2021-02-05 This One Time at Band Camp…

JK.. I never went to band camp. 

I did go to cheer camp like 4 times though. Sadly there are zero juicy stories from that. All I have to show for my four years of cheerleading in high school are a bunch of pictures of all my bad hair days, nightmares about perpetually being excluded by the other girls, and a couple of trophies for being the “most improved.” 

In a world where popularity and good looks were everything, getting the “good effort” award was like a serious gut punch. I did work my ass off to be a good cheerleader however and I suppose in the long run learning how to work hard to achieve something has served me better than any fragile friendships or being noticed for my looks. Though, damn, those would have been nice. 

These days, getting acknowledgement for my efforts from people I respect is so affirming. A few days ago we had a team meeting for the lit mag and one of our teammates threw some compliments my way and suggested introducing me to The Local Girls Gang which is a group of bad-ass women bosses and entrepreneurs. I was soooo flattered. Kind of speechless. One of my other team members spoke up and piled on. My oh my. 

Sometimes I’m just so unsure how I’m doing and what people’s perceptions are. And often I don’t know how to react to compliments. Some people deflect compliments or minimize them thereby coming across as very modest. The approach I typically take when I’m overwhelmed or dont know what else to say is just to respond with “thank you.” But I honestly don’t remember how I reacted or what I said. 

The zoom meeting was recorded and I’m still waiting on that being sent to the group so I could eventually play it back to find out. 

In other similar news, I recently contacted a professor of mine from a class I took at UNO in 2019 with a request to help spread the word about the lit mag and among the kind words he sent me in response was a comment about me being such a “hard charging dynamo.” Again I’m filled with pride. Sometimes it pays off to be the “most improved.” 

It reminds me that it’s ok to not know how to do something or to maybe not have a natural affinity for something and just work hard to be better.. I mean.. nobody knows how to do a thing until they try it. But if you work hard, you can get better and eventually people will notice. 

Statistically speaking, by this time in a blog post 99% of people have stopped reading. And sometimes that is the same amount of time it takes to get to my REAL topic. 

I suppose this might seem like a bad thing. I’ve lost all readers before I get to the point, but in this case (with this particular blog) it actually works to my advantage. I want to write about something I’m unsure of or worried what people might think. Why today’s REAL topic falls into this category is a mystery to me but it does. 

The same night as that team meeting I mentioned (which was incidentally also the day/night I was empty of energy and having concerns about my relationship) I found a message in my inbox just before I went to bed. It was a notification that a chapbook I submitted last year was accepted for publication. 

I’ve had individual poems published online, among a sea of other poets. I’ve had individual poems published in print anthologies with other poets/poems but this is new! This is an entire 30 page chapbook of poetry, just MY poetry that will be published in 2021!! 

Holy efffing shit people. This is such fantastic news I don’t quite even believe it. And I was so wrecked when I read that email that I don’t think i had the mental capacity to process the news. 

It was one of the things that kept me from sleeping that night however and was partially responsible for my getting up at 4am. I read it a few times to make sure I was sure about what it said. I subsequently updated my personal website with the news which isn’t much. I only know the publisher and since it had been a while since I researched them I mined their website again for more info. Publishing full length manuscripts and poetry chapbooks is their main thing. And they gave some recognizable names in their list of authors which makes me feel great. 

I have great respect for Terrance Hayes’s work and he has a book with them. Wowza!! 

So that was Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Now it’s Friday night and I have yet to tell another soul, save this blog. What the hell?? Why is that?? 

Now we’re getting to the REAL REAL topic. All thoughts converge on this question. 

As questions often do, it multiplies before it can be answered sufficiently -or- so it CAN be answered. 

Do I feel I don’t deserve this or that my poetry is not actually good enough? 

Am I just not sure how to react to this “success?”

Or am I worried about the other consequences if the poems being in print? That could be it. The focus/theme of the book is about relationships which is mostly benign however there’s a heavy emphasis in the second half on my new life at “the castle.” 

Besides the two mentors I had in the last two semesters of my MFA program, an friend who helped me edit, and my mom.. no one else has read most of these poems. 

I’ve not shared with workshop peeps, friends, or Jim. Especially not Jim. 

My 3rd semester mentor encouraged me to “give in to the destructiveness of a subject.”  I’m not sure I quite understood his point, until now. 

My moms reaction after reading was to be worried I’m not happy with my new life. I assured her things were fine. Still, I have elected not to share with my husband, who is my biggest fan and always wants me to read my poems to him, especially now the ones being published. 

It could be that I’m worried what he will think. That he will also take to heart the sentiments and that will throw a wrench into our relationship. 

To be fair, three years ago when we met I told him my passion was writing and that I was pursuing an MFA in poetry. His response was frankly that he never wanted me to alter my art or have our relationship cause me to change what I was writing about or how I was writing. I interpret that as “keep writing what is in your heart no matter what.” 

At that time I never dreamed we would get married or that I would be living this life of a doctors wife. I never dreamed that I would be compelled to write so much about my current circumstance. However, I could have predicted that whatever I would write about, it would not be the rainbows and butterflies. That’s just not my style. 

And thank the universe as rainbows and butterflies are not in fashion this century. “Today” poetry is all about free-verse with lots of tension and surprise. This pending chapbook (submitted under the working title “Unsuspecting Cinderella”) is all about tension and surprise and suggests that the house I live is inhabited by a dark force that gets into the heads of anyone living there and changes them (and not in a good way).

