2019-07-21 MFA Res Days 8 and 9 – Tough Choices

The last two days I’ve felt less anxiety and less pressure, mostly, yet still inspired by so many shiny objects. On the downhill slide, the back of the back 9, the preparing for a return to reality from the dream, I find that the most difficult task is the necessity to chose between things, people, places, moments, activities, and food. A sense or acknowledgement that I cannot, infact, have it all as it is an impossibility and am faced with decision making. Not my strong suit.

Do I hang with people I just met, or my closest allies here who have grown more dear to me by the hour, or perhaps the faculty who I would get more wisdom from. It is not lost on me that everyone is on their own back 9 and also having to choose.

I had to choose between watching the sunset and talking with one of my previous mentors. We both kept crossing paths all week and promising each other we would take some time and catch up, but the time never materialized. We have similar dispositions and both worry about doing everything that needs doing and focusing on the next thing at hand. We were both prioritizing (though some of mine was dictated by basic needs sort of stuff). I chose the conversation, the sunset behind me. It was one of the easier choices and well worth it.

Later I had to choose between staying at the lodge and leaving for a walk with a few folks. Should I stay at the physical place that embodies the spirit of the program with its diversity of great people and potential conversations and possibilities for fun and games and amusement? Or do I leave the place and choose to reward myself with physical activity and the opportunity to have a more intimate conversation with a select few? More of a difficult choice, but I went with my gut. What I needed.

Some walking and digestion. Less sensory input, not more (except for that one bar we stopped in along the way where it was all just much too much). Less drinking not more. Less chaos of conversation not more. I made my choice and In return I was again rewarded by the universe by having a wonderful walk and conversation with two really incredible people. One a mentor and the other, a woman I met in the program who is now more than just a fellow writer, peer, safe space at the dining table, she’s a friend. Not the ‘see you later, let’s do lunch’ type of friend, but a genuine human I want in my life for a long time.

The walk deserves a whole blog post of its own, perhaps a collection of poems. Isnt that something!?! But my time for this one is getting short now and I’ll have to wrap soon. You know what they say about time.

This morning I woke naturally after the most amount of sleep I’ve had in 9 nights. I opened my eyes and shortly thereafter heard the low rumble of thunder. I got up and opened my window which revealed the pouring rain. I thought to myself “how god damned appropriate is that?”. “IT” was still happening, the serendipitous-ness of the program and the place and its people, even as everyone was well on their way back to their own realities.

The release, the transition, the dramatic change being echoed by nature. Or felt by it, or being mourned by it. It took me two trips to get all my stuff loaded into the car. I closed the trunk of my car and looked up at the sky, the rain on my face felt wonderful.

With peace and so much love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-07-15 MFA Res Day 2 – Life is Wonderful

The day yesterday was certainly less action packed than the first and there were several sessions when I had the opportunity to sit, listen, and think without the expectation for something in return. There were also several noteworthy highlights that made the day so, so wonderful.

In chronological order, the workshop where my writing was discussed in detail, dinner with a fantastic group of people, frisbee in the park with a different group of folks, and a long evening walk through the town to the river and back.

I co-conspired with one of the faculty to organize the frisbee event and it felt great to get outside and be physical and release myself from all the heavy mental contemplation that immersion brings. It was also a great lead in for our walk where we got to spend time getting to know new people a little better outside the confines of the lodge. Oh my but it was a hot one.

Rewinding a bit, Part of the responsibility I assumed when I agreed to help organize was to secure a second frisbee for the toss. I had a brief break after workshop which I used to make a wal-Mart run. That’s when it happened, in the car on the way. That first outburst of tears. Impossibly unpredicted, a familiar feeling rose from somewhere deep inside, my stomach and heart conspiring to push it up through my throat to the top of my head. I wept openly in the car because of the catch and release effect that being workshoped has on me. It’s that satisfaction and doubt and confidence and vulnerability mashed together that does it. I should have anticipated it but I didn’t. No matter.

I secured the frisbee and continued about my day, holding a piece of that feeling inside the rest of the day. It was wonderful.

I sacrificed the sunset for the walk through town and it’s not lost on me that I also sacrificed missing something that happens far less frequently too. The MRAZ concert at the Stir Cove. I missed him singing “Life is Wonderdul” in order to actually live the words. The polar opposites in life that occur and that we can’t really know “it takes some bad for satisfaction”. That song is brilliant and is the essence of so much truth that I can’t even describe. I don’t need to, he’s already done it.

It also, of course, reminds me of another time in my life with a very special person. If there was a measure of a man, and that measure was poetry, he sits on the top of that list. That was my “Simply Vera” era, for which, now that it’s far in the past, I’m immeasurably greatful for. Yes, I’m talking to you Vis. How can I not think about you when I think about MRAZ and the music you introduced me to. I hope you went to the concert and I hope it was .. Wonderdul!!

