2020-05-28 Hide and Seek

I start walking. I start writing. That’s my way. Lately I’ve felt like it’s all just the same shit on a different day. I’m inches away from getting my MFA in Poetry and I haven’t written anything worthy of a poem in months.

A few times when I took a class with the “Todfather”, I tried fashioning a poem from one of my blog posts and he called me on it. Just that it was all wordy. All I did was take the best parts of the post and put a bunch of line breaks in which is incredibly lazy.

A few other times I’ve done that and it takes a lot of revisions (and a healthy dose of mystical hand waving and reciting incantations to invoke the Poem spirit) to get something that resembles a poem.

But what is a poem? Can’t it just be what it is and not try to be something more or something better? Or something that meets someone else’s definition of a poem.

I can write iambic pentameter like a boss. My end rhyme skills are strong. But that’s no value in this century. I’m not saying I’m Robert Frost, but i believe I could emulate his style a lot easier than I could, say, Natalie Diaz or Ilya Kaminsky. As a poet, I feel like I was maybe born in the wrong century.

Then again, I’m a woman so I would have been screwed either way.

Some accomplished writers will advise you to write every day to keep your creative brain strong and fresh and active. I would say you should include doing revision in that. Some accomplished writers will tell you they don’t do either. They write when the writing comes to them and asks them to write. So there’s no right answer.

My point is. I want to write and haven’t been able to do that. Today I’m going to give myself an hour in isolation with a book of poetry my friend Michelle loaned me. I’m going to see if that stirs something inside me. I need it to.


In other news, my current work team is unraveling like a cheap sweater. Three developers have been kicked off the project (two were fired and one was moved to a different project). Another one quit with no notice and another is threatening to quit.

We’re replacing these people like changing a pair of underwear. But these people are not pieces of clothing, they are people.

And I don’t drink cool-aid anymore so I’m trying not to fit this fucking puzzle piece into something that can work. I’m trying to keep my distance, keep my head down, not insert my opinion or care, but the Universe help me, it’s quite impossible

One of these people, the dev that was moved to a different project, is a friend of mine. It makes my heart hurt. Now the PM is a long time friend of mine who I hold dear and she’s starting to crack. She’s a strong woman and listening to her for an hour last night was so tough. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard this woman break down in tears. I’m fact, I may never have heard her cry before. It fucking sucks.

Part of my job has been to introduce new people to the project and onboard them. She introduces me to them by saying some great things about me and with two new people this week she said I was “the glue that holds the team together”.

No pressure there though right?!

The whole thing is so fucked up.

I was brought on to help out. To bridge the PM gap until she started. To offer documentation support behind the scenes. To take notes and do data entry and do other admin things like coordinate meetings. 10-15 hours a week. Now I’m working more that twice that and last week, with so much personal shit going on, I started to become unraveled too.

I’m nearing the end of my hour in this treadmill and really need to wrap anyway so I can dive into that mess.

By the way, there’s no poetry in all this mess. I mean, there is, but not 21st century poetry that utilizes images and juxtaposition to convey a feeling AND meets the current acceptable standard for what a poem is. Or is there? 🤔

Fuck it!
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-05-25 The Sign on the Door Says “Beware of Dragons”…

… but I open it anyway.

I’m not even sure where to start today.

Should I begin with the 5am wake up and subsequent spin-brain keeping me from going back to sleep?

Perhaps I should start by reflecting on that conversation I had yesterday with my Texas Bestie where she said her new motto was “good enough”.

Maybe it’s important to note that I launched a new website yesterday and consequently a new online lit mag. Yeah, that’s probably the most relevant place to begin.

Or is it?

After lying awake for an hour I rolled over and looked at my phone. There was a notification from WordPress about a new like on yesterday’s blog post. It’s not surprising that in this new world of constant connection and attaching self-worth to “likes”, that I find that satisfying. I’m like a child craving attention from parents who are almost always otherwise occupied. I am not like a child.. I am a child.. craving attention.

I unlocked my connectivity device and scrolled through the top news stories that google has chosen to “serve” me. I’m half creeped out by the fact that google knows too much about me. But The other half of me is glad that google has already done the heavy lifting, weeding out all the crap in the world that I don’t care about. /shrug

I scroll until a headline/article catches my attention. Something about rejecting editors of literary publications. My first thought was “oh, of course this new job of mine will provide yet another source of rejection”. As if I haven’t had enough opportunity for that. Of course.

I sort of read the article, in my way. I read the first two paragraphs with great intent and then skimmed the rest for words supporting the intent of the article. I want the example. I want the personal story that proves the argument.

It was something about being rejected and then being nominated for a pushcart prize for the same piece of writing. It was about researching lit mags before you submit to 1. Validate your work fits with the other writing they publish and 2. Decide if they are worthy of your writing.

