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.

Throwback Thursday

Because I’m tired from fighting a migraine all week, I’m taking it easy today. In the meantime, here are a few things from my archives that you might enjoy:

You should also check out this year’s team of Tiny Peppers, because they’re all pretty awesomesauce.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go crawl into bed and stay there. But do please share with me what and who you’re reading in the comments so that, when I feel better, I have new things to read!

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

Time capsule inspiration

The University of California in Santa Barbara has done something wonderful, and I had completely forgotten about it until about a month ago.

I’ve had this short story sitting on my hard drive now for about three years (and yes, short is a relative term), and I finally had both the time and the inclination to get back to working on it. It went through one round of revisions after I’d initially written it, but it’s been so long since I’ve read through it, let alone actually worked on it, that I decided to go back to my standard revision practice of recopying the entire MS and making changes as I went. When I’m done, I’ll type it up and make a few more changes as I type.

But my revision process is beside the point.

Anyway, one of the focal points of the story is…

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.

It’s that time of the year again…

Today is November 1 and you know what that means…It’s time to get crazy!

Crazy like a writer, that is.

That’s write (see what I did there? 😊), today begins NaNoWriMo, which for some crazy reason I decided to try again this year. But I haven’t written a word on my novel yet today, and I probably won’t, which is going to put me at a startling deficit when tomorrow rolls around.

Don’t get me wrong—I’ve written plenty of words today. I’ve probably even hit the magical 1,667 mark. But the words I wrote weren’t for any personal projects, so alas, they don’t count.

November 1 also means that NaBloPoMo has begun in earnest, which I’m hoping will get me back on track when it comes to my dearly-beloved-yet-sadly-neglected, wordy home here on the interwebs. But with my friends at #TeamTinyPeppers cheering me on, I’m sure I can get back in the swing of things this time.

Because willpower—I has it. Sometimes. If food isn’t involved. 😊

So what about you? Are you participating in any of this month’s writerly activities? I want to hear all about what’s going on with you down in the comments!

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

The one where she feels totally embarrassed…

…because holy cats, has it been a while since I’ve posted! Like, a ridiculously long while! If anyone’s still hanging around, what’s new with you?

For me, I FINALLY finished my BA in May. Woooo! It was an exciting semester for me for a variety of reasons, and I’ve got pictures to prove it. In March, my bestie and I road-tripped down to St. Louis so I could present a paper at the annual Sigma Tau Delta conference. It was so much fun! I wish we could have been there for all the opening ceremonies, but I had to work that day. :/ There were a ton of awesome panels, including mine, which was all about John Milton.  Some of the other amazing panels I attended were on Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, VIrginia Woolf, and James Joyce. So! Many! Fun! Things!

I also attended a fascinating talk given by Nnedi Okorafor, and I’m now well into reading her Binti series. Sooo good.

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But after two years of hardcore writing and studying, I needed a little break. My brain hurt. My hands hurt. And then we moved, and EVERYTHING hurt. But things at Casa Kauffman seem to have settle down for now…just in time for school to start up again. :’) :’)

It’s been a long day, though, and I’m feeling a little run down, so I’m gonna spend a little time with the ones I love. After all, that’s what’s really important, right?

So here’s to new beginnings and new adventures! I’ll see you around!

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

Wild Places

I long for the wild places,
Unsullied by man,
And far from the bright blinking
Arc at the edge of the land.

I long for the wild places
And the freedom to be
Unbordered, unbounded,
Unbridled, and free.

Instead I am trapped
In a red ring of power,
Far from the meadows
And fields full of flowers,

Far from the places
I long so to see,
And far from the me
I feel I should be.

I long for the wild places
I’m not sure still exist.
I hate that I feel like
I’m no more than grist

For a mill that consumes
Every last thing in sight,
Every bulb, every stem,
Every petal of white.

I long for the wild places,
And I’ll go there someday,
Even if it means bribing
A cowboy to take me away.

(c) 2018. All rights reserved.