Thursday, March 27, 2008

We Moved!

Hi everyone,

In case you're looking for 9 to 5 poet, we have moved to another domain hosting site. You can find the blog here!



Saturday, March 22, 2008

Technical difficulties

Over the next few days, I am going to be trying to switch my domaiin over to wordpress. Please bear with me as it may create some technical difficulties. (Not to jinx it or anything.)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

On the First Day of Spring

The World

I say yes to a world with green meadows,
flowers, to lying in sun. I also
say yes to fury, rage, broken asphalt.
I say yes to a world with everything.

(March 18)

I decided to share this quatrain tonight, because I was thinking about the Big Yes Model. I know that sounds a little strange, but bear with me.

When I went to the education conference in Tennessee, Dr. Carla DiMarco was the keynote speaker. She is a psychologist and adult educator, and she was teaching us (a group of often overstretched student services administrators) about saying yes and saying no.

Her taught us how to use her Big Yes Model -- a way to quantify and visualize what you want to say yes to in your life. To simplify it, it's a grid that you fill in what you want to expend your precious energy on. You put your "Big Yeses" closer to your center. Then, you fill in your "flexible no's, " things that you may sometimes say yes to, but reserve the right to say no to. And finally, you fill in your "Big No's," the things that you never ever want to spend your time and energy on.

Simplistic? Yep, in a lot of ways. But, I was surprised by how many things in my Big Yes category that I ignore, let languish, or put off and by how many things in my Big No category that I live with. Overall, though, I was happy with how many of my Big Yeses I pursue.

So what are your Big Yes items? How are you honoring them today?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Notes on Keeping a Daily Practice

The biggest lesson I think I have learned (and relearned) through my writing practice is: It will come back. I am constantly repeating this mantra to myself the past few days, because I feel lucky whenever it comes back.

Natalie Goldberg has a line in Writing Down the Bones, which I used to share with my students back when I taught College Composition: "There is no security, no assurance that because we wrote something good two months ago, that we will ever do it again." I think writers live in this fear that the last good thing we wrote will be the last thing we will ever write. I know this is true for me. Every time I go through a dry patch, and this blog certainly shows that I go through lots of them, I feel like I'll never be able to write again. I'll never have that joy or inspiration in writing poetry again.

When this happens, I flog myself through what my friend Kate and I called in college Writer's Sludge. It's not a block, it's just a moment where everything I write is crap. If I'm writing at all. Towards the end of this winter, it hit me hard. (As I've been writing here ad nauseum.) The sad thing is, each time I go through it, even though I know it is temporary, it bums me out so much.

Luckily, I've been forcing myself through a daily practice. One quatrain (4 lines of ten syllables each) a day. They aren't miraculous, but they are writing. Forty little syllables are a great place to start, because frankly, they aren't initimidating. They're just words strung together, like beads. I write them on the bus on the way to work. Now, to be honest, I only write them on work days in which I take a bus, so I'm averaging four or five a week. But still, it is better than the nothing I had been writing earlier.

I've never been a huge proponent of daily practice, because of the aforementioned Writer's Sludge, but dammit these little forty syllable pieces are working. To make matter even better, I stumbled on a project to do with these little quatrains. Putting these two ideas together, and I'm enjoying writing again. Hallelugiah! I'm thinking of my project when I'm not writing... and not with dread! With actual joy and inspiration.

So now that I'm enjoying writing again (this week) and producing something regularly again (this week), I'm toying with the idea of engaging in National Poetry Writing Month, after reading about it on Poet Mom. Am I a crazy masochist? Will I regret it? Will my writing continue to feel fresh? Probably yes and no to all of the above.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Working Together on the Web

A close friend of mine from college, Kate, has launched a new site with a friend of hers called Wednesday Machine Arts Collective. This site's goal is to bring artists and writers together in a virtual arts festival. They plan on connecting artists of different genres together to collaborate on their work. How the collaboration takes shape is up to the artists.

To me, this is one of the best uses of the online arts community -- to connect writers and artists from around the world to work together. I'm really excited to see how Wednesday Machine takes shape.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

After a Long Absence...

...our sun has finally returned. I never thought that a long stretch of cold weather would affect me so much. But now that the sun is returning, I'm having some serious spring fever.

Which leads me to creating. I'm starting a new project, which I'm not quite ready to unveil yet. (I want to make sure I stick to it first.) I'm finishing up submissions for Asphalt Sky, so the new issue should be out by the end of April. And, I baked muffins for breakfast last weekend. Even though they came out of a box, they sure are pretty.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Poetry Book Club for April

I am very pleased to announce that Deborah Keenan's Willow Room, Green Door has been selected for our April Poetry Book Club book.

Deborah has been a fixture in the Twin Cities literary scene for many years, and she fosters younger poets' talents through her work at Hamline University's Master of Fine Arts program and the Loft Literary Center. She's also a founding member of the Laurel Poetry Collective. Obviously, I'm biased, because I am a former student of Deborah's and I have a lot of admiration for her talent and generosity.

I'll post the conversation post on Monday, April 7. Until then, happy reading!