Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dear Santa,

and all His reindeer, and every happy little elf in His command,
Oh, pretty, pretty please.

ps. Opensource hardware? Way cool.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Porno de la Dino


Monday, October 26, 2009

For the grown-ups, this is.

The 17 least appropriate playmobil sets for children, because obviously Playmobil isn't meant for the children. It's serious business. All terribly mature.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Raccoons, a boon?

I always feel a little excited when I first hear the raccoons, their little warbles and chirrups. How nice, I think, of them to come and visit. They sound simply adorable, busy yet social, outside my window in the evening, late into the night.

I have a fondness for woodland creatures. They are the simpler beasts of our lives. Raccoons, deer, squirrels. Badgers and hedgehogs. The little birds.

Last fall much of my poetry found itself wound around the lives of these, my forest friends. I should continue to explore this phenomenon, before the weather shifts again.

I feel a growing excitement for the coming holidays, though. I bought a Playmobil Advent Calendar, "Christmas in the Forest". Everyday a new and exciting and fun and adorable plastic animal or set piece will be revealed, to amaze and astonish, to inspire. Or just for fun. Ah, Nostalgia!

In the mail: Playmobil Nativity Set with corresponding Three Wise Men and Santa's Workshop (aka My Take Along Holiday Home).

I feel can justify the purchase of so many toys by calling them 'christmas decorations'. I suppose I'll have to resort to having children if I want to expand my collection to include the awesome farm sets!

Dear Raccoons,
I love you. I truly do appreciate you coming to visit.
Please go to sleep now. Seriously. Shut up.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yes, dear.

Today's creation a la slow-cooker: Peasant Goulash.
"Peasant is a bird, isn't it?"
"No, hon. You're thinking of pheasant."
"What are we eating?"
"Peasant means like 'poor people'."
"Stew. Soup."
"What's for dinner again?"
"Peasant Goulash."
"So, like... people soup?!"
Mmmmm, smells good already!

Monday, October 19, 2009

No Rocky Horror would be a terrible thing.

The word 'anticipation' always brings to my mind the Rocky Horror Picture Show. No word has ever been so perfectly spoken as that one was in that film. Seriously.

Maybe I'm biased; I've been a fan for as long as I can recall. I'd never even seen the film, but as a child I had all the words to every song memorized. My mom had the soundtrack on tape (cassette tape!) It was awesome! I'm not even now much of a fan of musicals, but that one had, and still has, some of the most catchy, dramatic tunes to ever grace the screen. Although grace might not be the right word...

Of course I have as an adult seen the film. I watch it every year on halloween. Someone has yet to learn to love it, but maybe this year he'll finally understand. And not inundate me with stupid questions. I mean, really, with costumes and makeup like those, does the film really need to make sense?

I also always watch Ghostbusters on halloween. Holy jeebers did those dog-statue things ever scare me as a kid! I laugh now, but-- !!!

I like soup.

I don't want to just sit and wait for the big changes to come along (fingers crossed for that government job!) so I'm making sure to throw in a few little ones, to keep life spicy.

I'm learning to use a slow cooker. And not just use it, but to eat the foods that come out of it without fear. I've always equated slow cooked foods with foods that have sat around a long time at a low temperature. Unattended. As in possibly teeming with bacteria from time spent in the 'danger zone'... Oh god.

I don't understand why I'm so squigged out by this. Food poisoning, it's not so bad right? And it's not like you can even see the germs wiggling about on your food, or even taste them. It's just the knowing. Knowing can be a terrible thing.

All of the following are terrible things: knowing, not knowing, waiting, a life of no antici pation, food poisoning, anti-soup.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Things I want to do when I make lots of money:

Learn to play the cello.
Take ballet lessons regularly.
Become fluent in french.
Have the equipment to hand print broadsides.
Be friends with an elephant.
See everything. Everywhere. Ever.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Liz Lemon says 'poo' a lot too!

Poo, didn't get the job. It would have been a boring job anyways, but at least it would have been 40 hours a week of boring.

Chatted with some regulars at work and they just happen to be Aircraft Maintenance Engineers! They seemed eager to hook me up with a job-shadowing opportunity so I gave them my number. Now I'm crazy paranoid that I gave them the wrong number. I wish I knew their names. It'll only just be a tad bit awkward to call their company and ask for Mr. Venti-Seven-pump-Non-fat-Quarter-water-No-foam-One-hundred-and-ninety-degree-Chai-tea-latte or his friend, the Tall Chai Latte. No joke. They give me a laugh everytime they come in.

Applying online to Northern Lights College is free. So I did.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I won't jinx it!

Fingers crossed!

But if that doesn't pan out, I'll still be one busy beaver.

Fencing lessons start later in the month, signed up for mainly for the novelty of telling people I'll be taking fencing lessons. Like seriously, who does that? I'm also trying to get into a pilates class. Being as poor as I am I can take classes at the local rec center at half off, but the pilates class requires that the class be half full before anyone can sign up with a discount, so, wait and see on that one. I just wish they'd let me sign up online, but with the card they gave me, I have to sign up for classes in person. How terribly primitive.

This month the Sidney Reading Series starts up again, at the Red Brick Cafe, and while they don't often feature poets, I like listening to all kinds of writers talk about writing. Among those who will be reading is Mary Novik, whose book I fell in love with after randomly pulling it off the shelves at the library and have since ordered my own copy in the hopes of getting it signed but I only just hope the 80%off sticker peels off cleanly because that might be tad bit embarrassing. I had heard a rumour Lorna Crozier would be reading at some point but all the posters I've seen around town don't mention her, which is a bit of a heart breaker. She is one of my absolute mostest favourite poet ever ever, especially since Ondaatje turned out to be... well... grumpy might be the nicest way of saying it. Fart works, too.

And if all that isn't exciting enough, I've also got a Trades Exploration course starting up in January at Camosun, which should help in refining my plans for the future!

After after allllll that, it's time to go to Turkey! I doth heart the adventuring... le sigh.

And tomorrow I'll either send out more poems since I recently added a number of literary magazines to my pile of flash cards, or... vacuum.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I wrote dinoporn poetry, of course I giggle when I say 'poo'.

I'm terribly clumsy. So, long story short, we've been out a blender for some time. But no more will my frozen canned pina colada mix thing sit idle in the freezer, having gone on sale the day after 'the incident' and myself having forgotten and stocked up on frosty deliciousness, for we visited costco! My manfriend and I took his sister and her manfriend in, us having the much coveted costco card, to buy toilet paper. And of course we came out with a cart worth 200$... And...! No, not a blender, but something even better!! A 'Smoothee-Bar'! Ya, it's a blender with a spout bit at the bottom... but you can both blend and pour... at the same time! It's amazing. I'm amazed.

I'm also amazed that I survived an hour hike up a mountain that almost did me in, a full day on a lake, fishing from a sketchy raft we found, lol, and paddled around on with freaking sticks, in the rain, and didn't manage to catch a single thing. Like, seriously? Effort=reward! Get it right, nature.

Nature, though, has provided me with a nag. A wisp of an idea that I know must surely solidify into an idea, some fabulous thought, both deep and whimsical, that can then be teased into words, words crafted into poetry. If only I could just sit and think! I need moments (yes, plural, it's that vague of an idea, it's a nag after all, a wee tug at the back of my mind) to dedicate to the art of pondering. Pooh-style. (teehee, poo!).

My nag: A great big tree I pass in the morning, really really early in the morning, like pre-sun-rise-and-that-time-when-sane-people-wake-up, stretches its canopy over a large portion of sidewalk and throughout the night will have left a circle of sticky all around it, strong enough to tug at my shoes. What kind of tree leaks from it's leaves, it's branches' tippy bits? Is that what's happening? I don't know. But in the afternoon, walking home that same way, I always walk on that same stretch of sidewalk and see it sprinkled with bees, wasps, hornets, a potpourri of stingers in all different fashions of stripes, stuck or ... what? What are they doing? My shoes no longer stick, but these little fellows, a handful of them, have congregated, mellow and well-spaced, so I don't have to step on them, and they don't seem to get too riled up. How terribly interesting, no?

Monday, August 3, 2009

When I grow up, I want to be Tina Fey.

A lot of looking to the future, not a lot of looking to the now.

What does this mean to the writer-me? Not a lot of writing. For now. And maybe not for a bit.

A year has passed since university, and life and writing-life never fit fully into any good groove. Work-work never got into a steady rhythm, and money always seems too tight. The up until now now-plan was to work part-time, write, and housekeep. But the now-plan was just that, a now-plan. It only works for the now, with no room to evolve into a future now-plan, since it sorta had no room for a future-plan. So it's time, having had the now-plan in effect long enough to know that it is not entirely fulfilling, to focus on the future-plan. And dream up a future now-plan.

So, what do I want to be when I grow up...?

I'm thinking of learning a trade. I'll follow the footsteps of other BC poets like Kate Braid and Jane Munro and finance my writing habit through hard labour. So I've been doing a lot of research, not into the mating habits of dinos (le sigh), but into all the different kinds of trades available, and where to learn them. And of course fishing up contacts for folk in the know who
wouldn't mind having a little buddy tag along for a day and see what it's all about, 'cause, in all seriousness, I don't know much about much.

Electricity comes out of walls.

Wings make planes fly.