I do worry living the charmed life that’s virtually worry free financially will change me (and my children). The poems in no way implicate the owner of the house, but it’s not a large leap to get there. 

There’s actually very little mention of Jim. And maybe there’s something about that which is also concerning. Or maybe I just don’t know how to write a love poem. I have written a love poem about Jim and even took that to the MFA workshop. “Lack of tension” was one persons comment. Another said they didn’t quite believe the speaker and thought the poem was actually about the speaker missing being single. If that’s not proof I can’t write a love poem, then I don’t know what is. Good gravy!! 😜

I digress. Sorry bout that. 

“Girl, Stop Apologizing” 

So yeah, I’ve officially got a book coming out. That’s what’s up!!

Bringing this full circle.. I did work my ass off on those poems, revising relentlessly and arranging and rearranging tirelessly until the order in the book was “perfect” and working diligently to get the individual poems placed (which is key in the process/decision for a publisher in selection, I think). I might not get the extra-most-bestest award, but I certainly feel like I deserve an “A” for effort.

In this case, I’m pleased as punch with the result.

Now I just have to figure out how to navigate telling people. I suppose posting this blog is the first step. Haha! 

Statistically speaking, Friday nights are the lowest traffic time for this blog so it’s perfect!! 😜

Staying Frosty, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-12 On Being Smaug 🐉

I opened a book I got for Christmas; I was bound and determined to break out of the habit I’ve gotten myself into where I only read to learn things and can’t seem to read for fun or enjoyment. I remember those days. I remember reading the Hobbit in the bathtub when I was a kid. I loved that book and it has a water-swelled look that proves it. 

I swear I’ve lost the patience to read for no “productive reason”. I read two damn pages of my new book and had to set it aside. School broke me I think. Either that or I really don’t like what I was reading. What I need to do is figure out how to switch off the “learning” brain and just read something fun and adventurous or suspenseful. Perhaps a YA dystopian novel? 

Maybe deep down I really don’t like poetry. How cray would that be? A poet confessing that the only poetry she really loves is her own. I love all my babies. I think all my little darlings are precious gems and deserve good homes. Maybe the best home there is, is one I build myself? After a parade of rejections lately I’m starting to think more about that.

What can I do to unhinge my learning brain so I can just enjoy reading again? This diatribe about reading is a smoke-screen for what’s really bothering me.

Hinge and unhinge are buzz words. And the moon is still the biggest cliche that’s OK but not Ok.
Or I maybe I don’t care it’s Cliche. If the moon wants an appearance in my poem, who am I to refuse?

After all, it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.

Yeah, it’s part of who I am. And my poetry is an extension of who I am.

I will keep working to make my writing better but won’t sacrifice my voice or preferred topics because who I am is not “marketable” or the “right fit.” (Nobody said I’m not marketable, but I’m not an idiot, the market has trends of interest).

I’m Smaug from the Hobbit, with all my gems and well armored against most assailants. Most. But last night felt stings from a well placed/well timed arrow. Right in a tender spot exposed in a weak moment.

There have been a number of rejections this week. I’m close to getting my period and that’s when I’m more emotional, more vulnerable and subject to injury. So far I’ve been pretty immune to the language of the thoughtless rejection form letter. The letter that’s says, out of the box, “thanks but no thanks.” What’s worse, when they send something like “not a good fit.” What’s a good fit is what I want to know. 

What’s worse is when I can tell they really just leave the Submittable default decline letter be their rejection message. Being on the publishing side, I know what that is. And also that it takes just a few minutes to craft something more personal. We did that for the GLR and I revisit this sometimes. It’s an important part of our Public facing reputation. Each human interaction, even rejection (maybe especially rejection), is important. 

Sometimes I feel like everyone else is doing all the work on the lit mag, and my contribution isn’t important, but thinking about it now.. the fact that I care so much about being kind and treating people with respect and being sympathetic to their situation does have an impact because I want every interaction to be a positive one. I know there are improvements I can make and those changes will make a difference. 

I think being on the receiving end of messages from potential publishers has made me better suited for the work I’m doing. 

With each new rejection my confidence wanes. I was sitting in my bed and updating the spreadsheet I use to keep track of my submissions and there’s so much orange sherbet I feel a sting. I selected a pleasant shade of orange to indicate rejection instead of red because red is so harsh. The color of blood or stop or don’t isn’t conducive to keep trying again. 

Still, after a while, even the light orange is bothersome. At the same time I’m reviewing the status in submittable I’m texting with my friend T and we’re conversing about rejection and self publishing and the lit mag. We both agreed the wonderfully written rejection was something to treasure. 

I’m down about the numbers but not sure what to do about it. I recognize it is mostly out of my control. If my writing is not a good fit, there’s nothing I can do. Find a place it is a good fit I suppose. But I was too tired last night. Too tired to read, to write, to research, and decided to call it quits for the day. 

It was supposed to be a good day, a “me” day but my mood was rotten all day and I just couldn’t feel accomplished or productive no matter what I tried. 

Then.. just as I was closing my laptop, I checked my email one last time. A new message in my inbox was a lovely email from a former mentor of mine from the MFA program. It was so generously encouraging I just cried. How did he know that was exactly what I needed? That’s some serious intuition. 

