cool reading / talk at Pitt about / from the Beauty is a Verb anthology. I was so stoked to perhaps meet Jennifer Bartlett (if I was lucky) and to maybe have her sign my book (double lucky) and to maybe even have a five-minute conversation with her (triple-extra lucky). With this emotional energy bolstering me, I vowed that yesterday would be Cane Coming Out day. Kind of like the opposite of cold turkey. I was going to give a big push to my psyche and just start using it. Every day. All the time when outside. Like I did when I lived in Columbus. I wasn't going to share my little goal with anyone, but my reward for the first day would be to go to this awesome reading.

And then Pitt canceled both their events. I heard they postponed them until September. The University has been plagued with bomb threats (if you didn't hear) and I had this shivery-up-and-down-my-spine feeling that they were canceling the event on the potential of a threat because of the idea of evacuating so many people with disabilities. And I didn't like to dwell on that thought, or what it implied, because it put me in a very-much-NOT Cane Coming Out Day headspace. I talked to a friend on the phone about it fifteen minutes later and she also brought up this thought (that they canceled it because of the idea of evacuating, etc. etc.). I do wonder if the reading had been some "ordinary" poets, and not had a draw specifically for people with disabilities, if it would have been canceled. To repeat: there was not an actual bomb threat made.

But I kept to my goal and used the cane for the whole day. It was a reallllllly emotionally taxing day though. I talked about anger so much in my therapy session that I felt like beating things and whipping rocks at houses I passed when I got out. But then the anger dissipated. And, double-yay, no one gave me any shit about the cane.

I did run into a gaggle of neighborhood girls on last bit of the way home, walking up my hill. Long child-legs in shorts. Hair braided with springtime colors of beads like bright greens and pinks. They were the cutest. I would guess they were somewhere between 8 and 10 years old. I'm bad at guessing the ages of children.

Our sidewalks are really narrow, plus cars park on the sidewalks because the street is narrow, occluding half the narrow sidewalk. There's lots of awkward walking situations on my side of the sidewalk up to my house because of the cars. They came toward me in an oblivious (?) wall. We all sort of stopped in a heap, because no one could go into the street on account of an SUV or 3 was parked, blocking us.

I said, "excuse me" in a tiny voice. I'm rather shy. I know they're just children but there were so many of them. This one girl looked up at me incredulously and said, "are you blind?" like she was observing a solar eclipse or something. It was so cute; it touched my heart because she was small. I said, "a little bit." Then, "mostly." They parted and let me pass and they were on their way and I was on mine. I hope I didn't sound mean. I felt very tense. But little kids get a free pass, especially girls. Yes, a blind person can look like me, I will be happy (genuinely) to let you know.
This morning everything is making me cry. I'm crying about submitting another MS to a contest because of the money. $20 here, $20 there. Since January I've felt really tense about money. I'm crying because I'm thinking about going outside again and who will be out there. In Oakland people didn't seem to notice, which is fine with me. But the South Side is where I get hassled in general, mostly by guys who like to say things to petite young women walking alone.

Just a note: If one person comments and says "just let it roll off you," I'm going to work out my anger management issues on you, or your blog, or your Facebook wall. If I could "let it roll off me," I wouldn't be blogging about it. I'm thinking about one specific person here. My brain lasers are trained on you.

But.... but I am going to try to breathe through it. And make my aura big.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Jewelry for shop opening almost all done!

... and here it is. As I upload these pix I am *so* reminded that a) there is ambient cat hair in my house and I don't think it will ever all be vacuumed up and b) I really need to get better quality photos for the shop opening. I've been checking out what some other people have done to shoot their jewelry and their shots are inspiring. It's difficult to shoot jewelry, I've found, because almost all surfaces reflect the light and so the pictures get (technical term here)... weird. But here's the crappy shots to give you a preview.

I've been playing around with wire-wraps and having fun with earrings, still. But finally I did produce two necklaces. One will be shown here, and I gotta get the other one out of its little storage place. I thought I'd shot / blogged it already. Here's necklace #2.

I think this one measures about 16" and the charm maybe 2.5". That reminds me I also have to get size and weight specs for all of these. I wonder if I should buy a digital scale for better accuracy. I have one of the plastic variety right now, like the kind dieters use to measure portions, and it feels... approximate.

So I've officially made enough product to open ... the shop, which has a name, but it will be a surprise. Now I need to get to work with the good camera.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Poeta Incognita: A Review of the Instant Poetry App

Basically I feel like if you have an iPhone / iPad + $2, you should consider getting this app. If you've skimmed it online, you may think its usefulness of is limited to making poetry fun and accessible for the casual wordie. While it may do this, I also think more serious poets can use it to generate interesting first drafts on a quick and frequent basis.