Cars have wheels. Oh, and red cars go the fastest.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Boo Google. 50 dkp MINUS!

Win a Sony Reader, but only if you live in the U.S. Boo-urns.

I entered anyways... :P

What will reading look like in 100 years? "Reading will be fluid. Novels, articles, poetry even, will be fully integrated into life. Words will flow from writer to reader as instantly as either desires. Reading will be then, and forever, the first love of many, words as intimate as though wrapped around our fingers; they may very well be."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mexico was so hot the mexicans were sweating!

Mexico was fantastic. I'll miss the abundance of guacamole and parrots.

Of course, upon coming home, I was hit with a case of the blahs. Real life is just so... blah. I like vacationing. It doesn't help that I came home to a work schedule of afternoons. I hate working later in the day; it gives me an entire morning to brood on the workday ahead, so of course I can't get anything done. So despite the mexican refresher, nothing new has been produced.

Periods in which nothing gets written, a dry spell one could call it, is not a bad thing if you can identify the causes, and endeavour to enjoy the respite. View it as a chance to wash clean of any bad habits that inadvertently crept into your writing, to dispel whatever was plaguing you before to get written, to distance yourself from the challenges that bogged you down before. Identify this as a time to 'not write' and be grateful for it. When you return to your desk, your pen, you will be as new, able to sit before your poems, written and not, and see them afresh. The main thing is to remain calm and happy, and not panic or beat yourself up over all the not-writing you're doing. Remember, lots of people are not-writing.

I had a fantastic time last weekend when a friend came to visit. I suppose any night the strata president calls with a noise complaint is a good night. Whoops.

And this weekend will have lots and lots of time spent with family

*** this is where my computer craps out and I start up the bfs comp to finish the post. While waiting, I run the dishwasher, put on a pot of water for tea, and check the mail. Ohh a package for me!

Ahem, this weekend will have lots and lots of time spent with family out of town, which I'm very excited for!

... His computer screen is so small. And this ergonomic keyboard is, uh, challenging to say the least!

Ya, my computer is, uh, ya. Earlier in the week my video driver... melted... corrupted... vanished? Whatever, I redownloaded it. I did see that one coming though, strange flickers in the video when playing WoW, the occasional blank screen, and then of course the full return to 8bit colour. Nice. Fixed now, but...

The firefox isn't so hot. Completely draining all resources, and after 6pm when my virus scan starts, my comp is totally out of commission for the day. Never mind the random freezes throughout. Buh. I can look over at my comp right now and see the task manager showing two firefox.exe, each at 50% cpu occasionally 49/51. Like, why?

Don't worry though, a bluescreenofdeath did prompt a full backup of all my writing as soon as I got back from the mexico!

My tea is ready.

My package from the mail? Let's call it a souvenir from mexico. Except instead of spending an outrageous amount of money at the resort's boutiques, I came home and bought the same thing off ebay for cheap. Lol. Savvy!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Maybe my rogue will get past level 74 today, cuz I ain't going in to work!

Oh, I'm sick. So sick. I'm going to eat chocolate ice cream for breakfast, cuz my throat hurts, my skull aches, and my face is filled with goo.

Dear Mexico, please be kind to my weakened immune system, this cold is wearing me out.
Love, a super fan.

Dear Cold, goooo awaaaay!
From your worsest nightmare ever, rarr!

Dear Goo, get out get out get out!
From you-know-who.

Dear Friends and Family, if I don't make it through this, and I may not if the ice cream runs out, please have my remains placed in the pool at Cancun, so that I may float through eternity in sunshine. Also, tape a Pina Colada to my clenched fist, I like those.
Love, a somewhat pathetic sicky.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It's like a diary entry, without so much angst.

It is hot out. The weather seems to have gone from "jacket and a scarf" to "god damnit now I gotta shave my legs" over night. But that's ok. I was gonna shave them soon anyways; I'm going to mexico in less than two weeks!

In other news, I had a dentist appointment yesterday, and was able to schedule a follow up appointment for this saturday. The hygienist there was very gentle and had worked in a periodontist office for a while and so understood my paranoia surrounding the gum graft I'd had done a year ago. The dentist himself was very nice too. And the receptionist was very accommodating when it came to scheduling appointments, as everything needs to get done before the end of the month, when I will most likely loss... loose.. er.. loos... looozze (what?) my benefits.

Not only does 'poet' not come with a salary, the benefits suck too. The hours are nice though.

A few more rejection letters, and a slew of lit mags have reached the end of their reading periods and wont be accepting any new material until september. I am considering sending material to online magazines, something I've yet to do.

I planted some mint. And by planted I mean I bought two thingers of mint in the plastic pots and stuck those out on my patio. They came with dirt in them and I threw a cup of water at 'em. They'll be fine. I'm gonna make mojitos! I have to make ice cubes first though.

I don't have much else to type about... so I will tease you with some sample lines from my bestest dino porn poem:

"Everywhere they go, a hundred tons
of flesh smacks against another
hundred tons..."

Writing this poem I learned three new words: thews, milt, and amative. Oh what fun!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I want to live in a StarTrek.

Books are wonderful things. The covers, the paper, the binding, typography, formatting, size, style, the smell, the very weight of one in your hand, it all combines to create a thing of art. But can I ever become one of those people who can forgo all that and enjoy simply the words?

I've been looking into different eReaders, for reading eBooks, and wondering whether this is a thing I could work into my lifestyle. For one thing, the idea itself is cool and very sci-fi.

My bookcase is very much nearing capacity. Even with awful books, I can't bring myself to get rid of any, and I am very much a re-reader of all my books, so I like to have them in my life. I am a library user, but still wish to own the books I love. Could eBooks be the solution? They take up virtually no room, and hitting a delete button on those bad books would be easier than feeling the need to find a home for the print versions. I'd also like getting rid of the more pulpy/commercial books and having the room for chapbooks/artbooks, the rare and beautiful pieces.

There is a cost though. The eReaders are expensive, and the technology keeps changing and upgrading. And eBooks themselves aren't always as cheap as you'd think when compared to the print version.

I like what I've seen online of the Sony Reader PRS-700. It has built in side lighting and a touchscreen, with the ability to take notes. I especially like the idea of adding annotations, and when combined with the ability to download both .doc and .rtf, it opens up the option of editing my own work on the go. The touchscreen does decrease the contrast of the screen, so I'd want first to compare it instore with the PRS-505, though this one lacks a light and annotation capabilities.

But beyond simply liking the technology, are there any good books being ePublished? Any poetry? Any lit mags jumping on board? A lot of authors and publishing houses aren't, and I'd hate to be limiting myself, or spending the money on something I can't use universally. Although my very own library does offer eLending, so there's hope.

I can definitely envision myself reading off of a softly glowing metal slate, fingers brushing its buzzing surface now and then, spaceships zooming around outside my spacedome, rocket-dog at my feet, so I'll keep thinking about it and looking around at options, though it waits entirely on getting a better job and bigger paychecks!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dino... porn? Well, if you insist!

How can I possibly resist this? A small Toronto based press is looking for poetry submissions based on the prompt "Dinosaur Porn". So yes, I ran with it. Yet the master piece (if I may be so bold, and I shall, because frankly it is awesome) leaves me with a single word on my lips everytime I read it, every time I get to the end of the last line. "Ew".

I shall make more!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Read these other things, m'kay?

Busy busy busy! I've only just now managed to catch up on all my blog reading. And to hold you over while I get back to blog writing let me recommend some reading for you :) It's the lazy way to blog!

I just finished reading Mary Novik's novel Conceit. For a book I randomly pulled off the shelf at the library, it was better than most books I've paid money to read! I can't recommend this book enough. I couldn't put it down, both the world within it and the langauge woven throughout are so rich, beautiful, delicious even. A book of love and passion that takes a route that in a way avoids any notion of romance, it is refreshing and bold. Oh, and there's a poet in it, too! I want to start reading it all over again, right this minute. This is a book I now need to buy, as it simply must live on my bookcase forever. And I had to share this with you all, 'cuz I hope you read it, and that it can be a thing you love as much as I do. I'm nice like that.

Also, a quick read on not being a poet from a blog I follow. Very interesting and definitely food for thought.

And now for some tea, some writing, and then some awful work work ( I am now actively looking for something else though, work work shouldn't be so 'ugh'), and some daydreaming of a week in Cancun.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dinopoems are the tea-killer. This is a good thing.

Many a cup of tea has been ruined by writing. All too often I look up from my work to an "ah shit" moment, when I realize that my cup or pot had been steeping for a very very long time. It's cold and bitter and I have to start again.

My second attempt at tea is now brewing. But that also means my work has been very engrossing. And of course dinosaurs poems would be!

The first one I wrote last week about a child pretending to be a dinosaur, snore, isn't very good, although still awesome for its dinosaur reference, but it did get the ball rolling on a few others.
And these other two dinosaur poems are fun, exploring alternative reasons why dinosaurs went extinct. Flowers, I tell you!

I've learned about "the abominable mystery" which, according to wikipedia (my very bestest and smartest friend, and also, being on the internet, never ever wrong) was what Charles Darwin called the one problem of his theory of evolution, that being the apparently sudden appearance of relatively modern flowers in the fossil record. And I would think that the sudden appearance of flowers during the cretaceous period, which is also the period of dinosaur decline, would have driven their tiny minds insane, seeing as how a million bursts of colour suddenly appeared in an otherwise green and brown world. So that's my theory, and I think it holds up.