I have more to say, but time is short today and I’m already running late. Such a tragedy.

Wishing you peace and love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-07-11 Changing Tides and Tidal Waves 🌊🌊🌊

When last we met my mood was foul and I had accepted the fact and was rolling with it. That feels like four hundred years ago now and so much has changed. In truth, nothing has changed, all those issues persist but somehow the ride turned. And that, folks, is the nature of the beast we call life.

Shortly after I wrote that mess of a rant I took my ass to a Jazzercise class and danced and worked my way out of the twisted knot I had found myself in. I also decided to stop listening to that “angry” playlist. These things combined with a long sesh with my laptop working on stuff for residency put me on a whole different wavelength.

It certainly helps when other little things just happen to go your way. My kids were in good moods and we had a nice afternoon. The house was clean (thanks to yours truely) and all the animals were fed and also getting along. I rode that wave across the evening and into the next day. I’m still on it.

Today’s crisis, if one can call it that, is finishing up stuff so that I’m well prepared for my summer residency which will take me to Nebraska City for 10 days. It’s a wild ride in and of itself and in trutth, I don’t think I can ever feel prepared. The REAL crisis is that I always over think everything.. what to pack (which ends in me packing way to much), collecting my thoughts about mentors and interactive lectures and workshops, and the student reading. That last one is the thing I spent most of my time on yesterday.

On one hand, I have a plethora of poems I could read – selections I’ve worked on for the past two semesters. On the other hand I have a bunch of new-ish raw material that I would love to share. The reading itself is a very safe space despite the fact that having the attention of everyone in the the room makes me feel sweaty and a little naucsuous.

Sitting at my desk yesterday I poured through a lot of that new material and with each one I was like “hell yeah, this is good shit” and I was feeling great. I made some tiny little edits and copied and pasted into a single document to print and read from.

Then, as the day grew long I took a break from that effort to spend some QT with my cuties and cook us dinner. Later, when I returned to the task to finish, the tide had turned and something had changed. I reread what I had selected and everything .. yes EVERYTHING.. seemed stupid and very sub-par. I was all like “whoa, what happened to that brilliance I was reading earlier? This is all garbage”.

Yeah, that happened. This is what I call my brain playing tricks on me. I’m not a good judge of my own words and that’s one of the reasons workshops and feedback are so very valuable. Now I have no idea what I should read. I abandoned the task and turned my focus on reading my workshop packet materials again. As I write this, I’m still undecided on it.

Really over thinking that one, you know? It feels like a tidal wave and yet it’s only 5 minutes of my life. Nobody is going to remember it but me. Nothing I say is going to blow people away.. it’s just a bunch of poems. Good grief! 🤦🏼‍♀️

Anyway, it’s T-munis 23 hours till I arrive at my destination and when that Res train starts to roll there is no stopping it. Things will happen as the Universe intends them to. I’m expecting more epic tidal waves and whatever happens, as long as I don’t get pulled under by some gnarly rip-tide, I’ll be fine.

Surfs Up, 🌊

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-15 Four, Three, Two, One, and Go (or Not)

At this point I’m just moving about the world and spending a lot of time thinking about it. The world and my place in it. What’s worth a second thought and what is not.

Four days ago I saw a tweet from a friend of mine that led to an article that was worth a second read, a subject I struggle with daily, health and “wellness” as it pertains to food and how our society decides and spoon-feeds us (women) what’s right and wrong. This dovetails with thoughts I’ve had about a book I finished recently and also an advertisement I saw the other night for a product/drug to help men with their “wellness” issues. I want to sort through all of it and figure out what I really think. But as it happens (too often) the clock is ticking and something else needs attention.

Three days ago I read some stories and poems in the Georgia review and I have the most brilliant idea about a writing project that I would like to work on that a friend of mine suggested I take on like 5 years ago. I only spent a short time thinking about that before moving on to the next set of stories in that publication. With each one, as it often does, I was struck with inspiration about something else I wanted to write. Again, life interrupts my trains of thought and I’m off and onto the next thing.

Two days ago I started to walk on the treadmill and as I was thinking about what I should write, the “wellness” topic came back to my mind first. Then I cane up with a really clever title for my blog post about that which just happens to be a twisted version of the beginning of the Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken. I then spent the next half an hour thinking about the form of that poem and the iambic and how poetry in time of Frost was so different than the free verse we hold in such high regard now.

Then I wonder if there’s enough material there (which of course there is) to write a 45 page paper about it and whether that would be an acceptable topic for my 3rd term MFA paper. It may or may not be, but it could be a really great lecture which is a requirement for graduation.

