A week of grading student essays and seeing their growth as writers. A week of the weather turning toward zero after tornado weather in the area last Sunday. A week of reading, both for work and for pleasure. A week of frantic to prepare for a week of low-key. A week of focusing on everyone but me to get ready for a week of time with family.
But I am thankful for all the weeks – the busy and the relaxed, the frustrating and the uplifting, the winning and the losing. I am thankful to be healthy, to be loved, to have the opportunity to love in return. I am thankful to be a part of a community of writers (my “tribe” as Kelli Russell Agodon would call it) who embrace and support my attempts to get it all down.
Looking ahead even further than this Thanksgiving week, I applied for two summer residencies and am preparing an application for a third. Last year, my time at Kimmel-Harding Nelson was so fruitful that I am eager to see if I can get that incredible feeling somewhere else. A second manuscript is starting to peek out from the poems I have been writing for the past six months, and a residency would be the best way to encourage it into the light. (I have a back-up plan if none of these applications pan out, but it’s nice to dream.)
Several pieces that were accepted earlier this year should soon be making their way into the light as well: watch for news about poems in Paper Nautilus, Spry Literary Journal, Blue Lyra Review as well as my fifth chapbook We Build Houses of Our Bodies, which should be out soon from dancing girl press. This week, my writing got to play with other artists and art forms in two ways: my story “Bottom of the Sky” at Storychord is paired with art and music, and Nic Sebastian has made a haunting videopoem of my piece “Housekeeping” from The Poetry Storehouse. (If you have print-published poems looking for a new life, why not submit to the Storehouse and let them be “remixed” into films and other artforms?)
I have enjoyed the readings I have done to promote A House of Many Windows so far, and I have three more coming up in the next three weeks! I am trying to create different “sets” of poems from the book so that I don’t get too complacent with my performance, and I am also trying to tailor the selections to different audiences. It’s been good practice for me to think about how the poems live together when they are outside the confines of the book. This process has also helped me to prepare new journal submissions; as I choose poems to send to a journal, I imagine them being read together in front of an audience, which has encouraged some changes to the groupings I had been sending.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday in whatever way makes you happy: with family, with friends, with nature, with football, with quiet evenings by the fire. And always know that I am grateful for you – otherwise, I’d just be writing to myself.