Saturday, January 22, 2011

We interrupt this blog... bring you an important mesage. Well, important to me anyhow. My laptop kinda got bevirused with a nasty little Trojan backend thing (sounds dirty, huh? well, it IS, just not in the entertaining way). Working on a repair and wishing I were rich enough to say "gee, it's old and percrankety and its hard drive is almost full anyway, I'll just buy a new one." And yes, all my important files (including all of my writing and most, if not all, of the music & photos) were backed up.

Limping along with the smartphone and the slightly temperamental netbook; I'll respond to recent comments & post again just as soon as I can.

Meanwhile, if YOU haven't got everything on your computer good and backed up, I'm using my mom voice here: do it now!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Holding pattern

Trying to fight off a cold (I thing de code is widding - achoo!). Today's post is postponed until tomorrow. Meanwhile, two videos in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A request for info

I know I said I was going to blog on Sundays, but I'm going to spend this three-day weekend working on a grant application, and thinking about that reminded me that I meant to ask about something here.

The Split Rock Arts Program in Minnesota used to have a really cool-sounding online mentorship program. You'd pay x amount of money for x number of hours, and they had some good writers as part of the program. But when I checked their site a while back, thinking that would be the perfect thing to write into this grant - to have someone who doesn't know me personally, and so doesn't have a friendship stake in it, do a thorough review of my manuscript - I saw that the program is no more. Wah!

So - calling on the collective knowledge out there - do any of you know of a similar program that you would recommend? Not looking for classes or workshops as such, more of a one-on-one mentoring situation where someone would review my book-length ms.

I can think of several individuals I could ask, and I could certainly write that in as a line item on the grant - but I think the committee will be more likely to look favorably upon something that is an established program of some sort.

Failing that - I'm also willing to consider a week-long book-manuscript-focused workshop. But it has to take place between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012.

Failing all of THAT - if I do approach an individual person - how much do y'all think is a reasonable amount? Figure that we're looking at a regular book-length poetry ms., 60-70ish pages; I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to try to get this grant for my first ms. (the one that's been going around for a year and a half & has gathered some kind words but enough flat-out rejections that I think it needs to be thoroughly revised), my second one (which is pretty close to being "finished" enough for someone to look at), or the third one I think I've just barely started on.

I'd appreciate any feedback - thanks!

(Or maybe I'll just ask for money for a new laptop - this one is on its last legs - and a nice little retreat to write some new stuff. There's always that option.)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Language and responsibility

Like probably all of you, I've been sickened by the shootings in Arizona. So much of what I feel about this has been said, and said better, by others - but I really do believe that it's time (well past time, really) to take a long hard look at the way we use language.

I'm not going to go so far as to say that the Tea Party et al. are directly responsible for the Arizona massacre, and it does seem pretty clear that the shooter was fairly thoroughly unhinged. Nonetheless, the messages that the Tea Party et al. have been putting out there have been so violent and so reprehensible that you can't help but think they are, if not the root of the problem, a pretty clear road sign pointing directly to the problem.

As someone I follow on Twitter said: if you defend inflammatory rhetoric with "only a psycho would take it literally," don't be shocked and appalled when a psycho takes it literally. And, I would add, don't walk around feeling like your hands are entirely clean, either.

Language. It's so much more powerful than so many of us, even us writers, give it credit for on a day-to-day basis. And I think it behooves us all - yes, even you; yes, even me - to try to be a little more aware of the language that we use and what is really at the root of it. Even sports. What kind of a worldview does it reinforce when we say something like "oh man, the Jets just slaughtered the Colts"?

Anyway. It's worth some thought.

* * * * *

Watching this winter storm roll across the country - looking at a live shot of Atlanta's traffic right now, which is just crazy. And in northern Indiana, where my mom lives, they are digging out from three to four FEET of snow.

I think the whole world has just gone bonkers, that's what I think. The politics, the violence, the weather - all of it.

* * * * *

I had another post in mind for this week, but after watching coverage of the Arizona thing yesterday, none of it seemed important. Next time, perhaps. Meanwhile I am still catching up on blog-reading, a few of you each day - at some point I may declare blog-bankruptcy and just start fresh reading only new posts, but I'm so interested to know what everyone's been up to. That's the problem, though - I'm too interested in too many things - it's just hard for me to walk away and unfollow, unfriend, unsubscribe, hide, skip over! But there's too much interesting content to ever stay caught up on all of it. When you're one of those people who wants to know everything, the Internet is a dangerous, dangerous place. :)

Sunday, January 02, 2011


Oh dear. No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth (although my laptop has enough sticky/cranky keys that if I'm not careful my spelling will fall off the face of the earth). Honest.

I haven't been writing much lately, and since this is allegedly a writing/poetry-focused blog I haven't felt like I've had much to say. But I do value the community of poet-bloggers, and I'm determined to remain a part of it, even if only in a smallish way. So, at least for now, I'm going to try to post weekly, and not ask more of myself than that. And I'll get back to reading y'all's blogs too, at least weekly. Surely I can set aside an hour or so on Sunday evenings. Right? Right.

So 2010 is over, and here's 2011. Best thing that happened to me in 2010 was getting bekittened - Tamarin is growing like crazy, happy and healthy and getting along beautifully with Bear and Lotus, the older cats. Here's a video of her about a month ago. She loves to snuggle up on my lap underneath the laptop where it's nice and warm, although now she's much bigger and it's a bit of a tight squeeze for her. (Those of you I see on Facebook & Twitter have already seen this one.) Turn up the sound; there's purring...

As for poetry - I don't believe in writer's block, but I haven't been writing much lately - but I have faith that I'll get back to it soon. I'm not going to AWP this year, sadly; I really really wish I could, but I just can't swing it financially. Next year, maybe.

So... welcome, 2011. Welcome, anyone who still drops by this blog to see if anything is here. I've got some ideas for new posts, and planning to post weekly should help me be more thoughtful about content & actually write stuff up ahead of time. I have good intentions about sending poems out more often this year, too - that is if what I've got out ever comes back (my late summer/fall submissions seem to have accidentally targeted themselves to the particularly slooooooow response-time journals, sigh).

Intentions, resolutions, whatever... I know where the road goes that is paved with them, but we'll see what happens, eh? :)