I mention frequency. I think the poetic gaze is like a lens that you have to have open all the time. Like, you have to train yourself to see and feel poetry around you, to avoid writer's block. To keep the lens open, (at least I believe) you have to write. Some people are blessed with the ability to keep their poetic lens open no matter what minutia complicates their daily routine. Not me. When i was teaching I hardly made time to write. 

Beyond the cliche that writing every day breeds discipline, and that it gets the crap out of your head to free your brain up for the generation of better stuff ----that hypothetical daily writing time was time FOR ME, and I was not giving it to myself. I did not realize it, but it was a sacrifice.

Not giving myself writing time, or giving it to myself in the summer and then regressing during the school year, made me HATE the slog through continual freshman comp / lit. I felt like my brain cells were sloughing off one by one. I blamed my job, but this can happen with any job, especially where what you do is focused almost entirely on service to others and not as much as the development of your own specific talent or passion.

The biggest excuse I gave myself was I DON'T HAVE TIME to write. To an extent this was true. My day was broken up into chunks of obligations to others. By the time I got home, my brain was so beaten down... and then after I rested for a minute I had to do more work.

However, I had a lot of little spans of time. Being on the bus. Eating lunch. Sitting in office hours waiting for one student to show up. Not long enough to grade papers, this time could have been used to write. But my poetic lens wasn't open. I carried a pen and notebook on me all the time, but hardly ever flipped the cover. I couldn't get into the headspace fast enough to get in, write, and get out in these short time spans.

Over years, this trampled my spirit and I'm just recently starting to get it back.

Enter the Instant Poetry app. The word Instant implies quickness. The way the app is designed can lead you to intuitive leaps and nimble generation of lines. It works like magnetic poetry --with the benefit of introducing random words into your brainspace where some of them might resonate. 

However, with Instant Poetry you don't have to go through the hassle of looking through an entire refrigerator's worth of words to find the "and." You can add custom words easily using the keyboard, as well as rejiggering the ends of words to suit your needs.

If the small batch of random words it presents to you doesn't work at first glance, you can get a new batch simply by clicking the trash icon and then the green plus sign. [Note that these icons are not visible on the screenshots.]  So the random words are there to give you a nudge, but you are not limited to them.

This app also explores in a minor way the playful aspect of visual poetry. You can change the color of words by tapping, as well as adjust their size by pinching. Using the Options menu, you can also change the font and the background, but I haven't experimented with this yet.

Also in the Options menu, you can save your poem or take a screen shot of your poem once its finished, or as finished as you can get it --again, the motivating concept for me is the generation of first drafts and points of departure. You can also email or post your poemlet to facebook if you're feeling extroverted.

How is this better than a pen & notebook? I spend a LOT of time on public transit. Writing in a notebook can be bumpy and hard to read. And if you get jostled you can drop your pen. Using Instant Poetry on my phone, I can pretty much manipulate all the controls with one hand, except for the pinch feature. I can use it on the bus without drawing attention to myself. For some reason on my usual bus routes, people are very nosy and think it's their prerogative to lean in over your shoulder and ask what you're working on. I would not pull out a laptop and pound away on it merrily. The convenience of a phone cannot be overstated. Everyone has their phone out. You don't look different. But lo, you are writing poems! Given any of those little spans of time, I can whip it out, work on it, and put it back. And the colors / size change / font change make it feel playful, like you're fooling around with magazine cut-ups.

I do have some grievances: some of the features don't work. For example, you are supposed to easily be able to add an s to a word, or to trash a single word, by dragging. But at least on my phone, the s sits next to the word without attaching. The word sits on top of the trashcan without going in.

What I'd like to see for this app in the future: fixing the broken parts, an even larger vocabulary (though I hear they've recently upgraded it to where it is now). And, at least for the phone, a vertically scrolling workspace. Right now the length of your poem is limited to your screen size. 

This app, at least for me, is worth the $2. It allows for quick, playful, and customized composition that can be done covertly and on the fly. And, importantly, it gives your brain a creative jolt if you should get stuck. If your phone is forever in your hand or you are always looking up something on your iPad, this app might be for you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Two Successful Readings

So, I did two readings in the past week, which is more than I did in the past year. I have two more scheduled right now: one in June and one in July.

Whenever I am behind the mic I am not nervous. I feel in control. I know what our roles are. I feel dope-happy. The mingling though, after, usually throws my brain into a frantic cataclysm. The crowd. The talking-to. Am I doing this right? I can't see everyone / everything. It's like the walls are closing in. I want to love all of you. Instead I can't breathe. But these recent two; these were different. I had some conversations that were truly resonant, and for that I just gotta thank the universe and hope more readings will come my way. Or rather, that I will notice the opportunities for possibilities to open up, and get on them.

This year so far is truly being transformative, on many levels.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Yes, I just had to put that in the title of the post because I haven't promoted this reading enough. I was too busy with the Modern Formations one. I'm reading tomorrow night with Shaina Bazyk. She has a really serene energy to her. We went to a reading together once last year, but I'm not familiar with her work. But it's going to rock because the Sphinx series rocks in general.

