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

2021-01-02 Flip the Day… 🤸

If you flip the script on this day.. this date… the palindrome enthusiasts find a different day just over 10 years ago. 2010-12-02. 

Where was I early in December in the year 2010? 

I know this was shortly after I met a person who would change the trajectory of my life. By that time I was past my divorce and any necessary reconciliation required for moving on with my life and was open to entertaining thoughts about future relationships. The person I had just met was the first person I trusted with this possibility. I picked him, but he didn’t pick me.

For all intents and purposes, the door closed on those thoughts before it was given a chance to open fully. What snuck inside, however, while that door was briefly ajar was a spark of desire. 

I already had one spark, an unrefined flame, my desire to write. But this sneaky circumstance was something different, something new. I’m talking about the thrill I found in sharing my words. 

Thrill feels like the wrong word choice though. It was more of a sense of satisfaction, strangely even a sense of accomplishment though I wasn’t really accomplishing anything outside of perhaps becoming less adverse to risk and more open and ok with being “seen.” And everything that comes with posting my thoughts and poems on a public forum. 

The fear in it is not so much that I was opening up to the whole world, because let’s face it, there’s so much out here and very few people care enough to pay attention. The fear is in the building of an image, and perception from those who do care and also those who happen to randomly stumble across a poem or post. The fear is in people judging you and also in the potential of failure. 

But if you don’t have a concrete goal, if you don’t define the parameters of what qualifies as success and what measures to collect to determine success or failure, then you really can’t fail. That’s how I saw it.

Ten years ago when I started my first WordPress blog I did not have a goal. No measures, no expectations. Hence no failure. No stakes, no real skin in the game. Save my reputation as a writer, which I suppose I never thought about much. Because the person I was always writing for was myself. And I think I’m great! 😜

And I continued on like that for quite a while. About six years, before something more began to develop. This time it wasn’t another spark. It was more of a smoldering. Some low burning that might ignite given the right fuel. 

Turns out that getting an MFA was the right fuel for my fire. 

Flipping that date back over and it’s now 2021-01-02. Today I’m completing the last of the predetermined tasks to satisfy the requirements I need in order to graduate. At this point it’s more a matter of follow through as I’ve already officially received my degree and diploma. Even so, it feels like this is the final step, save maybe the graduation ceremony but I do t really have to “do” anything g for that. 

Today for the reading the focus will be on me for about 20 minutes. 20 minutes of just my voice and my words. I’ll be reading poems I’ve put my heart and soul into for the last 3 years. I’ll be sharing mostly from my thesis manuscript. And a few new-ish poems. 

Here I feel like “thrill” is the right word, I’m excited to read, share, and also to have it over and done with. 

Before that, there’s a fulll day of lecture, workshop, and other readings. I’m the last event on the agenda today. 

Time is short now.. time to get on with the day.

Cheers to a full, and satisfying day. Thanks for reading. Especially you, you-know-who, still supporting me from the other side of that door after all these years.

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-01 Hurry Up and Wait ⏰

Or.. It’s About Time.

Two days ago I started writing about something that dissolved into a rant about titles and hierarchy and how disgruntled I felt after not being recognized for my contribution in an effort I’ve worked on and care deeply about. I ran out of time while writing and was subsequently told to let it go. (Clearly I have not yet).

One day ago I started writing and it quickly morphed into a statement of gratitude I wanted to include in my “letter from the editor” for the lit mag I’m managing editor for. Oh hey, this is directly related to the aforementioned endeavor. They are one and the same.

In the middle of writing I elected to switch gears and just write the letter instead of a journal entry. Or was past due anyhow. The part with the gratitude to specific folks on my team did not make it into the letter. If you are reading this, M or T, please know I wanted to but it was apparently too much like a repeat of the last letter and that part was cut. It was also not all me, it was E, who said we’d fit the recognition in somewhere else.

This is the complication I’m dealing with. 

E is the person who gets recognition instead of me, publiclally and privately and I’m really sick of it. I can externally let it go, but mark my words.. if it happens again I can’t predict what my response will be.

See I clearly can’t let it go. But there’s just not time to work through it right now. I have to hurry up on something else that’s important. I have to temporarily let go of what happened two days ago and yesterday and focus on today and tomorrow. 

Did I mention it’s now 2021. Good gravy how can I possibly put thoughts about that on pause too? But I have too. Where are all these things when my mind is dry and I’ve nothing to say? Why do noteworthy events huddle so close together? Ugh!!! 

