September 29, 2009

Confession Tuesday

Now that the weather is cooling down, I've started to feel like cooking again. Yesterday I made my favorite couscous recipe, the one I have for lunch at least once a week. Today I'll be making carrot-potato soup, and tomorrow I'm going to try a vegan version of sloppy Joe's.

One of my friends has walking pneumonia. Two of my friends have swine flu (and one of them is my boyfriend's other girlfriend, so there is a lot of potential for germ-swapping between the three of us). Two of the students in my teacher training class were sick yesterday and my teacher was out with a virus last week. I'm a bit of a germophobe. This is a slightly stressful week as a result.

I confess that I'm irrationally excited to go see the remake of Fame tomorrow night. It probably won't be as good as the original, but I love all cheesy dance movies, regardless of overall quality.

September 28, 2009

Better late than never.

After some technological issues after our switch from Blogger to Wordpress (some of which still need to be fixed), Gloom Cupboard #107 is finally up!

I alos have a review up of Paradise, a chapbook by British poet Elise.

September 27, 2009

A fragment

Something I've been playing with as an introduction for a longer prose-poem-essay-type-thing. I'll be working on this intently over the next day and a half and then sending the longer version to my memoir group.

Half an hour before sunrise on Monday mornings, I'd make tea and you'd let your dog run around the courtyard. We'd talk about remnants of the weekend. The success of the party. Sunday's dinner, and whether I had blended the pesto well. Deer season, hunting season, daylight savings time. Small talk to most of the world, but these half-hours would be the last minutes we would have until the weekend, and all the heavy ideas we held in our minds were too big to fit into thirty minutes. Rather, we hoarded these snippets of conversations like quarters being put away for the laundromat, saved away because we knew we'd always need them sooner or later. At some point one of us would need to reach what was 200 miles away. These little chats sustained us, provided sustenance for the days apart. Our voices were low but saturated with the fat of passion that kept our energy afloat.

September 22, 2009

Confession Tuesday

I love rainy days. I love walking in the rain and getting covered in mud. I love showering afterward. I love being able to turn off the air conditioning.

I wore a hoodie on my walk to the coffee shop these evening and it made me happier than it probably should.

I'm glad neither of our vehicles were damaged in the hail storm this morning.

Last Thursday I had a fight with a family member and in my frustration threw my cell phone. The phone did not get damaged. My shoulder did. I feel really foolish about it now - there are better ways to deal with anger (even though it was very cathartic at the time). I am not looking forward to explaining this to my acupuncturist tomorrow.

I got all the way to the coffee shop and realized I forgot my writing folder. I'm now pretty ticked off at myself. I had two poems I really wanted to revise after getting comments on them in writing group on Sunday. grrrr. I guess now I have no choice but to focus on finishing that short story I've been neglecting . . .

September 21, 2009

Book excitement!

Margaret Atwood's newest novel, The Year of the Flood, arrived in the bookstore today! I almost bought it on the spot. Unfortunately, I just bought three new books last week, so it's really not in the budget. Just another book to add to the long list of titles I want to buy. (Yes, I *could* just get it from the library, but Atwood is one of those authors whose books I feel the need to own.)

September 18, 2009

Draft 2

Here's another version of the poem I posted earlier this week. It's still not done, but I like where it's going, especially now that I have made it a prose poem.

Part of your pours out of me in these lines from time to time

When a shirt goes missing, and I wonder if it's in your closet, until I remember our closets are no longer close enough to consume each other's clothes. Absence fills me with its presence - the imprint on a mattress that never regained its original form. Memories lurk around the house like wine stains on a favorite couch. Sometimes I forget which ideas were truly mine, and which I took from you, molded and distorted until they fit with the rest of my lines.

September 15, 2009

Confession Tuesday

I confess that working in a bookstore has its advantages, while simultaneously being a disadvantage for my wallet. Yesterday, I unloaded a box of books to discover that this was the week that most of the Best American series for 2009 had arrived. I had purchased the Best American Nonrequired Reading and the before the books had even been put on the shelves. Usually the only Best American book I buy each year is the Nonrequired, but this year, Mary Oliver edited the Essays, so I simply had to get it.

I confess that the flash drive my husband got me for Valentine's Day in 2007 is starting to fail as a reliable data storage device, and I'm really bummed. Yes, I can get a better one, and even an 8-gig flash drive is not that expensive these days. But this one was a gift. It has sentimental value.

I confess that I want to buy a copy of Dirty Dancing this weekend and watch it. I never thought Swayze was that great of an actor, but he was an impeccable dancer, and the dance world is at a loss without him.

I confess that I'm glad Austin is finally getting rain, but annoyed that the storms seem to only hit when I'm riding my scooter around, and not when I'm actually inside anywhere.

September 14, 2009

Fragment of a first draft

A bit of a caveat: this is the first strophe from a longer poem I am working on. Currently the poem has three strophes, but this is the only one I like at the moment. I have several ideas for how I'm going to change the final two-thirds, but I wanted to share the bit I like so far, in hopes that it will spur me on.

Part of you pours out of me in these lines from time to time

When a shirt goes missing
and I wonder if it's
in your closet, until
I remember
our closets are no longer
close enough to consume
each other's clothes
Laundry condemned to
mere oblivion

September 13, 2009

New at Gloom Cupboard

There are two new posts at Gloom Cupboard today: poetry issue #106 and Rainbow's End #3. Enjoy some end-of-weekend reading!