I agree with both these things, but have found that that process is exhausting. Not sure why. Oh I know, because I’m overcommitted in general to start with and don’t feel like I have the time and patience for the process.

I don’t have the time for that, Yet somehow I think I can run a lit mag. That’s just crazy talk. It’s insanity. But wait. There’s more. Are you ready for this??…

I’m not qualified and I have no idea what I’m doing. Oh, yeah, and I’m terrified. Did I mention I was terrified?

I’m like a kid who just wandered into a seedy neighborhood on accident and is asking directions from people hanging out by a chain link fence around a neglected city park.

Yes, I did just equate the literary community to a seedy neighborhood. That’s just how I feel right now. Hoping “this too shall pass.”

So I rolled the dice yesterday and now I’m in it whether I like it or not. I don’t know how many hours I spent working on the WordPress site that will be the platform for this lit mag, but it’s a goddamned lot. This morning I spent 1 hour cruising Submittable and looking at other sites and ended up feeling defeated. There is only so much one can do with a “personal” plan and free themes. I have done the best I can but have a hard time reminding myself that it’s “good enough.”

In the not too distant future, a potential submitter can read the words written by other people. Words that were bravely submitted, read by our editors and accepted. Words “we” chose to publish. They can decide for themselves if their words fit with what we’re all about. They can reject us and not submit based on that. And “we” are going to live or die by that decision.

Until then though, it’s just the words on our site right now that have been written and approved by Ed and I. No pressure.
it’s also the site itself (in my head anyway). Someone might see it and think it rudimentary or not professional enough and reject based on that. If that’s the case, I suppose, I’d be inclined to say, “fuck off.”

Yeah, maybe I could do that. Just tell someone straight out, we don’t have funding or a paid staff and are basically trying to give this a go during a Pandemic. Who does that. Who decides to start a lit mag in the midst of a global pandemic? We do!

It’s going to be a bumpy ride. I can feel it already. And despite my being terrified, I’m going to do it anyway because that is all I know how to do. What choice do I have? I had no choice in getting my MFA. My inner spark demanded it. I’m not sure if it’s good or evil (this ShySpark).. I’ve been on the fence about that for years.

Is this driving force leading me to a better life or simply keeping me in a state of perpetual discontent? WTF?!

My friend Rebecca said her new motto is “good enough”, and no matter how much I’d like to get on board, I don’t think I can. Instead, I decide I’m going to hunt submittable for places I can submit my poetry to. And spend hours reading about potential places and deciding where to put my money. Because I’m assuming my money is all they will accept. My words, no doubt, will be rejected. That’s just how it is until it isn’t, apparently.

My hour is up and it’s almost 9AM. It’s a holiday supposedly but I’ve got plans to get back to the job that pays me actual money and play catch-up on all that QA I’ve been putting off in order to get to the “launch” yesterday.

The door is open now. Bring on the Dragons.

Yours truly,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-21 Longest Day EVER!

There I go being overly dramatic again. If you ask me how I feel about my dramatic tendencies, my answer will depend on my mood. Today I’m feeling plucky so I’ll just say, it’s part of my charm.

It was a long day though. And quite an atypical one compared to most of the SugarCookie days lately.

I skipped my morning walk/cardio because I wanted to go to the grocery store and just go early and get that over with. We tried to stock up on stuff before the shut-down, but it’s a healthy household and there’s only so much in perishable goods one can keep in fridge and not be wasteful. So yesterday was my day.

The whole thing makes me nervous. Good gawd one should not have this amount of anxiety about making a trip to the store. Yes, I have a mask. And no, I’m not afraid of getting the virus. So what is it that gave me such pause? Who knows. But I really had to give myself a pep-talk as I pulled out of my garage and down the street.

I actually went to two stores as supplies are low with regard to the lactose-free milk and protein. In between stores I checked my email and received a bit of good news that literally brought me to tears.

I’ve kinda been on an emotional edge lately (not unlike a lot of people) and just let the tears come. I was actually standing in my kitchen alone and didn’t even know what to do with myself for a few minutes. And this was from GOOD news. The Universe help me if I get bad news during this strange time!!

Anyway, I needed to go to the other store so I got myself back together and did that. When I arrived home I put the groceries away and got online for my morning work call. That 30 minutes was the extent of my work day yesterday, which was so odd.

Instead, I dove into the arduous task of packaging my thesis in Word, with all the sections and table of contents and formatting. It should not have taken me all damn day, but part of the thesis is the craft paper I did last semester and I could not just paste it in at the end and forget it. It was a flipping mess.

I’m actually embarrassed that it’s what I turned in last term. For one thing, I was using a google doc which does not do as good of a job as Word at flagging mistakes. But the bigger issues have to do with mistakes I’ve been making all along with grammar and punctuation. All the things I learned about this semester were glaring at me from the screen.

Not such a big deal fixing a few pages but this is a 45 page document. It literally took me all day to go through paragraph by paragraph, page by page and fix them all.