So the first poem of what may work out into a series, since the idea right now seems fun, is about the first flower blooming, and this event being seen by a dinosaur, and the dinosaur I guess going crazy. This poem is done, and I love it like I haven't loved a poem for some time... so it's probably pretty inaccessible... le sigh.

The second poem was inspired by a sentence I came across on wikipedia as I was researching: "The general assumption is that the function of flowers, from the start, was to involve other animals in the reproduction process." My poem, which I haven't yet decided is done or not, explores the idea that dinosaurs were maybe just too big and/or dumb to fill that role of pollinator. Its a fun piece, with many parts that I enjoy. I worry though that it may, um, falter into the sentimental. It's hard not to get sentimental about dinosaurs though!

And since I enjoy poems that mesh well together, and could work as a series or perhaps a chapbook, I think I'll continue exploring other methods of dino-death. I like to think I'm honouring the fallen beasts...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

These poems, they burn and hurt. And "dwelled" isn't a real word?

Have I mentioned that I love mail? Even a rejection letter. This is the proof that someone has read my poems, and though they have chosen not to publish any of them at this time, at least they read them. And I think they probably liked them. I like them.

There is excitement in opening an envelope addressed to myself in my own handwriting that I know had been sent out ages ago in a bigger brown envelope, nestled gently against the papery feel of poems. And though the form printed letter that begins with "We regret..." or some such variant can put a sad look on my face (I can feel that it's there, I don't normally open mail in front of a mirror. That would be loving it perhaps a bit too much. And in a weird way) it feels so special when that scrap of paper, since they never send you an entire sheet when half or less will do, has, scrawled at the bottom, a tiny note. This note is hand written, by a real live person, the ink smudged a little here and there, and with a real name, written perhaps in haste and always with the sloppiness that comes with familiarity, tucked away at the bottom. Oh, I love that person, whoever they are. They loved a poem or two. But...

And there is always that "but". I don't know how I feel about it. Of course, I can fix the "but" within the poem... but to be soooo close and yet, still unpublished!

One of my poems in particular received its second "but", proof I guess that I need to reevaluate it, and I will, and in fact have, and it's better for it. It's very exciting that more than one editor liked it enough to comment, and interesting that they had similar things to say about it.

I don't know what to do about the comment though "that [my] poems falter in places into the sentimental." Oy. I dwelled on this a lot yesterday.

I mentioned once that I love my poems to give me that punch in the face that the poems I love of others' give me. And I suppose that with the familiarity that I have with my own work, I feel the need for an especially hard hit, but for a first time reader, who hasn't read the poem and its million-plus revisions, it can seem like I'm trying too hard to evoke something. I try to step back from my work, but really nothing I've deemed worthy enough to send out has given me the cringe-face I envisioned this poor editor to have had. But I may be immune to my own sentimentality. It's like when you've been eating a lot of curry, so much so that you don't even taste the curry flavour anymore. You know it's there, but your tongue can no longer detect it. So each time you make curry, maybe as you're trying to perfect a recipe, you add more and more of the spice. To the unfortunate taster who has not taken this culinary journey with you, your curry would end up tasting pretty awful and way too hot when your original intent had been to simply tickle their taste buds with a wee bit of delightful curriness.

What a terrible and long winded analogy! I do think I'll make curry tonight though. And try harder (or less harder?) to write poems that simply give me a pinch, in the hopes that a reader gets the full punch, as opposed to the ass-whooping I've maybe been subjecting them too!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dinosaurs: nothing more ever needs to be said.

Last week I sent out another small batch of poems, lots of it the newer stuff I've been writing. I'm happy enough with them, otherwise I'd not have mailed them away, but not as thrilled with them as I have been with other pieces. It comes and goes. I'll trudge through. Poems are happening, and the great ones can only happen if poems are happening. So, great ones will happen. Of course.

I'm not much for confessional poetry, but if I were one for baring my innermost self through poems, I'd be lamenting through rhythm and rhyme the fact that I won't be seeing them really really big big dinosaurs in person. You know the ones I'm talking about! Walking With Dinosaurs is in town in May, for less than a week, and tickets are apparently made of solid gold. And we're very very busy that week, anyways... and the bf can live without seeing them, so I guess I can too. But, at the back of my mind from now until then, and even after, will be the glorious dream of life-size dinosaur puppets stampeding through Victoria, all the way down the Pat Bay, to visit me! Hello, Stegosaurus, I baked you chocolate-chip muffins!

In my final year of university I made many a dinosaur themed sculpture as part of my Arts minor. I've never had so much fun playing with sculpture and all its elements as I did in that year. Unfortunately, like the dinosaurs, dino-art can't live forever... RIP 'Rumpy Nibbleton' and the way awesome interactive end-of-the-world-for-dinosaurs relief, of which I may not have any pictures... whoops!Check out Rumpy there, life size (um, according to Professor Moi) and completely handstitched with the most awesome free find: pastel green fluffy material. Also included is a garbage can (for structure), paper-mâché teeth, over 30lbs of stuffing, a big floppy tongue, and what can only be described as snuffalufagus eye lashes. He hung from the ceiling and his mouth opened and closed (onto art patrons no less!). It took five people to carry him from the studio to the gallery. He was my pièce de résistance.

I don't want to jinx it, but I must say that any poem about dinosaurs would automatically be great; there is simply no denying the supreme awesomatude and paramount fantastriousness of dinosaurs. So I suppose that if poems are happening, poems about dinosaurs could, and should, happen, and thus great poems simply cannot be denied. Yay, logic, always on my side!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Am I just hearing things?

When I was very young I fell asleep on a couch. Actually, I'll never know if I was asleep and dreaming or falling asleep and not dreaming. Or maybe it was that weird in-between. Anyways, as I was 'sleeping' on the couch I saw, walking along the cushion right in front of my face, a bee. I was frozen stiff, terrified. I suppose this was before that time I was stung a lot, since that sort of cured my fear of bees; getting stung isn't the worst hurt in the world. But at this time I was terrified, indeed petrified. Frozen, unable to move, I watched this bee pass my face, out of view. I was absolutely convinced it had crawled into my ear. For years I would believe any ringing in my ears was the result of said bee, trapped forever, buzzing madly. It kind of bothered me.

When I was very young, I think now that I must have been very stupid, for in the still and quiet of the night I didn't know that it was my own heartbeat I could hear. I believed that the thumping in my ears was the footsteps of a giant that I could hear. In terror I was unable to move or cry out for help, otherwise the giant might hear me and find me that much sooner; he was always coming after me. And of course the more afraid I became, the faster and louder my heart beat; the closer and closer the giant came. I think I actually scared myself to sleep those nights.

I hate when I hear the mailman come, but I've already checked for mail earlier. It would look terribly odd to check the mail twice in one day, and return empty handed on both occasions. I don't want to look like a mail-stalker, or some kind of shut-in. I don't know who's watching me, but I have to look normal.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Windows and getting yourself 'out there'.

There are only two windows in my condo. One is in the bedroom, and as we live on the ground floor and that particular window looks out onto the path to the building's back door, the blinds are always closed. The other is actually a sliding glass door off our living room. It leads to a small patio more or less enclosed by (ugly) bushes. There is some privacy, so the blinds could be opened, and I am sure very few people would peer in. But every sunny morning when I sit here at my computer typing away, the clacking of keys not quite harmonizing with the chirping of birds, the plain (ugly) beige blinds are transformed, as if burning, set afire by the sun, to a sort of glowing gold.... is it wrong how pretty I find this? That I keep the blinds closed rather then look out at an entire world transformed by sunlight, that I prefer this one small bit of magic to a greater whole?

It is April, National Poetry Month. It is also 'Child Abuse Prevention Month' and 'Alcoholism Awareness Month'. So that's something.

There are lots of things going on this month, especially online, and many of them are of course focused on writing poetry. April becomes 'Forced Inspiration Exercise Month', with many people providing daily prompts and challenging poets to write a poem a day. I suppose I could take part, but I don't have a lot of trouble finding things to write about, so there's not a ton I could take away from that.

But I do feel the need to feel more a part of a larger community of poets. And while Victoria features a weekly series of poetry readings and open mics at The Black Stilt Coffee Lounge, I've only managed to go once. I haven't been since because it took me two buses, almost three hours of total travel time, and I was only able to stay for the first half before I had to dash out to catch the last bus home.

Sidney itself has, at The Red Brick Cafe, had a monthly reading series going for a bit now, but doesn't often feature poets, and definitely doesn't draw a very diverse/young/lively crowd, which is something I miss from my university days. Le sigh.

So how about I celebrate National Poetry Month by thinking up some new exciting way of putting myself and my work out there? Some celebrate April with the Poem in Your Pocket initiative. People are encouraged to carry a poem in their pocket to be taken out and shared with others at every opportunity. But gosh, I'm shy. That won't do. Maybe if I can just slip a poem of mine into other people's pockets without them noticing....