But I have to focus. 

Focus. 

Today my goal is to wrap the prep and practice for my reading. It’s the next big thing that’s in front of me. Yes, there’s more res today to attend to but that should be a snap. 

Unlike the lecture, the reading doesn’t make me as nervous. That’s kind of a puzzle but one that I’m happy I don’t have to solve because it’s a good thing. I’m actually thinking of sending invites to like everyone I know to tune in and watch. Though I doubt most people will be interested in hearing me talk and read poetry for 20 minutes. If you are reading this and interested, message me and I’ll send the zoom credentials. Ha!

It’s also my opportunity to say a few words, which I will not get to do for graduation because of the sheer number of folks graduating. The question for me becomes.. how much time of poems do I sacrifice to say other things? It’s supposed to be a poetry reading, but damn, I just have a lot to say. You know? 

I suppose that first bit of writing I made reference to earlier is connected. I have been invisible all my life, and that comes at a cost. But we often don’t know the cost until it’s too late. 

Cutting to the heart of the matter, I don’t want to get to the end of what I’ve been offered and feel as though I’ve wasted time. 

Seriosly. A set of my poems were workshopped this week and the mentor facilitating pointed out the theme of time that was in all of them, more prevalent in some than others, but a current flowing between them for sure. She also said she liked the poem about my divorce the best. Which was sort of eye opening. I felt it was the weakest. That fact proves that taste is so subjective. 

That poem will not be in my reading. At least one of the others will probably. But I still need to figure out which ones to cut because as it is now, there’s too much. 

The good news is that I talked myself out of including a few I felt were really important. In a way, the lecture on editing (from the other mentor whose comment referencing E and not me), helped me realize that the audience is important and not to be too in love with new writing. Which are both good points to remember.

So I’m sticking with poems I have high confidence in and are perhaps more universally understandable. Nothing too specific with divorce, castle, or my parents (who might be tuning in). There’s also no poems about my children and that’s interesting. 

Interesting in that I’ve written very few about them. Or patenting. I have one I could read but I don’t have any confidence in it and it’s not polished. So I won’t. I digress.

I’ve got a lot to get done today. I really want to climb up to my tower in the castle after this and work at it until I’ve got at least the reading set. Then move on to other things. 

When this Res is over and things settle down, there will be more time to write about everything else. We’ll see if it all remains pressing with the passage of time. 

Until then, peace and love and happy New Year!

~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

2020-12-12 Poetic Rejection

I woke up at 4:30. Wrote a reply to Mr. SCC, feeling enough time had passed and some response was the best course. If only I could say what I want without giving the wrong impression. And why I worry about that is mysterious to me. I’m my own worst conundrum.

I went back to bed at 7am and there was a response to my reply in my in-box the next time I checked at 8. Not sure what to make of that but then I try to remember my mindset from a few days ago. About A person being judged for all the things they didn’t do, but could have done with their life. And believing in the innocence (And necessity) of human connection.

The day I wrote about that I sited three scenarios I was struggling with. Struggling in the sense of not knowing what action to take or not take. Responding to SCC, a man that’s a judge in California and also a complete stranger, was one of those.

Another was how to handle the issue of white dudes using our “no fee for BIPOC” writers submission portal for the GLR lit mag. Good grief already!

What I did with that was employ a “terms” condition that the submitter has to acknowledge by clicking through. I struggled with how to word that, trying to be both PC and also mindful of people’s experience or understanding. Thinking on it now, I might tweak that a little more, but feel pretty good about it.

Part of that task involved some research so that I would be, myself, more educated in the terms I was using. I could write a whole post about just that and without being too verbose… avoiding all potential land mines feels like an impossibility. We’re each as diverse in our opinions as we are in our DNA.

In any case.. what I wrote will have to be good enough for now.

The third of the three scenarios was with my friend who might be in trouble. (Which I have no way to know for sure if he is).. That’s been put to rest for now too. Taking advice from Jim, a little distance is best and so I was severely delayed in my reply. I actually didn’t reply. But he reached out to me again asking when we could “hang out.” So my reply was forced.

How does one appear cordial while at the same time flipping on an invitation that was originally extended? As delicately as possible I suppose. But I have to respect my husbands advise.

In other news I have another poem up today (yesterday actually). Another that is near and dear to my heart: “Pockets Full of Rocks.” Not only did it come from moments of reflection about my childhood (which extends well into my first marriage) but also one that I worked on with mentors during my MFA.