He said I was “a real deal poet” and to keep working. After I read that I closed my laptop and set it aside. I slid down under my covers, and grabbed a tissue to wipe my eyes. How did he know? 

I have more thoughts about that, but have gone on too long already about rejection and about typically being immune to the sting of it, and also about how there’s a weak spot in my “armor”. 

I’m not Smaug. I may be wounded but I’m not gonna die from those poorly crafted steel arrows. I will survive to live another day, do good work, and make my own mark on this life.

With my mentors kind words I was able to fall asleep with those thoughts instead of the others. And I woke up this morning ready to take on the day.

What did I find in my email inbox?.. Another poem has been accepted for publication. Well played Universe!!

Cheers to being Smaug but not really being Smaug, 😉

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-04 MFA Graduation Day 💃💃🎉

It’s about time. It’s about endings and beginnings, direction, voice, responsibility, and resolution.

Or at least it wants to be. Aspiration, experience, and discovering what life is trying to teach you. I mean me. When i say “you” I mean “me”. When I say “we” I also mean “me”. We’re all self centered. Humans. All pronouns are rooted in a center that’s concerned with self, with perspective, angle, intention. We’re slant. 

Sometimes this generative process I go through each day begins with fragments of thought. Most of the time I don’t have a lot of complete concrete ideas of what I want to write. I just have to begin. We all have to begin somewhere. We’re all alike in that. 

I suppose the difference between this writing and the production of poetry is that this writing begins and ends as an unedited first draft. All the fragments and incomplete thoughts, the “fluff” and mistakes are exposed. And I’m fine with that. I’m getting what I need from it and am satisfied. 

As opposed to the poems which go through a dozen (often many more) revisions. I’m way more concerned with mistakes, and turning every stone of the poem over to discover what improvements can be made, the tightening of the writing until it’s sharp as a blade. 

 Obviously in the MFA program we talk a great deal about this process. And in my last semester revision was a big focus of study as I was revising every poem in my manuscript. It takes a great deal of effort and even now, though it’s long been over, I look at those poems and see other things I could change to make them even sharper. 

Yesterday I attended a lecture about voice and how you can’t find your voice because it’s naturally in you already. Not a thing to discover, if you will, but instead something you just have to flex and grow. You have to hear yourself and also practice other voices. You have to go out on a limb. The metaphor the person giving the lecture used was that of a tree. The trunk and main branches are your natural voice. All the smaller branches, leaves, buds are extensions of that voice. But it still all comes from the same source. It was a great metaphor. 

My lecture was on voice too so I’ve done a lot of thinking about the topic, but the lecture yesterday opened my eyes to a few big pieces I’d not considered previously. 

First that our voice is sometimes something we’re suppressing because for whatever reason we’re taught it’s not correct. We lose confidence and try to change it, which doesn’t work. 

More importantly though, I had the realization that I’m kind of afraid of my own natural voice. Afraid may not be the right word. A better thing to say might be that I don’t trust my own voice. I think this is one of the  reasons public speaking scares me. I have to write out what I want to say because I’m afraid of my natural impromptu voice stumbling, being judged and laughed at. 

I literally wrote out and read my lecture (and my reading was just that too). When asking questions during zoom lectures I prefer to type my question into the chat and not speak out loud. This extends to other parts of my life too, specifically when it comes to my job and facilitating meetings. 

I’d much prefer to write out an email than  conduct a meeting. I’m much more comfortable with that. I’m not good at going out on a limb. I need to work on that. 

Today is the last day of the last residency I’ll have the opportunity to attend as a student. There are a few lectures left and one workshop. Later today there will be a virtual graduation ceremony highlighting all the grads. I’m not really nervous about it as I’ll mostly just be watching. The grads have composed a prose poem of sorts where we’ll each have our two lines to say in turn. That’s it. Then it will all be finally, officially over. 

I’ve had a lot of time to figure out what’s next and what my life will look like now. In truth, not a lot will change as I’ve already slid into not working a job and not having deadlines for school. My hope is that I can keep myself on task. Keep working on “going out on a limb” and pushing myself to stick with the endeavors I’ve committed myself to. 

I want to and think I will but it will be a matter if finding the right balance. Yes, it’s about balance too. Sleep, balance, time, health, direction, and responsibilities. More about that will likely appear in fluff in the musings of Miss SugarCookie soon (and always). 

My hour is up. Time to get going with the day. 

Cheers to endings and beginnings, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-24 A Perfect 4

I haven’t put on a dress in a while, but I’m pretty sure size 4 is still what would fit best. On a scale from 0-10, pretty sure my poetry is a 4 too. At least based on all these rejections. Another one popped into my in-box this morning. Like hello… merry fucking Christmas to you too. Who sends rejections on Christmas Eve? Whatever. 

I’m still letting my submissions ride through December. I’ve had three or four new rejections in the past week and one new poem get posted on a new site. 

That one I’m not particularly excited about (the journal not the poem—that poem is at least a 7 on the aforementioned poem scale). I’m calling this latest publication a lesson learned. Everyone makes mistakes you know and so this is a mark in that category. 

As I’ve come to conclude, finding places for your writing is a lot like dating. It goes like this…. 

