2021-04-11 Exhale and Release

Yesterday was a doozie. Hold up. This whole week has been kind of off the rails. I’m trying. I really am. And I’m truly doing the best I can. 

Yesterday the stress of the lit mag going live (and frankly being over a week behind the original release schedule) got to me and by the end of the afternoon, had triggered a migraine. It was terrible timing. 

I had previously committed myself to a social engagement which I did not want to miss. By 4 in the afternoon, after staring at a damn screen all day AND trying and failing to polish my “letter from the editor,” I developed a nasty headache and was worried it would prevent me from making the gathering. 

I hit the headache with all I had, ibuprofen, Tylenol, and sumatriptan. I would have tried to lay down for 15 minutes but there just wasn’t time. There wasn’t even time for me to shower, which was also quite undesirable. I basically only had time to change, put on some mascara and lipgloss and go. 

Normally I would also have a glass wine to calm my social anxiety, but that’s a big-bad idea with a migraine as it would definitely put me down with a quickness. 

The unfortunate set of circumstances put me in the corner at a far table with a group and of folks that I hadn’t met before. I did my best to be social as I suffered from my aching head.  Didn’t even have the spark to get feisty about the game we were playing. Normally the competitive board-gamer in me would override my social awkwardness but last night was not my night. 

The best I could do was make polite small talk, eat a little and drink a little, participate in the game (which was fun) and then say goodbye at the right moment. Like I said, I did the best I could. 

The same goes for the release of the third issue of The Good Life Review. I relied heavily on my friend, M, who is brilliant with web stuff, graphics, and design. I had previously spent hours and hours building the new issue 3 individual pages and the new home page but there’s just something about her special touch that nobody else can match. She’s a gift and I don’t know what I’d do without her. 

I did the best I could, but she really brought it all together. I was going to try to push the release live last night but just couldn’t do it. Instead I woke up this morning before 6am and pulled the trigger. Once I did, I immediately felt a sense of relief wash over me. Not sure what I could do differently with issue 4, but I would like to plan it out so that it’s not as stressful at the end. 

Here’s the result: https://thegoodlifereview.com

Today I would like to gift myself with a little bit of grace before letting my brain get twisted up with ALL the other things that I’ve been procrastinating. 

I don’t want to think about next week. I don’t, I don’t, I don’t. Good gravy I don’t even want to think about the vacation I have coming up very soon. How sad is that??!! I just want to sink into the couch and veg. Watch some trash tv and maybe, if I’m feeling up to it, go to a yoga class or something. 

I know there is no rest for the wicked and the week ahead of me is going to kick my ass again, but I’m still gonna try really hard to NOT think about that today. 

Nope. Not today. 

On that not.. it’s time to make a coffee, drag my tired body to the couch, and find some nonsense to get lost in. 

Cheers to exhaling and finally having a lazy Sunday,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-04-01 Hello April! 🌷

Thank goodness that’s over! March… what an asshole!! 

And thank the Universe that the month didn’t go out like a lion and that our furry friend, Punxsutawney Phil, is wrong more than he is right. It IS Nebraska and there’s still a chance that Mother Nature will show some wrath, but my intuition doubts it. I think Spring has sprung and it will be smooth sailing right to those 90 degree days of Summer. 😏

I’m doing pretty good with regards to balance this week now that my sister is here and I have to savor the time as she will not be here for long. It will be interesting to see how my mom does after that. I’m certainly not going to drive to CB just to let her dog out to pee. Not when she has other options. 

I’m also not doing to clean her house or fix her meals. I have my own household to take care of and she should be to the point she’s capable of making her own food. This sounds cold, but sitting on the couch all day and napping and being waited on, hand and foot, is not going to speed her recovery. 

Enough of that! I don’t want to think or write about my mom anymore. Ugh!! 

How bout this… it’s April! National Poetry Month! Time to write a poem a day? Yes please!! It’s also time for me to get my booty in gear to put together that workshop that I’ll be facilitating on May 1st. I’ve got one short month to cobble together a hybrid craft / generative session on the topic of poem openings. 

