Well if you call this a life…

I received a great compliment from my 13 year old daughter today when she said in reference to herself: “Well my mom’s a poet.” And then she rattled off a few titles of my poems that she particularly likes. I was made immensely happy—maybe for life.

I have poems coming up in “Press 1” in May. I’m so thrilled that “Memento Mori” and “Tattoo” have a home; and Press 1 is an impressive mag. Great thanks to editor Arlene Ang and her co-editors!

Press 1
http://www.leafscape.org/press1/

I participated a bit in the “30 Poems/Drafts in 30 Days” National Poetry Writing Month Challenge. I missed several days but I am not upset about it. I stayed on task for the most part and I wrought a few poems out of the drafts. A handful will be sent tomorrow to a literary magazine, maybe just after midnight–since their reading period is exclusively the months of May and October. I’ll let the world know how that goes if it goes in my favor. If not I probably won’t make a peep.

I can’t believe it’s almost the weekend. I am hoping this weekend to tackle most of the Must-Dos. Then I can breathe awhile…I wish you good breathing too.

Don’t you love to breathe?

Poet(ess) Extraordinaire

http://lanawiggins.wordpress.com/

 

The link above directs you to my good friend and wonderful poet Lana Maht Wiggins’ blog. 

Lana and I read at Casa Azul last week and are considering some future collaborations poetry-wise! Please check her page out and comment.  Tell others who you think might be interested.  More info can be found at her page.  She is an astonishingly gifted poet, a great woman and friend.

Writing For Life

It’s the same old, same old…still kind of living like a hermit…but I am getting out more. Writing in the middle of the night…sleeping as I can. I have been pushing hard to get poems out—to produce them and to send them to literary journals for possible publication. I have six poems coming up in literary journals Spring/Summer 2009 starting 4/29 when my poem “WHAT IS REQUIRED IN THE FOREVER”—a love poem to my husband will appear in “Clean Sheets: a Journal of Literary Erotica.” It makes me feel like I am doing something important…and I say that with the caveat that for many years I have felt unimportant to myself. More so in the last few weeks. I have felt creative and personal journal writing has been lifesaving for me.

I look back 25 years and I was a pregnant teenager with some prospects and supportive parents. My parents enabled me to go to college while they took care of my son. As the first year passed we realized Adam was not developing as he should and after that first year he developed seizures. The diagnoses he received are far too lengthy and complex for me to relate them but I will say he was severely disabled throughout his life (19 years) both mentally and physically. There was a long period during which I could not face these things and I didn’t. Then I met Dean. We grew closer to my family when we began our relationship because everyone liked each other and Dean was good to us. Acceptance on my part happened regarding Adam’s disabilities and I began to deepen my bond with him. After a few years I took back guardianship of him from my parents, which had been switched when I was unable to care for his special needs. I began making the decisions about his care (and did until his death) and things were going somewhat smoothly except that I had been diagnosed with bipolar disease.

The symptoms associate with my bipolar disease (and it is a disease not a disorder) and ways they have manifested in the past are: persecuting thoughts, depression, psychosis-delusional thinking, paranoia, hallucinations, mania, and detachment from reality. Between the years 1992-1999, I had 3 major “breakdowns” which required hospitalization. I was in the hospital 6 times. Since 2000, I like to think I have been in recovery with a few “mini-freak-outs” which have been handled with my care team and my supportive family’s intervention. So, since 2000, I have been somewhat stable and high-functioning. I feel my functioning gets better as we go along. But the disease is always there and I must never forget that. The risk of spiraling is lower because I am adamant about taking my medication and caring for myself but this disease is dangerous and sneaky…so I take medications, see my doctors—and for anyone who is bipolar who doesn’t want to take medication because they don’t want to “lose their creativity.” I will tell you that I have never been more creative than when I am well and taking my meds. I have proof, having had or will have 32 poems published in literary journals since 2004, and of course with the fact I have not been hospitalized since the late 90s. I am not cured but I am in recovery, and writing has been a major part of that recovery—and my doctors, family and friends of course.

Writing, my creative life, specifically making poetry, has opened me to explore inner worlds, my own psyche, and to find my path out of extraordinary hardships (which I do believe were blessings too.) Also journal-writing has empowered me through this process too. But to be able to write a piece of art—one of the highest forms of human expression, has given me my soul and self worth back. To have the words read and appreciated by others gives me such joy. I am humbled and moved by the whole experience. Writing for life, reading poetry, creation and expression have kept me sane and deepened my knowing. Yes, “Writing For Life” is a good title for this (long) note because that is exactly what this vocation has done/is doing for me.

I am writing my life back to wholeness.

Not Giving Up

…been trying to do the 30/30 thing…so far I have maybe 5 or 6 poems but I am modifying the rules and counting revisions and poem “make-overs.”  That way I can catch up and still be in the flow.

 

In other news: SUSHI TONIGHT!

Thanks Giving

Thanks to Patrice of Casa Azul Gifts for her generosity and genuine care for poetic and artistic expression, and to Olan for his wonderful support.

Thanks to Lana Maht Wiggins for being a good “partner” tonight and always-friend.

Thanks to my husband and daughter who love me as I am and let me become more.

Thanks to Cindy for being with us tonight, even if it was brief–time with you will always be too brief.

Thanks to Lian for the lovely and inspired poem she wrote for me on the fly!

Thanks to friends–Amy, Jo Anne, Christine–and if I am forgetting anyone I apologize.

Glad to make new friends too!

It was a lovely night with excellent hosts, a full moon and good friends. Perfect conditions for a night of reading and listening to poetry…

Bright Ideas

I made a few efforts to send my manuscript Garbage Woman, to contests and I didn’t win any of them but I’m okay with that. I am going to tinker ever so slightly with the manuscript since it is not under submission and because I have revised a couple of the poems in it. But the bright idea that popped in my head last night was to begin compiling poems for a second manuscript (maybe chapbook-length) titled Orphans of Dark and Rain –the title of my blog on WordPress.  That title seems the perfect fit for the work I am producing right now and for a few fitting older poems.  

So these are my next steps toward having a “book” in hand which will make my mother proud and aid in her comprehension of what having my poems published means, because most have been published online although several are in print.  My mother doesn’t do the Internet.  Of course I want a book too and I want my words in the world.  I’m merely mentioning that I know it would really hit home if my mother could hold my book in her hands.  It would make the fact that I am a poet really-really real to her, which must be important to me—which it is. My mother will turn 80 in July.

But at this moment I do not have a book— but that is my aim. 

And to restate my action steps:

1) Tinker with Garbage Woman; seek out small press publishers.

2) Begin shaping and writing new material for Orphans of Dark and Rain.