Submittable is like that dating app. There’s a list of potentials you can do a bit of filtering on. You get a brief “picture” and bio of potential matches. You sit alone and scroll and scroll and click and read and if something looks promising, you might dig a little deeper on their website, you know, how one might google a person of interest. At this point in the game, you have to decide which ones are worth more effort. Like dating, it can be slim pickings at times. 

You might ask yourself if they are right for you and your babies. Oh that’s another thing, you are concerned about yourself but also your precious children, because they will be the ones inheriting the outcome if there’s a match. 

So you find a good one. You swipe right and fashion that first communication. You have to decide if you will be clever or just stick with the standard form letter greeting. Hi. I’m “so and so” and I’d like you to go to the prom with me. We don’t have to go to dinner. Yes, I have a fancy dress I can wear, I’m a size 4 (in case that’s important). I’ve been checking you out and I think we’d be great together. Not up for something long term? How about just a one night stand? Here’s a good poem. Take it pretty please with sugar on top. 

Too desperate? Makes sense… that’s what rejection does to a person. 

So as far as I figure, part of this dance is like determining what league you are in (and sizing them up too). Like see that hot guy over there, Mr. New York Times is a 10. Miss Paris Review is also a10. Unless you’re name is Ilya Kaminsky (who is also a 10), you should just forget about it. 

You have to know yourself. I’m not a good judge of myself. I think I’m like a 6 but I’m probably a 4. And I’ve been aiming all over the place. 1s, 8’s, and everywhere in between. I’ve even swiped on some unrated lit mags. Literally. Which makes them a 0. 

That was my mistake. Now I regret hooking up with that ZERO who misspelled my name when the issue came out and frankly was sloppy in their presentation. And I sent them one of my best babies… like one of my 7s. Ugh!! 😩 

The truth is, just line dating, after a lot of rejection you kind of lose confidence. I think that’s what happened. I just felt down about it and started sending everywhere and didn’t do the proper evaluation. I won’t do that again. 

From now on I’m going to evaluate what I have to offer and match that with the places I’m sending to. (I say in the wake of this latest mistake). But it’s a lot of work. Just like dating. 

For now though, and through the new year until after Res, I’m just riding out the swipes I’ve got stacked up already. Still hovering above 70. Maybe I should just ride it out until I’m back down around 50. We’ll see. The swiping can be addictive though. Hmmmmm… that’s just like dating too. 

Wonder if I’ll ever find a good match for my manuscript? 

Well..  I used Bumble once and hit the freaking lottery. So I guess anything is possible. 😜

“Why yes, Mr. Graywolf Press, you can have me. Just take me. Take all of me!” 🤣

Happy Hunting, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-24 It’s Always the Eve of Tomorrow

Christmas Eve today. On one hand it’s all just fine. I have everything I need here. My people, love, nourishment, warmth, opportunity, and am looking forward to tomorrow and the adventures we will find there. 

On the other hand, it just doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like Christmas or the cusp of another residency and I feel so angry and cheated by this Universe forsaken year. What’s a girl to do? 🤷‍♀️

You know, I was awake at 5 am. Another early morning. I get up and put pants on and shuffle quietly out of the bedroom. I check the cats and my kids. They are all awake too. For my kids is a late night. They are enjoying the holiday break and have switched to alternate schedules. For the cats, well, they are always awake at this hour it seems.

So I begin my regular morning routine. It’s like any other day for me. I grab my water, headphones, reading glasses, and phone and head for my treadmill. 

I step on the machine and set the pace to 2.5 or 3 depending on my mood. Pick a playlist or perhaps leave the music app on random shuffle (today it’s random). Then open some app to write what I’m thinking, which is now google docs. 

I’ll give myself an hour to muse about yesterday or today or some issue hampering my mind. That’s it. That’s the start of just about every day of my life now. And there’s comfort in it. The security of knowing what to expect is something I’m grateful for. I’m pretty lucky.

The thing that my brain is stuck on today, besides how this Christmas is so strange, is the MFA residency that’s about to happen. The lecture I’ve poured so much into that will be over and done in a hot 40 minutes. The poems I’m not prepared to workshop. The other lectures I don’t care about. The readings I’ll be sitting alone for, instead of with the people who have come to be my friends. No library pub meetups. No late night’s loitering about the lobby of the Lied Lodge. No winter talent show. No sneaking down to the exercise room by the pool in the basement of the hotel at 5am. 

I guess last that part isn’t so different. 🤷‍♀️

One of my friends from the program is trying to coordinate our class’s graduation speech and it’s not going well for her. People are either over it, or not interested, or procrastinating. Anyone who knows me knows I fall into the last category. 

I gravitate between wanting to take over and just letting it go. I wanted to give a speech. I want to have the oppprtuniry that every other person who has graduated from the program has had. I’ll get to say a little at my lecture or reading and I had already come to terms with this virtual scenario, but this graduation speech thing has me fired up again, 

If nobody wants to do it, I’ll freaking do it. But I don’t want to outright voulenteer if the wheels are in motion for something else. I know my friend is irritated at the lack of support she’s getting. What’s a girl to do? 🤷‍♀️

In other news, I’m supposed to go to my dad’s today as it’s Christmas Eve and he’s alone. But you know I’m not feeling it. I just want to stay home with my people and snack and play games. He’s got his other family coming over at 5 and I’ve already said we’re not in for that or a meal or whatever. Using the pandemic as an excuse when the truth is that Jim and I had such a rough time with trying to integrate last year and I vowed then we would not do that again. 

