2021-11-08 Just Another Lustless Monday…

Welcome to Monday. This morning while my husband was eating the breakfast I cooked him, he asked what my plans were for the day. Just a casual question that might start a conversation if I had some unexpected answer or something I was planning that I’d forgotten to mention previously. I don’t.

It’s Monday so I’m grocery shopping, doing dishes, scooping litter boxes, finishing the laundry I started over the weekend, and mailing that utility bill he left for me on the counter. “The usual” I say. 

That’s it. That’s my life now and that’s part of what’s got me down. I’m not cut out to be a housewife. It’s boring and so very unfulfilling. But what can I do?

I had to quit my job because doing that and trying to manage this beast of a house was too much for me. I was failing at both. So I quit.

Then I failed at just being a housekeeper because toilets. Now we have a cleaning service that comes every two weeks. That’s glorious, I’ll admit. If my world was turned upside down tomorrow and I no longer had Jim to rely on, I’d have a hard time not having that. I’d be reworking my old budget to fit it in for sure.

Then again, I wouldn’t have this giant castle to clean. Nine toilets. Nope. I’d buy a tiny house in a quiet neighborhood with one toilet and probably go back to living very close to the way I was before I met Jim, but with more cats.

Whatever I would do, it would not include picking up a high stress job in healthcare IT. I wonder what else I could do? Something that would pay just enough. I wonder why this daydream I’m having right now feels very enticing? 

I have a wonderful life with a wonderful man and I never have to worry about finances or cleaning toilets ever again. What is wrong with me?

Continuing the breakfast conversation that we were having, while he eats and I scramble around the kitchen doing dishes and cleaning counters, he asks me to run a check over to our investment firm. 

“Sure thing,” I say. And I’m reminded of that essay I wrote about the day I had to go there to sign our 2020 taxes. I’m emotionally attached to that essay and it’s one of a very few I’ve worked on enough to feel confident enough about it to submit to a few places. It’s been rejected by everyone so far of course.

I say “of course” like it’s a foregone conclusion. Yeah, that’s what getting rejections 95% of the time does to a person. I’ve lost confidence in just about everything I’ve written in the last year, which is actually not much to start with. 

I held true to the notion that I could find the right home for all my writing IF the writing was solid. So when the rejections roll in, I jump to the conclusion that it’s the writing and not the place or the tastes of the people rejecting me. Still I keep trying different places like a glutton for punishment with an addiction to the process. 

Now that I have a maid and only have a few hours of chores every day, what else am I going to do with my time? The lit mag, meetups with people, exercise? That’s all great, but it’s just not enough some how.

Then I feel like I’m being spoiled and greedy. Then I feel like I’m a bad person for feeling like that. Good grief. 

In the good old days I might try to write a poem about the way that I’m feeling but damn I just don’t want to. Or I don’t have it in me. And that’s bothersome too. 

I used to write dozens of crappy poems and it made me feel better about whatever it was I was thinking and I didn’t care that they were crappy or I didn’t know that they were crappy so I guess that old saying is true. Ignorance is bliss.

Now I know too much, and some cockeyed notion about being a published author got cemented into my brain. Do I need that? Do I want that? Is it going to fulfill me in someway to see that book on a bookshelf somewhere, or the bookshelf in my closet? I guess I won’t know the answer to that until it happens. 

And when will that be? Five more months. That’s how long I have to wait until that book becomes a reality. Until I can hold a physical copy of it in my hot little hands. It’s already been a horribly long wait. 

Truth is, I’m done with the waiting. I’ve already turned my attention to the next thing. Getting my daily submission fix and feeding my obsession to have all my poems out in the world somewhere. And lately that’s escalated to pulling together another book (three actually). 

That’s right, I’ve re-tooled my full MFA manuscript AND compiled two additional chapbooks. I finished the shorter two books this weekend and feel satisfied enough with the result to send to publishers. The longer book will be done this week. Just in time for a few November deadlines AND my trip to Austin. 

After that, I’m going cold turkey with all of it. So help me, I swear to the Universe imma be DONE DONE. 

Then what? Who knows. The Universe only, I suppose. Maybe I’ll get a job stocking shelves at Target.

On that note, my time’s up today. The groceries aren’t going to get themselves. 😜

Peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-11-06 It has been a while… but why?

It has been a while since I held to my daily writing routine and I could say it was because I haven’t needed it but the truth is that I’m just using my time in other ways. 

What’s new? Plenty. What is blog worthy? Not sure. 

