Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Damfinos

A few months ago, I noticed a post from a friend about her husband's band needing a drummer. I passed it on to Chad after finding out it was a punk cover band.

They actually knew us from our movie theatre days and despite that......Chad became their new drummer! Ha.

It has meant time away from the family, shifting my grading time schedule, and the fuss of breaking down his drum set and hauling it every single week.....but it is totally, completely, worth it.

Last night was their first show. They are really, really good. Chad did a drum solo no one in the audience expected and got his own round of applause. The kids were so enamoured and supportive. YAY DADDY! It was hot being the wife of the drummer. ;) I got to play with my camera in low lighting too. Next time they have a show, I'll be there. Front row.

Chad and I support each others' interests. There is give and take, but we do our best. Up till recently, Chad has done the majority of the supporting of my crazy whims. This was his turn in the spotlight. It was awesome.

Lucas County Fair, Clover Kids

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Calm Between Adventures

This summer has been unusually cool and the wind has been calm as well. There are very few ticks or mosquitoes, and the humidity is just about perfect.

We have not yet needed our AC turned on, a good thing since it is broken. *Note to self, remember to get a call in about that or bug Chad before winter gets here. **I'll forget anyway. Ha.

Isaac loves it. He loves sitting outside eating apples and cuddling chickens and chasing his sisters and counting, two, three, four, five.....

Holly has been taking crayons outside and today I found her masterpiece, in crayon wax, on the front porch floor. It is pretty amazing actually.

Lily, ever the farm girl, has been taking care of her chores and heading out to the woods for explores. They stay out late, until bedtime, negotiating meals (ONLY COMING IN IF SOUP IS FOR DINNER!) Soup. Huh. I can do soup.

Chad and I have been taking walks in the late afternoon and evenings and dreaming pretty big about things. Lots of things. Finding thornless honey locust on our farm is pretty cool. Snacking on mulberries is lovely too. We talked about what time I need to do my job that is with the college and what I need to keep going with my freelance work. I have a list of places to submit work about farm life that I am researching. I have ideas for travel pieces.

The air feels too cool for July though. Winter teasing us. We bought this winter's hay and had it delivered today. Next up, chop and stack firewood. Try for enough for winter. Find a better place to stack and store it.

I have been furiously scribbling in my notebooks, learning formal verse form, then trashing it and wrecking all the rules. That's kind of my signature style, rule breaking. My intentions are to study the form and then dance around the edges, tearing at the border with my heals and tempo. Wild with pulpiness and red lines and life.

When I am done, good and worn out, I sway on the porch swing, sweet tea nearby, one ear out for duckings and another on the humming of children plotting their own way, book of verse in hand, reading poems about house fires in Tennessee, marsh whores in Florida, and urban schoolteachers falling in love.

This is my summer. This is my view. This is the calm between adventures.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Writer's Reflection

This week I received three acceptance letters from publishers for my writing submissions. The first one was an essay I wrote about my experience as a new farmer dealing with pasture predation. I sent this one out to the world because this experience meant a lot to me as a person and I worked on it for months. Normally, tales like this one would end up here on the blog but this experience was so soul changing and devastating and even humiliating that I just could not bring myself to share it.

It was not poetry. At that point my record was two photography acceptances and one essay- zero on the poetry. Yet, poetry is what keeps me coming back to these endeavour, is my true literary love.

Then, one evening, late, my email beeped. An acceptance and commentary of a POEM. The email sender was not a name I recognised, scrolling through quick....there was the name of the journal!! I was so excited. This one, (I'm being a stinker and not telling until it is published and released) is a journal that I have long read and admired. For those of you who have read my drafts, the poem is Poppy's Daughters.

The next morning a second one came in. My poem about Daphne in our own Iowa woods,  Daughter of the Osmanthus River, was accepted.

Those of you who have followed my struggles here know that my 15 year hiatus has left me doubting my own worth and skills, left me wondering and regretting. The thing is? Both poems and the essays are all new work- not the old work from the draft drawer of doom! New words, new lyrical twists, new stories. The work from long ago keeps coming back to me rejected. This sits with me like pregnancy heartburn, painful but productive. Realising this was really good for me too: again, I remind myself that I need the decade of silence to live life, to really birth my own new voice. The child that wrote poetry with only blue pens and gave up on performance when Slam took over the stage is not the poet I am now. I have even written a slam piece and planned a performance. Totally and completely out of my comfort zone.

Tally from 2014 thus far:

Portland Review: Photography
Flyway Journal: Photography
Yet to be announced: Essay fall of 2014
Yet to be announced: Poem August 2014
Yet to be announced: Poem  March 2015

AND.....November 2014 I will be reading at the Art on the Prairie even in Perry, Iowa.

Not a bad tally, actually. Tonight I am regrouping and looking at the work that just came back to me to figure out what goes where now. I am struggling to match journal to poems, I have exhausted almost all of the journals I read on my own and that is what I know to go to. 

This is where knowing and talking to other poets would really come in handy.

Where do you find poems that you love? What journals do you read?