Moving Day

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Here’s a photo of some loose hibiscus tea brewing in the window to celebrate moving day. Any Given Sundry is morphing into Any Given Sundry Too because I used up all the free space.

I’d appreciate very very much it if you could go there when you see a post.  That’s how it will get mapped and be searchable online. You can follow via WordPress, or sign up for email notification or click through when you see a post on Facebook, and you would be doing me a nice favor!

It’ll be my online home until I figure out the next step, if there is one. Knowing I was running out of space put a real crimp in my posting.

I’m going to try to post every day for the rest of June at least, to return to my old habit of a photo a day, which was a rich one. I’m going to Indiana for a couple of weeks so the posts will be 95% green. You will like it. Really, you will.

Thanks so much to my regular commenters, likers and readers!  You make this fun and un-lonely!

 

AWP is People!

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Sam, at the Call Me Ishmael booth.

This was my first time at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference.  I’ve heard about it for years, but in not enough detail to realize what an amazing experience it would be. I only went for the final day and I spent it walking around in a state of bliss. Like everyone else, I could walk into any of almost 30 panels or readings being held each hour and a half from 9:00 a.m.-5:45 p. or cruise the Bookfair floor meeting book and magazine publishers, creative writing program representatives, etc.

The people at AWP were amazing. I arrived very early and sat and talked with an undergrad named Agnes who had only decided to attend the day before when her professor encouraged her to go. While we waited for things to get going, I also met a woman who has been an English teacher all her life and was there doing some life research: looking for a place to retire based on the literary community in her new city. It was so easy to start up conversations with people…we had the essentials in common.

One of the most surprising things I encountered was the Call Me Ishmael booth, which was manned by the welcoming Sam, pictured above. I listened to a heartfelt message about a book I’d never heard of.  Check out their site where you can listen to messages, and leave one yourself.

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Thanks for the photo, and for organizing this reunion, Noel!

One of the highlights was meeting up off site for breakfast with these fabulous humans. As Noel so aptly said, “In 1998, we met as ‘Emerging Voices’ at PEN Center USA West. We haven’t met as a group in 18 years.” It was great catching up with Noel, Jenoyne and Ellery.

I went to panels on creating a workshop for women veterans, writing as a “woman of a certain age,” creating storytelling projects, and making your passion project come to life. I wandered the aisles of the book fair and made a point to visit some booths I have a connection to, like PEN USA/West, Hedgebrook, Counterpoint Press, and The Sun, where I met Derek, Caroline and Sy!  Pretty thrilling.

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At the end of the day, I was reluctant to leave, so I sat in the lobby and took pictures of people walking out. I asked the lovely Geeta from Washington, DC, about her experience. She’d been there all three days and seemed to feel the same way I did.  That it’s a very heady experience to be around so many writers, so many people who share this desire to create and communicate. Our tribe had gathered and it was good!

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Yes, I bought some books! This is my haul, minus the one I found for Hydra.  It was the only one I saw with an airplane on it. This pile is a fun mix of literary journals, fiction and non-fiction.  So exciting to have all this ahead of me.

My friend Antipasta went on Thursday and talking to her on Friday was great, from the practical to the philosophical. I took a rolling computer bag to avoid a back ache…best decision ever. She said that there was a good mix of ages and that the younger writers weren’t dismissive–which, you know, isn’t always the case in the general population–and she was right. I talked to people from 18 to 80 and felt happily connected and mutually respected.

We Emerging Voices fellows from 1998 talked a little about aging. Being the most aged, I was able to honestly say that once you get past a certain age that’s buried in your particular psyche, it gets easier. At least, that’s been true for me.  At 55, like the women on the panel, I just don’t care as much about what other people think of me as I used to (or I can talk myself out of caring more quickly!)  It’s not that I’m more easily pleased, but I have a much better idea of what’s satisfying to me.

The women-writing-over-fifty themed panel was the most empowering for me.  I love Laura Orem’s (Women’s Voices Mentorship) message that our writing lives do not have an expiration date or a specific time frame. Some writers take a decade between books. We aren’t athletes or models. We can write our whole lives long.

The writers of AWP gave me a much appreciated boost.  I’m still floating!

 

 

The SUNny Day!

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Yeah, I was pretty excited when my contributor’s copies of The SUN magazine arrived in the mail!  My poem, “Birthday,” appears in the current issue.

It feels wonderful to have my work out there again, and especially in this magazine which I have admired and enjoyed for decades. This was my fantasy first choice place for this poem to land.  The SUN is generous and supportive of its writers. Even had a note from the editor, Sy Safransky. Swoon!

Because I like it when my writer friends tell me how to find their work in print, here’s the scoop.  The issue is March 2016, #483 and should be available now in the bookstores that carry it, including Vroman’s in Pasadena and some Barnes & Nobles around the country.  The SUN provides a link to stores that carry it here.  It will be available as a back issue before too long at this link.

 

 

Creative Check-in

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Back to my spooky writing habit.  Writing by candle light early in the morning. Actually, I’ve been back at this fairly steadily for a few months, but thanks to a lot of converging circumstances, I feel I’ve recovered my writing mojo.  It’s that feeling of lift-off when writing that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

Hydra gave me the brass Ganesh statuette that glows in the lower right corner of this shot for Christmas.  Ganesh is a hindu diety who is said to oversee wisdom and learning. He is known as the remover (and sometimes placer!) of obstacles. I have been interested in Ganesh for a while, and this sleek modern version is just wonderful to hold in my hands while I think about perceived obstacles to my forward motion.

I have a lot of taper candles from Trader Joe’s waiting in the pantry. My sister, Pegerty, sent me some lovely tinted tapers for my birthday and I decided to use one at a time to remind me that she’s always supportive of my creative life.

I worked through The Artist’s Way with my friend JayP at the close of 2015 and we’re continuing with Finding Water this year. The Artist’s Way launched me on a positive creative journey a long time ago, and it’s working again.  It’s a very different, and rewarding experience to do it with a friend, and especially interesting to do it with a person who is primarily an artist rather than a writer.

Have to count myself incredibly lucky to have such talented writers, artists and musicians in my life.  My writing group, The Harmonistas, Songmakers, etc. keep me going.  I guess I believe in community!

I hope your creative lives are rich!  If you’re feeling a lack, reach out to someone who’s doing what you want to do. People are amazingly helpful when they have a chance.

 

Wild Things

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Celebrated  Treacy’s and my birthdays at the writing group on the 11th.  Have been having too much fun (and work) to post about it. This is my fabulous writing group, plus Kitty (Joan/Mom) on the left. Time to stop using the nicknames, maybe?  Proud of my writing pals, Carla Tomaso, Treacy Colbert, Shari Hearn and Sheila Traviss.

Meetings are always full of writing, reading, and a little food and drink. I’m so lucky to share the ride with this talented, inspiring bunch!

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So I said, “Everybody do something silly!”  Some of us got the memo. 🙂

 

How Lent Went

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I made a vow on Facebook not to log onto the Internet before I start work on weekdays. I said I’d do it for a week.

Then a friend said “Why not do it for lent?” because it happened to be the day before it was supposed to start.

I’ve never observed lent before, but it sounded like a good challenge. The time frame seemed long enough to form a habit.

It was an amazingly successful experiment!

Since I started working from home full time last year, I almost always checked my work email first thing in the morning to get a feel for how busy the day ahead would be. Too often, I decided to start work early and my writing time slipped away.

It was a little hard the first few days, but my mindset shifted pretty rapidly to being excited to get up and write again. I usually wake at 6 a.m., but I don’t start work until 8 o’clock.

I even began to feel a sense of anticipation about finally getting to check my work email. EH?

Structure is important to my creative life, I guess. Some mornings I used the time to draw, and occasionally to critique my sister’s novel-in-progress. (We exchange writing. She’s a wonderful critiquer.) I did get online briefly to use a thesaurus once, but that seems like fair use. No dawdling or goofing around, though!

I think this habit is going to stick!

O Happy Day = Art Party!

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What a great day!  My friend Jean and her sister (my new pal) Ann, came over for a day of art!

Jean and I have been threatening to do this for a long time. It came up again in a Facebook chat and we decided if we liked it we should put a ring on it—er, set a date.  We weren’t sure what we were going to do, but they both showed up with art supplies and I got out the stuff I’ve been working on. We talked and cut up fruit and set up munchies we could return to through the afternoon.

Somehow we decided to work from a prompt, and my writing prompt tin was there, so we each chose one and didn’t tell each other what we were working on.

My drawing is above. I worked from the prompt “What she wanted versus what she needed.”

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The briliant Ann Pickard created this from the prompt “He said the word ‘church.'” The text in in the bubble reads “I’m sitting in my bean bag when I should be at CHURCH with my mom and my grandma LLEWhooo.”

Why is she not the Sandra Boyton of the mid-2010’s, I ask you!? Somebody needs to find this woman a book contract.

p.s. That prompt was given to me for my birthday by the fabulous Treacy Colbert from my writing group and was picked at random. When worlds collide!

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Jean Pickard–who is also a terrific singer–created this astonishingly gorgeous piece in response to the prompt, “Something/someone stolen.” This photo doesn’t really do it justice and you have to ignore the background, which is a black plastic bag we put over the table, not knowing where the afternoon might lead us.  She made this with torn tissue paper and stuff like Mod Podge. Wow.

Sometimes we take prompts literally, like I did. Sometimes a prompt makes me think, no. I don’t want to write about that, I want to write about x. Either way, I’ve tricked my brain into jumping past the block of the blank page.

This is the first time I’ve ever used a writing prompt to make art from. It was a little scary. But it ended up being fun.

We started around noon and were all amazed when we discovered it was 5: 15 and we’d spent the day talking and making art. Such smart, funny, talented women. Dang!