Update: Long Division, Vineyard Scholars Conference

Since my last post was almost two months ago, I thought I’d check in with an update:

First, presales for Long Division ended on June 23rd. If you didn’t get a copy but would still like one, you’ll be able to order directly from me or via Amazon and other book retailers when the book is released; the current release date is August 18th. I’ll keep you all posted. Thank you to everyone who helped Long Division meet its goal!

design by Dusty O’Connor

Second, I had an excellent time presenting at the Vineyard Scholars Conference, hosted by Yale in New Haven, CT. The trip was logistically ridiculous – three cities in five days, two of which were us carrying around everything we brought to the East Coast with us around New York in a backpacking backpack, several Airbnbs, Greyhound buses and Subways to get from NYC to New Haven to Boston and back to see family and friends – but it was perhaps my favorite trip that I’ve taken as an adult.

At the conference, there were so many stimulating papers and presentations, it was hard to choose just one per time slot to attend (there were three panels of two or three related presentations each, occurring at the same time, except for the reception the first night, where everyone could go: Miroslav Wolf spoke and then I and another poet got to read). For my seminar, I read from my manuscript, Church in the Decaying Shipyard,which I wrote during my first (and only) year of seminary a few years ago, about the loss of our church community, primarily, but also about other churchy/God/Christian stuff. Each poem was a question and many of them had footnotes; someone who attended my seminar, which also included an amazing dance performance, asked if I’d heard of David Foster Wallace (he’s my favorite writer!) and two of my favorite presenters (one on Christian anarchism and one whose paper was called “Dear God: Will I be Black in Heaven?” chose to attend my seminar!). This is Mark and I exploring Brooklyn the day we flew back to Seattle last Sunday.

Mark and I in Brooklyn last week

We clearly don’t take selfies very often…

We have recordings of my presentation and the feedback portion afterward with the dancer who was paired with me so I’ll update again with where you might be able to see those.

 

 

Mental Health Awareness Month, Part 1

Mental-Disorders
A stigmatizing picture, the likes of which are all-too-commonly included with “helpful” articles published by mental-health advocacy organizations.

In another round of “awareness” campaigns, this whole month has been dedicated, supposedly, to that of mental health. Last month was for autism. I’m weary to learn what June will be for, what real-life experience for millions will be reduced to a cause for which people post factually-inaccurate and stigma-producing articles and memes in service of nothing more than feeling like they’re contributing to making the world a better place. I was going to just ignore this “awareness”  month campaign (I’ve shared my issues with “awareness” previously) but there’s just too much misinformation, shallow “participation” and ego stroking for me to stay quiet in good conscience. So I’m just going to address a few myths about mental health here. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month, Part 1

Wishing Well

Wishing Well

First published in Ballard Street Poetry Journal in March 2012.

 

Wishing Well

Every morning, we all go to the office.

We pull up our roll-y chairs and wait.

We’re working, of course, but we’re waiting

More.

The e-news reports increased hunger in the Horn.

Also, they’ve shot another probe deep into space.

Deep. Do we really need to know just how small

We are?

We can feel it, here in our creaky chairs. At least

I can. It’s with me like a toothache. My smallness.

My weakness. That I have to practice how to feel loved.

Wait.

The last time I spent so much time waiting was for something

I’d whispered while flicking pennies I’d found on the sidewalk

Into a fountain at a park in the downtown of my childhood.

Hope

Was in the perfect ping of penny from the tip of my thumb.

In the arch of otherwise worthless copper toward a tiled

Floor. In the glint of many pennies who’d gone before.

Deep

To the bottom. Tiny round relics of wishers past – but they

Are only so small as their wish. I heard one girl at that fountain

Wish for world peace. Another for food for her family.

But me?

I wished to be at the bottom, with other things my size.

Maybe I could learn how to make a wish come true. Maybe

Just how to lie still. Or maybe, with enough waiting, how to

Shine.

Dream Big…But Don’t Act On It


writer

Five weeks ago, I started taking myself seriously as a writer. I mean, not only did I start honoring, rather than trying to hide (from God and myself) or apologizing for, the one thing I’ve wanted since June of 1990 (I was born in the winter of ’86), but I took these terrifying concrete steps, like seeking mentoring and professional feedback also. This One Thing I’ve Always Wanted is to be a published writer creating things of significance. But I felt both that I was never good enough to do it and also, that it wouldn’t matter if I was. The world was falling to bits around me and I had the moral obligation (and the desire to actually continue living in it) to do something about it. Thus a gnashing internal struggle that has driven me nearly over the edge multiple times over the last quarter century. For those who don’t me well, it’s hard to convey how deep and injurious this war has been and so it will sound trite to say that it’s Finally Over. Continue reading Dream Big…But Don’t Act On It

I Must Know You

Woman Looking At Self Reflection In Mirror..It’s turned out that, for most of my life, I’ve written a poem a day. It’s not to brag, but to say that that particular aspect was not the challenging part of the 30/30 Project. It was challenging – as evidenced by my last blog post being over a month ago, introducing the project – and here’s why. Getting drafts of poems you don’t have time to revise posted for God knows who to see (apparently, we had readers from all over the world last month) stimulates your am-I-really-good-at-this-only-thing-I-care-THIS-much-about gland like nothing else I can think of. And by “good,” yes, I mean, publishable. I’ve not had a terrible lot of luck (the internalized voice of my best friend obliges me to say “yet”), at least not with monographs, and it’s making it excruciating (the roots of which means “of the cross”) to walk into book stores. Continue reading I Must Know You

A book and The 30/30 Project

inkFirst, as some of you know, yesterday was the launch date of the second anthology an essay of mine appears in: Only Trollops Shave Above the Knee. (The first was Clash of the Coupleswhere I relay an infinitely small snippet of the infinite fight my husband and I are in about calculus.) This one is a collection of lessons I and 35 others learned from other mothers.

Second, I’ve been selected to participate in a 30-day poetry marathon fundraiser for Tupelo Press. I, along with six other women, will be writing a poem a day – starting today! – to be published on Tupelo Press’s 30/30 Project blog in an “early” batch and a “late” batch daily (so if you don’t see mine in the first batch, check back later – and maybe send me a note of encouragement :D). Continue reading A book and The 30/30 Project