Oi, so tired today, like I just can't wake up. The sky is that shade of gray that seems to swallow all the light, all my fortitude. I know this is what April is like.

I checked my new submission tracking spreadsheet this afternoon and apparently, since I've started the spreadsheet (late November 2011), my acceptance : rejection ratio is 1 acceptance per four rejections. I had to count it several times! That's a pretty high acceptance rate. I need to send out MORE MORE MORE to keep the good qi flowing.

I came to this coffee shop to research journals. Instead I got involved in some bureaucratic emailing and totally sidetracked. {yawn} Is it time for bed yet?

The nature of me though, is that if I have a day like this today, then I will be much more full of energy tomorrow.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sometimes you just have to make a list

I dislike Easter. This may be socially unacceptable. But I do. Something bad to me happened on / around Easter a lot of years ago. Also, I would not call myself "Christian." So today is just sort of meh for me. Mike suggested buying plastic eggs, putting catnip in the eggs, hiding the eggs around the house and seeing if the cats could hunt the eggs by smell. But we didn't do that. Funny idea though.

Blargh. So I have the Yesterday Was Awesome But What Has Today Done For Me Lately Syndrome. I think it's congenital. I don't mean to be this way; it just happens. I live in the uncertain future.

A. told me I had to make a list of at least one accomplishment per day, even if it was "take shower," if "take shower" was all I could manage that day. I thought that was a valid strategy. I swore I would show the list to no one, buuuuut in stead I'm letting you see an excerpt. Just in case any of yinz have that "living for the future" thing that makes you feel not so good. Yep, this is gonna be out there for the whole Intarwebz to see. But don't worry it's not like I tortured puppies or went to see the lady-parts doctor or anything.

4/1 Went to Barb's art opening.
4/2 Did journal submission. Blogged Barb's art show. Made / blogged more jewelry for shop.
4/3 Renegotiated project with M. Survived Cloud Nothings concert. Saw Daniella reading awesome!
4/4 Made necklace for shop. Went to yoga.
4/5 Started poetry cards. Rec'v email : publication by Prick of the Spindle!
4/6 Finished poetry cards. Did 2 loads laundry.
4/7 Bought dress for reading. Did reading. Met new ppl & reconnected with frenz tho was anxious about the mingling. Sold some books and collages.

Making jewelry keeps me from going over the deep edge sometimes. Actually at 2 x 4 last night I had three people ask me about the jewelry and only one of them was someone I knew already. Thanks for reading, blogosphere. Or however these things get around.

What will go down for today? Probably "take shower." AND, I'm writing a poem about Chocolate Zombie Bunny, this confection in our kitchen that I've been eyeing for weeks. My husband bought it from ThinkGeek and is taking into work as part of an Easter basket. Knowing that CZB will be going away tomorrow, I've been carrying him around all day today. Sorry Mike. I promise I'll put him back.

Monday, April 2, 2012

More jewelry for shop

So I've decided I need nine items before I officially pursue the etsy store. I have six now. Here are some update pics.

You may remember this one... I decided I did want a partner with it.

I just can't get enough of using these gear-shaped lock washers.

Still employing asymmetry, but toned down a bit...

This is a Bajoran ear-cuff style earring that uses only a single piercing at the bottom (like a "normal" ear pierce) and an ear cuff at the top. This one looked so cute on that I almost wanted to keep it for myself. This is the first pair of this style earrings I've been able to make for the shop though. The Bajoran earring is made for the right ear, but could easily be made for the left instead. And it has a simpler mate.

Finally something more toned down... I love these shades of blue.

And that brings us to a grand total of six items. I feel like the other three should be necklaces but I've been on an earring jag lately. I have all these charms though, either that I've made or bought. The other night I went through my old Shimmering Things stock and cut apart almost all of it to reclaim beads. Lots of charms from there too, that won't make good earrings unless I cut the charms apart, but they would look cute hanging off a necklace.

The art of Barbara Dahlberg

So I went to my friend Barb's art opening yesterday, which was amazing. Here are some pics along with descriptions (that I felt were relevant) from her artist statement. The majority of the pieces were paintings or ink and watercolor pieces but my favorites were the shrines and this quilt. The pic is just a detail of the quilt...

[from artist statement]:
"This exhibit includes works in several different media and poems that either inspired the works or were written later. Represented are different styles and some of my personal history. Because both my parents died before I was 30, it has been important to preserve family stories.... "

"I made my first shrine, Children Cannot Fly, after my son Jesse's death eight years ago...."

"My love of nature and farm animals come from a childhood spent in the wilds of northern Minnesota and on my grandparents' dairy farm in Wisconsin."

Barb's work is on display from now until the end of the month at the Undercroft Gallery at the First Unitarian Church on Morewood and Ellsworth in Shadyside.