Dear readers, I hope October has been treating you kindly – or at least more kindly than me! I got pretty sick almost immediately after my reading last Sunday, so for several days I couldn’t do anything more cerebral than drink tea and sleep and cough. Just got back from my chest x-ray – no pneumonia, but darn, may need a CT followup for this darn lung problem (fingers crossed I won’t, still waiting for the report from my radiologist and then my asthma specialist!)
The skies have turned gray, the mist has risen to put an almost invisible sort of chill on everything, and I’m especially sad as my dear poetry friend Kelly Davio is moving to London! I’m happy I got to work with her for almost a whole year and am wishing her amazing success and happiness in England, but boy, will I miss her! She has been a really positive force in the Seattle poetry scene while she lived here, and I hope she’ll be back in a couple of years!
In other things I am grateful for, I’m happy that Mary Carroll-Hackett chose me and The Robot Scientist’s Daughter as a “Monday Must Read” on Monday – I was too sick to post that day, but it definitely cheered me up and I was very thankful she did it.
These pictures are from the day of my reading, when we went out afterwards with my little brother and his wife to the beautiful Bellevue Botanical Gardens – so there are Glenn and I in the backdrop of trees. We were able – I don’t know if you can tell – to get pretty close to what (I think) was a red-headed woodpecker, though usually these guys are 1. too shy and b. don’t stay still long enough to get pictures of.
I heard it’s National Poetry Day today, so be sure to read a poem or at least flip through a favorite poetry book before you go to sleep. I am wishing friends Bon Voyage, watching the cold rain move in the sky, feeling a little melancholy with the falling leaves and the shortening days, waiting for soup to simmer and trying to remember the lesson of autumn – that while change doesn’t always feel great at the time, new beginnings are right around the corner.
It’s a beautiful 72 degree sunny day here and I’m off my afternoon poetry reading (3 PM) at the very gracious and welcoming East side locale of the University of Washington Bookstore, in Bellevue! It’s a great place to browse and get a cup of coffee, besides poetry readings. I hope some people show up!
I’ve been a little under the weather this last week, a little cough-and-cold, and the bad news was so depressing – so in between house-hunting (no luck so far) – Glenn drove me out to the Dr. Maze farm, complete with blooming sunflowers, pumpkin patch, and yes, decorative gourds! Usually we miss out on the fun of fall, because it turns cold and drizzly right at the end of September, but this year, we’ve had a stretch of sunny days, and it just makes you appreciate – the mountains, the still-blooming dahlias, sunflowers, even roses, the turning colors of the deciduous trees (usually a storm knocks down the leaves right away.) So even before Thanksgiving, I’m trying to practice being grateful for small beauties.
In other news, I’ve gotten up to 110 pages on my PR for Poets book, and am officially sending it off to my editors! It’s not completely done – I’m still waiting for some quotes and edits on quotes, for instance – but wow! Just a little while ago I only had twenty pages, so this felt like an accomplishment.
The rest of October, I have a book club visit on Bainbridge, and Lit Crawl, and hopefully at least one meeting with my poetry group, so it’ll be a poetry-filled month. Then I will go dormant – maybe do some reading and writing, work on my fifth poetry manuscript some more, and – hopefully – finally find a house to live in!
I’m reading on Sunday at the Bellevue University of Washington Bookstore, which is a charming store all on its own, with a cafe, at 3 PM. I hope some of you can make it! I’ll be reading a teensy bit of older work and from my new book, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter.
Back from the new Impressionist exhibit (and new Morse exhibit) at Seattle Art Museum, where we went in search of inspiration. Glenn’s favorite was Gallery at the Louvre by inventor Samuel Morse, while I like Renoir’s Girl with a Cat and the Van Gogh Flower Fields in Holland Best (Van Gogh’s Flower Beds doesn’t look totally like his style yet, does it? We’re so used to him painting French landscapes. But that painting reminded me of La Conner’s flower festival, with its hyacinths, daffodils, and tulip beds.)
Yes, we’ve been taking advantage of the beautiful fall weather to go out and play tourist – last night at the SAM, the day before that at the Point Defiance Zoo.
I’ve been in search of inspiration to last through the drearier upcoming winter months. Right now, though, the outdoors is full of mountains, sunflowers, dahlias – the stores and roadside stands stocking the first of the new squash and apples – and I’m unearthing sweaters (though I fear that at the rate we’re going, we’re going to be stuck renting in our old home for the winter, too!) Yesterday I got to page 100 on my book for Two Sylvias on PR and marketing for Poets, which was my goal for the first draft. I’ve been struggling a bit with feeling okay about writing this book – you know, imposter syndrome (who am I to write a book like this? What are people going to think of me for writing about this subject? Will they think I’m a sellout? Is it even possible to sell a lot of books of poetry?) – just stupid stuff like that.