Things have changed now, my dads wife is gone and he’s “alone.” But there’s hurt feelings (mine) that don’t just get erased. And if my dads never had the kind of relationship with my kids that he has with his other grandchildren, I can’t force it now. I can’t force my children to want to go. Hell, I can’t even force them to go to bed at a decent hour so as to be fresh for spending the day together. 

I told my son (who somehow missed the gene that makes people generous with gifting) that I was expecting him to be up at 10 to go shopping with me to buy a gift for his sister who has the gene and has spent countless hours making gifts for people. How did my two children end up so different? 

Anyway. We’ll see on that. I’ve got some other thoughts brewing but that will have to wait. It’s almost 7:30am and I’ve already got over 10k steps. Time to do this Christmas Eve thing. Thanks for reading.

Peace and Love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-10 Musing from Inside the Promethean Gap

Is it wrong to approach the world, tentative and wanting? Believing in good intentions and people? That we’re all just stuck here temporary and harmless, abandoned on a mysterious spiral arm of stars?

Is it wrong to believe in the power of human connection, however small. The innocence of it. The delicate nature of trust. When we die, as we all do, are the acts we perform, both knowingly and unknowingly, judged?

What if the big things don’t matter? What if that which lies beyond—the ultimate unknown which teeters just at the edge of the Event Horizon—takes us in as our physical being expires and instead of a lens built to look at the acts we’ve performed in our lifetime, we are measured by what we didn’t do?

Have we been given the gift of life and wasted it?

After all, like the rest of the Universe we’re just matter—molecules and atoms—stuck together in a myriad of configurations. The great mystery of whether our becoming was a random fluke or was engineered entirely on purpose remains unknown.

I posit that if our existence here was on purpose, then the answer to the aforementioned questions are also being kept from us by design.

Are you with me? Or have I lost you?

Three unrelated circumstances.. I’ll call them circumstances, for the lack of a better word, are swirling in my brain. Well, at least three. Their chemicals mix and lead me to question my own actions and how to proceed.

  1. I met a man about a year and a half ago who might not yet qualify as a man, because of age and maturity. There was a connection and I enjoyed talking with this person, to the point I would consider him a friend. Setting unease about my own motivations aside, I’ve come to discover this person might be lost on the path of life. Perhaps in some trouble. Do I try to help?
  2. For the lit mag I’m managing, I’ve recently set submissions for writers that are BIPOC to free, waiving our typical fee (only $3 to begin with). Such a tiny thing, this decision, but now we’re getting subs and find one from a man who doesn’t qualify, electing to use the free option instead of the paid option. I could decline with a request to please use the other option or I could just let it go. It could be an innocent mistake. There are people more sheltered than I. Perhaps he doesn’t know what BIPOC stands for. What do I do?
  3. (The newest and strangest by a wide margin.) Mr. SCC emailing me out of the blue asking for assistance defining the term Promethean Gap. Yes, I bit on it and chewed it. After some research and reading I fashioned what I felt was a sufficient reply. I attempted to be thoughtful, thorough, and above board in my response. A kind and cordial reply. And thought that would be that. But now there’s a new message in my in-box. A reply to my reply. It’s composed mostly as a “thank you” but includes some other commentary and an open-ended question. It concludes with a request for me to call. Call?! What to do? What response is appropriate?

Ok. So besides that, about #3 specifically. The original question was fascinating. I’d never heard the term Promethean Gap Before. I think that’s what pulled me into research, besides the strange coincidence that led to SCC contact me.

The Promethean Gap, also sometimes translated as Promethean Discrepancy (a German by the name Gunther Anders invented the term post WW), is a philosophical concept / theory that approaches the problem of man (humankind) having the capability to imagine and invent beyond what we are individually or collectively able to be as flawed corporal beings. In short, the gap between man and machine. Mr. Anders was also concerned about the consequences of this Gap and how it might affect the both the individual and society.

We can make machines that have longevity, power, and more recently intellect which far exceeds our own. Further, the gap is a space where we, the human race, have difficulty fully realizing the consequences of those creations.

The most common example is the invention of the Atomic Bomb. I would make a personal leap and say that the invention of computers, the internet, and AI, while making our lives seemingly easier, also holds a very destructive power with implications to society and the individual that we have not even begun to understand. 

As stated, the theory originally proposed is concerned with how individual beings come to terms with their humanity and individual power, versus machine power or a collective power. If we build a machine greater than ourselves, do we not become obsolete? Can we be held accountable? Does each of us have a responsibility to hold tight to greater ideals for the greater good? “Greater good” .. whatever that means.

Is it merely a coincidence that SCC found me? Or is the Universe throwing tea leaves on my path? If it’s the latter, how am I to interpret them?

One of the articles I read in my research was about a pilot who was involved, as a matter of duty, with the bombing of Hiroshima. Overcome with guilt it pretty much wrecked his life.

When I read this I can’t help but think of seemingly unrelated content, the Snowden docudrama, the Social Dilemma docudrama. How we invented the Genie and then let it out of the bottle. It can’t be undone.. the invention of computers and the internet. We can’t possibly comprehend the long term consequences.

