About half way…

August is the month of the annual Poetry Postcard Fest,

brainchild of Seattle poet Paul Nelson.

postcard 2

In 2007, I was lucky enough to give Paul an assist on getting the first project started.

Back then, about 100 people from all over the country participated.

11 years hence, there are several hundred participants from all over the world.

world of hands

But it’s been a long while since I participated.

I joined in this time because my current poetry project has been a bust so far.

I’ve written nothing I’m satisfied with. At all.

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I wanted the challenge of having to write a single draft of a poem quickly, then send it off right away.

There’s pressure in knowing you only get one shot–but freedom from perfectionism too.

one chance

I bought a pack of random postcards.

I pull out a card, turn it over, and begin to write.

random

My only constraint (aside from the poem needing to fit in the small space)

is that the poem must have something to do with the concept of time. 

time

It’s been quite crazy having to figure out how to work time into a poem about a giraffe or a monkey.

Even though it feels like I am writing in a vacuum, the poem is a missive to my audience of one.

Audience-of-one

Some of the poems came swiftly, without setting my pen down once.

Some of the poems have taken a bit more time.

But nearly all are silly, in some way.

silly face

Rarely, if ever, do I allow myself to just be silly.

And you know what, I can’t figure out why. It’s actually a lot of fun.

It’s okay not to take every endeavor so seriously.

seriously

Participating in the August Poetry Postcard Fest is reminding me that it’s okay to write mediocre poems.

It’s even okay to write bad poems.

dark and stormy

As long as the postcard poems make the recipient smile, that’s good enough.

And good enough is sometimes good enough.

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And I think there is a larger lesson in this postcard experience for me–

just write!

No matter what happens on the page, just write.

Perfection

And don’t aim for perfection.

Just aim to put words on paper.

It seems like I knew all of this before, but I keep forgetting, and keep needing to remind myself.

edit

I can fix the words later.

Or let the words go and write some more.

And some more.

writing postcard 2

And eventually, I might even write something I like enough to hold onto.

life

 

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The Best Laid Plans…

My sweet husband decided that the publication of my very first novel deserved to be celebrated.

In grand style!

entrance to golf course

So my husband rented a small function room at our local golf course.

And we invited our neighbors and friends here in Tillamook to come share a delicious salmon dinner.

salmon

My hubby even had this nearly life-sized blow up of my book cover made up to decorate the room for the celebration.

Andy with sign smaller

It was going to be a wonderful celebration.

And for once, I wasn’t even nervous about having to be the center of attention–like I always am when I have to stand up in front of a room full of people.

nervous

When my first poetry collection came out, I seriously considered hiring a stunt double to give the readings for me.

look alikes

(okay, I don’l look like Bowie or Tilda, but you get the idea)

But this time, I was genuinely excited and wanted to celebrate, even if I was going to read a snippet from the book.

snippet

I picked out a polka dot dress to wear because it seemed fun for the occasion without being too formal.

And a purple lace bolero to wear over it.

polka dot dresspurple

But you read the title of this post, so you know something went awry.

The party went off without a hitch. People had a lovely time. So what went wrong?

party goers

Well, only the fact that I couldn’t attend my own party!

Nope.

My body decided to betray me in the wee hours of the morning the day of my party

with excruciating pain.

I ended up in the hospital.

emergency room

I’m doing better now, after a couple of days in the hospital getting test after test after test.

Diagnosed with an intestinal blockage, I’m recovering slowly.

I may need exploratory surgery if things don’t completely resolve on their own. Hope not.

no surgery

But for now, I’m okay.

Except I’m completely, totally, thoroughly bummed

that I missed my own book celebration party.

sad baby

My first thought was I didn’t deserve a celebration, anyway.

My second thought, too.

mothers voice

That’s my mother’s voice in my head talking. It’s nearly impossible to shut her up.

My next thought was The universe hates me.

universe hates me

The universe isn’t out to get me. That’s just silly.

I am just an insignificant speck in the scheme of things.

the-universe-you-are-here

The Universe doesn’t care a whit about me.

So, here I am feeling pretty sorry for myself.

pity party

How lame is that?

What I should really be feeling is grateful.

grateful

Grateful to have people in my life who wanted to celebrate with me.

Grateful to be alive.

At all.

be alive

And I am.

I am grateful to be here, for however much more time I am granted.

run down

Guess, I am just going to have to do something else worth celebrating.

Maybe write another book?

Or another half-dozen books?

desk

I better get started, huh?

Wish me luck!

prep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friendship Across the Ether

Over a decade ago through the magic of the internet and the wonder of email, I “met” a poet who lived far away in the southwest named Lisha Adela Garcia. We never met in person, though.