A trip to Opus had me eyeing some blank Art Trading Cards. I've heard of these before, where artists create prints or original works the size of trading cards (2.5 inches by 3.5 inches) to be traded with other artists, or I suppose sold, but trading would be more fun. How about a Poetry Trading Card? One side would feature a poem, and the other would have a brief bio and contact info for the poet. It could also mention if/where the poem has appeared in print before, and thus become an advertising tool for publishers too (I'd stick at first with published works, no telling if lit mags would consider such a small endeavour as 'previously published'). They could be tucked into library books, left on the shelves of bookstores, on bus seats, and cafe tables!

I made a prototype Poetry Trading Card. Actually its just an index card cut down to side with everything handprinted... it's terribly lackluster. Very blah, very... amateur!

Ever get an idea that seems brilliant, and its sooo exciting and the more you think about it the better it gets... but then you over think it... and then it just seems stupid?

I got to that point. My fantastic Trading Card Idea hit the silly point. No one else seems to be doing this, who would I trade with? And the idea of hiding works in books has been done, although not with anything quite so 'take with you and share'. This is cool, and I'd join in, but... 25$? Maybe next year.

So. Give up? Nah! Broadsides are too big, trading cards too oddly shaped... but business cards? Everyone carries business cards, hands out business cards, pins them to bulletin boards, leaves them strategically placed, hell, they even trade them! So the next obstacle to leap over... can a poem fit on a business card? I'm going to keep working on this. As I type I've got another window opened to, an apparently awesome business card printer where you can get any number of images printed to one side of the card, with printed info or logo on the other. I'll experiment with this. We'll see.

Speaking of windows, did I mention my view of the dumpster from my living room sliding glass door? Maybe that's why I keep it closed ;)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Are any of them are done-done, though?

A day of revision.

"These Are the Trees..." has been chopped into thirds. One third is gone (forever?). The third about birds has become its own poem, "This is the Unkindness of Trees", which I feel is quite successful. And finally, a third remains that is, perhaps the finished(?) and successful(?) poem I've been poking at for a bit now.

Another poem that has seen many many many months of revision has reached a point of... something. Maybe it's done. I don't hate it anymore. It's even got a not-awful title: "Feast". Mr.H needs to read it now, although it was his reading of an earlier incarnation that made me hate it so much and for so long. Something in it was confusing to my reader, but how to write the poem without spelling it all out proved challenging, to say the least. I definitely needed the time it took to stand back from the work, to detatch myself from the language and images I'd fallen in love with.

I was able to speed up that process a bit with "These are the Trees..." and if it's as done as I hope it is, I can be proud of myself. Being able to chop up your own creation is a much needed skill in all writing, and the quicker I can get it done, the better, so hopefully practise makes perfect. Or not hopefully. It would be nice to write more pieces that don't require an axe to finish, actually.

A few more poems have made it to the back burner stage, having seen some tweaking: "Poems Need Winding Up", "The Last Bottle of Red Rooster Merlot", "Our Bed is the Forest In Storm." They'll simmer and then I'll give them another stir and see how they are. Another poem might be done done, "Words to Spring", but it's one I keep going back to; it may be well written but I don't care for it much. A poem about poems, meh.

It's funny how some poems can simmer for great lengths of time and I don't mind, like "Words to Spring", but others, like "Feast" absolutely plague me to no end. I find myself haunted by some poems, unfinished works that claw at me, desperate to resonate. I never wish for them to go away though. I'd be so poetry-lonely without them tugging at my sleeve, my ears, my eyeballs...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Oh crap, I'm writing a bad poem...

Still tweaking "These are the Trees..." Will it be spectacular? I don't know. It's tackling something fairly abstract, and I'm not sure the narrative would ever be able to carry it, convey this mental picture I have. It sounds pretty though, and the idea is cool...

I still remember the first poem I wrote for a university class. It was about two planets colliding. I know, right? Well, I remember that it had pretty good diction and showed an innate sense of rhythm and flow... But it was about planets. Colliding. After we submitted our work, the professor gave us our first lesson: avoiding the "big", the abstract. And while most of the other students had written poems about love, beauty, betrayal, all of them very "big" concepts, mine too had fallen into the same trap, although at the other end of the spectrum. Planets are kind of big, eh?

So, the biggest trap beginning poets make is to write about the abstract. And even someone who considers themselves well seasoned when it comes to verse is still a beginner if they are spewing out drivel about love and hate and all those wishy washy things, at least in my not so humble opinion. Especially if they use words like "love" and "hate". Poets need to ask themselves "what are these things? What are they?"

A poem is a concrete object. It is words on paper, vibrations in the air. The subject of them should be no different. A poem needs to be about something. An actual thing. Even poems about events, actions, or (god-forbid) emotions, need to have within them the concrete objects that made all that stuff possible. Readers don't exist within a void; writers don't exist within a void; poems should not contain the void.

People connect best with the things they can hold, touch, smell, hear, taste, see, not necessarily the things they feel, like deep down inside. A poem needs concrete things that can give people a sense of touch, smell, taste, sight, sound. These things provide a bridge to the reader. A reader cannot take away from a poem a sense of 'love', but they can take with them the sense of vanilla icecream melting into a warm chocolate brownie. Give the readers something concrete they can keep with them after reading a poem.

That first poem of mine failed because it was about great big planets doing great big things. Things, yes, but things no one has seen, or could see. So will a poem about trees killing birds and marching across the planet crushing rocks fail? Or can enough tools of poetry be employed to save this poem? I'm afraid to ask, but I guess I'm not afraid to try.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rarr! But I just really want it to be done now and wonderful...

Thinking about the progress of this poem, I know it'll be one of those ones I'll have to step back from. My instincts tell me it's not done. When I'm away from it, and run the gist of this piece through my mind, I know it's not all there for the reader, it's not entirely accessible. I like to think that, within my work, no matter how punched up the diction is, or scrambled up the syntax, the underlying meaning, narrative, whatever, is still there for the reader to find and hold onto. It's there, honest! If there's one thing I feel I took away from university, at least the writing program portion of it, it is how far your reader will go in order to understand a poem. I apply this knowledge every chance I get; it was always incredibly frustrating to have a room full of people say they just don't get it. And as a student writer, the first things I had to learn was that sometimes the room is not filled with stupid people. Sometimes, you just lose your reader. Sometimes, you need to pull a thread through the poem that can lead a reader along to the end, or knock out some of the obstacles, or uncoil dizzying chronology.

Or maybe sometimes, if a bunch of trees in a poem go crazy at the end, the stuff that happens in the middle can go ahead and happen, and no one really needs to make sense of it all anyways!

Monday, March 16, 2009

This is going to make me sound crazy, like a tree!

My computer is alive and kicking, protected by free softwares that barely let me do anything: "Wordperfect is trying to connect to the keyboard! Allow?", but I suppose that's what you get when everything is configured to "Paranoid Mode". And yes, that's a real setting.

I am working on a poem inspired by a line that came to me this morning in the shower. "These are the trees going on without us", which has become the title of the piece. It's not done-done though, but so far, the ending seems to involve trees going kinda crazy... I don't know why. Probably just because the language that led to the conclusion sounds really really good.

Some of my best poems come to me in the shower. Something about the quiet, but not too quiet, atmosphere lets my mind wander. So it's probably not a bad thing that sometimes all I want to do is spend my day in there. Also, it's so very nice and warm...

Lines of poems not yet written are scattered in my brain. Maybe the over-abundance of steam (did I forget to turn the fan on again?) lets them knock loose and slide out my ears, or something.

Please invent waterproof paper.

I also can let my mind wander towards the poetic when I go for walks. Lots to see and ponder. The white puff of dandelions in fall inspired a poem that never got written; the sight of a smatter of dead bees littering the sidewalk beneath a tree lead to "The Mortality of Bees"; the moss leading up the drive to the home where the nun lives will, I promise myself, one day flesh out into more than just notes.

There's almost a mode my mind clicks into. And it's a shame but sometimes I just won't let it. I don't have the energy, the time, the paper or pen to let the words flow around like they need to in order to become poetry. The rest of life gets in the way, but it's a strong pull, an almost physical sensation, to the point where I feel as if I need to shake it out of my head when it gets going and I don't want it to.

When I do let it, though, the words sound like they come from somewhere else in my head, somewhere deeper. I sound crazy, but I wonder if that kind of thing would show up in a brain scan?

I've read somewhere that way back when, the egyptians believed the brain was nothing, just a bunch of gunk I guess. They thought that the heart was the seat of the mind and soul. I wonder if they heard their thoughts from their chest. I really do wonder about this. It kinda plagues me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ooooh, let's rant!

I am a very patient person. I can easily put up with my computer's 'ways'. I can sit quitely clicking through multiple error messages when trying to simply close programs, or crtl+alt+dlt all day trying to fire up another. I don't mind. It would simply be nice to have a nice computer. A well-behaved one. Nice.

My computer runs half open. Like... the case has to be half open. The fan. There are issues...

I am a worrier. Bad things can happen. Bad things will happen. To me. And they do. And they did.

I am the person you know whose bank account has been emptied. I am the person you know whose car has been broken into multiple times. Multiple times! I am the person you know who has opened commercial cans of pumpkin to find ick, moldy fungus ick. I am the person you know whose very nice computer, very new, very not cheap, very nice computer lost a hard drive very early on in its life. About then it stopped being nice. Indeed, I am the person whose technologies run fairly half-assed, who carried a debit card that would not access the account that had the money in it, who drove a car with no header pipe/ brakes/ oil/ fully locking doors.

