A pre-Valentines Day Poem

with thanks to Deborah Woodard for this link – Nigel the bird

 

gannet

 

Yet, never, in extremity

(thinking of poor Nigel, the loneliest gannet, for DW)

 

To lure the lovely
gannet birds to nest
on desolate Mana Island,
some inventive scientists
created a whole colony
of concrete gannets,
happy, bright, inanimate.

Nigel, the only one
of his kind to be swayed
by the statue deception,
stayed his entire life
beside one particular decoy,
constant, loyal, enamored.

He groomed her cold
rigid feathers, feathered
her a fine nest.
Year, after futile year,
Nigel perched near
his lifeless love.

And when new gannets
finally arrived on the island
females, alive,
and ready to mate,
Nigel, paid no attention.
He died all alone
alongside his adored decoy.

Is love an illusion
or what we choose
to make of it,
when the beloved
has nothing to give
and the lover,
everything?

What would Nigel advise
the rest of us do when our
passions go unreciprocated?
Truly, I believe he would
quote that Dickinson poem,
you know the one,
with feathers and hope.

Read More

Out into the world…

progress report

 

Met my submission goal for the month of February.

 

Here’s what I sent out into the world:

1 personal essay

1 short story

5 poems to a contest

7 poems to several venues

1 application for a writing class

 

I’ve seen other writers set a goal of 100 rejections per year. I’m going to aim for 180.

 

That means I have to submit at least 15 individual things a month.

 

If I get rejected every time, I will easily slide into my goal.

 

But what if someone says yes?

 

Well then, good problem to have. I’ll just need to keep writing and keep submitting new work.

 

Either way, rejection goal, here I come!

Read More

Poetry Publication Goals — First, some good news

First the good news–my first poetry acceptance of 2018 to a very small local journal called North Coast Squid. The poem was one I have been working on a very long time and felt very attached to. I’m so glad to have it find a home with a local print journal. I’ve only lived in Oregon a little over a year, but I’ve felt the literary community was closed off to me. Now, it feels like one door has opened. Perhaps more will follow.

Squid-5-Cover (1)
I’d like to submit more poems this year than I did in 2017. My depression and angst over the state of our nation got the best of me last year. Not only didn’t I write much, I also didn’t send much out.

I do have a backlog of poems I’d like to get into circulation. Some are speculative, some political, some more autobiographical. I’m planning on having one day each month where I focus on getting poems out.

Wish me luck!

Read More

In Research Mode

I’m in the research phase of writing poems for my next poetry collection.

My last 2 collections were written after a long sojourn into research:

Red Riding Hood’s Real Life

RedRidingHood

&

Four Quarters: an homage to T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets

4q

Right now, I am reading and taking notes, but not writing any poems. At least not yet.

Maybe that’s because the current book is kind of boring. I am still going to plod through it. Hope the next one will be better.

I don’t write all my poems this way. It’s only when I am working with a theme, especially one way above my head, that I do this.

This collection has a science theme.

Until I write a whole group of acceptable poems, I am going to be slapping myself on the forehead, saying, “Why do I torture myself this way?”

Maybe I like the challenge. And I do enjoy learning more about topics that interest me.

But sometimes the research phase is overwhelming.

 

 

Read More

2018 Poetry Goals

It’s been a long while since I kicked myself in the bum and said “Get to work.”

But I’m ready.

ECRGHN poetry word in mixed vintage metal type printing blocks over grunge wood

My 2018 poetry goal is to complete drafts of at least 3 poems a week.

Not 3 masterpieces. Just 3 drafts.

I’m giving myself permission to write crap if crap is all that comes out.

But if I allow myself to get out of the way and just write, the truth is, there is usually something salvageable there.

One way to get out of my own way and give myself permission to write is to do writing exercises.

Writing exercises have a wonderful way of short circuiting my critical voice, and taking me from “planning mode” into just writing in the moment.

Here’s to all of us writing more and more freely in 2018!

Read More

Red Riding Hood’s Real Life — My new book is here!

Excited to officially announce the publication of Red Riding Hood’s Real Life: a novel in verse.

Makes a great holiday gift. 😉

RedRidingHood

If you’d like an autographed (or personally inscribed copy) please email me through the contact form on this website. $20 includes US Priority shipping.

Or, if you’d like both Red Riding Hood and Four Quarters: an homage to T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, $35 gets you both books with US Priority shipping.

Or you can order from Amazon, B&N, or IndieBound
https://lanaayers.com/Publications.htm

Read More

Coming Clean September 25, 2017

I’ve been very depressed since November 8th of last year. It’s unusual to be able to pinpoint an actual beginning date to depression, but this time the cause was having my worldview, or at least my view of the country I live in, completely pummeled.dep

The explosion of racism and bigotry shocked me. It shouldn’t have. People of color have been getting beaten and murdered by the authorities for years. And there has been no justice. No universal outcry from those who live inside acceptably-toned skin.

But somehow, I didn’t think my friends and neighbors and relatives fell into the vile category of bigots and racists, or supporters of bigots and racists. After the election, I leaned so many do. I’m still not sure how to cope with that knowledge.

Racism and bigotry have been something I’ve had to deal with on a personal level my whole life. I’ve been called the n-word and the s-word, followed around by store detectives in department stores, and profiled in airports, being pulled out of line, wanded, and having my bags searched every time I flew anywhere (up until I hit about 47—guess I’ve gotten too old to be that dangerous?).

My entire life, people have asked, “What are you?”  It’s a question with an agenda.

I’ve suffered bouts of depression throughout my life—some strictly biological, some related to what’s going on in my life, some related to the state of the world. And when the depression hits hard, it’s almost impossible for me to verbalize why I stop feeling able to go on and why even the most minute tasks—like brushing my teeth—require monumental psychic effort.

With the depression, comes marginal functionality, at best, and a complete inability to function creatively. I have been a nonwriting writer for many months. And you know what Kafka had to say about that: A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.

A lot of people who know me, would never know I am depressed. That’s because I hide it well. I don’t want to burden others with my depression. I don’t want to pass on negative energy. Being an introvert, I shun as much social interaction as I can get away with. But with depression, it’s that much harder.

Things came to a head at the end of this summer, as close to the edge of the abyss as I’ve come in a long time. I thought about ways to end it all, but thankfully, did not get beyond the thoughts.

I have inverse SAD, where exposure to sunshine incites my depression. This was my first summer in Oregon and it was unbearably sunny for weeks on end. People think it’s weird all I want to do all summer is hide inside. But I do it for survival. Part of the problem is, I guess, is I didn’t hide quite enough.

Now, major populations around the world and in our own country are being devastatingly impacted by fires, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. And the truth is, I feel guilty about wanting to feel better. I feel it’s wrong for me to start feeling better when the suffering for others is only getting worse.

But I do want to feel better. And I am finally taking active steps to do so. I appreciate all those in my life who continue to be supportive and empathetic. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Read More

Beyond the Eclipse

It was foggy where I was. Such a disappointment, to be in the path of totality and miss the coolest show on earth. And who knows if I’ll still be kicking around on earth when the next total solar eclipse rolls by. My next big wish is to see the Northern Lights.

Read More