Now I’m certain that I make these mistakes habitually in my daily writing, and I’ve resolved to try and catch those if I can, but ok if some slip through. That craft paper, however, is a part of my masters thesis and mistakes are just unacceptable. So I needed to spend that time.

At this point I’m close to being done but not quite there yet. The formatting blips with copy and paste from gdoc to word are also troublesome and the whole document is going to be about 140 pages which is a lot to go through with a fine-toothed comb. I’d like to get back to it today but I’ve got a busy day stacked up ahead and it’s not likely.

Anyway, after I closed down Word for the day yesterday I had 2.5 hours of lit mag business to attend to, including 2 hours on a zoom which was super draining. What on earth have I gotten myself into??!

It’s going to be good, I just know it, but we’re not there yet. I’m still trying to figure out all the personalities on the team and super sensitive to potential issues. I’m probably over thinking things as is my way, but I feel like I’m already in damage control mode and we’re just trying to get started.

By the time that was all done last night it was 8pm and I hadn’t eaten or said boo to the kids or Jim since like noon. I ate some comfort food (for me that’s like 3 pieces of toast) and vegetated on the couch. We watch a bit of TV and talked for a while and then I shuffled myself to the bedroom and just let the long day sink out of me horizontally and into my bed.


(Hours later)

I had to scoot my booty off the treadmill and up to my office for work real quick like and did not have time to finish. But, as it turns out, I have no more to say about yesterday anyway. Nothing worth writing about anyhow.

As it is, I really don’t have a ton of time today and already had to defer one meeting for another so there’s no rest for the wicked (or the plucky) I guess.

Cheers to Taco Tuesday,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-18 Wavelengths and Pages and Need for Connection

Exactly one week from today is the deadline for getting my MFA thesis completed and in the proper format with all the required sections and content. Should be a snap cuz most of it has been done for weeks. I’ve just been fiddling with some of the poems and negotiating with my mentor about a final decision on what’s in and what’s out.

The good news on that front is that I finally wore him down on that one Poem I’ve toiled for so long on. I sent yet another version with an explanation of why it was important that it have space in the book. The bad news is that I think I wore him down and now have no confidence about it. Did he just give in? Does it matter? Good grief! A girl just can’t win.

Then I’m all like. It doesn’t matter cuz nobody’s gonna read this manuscript anyway so I tell myself to just “shrug it off”. Package that shit up and ship it off to the void.

I sent a copy of the preface and creative portion to my second reader about a week ago. I received an acknowledgement from him that he received it, and nary a peep since then. The second reader is not obligated to offer comment or feedback. Just a signature that it passes muster, but I know in my heart, with as much as I respect this person, that I will be disappointed if they don’t say something to me about it.

But it might not happen and I have to be prepared for that, you know. Get my “shrug off” ready for that too. Kind of a bummer since I felt like we had such good connection last semester and I don’t want to have any more thoughts that it was fake somehow, because of obligation.

It’s been so different this semester from the start. I don’t think my mentor and I have ever been on the same wavelength. And believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve not felt comfortable just having a conversation. He’s not intimidating, but makes me nervous somehow and no matter what I say, he’s off on some other planet showing me something else.

Just this week I sent an outline of my lecture (which is based on my 3rd semester craft paper). It was more than an outline and less than just writing it all out. He comes back with a bunch of suggestions, which is great, but it’s all for going down roads which would require a lot more research. I already did that work. That’s that 44 page craft paper.

Now perhaps I didn’t make the best choices for poets to examine in my topic, but I just need to use what I have to get it done. If I wanna go read up on the lives and poems Wordsworth and Hirshfield and Merwin, I can do that. But I’ve learned enough now that I can just go do that on my own.

It’s not required at this point, and I just wanna be done. I know I sound like a complainer but whatever. It’s only a 40 minute lecture and the requirement is just to do it, so that’s what I’m gonna do.

I also suggested adding some examples from my own life and put some of my own philosophical commentary in there and he just said don’t go there. Not in those words but that was the point. And I think back to past student lectures and the ones that had those elements are the ones that I remember.

Let’s not forget that I am a student and I don’t do this teaching thing for a living and nor do I want to. It’s my time and my MFA and the lecture is an opportunity to teach something I’ve learned and maybe connect some dots, and, more than that, connect with people. That’s part of the point.

Ok. Enough complaining. All roads lead to the end of the road no matter what kind of rocks the road is made of.

It’s Sunday and after wrecking myself Friday night and spending all day yesterday recovering, I’m looking forward to feeling good today and just getting some long procrastinated things done. Taxes for one. More with forms and bills that have been piling up for a few months now. Maybe some communication I’ve been putting off. We’ll see.