But that's ok.

I am a flip-flopper. I'll admit it. I make one decision only to change my mind. Again and again. But this time, I am wiping my computer for sure.

I changed my mind last time because A) I got lazy (I'll admit that too, I am a lazy lazy person) and B) I worried about the security of my computer.

The security of my computer is no longer an issue. Actually, that's only because it is now the issue. My computer has been compromised. How do I know? Because my World of Warcraft account was compromised. That's right, an MMORPG did something good for once, it raised a red flag for me.

I haven't been playing WoW much, but the BF has, and he turned to me the other night and said "look, you just logged on." Err, but I hadn't... but someone had; someone was using my account. Someone who also locked me out of Account Management and Password Recovery. I was able to change my Registered Email, though, and thus get the process rolling to get my characters back. No harm there, all my items will be returned, and in fact the 'hacker' maxed out my mining skill for me, explored almost all of Borean Tundra, and got me two Wintergraps achievements. So, that's dandy.

But the 'how' is not so dandy. After two days I managed to isolate a keylogger. Did I manage to fully delete it? I don't know. Are there more? I don't know.

Way to suck, Norton.

In my adventures I downloaded AVG, and it opened my eyes to what I find lacking in Norton. Information. While Norton always managed to find 'tracking cookies', AVG found multiple ones, and gave me all their names, and that's nice info to have, and while online, AVG notifies me immediately when it encounters such tracking cookies, rather then waiting for a weekly scan to find it. But it didn't find the keylogger. And while Norton did, it never notified me that it had. "Norton> Options> Internet Security> Transaction Protection> Oh hey, we blocked this keylogger for you, no sweat, don't worry about." Um, don't just block it dummy, delete it! Or at least let me know it's there so I can. And it obviously didn't do a very good job blocking it. Something didn't work as it should have, somewhere.

So the computer is going to be wiped clean. I don't care now, obviously, if I lose Norton. I am willing to invest in something better. Suggestions? And don't suggest an Apple! A new computer won't happen until I go back to school, right now is travel time ;)

I also played a bit these last few days with, very interesting. And I'll definetly be looking into a registry cleanup program after this little bit of 'spring cleaning'. This computer needs more loving. Obviously.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another process.

My latest poem went out with the last batch of submissions, and had only been finished the day before. I don't usually send out poems quite so fresh, but I feel pretty good about this one.

It began as a very very rough draft of simple language arranged simply on the page in a simple separation of simple ideas. My idea was to explore the unfortunate feeling of preferring to stay indoors, even on a beautiful sunny day, and that sometimes it is just easier to stay inside. The first draft included the notion that this preference may have been ingrained into us from an early stage of evolution. The only spot of brilliance in this early work was the voice of the poem damning "that woman/ and her cave,/ her womb" after having questioned "what ancestor live longer, had more/ children never/ leaving her cave?"

The poem lacked concrete imagery. I decided to work with the image of the cave, and tried to think of what could be in this cave, a metaphor representing an early ancestor. I thought perhaps a flower, out of it's element within the cave, delicate yet sheltered. A google search brought up Gypsum Flowers, and I was fascinated. Not actually a living plant, Gypsum Flowers are rock formations found in caves, with highly organic looking forms, not unlike flowers. Beautiful. Delicate. Somehow wrong, but just right for this poem. And so the image of some form of impossible seed entering the cave and blossoming until "gypsum flowers flow/ across the walls of a cave" was created and begins this poem.

At this point the direction of the diction was set down. Words pertaining to rocks, caves, etc would keep the piece in key, and great language was definitely what this poem needed to get going. Druse, rock, vein, ore, fossils, dendrites, crags, hollows, bore, crusts, slag, core, roots, pebbles. The diction connects the idea of inorganic cave materials, to the organic materials that make up the speaker, yet at the end of the poem the speaker herself is reduced to "the minerals of [her] mass."

The choice of diction both determines and is determined by the sounds within the poem, and the rhythms and movements emerges: "druse/ this brood of rock/ arouses"; "vein of ore that must course"; "fossils/ even. And fingers fumble"; "the crags of hollows, a grotto"; "what woman ached to escape"; "gypsum spirals and satin spars".

Line breaks and enjambment were carefully considered to help control the movement of the language, to help layer meaning, and provide a few kicks and punches when needed: "as if some seed crawled into depths/ dark to brood and be alone", in this example, the enjambment provides "dark" with a double meaning; both the seed and the depths can be thought of as dark, and challenges the reader.

The poem itself is split into roughly three parts. The first introduces the imagery of the cave and rocks, and connects that imagery and the reader with the speaker. The second introduces the idea of the woman as ancestor, seeking refuge in the cave, bearing children in its safety. The final part connects the speaker and her feelings towards this woman, and what that woman's actions have left within the speaker herself: "Damn that woman/ and her cave,/ her womb."

The poem finishes with a concrete image that the reader can take with them. It's perfect. It was a "fuck ya!" moment. Take that Oprah and your "ah-ha" moments :P

At the end, the poem got its title. Agoraphobe. Not even a real word! But as a poet I can ultimately do whatever I want, and besides, you all know what I mean, right?

Bye poems, have a safe trip!

I got all my files cleaned up and organized, ready to back up for the big computer wipe, which now won't be happening for another 320-some-odd days. I don't know what to do with my Norton subscription. I haven't any discs for it and I don't recall if it was one of the programs that came with the computer, and thus one that would remain installed after restoring my computer to the factory settings. And I only just renewed the subscription. I don't want to lose the program, or another 70$ in re-subscribing or re-downloading, so I'll put up with this machine's idiosyncrasies for another year... but at least all those files got organized!

Despite the lack of reformatting, the new printer is installed! And works wonderfully! And so, today's project is a big 39 poem print-off and send-out. I've already arranged all my flashcards, so I know what poems to send where. I need to write cover letters for each batch, save a final submission version of each poem with all kinds of contact info in a special file, update my flashcards, and address lots of envelopes... fun times.

I hate licking envelopes. I buy the kind with the peel off sticker.

Two and a half hours later...
This is how it all began. Poem cards arranged, and organized with Magazine cards. I have to make sure not to send a magazine a poem they've already seen. I also like to send each magazine poems that I feel work well together, a cohesive mix of the good and the gooder, in an order that hooks them with a really great poem and ends with a stronger piece too.

Poems are printed! Each and every page has all my contact info. You never know how organized these magazines are. These papers are so nice and crisp. I love to ruffle my poems.

The cover letters! Each one should mention the magazine's name, so they know you care. A brief bio, oodles of contact info (contact me!), and a list of the poems sent. I also note that they may feel free to recycle all unused portions of my submissions. I love you planet. Double and triple check all the info.

Address the envelopes. Quadruple check the envelopes and their contents. Include self-addressed stamped envelopes; magazines won't spend their own pennies to reply.

Time to go buy stamps!! And then it's 2-12 months of waiting and thumb-twiddling. And I guess writing more poems.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Two, for tea.

I've cleaned the condo now, and can sit for another cup of tea. I even jotted down two super quick and awful drafts for poems, really very very bad, but that's how some of the best start out. So how about another entry while the kettle boils?

I'll soon be sipping on a cup of delightful Vanilla Plantation "Tea of Inspiration" from Silk Road, one of the two teas I picked up from victoria after the festival. This one has ceylon black tea, vanilla bean and essence. The other tea I bought is Velvet Potion "Tea of the Heavens" with black tea, raw cacao and nibs, vanilla beans, exotic spices, and essences. Neither of these tea are cheap or easily bought, so when I steep a cup, I am sure to use the recommended 1 teaspoon per 2 cups of water. I'm a bad tea steeper and usually try to stuff as much tea into the teaball as I can, spilling much of it on the counter, since the teaball is round... and not easily stuffed. I do this even though I know teas need room to unfurl to steep to their full potential... but I want my tea fast, and wouldn't more tea steep stronger faster? Apparently not.

My tea set has been shipped. The bf says it looks like a child's tea set. Which is funny because they do in fact sell a miniature child's size version of this same set. This one is called Tea's Me by Rosanna. Each cup is a slightly different style, and of course different colours. I love how whimsical it is, and yet still quite elegant. It might not be traditional china, but it's dishwasher safe, and something that could maybe become an heirloom... the regular stuff is just too plain for me!
Now to find the perfect tea cozy. And cake stand. And serving tray. And desert plates. And tea towels. And napkins. And napkin rings. And table cloth. And trivet. And tea tins. And tea spoons. And everything else.

At this point, I think my main reason for a wedding would be to register for gifts! Matching sets of everything... everything!

Everything must go with everything else. This is my neurosis. Well, one of them.

I owe you a blog! One lump or two?

I admit it. I play World of Warcraft. I am a total nerd. But this isn't totally anti-social though, cuz the bf plays too. And our computers are side by side, so... it's like we spend time together. I do it in kicks though. Right now I don't feel much like playing, so I don't feel terribly dorky. But those times when we spend all evening exploring Azeroth and defending the might of the Horde? Geek alert!