It takes some measure of distance to separate oneself from the emotional attachments. There was a time that I could not read the last stanza of this one without pause and an immediate lump in my throat.

As it is with this blog sometimes I write through lots of fluff before I get to the heart of the matter. Not that the first two stanzas don’t have merit. They do. It’s a setting of place and tone. Details of the speaker establishing time and frame of reference.

It’s the detail of the last stanza that get me. You know, but just because of the personal nature. I recognize that those details hold little to no meaning for an outsider looking in. I know, however, that trey would be immediately recognizable by my ex-husband.

I actually thought about sharing the poem with him. You know, in the spirit of human connection, but what purpose would that serve really? My own selfish need for acknowledgment? I dunno. More poetic rejection.

Some part of me would like to believe he would appreciate knowing that somewhere in the hundreds of poems I’ve written he makes at least one appearance. Eeeek. That might actually be an insult. Just one poem? 18 damn years together and all there is is one stinking poem?!

JK. I wrote a bunch of poems when we were dating and first married. Interestingly not a lot were directly about him though. And there’s a total of zero which are fit for human consumption. 🤣

Anyway so this poem is posted on a blog called “Sad Girl’s Club.”  It fits. https://www.sadgirlsclublit.com/post/pockets-full-of-rocks-shyla-shehan

Another baby finds a home. By now I suppose I should be updating my personal website, but not really feeling it.

New stuff is going out lately too. I’ve followed some advice/guidelines on publishing and completely tossed others.

Yes… I research. Revise. Put thought into letters and make sure what I’m sending fits with the vibe (hence the sad girls club).

No… I haven’t workshopped the new pieces or asked for opinions from fellow writers. I’m just stuck in the hole of 2020 and honestly don’t want to impose.

If I’m crumbling and don’t have time or inclination to make or keep plans, it’s a sure bet others are in the same boat.

No… I haven’t waited on sending these new poems out. They are new. I’m in love and need to squeeze that feeling for the courage-aid.

As I update my spreadsheet of submissions I come across several I sent about three weeks ago and cringe. So bad. So so so so bad! But in the dewy eyes of newness I believed they were amazing. Double Cringe. Whatever. It’s just another rejection waiting to happen and I’m immune to that. I really am!

Here all along I thought my super hero name was “captain obvious” and my Special power was being invisible. Little did I know my invisibility also makes me immune to poetic rejection. Just the poetic kind mind you.

I’m still a wilting flower when it comes to other types of rejection. Relationship-y rejection being the worst. I think this is why I’m so sensitive to the perception of others. I don’t want anyone to feel rejected. Not if I can help it anyway.


Well I’ve started and stopped walking and writing about 7 times today. I’m hopeful it doesn’t show in the flow of what this has become. It probably has, but I’ve no patience for reading and editing right now. I’ve got Christmas shopping to do.

Just Keep Stepping,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-11-30 Bow for November

My second full month in my new job is coming to a close. This morning I’m tasked with making breakfasts and lunches for my people and will of course get doing dishes and scooping litter boxes. And I’ll be working on the lit mag some. And hopefully finding time to read and write outside of this routine treadmill time.

It’s Monday and the last day of the month and I’m not missing my old job one bit. I had the best weekend and now get to start a new week full of promise and poetry.

I’ve got a fair bit to get done today as it’s the last day of the month—tasks I’ve been procrastinating that are due today. Mostly stuff for the GLR and I need to try and stay focused on that and not log into my personal Submittable account because that will inevitably lead to hours of research, revision, letter writing and I just don’t have time for that today. I need to stay focussed.

I should be satisfied with November. I mean, I am satisfied. I managed to bump myself up to 75 open subs despite the rejections and as I said yesterday, can cruise through December holding that line.

Amidst those rejections are a few more acceptances. Gyroscope Review, Local Honey, and Vital Sparks to name a few. Plus, my poem “Covid Sunset” was in the top 10 for a contest put on by Wingless Dreamer for their “Fruits of our Quarantine” collection. That’s awesome sauce. That’s an actual printed book which I somehow appreciate more than the bits and bytes that are online only. Even though Kate says online is where it’s at now, I like having a physical book I can hold, thumb through, dog-ear, and see on my shelf.