Last night when I got my appetite back I started having a craving for Panera. More specifically a green goddess Cobb salad with spinach. It’s healthy AND satisfying. I think Panera drive through is still open. I wonder what kind of push-back I’ll get about that since it’s technically against “house” rules right now.

I hope this Pandemic doesn’t linger much into the summer. I’m starting to not care. I know the rules are important, but ugggggghhh!

Enough is enough.
~Miss SugarCookie

PS. In my decimated state yesterday I was unsettled and just wanted to get away from everyone. I wandered around the house and took like a hundred pictures with my phone. They might start showing up here. Just sayn.

2020-04-17 I’ve Got Too Much “Poor Me” in My Poetry

To be fair, I’m really referring to just the one poem I’ve reworked a hundred different ways and each time I try to sneak it into my manuscript, my mentor says “nope”.

To be fair, he’s only seen two versions of it and not the fifteen I wrote before or the 30 I thought about writing but didn’t or the hundred times I cried about the central subject matter when I was living it in 2016.

I’ve got a handful of poems that he’s tagged as “too melodramatic” and I get it. He says it turns the reader off if there is too much “poor me”. I get it. I really do. I read Natalie Diaz and Rachel Mckibbens and Robert Creeley and even good ole Emily and there isn’t a drop of “poor me” one can squeeze from any of it. So I have to figure out how to lament about my poor broken heart very “matter of fact” like. Either that or just give up. Sometimes I wonder about that option.

Take the last 24 hours for example. I met with the Poetry crew for the new lit mag last night and we had a good chat. In the sprit of getting to know each other better, we shared out a sampling of our own stuff. I only needed to read as far as the first persons poems and I already felt like I didn’t belong. Pile on poems from the other two and I end up feeling like I have no business in this business.

I have to remind myself that everyone has a different style and voice but it is hard not to compare AND not to feel a little like “poor me” is the best I can do. My poems are boring. The subject matters are very “so what” and once I start down that road, all shapes of doubt start to follow.

What’s a girl to do?

I haven’t written anything worth while this semester at all because I’ve been too busy revising and the world has been too busy with its pandemic and aint nobody got time for first draft nonsense (well, lots of folks do actually, just not me).

So how do I take my stupid unrequited love broken heart poem and make it matter of fact? I mean, the section of the manuscript is called “In Cataclysm” so what do you expect?? How about something like this….

I said “I love you”
And he just turned and walked away.
Echo of silence.

I cried after parent teacher conferences
And every day and night after that.
Echo of silence.

The election came and went
And I couldn’t even care.
Echo of silence.

I became a hollow bone white husk
and no-one seemed to notice.
Echo of silence.

I hosted a New Years Eve Party
and drank myself down the drain.
No more echoes. Just silence.


(I left out the part where I wanted to die. Cuz that crosses the line into “poor me” territory). Perhaps the answer is to kill myself in the poem. Just matter of fact like. Dead, done.

I hosted a New Years Eve Party
and drank myself to death.
No more echoes. Just silence.

That’s attempt 221 folks. Put another talley on the board.
Now switch all the abstractions to images and waa-laa!

I swear, if it is the last thing I do for this damn thesis it will be to figure out some way to get this stupid poem into a format that is acceptable.

I little part of me (OK a big part), is just so sick of revising poems. I’m starting to have all sorts of ideas for other projects and just want THIS project to be done. Yes, I want it to kick-ass, but I’m over it.

There I said it. Maybe if I get all the “poor me” out of me in this blog, I can just go edit those poems like a boss and be done. That’s enough pondering for now.

Time to Make the Donuts,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-05 Rolling Eyes and Shrugging 🙄 🤷‍♀️ 😢

What is a girl to do. Yesterday I was all “everything’s going my way again”, you know and am I so fragile that just like that I’m down again? It’s Sunday and I’m alone and grumpy.

I’ve just finished going through the thesis preface feedback returned from my mentor a few days ago, for the second time. The first time I just skimmed through enough to see that most of it was his pointing out stupid mistakes I’m making with syntax and grammar. At this point I should probably be catching these things on my own and I get that. I do.

I appreciate his diligence in continuing to point all of these out. I need to try harder with regards to copy editing my first drafts before sending them out. I have some bad habits I need to break. But today I was looking for more. What else did he really say about my writing?

First let me explain that the thesis preface is the writing intended to explain the influences and aesthetic aims of the manuscript which it proceeds. In that way, it’s like writing about the writing. Part of that is expanding on my chosen theme and also giving some backstory on how some of it came to be. At this point, the speaker of the poems is me and therefore, I’m letting the reader in on my life.

That’s key. It’s my life. It’s personal. So when I read comments about the speakers perspective not being unique or how I’m putting the cart before the horse when I call this body of work a part of the collective of poetic discourse for future generations, I take it personally. There are dozens of comments about my mistakes and how tedious it is to mark them all and among all the comments only one positive statement. One. Uno. A single solitary statement about how it’s good work.

