2020 New Year’s Resolutions

Also plans and adventures, goals and aspirations. And hopes. Lots of hopes.

1. Finish all my course requirements for the Laboratory Science program.

2. Read more books.

3. Start doing yoga.

4. Drink more water.

5. Wean myself off caffeine (quit drinking coffee…0_0)

6. Develop a better journaling practice.

7a. Write more…like seriously…not every day but write more.

7b. Write 1 poem and 1 short story every week.

7c. Send out at least 1 magazine submission each month.

7d. Self-Publish 3 things. Hopefully all Slaughter Chronicles related.

8. Be more active on this blog. I pay for it, I might as well use it.

9. More positivity, less self-deprecation.

10. More hope and serenity, less drama and anxiety.

11. Pay off my car.

12. Exercise more.

13a. Be a better birder.

13b. Go out walking more so I can see more birds.

14. Have an amazing vacation with Mr. J.

15. Develop a consistent cleanup routine (aka do chores on time).

16. Wake up on time every day (do not hit the snooze button 10 times).

17. Be kinder to myself.

18. Cultivate better study habits.

So…most of my resolutions are either goals or me working on being MORE of something. More fit, more calm, etc. On the other side of that there are the lesses: I want to be less clingy and anxious, less angry and resentful, less lazy. But want are all these things going to do for me?

Will waking up at 6am every day make me a better person?

Being nice will. Taking care of myself will.

Some of these things are extremely superficial and self-serving. I don’t want to do yoga to be healthy, I want to do yoga to lose weight (yes, I am fickle and vane).

I don’t want to do new things, get new hobbies, I want to work on the things I’ve already started. I want to finish a novel and publish it. I want to be in all the magazines and win writing awards again. I want to have a “better” writing life.

New Year, New Bird 2020

(In which I ramble on and on about how much I love…)

My first bird of the new year is…

the Blue Jay!!!

I love Blue Jays, I think they’re so sassy. Like Mockingbird level sassy.

And they’re part of the corvid family.

In addition to being determined, brave, and curious, the blue jay is also associated with truthfulness, honesty.

Honesty has been a big personal theme for me over the last few months. I was in a bad slump and I had to take a hard look at myself and get brutally honest with how I want to proceed with the rest of my life. Dramatic, I know. But necessary.

The Blue Jay is a good reminder for me to keep striving for positive change.

When I woke up this morning the first bird I thought I would see and expected to see was a Robin. Tons of them have been hanging out in my front yard recently. But the Blue Jay snagged the title this year. They are a pretty common sight year round at my house.

The second bird I saw was a female Cardinal. One half of the mated pairs in my back yard was killed by something a few weeks ago so it was nice to see another female today.

Bring it on, 2020!

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Photo by Faye Cornish on Unsplash

Reindeer Monster

I’m at my in-laws’ house for Thanksgiving and Mr. J’s mom wanted to put her Christmas tree up early and have us decorate it together. As I was passing her the ornaments (I do not decorate trees–I will hand you things and stand there being helpful, but I do not decorate) I found this strange triangle-shaped creature.

Me: Neat.

Mr. J’s Mom: Mr. J. made that when he was a kid.

Me: Oh, okay. Some kind of upside down monster…

Mr. J’s Mom: It’s a reindeer!

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Happy 1st of December Everyone!

Poems and Slime

Slime is a thing. Slime mold can make maps.

As this is National Novel Writing Month I wanted to present you with some writing advice. It has to do with reading but you can apply it to writing.

Take the Time to Read Out Loud from The Write Nook 

And here’s Anne Lamott’s NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

Over the last few weeks/months I’ve been drawn to poems about places and poems about animals. This is what I want to turn into. Something that travels through and is traveled through. One day I hope to return to the ground. And the ocean.