I like things to match. I like 'sets' of things. Even playing computer games, my characters' armour and weapons have to 'go', and it's even better when there are actual sets to collect, like in WoW and Diablo 1 and 2 (and when will 3 come out!?). I'll go out of my way to do this. At least in a virtual world it only costs time, but in real life (I go there sometimes too, honest!) it just costs money. Whoops.

In Ghent I found the perfect espresso set, not authentic to Belgium or Europe in anyway. It's made by a popular kitchen/dish company, apparently found everywhere. But every time I bring it out, I am reminded of my time there. It serves this purpose well. Since returning home though, I managed to find the matching creamers, stovetop espresso maker, and turkish coffee pot, which I actually use all the time to boil the perfect amount of water for a single cup of tea. It's pretty slow at this though, and the lid I tried to stick onto it to help it heat up faster exploded into a million little pieces one morning. I also stumbled upon matching coffee cups with handy stand, a coffee jar, travelmugs, big mugs with tea strainers... but I refrained from those! They didn't fit my personal theme, even if they matched in design. One must set limits!

I found the the perfect teapot. But they don't make it anymore. But then I found the second best one. And the matching teacups and saucers. And the matching creamer and sugar bowl...

For valentines day the bf went with me to the Victoria Tea Festival. It was a lot of fun! It was also incredibly crowded. I heard later that they ended up turning people away as they had reached capacity. It was awesome though. Especially since as soon as we walked in we were directed to a tea and chocolate tasting, yummy! That definitely set the tone for the rest of the day. Samples of green teas, white teas, black teas, oolong teas, roiboos, yerba mate, pastries of every kind; I was very nearly tea-ed out!

Once we had done a few circuits of the place, seen all there was to see, we headed out into town to see if we could find a few of the local stores whose booths we had enjoyed. I ended up buying a couple of very yummy smelling teas from The Silk Road, and plan on someday returning to Murchies if I ever decide whether or not I'd use the 'Libre', a cup/thermos for loose leaf teas 'on the go', often enough.

The best part of the festival: one small coupon. From the Empress. Omg, 2 for 1 afternoon tea! At 50 dollars a head, it's a steal. The bf has already called dibs; I think he's intrigued by the bubblegum tea we smelled!

I am very excited about teas.

I am very excited about having afternoon tea.

I am very excited about having a tea set.

I'd like to have a tea party someday.

There's a poem in this.

Yes, I've just been cat-vacuuming (definition: the writing done to avoid writing) but it's better then wasting time on WoW!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How does a chicken run, anyways?!

I run funny. Apparently. Watching me run seems to make people laugh, and while I've never seen a chicken run, others have, and well, they seem eager to make a comparison.

I'm not very well coordinated, especially in anything sports related. I can catch more balls with my face than with my hands.

I've never been in a pool warm enough for me to enjoy. And If I did, I think I'd be nervous. Especially if small children were present.

I'm incredibly self-conscious. There's nothing I hate more than to feel embarrassed.

I was going to go for a nice long walk yesterday after work to enjoy some sunshine, some fresh air, and a bit of exercise. Because, obviously I don't exercise much. And I'm feeling inspired to at least think about it more. But then it got really cold. And then it snowed. And then it rained. And then it got really windy. And then I think it got even colder. It took all I had in me just to make a short trip to the postoffice.

It's nonsense to feel that I need to wait until a poem is published in order to share it with more people. There's no poems on this blog though. Too many publishers feel that anything posted online anywhere can be considered 'previously published'. Most, if not all, literary magazines are only interested in purchasing first serial rights. But I like my poems, and I think others might too, so I've find another way to share them. On the sly! So hence the trip to the postoffice. No mass mail of submissions yet, though.

I'm off work tomorrow. Might start organizing submissions, so I'm all ready to go when my printer gets here. Or I might read a bit. A little part of me wants to give short fiction a go, and I've borrowed a big book of science fiction short stories from a friend. Time maybe to dive into it, since the best way to learn to write is to read. Or maybe if it's nice out I'll go for a walk. If no one is looking, maybe I'll even jog a wee bit.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Buffalos and 'No's.

Grating cheese makes my arms very tired. Kraft does the job for me, and for that I feel a little ashamed.

A couple of nights ago the boyfriend cashed in one of his lasagna coupons, my gift to him for christmas. I made something extra special. Lasagna with bison, sun-dried tomato sauce, red peppers and red onions, all topped with Tex-mex cheese with jalapenos. And of course noodles, spinach and ricotta; no lasagna is complete without key ingredients. It was soooo good. I like bison. Maybe we can find a way to fit more buffalo into the budget.

I'll write a buffalo poem, I think. Or maybe a lasagna poem.

No writing for the rest of the week though. Three opening 8+ hour shifts to wrap this week up with. But I got a lot of writerliness done earlier in the week, so of course it's ok if I lay on the couch for the rest of the day watching taped episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras, my sick guilty pleasure. I also harbour a secret love of shows showcasing "half-ton people". They boggle my mind!

I have a project. Save all my pictures, writing, and music from my computer. Wipe my computer, and start all over again with it. Probably going to suck to do, updating drivers, downloading patches, etc. But maybe at the end of it all my computer will be happier and run better. It has... issues.

I'd like to get this done, hopefully before my special package arrives, and then installing it will just be the next step. My biggest fan has sent me a new printing set-up!

And then it'll be time to do another big submission. Lots of new stuff needs to be sent out, plus a few came back to me in the mail yesterday. Actually lots came back! All from one magazine, whose turnover time is half that of any other, and who lets you send in oodles of work at a time, so I appreciate them, even if they've yet to send a "yes, please! We can't get enough! Send us everything you have! Take this blank check, and... " well.. we all have our fantasies!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ekphrastic Fantastic!

I live in a one-bedroom condo with white carpets. We figured out, using math of all things(!), that excluding the downpayment and the year end lump sum someone throws onto the principle, I contribute to roughly 20% of the mortgage. (Is that how grammar should work in that last sentence? Oy, I can't even talk well english about this kind of stuff!) I haven't decided yet which part of this place I call dibs on. Probably not the carpets. Or any of the interior design for that matter. And especially not the stencilled flowers on the fireplace.

When I have a day off during the week, I tell the bf to make me get up with him, since he's got one of the 9-5 deals. If I sleep in I feel as if too much of the day was wasted. But I don't always get up, I tell him that I am getting up, just slowly, that I'll leap out of bed once he's out the door, honest! But that doesn't always happen. Even with the lights left on... I can still sneak in a couple extra hours. I got up this morning. Yesterday I didn't.

Sometimes I forget to turn the stove on. Sometimes a cup of tea takes longer to make than it should.

Ekphrastic poetry. I stumbled onto this one at some point this morning, but it was early so I haven't a clue how I came upon it. It is poetry inspired by art, whether it be a painting, music, architecture, etc. It gives the poet an opportunity to explore the visual language of the art, or simply play with the inherent narrative. I'm actually pretty sure it was brought up at some point in one of my classes, so maybe this was just a bit of a refresher for me, but it struck me as something I should give a go. I minored in visual art, and while I can't paint much in my present situation and haven't got access to a printmaking studio and never cared much for drawing anyways, this could be a good way to keep my fingers in the fingerpaint.

I'm always looking for things to write about. I'm young still, so maybe that's why I don't have much to write about, like in a personal experience kind of way. A lot of the poets I admire have kids,travel, family drama, or just a really long life to draw from. I have the animal poems for whenever I get stuck, and now I'll make use of ekphrastic poetry, and put this monstrous art history text to some use. And get out more to see some galleries. I never do. I'm shy like that.

So I wrote this morning a poem, The Twittering Machine, inspired by, of all things, Paul Klee's Die Zwitscher-Maschine. It turned out very well, and very quickly, and actually revealed more of Klee's work in the process. In putting to words his imagery, a painting (or is it considered a drawing?) that at first glance has a lot of whimsy to it, a dark side appeared. In the poem is born a sense of cruelty that lays roughly concealed in the visual piece. It's neat how one of my favourite art works can continue to change and grow, just by looking at from a different perspective. It happened before too when I used his piece to inspire a painting of my own for an Arts and Culture class, but that was more of an exploration of his use of naive, primitive, and children's art.

Connect the dots now. Children can be so cruel...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Out of ink, money, and earshot.

Our condo came with a complete set of furniture. So did I.

My printer is out of ink. Again. My printer uses cartridges which, according to something I read somewhere online, so it has to be true, contain only a teaspoon of ink, a very expensive teaspoon of ink. My printer spends a vast amount of time sucked dry. In fact, my entire last year of university, being too poor to afford this solid gold ink for my own printer, was spent constantly converting files written on a pc using WordPerfect to be read by a mac, emailing them to myself, running upstairs to my mother's computer, waiting to receive the email, running back downstairs and emailing again having sent the unconverted file, running upstairs to my mother's computer, waiting to receive the email, running back downstairs and emailing again having forgotten to attach any file, running upstairs to my mother's computer, and printing them off her mac using a wireless and finicky contraption of a printer. But it always had ink. And the fact that it worked without wires now appeals to me, seeing as how, in order to attach my printer to my computer, wires end up strung across the kitchen door, and over top of my bf's computer. It's just the way all this furniture fits. So in order to print anything I use a USB powered cup warmer, which happens to have a very long wire and multiple USB plugging in-able holes, as a handy extension cord to string across the room, as the printer's own cord, of course, isn't long enough.

