Saturday, March 1, 2014

March

I'm not sure how I missed this very lovely, thoughtful review of my chapbook in Prick of the Spindle that appeared in their previous issue from September.  It was written by Jen Dempsey, who is currently teaching English in South Korea.

The Winter/Spring issue of Melusine launched this past Sunday, which I am very happy about.  Besides the fact that I am proud of the issue, I'm also glad to be free to think about other things literary and non-literary.  Well, mostly non-literary.  Baby #2 is due in just a little over two weeks, which is kind of crazy.  For the longest time, it seemed as if I still had six months to prepare, mentally and otherwise.  I hope Baby #1 handles the company OK.  It will be pretty exciting for us to meet the baby boy, obviously; I hope his big sister will feel the same.  I think she will, at least in time.  She is a loving little girl, and there is plenty of love to go around these days... For now, I'm enjoying the hours spent, just the two of us.

I have a personal/writer's website in the works that is almost ready to launch, actually, and has been ready for a while, pending some finishing touches.  But, as with a lot of things, the next month or two won't be the time to put finishing touches on things, and so things will have to wait a bit longer.

In the meantime, maybe I will make some room on this here blog to compile links to the chapbook's reviews... It was released in 2011, but it's cool to think people are still reading it, and I'd love to expand its readership by another reader or two, despite my lack of finesse in the area of self-promotion.  I have one other literary project planned for the next week, but I'll see if I can manage both.  Then, of course, I might want to consider actually writing a new poem again.  There's an idea, huh?  I wrote more than I thought I would in A.'s first year, less so since the new pregnancy.  I definitely won't be doing NaPoWriMo this April, technically speaking, but, hey, if I can write just one poem all month, I'll consider that a modest success.  Maybe in May, I could try for two.

Monday, January 13, 2014

News, of Literary and Other Varieties

Despite spending a beautiful Christmas Day with family watching A. run around like an espresso-fueled elfling enjoying her first real holiday haul (we'll have to scale back next year so she doesn't start forming expectations of how much "stuff" she is entitled to...) I have still been fighting the winter blues as usual this season.  It's especially tough being stuck inside even on sunny days because it's like 20 degrees out... and not getting outside enough this summer to get my quota of Vitamin D probably didn't help, either.

I feel (more than) a little anxiety about baby #2's arrival this March.  (Did I mention this news here yet?)  He was a planned surprise, I guess, the surprise being how quickly he was conceived in comparison to his sister, despite the fact that I was only barely still in my 30s when he was conceived (and will no longer be in that demographic when he's born.)  So we were thrilled, but on the other hand, I'm also kind of freaked out about the prospect of raising an infant and a toddler all at once.  Our hunter-gatherer forebears apparently timed their births more like three or four years apart, and so did my mom, my immediate forebear, and I'm thinking they were all probably on to something with that plan... However, I got a much later start than any of my forebears did and so waiting that long wasn't an option, although both of my grandmothers did give birth to second and fourth children, respectively, at the age of 40, so maybe that should make me a little less nervous ... but I can't help but be a little worried about the birth, and the recovery, too.  When I was pregnant with A., I spent the entire third trimester in summertime, and although that meant my feet and nonexistent ankles resembled zeppelins, I was bathed in the optimism of summertime, a first-time prospective mother's excitement bred of blissful ignorance (despite the strong measure of realism that led me to delay this step for so long in the first place) and a relatively easygoing lifestyle.  Go to work, or -- toward the end -- work from home, eat, sleep, read, write, entertain myself on weekends and downtime in the same ways I had for most of my adult life (with the exception of alcoholic beverages.)  Now my life is radically changed -- in many ways, for the better.  I spend my days with a person I love more than I've loved anyone or even realized I could love anyone.  She makes me giddily, insanely happy just being her exuberant, affectionate little self.  And yet it's not an easy, stress-free life full of the sorts of things that used to make me feel productive or accomplished.  I neglect my writing for months at a time; Melusine issues lag; I can't even seem to keep up with posting baby photos on Facebook, much less socializing even as much as I used to before (which wasn't all that much.)  The house doesn't look much worse than it did before; in fact, with all the baby-proofing and reorganizing we've had to do, it probably looks a lot better, but it still isn't what I imagine most people's houses look like, and forget trying to cook healthy meals from scratch.  If I'm a housewife, I'm the worst one ever, a badge of shame as well as a measure of guilty pride, I guess.  When I spend time on one thing, like getting the house in order, another thing, like writing, languishes, and I'm not willing to give up on the writing.  I'm hoping that eventually my two contract editing gigs will earn me enough funds to hire a housecleaning service, but so far that's not been the case.

So that's what's been happening -- a much more confessional post than the vast majority of what I put up here, but what the hell; I may as well be honest.  And in the end, I still have no regrets; I just wish I had a lot more time, in the near-term and long-term sense of the word.

On to some poetry updates.  Well, for one thing, I actually wrote a poem!  I had checked my log on New Year's Day and realized I hadn't written anything in six months.  I've been polishing and sending my full-length manuscript out to contests, but I haven't been writing anything new.  So that morning while A. and her father were hanging out at the book store, I just sat down and typed up a poem.  It is a lot easier to write with six months' worth of unwritten poem juice brewing -- no need for writing exercises or my usual stream of consciousness tricks, and it wouldn't have mattered the subject; I was just ready to write something, good, bad or mediocre.

Secondly, I got a poem accepted in the Free State Review last month, which is exciting since it's been a while since I've had a poem in print (non-digitally.)  The issue will be out this summer.