The Rats by Keetje Kuipers

Gaman: Topaz Concentration Camp, Utah by Kenji C. Liu

East River and The Ghetto by Lola Ridge

The Belladonna of Sadness by Sally Wen Mao

Not Everybody’s Bestiary (Yet) by Rebecca Morgan Frank

If You’re Going to Look Like a Wolf They Have to Love You More Than They Fear You by Abigail Chabitnoy

Ghazal IV by Bojan Louis

Łčíčšeʔ by Heather Cahoon 

Quantum Foam by Elizabeth Jacobson

And I just LOVE the format of this poem. You will see poems like this from me in the future.

Countdown as Slow Kisses by Michael Wasson

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Photo by Krystal Ng on Unsplash

Gatekeeping in Anglo-Saxon Literature, Musical Traditions, and Lots and LOTS of Poems

Here’s a really captivating article about J.R.R. Tolkein’s scholarship on the Old English epic poem Beowulf and how the white gaze predominates medieval literature.

Book Recommendation: The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison. Includes her essay “Grendel and His Mother.”

Margaret Atwood on The Testaments, the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.

And now…lots of poems…

The Gardner by Nancy Botta at Rusted Honey

Close Reading by Brandon Som

You Say You Said by Marianne Moore

“An Apocryphal History of the Discovery of Migration, or The Sacrifice of the Pfeilstörchen” by Alba Cid, translated by Jacob Rogers

Ideology by Aria Aber

Cloth Birds by Dorothy Tse

The Convert Wants Wounds, Not Scars by Melody S. Gee

River to River by Hai-Dang Phan

A gorgeous haiku from Lize Bard of Haiku out of Africa

Getting a little Biblical now: a poem to Noah’s wife by Maya C. Popa

And my poem for Noah’s wife…

After the Flood

While Noah’s sighs polluted the ruddy beach

littered with the bones of heretics,

their livestock and their predators;

while he thanked God for the early warning,

the strong timber, and exclusion

from the slaughtered multitude

his women walked around him like he was just another corpse,

bobbing and rooting around piles of driftwood and soggy cloth,

picking out the useful things.

I wrote this way back in 2009 after visiting an art exhibition depicting a life sized Noah, drawn in charcoal, assessing the damage of God’s Wrath while looking picturesquely helpless and out of sorts while women scavenged through the rubble behind him. I can’t remember who the artist was.

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Photo by Jessica Furtney on Unsplash

Dream #5

Last night I dreamed I stole a pair of mechanical wings from a tank/bunker that was covered with large slugs. They were black with neon purple and pink detailing and when I put them on I flew up higher than the buildings and when I dove down I was not afraid of falling.

The wings stayed with me. They didn’t break or disappear. I flew and I wasn’t afraid even when they started shooting at me.

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Usually when I dream about climbing or flying I fall and the falling is painful and I wake up with heart palpitations and panic. But not this time. It was a really awesome dream.

Dr. Death, Em dashes, and International Literacy Day

Happy International Literacy Day!

Visit literacyworldwide.org and check out their Literacy Today and Literacy Daily articles. There are some really heartwarming stories about teachers empowering students by encouraging creativity.

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In 2017 I became fascinated by the inner workings of the medical field. Not just because I made a MASSIVE career change but because the human body and how society moves around and interacts with the human body has always been extremely interesting.

I am also fascinated by true crime stories. So the Dr. Death Podcast by Wondery is an absolutely amazing and chilling listen. I won’t spoil anything for you and I strongly encourage you to give it a try but be sure to steel yourself; the subject matter is very heavy and not family friendly.

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For those of you who are interested in grammar drama, this article was published in the New York Times a few months ago and it made me shake my head in dismay. I had no idea there were so many people casing shade on the Em-dash.

Read The Em Dash Divides by Kate Mooney here.

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One of my grad school mentors, Bhanu Kapil, keeps a blog. This is an interview between Bhanu and her grandmother, who was a child in 1947 during the Partition of India in which 14 million people were displaced and between 200,000 and 2 million were killed (so says Wikipedia). This year is the 72nd anniversary.

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A poem about how hard girlhood is: The mother finds her own wild, lost beginnings deep within the body of her daughter by Mary Jean Chan

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Photo Credit: The New York Times, Leigh Wells