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Lisha was putting together her very first full-length poetry collection and thought I might be of assistance. I’ve worked as a poetry manuscript organizer and editor for many years, and I was delighted to take a look at her poems.

stack of pages

The poems were amazing of course! And they turned into her wonderful, acclaimed collection, Blood Rivers, published in 2009.

blood rivers

Through the magic of web ether, Lisha and I have stayed in touch.

But despite never meeting in person, I always felt we had a deep connection.

The connection of our mutual love of poetry, certainly.

poetry books

But it felt like so much more, too.

with some

A soul connection, if you will. Maybe you’ve felt that too?

As if our life experiences sent us along similar paths.

similar paths

I’ve always wanted to meet Lisha, hear her voice in person, look into her eyes.

And last week, I finally got the chance as she passed through my town on the way to a reading for her newly published book,  A Rope of Luna.

rope of luna

This book is filled with poems of rich culture, family, and spirituality.

Here’s one of my many favorite poems in Lisha’s new collection:

 

Lisha-Poem-100

We only had a couple of hours together, and shared a delicious meal. I felt the soul connection even more powerfully in her presence.

lisha and lana

And now, we have vowed to get together again.

So, though some may think the ether an unlikely place to form friendships,

with a little bit of poetry,

Poetry-Books

these ethereal friendships can be deep and meaningful and lasting.

For that, I am very grateful.

soul-friendships

Lisha Adela Garcia’s books on Amazon.

 

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A Guest Post from Stacy W. Dixon!

Hello lovely blog readers, I’m being visited by the wonderful poet Stacy W. Dixon this week.

Stacy W. Dixon’s work has appeared in The Mid-America Poetry Review, Tiger’s Eye, Pirene’s Fountain, Sweet Tree Review, Word Fountain, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

stacy dixon

She’s writing about her new poetry collection, Visiting Ghosts and Ground.    buy on Amazon

stacy book

Stacy wowed me with her clear-eyed and powerful poems of grief.

Take it away, Stacy:

“I think we naturally write about how we experience life. My work is often intimate and personal, though not always autobiographical.  I am inspired by many things; art, nature, memories, dreams, and family. 

water lily

The poems in Visiting Ghosts and Ground begin in adulthood and then turn back to childhood memories.  My mother and grandmother, and the effects of their loss upon my life, inspired some of these poems.  A few of them are influenced by my ancestors, such as Kindred Incantations, Shelf Life, and From a Stolen Child

hands

I feel this collection is largely about connections to the land and the ghosts of the past.  It’s a journey of love and loss, and the desire to keep that love alive.

love and loss

 My hope is always that my work will resonate with others, as so many poets and writers have touched and inspired my own life.”

blue light

Thank you, Stacy, for your poems and your post. As in your lovely lines, “Long days/on end/in the bluish hue,” your collection will resonate with anyone who carries loss in their heart. 

Visit some of Stacy’s inspiring work online here:

Inheritance

& here:

Superimposed

& here:

Night Muse

As always, thanks for stopping by.

thank you

 

 

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“Do you really want to write a beach book?”

“Do you really want to write a beach book?”

was the question posed to me by an international best-selling crime fiction novelist in her writing workshop where participants read a few pages of their works in progress.

Her tone was accusatory.

slap cheek

Honestly, I felt like I’d just been slapped.

Hard. On both cheeks.

I’ve no doubt my face colored.

I was crestfallen. Every writer hopes for approval from authors they admire. Or at least, constructive criticism.

judged c

I felt judged as lacking.

I felt publicly shamed.

I don’t even know if I answered her.

I was just doing everything in my power to keep from bursting into tears.

meaningful

I tried very hard to hear what she was saying as meaningful feedback.

But she wasn’t critiquing my writing, but the content of my writing.

What I hadn’t realized at the time, was I was running into the great divide, previously unknown to me–

Literary versus Genre Fiction.

lit vs genre

And genre fiction, like my romantic time travel adventure novel, according to her was not worthy of wasting time writing.

(And isn’t crime fiction, genre fiction too? Well, not hers I guess.)

I’ve been writing poetry since I could hold a crayon. But that was okay, because poetry is considered literary?

poetry b

Call me naive, but I didn’t realize there was such animosity between literary writers and genre writers.

To me, good writing is good writing.

And I’ve always read both literary and genre fiction without placing any value judgment on the worthiness of either.

