By the Water

In the dark, two summers ago, my friends and I stood in my backyard staring up at the night sky. We were trying to catch a glimpse of the Perseids meteor shower, despite the light pollution. It was a new moon, clear out, and the shower was having a peak year. So we thought we might see something.

I honestly can’t remember if we did see anything – maybe one or two streaks of light – but an inkling of a poem had become caught in the orbit of my subconscious. A month later, I started writing.

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Portrait of me by the amazing Kate Trish

NIGHT SWIM is a poem in which I tried to capture a certain experience of my favorite season- lazy heat and silken water, a dark expansive sky, a sense of both possibility and stillness, contentedness.

So I’m pleased to have NIGHT SWIM appear in Liminality’s Issue 12 – Summer 2017.

I hope you enjoy it, and that you’ll take a dip with me.

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Some poem aesthetics.

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The standalone photos (and 1 in the collage) are mine from my winter/spring trip to Iceland.* I swam in the Blue Lagoon in the late afternoon, but earlier in the trip, I did take a night swim at the Secret Lagoon. It was the most magical night of my life, floating in the hot water, watching the aurora borealis literally dance and change colors in long ribbons unfurling overhead. Of course, the only camera I had at the time was my phone.


*Most of the photos in collage not mine -some free use, some Pinterest.
**Special thx to Sarah Goldberg for pushing me on my imagery & diction.

Supplement:
(Music) Meet Me by the Water | Rachel Yamagata
(Music) Details in the Fabric | Jason Mraz
(Music) Stay Low | Ryn Weaver

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2017: One Word Resolution

Just like last year, I’m discussing my One Word Resolution here instead of at A Nudge in the Right Direction. But my year-in-review/Bye 2016 is over there if you want to see all the shenanigans that happened last year! (Spoiler: it was a lot. I did 3 out-of-state trips!)

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Best 9 on my Insta for 2016

Some background: for the last few years, I’ve picked a one word to be my touchstone for the year to come. The word is less specific than individual New Year’s resolutions, but I like having something broad to guide and center me as I work through 2017.

I knew what word I wanted before December was over, but I’ve found Susannah Conway’s free workbook useful in the past, especially if you have no idea or several ideas you’re trying to narrow down.

My word for 2017 is:

REST

It’s funny because in reviewing my 2016 One Word post, I see I picked last year’s word, Intent, because I wanted to save more of my energy while remaining focused. I see now that I really should’ve prioritized the energy-saving part.

Thanks to the dramatic ups and downs of last year, I’m feeling even more stretched thin this January than I did at the start of 2016. And while I know moving forward, there’s only going to be a greater need for vigilance and resistance (I’m American and understandably concerned about the state of my nation), I know I won’t be useful if I’m burnt out. I want to make a stronger effort to protect my “me” time this year.

I don’t regret any of the things I committed to last year, but I know going into this one that I have to set better boundaries when I know I’m running on fumes. Rest is important for health, creativity, and building rebellions. 😉 When I looked to the tarot for guidance, it pretty much told me I needed to rest to truly enjoy things and that I should self-reflect more, look deeper to see what I need.

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Like last year, I’ve created a Pinterest board for my word. Maybe it’ll help remind you to take a break too.

But don’t worry! That doesn’t mean an end to adventures. It just means I will hopefully be managing my time better.

What’s your Word for the Year?

 

Supplement:
(Music) Take a Break | Hamilton OST

Shift

It seems fitting that as the strange, tumultuous year that was 2016 closed, the first poem I wrote in 2016 should step into the fading light of December.

I wrote SKIN in February 2016, out of the gray depths of winter. Perhaps it was a response to a nameless restlessness inside me or the unconsciously absorbed rumblings warning of a fraught time to come, but a very specific story came to me about a being who is constantly searching for something, who loses and finds themselves, who isn’t afraid to change. A shapeshifter.