Thirdly, I was included in the fun Tumblr blog Women Poets Wearing Sweatpants that ran briefly but memorably at the turn of the year.  I realize the impetus of the blog was a response to a feature story and I suppose there are politics surrounding that, but I'm not too interested in getting into the why of it all; I just think it was an awesome idea for a blog that took on a life of its own, and it was great to see that it touched a nerve among women writers, and maybe some guy writers, too, and made us all especially excited about what we do for a few weeks.  Poets don't always get moments like that, but I hope we see more of them this year.  Kudos to Becca Klaver for helming the project.

Finally, there's another belated Melusine issue to wrap up.  Fortunately, I'm not as far behind as I was last year at this time, when I should have just admitted that I had stacked my plate too high with giving birth in September and aiming for a new issue by the end of the year.  It seems like those two things should both be possible in a four-month period, and I'm sure there are others who could manage that, but then I'm not the most energetic person in the world, nor was I the most well-versed in the skills required for new motherhood coming into it, and then there's the fact that I have yet to recruit any kind of editorial staff for the journal.  I guess there's a bit of the control freak in me sometimes, but not the kind who wants to control anyone else, just the live-and-let-live kind of freak.  But sometimes it's good to admit I could use a hand with something.  On the motherhood front, baby #2 is probably going to remind me daily of that fine point as well.

Here's to more poetry (of all kinds) in the new year.  I'll raise my insulated paper cup of half-caff with milk & cocoa to that.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New poem online, etc.

Wow, it's been a few days since my last post.  Time does move at a different pace (both slower and faster) with a kid in the picture ... It's been fun, though -- a lot more fun, in general, than the earlier months, although the early days have their magic, too, but since A. got mobile and her personality started really emerging, it's been a blast -- OK, not a 24/7 blast; there's still plenty of drudgery inherent in parenthood and stuff like "alone time" and "sleep" that I still remember wistfully, but the little girl is so much fun.  She's very different from her mother -- vivacious and, shockingly, athletic.  I had talked early and walked just on time, was calm and quiet, and later serious.  She's a little ball of energy, mischief and affection, walked early and is still working on the talking (I don't think she has much interest in working on the calm and quiet, but that's OK.  She makes me smile.  It's going to be a crazy but fun ride with this one...)

Anyway, in poetry news, here's a new one in the fabulous journal KIN:  http://wearekin.org/author/jekihlstrom/precambrian

Friday, May 31, 2013

May

May has been a good month, in general and literary-wise.  I finally launched the belated 10th issue of Melusine, which you can see here. It has been a long haul with this issue, but I'm really happy with it.

And earlier, a poem of mine appeared in Ghost Ocean Magazine's 12th issue.  

Writing is still happening.  Poems are still flowing.  Other people's exciting work is still being edited.  Yay for that.

And my daughter is still kind of darn cute, if I may say so.  Cute is as cute does, and she does cute, too.  She has a sweet but fearless little personality.  When she smiles with her four little teeth (and two more on the way) I can barely stand it.  She is also a budding artist, again from a very biased opinion, but I couldn't resist featuring her first two efforts (with help from daddy) in my Melusine editorial here.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

What I've Been Doing Lately

  1. Taking care of the baby.
  2. Taking care of the baby and going a little stir-crazy, although still crazy about the baby... It will get easier in the spring, or so I'm telling myself.
  3. Had a poem accepted for the next issue of Ghost Ocean Magazine, which was awesome news.
  4. Wrote two poems today, which, believe me, is not normal for the past six months.  But I've written five poems since the baby was born, which is more than I expected to write.
  5. Considering submitting to a chapbook contest -- kind of last-minute, as I wasn't sure I had enough poems for a second chapbook and was just going to focus on the full-length manuscript, but I think I actually might, so why not?
  6. Working on the Spring, formerly Winter, formerly Fall/Winter issue of Melusine, which is now slated for [redacted rather than revised due to a bad track record in predicting launch dates ;]  But the issue is coming along, little by little...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Last Year's Resolution

Well, finally I kept them all, 100 percent of 'em.  OK, there was only one, and I kept it.  Boy, did I ever.

Resolution '12

Although, honestly speaking, I only kept it in some senses.  I didn't completely change everything.  One of the less welcome side effects of parenthood is that it seems to shine a harsher light on all one's hidden and not-so-hidden flaws, as if one's self-esteem was particularly high to begin with.  I sometimes wonder how I ever fooled myself into thinking I was ever competent at anything.  So needless to say, I have been writing and submitting less lately.  Mostly that's about finding the time, though.

So there are a boatload of things I could resolve about this year; it's difficult to pick just one.  There seem to be two categories:  things I suck at (which is a mammoth category) and things I am OK/fairly good at.  So I'd like to shorten the first list a bit but also put more work into the stuff in the latter one, because frankly I'll never be a Renaissance woman, and I need to choose where to put my energy.  The exception there would be trying to reach out to people more and contribute more despite inhibition/social anxiety/tendency to be bad at articulating nonwritten language/sheer laziness.  That's always on the list, but it's the one thing that's always worth continuing to work at, no matter how little progress I seem to make.

On that soberly prudent note, happy new year.

Monday, December 17, 2012

For the Holidays

It occurred to me why images of the Madonna and Child are so moving, even to me as a nontheist.  After aeons of hot and cold stars and crashing meteors, in at least one place in the universe life gave rise to mammals, with their chemical capacity to bond, and then to self-conscious mammals whose look of recognition implies their shared awareness of that moment of mutual animal trust, which is kind of beautiful. 

So merry Christmas, after all.