If I were a Beatle, I would not be worried about this

Cornelia Street Cafe, New YorkCountdown: 6 days to NYC, 7 days to Cornelia Street

And will anyone come?

Yesterday I heard “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” and I thought about the Beatles–how they didn’t have to worry about drawing a crowd. (They might have thought about it before their debut at the Casbah Club–but I wonder whether they were just so amped about getting to play that they didn’t stop to worry about having an audience–and that’s cool!)

Plane ticket: Check

Hotel: Check

Rental car for the ride up to the Cape: Check

Books (!): Check

Audience: Still working to get the word out

What to wear: Whoops!

Until then, here’s a taste of what’s to come–Margo Berdeshevsky’s poem “To Open the Arms.”

I have been told. And in the returning bright
ahead of April I will carve a bird from a remnant bone, crone-
whisper it to fly, to be an owl, if it dares, haunt these passages,
what stolen heart and fresh blood in its delicate clasp,
arms, wide open?
The Filipina midwife who tells me how it is,
who watches lives coming in because I
crawl womb-ward, backward, busy
in my cave whittling bones of hope because,
always homesick for a tribe I do not, never
know how to join, like tracing paper–what
is a scream and what is a war, and what is
a hand for, if not for touching, making, what
is a wing for when it breaks, how to lie in kindness
how to plant for spring and not explosion’s terrible
art–because I make the infant lines, rather, have
a midwife to tell me how she mourns the deformed
baby girl, the blonde mother of three, dying stubbornly,
the metal marriage without love, the pale animals
all in one village who leave the land in concert,
on the wing.

Margo Berdeshevsky, “To Open the Arms,” from But a Passage in Wilderness

7 days to NYC

In a week, I’ll be in Midtown Manhattan, and on March 12, I’m reading at Cornelia Street Cafe, along with Sarah Sarai and Margo Berdeshevsky.

I’m so excited to read at Cornelia Street Cafe–because about a gazillion years ago, it was the first place I went (after my first dance class from Jocelyn Lorenz), just for a coffee drink. And I’m excited to read with Sarah and Margo. And yes, I’m also a little nervous.

But this week, I’m also thankful! It’s Sunday, and it’s time for the Gratitude Journal:

Yes, I’m thankful for the opportunity to travel East, visit friends, and share poetry.

I’m thankful for yesterday’s Hugo House Write-O-Rama–for getting to share short-burst writing with people and for getting to sit in on a session with Karen Finneyfrock.

I’m thankful–again and always–for my book club. Last night, a discussion of The Picture of Dorian Grey.

Every morning, I’m thankful for hot coffee and my cat.

I’m thankful for my husband’s cooking–lots of cooking–and for the impromptu and very fun Sunday dinner party he created tonight. Discussions of fermentation, green energy solutions (cost-effective green energy solutions!), fitness, etc.

And now, the laundry…

Open the door. Open my heart.

Write-O-Rama is tomorrow!

Really, what could be better than writing all day? And with lunch in the middle?

Hugo House is adding a March session of its popular fund-raiser.

When: March 3, 10:00 – … (lunch and an open mike at 1:00, and another open mike at 5:00)

Where: Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 206.322.7030

You can register ahead of time or at the door, and you can see the schedule here.

I’m leading sessions at 10:00 and 11:00 on breaking up the narrative. Here’s the description:

Starting with images and seed texts, we’ll fly through rapid-fire prompts–a fast way to get out of our comfort zones and generate fragments and sections. Then we’ll take some time to collage those parts into poems or prose pieces that tell a story in or out of sequence.

And Karen Finneyfrock will lead a session at noon on using broken form.

Should be a smashing good time!

And it’s 9 days until NYC…

Late after a big week, and another one ahead

I feel like I’m in a whirlwind–preparing for New York, some last-minute rescheduling, no hotel yet, la, la, la.

But today I feel overflowing with gratitude for the sunny day. It’s amazing what one bright, blue-sky day can do for me. And I’m guessing I’m not the only one.

Earlier today, a colleague and I were talking about our “tough it out” culture–how sometimes we’re so adamantly self-reliant that we don’t ask for or even accept help when we really need it, when it might be a whole lot smarter to let someone give us some support.

Later, while I was walking home, a young woman out jogging passed me and then tripped on the sidewalk ramp and sprained her ankle. She was really hurting! But she kept saying, “I’m okay, I’m okay.” And as the veteran of several knee trashings, I thought, “No, you could use some help.” She sent everyone away who stopped, but I just couldn’t leave so I sort of hovered on the edge like a mother crow, trying to respect wishes and privacy while also staying available, while she started calling people to come and get her. She wouldn’t let me give her a shoulder when she decided to hop over to the little sidewalk table outside the corner restaurant. It sounds like I’m blaming the victim. I’m not trying to blame the victim, but I am saying that sometimes it’s better to let someone give you a hand. I’m glad I’ve learned that.

This past week, last week, I’ve felt grateful for resilience–that’s the way the ball bounces: it bounces back.

I’ve also been grateful for Sarah’s help with finding another reader–and introducing me to the work of some poets I hadn’t read before.

I’m thankful for insights in the middle of the night, thankful for falling back to sleep and for the crazy dreams about the movie being filmed at the inn and riding around on a bus with John Cusack and then the Ravenna garden circle with all the arty containers and the invasion of the ducks and a crashing blimp (but it had a parachute!) and my friend Beth and a Bandicoot.

And I’m thankful for an acceptance from Cold Mountain–one of the poems from the next book.

We’re into the next week–trying to figure out (and articulate) where I want to be in five years.

Open the door. Open my heart.

Sunday gratitude: Thankful for so much!

Such a big week that it spills into the week before.

First, congratulations to Kathleen Flenniken on being named Washington State Poet Laureate. So exciting! And she has a book coming out. I’m looking forward to that.

I’m thankful the governor signed marriage equality into law in Washington State! Or I should say !!!!!!!!!!

I’m thankful for my poetry group and the amazing poems those poets bring. I appreciate getting help with my poems, but I also gain so much by hearing other people’s poems and getting a chance to talk about what they’re trying to do, where they’re trying to go, what works, and what can work better. And Thursday was a knock-out night!

I’m thankful that I had a big chunk of time to work on pulling together promotional work for my East Coast trip. I started weeks ago trying to write a press release–and I am not good at this. I can’t believe I used to write catalog copy and ad copy for a living, because now I’m struggling between making it straightforward and wanting it to pop and sing and maybe do a dance. And a hook! I’ve been hunting for a hook! But now I’ve gotten it far enough that I’m gonna ship it.

Finally, I’m really grateful–and still giddy–that Ravenna Press has accepted my next book for publication in 2013. Yes, big grins and gratitude.

Now, it’s time for another week of writing–trying to write. Here’s best wishes for your week ahead.

Open the door. Open my heart.