SKIN” was published in Liminality, a speculative poetry magazine, Issue #10 Winter 2016/17.

I feel so honored to have this poem included in an issue of Liminality that includes so much gorgeous poetry about transformation and fierce determination. I hope you’ll take your time and go through the entire issue. It’s so worth it.

Some poem aesthetics for “Skin.”

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I wrote this poem all at once, and it spurred a creative burst for me early in 2016. It led to my connecting more meaningfully with a few of my writer friends too. I often think of “Skin” as paired with “Susurrus,” which sold right after I found out that “Skin” had been accepted. These 2 poems were my favorites of everything I’d written last year.

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I hope you enjoyed “Skin” and any of my poetry from 2016! I’m still coming out of my shell when it comes to sharing my work, and it’s been scary but worth it. Thank you for sticking around.

There will be more words in this new year! I hope it moves you.

 

*Images in the collages are from my pins on Pinterest. They are not mine.
**Thanks SJM for your feedback & early enthusiasm/encouragement.
***Thanks Alz, Tracey, Sarah G, and Eva always for your feedback & help.

If you enjoy any of my content (poetry or not) and have the means, consider buying me a coffee! Angels will sing of your kindness – or at least, I will.

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#GivingTuesday

I’ve been remiss and have not blogged for 2 months. Hello new and old followers! Since the last time we were here together, a LOT has happened – the major things being the Presidential Election and I lost my phone. That was actually the beginning and end of my vacation in New York City. Talk about crappy bookends to an otherwise fun trip!

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Personally, the Election hit me hard because I tend to be an optimist, albeit a wary one. I like to believe that ultimately people are kinder and smarter than I think. Many of us, I’m sure, grew up on stories where good triumphs over evil, where people find their courage and their hearts and do the right thing. The Election results and some of the atrocious behavior that have come before and after suggest otherwise. It suggests that many of the people in this country – from fear and selfishness, if not outright bigotry – are okay (or at least silently complicit) with blatant intolerance, fear/hate-mongering and a host of -isms that are frankly alarming to list. It was a rude awakening and deeply disillusioning to say the least.

This probably wasn’t the kind of post you were expecting, but the state of my homeland right now is one that makes my very existence (and that of so many other people – friends, strangers, all) even more political than it already was. And thanks to this 10 of Swords turn of events, if I want to be true to the ideals of this nation and the responsibilities of my citizenship, I have to be a more active participant in this democracy. I’ve resolved to do better, to resist. After all, you don’t just abandon the things you care about.

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So, this #GivingTuesday, in the spirit of giving thanks and of fighting for good in these trying times, I wanted to use what small platform I have to highlight some organizations and people making the world a better place. Please donate what you can, if you can. Any little bit helps, and today, especially, there’s a lot of matching donations happening. So you have double the impact.

 

A few, more personal picks

We Need Diverse Books – a grassroots organization working to change the publishing industry so that it produces more and better diverse books, “literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.”

  • Because representation matters. Diversity is not a trend. It’s real life.

Graham Windham – helping disadvantaged children, families, communities. This is the modern form of the orphanage Eliza Schuyler Hamilton helped establish.

  • You all know how much I love Hamilton, but his wife led a remarkable, albeit quieter, life as well. She pushed past her grief and got to work, establishing the first private orphanage in New York City. Her legacy continues today.

The Erythromelalgia Association – promoting research and awareness of Erythromelalgia, a rare disorder that essentially causes burning pain in the extremities. There is currently no cure and no one way to treat it.

  • One of the smartest, kindest, funniest people I met through the online book and writing community suffers from EM, and it was through her that I first learned about it. I donate in support of her.  For all those who have EM, I hope they find a cure or at least a more effective treatment sooner rather than later.

