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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Learning to Drive

Silver Birch Press is doing a series on learning to drive. I had tried different several times in my life to write about some advice my dad gave me when he taught me to drive, but it never worked itself into a coherent piece. When I heard about Silver Birch's call for submissions on the topic, I gave it another shot. What do you think of my poem 'Driving Lesson'?

The Cloudy House

The Cloudy House is a website all about 'the poetics of building a project book,' curated by Cynthia Marie Hoffman and Nick Lantz. It features interviews with Julie Carr, Shane McCrae, Simone Muench, Jesse Lee Kercheval, Sarah Blake, Nicky Beer, and more, all talking about their project books. If you love project books, like I do, you've probably been following this website for some time now.

Today The Cloudy House introduces a new feature, called the Spring Round-up, discussing book projects in progress. They have showcased the work of six poets with books in progress (and for the publishers among you, that means these manuscripts are looking for presses). This includes the work of Maggie Smith, Vandana Khanna, Joni Wallace, Victoria Chang. J L Conrad, and me. You can learn more about the projects of each of these poets and their current projects, including my current project WHITEOUT, about the death of my uncle on Denali.

Thanks, Cynthia Marie & Nick!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Writing Advice

Authors Publish has collected a list of 29 authors' writing rules and advice. Here are a few of my favorites:

From Jack Kerouac
19. Accept loss forever 

From Geoff Dyer
6 Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire.

Have more than one idea on the go at any one time. If it’s a choice between writing a book and doing nothing I will always choose the latter. It’s only if I have an idea for two books that I choose one rather than the other. I always have to feel that I’m bunking off from something.

10 Never ride a bike with the brakes on. If something is proving too difficult, give up and do something else. Try to live without resort to per­severance. But writing is all about perseverance. You’ve got to stick at it. In my 30s I used to go to the gym even though I hated it. The purpose of going to the gym was to postpone the day when I would stop going. That’s what writing is to me: a way of postponing the day when I won’t do it any more, the day when I will sink into a depression so profound it will be indistinguishable from perfect bliss.

From Henry Miller
5. When you can't create you can work.

From Hilary Mantel
7.  If you see a habit forming, break it.

From Andrew Motion
2 Think with your senses as well as your brain.
5 Remember there is no such thing as nonsense.

From Annie Proulx
3 Write slowly and by hand only about subjects that interest you.

From Zadie Smith
  1. Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can't do aren't worth doing. Don't mask self-doubt with contempt.
  2. Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ­being satisfied.
3 Stay in your mental pajamas all day.
7 If you have to read, to cheer yourself up read biographies of writers who went insane.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Rewinding the Clock At Tweetspeak

Every Day Poems, a feature at Tweetspeak Poetry, is featuring a poem from my first book, The Insomniac's Weather Report, today. Thanks to Richard Maxson and everyone at Tweetspeak  for rewinding the clock to bring back "What You Measure If You Use Water as a Clock."

Call for Travelling Moms

The Mom Egg has posted a call for submissions from Demeter Press. It's an anthology called Travellin' Mama: Mother, Mothering, and Travel. 

Topics may include but are not limited to: Traveling with children/Leaving kids to travel; Expatriate mothers; Nomadic mothers; Immigration; Refugees; Different places, different mores; Modes of transportation; Regional delights—food, culture, music, scenery; Kerouac, Boxcar Bertha and me freedom of the road; Touring band, literary tour; Business travel; Rest stops, roadside joints, refreshment on the road; Detours, planned and unplanned; The saloon to skip--traveling safety, 
traveling in a woman’s body; The business trip; Educating children through travel; Interpreting
other cultures for children when traveling; The pleasures/challenges of hotels; Going home;
Transnationalism; Traveling and children’s language; Traveling mothers and online communities.
Creative work: Send completed manuscripts (up to 5 poems of no more than 10 pages or up to 15
pages of fiction or creative prose) with 50-­‐word biography due: April 30, 2016. Acceptances
made by September 30, 2016.

Please send inquiries and abstracts to editors: Charlotte Beyer, Janet MacLennan, Dorsía Smith
Silva, and Marjorie Tesser at:

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Reb Livingston at Queen Mob's Tea House has an odd corner called Misfit Docs, where my strange collage piece "Madonna and Particle Child : My Grandfather Outlives His Son" can be found today. If you are in the mood for something a little strange, check it out!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pi Day 2016

It's Pi Day. I haven't forgotten. Please see past years' Pi Day posts for funny cartoons. Or pi songs. Or a personal anecdote about Pi Day in Japan.

This year, let me just say: Pi Day is also the birthday of Albert Einstein.

(Also birthday of Billy Crystal and Quincy Jones.)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Comedy & Poetry

I listen to podcasts. So many podcasts. I tell myself I am working on my creativity. And I am. I listen to many podcasts that feature interviews with writers, analysis of poems, the reading of poetry, etc. I listen to science podcasts that give me new images, vocabulary, and metaphors. I listen to history podcasts that give me narrative ideas. I listen to a podcast on word usage, etymology, and slang. I listen to crime podcasts just because I'm morbid.

But the podcasts that help me the most creatively tend to be comedy podcasts.

Really. Comedy podcasts. Perhaps it's because comedians have to work so hard on having the perfect wording (word choice). And good timing (stanza breaks, forms, where to start and end a poem). Or because comedy writers are so in touch with their angst and self-loathing.

Today I heard the comedy writer Marc Jaffe say " Comedy = pain + time."

Ohhhhh, I thought. There's the connection.