I like what I like. And I like a good story.

once upon

I like books that transport me to other worlds, other lives, other experiences than my own.

bradbury

Books that make me think, and feel, and understand something new.

kindred

Books that take me out of my own mental anguish and bring joy.

p and p

Both literary and genre fiction can do those things.

handmaid

So why decide one type of writing is better or more worthy than the other?

Why is only “literary” worthy or merit

and

who defines what is literary and what isn’t?

better

I wish I had stood up to that author.

I wish I had said, “All writing matters.”

proper lit

I wish I could go back in time, and say to that author who shamed me,

“Yes, I really want to write a beach book.”

And now I have.

I wrote the book I needed and wanted to write.

And I’m glad I did. Hopefully, some readers will be too.

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Kirkus Reveiw of Time Flash: Another Me

Well, not all good, but not so bad either. 

Would you read my book based on this review?

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“In this sci-fi novel, an accountant aims to balance the books when a nefarious corporation’s secret experiments leave her with an unusual side effect: time travel.

 

Reaching for her breakfast cereal, Sara García, 37, finds herself transported back to 1975 and age 12. Before long, she returns to the year 2000, wondering whether she’s going crazy. Things are strained at her Long Island home; she and her husband, Jon, both accountants, haven’t been close since her late-term miscarriage. Another time flash proves that her past can be changed, frightening Sara into seeing her doctor, who explains that she’s been injected with an illegal serum as part of a mind-control experiment.

The opening pages suggest that Sara’s a standard chick-lit heroine obsessed with dieting, but Ayers (The Dead Boy Sings in Heaven, 2018, etc.) is up to something much more original and engaging. Besides the intertwined thriller and sci-fi elements (fairly plausible), Sara learns a great deal about herself and her relationships in trying to change reality, revelations she couldn’t have had without time travel. Her love of books and music adds to her character’s complexity, and unexpected depths are revealed in several well-drawn side characters, even Sara’s cold, critical mother. The pace could be tighter, bogging down about two-thirds through, but does pick up toward the end, with a satisfaction-filled conclusion. And there’s a touch of magic in Gallo, Sara’s marvelous cat.

 

An entertaining, well-written tale offering intriguing speculations and a heroine of courage and determination.”

 

 —Kirkus Reviews

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Why I Love Time Travel

Growing up, we were a one TV household.

And believe it or not, until 1980 or so, that TV only had a black & white picture.

tv

When my parents weren’t home or weren’t watching, my older brother was in charge of the TV.

He loved science fiction. So I learned to love it too.

 

Saturday mornings meant 

Godzilla movies

godzilla

and space adventures like

Forbidden Planet

forbidden-planet

But of all the movies my brother and I watched,

this one fully captivated my imagination–

time machine movie

The 1960 film version of H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine.

 

From that moment on, I was hooked on Time Travel.

I borrowed the book from the library and devoured it.

time mach

And of course, my brother and I watched science fiction TV shows too!

Like 

time tunnel

&

baker

&

star trek orig

And you can probably guess my favorite episode–

city on edge

City on the Edge of Forever —

a time travel episode where Kirk must chose between love and saving history.

 

So why do I love time travel so much?

love tt

Because time travel is an opportunity to

learn from the past

and 

maybe even to right wrongs, 

as in my favorite time travel movie so far

back 2 future

Back to the Future!

Marty makes life better for his entire family–

after almost screwing it up that is.

future

Time Travel lets you see possible futures

and 

visit history. 

Colliers Illustrated Weekly 28/06/1952, pp. 20-21

And time travel can help a person learn to become his or her best self,

as in my new favorite time travel book,

11/22/63 by Stephen King

11 22 63

(and the book is way, way better than the show–give it a read!)

 

Time travel, for me though, is mostly about regret. 

rewind

The choices we regret making

and the chances we didn’t take.

regret

That’s why in my time travel novel, Time Flash: Another Me

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Sara Rodríguez Bloom García gets lots more chances to make things right. 

Second Chance Just Ahead Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

But like most heroines, she’ll make things lots worse before they get better.

worse

Hopefully readers will enjoy the adventure of it all.

enjoy reading

And feel happy when they read how the story ends.

Concept of choice directions. Made in 3D.

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Poem

We Are the Germans     (part II)

America 2018

 

The SS man.

The ICE man and Border guard.

 

What is ordered,

however immoral, is performed.

 

The German people,

with proper blood keep quiet.

 

The American people,

the privileged ones stay quiet.

 

Not one uniformed person says,

No, I will not do this. This is wrong.

 

Orders are carried out.

Leaders are pleased.

 

Jews die.

Children cry.

 

Injustice is a disgrace

with distinctly human face.

 

A distinctly American face.

Look in the mirror.

 

shelter

 

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