I didn’t end up finishing a solid thought in writing that day either. It was mostly just thinking and I got one stanza of a poem which followed the form of the Frost poem and that’s tougher than it sounds. End rhymes are my jam but finding the right arrangement to both keep the meaning intended and elicit the right images and feelings, that’s difficult. And that’s part of the reason Frost is on near the top of the list of the most Famous American poets.

One day ago I started this blog post and never found the time to finish it where does all the time go sometimes? So I missed writing group and I missed first draft Friday and I’m doing more thinking and reading than writing, but I suppose that’s ok.

Today is going to be another busy day and I’m hoping to spend some time in the garden. Lots of weeding to be done now and that’s another set of pics I want to take for posterity. We’re also having our first in-person visit to two potential wedding venues. I should be more excited but that’s just one more unfinished set of thoughts. That’s the theme for my life right now, I guess. Things half started and no time to refine anything. Oh well oh well.

Time to Jam,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-12 Balance Restored

It’s Wednesday and the toughest part of my week is over. I had the dinner party and wouldn’t you know it, the world did not end. Nothing bad happened. Of course they all loved the house and I ordered sushi so food prep and clean-up was a snap! I slept in until about 7:15 this morning and woke feeling refreshed and so ready for what’s next.

It’s amazing the amount of time I spent worrying about the whole thing. I wish I could change the part of me that gets anxious about stuff like that. Could I meditate it away or medicate it into submission? Who knows.. it’s just such a waste of time and energy.

Today balance has been restored to the Universe in more ways than that one. I received my new FitBit in the mail yesterday which I broke down and ordered a few days ago after exhausting all efforts to fix the one that broke. I had figured out how to reboot it to restore the display and it was recording my steps but the heart rate monitor was busted and it would not sync with my phone and that’s just rotten. In total I lost about 4 days of sleep and steps, though I didn’t actually lose them, they just didn’t get recorded. Yesterday I got like 20k steps and not getting credit for that is a tragedy. Yes, that qualifies as a tragedy in my life so I guess you could say life is good.

Yesterday I also submitted some poetry for consideration in an anthology and filled out the form for Summer residency for my MFA program. I had actually forgotten about workshop materials and getting those is such a treat. It’s like getting a sneak peek at some really great writing that no one else gets to see. I didn’t actually get the materials yesterday but there was a question on the form about getting a hard copy versus electronic so I know it is on it’s way soon.

Last summer I received a hard copy in the mail and it was like getting a little 4th of July present. I wrote a poem about it (go figure). It’s amazing how different my life is now. That feels like it was years and years ago but it wasn’t, it was just last year.

I actually submitted my workshop materials several weeks ago and have already forgotten what I submitted. That’s an interesting phenomenon. My opinion on what’s worthy changes with my mood. In the last week I changed my mind daily about what I should submit to that publication I mentioned. And today… I’ve already forgotten all about it.

I guess that might be a good thing. It means I’m not taking it too seriously. I need that. I need to just chill, you know and worry about life a little less. I need to just start submitting all kinds of stuff all the time and let go of the anxiety over whether it’s good or bad or right or wrong or how rejection or acceptance will make me feel. I need to trust the Universe a little more. Yesterday turned out ok and tomorrow will too. There will always be shifts in the balance but things always return to center. It’s just the Way, you know.

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-05-18 It’s Finally Here

Yesterday was my last day on contract. (I promise this post is not about work, again). Today is the first day of my new life.

How Many Moons Does it Take?

It will be many moons before I let go of feeling ultimately responsible for any outcome but I’m done with that life for now.

They may throw me under the bus, silently, without my knowing and I’ll feel it even if it isn’t true.

They will keep on smiling, telling me how great I am and I’ll be confused about the tone of their voices and wondering what their facial expressions or body language is saying that I can’t see. From 1000 or 2000 or 3000 miles away, wherever we are today.

I’ll be home, digging in my dirt and looking forward to picking up my children even when I know they will be moody or silent or falling asleep in the back seat.

I will be reading a page, not able to finish because I’ve had a thought so overwhelmingly important it demands attention and a keyboard and a screen.

I will be debating with myself about getting a coffee (ie. Sugar and cream and caffeine) and then lose, and then win.

I will be walking miles and miles under the sun or overcast skies or moon or whatever the Universe has decided it should be today.

I will be thinking of my love or sinking next to him on the couch to conspire about our future or grabbing his hand to go to a different room because we’re alone in the house that day.

I may be in the park down the street or far from home finding adventure on deserted backroads or crowded streets or in some restaurant that sets cheap red wine on the table like water.

I will stop everything and demand everyone direct their attention to the myriad of colors on the horizon when the sun rises and sets. Even if it’s only me and only blue. Because.. priorities.

The moons will be plenty and full and…

there may not be as many as I thought before I let go.

***

Happy Caturday!