I’ve got a new elliptical machine and it’s smooth like butter and I love it. I haven’t loved it today yet because I woke up with the worst cramps (I usually don’t get bad cramps, so when I do, it’s always “the worst”). I’m currently treating myself to some couch time, but it’s hard to sit with my laptop and write because I’m so used to working on other things when I have my laptop out. 

I haven’t written any new poetry in ages and have been nurturing my creative side by organizing and compiling a few different manuscript collections that I could submit to publishers. It’s satisfying a need I have to be creative, but in truth the larger part of that exercise is logic and figuring out what works together and tells a bigger story. Why do I feel like a manuscript must tell a story or that all the poems need to be bound together by some overarching theme? Probably because that’s how things are nowadays. Especially for a random girl from the Midwest with nothing much more to offer. 

The other part of wanting to feel productive with something (anything) ACC has resulted in my submitting individual poems to publishers like crazy. I suppose it is not a bad thing that it has gotten out of hand a little bit and I now have 87 open submissions in Submittable. I’ve stopped setting a goal. My goal was 30 then 40 then 50 and …. You get the point. 

I did promise myself near the end of summer that I would start submitting to some more reputable places. Some fives and sixes and sevens instead of twos and fours. I even created an algorithm to score a place to see how they rate. It had weighted criteria and the heaviest variable was the longevity of the publisher. The other criteria was their method and regularity of publishing and if they pay or not, plus a few other stats in Duo Trope about their acceptance rate. The harder it is to get in, the higher their score was in that category. 

I paid money to use Duo Trope for a year but I think it is on it’s way out as a user tool. It’s only as good as the data that people put in it and if folks are not reporting their submissions there, then the stats will not reflect what is accurately going on. It’s a lot of work to keep track of submissions even without the extra work to report it all to another agency. Therefore it is understandable why it’s probably not going to last too much longer with the current business model. I probably wont pay for it again. 

Anyway, I let my own algorithm go too as it was too much extra work and I feel like I can just as easily eyeball a few things and decide if it’s a place that would be a good fit for my poems. For some of that, it’s turned into a matter of reading other people’s bios and seeing what places they have placed their work. In this way, I’m sort of gauging from the caliber of the writer more than the journal or publisher. This goes back to my original theory that poems that are 4 out of 10 come from poets that are 4 out of 10 which typically get published by places that are 4 out of 10. 

All of this is just a lot of left brain nonsense and I’m fooling myself into thinking I’m satisfying my creative side by spending so much time on it. Like I said, I haven’t written a poem in a long time and now to make matters worse, I haven’t even blogged in a long time either. Part of me wonders if I am going back in statis and just don’t need it like I did before. 

Yesterday I reworked my thesis manuscript as I still feel the strong desire to get some validation by having that book published. I mean, I am having a book published, but it is not the full manuscript and I dove deep to figure out how to change it in a way to both keep the essence of what it was originally and add some newer poems. I also wanted to re-do it so that I have all the current versions and update the acknowledgements page. Again, all this satisfies my left brain and after I finally got it to a place I was happy with yesterday, I felt good about it. 

What all of it does NOT do is alleviate the angst I’m currently experiencing about how much rejection I’ve gotten lately. It stands to reason that the more you submit, the more you get rejected, but with each hit it’s like a little stab at my confidence. Both my confidence in myself and my confidence in my poems. I just don’t think I have what it takes to keep doing this. And then I question myself, “what part of THIS am I talking about?” 

The submitting, the writing, the revising, the lit mag, the blog, the pursuit of that elusive dream of publishing my thesis manuscript. I’m sure I will finish out what I started with regard to these books. I say books because in the last two weeks I’ve not only reworked the full manuscript (about 77 pages) but also two other chapbook size books (30 pages each). Once I have them where I want them, I could engage an editor– someone who reviews and critiques work like this for money, and see what they think. But again, I ask myself if that’s all just a waste of time and money because my writing is not good enough. 

I originally went after my MFA for two specific reasons. The first was to satisfy a desire to learn more about something I had interest in. I’ve always written poetry, but I wanted to learn how to make it better. The second was to change my life. To do something different and get a sense of fulfillment by accomplishing something other than doing a job and collecting a paycheck. I didn’t do it for the credentials and I sure as hell did not do it because I wanted to publish a book. Those things never entered my mind until I was actually IN the program. 