So far my experience with these publications leads me to believe that the GLR is doing a good job with communication. To be fair, most places that are accepting my work are just as new. Gyroscope Review might be the exception to that rule, but a few seem so new that there’s not a lot to see on their websites. Vital Sparks appears to be a basic placeholder for future content. With no info and no aesthetic, it makes me wonder what I was thinking sending my baby there.

And not just any baby but one of my favorites. Perhaps it’s for the best. As it is one of my favorites, I have no idea if it’s a good poem or not. More than a year, and 10 revisions old now and I still can’t tell. I’ve offered this baby to lots of places and this brand new lit mag was the one that snatched it up. How will they present my baby to the world? It remains to be seen.

I wonder if I should Pay more attention to social media. Maybe this is where the action is happening—the promo, the big-news. I might need to spend some time researching that. But not today.

Not today. Not today. Not today.

I have to keep telling myself this so I don’t get distracted. I have other work to do.

Yes, I seem to be taking nicely to my new role. I enjoy tending to my healthy household and look forward to my son returning this week from his quarantine. I’ll have all the Christmas decorations out of storage by then and we’ll be set for a bit of a traditional tree-trimming party next weekend. This would normally be the weekend after thanksgiving but the Covid kind of effffed that up too.

Pretty soon now we’ll have a vaccine but I’m still not making any plans. Not booking airline tickets or entertaining ideas about field trips or road trips or one-year anniversary vacations. Other people are doing this for me as I refuse to hope for one more damn thing.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Nope. I’m setting my expectations dangerously low and that way I can’t be disappointed. I’ll just keep trucking with all these semi-isolated days, enjoying all the good things that I have right here in the comfort of my own home.

Like walking on my treadmill, cooking for my crew, and scheming about how to protect our outside guests from the brutality a Nebraska winter, which appears to have arrived overnight.

We woke today to a bitter 18 degrees and both black cats were creeping the back yard. Puffy was clearly hungry and though he/she ran away when I went to fill the food dish, she/he came right back and had a really healthy snack. That’s when the topic of constructing some sort of shelter came up again. Nothing store bought mind you as we’ve spend enough money on the inside cats. 

No, we’re talking cardboard, leftover insulation and plastic. Jim even mentioned tubing that could be constructed to funnel vent heat into whatever shelter we decide upon. All with no guarantee that these strays will be interested in such a home. Heck, they probably already have several homes. But it does get really cold and if there is something we can do to help protect them, we want to do that. But not today. 

Not today. Not today. Not today. 

Oh boy, I’m headed for trouble. 

Cheers to Taking Bows and Tying Bows,
~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

2020-11-09 Advantages of Overcast Day

Today I’m going to wear lounge clothes all day. Enjoy the darkness a rainy day brings. Sit on my couch doing all that needs done nestled with my favorite blanket and pillows.

I’ve got plenty to do there, until 3PM when I need to leave to pick my son up from school.

The weekend was good. The best I’ve had in a while and I think it’s partly because there’s a giant weight lifted off my shoulders. Off America’s shoulders. I know I’ve been on edge lately and I wasn’t really aware how much of that was due to the political climate. I mean, this year has been bad enough without that. So it stands to reason.

I’m late getting down to business today. Gathered those blankets and pillows early to snuggle in for an hour or so after Jim left for work. My cat curled up behind my knees. I needed to sleep off the meds I took at 3 am to help me get back to sleep. Some OTC antihistamine that causes drowsiness. Apparently no amount of weight lifted will allow for a full nights sleep.

As such, it’s almost brunch time. Part of my good weekend was allowing myself to eat whatever. I blew my calorie numbers up and crushed those 30% protein dreams. So today it’s back to the “plain.”

Exchanging stats with my friend on Sunday and hers are N out of 5, whereas mine are N out of 7. Mine I know are days and I’m not sure if hers are but if they are that means it’s probably the weekdays only. And maybe that’s the way to be. Perhaps I should always use weekends as more lenient days, within reason. 🤔

In other news, I had another poem accepted to a publication yesterday. One that looks like it’s more we’ll established than some that I’ve been accepted by. That’s exciting! It also means I have to withdraw that poem from the 15 other places I’ve submitted it. Which is part of what my “couch-time” is dedicated to today.

This business of trying to break into the publishing scene is definitely a process. And it’s definitely work. All the research, letter composition, and trying to keep track and stay organized. It’s work. It is interesting to see how other places operate and each time I get an acceptance, I’m introduced to some other nuanced way to approach the process with regards to how we do things at the GLR. It’s actually quite helpful.