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-05-14 A Trio of Truths

This morning started out like most. I did the wake up and stretch thing, the hustle my people out of bed thing, and the morning commute thing. That’s where the similarities to every other Tuesday ended.

After the High School drop off, I exited and went east toward UNO instead of west toward my house. I made a pit-stop at the Starbucks and treated myself to a medium, hot vanilla latte with some pumps of raspberry flavoring. I sat at the counter looking one more time over the list of classes I am considering enrolling for in the fall. I cut and pasted details about class meeting times and instructors into my notes and wondered if I had somehow missed something in my search. No matter, I was sure if I had missed something it would be revealed at my 9AM meeting with the director of my MFA program.

Arriving on campus there was an obvious lull in activities as most of the lots had opened spots. I’ve rarely had to visit the campus, but at the times that I have, the parking is almost always bonkers. Don’t even get me started on what it’s like to hunt for visitor spots. Due to the fact that I don’t have classes in-person, I’ve never gotten a student parking pass. I’ve also not taken the time to get a student ID. Both of those things are going to change soon. I’m excited to take a class or two that is not “remote”. My meeting was to discuss what my options are based on what is being offered this fall. It was a great meeting.

Three revelations I had by the time I was headed through the fresh cut grass and mature trees and brick buildings back to my car…

1.) The UNO campus is just gorgeous and it felt great just to be alive, the sun shining down on me – a whole world of bright possibilities on the path ahead.

2.) The saying of “you don’t know what you don’t know” is true. I had missed something because I just didn’t know what to search for in the course catalog (now I have even more options to pick from).

3.) I am so totally not qualified to be in this masters program.

Melting this down a little, the lines from one color blur into the others.

My whole life I have not known what I did not know. That second revelation is cross applicable to just about EVERYTHING. Just think about it – you have no idea what your favorite food might be because it could be something you haven’t even tried yet. Think about the first time you had sushi and then for the next 52 weeks of your life you want sushi like all the time and seek it out, at lunch buffets, Chinese restaurants, and even the local grocery store. How could it be that you lived the first 35 years of your life without ever having sushi?! It seems ridiculous and of course you feel cheated. You are mad about missing out on so much, but still, you are equally happy because now you and Sushi can live out the rest of your days together in bliss. ❤️ Sushi!

Then one day you have seared salmon with ginger flake salt and it’s like “OMG, here we go again!”. You can’t ever stop trying new things because you don’t know what you don’t know. You know?

I’ve been walking around my whole life just ordering the same things from all life’s menus. I chose this and that because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do, or to please someone else, or because I just didn’t know any better. Now I know better and I’m ready to chose different things and I am most certainly ready to ask life for more. I’ve been a student at several post secondary schools.. Iowa Western, UNLV, UNO, Metro CC, Bellevue. I’ve walked those campuses many times but most of the time it was a hurried walk from the parking lot to the building with the classroom in it. I had to hurry because I was always pressed for time.

It was parking lot to building, building to parking lot, class after class and what was I after really? It was an associates degree in programming so I could get a good job. It was a bachelor of science degree so I could get a better salary at my job. It was never to just enjoy being a student or for enjoyment of the subject and it was most certainly never because I just wanted to walk on the campus, breathing in the bright sun and marveling at the beauty of life around me. Nope, that was never on the syllabus or agenda or a requirement of graduation. Somehow I feel like it is now, and that’s a magical development.

What I have In front of me now is a list of possibilities, both figuratively and literally. During the meeting Kevin looked across the table said “You don’t have to decide right now. Go home and take a walk and think about it”.

Wow. That’s the best suggestion I’ve ever had someone give me.. ever. Take a walk and think about it. It’s so simple and pure brilliance. That’s not an exaggeration.

What does me not being qualified (#3) have to do with anything? Well, first, let me explain why I feel I am not qualified. I have had a total of two “English” classes on my undergrad transcript. English comp 1 and english comp 2. That’s 6 credit hours and it means that I haven’t gotten the first clue about poetry or literature or the influence of culture and historical events and on the development of language or evolution of different discourses of the written (or spoken) word. I mean, I have a little clue now because I’m half way through my masters, but I still feel I’ve missed so much.

Now I have like 1 left to get everything I can from this MFA program. With so many possibilities, it’s just not enough time. Still – I am not just going to rush back and forth from my car to the building never stopping to look around me or ordering something new from the menu. I ❤️ sushi, but I’ve never been to Dubai or Iceland or Alaska or The Grand Canyon.

But is anyone ever really qualified. I’m a student of life, first and foremost and have the qualifications for that – I’m alive. I’m certainly qualified to study anything I want, including literature and poetry and the sun and the moon. I just want to learn some more I guess and now I can.

I suppose this is enough rambling for one Tuesday. Seems like a good time for a walk. Wouldn’t you agree?

Cheers,

~Miss SugarCookie