In fact, there’s such a heavy emphasis on publishing during residency, I think that is part of the reason I developed such a strong desire to have that kind of validation. I won’t say I never thought about it. I entertained the idea of having a few poems published and how neat that would be, but a book??!! 

Now here I am three years later, unable to write a poem, yet working on taking the 100 (or so) I’ve written since 2018 and getting them out into the world. Part of me wonders if I shouldn’t just let it all go. 

My husband questions whether I should let GLR go too, as it takes up so much time and there is not a lot of fulfillment from it. 

And now, after having written about 1200 words here so far today, I am getting down to the heart of the matter. Which is me questioning whether or not I should let this blog go too. 

I’ve barely blogged in the last month. I went on vacation for a week and saw some great things, and had several really good cheeseburgers. None of that made it into the blog when normally it would. In years past, I would absolutely make writing about my vacation a priority. Not this time. 

I’ve also had mood swings, a gym remodel at the house, and my daughter got her brand new bike stolen off campus. Those incidents and adventures didn’t make it into the blog either. I’ve had developments happen with regard to my health and my chronic fatigue and my insomnia but just have not felt like writing about any of it. I’m in need of lamenting about my parents too, but writing about it seems either like too much of a broken record or just not worth the effort.

I’ve started and stopped several days in the last few weeks and just have not felt motivated. I start and get a few sentences in and then stop, feeling like it is a waste of time. I find myself more enthusiastic about watching a stupid TV show over writing. I wake up on Wednesday mornings happy because there will be a new episode of The Bachelorette on Hulu. Legit. Why would THAT bring me joy when this… THIS… doesn’t seem to??! 

THIS blog has, for nearly five years, been my go-to place to sort out what I am thinking and feeling. A few times in the past month instead of writing it, I’ve opted to read it instead. While it is cool, to look back on a day, a week, a month, a year in the life and how far I’ve come, it doesn’t necessarily inspire me to keep doing it. 

I dunno. Perhaps I’m just feeling down and lost and not needed or wanted lately and that has contributed to my lack of motivation. I think there are a few more unexplored corners relating to the overarching theme of this particular post, and I’m finding myself passing to think about other things. This is me saying, in a roundabout way, that I could keep going and going but I’m not sure where it is going next and am frankly out of time and (not surprising) lacking motivation to continue. 

Not sure what this weekend will bring or next week or this month. I guess as always, time will tell. 

Adios,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-04 MFA Graduation Day 💃💃🎉

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers to endings and beginnings, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-03 Final MFA Res Day ??!… 🤦🏼‍♀️

It’s official…

I’ve lost track of what “MFA” day it is, what day or the week, and also what year. But I’m not ready for the new year yet and that’s ok. 

What? Did I just say that I was not ready for 2020 to end. Well, not exactly.

I’m ready for 2020 to take a hike but not quite ready for 2021. I feel as though I need more prep time to be off and running with a good start. 

It’s the same with a lot of things right now. With my time in the MFA program coming to a close, I should have more space in my brain to work in other things. But as I walk through my house this morning, every room is in desperate need of attention. 

The Christmas decorations and crap collecting in the living room. The kitchen is a disaster. The litter boxes are full. And on and on. Nothing like being inspired to write and then scooping the poops and losing every decent thought you could have had. Kind of like now, having so many things I want to write about but end up writing about chores instead. Good grief!! 🤦🏼‍♀️

Even if I don’t know what day of Res it is, I know how many days are left.. two. Today and tomorrow. That’s it. Two days to really make the rest of this count. And on the flip side, two days delaying getting back to normal life. Two more days of putting off things that need doing. I’m clearly torn. 

I’d like to have a few days to myself, alone-alone, to reconcile everything. I’d like to reflect on my reading last night instead of waking up thinking about the new year and all the things I’m gonna set as goals or try and do. I’d  like to revise the poems I had workshopped this past week. I’d like to spend some effort crafting emails back to various folks for this and that and really pay attention to my words. I don’t want to have to rush it or fake it or worse, just postpone longer. 

I probably should have been more demanding this past week with people in this household. Everyone has their own agenda. For once I’d like my agenda to be the primary one, and not secondaey or tertiary. 

I keep wandering back to that train of thought. I don’t want to. 

I slept through to 7am today which is glorious. But my FitBit has decided to stop collecting stats on my sleep so I have no idea when I went to sleep or the quality. I feel pretty well rested and maybe that’s enough. The FitBit not working is just another detail in a long list of things needing attention. 