Yesterday’s acceptance came with info about the “author agreement” which they handle 100% within submittable. For our first issue, we did this with a word document. Letting the agreement be housed in Submittable is an interesting idea. I wonder if we can do that with our plan. 🤔

My hour is not quite up yet, but I’m gonna cut here. Might try to get more steps later when Jim is doing his workout. We’ll see.

Peace, Love, and Chocolate,
~Miss SugarCookie

PS. Today’s featured image is my bike posing at the suspension bridge on trail 2 at Schramm State Park in Nebraska. A late day drive/ride which turned into a hike when my bike got a flat. Turns out, walking a bike on dirt trails in the woods is a good substitute for cardio and strength training at the gym. Plus it helped me get to my step count yesterday whereas just riding would not. My weekend combined two day step count… 35K!!!

2020-11-07 Schedules, Steps, and Submissions

I woke this morning just after 5am like damn.

My email in-box had a message from my husband, sent after I could literally not stay awake at 10pm and had gone to bed. In the email was an itinerary for our day today. Yes.. time slots filled in with activities so we can get the most out of our Saturday together.

He made a joke last night about this, but then actually spent time typing it and sending it after I was fast asleep. Good news for me that the first activity does not start until 8am. This gives me an hour or so to collect my own thoughts and get my treadmill time in.

With that, I’m predicting a high step count day. An hour now, “gym time” with him at 9:30, and then a hike at Neele Woods or Fontinelle Forest in the afternoon means a lot of walking. I might lobby for a bike ride too as I am sure I’ve got some power to convince him to alter the plan.

No kids today, which is super rare for a Saturday. Other things on the agenda include a discussion about budget, breakfast, getting take-out for dinner, snuggle time, and a movie (not exactly in that order). He did great! 🥰

Despite only getting 5 hours and 47 minutes sleep, I feel pretty dang good. But what’s on my mind?

Revisiting yesterday briefly, I held the good energy I felt in the morning almost all day. However, I ended up using that energy on research for submissions, revision, and submissions Instead of the stuff I said I was going to do. It’s so easy to get pulled into that endless sea.

I received another rejection and that was the jumping off point. I was like “I can’t let my numbers suffer, gotta hold steady.” Right??!! But it’s getting tougher to find viable places. There are no shortages of places to submit work, but opportunities “in the zone“ are becoming thin.

What’s in the zone? Well.. I’ve had a few wins, mostly with newer publishers or those whose approach is to push out a lot of content online, like daily. There have been some anthologies and that feels more noteworthy for some reason, even though Kate Gale said that frequent content online is where it’s at right now.

In any case, I feel like I need to start doing more research to find places where 1. My Writing “fits” and 2. The audience might be wider. 3. The publisher is established in the literary community.

Sure, I’ve been subbing to a few big-dog, long-shots all along, and all of those have been rejected, but there’s a middle ground I’m just not well versed in yet. This is where the research comes in. Scrolling through submittable and briefly glimpsing at websites just isn’t sufficient. Yesterday I started googling and doing some deeper reading.

Jim sees me sitting at the kitchen counter with a laptop and reminds me that publishing is a goal, but it’s not the only goal. It’s true, 3 years ago publishing was barely a thought in my head, not even a pipe dream except in quick snippets of thought when I would pick up a book or magazine laying on a coffee table or on a shelf at a bookstore.

It is curious that going through the process of getting an MFA has instilled this desire within me. Perhaps it’s that much of the conversation in that circle is about publishing, as that is many people’s goal or desire from the start. Whereas my goal was originally just to learn.

My response to Jim was that all the effort I’m spending right now is a good surrogate for the missing desire or ability to write new poems and stories. I’ve been experiencing a dry spell since early in the year. What with the wedding, the onset of the pandemic, and the fact that my fourth and final term in the program was focused entirely on revision. I haven’t been reading much of anything either which also hurts my productivity.

Then there’s all the other chaos in the world. One might think that that would create an atmosphere perfect for creativity, but it’s truly had me pretty beat down. And sitting at generative workshops via Zoom and not being able to come up with even a line is a serious bummer.

Anyway, I’ve wound my way all the way into the question of why with no way to wind myself back out again. I guess I’m just getting started.

However, it’s nearing 8 and I have a tight schedule today. 😉

The Saturday train is about to leave and I’ve gotta get on it!

Cheers to the 20k steps I’m gonna get today,
~Miss SugarCookie