But I watch my children, the next generation, and can’t help but feel a little bit sick about their use of electronics. And not just my children, but all people who don’t know life without a personal computer in their pocket. The unhealthy nature of social media. A rise in depression, anxiety, and suicide. It’s alarming.

The mind-bending power of the internet, driven by profit where they use your own data and likes to serve up content to keep you engaged and focused on a tiny screen instead of real human beings. The sheer amount of data being collected and stored (Often without permission) is daunting.

Rewind to a few months ago when I was watching the docudrama about Ted Kazinsky. Was he wrong? Or was he just a mad Genius who was right on. Led to destruction by being trapped in the Promethean Gap?

Snowden too, refusing to follow orders like the man tasked with the Hiroshima bombing. He’s now living life in Russia but with a clear conscience.

Is there any amount of bottom line profit that can clear the conscience of Babbage, Cerf, Kahn, Gates, Jobs or Zuckerberg? Mere mortals unknowingly making the Gap larger without foresight. No way they could even know the consequences of their inventions. We’re all human after all.


Wow. That went long. Sometimes I’m not sure where my mind will wander but I definitely have more thinking to do. As far as acting on current current circumstances.. I don’t think I have my answers yet. Getting there though. Getting closer. We’ll see.

With Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-11-29 Rounding Up and Rounding Out

Every morning I get at least two new-to-me poems in my email in-box. About a week ago I decided that since I’m tired of writing about The same-old-same-old AND seem to be Most inspired to write Creatively after reading new material that I would use these little nuggets as a jumping off points for new musings. The first couple were (as shiny new things always are) starry successes. So much so that I decided that my next book length project would be a collection of these works, which I’m calling “flips.”

I proceeded to think of everything. Including using the word “flip” capitalizing on its multiple meanings— acrobatic acts, turning over, opposite sides, and fate. Perfection! The next word I had to decide on was the one to follow. Would it be “with” or “of” or “on”? Certainly not “over.” My intention to provide continuity of titles and at the same time nod to the poem or essay or story that inspired the flip.

A few more days and more contemplation about the concept later and I’m deciding not to post these flips to my blog… advice in my ear reminding me not to put potentials in the public domain. Some article I read about getting published. A succinct list of do’s and don’ts. Some publishers won’t publish your stuff if you’ve self published on a personal blog or website. Duly noted.

Heeding this warning led me to believe that I truly think I might be onto something. I mean, it stands to reason that if I didn’t think a poem had a chance in the real world I would not hesitate to post it. I mean, so what right?! I’ve been posting my poems for about 10 years now on my original blog, and rarely visit or post new stuff. What is there now I leave up. 1. I’ll probably never seek publishing any of these old poems as they are largely before my time in my MFA. 2. It’s nice to have a record of what my life and poetry were like before The Cataclysm.

The Cataclysm, so dramatic! But personally fitting for the event that led me to change my life. Look at me now!?! I’m not apologizing. Hurray!!

Anyway, so a few more days go by and I don’t get anything new from my attempts to flip. Probably because I got gobbled up with that Raccoon River Reading business. That kind of thing takes all my energy and attention.

Then it was Thanksgiving. And now I’m back at it, finding success again yesterday. Double hurray!!

Each day I open my email and know that poets.org posts in the early AM and Paris Review is later. Each day I have a little sliver of hope that today will be the day my poem “This” will appear on poets.org.

My acknowledgment earning poem, submitted to the American Academy of Poets contest through the University this year. As I understand it the poem will be posted on the site at some point, presumably sometime before the end of next years contest when they will have hundreds of new poems to choose from.

I’ve already exhausted almost all the happy dancing in me over this poem, but this one last nod would be a nice bow on the whole ordeal. Just don’t know when I’ll open my email and find that bow.

Today was not that day. It was also not a poem that particularly inspires me to write anything. So I quickly move on to the Paris Review. That one holds a little promise. A bite-size poem which is a perfect jumping off point. It’s got it all, brevity, deeper meaning, engaging language, and a title that requires research but is revealing and satisfying.

I really hate when something requires research and the research doesn’t reveal any more about the poem. I mean, it should. I need to remind myself of this when I think about including obscure references in my poems.

So “After Callimachus” is a possibility today but if it wasn’t, I have plenty of other options. A new book came in the mail yesterday and one the day before that and I barely scratched the surface of Rattle 69 and I’ve already received 70. Yeah.. at least I’m getting something for the $$$ I’m spending on submissions.

On that front I’m still holding steady in the low 70’s. Dipped down to 68 briefly this week with a few more rejections and then I had a submission surge one day this week and am back up to like 73. I think 75 is a nice round number to shoot for. Perhaps I’ll put together a few more as the month comes to a close. Hit my target and then cruise December. Perhaps.

With that, I think I’ll get off this treadmill and get on with my day. Lots planned for today. More decorating, meeting with Ed for final acceptances for the GLR, baking cookies. Hopefully I won’t be doing these things alone. We’ll see.

ICheers to Third Sunday,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-18 It’s Not the Poem’s Fault

It’s Sunday and my day is starting early. I woke before 6am and tried to go back to sleep but its futile. It’s almost 7 now so it’s not like I didn’t try to resist getting up. Hopefully Jim can get some extra rest with the absence of my tossing and turning. Hopefully he’ll text me when he does wake up so I can sneak back in and get some snuggles in. Hopefully the kids sleep in too.

