Date: December 16, 2021
Another month working is another month of miracles happening for me. Life has a way of making sense sometimes only when you have let time pass and look back at it from the perspective of experience. As I have again learned recently, there was a purpose to some of my life’s earlier challenges that escaped my understanding at the time, but now are circled back and make sense!
On Friday night, December 10th, as the 595 to Gig Harbor (with a stop in Tacoma) inched its way across the Puyallup River Bridge, I stopped writing. I saved the file I was working on as a Word document, attached it to an email, and hit the send button. I can say I stopped writing my manuscript, Entrance to Hell, but I can’t say it’s finished. That would be like a new mother, having just given birth, to remark that that was it, she was done with the thing.
I shouldn’t even say that I stopped - it is only a pause in the writing actually. I have much more to do with the manuscript before it will be ready to publish, but I have reached a point where I need to pause and assess where I am at with the project. I need to put some space between me and part two, the section I had been working feverishly on since October.
In the next months there will be several key milestones in the project that I am looking forward to, including:
A full manuscript evaluation by Jenny Barstoy
“Book Production 101” workshop led by Blue Cactus Press publisher & author, Christina Vega
Continued work on refinement of the text with my writer’s group
Beyond that, I have an early reader whose feedback I am looking forward to hearing. I know that with all of the feedback, and with time myself to re-read it, I will be rewriting and revising large portions of the 95,000 word document. But, for now, I am off to work on another project or two!
I am focusing on a poetry project I dreamt up in early October, just as I was about to deep dive into Hell. This project is a book of poetry, which I have been working on when I can’t write any more prose, (usually late in the evening or near the end of my bus ride). I hope that this book, entitled “In a Past Life & Other Poems Sung by the Window”, will be completed by the end of May and published late in 2022.
In the meantime I am devouring poetry I missed in my first go around. I have begun to memorize the offerings in the back room of Left Bank Books and have found several gems there. “Field Work Poems”, by Seamus Heaney is a new favorite. I am going back to my roots as a poet with “A Season In Hell” by Arthur Rimbaud (inspired by Jim Morrison who was influenced by Rimbaud). The latest collection of poetry that I have been savoring is We Need A Reckoning: Poetry, Essays, and Memoir by Woman and Non-Binary People of Color, published by Blue Cactus Press. I have really enjoyed the powerful voices from so many amazing contributors but I am finding myself especially drawn to the writing of Lev Pouliot. I hope to have a chance to see future work by each of these amazing writers!
I am also very fortunate to have found another writing buddy who is working on an amazing new project which I am very excited to be reading! The collection of poetry is to be published next year and I can't wait to buy it then - and tell all of you more about it!
I can’t believe the amazing things in my life I have been blessed with! I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given and look forward to sharing more about all of these projects soon!
Updates & Upcoming Events
This Saturday, December 18th, I will be participating in Book Production 101”, a workshop led by Blue Cactus Press publisher & author, Christina Vega. I have plans to use my manuscript, Entrance to Hell, for the discussion, but I also will have “In A Past Life” in mind. Past Life will likely be published first and it might make more sense to work through with Christina, but we’ll see!
Creative Colloquy Virtual Open Mic event is on Monday, December 20th, at 7:00pm.
As you can read in Blue Cactus Press’ Newsletter, “We Need A Reckoning” Launch and Celebration event is on December 30th, with readings and musical storytelling.
In Case You Missed It
On December 7, Creative Colloquy hosted “Writing (A) Present: Using Writing And Meditation To Make A Gift”. It was a great workshop combining mindfulness meditation and writing prompts, facilitated by the talented writer Tamiko Nimura, and Allison Muir, a skilled meditation leader. I was excited about the workshop but was unsure what I would take away from it; I am very happy to say that it gave me several ideas and techniques I have already used in my writing. Also it gave great suggestions for beautiful written gifts that anyone can give to a loved one.
I want to leave you with a poem that formed from impressions in my mind taken in on a cold late autumn drive to Tukwila. I was southbound on I-5, with the mountain in front of me, and I captured a mental diorama in a three-part Haiku:
Tukwila Morning: Hai-cubed
Filtering through milk-white sky
Lips of snow pouting
Beneath a brow of low fog
Skirting the mountain.
The round rolling hills
Wear a thick coat of bristles
Bare branches held high.
Have a safe and joyous Holiday season and see you in 2022!