I’m so discouraged by this. At times I’ve lacked confidence in myself and my writing and let me just say that this does not help. It makes it worse, it makes me want to just give up. It makes me wonder what I just spent 40 thousand dollars on? Good grief!

I’m not looking forward to getting the comments back on my poem revisions today. I’m not looking forward to any phone call that might follow. Yes, I’ve learned a lot, but it’s come at a cost I fear. The cost that it’s all been for nothing and I might as well quit now. (Yeah, that’s the melodramatic attitude I’ve been told to cut from my poems).

I’ve tried to stay positive all semester, you know, saying that this tough treatment is what I needed to whip my writing into shape and Used that to stay focused—listening to everything he has said. I’ve acknowledged my mistakes and bad habits but clearly have not learned to apply those edits with diligence.

Now today I read these comments and realize there’s a tipping point. I’ve detected a trend where I will make a statement, an opinion based on my observation or feelings and he makes a point of telling me I’m wrong.

I said I thought the perspective of the speaker in the 4th section of my manuscript is unique. He just said it’s not. Well it’s an opinion and it’s actually something my mentor last semester said to me that I’ve put a lot of thought into. That’s why it’s in my preface. That’s A whole section of my book he’s dismissing. Saying that It’s not unique is akin to saying it doesn’t matter and that stings.

I said my writing would be available for future generations. And he basically said I couldn’t be so sure because it does not have an audience yet. Really? Really??!! All writing has an audience and purpose even if it’s only in the mind of the writer. It’s had a huge purpose for me in my life. And I’ve got children. I’ve got loved ones who will care to read my writing even if the rest of the world never sees it. It’s not like I declared myself to be Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson for Pete’s sake. Again, good grief. 🙄

And the last statement he commented on was that this manuscript, as it is, is probably too long to be published and would have to be refined further. He basically said that I was wrong and that the length is about right for a typical manuscript. This one, at least, I can concede as I haven’t been able to figure out the difference between a manuscript and a book of poetry.

I actually googled how long a typical poetry manuscript is, and found various responses that indicated longer than 50 pages with no upper limit defined. I just know how long all the books I’ve read have been. Most are not that long. Like I said, I probably just don’t even know what a manuscript is and how it is different from a book of poetry. 🙄🤷‍♀️

In any case, the original set of poems I sent were like 80 pages and that’s for sure way too long. I Can fix the preface by taking that statement out. Easy. Done. But I’ve cut and changed so many poems based on his feedback and now I’m wondering if some of that was a mistake.

Am I sacrificing my own voice in some way? I’m trying not to change the meaning at all, just tighten the language. But it’s all based on one persons opinions and ideals. What if I gave the same set of poems to a completely different person?

I’ve come across conflicting advice between my four different mentors in the past and that always gives me pause. I trust what I’m being told, but when some of it is contrary, I lose confidence.

Yeah, I’m losing all kinds of confidence. In myself, in other people, in the process. It can’t just all fall to shit when I’m so close to the end. It just can’t. Please, tell me it’s not all just been a waste.

So that’s where I’m at on this lonely Sunday morning. Not awesome. Like I started, how can I be so fragile? And like a broken record, I keep going around and around and never seem to get to the end of the song.

What am I supposed to do?

Asking the Universe for an Answer,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-22 Super-Sized Sunday Status

It’s Sunday again and I really need to get some steps to boost my stats and get my heart going. Plus, I’ve got a lot to say today so this could get long.

Imma start with school. Yesterday I had a two hour phone conversation with my assigned mentor for the semester and though it was a good conversation, it leads me to conclude I’m behind schedule. Those are my words and not his. He actually said I was in great shape.

However, it feels like the deadlines are coming in hot and I’m all duck-and-cover like the 16 year old me afraid of the volleyball in PE headed straight for me.

This is my 4th and final semester in the MFA program at the University of Nebraska. As such, I’ve worked with three mentors in previous terms and each has been a very different experience. Each opening my eyes to various aspects of the poetic discourse, craft, and the writers life. However different though, it’s tough not to start to compare one semester to another and one mentor to another. That’s human nature.

The mentor I have this term has been, by a good margin, tougher on me than the past three. I naturally push myself hard, trying to exceed expectation so to have someone pushing me even harder is not what I’m used to. The result, I recognize, is going farther and taking my writing to a whole new level. I feel I’ve made more progress this term already than I thought was possible and perhaps that I was also naive in thinking I didn’t have much farther to go.

Yeah, super foolish, SugarCookie! There are miles and miles to go and when you get over that little ridge ahead you will still see a mountain rising up before you.

The progress, however satisfying when you look back, is not without pain.

How many poems have I written and revised countless times. How many have I been so proud of? And how many were actually done-done? As it turns out, none.