So much hope.

My weather app is reporting snow showers. It’s already the coldest morning of fall yet with temps bottoming out at 34 degrees. Which means that if it is snowing, it won’t be for long. Another degree and that snow will turn to rain. And then the dusting we’ve gotten over night will be gone.

Kind of a bummer that I don’t have anything more exciting than that to talk about. Hey.. do you remember when I used to report on my stats every Sunday. Yeah, so I guess compared to that, talking about the weather is aaaallllll-right.

Yesterday I got my manuscript back from a friend whose helping me fine-tune it for submission. The original contest I was looking into for this has a deadline of today. This means most of my day will be spent on editing. And there’s a lot of comments and suggestions to get through.

Sometimes I think poems are never done. I used to ask this question when I attended workshops. “How do you know the poem is done?” Now I recognize the reason the question never seems to get answered.

The author talks a little bit about their process and evades any definitive answer. It’s because there isn’t one. The poem is never done. Stick with me here…

You write a poem. It comes from a combination of experience, state of mind, and knowledge. These shifting variables are how that line break ends up there and One word is chosen over another. Sometimes the poem writes itself and then you sit back and are like, “holy wow, there’s a poem.”

Then, if your like me, you’re making eyes at this new baby like it’s the best baby in the world. Why is it that each new poem feels brilliant? Because you’re still basically the same person (experience, mood, knowledge) as you were in that inspirational moment. But wait a hot minute.

State of mind is the fastest shape shifter. From one day to the next it can render a read of the poem with dramatically different outcomes. One day you love it. The next, you hate it. . Yeah, mood is pretty powerful. I’ve sat down to revise poems and end up throwing my hands up in the air because all the poems are terrible. I’d say, forget about it!!

Then, two days later I return again and things are softer. The words sneak back into my good graces. And I wonder why I had been so hard on myself (or the poem!).

But that’s just one factor. Experience and knowledge are others. As time has a habit of doing, it changes you. If you put that baby of a poem on a virtual shelf and don’t look at it for six months, donuts to dollars it WILL be different when you pull it off the shelf. But it’s not the poem, it’s the writer.

Perhaps in those six months you’ve fallen out of love with the person the poem is about. Maybe they cheated on you and broke your heart (that bastard!) and you read the poem with a new perspective. Is it better or worse? Are you still attached to it or over it? It’s so subjective.

And as for actually revising, each new thing you learn causes you to rethink a choice. I’ve taken the same poem and revised with like a dozen different techniques, tried and true methods, and personal experimental ones.

Again, it’s sometimes tough to sit back and be objective about the result. That’s why getting other eyes on it is so important. Other people can look at your work more objectively and perhaps point out something that’s better or different or more effective. Probably they will find something, and are not going to just tell you to toss it out as rubbish.

Back to the question at hand. When is it done done? When is enough enough? Don’t ask me.. I don’t know. 🤣

I thought for sure my answer would be, “once it’s published”, but now I’m revising poems that have already been published for a full length book and still finding ways to tighten and improve them. Swap this verb for that one and change the way the stanzas are arranged.

Yeah, three line stanzas for sure work better to enhance the unbalanced nature of the topic. Four line stanzas are structured and stable and confident. The speaker of that poem is definitely unbalanced and is teetering like a three legged table. Much more effective.

That’s something I learned at a workshop this summer. And now I can’t unlearn it. So if I’m revising, it’s now one of the things I’m thinking about. The difference between the one, two, three, and four line stanza. And what about five or six? What do each of those mean?

Where does the madness end?

Well, at some point you just have to be satisfied with it I guess. Which comes back to mood again. There are days when I still think some poem is the best thing since sliced bread and that’s the day I pull the trigger and send it out into the world to see if it can find a real home. Three days later I’ll look again with a facepalm wondering what I was thinking.

Today I don’t have time to think to much. And I certainly don’t have the luxury of waiting another day to see if my mood improves. Which is ok, since I’ve looked at the poems in this manuscript so many times and for so long, that I’m kinda over them. And I feel that makes me more objective than ever.

Accepting and rejecting suggestions and making edits like a boss! Today’s the day!!

Huh. And here I thought I had nothing to write about. Go figure!

It’s 8am now and my weather app is reporting the snow has stopped and has been replaced by fog but the temp is holding steady at 34. It’s the perfect day for a hot cup of cocoa and editing poetry. Time to get on it!

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-09-25 Tides Don’t Turn

They’re relentless rolling towards the shore where waves crash like an unforgiving Kublai Kan. Or the resulting opiate inspired vision in dream. Just a fragment. A sliver of the largest moon that ever pulled the tide up with such reliable gravity. Such a tragedy that the only words to linger after the last line are ones about broken hearts.

Today is a strange day. Yesterday at about this same time, when I was thinking about today all I could think about was the fact that it’s my brothers birthday and also the 25 year anniversary of the day I started my first job as professional adult. I actually thought about that for a while and considered writing about it but the end of the world seemed more important.

Plus, the anniversary is today so I figured it would make for a better fit for today anyhow. But now it’s not.