Oh.. and did I mention that the third issue of my lit mag was supposed to be released yesterday but we’re behind schedule by about a week? 

Oh and did I mention that the “materials” for my forthcoming book are due in two short weeks and I really need to get my act together on that? Ugh!!!

Maybe I’m not doing as great as I thought with regards to balance. Either that or the inclination to procrastinate is rearing its ugly head. Typical! 

So March was kind of a Jerk. Let’s hope April is a kinder soul. 

Cheers to Beginning Again, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-09 Random Tuesday Musings

Most of the mischief I had planned for yesterday was managed. Wonder of wonders, what needs doing gets done. 

Right now it’s 5:28AM and I’m walking on my treadmill and thinking about the day ahead. 

I also just applied a clear topcoat to my fingernails to protect the polish I brushed on last night. If you thought walking and typing at the same time might be a challenge, believe me, this is next level. Especially considering I’m still operating on my first gen SE. It’s tiny but it fits my hands perfect and still works like a champ. 

I mean, every once and a while it runs out of space (like yesterday) and suddenly I have to fit the fix into my to-do list. The fix? To export all the pictures to my external hard drive. It actually was good timing as there was also yet another one of my favorite albums that I discovered was missing from my music library recently. So I had to remedy that as well. 

I might be stuck in 2009 with my tech and approach to listening to music, but I don’t care. I love it! 

Today I’ve got two meet-ups planned plus lunch with my sweetie at his office. I’ve also got to finish sending the latest round of declines for the lit mag. There are a few hundred to get through and it’s a pretty time consuming process because I read the comments from the editors and sometimes edit our “soft decline” with positive and encouraging feedback. 

Even without doing this, it probably takes a couple of dedicated work days to get through the stack, at least this reading period where we received an incredible number of subs. 

In any case, I’m hoping to balance my time today between GLR work, my meetups, and reading more of the craft book I’m on called “The Triggering Town.” It’s by Richard Hugo and it’s “full of excellent advice for beginning writers.” (Says so on the cover which I have propped up on my treadmill next to my paper planner).

Hold on to your shit for this next bit of info… I’m planning to conduct a workshop this spring for the Nebraska Poetry Society. Some of the concepts in the book will be things I’m working into the (hopefully) informative and generative session. 

I know… I KNOW… why the hell would I volunteer to run a workshop after making such a big-goddamn deal about that stupid lecture last December? I literally fretted over that for years, overthinking every angle of it day-in, and day-out in the weeks leading up to the presentation. 

Now here I am, offering to conduct a workshop. I mean.. they approached me as the managing editor of the lit mag and at the time I thought “what a great opportunity to promo the GLR.” Which it will be. So I said I would do it and that was that.

Right now, with the nebulous nature of it (plus the fact it’s a few months away) I’m not to worried yet. I’m already getting ideas from this book and formulating a plan in my head for how I want the session to go. 

I am also planning to attend the workshop they have scheduled in February and March to try to illuminate the possibility of duplicating any topic or approach. Matt Mason, the current Nebraska State poet, is conducting a workshop in April which is kind of intimidating but also encouraging.

In any case, I’m sure I’ll learn something and the experience will be good for me. The first step is getting through this book, which is pretty slim so it should be a snap. 

That’s it for today. Time to make the donuts. 🍩🍩🍩

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-06 What’s Got My Brain in a Bunch on a Saturday?

Spoiler alert. This post is a rant about social media. These are my opinions and I’m entitled to them. And I reserve the right to be flawed and change my mind. I’m only human and this could all just be coming from that special place in my brain that I get access to when I’m going cuckoo for coco puffs from lack of sleep.

I’ve got a solid streak of abysmal sleep going. 4 days straight of less than 6 hours and two of those were right around 4 hours total, including last night. 

Jim and Zoey kept me awake until midnight with the thought that perhaps staying up really late could work to force a long, deep sleep. Wrong. 