With poetry the devil really is in the details. All the information I’ve absorbed in previous semesters about image and line and juxtaposition and the signified and the signifier, the interplay between the mind of the poet, the reader, and the poem itself, as well as learning how to give in to the destructiveness of a subject is all conceptual and very big-picture.

This semester I’m down in the weeds with grammar and syntax. I’m in a cage-match with punctuation and line breaks. And I’m having to cut and slash and, at times, re-imagine where I have been to try and rewrite the scene. I’ve learned so much about what those adjectives and adverbs are doing to my work and how passive voice seems to be my default and that just wont do.

Now, I think my mentor last semester was getting to some of this with me but I just wasn’t there yet and I just wasn’t getting it. Now I think I’m getting it. It’s starting to click. I just needed someone to point out specific examples. Which I now have a ton of. Which is good, but it stings a little, you know.

Paraphrasing a comment I’ve seen several times, “I think there could be a poem hiding in all this”. Ouch!

I mean when you hand over your baby and are so proud of how wonderful she is, it’s tough to have the response be “I’m not sure that’s even a baby. It could be a puppy. It’s cute but really, go back and try again.” Ha!

That’s overly dramatic of course, but that’s pretty close to how I feel reading some of the feedback. Speaking of overly dramatic, apparently that’s another one of my problems. Some of my poems were tagged as too melodramatic, too preachy, or too clever.

Too clever? Part of me is like so what? I like clever.

Oh, clever is not one of the goals and neither is preachy. People apparently don’t like that and I need to cut that shit out. There I go… cut, cut, cut. /shrug

There are a few references in a couple of my poems to the speaker weeping. Ummmm, that actually happened and in case there’s any question the speaker is yours truly. Please tell me how I’m supposed to write about the most difficult parts of my life without the reality that I sometimes cry about it?

It’s clicking now though. I get it. I don’t have to include every detail and however sincere, I can use the images to try and evoke a feeling. So I cut cut cut. Several poems have been cut completely out of my thesis manuscript. Among those are some of those tough moments that I still can’t completely capture successfully in a poem. I may never be able to do that.

My five year relationship that failed and left me devastated was represented in a poem that’s now been cut. I’ve re-written that poem like 10 times now in 10 different ways and it’s still too raw. Instead, I’ve got a short little baby that’s about 10 lines to represent that part of the story. And that one is a play on cliche.

So, yeah, having one of the most impactful things I’ve gone through being reduced to a pile-up of cliches makes my heart hurt.

Anyway, the conversation I had with my mentor yesterday was a lot more positive than all that and I think a few more things are clicking now for me to finish out my revisions of this book. I need to get that done so I can move on to the other requirements for the thesis and also developing a kick-ass lecture to get me to the finish line.

***

One hour in and I think I’ve finally exhausted my thoughts on that topic. But I’m not done yet, yo, it’s Sunday and I’ve still got to check myself on status.

Steps and exercise are not up to par. I’m just shy of 10k steps per day and my goal is 12k.

My sleep is a puzzle. On one hand my sleep quality has gone up and holding steady at an average score of 77. On the other, the average duration of my sleep is suffering and has fallen to about 6.5 hours a night. Whatever.

Work hours went up again this week and I’m now close to a full-time work week. That’s one reason the other things are suffering. Like school and writing.

I did not submit any of my writing this week so that’s a fail.

I did not write anything new so that’s a fail.

I did not read anything new so that’s a fail.

I did finish watching Batman Begins with Jim and we continue to also watch the documentary-drama on Netflix about Ted Kazinsky (I know that’s not spelled right but “meh”). We also watched 1917 this weekend with one of the kids. I didn’t like it and would not recommend. For a war drama, it did a poor job pulling me in emotionally. And I’m typically a sucker for that shit. I often get teary-eyed during emotional scenes. I mean I cried like 4 tunes during “Onward”. But I just didn’t feel that connection with the movie 1917. We should watch Saving Private Ryan again to see how that is. I’ve seen it but it was a long, long time ago.

What else? Yeah, my healthy eating goals are still being ignored for the most part. Ha!

I think that’s it. The household is probably waking up now and I’ve got to get to rolling with the day.

Take care and be well,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-02-29 Cheers to Leap-Day and the Double-Dot ..

Today feels like a bonus day. Yesterday I wrote about some goals I have. Those are more general in nature and anyone who knows me knows that I also like to have little weekly and mid-tier monthly goals too. I have a white board that lives behind the door of my office that has a list of my monthly goals.

In the first few days of the month I check it, erase what got done, and replace that with new stuff. Yes, I always have things that don’t get done so each new month is a new color (that way I can tell how old something is). Right now though, the white board is blank.

Everything happening at the start of this has sort of hijacked my normal routines. I let it all go. Now that I’m back in action, I’m excited to begin again. But what’s that got to do with today being a bonus day (Besides being an extra day of the year)?

