Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had a peaceful Thanksgiving with roasted duck and chicken (duck was much more popular!), gluten-free cornbread stuffing with duck and fennel, maple-roasted root veggies, cheesy mashed potatoes with a hidden moat of green peas, veggies with honey-mustard dip, sugared cranberries, and for dessert, delicata squash cheesecakes and cranberry meringue pies, celebrated with Glenn, my little brother, and his wife. It was nice to have family to celebrate with – and given how sick we’ve been recently, that both Glenn and I actually felt pretty healthy on the big day! We watched a little MST3K Turkey Day marathon and a little football while we decorated the tree.
It’s Black Friday! Have you considered poetry gift shopping? Just for Black Friday weekend, get your poetry fix!
Get all four of my books – Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, and The Robot Scientist’s Daughter – plus a bonus issue of a recent literary magazine and mystery swag – with free priority shipping – for $45!
Individual books are discounted too and have free shipping this weekend!
- Becoming the Villainess – $10
- She Returns to the Floating World – $10
- Unexplained Fevers – $13
- The Robot Scientist’s Daughter – $13
…and a free mystery piece of swag in each package!
For any of these offers, write to me at jeannine dot gailey @ live dot com and let me know if you want any of the books signed and to whom!
Also, consider supporting and checking out your local small presses for more literary gifts! I recommend Two Sylvias Press, Mayapple Press, Steel Toe Books, and New Binary Press, as well as Moon City Press!
Thanksgiving is coming with accompanying storms—we’ve been cold here in Seattle, and it’s getting colder, and bringing some wind, rain, and even snow. We’ve had bad news from family and friends, and missed meetups for readings, parties, editing, and workshopping. We haven’t really been able to celebrate my good news with friends and family, or even just quietly at home—we’ve been surviving, getting by. It seems I almost always get good poetry news when I’m totally unable to really appreciate it—I remember getting the good news about the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg prize right after getting out of the hospital from a lung infection, after our propane tank had been repossessed (due to our landlord’s sloppiness with his records) so we had no heat despite being super sick, and I think that was also around Thanksgiving.
Still, we’ve started decorating, we’re bringing in cheese and cranberries and flowers, prepping for the holidays, despite.
The last week (or two) I’ve been nearly paralyzed with worry about my husband, sicker than I’d ever seen him from life-threatening complications from a colonoscopy but who is slowly recovering, then I was whacked with a really nasty flu—all the things, 102 fever, aches, stomach and upper respiratory stuff, the whole shebang—then the terrorism news pounding a dreary beat on every news station. Yeah, that’s been the kind of fun we’ve been having.
Today I wasn’t totally recovered, but I decided to try to go for a walk in the bright sun (despite the chilly – 45 degree, which for Seattle, is pretty cold) and spotted towhees flittering around and even a baby rabbit eating grass beneath leaves. I finally motivated myself to send out some poems from the upcoming book, Field Guide to the End of the World, out to magazines. I watched on Twitter had a miraculous upset when the #BrusselsLockdown hashtag became a place where Brussels citizens posted picture after picture of triumphant kittens—in Darth Vader costumes, flying with fairy wings through rainbows, even some bouncing penguins – virtually overcoming the nastiness, paranoia, and political rants that usually punctuate Twitter. It was quite silly and inspiring.
It’s a sign that we do not have to be defeated by bad news, by fears, by anxiety. Even if I’m having anxiety dreams every night these days, wishing for health, peace, comfort, and love, all those holiday promises. This is a picture of me and Glenn goofing around at local garden superstore Molbak’s with a Christmas display of big top stuffed animals for some reason, because sometimes we have to give thanks and face darkness with a little bit of silliness. Hey, there aren’t flying kittens, but there are stuffed penguins and a fake stuffed animal circus!
Good news after a month full of pretty bad news – I just found out I won the Moon City Press Book Award with my fifth book, Field Guide to the End of the World.
My next book! Moon City Press! I’m very excited. (Plus, this is the first book of mine that’s won a book contest! And had no footnotes! Coincidence?)
This book is a light-hearted look at the end of the world. It will be out in November 2016.