Good thing today is Saturday and the schedule is more relaxed. Yesterday I was hoping for more work days so I could have the house to myself while everyone else was away, but Saturday is good too. I mean, considering everyone else sleeps in, if I’m up at 5am I have a lot of alone time to do with what I please. 

Right now it’s just me and the cats. What’s in my mind today? Social Media. 

Or rather Social Fucking Media. 

Have I mentioned previously that I hate social media? I must have. It seems unlikely I’ve not had at least one or two raging rants about the evil platforms that have become irritatingly essential for communications on a grand scale. 

You want a little ego boost about your promotion, new relationship, or your kids’ good grades? Facebook has got you. 

You want to share that good hair day, fantastic looking vegan dinner, or your cat looking adorable for the thousandth time? Please consider instagram. 

You need to have a clandestine conversation or share some pictures your mom might not be super proud of? Snapchat is where it’s at.

How about that need to rant about something you feel super passionate about? Rage on in a string of 140 character tweets on Twitter. 

Is video more your style, You-tube it or if it’s under 30 seconds and really funny, maybe Tic-tok would be more appropriate. 

But you can’t just half-ass this. If you want the world to sit up and pay attention you have to grow your followers, curate your feed, and be on and ready to respond at all hours of the day and night. 

Watch out for the pitfalls. Rage on, but be prepared to defend your position. Don’t follow the wrong people or you could give people the wrong impression. And whatever you do, don’t ever appear weak or uncertain or vulnerable. People are interested in definitive options and desire taking sides and swinging dicks for comparison. 

This person has 348K followers so what they say must be treated as gospel, right? But wait.. this person disagrees and they have 779K followers so THEY must be right on. 

That’s enough of that. It’s all nonsense. 

Nonsense aside, if you want to promote something and don’t have a gazillion dollars to spend on ads, there are not a ANY other options. Last time I checked standing on a street corner or town square with a sign doesn’t really cut it anymore. Are there still town squares? Are there city squares? The most trafficked intersection in Omaha is 72nd and Dodge. Could that work? I digress. 

I see folks use social media for self promotion of all sorts all the time. It’s literally the concept Facebook (+ etc.) built their empires on. The Universe revolving around a single individual and spiraling out from one human connecting to dozens, hundreds, thousands, and good gravy millions of others.

The “all about me” sells. We’re so self centered and for love of cheese, so very vain. Humans are visual beings and it makes sense that pictures are better at getting people’s attention but the selfies are eye-roll enduring. Yes, I take them too. I post them too. I’m not special, I’m just saying I hate it. So why do it? 

Great question. I rarely post as I believe the less you post, the more weight/consideration people might give those posts. Like “Miss SugarCookie posted today.. that must be important.”

That’s a bad example because this blog is tweeted almost every day (automatically) but believe it or not, I’m banking on that one-dimensional approach being the reason people gloss over it. Like not noticing something because it’s so regular. For me, it’s just a door. An invitation, if you will, for people who want to read. I digress again. 

I obviously also rarely post because I hate social media. This week Jim and I went out to celebrate our anniversary. He doesn’t like social media either but interestingly enough asked me to post our little celebration to Facebook. I was like “whoa… ….Ok”.

Three days later I finally got around to posting. I posted in the afternoon and was disturbed by how much I checked my phone all afternoon and into the evening for likes and comments. I’m disturbed by my own obsession and also loathe the social etiquette that is paired with posting like this. Responding to every comment and liking them, thanking them. What a freaking time suck. You wanna know what I did for an hour this morning at 5am? By now you can guess. 

That led to looking at more posts and other people’s stuff and that’s one huge rabbit hole. Literally a time warp where I looked away and snap, just like that I’d lost at least an hour of my life. 

I see posts from people who I like and want to root for but it’s exhausting. I see people engaged in self promo for their forthcoming or published writing and think, “i should be doing that.” 