I managed to print off a few finished poems the other day, leaving the iffy one to be further worked on. One of those printed though has fairly faded ink, and the perfectionist in me cringes and wants to reprint it once I've gotten some more ink, while the poverty stricken poet in me cringes at the idea of replacing something that isn't completely broken.

No, I won't let us cave in to peer pressure and purchase a new, big, flat-screen tv. The small boxy one we have still works. And if it stopped working, we have the older, smaller (and thus slightly less boxy?) tv from the bedroom we could bring out.

I really need a teapot. Making tea one cup at a time, it's just not efficient.

I printed those few poems, and on arranging them onto the clipboard, reread an older poem, Godspeak, which had been inspired by a poem that originated as an in-class exercise. I immediately jumped onto the computer, brought up the old file and went wild. It was just one of those moments. Perhaps the longer a poem sits, the more chance the weaker images and words have to stagnate, and the easier it is to then sniff them out. Some pruning allowed an opportunity to show within the piece, and following up on this really clarified the work. I'm very happy with it now, and after bringing out the index card with its name on it, I can see that I wasn't before; it has never been sent out anywhere.

Perhaps most striking about this was that it was a moment when I was able to write in the evening, with the bf at home. It was still a struggle of course, but not completely impossible. Most important I think was that there wasn't a lot of time where I had to let my mind wander, the writing involved was very goal oriented. The biggest challenge of writing when he's home is how to politely, and without hurting his feelings, tell him to shut up. And then of course, since he's male, he needs to be reminded, constantly, that you've asked him to not talk. Their memory... it's not fantastic, coupled with the serious hearing disabilities inherent with the y chromosome...

Friday, January 30, 2009

A nice beefy slab of poem!

I have a system. It involves flashcards, a nifty box, and a clipboard.

I think I'm the only person left in the whole world that still uses WordPerfect.

For days now I've left my computer running, WordPerfect open, and 5 poems displayed on the screen. There's a crucial moment in a poem's life when it reaches 'done' and is ready for the next step. Though a poem can be resonating for me, I'm not impulsive enough to throw it out into the world without first giving it some time to rest. A poem is like a roast, I guess. It looks amazing, all steamy and yummy, and makes your mouth water when it comes out of the oven! But you can't cut into it right away, can't sink your teeth into it yet, until it's sat on the counter being starred at for a really really long time. It smells really good during this time, too.

When a poem has rested enough, and I've read it a million times over and am done-done tweaking it, it is ready to be sliced (er, printed) and eaten (sent away). So I print a copy, and add it to the clipboard. This is a hard copy, in case my computer explodes. This provides me with a record of the state the poem was in when it was sent out, but... I guess if my computer exploded, these would all burn up too anyways, cuz they kinda live, er, very nearby. The clipboard is currently divided into 2 sections: animal poems, and, um, not animal poems, all alphabetical. When a poem has been printed, I make a flashcard for it, with its title at the top. Animal poems go on green cards, other poems go on white cards. I accidentally bought white flashcards that don't have lines on them. This kind of gets to me. On these flashcards I write where and when the poem has been sent, and whether or not it has been rejected. I should think of a nicer word for that. Rejected, boo. Every journal I send to also has a flashcard with their name on it. On this card, I note what and when poems were sent to it, and whether and when I've heard back. All these cards live in a nifty box. The box is divided into two sections. One for poems, and one for journals. All of these are also alphabetical, and the poems section has those little letter-tab-sticky-up bits so I can quickly find what I'm looking for. My partner (in crime) thinks Excel would be a lot easier, and I'm all like "gum?" but then again, he's a scientist, not an artist, and this organizationing has become an art form unto itself.

Three of these poems I'll print right now, and I guess I'll print the other one too, but that fifth one, I just don't know yet....

I think maybe I should spruce up my nifty box with stickers.

Organizationing! That's right! Ha!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A quick one to get back on track.

Let's throw in a quick mention of poetry. I've gotten side-tracked, in blogging, not writing. Er, writing-writing.

In the past two days I've written two poems. I quite like them. Some more tweaking, I'll rest them a bit, and tweak some more maybe, and they'll be done. They are excellent examples of a few of the ways poems come to me.

Goats Don't Want To Be Just Goats was inspired by a photo I saw in a National Geographic magazine. I saw it and said to my partner (in crime) "I'm inspired to write a poem about this." A couple of days later I did. It was the result, I suppose, of trying to figure out what these goats were doing in a tree. By the way, the photograph was of goats in a tree. While the words themselves began by describing the goats, the tree, the goats in the tree, they eventually led me to the story behind them. The poems doesn't tell the story. It touches on the background, motivation, and future plans of the goats. Of course, I kind of had a plan when I started the poem, but the poem had plans of its own, and I didn't try to hold it back or force it into a mold. Language and the dramatic molded this poem.

Hush The Trees Their Wintry Dreams began a bit differently. I try to keep notebooks handy, and as lines, ideas, idle words pop into my head, I jot them down. They are in themselves complete nonsense, and stringing them together would just be bad poetry. So I put them away. When I need inspiration, I'll flip through the pages until, well, I feel inspired. A few lines and words here and there... I type them up, and see what I can make of them. Sometimes nothing, and they remain a bad draft for a long long time. Other times they blossom, with a lot of work, love, and coaxing, into something more. It begins with just words, and I work them until a music forms, and play with that until the idea becomes planted. At that point there's a lot of weeding and transplanting, rearranging and adding, some long division, and viola! A poem has slowly sprung into being, and reaches that point where I just want to read it again and again. And again.

Are titles for poems hard? Sometimes. Because my poetry tends to be quite dense, I run the risk always of being too obscure for my readers. For my poetry, it's important that the title provide a definite signpost to guide readers in the right direction. I write short poems that need long titles.

This ranting entry stinks, but I tried to brighten it up at the end. And then it turned out really cheesy. Like a pizza.

My boyfriend is the only one who reads my blog, and he wonders why this is. I tried to explain to him that this is my 'writerly' blog, not some chatfest where friends and family can swing by and leave comments along the lines of "Oh hey, gurl! I'm in town next week, we should hang!!" or the obligatory proud mama comments. Always appreciated, but not terribly... er, professional? And this is what this is. A reach out to fellow writers: I don't know where you guys are, but I am here, and I'm talking about writing and stuff! Join me!

I miss school. I miss the community. I miss workshopping, critiques, and poetry readings, and the wise words of peers and professors. I don't know any serious writers around here with whom to talk writing. And for that matter, I don't have a lot of people around me with which to talk any kind of serious business. The world, the arts, discoveries in science and humanities, current theories and philosophies. I tried explaining to the BF that that was a part of what my last entry was about.

Yes, I am a bitch, a snob, and an elitist, but without spending time in my situation, you can't fully appreciate where I'm coming from. I spend up to 8 hours a day with people who lack drive and ambition, who would rather whine about life then actually do something about it. And while my last entry focused on university as a higher path in life, I am fully aware of other paths that exist, and support these as wise decisions for anyone and everyone. Any kind of post-secondary education, whether it is a trade or diploma or whatever, even taking the time and energy to be self-taught in something, anything, is better then relying on the sub par education you received in the public education system. Anyone who, relying on their experiences in that system postpones, insults, or otherwise resists the idea of further educating themselves, is being stupid. This is my belief. If that system were better organized and executed, I would change my mind, but as it stands, no one can expect to build a full life on those experiences and the limited knowledge gained in elementary and secondary school. A tertiary level is required. Required! if one is to learn any form of critical thinking.

No one leaves high school fully matured and ready to understand the world in a fully cognitive sense. In the past, when circumstances differed, and men left school to fight in the war, and lack of birth control chained people down with families that needed feeding, tertiary education was primarily achieved through hard-learned life lessons. But it's not like that anymore, mainly because it doesn't have to be like that anymore, but I think maybe that's an entirely different discussion.

So I guess here's the gist of this all, my message to the masses: Don't stop in the quest to grow and better yourself just because no one is asking you to or making you do so. Don't settle.

And if, like me, you currently spend you money-earning hours in a entry-level menial labour job, be sure to devote time to bettering the world in some other way. Enter a debate, paint a picture, write something, sing out loud, read a book and share it with someone, create a recipe, spread an idea. Serving coffee or handing out a burger doesn't have to be the end of your contribution to the world.

I write poems.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I need to hand out more resumes, I think.

My degree lives in a box, in a closet. I suppose it should be hanging on a wall somewhere, but frames are expensive. And if I hung it up for all to see, what would I be trying to tell them? I'm proud of what I achieved. I've accomplished more than others. I place more worth on myself than I do on others who've done less. It is a badge of my dedication and perseverance, a declaration of my world view, a sign proclaiming my ability to think critically, globally, beyond the limited horizons of the others, the uneducated. I'm a part of the club.

It was important to me to get my degree. In arts. In creative writing and the visual arts, of all things. Two things that so many people believe can be self taught. An easy degree. A good number of people, those with degrees of their own, feel that theirs is somehow worth more, that sciences, maths, humanities, etc take more out of you, require a greater level of intelligence/passion. This is far from the truth, and I don't need to argue it. No accredited university would hand out degrees in a field where the expectations didn't match or exceed the levels of work expected for other degrees. And I think that's a part of the reason for choosing my university's new name for my parchment. It went from being a university-college, to being just a university. And while my program was always a university program, and not some college night class where middle-aged mothers with empty-nest syndrome go to express themselves amongst angsty teens and veterans, it was important to me that there be no mistake of this.