See, there I go again. Ugh. That’s enough. I gotta switch gears and get to today’s MFA agenda (while most people in the house are still asleep). 

Peace and Love, 

~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

2020-12-30 Final MFA Day 2: Gathering All the Internets

I’ve gathered all the internet in the house that I could do as to try to get a good signal in a more isolated location. Maybe I should put the cable modem, WiFi router, and signal boosters in my car and drive away. 

Never mind that. There’s a giant snow pile behind my car and I’m stuck here. 

I just can’t seem to get out of my own way. I for sure thought that once that stupid lecture was over, I would really enjoy my week. But alas, it’s not happening. 

I’m in such a mood already and taking the “trash” out yesterday to find two full bags full of trash mixed with recycling set me off in a big way. I don’t ask for much. You know, as the person that runs this household, but my one big thing is recycling. It grates on me to no end that something so easy is just not done. My wishes ignored. I want to talk with these teenagers with authority, but in two cases my hands (and mouth) are tied. 

Clenching my teeth while sorting through disgusting trash bags to pull out bottles, cans, cardboard, and paper do nothing to help the migraine I was trying to get over or the rotten mood I was in. Listen, I was wearing a brand new sweatshirt I got for Christmas and the last thing I wanted was to get it stained with some unknown drips or goo from the trash. Just gross. 

I could not help myself. I picked a fight with the only other adult around. I admit it, I knew it was wrong of me in that moment to come swinging into the living room where Jim was eating his dinner. I simply just could not help myself, 

If I was in Nebraska city right now I wouldn’t be taking out the trash, you know, so there’s that too. 

My grievance was met with and equal and opposite grievance about dirty toilets (which he’d spent time cleaning) and I thought, well, here we go. Our first official fight. I mean we’ve known each other almost 3 years so it was bound to happen eventually. But now? Why now?!! 

We agreed, like adults, that the timing for the discussion wasn’t right and that we should dismiss it. Ok fine. 

But then I pressed for “when” and that too was met with a snark of a reply, was it so wrong for me to not want to fall in an all too familiar pattern of keeping my damn mouth shut then have a blow-up at some future juncture? I just wanted some acknowledgement that we really would talk about it. I didn’t need “January 17 at 2 o’clock” as the reply or “oops but I’ll be at work, so sorry”. 

For real, I didn’t. 

Seems there might be more to talk about than recycling and dirty toilets. 

I had a future poetry book flash in front of my eyes. Title still TBD, but the cover has a picture of a princess morphing into a monster in front of a grand castle. Nobody wants to read THAT book. Least of all me. 

So I did some more zooms, multitasking, ate some food and had a drink. Tried to get time fast forwarded to bedtime so everyone would go to sleep and I could be alone. 

I’m not super prepared for today, but fuck it. At least my headache is gone. 

I’ve got two lectures this morning and workshop and another lecture this afternoon. So not into it. And I was serious about that internet thing. I moved the booster that’s usually near the treadmill up to a different area of the house. So I don’t have internet for reading online this morning. Ugh!

Is it only Tuesday? Good gravy!! 

Must be time for coffee.

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-29 Final MFA Day 2: Snowmageddon Anyone?

It’s like 2020 is holding the mic, refusing to let go.. saying “I’m not done yet bitches!” 

All the living under the rock life and blissful denial that I use to shield myself from what goes on in the world outside my door can’t protect me from the apparent snowmageddon that is now “pouring like an avalanche coming down the mountain.”

I think one of the things that I’m going to miss about being in Nebraska City for this residency is that now somewhat familiar feeling of being so immersed in the writing life and people that I wake up inspired with new ideas. Rush through the days with thoughts that all feel like brilliant beginnings. Having to stop, mid-stride to get something down on paper or my phone. And also the emotional swing that eventually leaves me in tears. Yes, I cry, and though that’s so Miss SugarCookie, it’s also true. And I love it. I really do. 

It’s that “on the edge” feeling that makes me feel alive sometimes and crying is just a byproduct. I love hearing the readings and just getting lost in that moment. And there’s really nothing wrong with the crying. It’s a great release and I feel so good when I get to the other side. 

I’ve made the mistake in the past with relationships, thinking if I got wrecked that at least I’d have the emotions to fuel my creative fire. Dead wrong. But this is different. It’s fueling the fire in a different way. It’s immersion of thoughts and feelings that’s not sooooo close to home. 

Yes, I get there sometimes too, in workshops where we’re forced into our own memory, but it’s mostly the fires of other people burning around me I think that sparks my own.