Fall usually means settling down for the rain and reading and writing more, getting work done, though I have to say my last few late summer weeks felt more productive than usual. But they’ve also been anxious – about this non-fiction book, about our housing search, about the health of various family members and my own stupid partially collapsed lung, about maybe getting a regular job again – so maybe another reason to go out and find and celebrate the beauty in the world around you is to quiet the spinning, to turn anxiety into energy for other things. Time to bake something and then get this first draft of the book into my publishers!
We drove out to an unlit park last night to watch the eclipse, and it was pretty spectacular. My own camera shots weren’t that exciting – here’s one at the peak of the eclipse and one where it got a little brighter and redder. Two deer were walking down our street when we drove home. Supermoon deer!
Seattle has given us a lovely break in terms of sunshine and cooler temps – exactly the kind of weather that makes me want to get out and do things! There’s plenty to do this week – from Mary Szybist’s reading Tuesday night to the opening of Seattle art museum’s Impressionist exhibit for members Wednesday night. I’m really wanting to get out to Tacoma’s Point Defiance zoo to see the clouded leopard cubs. In Woodinville, Dr. Maze’s farm – complete with delights such as fields of sunflowers, a corn maze, and a pumpkin patch, has just opened – a sure sign of fall. But last night after moon viewing I was pretty zonked and started running a high fever with a bad cough again. So it’ll be health-dependent, but we’re supposed to have lovely weather…
Here are a few pics from our visit to the Japanese garden in Seattle – where the leaves are just starting to turn – and our visit to the Experience Music Project museum for the Star Wars exhibit, leaving Oct 4 (and just as exciting, new “myth and fantasy” section, with Game of Thrones art, Princess Bride props, and a dragon!) – it was like a little mini-residency, just in our own town. It’s easy when Seattle’s gloomy weather hits to stay in, sleep in, turn in early, stop socializing, and basically start ignoring all the parts of your city more than a ten minute’s drive. It’s a temptation…but would be a shame! Plus, I think it’s good for writers to experience nature and museums for inspiration, right?
I’m working to send out Robot Scientist’s Daughter to appropriate prizes, send out my new MS, finish my PR for Poets first draft (eek!) and generally try to fight my increasing desire, as the days shorten, to pull the covers over my head, drink hot cranberry juice with honey and eat pickles (an old cough-fighting cure I’ve used for some years), and re-watch old movies. I’m trying to get well for an October 4 reading at the University of Washington Bookstore in Bellevue too! Wish me luck!
Happy Fall! I’ve successfully re-entered normal life (complete with house-hunting, bill-paying, and submitting poems) and woke up today to perfect fall-mid-sixties weather – with sunshine! I hope you enjoyed the residency posts and the interview with Robert Brewer! It was a bit bumpy trying to adjust to regular life again, but I think I’m back to “normal.”
I’d like to direct your attention to a new review I did of Amy Uyematsu’s book, The Yellow Door. This was the review I worked on during the residency, and now it’s up at The Rumpus! http://therumpus.net/2015/09/the-yellow-door-by-amy-uyematsu/
I’ve also written a new poem since I got home (multi-part!) and I’m trying to make some more progress on the PR for Poets book before I turn in a first draft. Right now I’m trying to write a section on submitting your book to book prizes in conjunction with your publisher. I also got to virtually visit a class this last week in Iowa with Google Hangouts, which was pretty cool. I’ve been a bit under the weather since returning, a lot of coughing and sneezing and that sort of thing, which slows me down a little, but oh well. The price of travel!
Today is also free museum day (see more here – http://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/) so we are going to take advantage of that – and the sunshine – by taking a trip downtown to see the Japanese gardens and EMP’s Star Wars exhibit. We can’t be house-hunting every Saturday, right?
The supermoon eclipse is tomorrow evening, and I’m hoping it’s clear enough here to see it. Supermoons always have a weird effect on me – I’ve fainted twice during supermoons, and I hardly ever faint, for instance. This particular kind of “blood moon” – which happens only every thirty years – means, to some, that the apocalypse is coming. I’ve been writing a lot of poems about the apocalypse, and some do feature a moon, but I don’t know, that just seems too easy, you know, dating the apocalypse by the moon?