Bonesetting

For years, she will lie awake and tell herself stories of the girl she’d been, in hopes of holding fast to every fleeting fragment, but it will have the opposite effect–the memories like talismans, too often touched; like saint’s coins, the etching worn down to silver plate and faint impressions.”

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab

It’s difficult to find moments that reassure me of writing as my path. Especially, when most of the work is toiling away alone–as my fellow writing kind know–private achievements like meeting a word count for the day or finally finishing revisions on a certain chapter, or the snatches of paragraphs and sometimes only lines or words I fit in in 20 minute increments (how most of my raw words are drafted). But there is a recognition and sense of achievement and belonging I feel at having something published. Though I wouldn’t consider myself a poet more than just a writer, that achievement after twisting and molding words, phrases, concepts into something that reaches into another human being’s chest is so vital to a creator who works with words.

So it is pride and great pleasure that I get to say my sixth poetry publication is appearing in Months to Years now. My poem Bonesetting is so very close to my heart.

You can read it at Months to Years, a literary venue publishing works on grief, by clicking the lovely pitch perfect image below:

Photo Credit: Months To Years

This poem, specifically the final lines, was a revelation. It unveiled to me the purpose and inherent movement of poetry: write to discover. If someone had asked me, I wouldn’t have been able to articulate this feeling about my father’s death getting farther away from me after creating life. But when I sat with this strange, tender idea long enough, it formed itself into Bonesetting. I hope you enjoy it.

2016 in Review

2016 was a tough year. It was a year of learning how to balance being a mother and wife, while working full-time, and trying to write in the crevices between. It was also the year of losing my grandmother, my last grandparent and the one I was closest to. I’m still learning and recovering.

But it was a good year too. I married the father of my children. I learned so much about being a mother. I learned that you cannot measure just how many nooks and crannies of the heart you can fill with love–I learned that on some days you have to allow that love in. I learned to be a writer, you have to write. I learned that you have to respect yourself–I’m always learning that. I keep the good moments in the lock box of my brain, to which I hope I never lose the key: laying on the floor with my daughters as they crawled over me like I was a jungle gym, giggling as I chased and caught them and gobbled them up; the conversations with my gram and getting to see her joy and pride as she watched the girls; the gratitude for my job and all of the new experiences I’ve gained from it; the shining moments of producing something that made me feel good, and that disembodied but assuring voice said ‘you are still a writer. And you’ve got this.’ It was a tough year, but it was full of good moments too.

In 2016, I was promoted to manager of my own property and moved to the new property to live on site. I set a goal to read 25 books on my goodreads. I ended up reading 33 mind-blowing, thoughtful, wonderful books (here are my favorites). I started a new novel in August to which I am in the process of writing the last chapter; I won NaNoWriMo in November by writing over 50,000 words to that novel. I had three publications. My poem Nest came out in February with Eunoia Review, a publication I respect and enjoy to which I had submitted before unsuccessfully. My collection of poems on my father’s death, The Stages of Grief in Four Parts, was published by a local college literary journal in May. I had the honor of attending the release party  and sharing some of these poems for my first reading. My story The Wake (scroll all the way down) was published in Jamais Vu in October, a story even more dear to me now for being loosely based on a story my grandmother told me. Once you read it, you’ll have questions about that. Just email me. 🙂

I made a list of new year’s intentions  last January. I didn’t achieve most all of them. But that’s okay. I found that the large, quantifiable intentions were often pushed aside when life got hectic. Or I just wasn’t ready for this art project or that revision. The smaller, bite-sized intentions were more manageable, like submitting more than I did the previous year, blogging once a month, and correcting some negative thoughts or behaviors–I still have a ways to go on this front.

I achieved a lot in 2016, not everything on my list and many things that weren’t on my list at all, but enough to be proud. My goal is to learn all of these things again, this year. To read more, write more, love more, be more present. To hug and kiss my babies and husband every day. To remember my grandmother and spend as much time as I can with all of my family and friends because every day is not guaranteed. To stop being so hard on myself. To embrace productivity, health, and love.

And I hope you all do too. Happy 2017, Everyone.

The Stages of Grief

I am excited to announce that four poems of mine, collectively titled “The Stages of Grief in Four Parts”, have recently been published in Taft College’s literary journal, A Sharp Piece of Awesome. I was invited to read at the release party Saturday—my first ever reading—and it was awesome!

ASPoA0001
I am in love with this cover.

A little history on these poems. Each one was written probably a year after the preceding one, the first one written the year my father died, 2011. It was only a couple years ago that I realized they somewhat aligned with the actual stages of grief: numbness, anger, depression, and acceptance. After realizing this, I decided they worked better as a unit and also served the memory of my father better together. That A Sharp Piece of Awesome has taken them as a whole means more than I could ever express. And, that my first reading could be of these poems is an honor I will always carry.

I have, below, a video of me reading the first two poems, “Cycles” and “From Regret”.

There are a number of well-written poems, stories, and vignettes in this collection that I had the joy of hearing at the release party, and I can’t wait to dig in! Currently, I do not think there is anywhere to purchase the journal online, but if it pops up anywhere, I will be sure to post a link.

For now, here are the two poems I read.

Cycles 

The stairs leading up to my home
shrink and swell with the seasons that pass,
creaking hesitance at wielding another load.

Father, flickering like a fluorescent about to die,
insisting I undertake the rite of my commencement.
Then gone—toxins corroding his ‘goodbye’.

Promises to take me and my sisters hunting
(he’d always wanted boys)
hanging like banners without wind in the open air.

Studying by lantern light,
sleeping in a cold bath
in his desert town,
he said it was for us:
his dogged pursuit of success
in a powerless house.

I hold his death close now,
like a handful of marbles,
afraid they’ll scatter
like his once cinched

fifty-seven years.
There is nothing left to immortalize
but what’s in me that was once his;
this is it

 

From Regret

It started with Hep C,
but right before
esophageal varices,
cancer on the already failing liver;
so from regret we are delivered.

No need to announce it
or advertise.
I’ll keep on living
the same old life.

No, I don’t feel bad for
smoking this cigarette
or having this drink.
Ignoring consequence
becomes a skill after so long.

I eat. I drink. I copulate. I sleep.
Do I stop one life to mourn the loss of another?
Do I get a tattoo that says ‘Dad,
R.I.P. one-one-eleven, Happy fucking New Year’?

No. I’d rather celebrate
his triumphs or explore his vices
as I enjoy this beer.

But not remembering the sound of his voice
in irritation or jest,
how he looked,
how he smelled after a shave or a cigarette,
therein lies the fear.

 

Nest

My poem “Nest” is now up at Eunoia Review, and you can read it for free! I am so excited for my work to appear in this venue as I have been following it for quite some time. They publish some good quality reading that I love starting my day off with.

The above tweet was posted at the time I was writing “Nest”.

I want to say so much about this poem, but I won’t  interpret it for you. 🙂 I will only say that it is very close to my heart. I’d love to hear what you think! So please, visit it on Eunoia Review when you get a chance. Feel free to leave comments back here on my blog.

Thank you! Have a great day!