I’ve posted a few times this year about poems being published but mostly I haven’t. I had two more published this week at an online journal for their February issue. I’m pretty sure I haven’t told anyone about this. I promptly did the due diligence to add the details and link  to my personal website, but that was it. 

I’m still struggling with posting about it or not. I suppose that’s a small part of why this topic is on my mind today. Should I post?

The larger part is probably the fact that social media is make or break for the little lit mag I’m managing. And I hate that. If I’m truly committed to this endeavor, which I am, then I have to care, pay attention, and be involved. So that puts me between a rock and a hard place. I have to embrace utilizing something I hate. 

It does make me question why I hate it so much. Could it still be that one time I posted about my broken heart and poured my soul into a poem and that was “liked” by a handful of people. At the same time my little sister posted a picture of her pug wearing booties or some other such nonsense and had 70 likes. Probably each time I recount that story the situation is spun as just a little more dire, but it can’t possibly be just that. 

I think it’s way more likely that I hate Facebook and Twitter because of how easy it is to use and abuse the power of spreading content, including fake-news, misinformation, and hatred. How easy it is to divide people or make them pick sides. And even sicker than that is the algorithms behind the scenes that tailor your feed, collect your info and use that against you. Ads and promoted posts disgust me. And any ass-hat can spread lies and insight violence. Yeah… that’s it. 

There is a flip side and I forget this. This morning I also spent time on my @goodlifelitmag account following a list of good people and organizations. It’s a first step for being more engaged in the “conversation.” Whatever that conversation happens to be in any given moment. It’s also necessary to build an image, and begin shaping people’s perception about what The Good Life Review is.

This is essential and necessary. I know that.. I just don’t have to like it.

Ok.. I’ve been walking for an hour and a half and I have to cut here. Feels unfinished. I have more to say. This could go on and on and much like social media, I just don’t have time for that. 

Happy Caturday, 

~Miss SugarCookie

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

2021-01-23 Up and Down, Round and Round

It’s been a strange week and I’m very much looking forward to shifting gears. The focus this weekend is on vacation prep. That’s right.. I said vacation. 

It’s still too sketch to fly so we basically put a pin in Omaha and did a radial circle around it with a driving distance of  10 hours max. Our first bit of research landed us in South Dakota and we’re both so hungry for getting away that it actually seemed like a viable option. We booked an air b n b near Deadwood. Two days later we had issues with the rental contract and both did a facepalm… South Dakota in January?!! WTF were we thinking??!! Who goes NORTH in Winter?? 🤦🏼‍♀️ 

We were able to get out of that deal without issue and quickly turned our attention to the opposite side of the circle—south to Oklahoma and Arkansas.

With our second attempt to zero in on a destination that would be “off the grid” enough to disconnect from normal life but still have comfort with amenities to get some good R and R, we landed on Broken Bow Oklahoma. Well, near Broken Bow anyhow. 

For 30 years of my life I’ve had to do all the vacation planning. Let me tell you, it’s really easy to get used to someone else taking control. It’s just one of the many reasons I love my husband. He’s incredible for a lot of reasons. The excellent vacation planning is just one thing. 

The vacation is partially to celebrate our one year anniversary. And what a year it has been. Natural disasters, the BLM movement hitting another climax, a nail-biting election cycle, and.. oh yeah.. a global pandemic bringing humanity to its knees. My friend Rebecca said if we weathered this ok in our first year, we can survive anything. I sure hope so. 

Other things on my agenda this weekend besides laundry and cleaning and packing include trying to catch up on my GLR tasks that always seem to be falling behind. With the strange week that has been very up and down and round and round, it seems that some of those tasks fell to the “I will do that tomorrow” list. I’m also in a holding pattern on a few things that have started to become sources of irritation. Namely the contest that we’ve been waiting to announce since the beginning of January. In truth, when we originally planned it, the window for submissions was supposed to open on December 15th.

Now it’s nearing the end of January and we still don’t have all the content needed on all four judges to round out the lineup. It would be strange to have bio and pictures for two of the judges and not the other two. I also have other growing concerns but nothing worth writing through right now. Or at least not on a Saturday before vacation.