Here’s a poem from the book to give you an idea, and is also maybe appropriate for the news going on around us right now, originally published in Redactions:
Epilogue: A Story for After
I want to tell you a story about how we survived the end of the world. Crouched around a dying fire, I illustrate with shadow puppets the old, beat-up van, the velocity of water and sky, the unnamable odds against us. What really sells it? The way the ending goes on forever, moon ebbing closer to the mysterious dark, its craggy face calling out, the skies scattered with falling stars. The way objects are nearer than they appear. You next to me, and I remind you – here is where we used to be, here is where we are. I draw a line in the dirt with a fork and draw a picture – a house made of a square and a triangle, a single daisy in the yard, and two smiling stick figures. This is what we dreamed of, the day we awaited has arrived. There are no more shotguns or dusty trails lined with diseased corpses. A ship arrives on top of a mountain, heralded by doves; an airplane lands on another planet, seatmates dazed by the lack of gravity. We might teach the dragons to dance, learn the alchemy of soil again, rebuild libraries with tales of fantastic voyage. All I need right now is you, the simple weight of your hand, the warmth of your breath, and this last cup of coffee to tell me – we are miraculous.
Poems from the book are upcoming in issues of Mythic Delirium and Front Porch, too!
Thanks again to Moon City Press and its editors – I’m delighted.
This week has been dark, I’m not going to lie. Here in Seattle we’ve been in the midst of a huge five-day storm, complete with thunder, wind, streams flooding, and an immense amount of cold rain. My husband’s been in the hospital and I was worried about whether or not he would recover without dangerous surgery.
And then, the Paris attacks. So many of the victims were young; the venues chosen for attack were places where many young people hung out. I was only 15 when I went over to Paris as an exchange student, and fell in love, returning ten years later with my husband. My infatuation was with the art, the parks, the way of life, and the people (yes, the French can be as gracious and welcoming as can be) But the thing that Paris has always been known for is its light. I included the Arc de Triomphe instead of the Eiffel Tower because I wanted to remember that Paris has been through a lot of wars – founded, the story goes, by Jeanne D’Arc during a seemingly unwinnable war with England, slated for destruction by Hitler – and yet, Paris still stands.
I’ve been reading the Twilight Zone stories by Rod Serling along with Ray Bradbury – for research, on a project I’m working on, but it seemed strangely appropriate for this time when people are scared of the end of the world, where distrust turns people against each other (just read “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street.) The end of the world was always in the mind of these two writers, whether from nuclear war or “Midnight Sun” or alien invasion. The method didn’t matter – the thing at the heart of these stories is our human reactions to the end, to desperate times. Do we turn violent, paranoid? Do we try to comfort one another with art?
One day amid the storms I took a ten minute walk alone in a brief minute of sunlight and managed to snap a hummingbird feeding at a stand of red flowers, still amazingly in bloom here in Mid-November. Does this fix sorrow and anger? No. But I hope it gives some hope that beauty abides, that light will return.
It’s been an eventful week since I last posted – my husband went through emergency dental surgery, then we found a great house in Issaquah then bid on and lost it, then my husband’s supposed-to-be-uneventful first colonoscopy turned into a nightmare overnight – he developed a perforation or abscess just from taking the prep mixture, and had to be hospitalized. In fact, I’m still watching him to make sure he doesn’t need emergency surgery.
Luckily my little brother and his wife came to visit in the hospital, and helped replenish our clear fluid supply from the grocery store and pick up his array of meds from the pharmacy. You don’t realize how much you need help until these things happen. Just in the last two days I’ve thrown out my back, messed up one of my ankles, and my upper respiratory illness that I’d finally fought off came rushing back. Flipping the roles on caretaker and patient reminds you that caretaking is hard! I think there should be a charity that helps people with cooking and cleaning, especially, while a family member needs full-time care, short-term or long-term. Wouldn’t that be nice? Anyway, playing nurse has put a bit of a cramp in my reading and writing, but there was lots of nice news this week, including…
My mother made me aware this morning that The Robot Scientist’s Daughter made the Goodreads Best Book of the Year semifinals! You can do me a favor and vote for it (and your other fave small press books) here at this link:
I also may have gotten some other good news I can reveal soon! Mysterious…