It’s that I get to ignore March and all the tasks I’ve committed to doing during that month (if only for just one more day). Ha! 😜

Also, it’s going to get up to 60+ degrees outside today and Jim and I have plans to get out there and enjoy that. That will probably include some measure of yard work or at least assessing the damage of the winter on the back yard. Hopefully it will also mean exploring someplace new.

I had great sleep last night and I feel as though I can take on the world today. And I haven’t even had any caffeine yet. If I have coffee I’ll probably start feeling like I have god-like super powers. it’s like the stars are aligning and the perfect time to work on projects. Goodness knows I’ve got a lot of balls in the air (even if they are mostly in my head).

In other related news, I got my second set of written feedback from my mentor yesterday with comments about my manuscript and revisions. I almost don’t want to open it because I don’t want to kill my Saturday feels. I think I’ll file that away in the “do this in March” list.

I’ve spent a lot of years of my life perfecting the art of procrastinating so this is just one of the classic go-to moves. On the outside it seems like I’m super organized and goal-oriented but on the inside the truth is it’s all just a play to categorize things into the future.

That bit is a dirty little secret so let’s keep that on the DL.. Ok?

Speaking of feedback. One of my most oft used punctuation marks is the double-dot “..”. For me it has come to signify something more than the end of a sentence but less than a full ellipses.

The ellipsis, “…”, is commonly used when there’s a continuation or more content that is not included in the text.

What I’m affectionately calling my “double-dot” (as of this moment) is like a longer pause, for contemplation. Where there might be more to consider but it’s up to the readers interpretation.. It’s not like actual defined text or content is missing. It’s an invitation to consider what else there could be within the context of ones own experience.

Yeah. I’m declaring the double-dot as official new punctuation today. Can I do that? Yes, of course I can. I mean the English language is always evolving and today is a good day for cool new stuff. Someone, somewhere, In the not so distant past put the words gigantic and enormous together and came up with ginormous. In 2007 it was officially added to the dictionary.

It’s been a long time since we had new punctuation to work with. And since punctuation is apparently one of the biggest problems with my poems, I might as well embrace it.. or fight it to the death.. or make my own mark on literary discourse.. Literally. 😂

Too much? Of course! 💃💃💃

So you heard it here folks. Yours truly has just invented the double-dot. Now when I read the question in feedback from my mentor that they don’t know what that is, I’ll just explain that it’s new and “all the cool kids are using it”.

How did I get from leap-day to the double-dot?.. 🤷‍♀️

Happy, Thank You, More Please,

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. Today’s featured image is a view from a hike on Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail.. Shipwreck Beach to Punahoa Point

2020-01-04 MFA Day 7 – It Will Find It’s Way Out

(making up for my brevity yesterday apparently so.. long post)

Your voice, your words, your emotions, your suppressed or unsuppressed opinions and thoughts. The things pushed deep inside or those loitering silently just below the surface. Whatever it is, it will find it’s way out. Especially in moments when you feel like you can trust the ones around you or if you are pushed to your limits.

Here in this place I have both conditions active so it’s no wonder that the things I hold inside find their way out. It’s not in the group dynamic mind you, it’s in those intimate moments where I’ve had the opportunity to talk, really talk, one on one or with just two other people about what’s happening in our lives.

And surprisingly it’s not sharing what’s going on with me but listening, really listening, to those people. Feeling with them in their moments of reflection, contemplation, and clarity. It’s incredible actually. It makes me feel like a whole person.

One of the things that have been different about this residency compared to others is that I haven’t given in to the flight or flight response that has caused me to have a need to get in my car and drive home. In past residencies I’ve found myself at a breaking point and just made the executive decision to leave for the night. Not just to sleep in my own bed but to disconnect enough to be in my own space and consider my own issues and make sure I can still reach my center of gravity.

What happens on those 45 minute car rides was unexpected but somewhat reliable. I’m on the highway like 5 minutes, enough time to get out of town and confirm I was headed in the right direction and let go of that and start letting my mind wander. Almost as if a switch has been flipped, I think some thought and am moved to tears.

And not just a teary eye, and uneven breath, but uncontrollable sobbing. The kind where you can’t catch your breath and the highway ahead becomes so blurry like a massive rainstorm when windshield wipers can’t keep up. It’s raining on the inside and everything on the inside just comes out. it pours, for a good 20 minutes and then just as suddenly as it came, it’s gone.

It’s not one thing, it’s all the things. It’s an overwhelming force, but once it’s over, I return to a state where my head is clear and I can start to put together my thoughts in a logical fashion again. I arrive home, find my center (or like I said, at least confirm it’s location), sleep, wake up, and return for another day.

So what’s different this time? I guess it is that I am getting more comfortable, have established relationships and trust with people here, and no longer feel that fight or flight in the same way as before. I have not gone home. I won’t go home until tomorrow when this is all over.