In any case, lots to do today and no time like now to get on it! 

Cheers to Caturday! 🐱

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-22 Good News in My Inbox is Bad News for the Litter Box

It was a short night for me but the sleep I had was good. Yesterday ended ok and I felt ok about what I was able to accomplish. No surprise though that some unfinished business is stacking up. I’m really going to have to bust my booty today to get it all done. 

Not that anyone needs to know, but the litter box situation has become dire. My cats are starting to give me serious questionable looks. Two of the four of them have followed me here to the gym and are patiently waiting for me to finish. 

I dare say I won’t be walking long.. as it’s 6:40am and I’ll have to shuffle myself into the morning routine about 7, chef and chauffeur hats waiting for me.

I often feel like the jack of all trades here at the castle. A sentiment expressed in the first stanza of a poem I wrote about a year and a half ago. One of the longer castle poems I’ve written. One that I learned (when I checked my email at 5:30am) will be published in an online lit mag in February. Hooray for that.

This one was the fastest turnaround I’ve had on an acceptance yet. Less than a week but they publish an issue a month so I suppose they have to have quick turnaround. Either that or it was a matter of good timing.

In any case, it’s great news and frankly not something I can fall back asleep after reading. Shame on me for checking email at 5:30am. But I was already wide awake so it doesn’t matter. 

It also means I have to spend some time this morning withdrawing those poems (oh yeah, they accepted more than just that one) from other places I’ve submitteed. Sorry kittens, your litter boxes will just have to wait a little longer. 

On that note… I gotta head back upstairs and find my chef hat. 👩‍🍳 

Later gaters, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-20 Take Two

I kinda told the whole world to fuck off today. I mean, within reason. 

I cancelled the appointment I had with my financial advisor. I really don’t see the need to talk to him unless I need something or he needs something. Feels like a waste of time. He’s got my business, my money is in his hands, I trust him, he’s a good guy. But we really have no reason to chat. 

His company must require it though as he wanted to reschedule. So I kicked that can till Friday and continued to host my own personal pity party from my living room couch. 

I cancelled lunch with my dad too. Bad daughter but I just couldn’t. I just didn’t want to. Prolly try to Friday on that too. 

Then I put my darling daughter off too. Bad mom. In order to pull that off I had to promise tomorrow. I’m hopeful tomorrow will be less of an existential shit show. 

At 2:15 today I slid back under the covers for a 30 minute rest. That helped me regain the energy needed to get through the afternoon. 

I picked up my son from school, had a chat with my sister on the way, met with some folks about lit mag business, and then cooked dinner for a few peeps. Might have had a glass of wine with dinner. Might have eaten too much. Might be walking off that “too much” feeling now. 

I punched my subs back up to 75 today. Going the free route for most of it and and aiming low with batches of poems from my thesis that are still unpublished. New strategy is to mix up the batches though. A few old and a few new. Never know what’s going to appeal to a reader. It’s just all a gamble anyhow. 

I also sent like 30 declines for the GLR which I have decided makes me grumpy by default. Partially because I hate being the bearer of bad news (even if it’s largely anonymous) but also partially because it forces me to see just how careless most people are with their work. Why put so much time into the crafting of the poems and then completely ignore submission guidelines, formatting, requests to de-identify the manuscript. It makes me lose a little bit of respect. (Or a lot). 

I want people to have a good experience but good grief!! What is so damn difficult about making the title of your submission match the title of your attachment. IT IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!!! 

My lit mag meeting today was with Kate Gale, owner of Red Hen Press and LA Review. Yeah, she’s big time. All my questions are about funding and trying to run a sustainable business. But it’s been a long time since she was where we are, at the beginning. She’s operating on a million dollar budget and talks about donations and getting thousands of subs, and those being the two top revenue streams. We ain’t got none of that going on. We just small potatoes. 

The way I figure it, we will be operating in the red until we can get the paperwork for the non-profit status in order. I dunno. It’s a lot of work. And $$$. 

