Friday, December 31, 2010

Start here, now

I like beginnings--the new year, a new month, each solstice and equinox, even Mondays, the beginning of a new week, a fresh start. I like fresh starts.

And resolutions? Sure, for any of those beginnings. For me, to do better, live better, be better is a constant evolution. Do I break my resolutions or let them lapse? Yes, I do. But then Monday comes around.

As eager as I feel to greet the New Year, I'm also sad to see 2010 go. For me it was a milestone year (turning 50) and a year that brought both opportunities and hard loss. Leaving this year feels, in a way, like I'm leaving the people who left.

But the new year is coming, a chance to resolve and risk and write.

The Writer's Almanac today quoted Junot Diaz as saying, "What we do might be done in solitude and with great desperation, but it tends to produce exactly the opposite. It tends to produce community and in many people hope and joy."

I raise my glass and my pen to new hope and great joy.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Saturnalia crash and the cold truth

I haven't been writing much--partly because I've been cooking and then because I've been tired, and also I've been noodling around with some poems--tinkering with the forms and the images. But I feel like I haven't been making any progress with them.

Do you every feel like you're barking up the wrong tree? Folding the wrong laundry? Writing around all the edges--and not in a good way?

Then, this morning, I realized that I don't like them. In fact, I vehemently don't like them, which is why I feel like they're going nowhere (and bringing me right along). Yet I've also felt compelled to write them. Or something that's hidden inside there--or at least in proximity--but I'm not even close yet.

And it feels cagily self-confessional and passively self-indulgent. Yuck.

Realizing that I didn't even like these poems was a relief. Now I feel ready to tear them apart all over again, to explore and excavate, try to find that it that's driving me. But there is that feeling of feeling lost.

What do I do when I start to feel lost? Apply any one of a number of various vices and/or read Lynda Hull. Tonight, I'm going for the Hull--and first, I'm going to the Picasso show.

If that doesn't cure what ails me...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry and grateful

This week, I am especially and extraordinarily grateful for my families--all of them.

Thursday we gathered at my mom's house for dinner with her and my sister and sister-in-law and my dad. Always fun to get that whole family together.

Friday, we cooked all day long. I'm grateful we were able to do that. I'm grateful for Saturday morning and our little family of five, all the laughter and excitement opening gifts. Then on Saturday afternoon, Tom's family came over. I'm grateful for that family, too--and for all the fun we had. Boisterous, laughing-until-crying fun. And all through, a feeling of gratitude (it felt more like Thanksgiving, but without turkey).

Finally, I'm thankful that I had yesterday to rest and even do a little writing.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Under consideration, or at the bottom of the slush pile?

When you haven't heard back for months and months...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Still here, still grateful

and oh--so behind.

(Warning: Possible TMI post.)

I completely missed the gratitude journal this week, although I am grateful for many things, including a good shopping trip on Saturday and little bits of writing time and a really inspiring poetry reading on Saturday night and even some fun with the holiday season.

I'm not good at holidays, because I like my routines, and holidays jounce me right out of them. I know this is good for me, but I resist it anyway. And I don't want to resist it, because it's about being loving and generous, not resentful.

But really, I'd love to have some writing time. I've been wrestling with some 300-pound poems, and they are getting the better of me, but I think that with enough time, I might tame them enough to guide them and now this metaphor isn't quite working...

Over on Zen Habits, Leo Babuta talks about life without goals. Just do what you love. And I can tell you that if I just do what I love, a lot of things are not going to happen. Like dinner. And mowing the lawn. Like getting up and going to the gym and then riding the bus, which means I can read on the bus, and I like to read, so this becomes a good thing, but it starts by getting out of bed.

That's only one example of things that I don't want to start but might end up enjoying won't get started. Like dinner. Like Christmas cards. Hard to start them, but then I get going and I enjoy feeling that connection with friends and family members, even when (or especially when) it might be a once-a-year connection. If I don't (somewhat sternly) make myself start, I won't have that pleasure. Maybe what I don't love is starting... And I often fall short at finishing... Which leaves me where? Wanting to get back to those 300-pound poems, and who knows when they'll be finished.

To continue this thread of too much information, I like what Penelope Trunk says on her blog today about self-discipline, confidence and dialectic behavioral therapy. I admit that I don't really understand what's dialectic about it--and I also admit that I originally read it as "diabolical behavior therapy," which really interested me. When I clicked to the site and realized my mistake, I laughed out loud, which was therapeutic.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Poet cookies

In anticipation of the neighborhood cookie exchange, I briefly fantasized about poet cookies. What would those be? returned no search results. automatically changed my query to "pot cookies." Okaaay, no.

But I ended up making these cookies--filled with all the flavors I hankered for. And I'm declaring them the official poet cookie for Holiday Festivus Saturnalia 2010.

Warning: They're tempting

Poet Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup honey (we were out of brown sugar, and this worked better)
2 eggs
grated rind of one orange
2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/8 tsp. cardamom
1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls and bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes (in my oven, 12-13 minutes).

And here's a picture:


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday with cookies and a leaning tree

I confess that I am not good at serial blogging. I started The Sun Hunters with the idea that I would write every day, keep inching that story along. So far, my track record is not brilliant.

But this isn't to confess. This is gratitude. This is a time for giving thanks.

I'm thankful for our neighborhood cookie exchange, and the chance to get together and talk for longer than it takes to say Hi on the way from the car to the house. I'm also thankful that my cookies turned out okay.

I'm thankful that the rain has stopped for an hour or two--and that the basement didn't flood (HUGE THANKS!).

And I'm hoping for a good night's sleep.

Open the door. Open my heart.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Another one bites the dust

They're starting to come back.

I've been writing these long--and, for me, experimental--poems since June. I've loved doing it. I've had so much fun. I've sent them out. And, for the most part, they've stayed out.

But they're coming back. This is very good for my standings in the Facebook Paper our walls with rejection slips contest. But it's also, I admit, disappointing. I'll send them out again, at least once more--probably lots more. And I'll keep reminding myself that if they don't get published, they don't get published, but writing them has been its own reward.

I might need to tell myself that about 20 times a day.

And then I need to write. I used to ride horses. I've had plenty of experience hitting the dust. Get up. Brush off. Get back on. Breathe.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I had plenty of gratitude yesterday, but not enough Internet connectivity.

I'm grateful that my daughter is on the mend after having oral surgery. It's been slow, and so hard for her, but she seems to be getting a little better.

I'm grateful for the chance to participate in Write-O-Rama last Saturday. I'm grateful for getting some writing in.

I'm grateful that the lights are up in the yard now. They help take the edge off the darkness.

And I'm grateful that my very persistent neighbors got the city to fix the streetlights. More light!