September 12, 2009

A bit of excitement

I don't know why I haven't posted on this yet, but I'm a finalist in the Mattia Family 13th International Poetry Competition. I'm thrilled that one of my pieces even made it this far - it's definitely a confidence-booster, even if I don't win. The competition is open until September 15th and there is no entry fee, so consider submitting sometime over the weekend.

It's a chilly, rainy Saturday in Austin. I got positively soaked riding around on my scooter. Now in flannel pajamas, drinking tea, and looking forward to my husband making barbecue tofu for dinner. I hope you all have lovely evenings.

September 11, 2009

Poem: Balance

Inspired by this image.

Rocks with their
(water) color, from
the lake where I
grew up, where
perhaps I come
from, and if not I,
then at least some
microbe with traces
of my DNA. Perhaps
there are still bits of
my original progenitor
on the moist stones
that I pull up from
the shore and
dry in the sun
before I begin
to set up the
balancing act,
to unify my mind
with the world

September 10, 2009

Poem - Observation


One day, while we
were walking you stopped
to pull your hair back -
I had never even noticed
it growing

September 8, 2009

Confession Tuesday

I confess that I have a deadline on Thursday and I'm irrationally stressed about it. The article is almost done; if I didn't have to go to the day job today, it would probably be done this afternoon. Really it just needs one more read-through, and then making sure I've met all the formatting requirements that seem to change for each publication. But I'm nervous anyway.

I confess I'm still adjusting to my teacher training schedule, and while I'm close to having everything under control, it's not quite there yet. Yesterday, the teacher training class was canceled for labor day, and while the studio was otherwise open for business, I skipped the other classes I would normally have attended in order to just get some space. Instead, I spent a quiet evening writing, and I think that did wonderful things for my stress level.

I confess I'm struggling to make time to meditate and that's only adding to my worries.

I know this will pass. These little rough patches happen all the time, and I always get through them. I know this will work itself out soon, probably within two weeks. But it's frustrating to be in the thick of things, even when you can see your way out.

In other news, I confess that I really want one of these. Nice specs, and not made by Amazon or Sony (both companies that I dislike for a variety of reasons). I kind of feel like a literary sellout wanting one, but that doesn't alter my interest. I would love to digitize all the literary journals I have lying around, put them on the Cybook, and then decrease my clutter.

And I confess that while I'm thrilled about the upcoming film version of Where the Wild Things Are, I'm less thrilled to find that Dave Eggers is writing a novelization of sorts that will serve as a tie-in to the movie. Maybe I'm being irrational, but that just feels like too many levels of remediation for me. Does the story really need to be rewritten for an adult audience? I still enjoy the book very much, and I'm probably twenty years older than the target audience. Of course, I can just not read the Eggers novel - simple as that.

September 7, 2009

Untitled Poem

Inspired by this image.


That last night, though I
knew it was my last
chance, my eyes burned to
look at you, my skin
cracked if I touched you,
my ears bled when I
heard your voice. So we
sat back to back, just
watching the stars and
the sunrise.

September 5, 2009

Gloom Cupboard Links

Two great updates at Gloom Cupboard today: the newest poetry issue and the editors' roundtable. Enjoy the poetry, and feel free to join in the debate over at the roundtable!

September 4, 2009

On Giving Up

So after 10 months of work, and after just yesterday writing down the goal of submitting the novel to at least one publisher, I've decided it's time to let my novel go. Have I abandoned it forever? Not necessarily. There's always a possibility that I will want to pick it back up again. But there's a pretty high probability that I'm done. And you know what? I'm okay with that.

I have been giving this quite a bit of thought lately; it's not something I came to randomly. I realized that after 10 months, while the novel has improved in many ways, it has nonetheless stagnated. It got to a higher point and plateaued. After 10 months, I don't even want to show it to anyone for critique. I don't think it has any more potential. I'm beginning to feel like I'm wasting my time with it. I don't really even want to self-publish it - it's not anything I want to let loose among the general population. And the thing is, I generally don't lack confidence in my work. Okay, sometimes I do, yes. But the point is, I generally have a high opinion of the pieces I submit for publication. And I have never felt that way about the novel.

I'm starting to feel like this novel is diverting my attention away from other projects as well. There are new things I want to pursue. Such as finishing my research for my next novel, which I'll be drafting for NaNoWriMo 2009.

Am I a little frustrated that it took me 10 months to realize this novel wasn't worth saving? Maybe. But I learned something. For one thing, I learned that I can write an entire novel in a month (I wrote this for NaNoWriMo 08). I learned how much work it can take to revise. I learned more about submitting to publishers. And I also learned that giving up is okay sometimes. I'm ready to let this project go.

September 3, 2009

September Goals

Wow, August flew by! I can't believe it's time already for another round of goal-setting.

Although I was extremely productive in August, I did not accomplish all of my goals. However, I was far more productive than I was in July, achieving 6 out of 8. The only goal I did not accomplish were #2 and #6. I did not managed to get together two full revisions of my bookstore guide, and I'm disappointed in myself. I've definitely let this project slide after my initial enthusiasm. But I'm not giving up! I believe in this project and want to keep going. Also, I still have not finished that story-in-progress. But I have a feeling that this will be the month for it.

September Goals
1. Finish bookstore guide.
2. Submit work to at least three literary journals.
3. Attend a reading or other literary event.
4. Finish neglected story.
5. Do a full revision of all poetry manuscripts.
6. Apply for a freelance technical writing gig in order to boost my income a bit.
7. Pitch my novel to at least one publisher.
8. Submit work for the Robert Watson Literary Prize.