Get this. I have (had) 4 days left working at my current job (Same professional line of work— different gig) and my boss tells me yesterday late in the day to take Friday off. What?!? That’s does not happen.

So instead of pontificating over the fact that my career is ending neatly at almost exactly 25 years to the day it started, I’m waking up to thoughts of writing poetry and beginning my journey catching up on stacks of books and lit magazines. With the day off, I also got a pass at getting up to make breakfast and ended up laying in bed with my laptop until like 9:30.

I revisited my spreadsheet of submissions and my Submittable account. I went through and marked all the recent rejections (I highlight them in light orange because it’s so much more pleasing than the red color that is oft associated with rejection). As I look through this spreadsheet I’m delighted by the few stripes of blue that have started to appear.

I colored in another row last week with that cornflower blue. I’ve got a poem that will be appearing in December in a journal that, like my beloved Good Life Review, is on its maiden voyage. The poems I had submitted there were one’s I had not submitted anywhere else and really, the whole process feels like a twisted crap shoot. The fact they picked up the one they did amazes me. Who knows what might appeal to someone or fit with what they are looking for? 🤷‍♀️

Oh to get into the heads of those editors!! 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

Still.. it gives rise to a warm fuzzy inside. Cozy like a cat stretched out by a crackling fireplace in the middle of winter.

So I had to send them a new bio and headshot. My headshot is not really a headshot, but it’s the best I’ve got right now. The new bio took me a bit as they wanted more words than I typically offer and just wasn’t sure how to beef it up.

Once that was done, I hunted for new places to submit. I took my time (still gloriously laying in bed) revising a few things for three different new places. That’s what delayed me by like 2 hours getting down to my treadmill. But I’ve got the day off so who cares!! 💃💃💃

And with that.. I’m now checking the weather and contemplating a bike ride and perhaps sitting out on the patio sipping an iced latte. Time to get down to figuring out what this jobless life is going to be like .. right!??!

Feels like it’s the perfect time to resurrect “First Draft Friday.” Again., it’s been so long since I’ve written anything new or worthy of sharing and I very much want to do that. The best place to start, of course, is by reading. That stack of books will be the perfect jumping off point. Yes??


My bro, the rocket scientist, is 49 today. He’s a brilliant person who is a good role model for what it looks like to live your best life. He’s nearly two years my senior but has never had much time for me. When we were kids he avoided me like the plague at school.

Now he makes stacks of cash working for Ball Aerospace on contracts for NASA and spends his free time hiking and climbing mountains near Boulder Colorado.

He’s never given me as much attention as he did that time I climbed a fourteener. I remember arriving back to the apartment I was staying at in CO after that climb and being exhausted out of my mind but not able to rest until I called him to tell him. We talked and talked and I was so pleased he was impressed with me. Guess I’d been waiting for a long time for that. Admiration from someone I’ve looked up to my whole life. Life is strange.

That saying.. “The tide is turning”.. where did that come from? Tides don’t turn do they. I mean they get larger and smaller but they don’t turn. Rivers never flow the opposite way. The toilet may flush down in the opposite direction, but only when you are in the opposite hemisphere. What gives?

Anyway. That’s it.. my hour is up.
Happy Birthday Bro,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-08-16 No Good Way to End – Part 2

What’s a girl to do I ask.

It occurs to me that I love to start new things. I get jazzed about beginning. Give me a new day, tip-toes on the edge of the next big adventure. Anticipation is a delicious appetizer and don’t you sometimes just want to order every appetizer on the menu and skip the main course?

I do!

I want to start new projects and talk to new people and think about all the possibilities. The trouble with that is over commitment. The starting all the things and then being in the middle and not having enough time to do a thing well. Which is my other desire. When I do a thing, I want it to be done really well. I want to please people and maintain a certain reputation as a person who is an asset to have around. I can’t not care.

I try to convince myself it will be easy to quit and disconnect from work but the truth is that it won’t be easy. There’s no good way to end and I’m going to struggle.

As far as quitting my job goes, I have to remember that I mustered the courage to do it before and that it turned out great. That ended and the sun still came up in the same way the next day.

I need to frame this quitting business as an opportunity to do the other projects I’ve committed to even better. I can throw my whole heart into my lit mag startup and really focus on making that a success. I’ll finally have time to do more than just “barely getting by.”

And let’s not forget why I decided to get an MFA in the first place! I’ll be able to focus on my writing and really do something more with that than blogging every week. School forced that focus because of deadlines and expectations and now that that is basically over, what’s the motivation? Where will my accountability come from? What fire was started thee and how?

And let’s not forget the fact that I’m always feeling mediocre about my contribution at home and my parenting efforts. Now I’ll be able to better with all of that. I think that’s the part Jim is excited for and my kids don’t really know it yet, but it’s gonna be better for them too. Time is a hot commodity and I need to remember that as one thing ends, it opens the possibility for more beginning.

But not too many beginnings or I’ll be in the same boat as I am now. Is it an inevitability? Will I be able to stop myself from starting more things? Probably not.

It will all be ok as long as I can really cut the cord. Probably since that conversation is tomorrow I should think about the language and what I’m going to say. Probably. 😨🤔😱🤣

Yeah. No good way to end. No way around it so straight through the heart of it is best.

Until then. I’m gonna try and enjoy my Sunday.

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie