“Avoid self-pity like the plague!” Nelson Bentley would remind us. Often I fail at this, instead winding down into the woe-is-me, the morose melodrama. Like this morning, writing in my car in the parking lot, the air mist-heavy, that fall darkness like a sack of stones on my shoulders.


But it’s okay, I finally realized. Writing makes more writing, so a day or a week of bad writing might just be the throat-clearing I need, the stuff that I have to get out of the way before I can open up to the writing that offers potential, that might become something. That bad writing might even have a few image fruits and roots that I can harvest later. I don’t have to worry about that now.

If I can focus on the writing–the act of writing–and not on finishing a poem, I’ll prime the pump for more writing. I just need to keep faith that the good stuff will come.

This might be obvious, but I find I need reminders, especially as the days grow shorter.

Keep writing!

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heron on the path

I was not the only one on the path yesterday.

Slowly I walked forward. Soon after this picture, the heron slowly shifted weight and then took off, flew a few wing beats to a clump of grass in the creek.

Summer left in a flurry–a 30-day poetry challenge, LiTFUSE, a new Hugo House class, and a SAL reading, all like running a wonderful race.

I wanted to say, Happy October! Welcome the season of pumpkins and skeletons that have been in the stores for weeks.

I wanted to say, Enjoy the wonder–you never know what’s coming next.

On the way home, I heard about the shooting today in Roseburg, Oregon.

Happiness and excitement about a new month doesn’t fit with the sadness I feel for the people who were killed, the people who were injured, and their families.

Guns and grief. There’s no good apology, and it’s hard to find even a bad reason.

You never know what’s coming next, but wonder is out there anyway.

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card of writing advice

The picture isn’t great, but you get the point, right? Write!

Summer slid into fall on the back of wind, in the wake of rain. I have been feeling silent. I have been shying away from words. I hate saying that out loud, so I haven’t been saying much–here. I have been participating in a poem-a-day challenge (I missed one day–but only one so far). I have been living outside of my comfort zone, which is supposed to be good for me, but then there’s that fear thing. We go way back. But I saw this in a bookstore back in April (!) and wanted to share it.

Here’s to silence of reflection, of listening–not the stingy selfish silence.

Here’s to writing. Happy day before fall.

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I hadn’t planned to take a summer break from blogging, but the days added up, and now it’s August. We managed to take a quick trip to Lummi Island, and otherwise it’s been work, driving, not doing my physical therapy, and breathing. Breathing is good. And writing.

I’ve spent months working on three poems–which leads me to ask: When is revising too much? When do you cross the line from generation and invention to plain old worry?

I now have two versions of a poem–one ends in spring, with the tulip fields. One ends in the fall, with the horse chestnut trees, and I’m trying to decide which to choose, which ending the poem chooses.

What do you do in your impasses? How do you breathe through them, write through them?

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cover of a steady longing for flight

I know that the press started more than 20 years ago–but tonight in 1995 was the reading for their first chapbook award. I was honored to share the stage with James Bertolino, Judith Skillman, and Ted McMahon. Honored and nervous!

Twenty years! Our oldest son was in high school. Our two younger kids hadn’t even started school.

Many thanks to the founding members of the press, especially Peter Pereira and T. Clear. And many thanks to Kathleen Flenniken and all the other fine folks who have kept this press going and growing for two decades.

Cheers to you!

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