Force 4 Change x UNICEF x Target – ahead of the upcoming Star Wars movie Rogue One, Disney and Star Wars Force 4 Change have partnered with Target to fund-raise for UNICEF through fashion. From now until the end of the year, if you buy a T-Shirt from their Target-exclusive Force4Fashion line, $5 of each shirt sale will go directly to UNICEF for the UNICEF Kid Power initiative.

 

Causes of more Immediacy

Stand with Standing Rock – help Native Americans protect their land and water by supporting their protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. You can find out more about the issue by checking out #NoDAPL.

Flint Water Crisis – It’s been over a year since this story broke, and the residents of Flint, MI still need help getting clean water & dealing with the effects of having contaminated water. Two places where your donations can help:

Foster Campbell for U.S. Senate – Foster Campbell is a Louisiana Democrat running for a Senate seat. Their election is on 12/10, so there’s still time to try to flip this in his favor. His election would help defend against a filibuster-proof Senate.

 

Non-Monetary ways to help:

  • volunteering your time and/or skills
  • donating gently-used items you don’t use/need
  • calling your government representatives to voice your concerns (accounts like @flippable_org and @roadto18 can help with action items)
  • educate your friends/followers/neighbors/community on important issues
    • no one likes hard conversations but sometimes they need to be had for growth
  • signal-boosting organizations so they get as much exposure as possible

 

One of the best ways to combat despair, helplessness, and the bad, is to put more good in the world. Let’s all strive to be both more compassionate and more courageous. We’re stronger together. And thank you. Rise up.

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P.S. While most of the featured organizations overlap, there are a few more book/writing related ones I included on the #GivingTuesday post at A Nudge in the Right Direction. Take a look if donating to those type of organizations interests you!

Of sand and stardust

In February of this year, I road-tripped with my family to the red rock landscape of Sedona, AZ – a haven of artists, spiritual wanderers, nature-lovers, relaxation-seekers, and unspoiled wonder. It’s also apparently the location of a number of portals.

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We also drove up to Flagstaff where we joined a tour out to Antelope Canyon. You may remember the unreal beauty of its colored walls and terrestrial waves; I wrote about them in my visual poem: Color Memory.

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[Source: catherine]

So, it shouldn’t surprise you too much that I was a little inspired by my trip there and back. Driving through the desert always gets my mind going, and it was on the road home that I started stringing words together and focusing in on certain images.

But the poem didn’t come together until a while later, after I’d written something else about night clubs and dancing. I thought about revelry in another setting under the blushing light of an expansive sunset, next to a flickering bonfire, under a river of stars.

That poem became “Susurrus,” and I’m pleased to say that I sold it to Through The Gate, “an online weekly of fantastical poetry.”

This is my 3rd poetry sale (you’ll hear about the 2nd later), and I’m so glad this little poem found such a perfect home. You can read it by clicking the title above or the image below.

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Here are some poem aesthetics.

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Thanks for your encouragement and support on my poetry journey. I hope you enjoyed “Susurrus”! You can always leave me your thoughts about any of this in the comments.

 

P.S. I posted about the writing and waiting that eventually led to the 2 poems I recently sold at my other blog A Nudge in the Right Direction. It’s for anyone who might be feeling a bit disheartened by their writing experience & for impatient people. 😉

*Images in the collage are from various places on Pinterest.
**Other images are mine unless otherwise noted.
***Thanks to Alz and Sarah M for your help with this one.

Supplement:
(Music) Pierre | Ryn Weaver

 


Just a note on the buttons you might’ve noticed on the blog and on some of these posts. I love sharing my writing (hence the whole wander verse category!), but it’d be nice to also be paid for my work even a little bit every once in a while. A few bucks may seem negligible, but that little bit helps with both the general Adulting fund & future creative endeavors. (And in case you were wondering, no, poetry doesn’t pay much.)

So if you enjoy any of my content (poetry or not) and have the means, consider supporting! You will have my deepest appreciation (and Aragorn’s sword, Legolas’ bow, and Gimli’s axe. Just don’t tell them I promised you that).

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