It’s now past 8. I’m so done with this day. Hoping to head to the couch for some serious veg time soon. 

Thanks for hanging out, anyhow. Have a great night. 

Yours truly, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-15 The Friday that Thinks It’s a Saturday

Yesterday was a Thursday that felt like a Friday and apparently the Universe agrees with me because we got blasted with a blizzard overnight and today everything is closed. 

The solid run I was on with decent sleep got wrecked too. And with it my good mood. I’ve been feeling great all week and woke up today tired, and grumpy with cramps. I have to recognize, however, that as far as PMS goes, this round was nothing compared to what it has been lately. So I’m going to try and be grateful for that. 

I had some caffeine and am walking now, of course. I want to turn my frown upside down. I have to remember that I have the power to do that. I can choose to look on the bright sides. 

Today another publication released their latest and greatest issue which includes a poem from yours truly. I want to be happy about that. I mean, I am happy about it but when I followed the links from the email I read at 4am, I found that there is a typo of my name. Both on the website and on the listing of the book on Amazon. I let them know. But ugh. This is the second time recently this has happened. 

But at least I can say that. That it’s the second time recently. Looking on the bright side would be happy dancing because I’ve had 5 poems published in the last month. FIVE! Feels like something I should tweet about. Maybe I will, once they fix my name. 😜

Looking on the bright side also means having the whole day today to do whatever with my time and because I chunked through part of my to-do list at 4am, I have even more time. 

Ironically I have an appointment to have snow tires put on my daughters car. So that will be happening in just a bit. Hopefully her little Prius C can make it to the tire place in today’s winter mess. 

I would also normally have either laundry to do or vacuuming but Jim is home from work and that changes things. I was also going to binge watch the bachelor while working on my laptop but he HATES that show so that will be a no-go too.

As for my “one job” from yesterday (🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽)  it went like this…

🚽#1: Gung ho. Great work. Looks good. 

🚽#2: Pretty good. Running low on bowl cleaner. On to the next one. 

🚽#3: People are gross. Why is there pee on the outside of the bowl? Cleaner runs out. 

🚽#4: This is exhausting. There has to be a better way. Stupid boys and their stupid penises. 

🚽#5: Good enough. I’ll do better next time. 

🚽#6, 7, 8 & 9: Nope nope, nope & nope. 👎🏻 Next week. Maybe. 😜

In truth I never intended to go into bathroom 8 or 9 to begin with, for specific reasons. By the end of what I could stand I really did convince myself that once every two weeks was enough so if I did half of all that needs doing on the regular, that would mean 4 a week. I can handle that (If I have the right tools and cleaners which I clearly didn’t).

I know, I know. You were all dying to know how my first real attempt at “household engineering” with regards to the bathrooms of the castle turned out. 🏰 I can say for certain that I might not be cut out to be Cinderella. Can we cut to the part of the story where there’s no global pandemic and the princess convinces the prince to hire a maid?

I’ll need it if I entertain the idea of ANOTHER start up. Last night I had a flash of a brilliant idea. I mean, I had been drinking so I wasn’t sure if it was truly brilliant until I woke up today and had time to evaluate the merits of the idea. But it has promise. I think. 

One of the most important factors in start-ups is that the idea, product, or service either fills a need that’s not being filled already or is in someway better than the options available to potential consumers/customers. I’ll call that the “it” factor. And this idea of mine, I believe, has that. Unlike the lit mag which I now know there are gazillions out there with similar business models competing for business. Oh well oh well. 🤷‍♀️

Anyway. So a little more research will be required for that. In the meantime, I also have a 1 year anniversary coming up with my darling husband and have to get my act in gear for a gift. As a consummate procrastinator, time is running out for what I wanted to do for that. 

In any case. Lots to do today, including a second blog post to celebrate another special anniversary. Stay tuned for that hitting a WordPress reader near you soooooon!!

Peas and Carrots (ewwwww, gross), 

~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