I worked hard for my degree. I should hang it on the wall. But for all the reasons I know that my degree is equal to any other, I understand that those that didn't pursue higher education see themselves in a similar light. Especially when I work side by side with them. How can my education make me a better person, when we're in the same boat, living the same life? Hanging my degree, my piece of paper, for all to see, to admire, to ooh and ahh over, seems... boastful.
I guess I am just too humble. I am Canadian, after all.

A well dressed businessman came in for a coffee, chatted with my manager about whatever, and left commenting that all the baristas in Vancouver aren't nearly as friendly. "They're all sitting on their Fine Arts degrees, and are left bitter!"

"I am bitter," I tell my manager. Every. Single. Day.

Monday, January 26, 2009

My head hates me.

I had the whole day off and it would have been a great day to write, but my head hurts. This is all too common an affliction, and definitely impedes. I wouldn't call it an entirely wasted day though.

I applied online for a job at a gallery. They are "currently accepting resumes for a future vacancy" so I guess we'll wait and see, it may mean I won't hear anything for some time.

I then walked in the cold cold cold to the post office to pick up my degree. I'd sent in the one awarded to me last spring and exchanged it for one with my university's new name. They'd been in the process of changing the name in my final year, and I was thus later given my choice of names to have on my degree. I chose the one that sounds ever so slightly more prestigious. Maybe I'll get into that another time though...

Afterwords, I stopped into a cafe for a muffin and latte to work some more on a journal. This is a journal detailing my trip through Europe last summer. It was an amazing journey, and one that didn't leave a lot of time to record everything. Upon arriving home I was left with about a third of the trip undocumented, but was thrown into such a funk that I couldn't bear to relive any of it. I've only just now managed to go through a scant few of the thousand photos I took, to jog my memory and make sense of the quickly scrawled notes I managed between adventures. It's hard to relive a time of your life that ended up being so short, and yet so so so everything you want everyday to be, but can't have... and everytime I want so much to turn back time, that line from "All Dogs Go To Heaven" runs through my mind "You can never go back...!" That movie had a monumental impact on my life as a child. But then again, so did the Fraggles.

I love radishes.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I am a fan of short poems.

I like short poems. I read short poems. I write short poems. I will of course plod through a long poem, but I warn you, I will flip ahead to see exactly how long I have to read it for. Do I have a short attention span? Yes. But I think that most writers of longer poems do too. I don't speak so much for the book length poem, more the longer than one or two pages poem. Most of these... tend to wander around a lot, and then wander around too much. It is not a terribly bad thing, just my own personal observation fueling my own personal preference. These longer poems will touch on too many things, their metaphors will break down, their language falls out of key, the power of the piece is dispersed throughout it, watered down, thinned out. A well crafted short poem packs a punch. I guess I like it hard. Punch me, please.

I often ask the mister for inspiration. I tell him to pick an animal. Then I write a poem about the animal. It started as a self-imposed forced-inspiration exercise I used in university for a form poetry class, inspired by a couple brilliant pieces written in an earlier class (Tiger, Okapi), but this technique became the basis for my advanced poetry class's final project (A+ material), and I've stuck with it ever since. These are all shorter poems, usually just a page long, that use intense diction, extended metaphors, and often constrained meter and form to find, explore, and define the animal's created myth or niche. I love them. I've got a ton of them now, and while a few found homes in my university's literary magazine, a million of them are still wandering the postal system. And more keep coming.

I love to craft language. I don't need to write a moving poem that is personal to me or someone else. I don't need to feel touched by emotion or memory within my own poetry. For beginning writers, that's often their biggest mistake. When I've worked on a poem whose language I've molded every step of the way, but whose content I don't necessarily feel attached too in any way, I can still tell when it's done because it resonates for me, without having to illicit anything. I can read it again and again, and the mental tone it produces is right on key, and it vibrates my being. It sounds really cheesy, but, it's why I love my work, it brings an almost physical pleasure to have created a good, sometimes a damn good, poem. When I sit down to write, I always open the last poem written that I felt was finished, to read it again and know the power I can create. Maybe it's a reminder that I have it in me. Maybe I'm just my own biggest fan.

There are two ways a reader can enjoy a poem. It can be a carefully and superbly crafted poem about anything, where the language, form, metaphor, etc remains right on key, producing a resonance within the reader. Or it can be a well crafted piece on a subject, location, event, etc that illicits within the reader a profound connection to an emotion or memory, and I think maybe these are the poems that grow in length, trying through more, rather than more concise, language to reach their reader... I need to write an essay on this stuff, I'm very deep.

I just finished a poem. Fox. And I just read it over again. I am my own biggest fan; it's like I punch myself in the face.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chapstick, and my dream job.

I am a chapstick addict. I only have at any one time a single tube (Burt's Bees, baby!) and carry this with me everywhere, but never in my pocket. It would melt. It sits next to my keyboard, or beside my cup of tea on the coffeetable, or on top of my alarm clock, or tucked into my purse or wallet or boyfriend's wallet. But sometimes when I leave for work at 5:15 am, it gets left behind. And then my day is ruined. I hate that moment when I reach into my bag, my bag that I bring with me to work everyday and that has a very special little pocket just for my chapstick, and realize that my Burt's isn't there. My heart sinks, then shudders in a moment of panic. I survived this today, but... maybe not the next time. When my lips hurt, how can I possibly survive a day at work? I can't smile, or talk without my dry lips pulling tight and cracking, and those little bits of skin peel and I have to pull them off with teeth or fingers... I need my chapstick. Why don't I just buy another tube, and keep it forever and ever in that bag? Why?!

My bag is heavy. It carries my wallet, lunch, mug, and on a good day, my chapstick. It also has within it a book, of course. Right now I am reading Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, which is very heavy. It's my read-at-work-on-my-breaks book, and since it is from the library I don't dare leave it at work. So I cart this big big book back and forth with me. At the most, I can only ever read an hour's worth each day, so I'll be lugging it around for some time. My read-at-home-for-leisure book is currently Frank Herbert's Chapterhouse: Dune, because I am a scifi geek at heart, though I'll honestly read anything that comes along, and I am trying to read more classics, hence the Tolstoy. I always keep a book of poetry on the go too. Right now it's John Pass's The Hour's Acropolis, with Ovid's Metamorphoses lined up for next, which I'm very excited about. The latest issue of Writer's Digest is on my kitchen table, and this I flip through on those rare mornings I sit down for breakfast, or am eating lunch alone. Please pay me to read. This would make my life perfect.

In university I spent a year working on a literary magazine. It was for a class in which we took on every aspect of its publication, from design, to ad sales, to editing. Not all of it floated my boat, but I loved loved loved wading through the slush pile. Reading a million and one pages of other people's work, sweat and tears. It felt great to find a little jewel tucked in there, but even better to riffle through the stinkers. And most of it stunk. I'm not afraid to say it. Not everyone's got it; fact. And I hope this doesn't make me an awful person, but reading so much bad writing made me feel so much better about my own. There's nothing wrong with learning from other people's mistakes. At least that's how I justify the weird sense of satisfaction other people's bad poetry gives me. Reading submissions for a literary magazine is something I'd definitely love to do again, and for more reasons than just that one, honest!

If I had a job that paid better, or that I at least loved enough to want to work at it more, and not beg to go home early every shift, I think then I'd splurge on a second tube of the 'Bees. And that would be divine!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Writing about writing about writing.

Don't think this is some kind of new year's resolution. I don't really go for that sort of thing. Rather, it was just sort of... time. The stresses of graduating, travelling, moving, establishing, and of course the recent holidays have lessened. And since my schedule this week doesn't have me working past noon at all, what else would I do? Write! And clean... but my kitchen is still having 'issues' so I can't really get in there... honest! I'd love to dive into that mess, but I'm stuck doing writerly things!

Right now, this poet is waiting for her tea to steep and her toast to... toast. But other than that, my duties as a writer should include writing poems, revising poems, thinking up poems, sending out poems, reading poems, reading about poems, reading about poets, reading about writing poems, writing about poems, and writing about writing poems. That last one is what all this is about. So there you have it. That's what I should be spending my time doing when not at work or keeping house. It's my real job. And I actually enjoy all of it. Not like my real-real job where I get paid to be bored and hopeless...

So while I don't do the whole 'resolution' thing, I have made a conscious decision to focus more on being a writer. But that could have happened at any point in the year. Why do I feel the need to stress this?

I don't want to feel that little bit of embarrassment anymore when I tell people I'm a writer. I wonder if other writers, the established ones especially, ever felt this, and if so, when did it go away? The main character of "Californication", a writer of course, mentioned once that he doesn't throw around the title "writer" lightly; everyone calls themselves that, even if their writing could be easily considered subpar. I don't want people to assume I drift aimlessly among the masses of scribblers who lack passion and knowledge.

One of my main self-imposed tasks as a writer, of course, is to listen for the mailman to come... I love a rejection letter, but a letter from a journal that actually wants to publish some of my work? That could be the cure for this insecurity.