Skip to content

Month: July 2015

Hey!! A New Feature is Coming to My Blog Very, Very Soon!!

 

Yesterday evening, I wrote a sort of long-time-no-see post, followed by a post that very well may have opened a huge door for me. I shared how a poem from my earlier writing life had hugely intersected with a specific incident from my day yesterday, and I came to a realization after sharing that post: I had known before that being pregnant and becoming a mother were changing me as a writer… but I had failed to realize that I also have something to say about that process. Something that may be entirely worthwhile to write about and, ultimately, for you to read about.

11751772_10153427067727118_1443220781355402859_nThere are many secrets involved in being and becoming a mother—many misconceptions, many questions left unanswered (until experienced), many details left unnoticed, despite how beautiful and raw they can be. Becoming a writer first and a mother later in life gave me the opportunity to re-explore what it means to be sentimental, what it means to write about passion, joy, and what it means to be gentle or angry or vulnerable. I wanted to push the limits on what it meant to write about these experiences, and write about them well, and honestly. I wanted to thoroughly explore what it meant to be pregnant, and a new mother, and many of the resulting poems made their way into my circulating poetry manuscript.

These are the sorts of things I want to talk about, and how they became involved in the writing process. Not only how we write about these things, but the ways in which they change how we write. How I’ve changed as a writer in becoming a mother… and perhaps even ways in which being a writer has challenged my thinking as a mother.

Now don’t worry, if these subjects aren’t your “thing,” because you won’t see these posts all the time. Rather, every once in a while, in-between the rough draft poems and the book reviews, I might post something like, “Hey, here is something I just learned as a mother, and here’s what it’s got me thinking about as a writer.” I’m tentatively thinking of titling these posts “First She Was a Poem” or “Cadence on the Swings” (both of which feel fitting, to me). I hope this interests some of you as much as it interests me.

Until Later, Best ~ from me.

 

 

Share

First, She was a Poem: Cadence on the Swings

 

11742658_10153453969622118_953100391710070779_nI had a bit of a moment today, and I really have to share. In the picture to your left is my beautiful, nine-and-a-half-month old daughter, Cadence (yes, like the title), and she had her first turn on a swing today—one of those little, infant-safe ones on a backyard playground set. And then it hit me:

I wrote a poem about this.

Now, that may not sound like much to you, but here’s the thing: I wrote “Cadence on the Swings” during my second year of my undergrad, back when “Cadence” was just a name I was madly in love with, back when I didn’t even know my husband existed yet… and back when my mentor first took me really, really seriously as a writer.

I originally handed this poem in as my final poem of the semester, before handing in a portfolio two weeks later of new and revised work, and I got this poem back, only with parts underlined that he loved and a note that said, “This poem is so dense! You need to be in graduate school.”

And so there it was: my future, laid out for me.

And now I have a beautiful little girl to share it with: my Cadence on the swings.

Thanks for listening, all.

 

CADENCE ON THE SWINGS

 

She peeled away the web between
her toes. The skin seemed to stretch,
transparent, and finally break,
lying in her fingers like a
used rubber band. Her throat was tight
then, forcing gills to grow at her
neck, stubble on her chin. The
water would swallow her lips, her
lungs, as her mouth opened in wide
gulps, street salamanders, a salt
water lake. She couldn’t
understand why her mother would
turn on the defrost at the same
time as the heat, as though to glimpse
the driver behind her, planning
to pour its lights in a
triangle around her as her
legs wrapped around one support of
the swings. She recalls she screamed when
she realized she couldn’t untie
her legs, the accordion knees,
her finger-trapped body.

 

 

Share

Writing My Summer Away: In the Early Days after My MFA

 

10985421_989606764925_3672885219015003963_nHello, everyone!

Needless to say, it’s been a while—sorry for the radio silence. As some of you know, I graduated this May with my MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan, and my life since then hasn’t quite been what you would have expected. As my younger self, I would have expected myself to have a full-time job lined up, to still be working in publishing, and to have long-since figured out these routines of writing-every-day and getting-things-published. But that is not the deck I was actually given.

Some things have been better, though unexpected, and some things have been, yes, disappointing. Despite the title of this post, I have not been writing my summer days away; in fact, I have not written a full, revised poem since the last I wrote for my thesis (granted, that poem was written two days before my graduation reading and was added at the last minute). In part, this has been because I simply needed a break away from deadlines—finishing and revising a thesis, knocking out a book review every week, writing other articles to build up a portfolio, etc—but it’s partly because I have been the b-word: busy. Traveling (to Croatia, finally), settling into my house (yes, making it a home), finishing up my job at my previous press position (so part of my summer was dedicated to publishing, at least), and “simply,” well, being a mom.

Now I know some of the writers out there are cringing, and before being placed in my current shoes, I would have cringed, too, when someone said the above things. How could there not be time and inspiration and motivation and all the other tools we need to write while traveling or simply being at home? And how do you not have energy and time while caring for a child? Well, since Cadence was born, I have had to put my foot in my mouth, repeatedly. I am not going to go on and on about how difficult and time-consuming it is to be a mother, or to move into a home and fix it up, but I will say that my life has grown to be different and unexpected from what I had originally envisioned for myself. Am I disappointed that life didn’t go my way? I have my days, my moments, small things I wish had gone differently. But I am growing into myself, and my surroundings, and what I have been given. And you know what? It’s all turning out to be okay, and fulfilling. I’m reaching the point where I’m happy enough that I want to write again. I haven’t been able to say that for a long time, admittedly. I was writing, but rather mechanically, and I’m beginning to feel that burn in me, a sort of ache, that has me chomping at the bit to write something down. I’m going to hold out a little longer, a few more days, until the itch buries itself a little deeper and then I’ll probably knock out a few poems in one sitting, grab ten collections off the shelf to read, and then I’ll be back in my old rhythm. I’ve just needed some time to settle into my own skin, outside of the deadlines, to figure out what I want and how I’m still going to be someone I want to be without getting the original things I wanted in the sense of location and vocation and what have you.

So I guess what that means for you, dear readers and friends, is that you’re going to start hearing from me again—very, very soon. I have several books sitting out waiting to be reviewed, and there are books I want to read, just because, and I really need to get back to writing—both poetry and research. And maybe, just maybe, when I send work out this round, I’ll have good news to share with you all about issues to check out that have my name in them.

Until then, All Best ~ from me.

 

 

Share