But that buildup of stuff, whatever it is, whatever has contributed to it, whatever it is made of is still happening and has been happening since day zero. I’ve felt myself teetering on the verge of tears. I don’t particularly like crying in public (though it did happen once last Residency and big time), so I breathe through those moments and maintain my composure.

Late afternoon yesterday the last of three graduating students presented their reading. One of the requirements to graduate is to give a 20 minute reading of content that you wrote during the course of your time in the program. She presented three pieces, two narratives and a one act play. It was exquisite. It was so moving and so well written that the narratives felt like long prose poems, constructed with language that carried powerful meaning while also singing and and creating a unique aesthetic experience for those of us fortunate enough to be in the room to hear it. And hear it in the authors voice, which was both soft and and strong in conviction with confidence and, a few times, with the brief line or two which were actual song.

When it was over the typical routine is for people to applaud and then approach and offer hugs and words of encouragement and congratulations. That happened, but as she started receiving hugs the applause did not subside and people began standing. A standing ovation. A first for me to witness here.

After the first hug and words ended, the author looked up and realized it. She was stunned. It was incredibly moving. I was moved to tears (still standing and clapping mind you). A line formed for continued hugs and those quiet words whispered into her ears. I took my plane in line. It was an honor to witness the moment and an honor to be able to tell this woman, who I barely knew, how her writing and presentation moved me.

After that the group dispersed and continued on with their own objectives and plans. I did too.

This morning I woke up just before 4. My mind was immediately there, back in that moment. Perhaps I was dreaming it all over again and moved so much it woke me. I sat up and realized I was about to cry. It came on like that rainstorm in the car, so suddenly and so hard. I wasn’t even fully awake or aware of what was happening. 4 am and it found its way out.

I had a good cry, albeit brief and that was followed by an epiphany. A rush of thoughts about my thesis and it’s content and organization and preface and the accompanying lecture and reading. All in a rush it came to me. What it is and what I have to do next.

I spent the next hour making notes. And now I’m well past an hour (approaching 1.5 hours) on this treadmill writing this post.

Because of the extra time I took today I’m running a little late to find Miss Margret up in the dining room to have our morning breakfast chat. Which means I’ve got to go.

Lots to do In the next 24 hours.

XOXO,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-01-02 MFA Day 5 – Balls

The lead in to of the lectures I attended yesterday lobbied that we should have 10 balls in the air at the all time. That if we did, it would be a bit of chaos but that it would increase our chances that some thing, even just one, would land and turn out golden. She proceeded to tell the story of what her journey has been and how that philosophy has played out.. with great success.

Some parts of that equation that she made perfectly clear was the need for perseverance and having a great desire. What she did not speak to as much, probably in order to stay within the 50 minute time constraint, was the hard work and time commitment and focus that we’re also required. No time to talk about all the other balls that did not work or were dropped in pursuit of the one that did turn out golden. But I know — I can infer that it wasn’t just sheer luck that the things that happened to her happened. It was the effort and drive.

At this point I already feel like I’ve got multiple endeavors in the air and another large thing has just been tossed in my direction. I have to be very careful. I don’t know how to say no. If I’m going to catch it and do it, I would want for my role and contribution to not be half ass. That’s not how I roll. When I’m in it, I’m going to win it.

But now my brain is stuck on that and this whole thesis thing I’ve got to get done is idling in my left hand (because the left hand is controlled by the right brain). My left brain is latching on to this new idea and the machine is revving. It’s that point in the start up process the flywheel is doing it’s thing. I need to remember that though this organizational, process driven idea feels vital, it’s not the most important thing. Or should not be.

The primary objective in my writing like right now is me, and my growth and development and making the biggest leap forward toward a fulfilling life as a writer. Mario (the spokesperson for my left brain) contends that this new project is vital because it’s fulfilling the requirement to build contacts and a resume that proves I’m a part of the literary community, and invested in it. There’s a seriousness in it and it needs to be given that measure of consideration and effort.

Conversations need to happen before I leave Nebraska city and so that’s what my brain keeps focusing on now. I think I’ve just done the opposite of what I set out to do in writing this. Instead of making a case for minimizing it, I’ve made a case for it being vitally important.

Yesterday was long and I had 4 hours of sleep the night before. This morning I woke at 5am and Fitbit reports 4.5 hours were had last night. At 6:30am (which is what it is now), I’m approaching an hour on the treadmill and still energized about the day ahead. I know from yesterday that by 3 in the afternoon my mind and energy is going to crash. I know that by 7pm I’ll be approaching zombie status. And tonight is a long one. Talent show followed by movie night. I would skip out of movie night but there is a requirement to see that movie in order to participate in one of the workshop/lectures tomorrow.

Yes, lots of balls indeed. And lots to prepare for just for today which is calling me back to my room. Study plans discussion prep, workshop prep, talent show prep. Yeah.. for real.. I gotta go.

I guess today was more thinking than writing but it is what it is.

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie