What’s up?

Well, my video diary idea rapidly crashed and burned, and with it, my plan to write a new poem (and blog post) every day.

Whoops.

I guess that’s about par for the course, though. Lately it seems that I plan and God laughs (hysterically). So what have I been up to so far in 2020? Well, let’s see. I’ve been:

  • Revising The Lokana Chronicles (again);
  • Writing poetry (but sadly, not every day);
  • Workshopping my poems (yay feedback!);
  • Trying to keep up with the kids;
  • Working;
  • Getting older;
  • Saying goodbye to relatives;
  • Capturing Iowa’s natural beauty with my camera;
  • Playing a ridiculous amount of Harry Potter Wizards Unite and Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery;
  • Stress eating;
  • Catching up with friends, both old and new; and
  • Submitting poems for publication (not that it’s gone well).

I suppose that’s actually quite a lot, given that the new year is only just a couple of months old. And January was definitely crazy – almost as crazy as December, if you can believe it (I know I can’t).

Also, show of hands: Who’s ready to be done with winter?

So how about you? What’s new in your world? Have you been able to stick to your New Year’s resolutions?

(c) 2020. All rights reserved.

What a beautiful morning

I got today’s video knocked out a bit earlier than yesterday’s. There was a beautiful sunrise this morning, and I couldn’t help shooting it:

Mornings are so pretty in Iowa. But it would be even more peaceful if the boys didn’t argue about every little thing.

Of course, since I’m me, I decided to add to the challenge by writing a poem to go with each day’s video. Yesterday I wrote a haiku about two of my kitties; today I wrote another one about how nice it would be if my kids did’t spend each morning’s wait for the bus in an argument over something. They argue about everything lately.

I’m excited about the poem aspect of this challenge. I’ve gotten back to work on The Lokana Chronicles, but I don’t want my poetry  to fall to the wayside, and this will be a great opportunity to keep those poetic muscles in shape.

Well, that and the two poetry groups I’ve joined in the last six months. 😄

What about you – have you set any new year’s resolutions?

(c) 2020. All rights reserved.

Throwback Thursday: ’90s Inspiration Edition

Today’s Throwback Thursday post is going waaaay back. Like, back to the ’90s.

My very first autograph.

Tonight I had the pleasure of attending Final Thursday. It’s a reading series hosted at the Hearst Center for the Arts; there’s an open mic period followed by a featured reader, and it’s a whole lot of fun. I attended a couple of times in college (either because it was mandatory or there was extra credit), and I even managed to read something once (so I wouldn’t have to do a write-up on the event later). For someone who hates public speaking as much as I do, that was a big deal, particularly when it came to the essay I’d decided to read.

Anyway. Even if you’re not reading, Final Thursday is a ton of fun because…

Well, it’s Wednesday…

…but I’ve got nothing. It was a long and uneventful day.

I’ve been watching a lot of TED talks recently, and I ran across this one about the lessons Jia Jang learned from a hundred days of rejection. I thought it was really cool, and maybe even worth trying myself. At any rate, it gave me a nice little boost of confidence to start submitting things again.

Well, that and a friend who badgered me (good-naturedly, of course) into entering some poems in the James Hearst Poetry Prize, which closed the 15th. I can’t wait to hear back regarding my submission, regardless of what, exactly, it is that I hear back. I mean, obviously I’d like to win, but I’d really just like an end to the suspense.

So there’s that.

What are you all up to lately? Any wrimos out there winning Nano? Tell me your stories below!

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

It pays to be prepared…

A great singer once said, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and know when to run,” and those words flitted through my brain as I headed up to the mic with my tablet in hand. I hadn’t planned to run, though I had considered running in the opposite direction. And I managed not to trip over all the cords, so that was a bonus.

“Our next reader says she’s livin’ the dream, so she may be sleepwalking up here!”

I reached the mic, smiling at the intro. “Well, I don’t sleepwalk, but I have been known to talk in my sleep, so here goes nothing.”

And then I set my tablet down. Three lines into the poem I’d planned to read, the screen went black. I don’t like public speaking, but I seem to keep finding myself doing it, even when I don’t mean to. And when I’m in front of people, it doesn’t take much to get me flustered, so a malfunctioning tablet was sure to do the trick.

I was prepared for that, though. My tablet’s battery was already low—and getting lower—when I arrived at the Hearst Center, but I hadn’t had time to print off a copy of what I planned to read because I hadn’t decided exactly what that would be until after I arrived. While I was preparing my reading, someone asked me if I trusted my tablet to see me through, and when I glanced at how much battery remained, I decided it would be smart to have a backup plan.

So three lines into a thirty-nine-line poem, my tablet crapped out. Evidently I set it down on the end with the power button, which turned the whole thing off. Not to worry—I whipped my phone out of my back pocket and continued reading without missing a beat. It made my intro feel even more fitting.

And it all worked out in the end. Several people told me how much they’d liked what I read, and a couple of people (including the MC) commented about how seamless my recovery was. What can I say? I have a history of quick recovery when it comes to technical difficulties. Once, in sixth grade, we did a project where we had to do a mock radio broadcast. As we went to play our musical selection, my tape deck hiccupped. Without even thinking, I said, “We are experiencing technical difficulties—please stand by,” and my co-host went into commercial. I can’t be sure anymore, but I think he completely ad-libbed the commercial, and we ended up doing really well on the project.

Nothing like quick thinking to save your bacon.

If only all of life’s hiccups were that small, things would be pretty good. But that doesn’t mean that a little preparation and a bit of quick thinking can’t still save you when things aren’t going your way. Patience and persistence are both vital ingredients when it comes to making your own good luck, and while I may not be the most patient person in the world (far from it, in fact), I am certainly one of the most persistent. Some may argue that stubborn is a better word for it, but sometimes in life, you have to be stubborn in order to get what you want.

It’s like Don Schlitz said all along: You gotta know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em.

And just keep swimming.

What about you? Do you enjoy being in front of a crowd, or would you prefer not to?

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

When the Cradle Falls

When the bough breaks and
The cradle doth fall, who will
Keep you safest of

All? Who will hold you
In arms strong and warm? Who will
Love you, till death do

You part? When the bough
Breaks and the cradle doth fall,
Who will keep you safe

Through it all – safe till
The end? Who will you trust with
Your dreams in the end?

(c) 2017. All rigts reserved.

Reward

Small-town living is
Not for the faint of heart, but
It is rewarding.

Small-town life never
Leaves you behind, no matter
How far you may run.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

When…

When all is said and done,
When you are dead and rotten,
Will you be mourned for all you’ve done,
Or for all that you have gotten?

When all is said and done,
When all you are is ash,
Will you be missed for what you’ve done,
Or for being over brash?

When all is said and done,
When you are but a memory,
Will you be recalled for fun,
Or for being absentee?

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

I’m too *fill in the blank* for this!

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since I posted my stressed-out-Mom version of “Jingle Bells,” but it’s true. It’s that time of year again, and just like this time last year, I’m feeling the blues. The holiday stress began in earnest with Thanksgiving and trying to squeeze in trips to family, trips to friends, and trips to the store on Black Friday (not for the deals, but because we actually needed things) without going bonkers. This week I’ve got two Christmas concerts, church for the kids, a basketball game, a house to decorate, family pictures to take, and 20 dozen cookies to bake before Saturday.

It’s gonna be a crazy…