Which is exactly why I don’t think this virtual res has the ability to generate the same atmosphere. I’m trying to attend as many readings and lectures as possible but closing my laptop and walking down to the living room is just not the same. Somehow I wish I could somehow isolate myself from the rest of the house to try and capitalize on this last official residency. 

In other news, I did my lecture yesterday and it came and went and OMU (Oh My Universe), when it was over I felt like a Born Again Human. It was like the best feeling to have that over with. I might have mentioned my love/hate relationship with public speaking but I think It’s like 80/20 with hate taking the lions share. The worst part?…

It was virtual so I didn’t even get to show off a cute dress. Damn! 

If we were in person I would have THREE opportunities for cute outfits but that’s all out the window. Yesterday I was debating even what pants to wear. I mean, would nice pants that match my top have given me more confidence? Or would it have been better to be comfy in pajama pants? 

What did I choose? 

The world will never know. 🌎 

JK… I wore nice pants. 😜

The lecture being over means I get to relax and enjoy the rest of the week. And looking out the window, it looks like I’ll be stuck in for a while so it will be a good week to have that coffee and Bailies Irish Or hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps.

One other advantage of being home for this Snowmageddon is the fact that my husbands office was closed today so we got some extra special snuggle time this morning before getting up. Extra, extra special. Mmmmhmmmm.

Anyway, today my poems are being workshopped which I love! And it also means that I won’t have to talk and dont have anything to prepare. The only thing I have to prep for today is a faculty lecture for which we had materials to read in advance. I really hope it’s not a lot as I haven’t even opened the file yet. 

Actually.. I think I’ll go do that now just in case it is a lot. 

Cheers to Day 2. It’s gonna be great!

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-28 Final MFA Res Day 1: Jump In

Here’s where journaling almost every day comes in especially handy. Throughout my MFA I have documented my experiences including a day-by-day account of each of my residencies, both official and unofficial. This makes comparing the virtual experience an easy task. Being at home, though kind of a drag, has definite advantages. 

Normally waking up on day 1 at Lied lodge, i would be making my way (early) to check out the exercise room situation, not knowing what newbies might be treadmill junkies too. No worries with that today. I’m a happy camper walking in my comfortable, happy place. 

I’ve also already taken care of the breakfast and lunch making and the dishes for the day, which, normally would be a task I would be released from for ten whole days. That kind of sucks. It is one of the things I look forward to. No dishes for ten glorious days!! 

Since it’s my last residency, I’m released from attending any events that are for students enrolled in the semester which includes the mentor introductions. The first few days of res are heavy with that so I will have more time today and tomorrow to ease into the content. And after today, when I give my lecture, I’ll actually be able to relax a little and enjoy it. 

Including mine, there are three lectures today plus workshop. Normally I really love workshop but it kind of depends on how much I have to say about the poems being discussed. For me today’s poems are very strange, not relatable, and therefore I won’t have a lot to say. I mean that’s not really valuable feedback for the person who wrote them. And I kind of take the stance.. “If you don’t have something positive or constructive to say, it’s better to not say anything at all.” 

I’m certainly not envious of the faculty mentor who is facilitating today. I wonder what they will say? 

I believe my poems are being workshopped tomorrow so I have nothing to prepare for for that. Yeah.. tomorrow will be more of a full and enjoyable day. 

Another difference with virtual res is the lack of interaction with folks around the lodge: the dining room, lounge, lobby, hallways, outside on the back deck or on the grounds. When I’m there I’m always doing this dance of trying to delicately balance those interactions with the time I require being alone.

I feel like with each res I’ve become more comfortable with the scene. Of course, by the time I’m comfortable life throws wrenches in. Now all this interaction is timed and on Zoom and it’s just so easy to avoid it. I’m going to  have to force myself to log in and see who is there. Ugh!! 

What else? Oh the lack of sleep and anxiety. So far feels like that’s going to all be the same. Doesn’t matter if it’s in person or virtual, I won’t get good sleep. But.. right now that doesn’t feel any different than my regular life. 

I’ve only been walking for like 30 minutes, but I’m kind of done for. It is probably due to that short night. It was so bad my FitBit didn’t record my sleep. I woke just after 2am and didn’t go back to sleep until like 5:30ish. And then was up and at it by 7. So maybe 5.5 hours total? Yeah, that sounds about right. 

It’s only 9 now and I don’t have my first lecture until like 10:30 so I’ve got time to work on GLR stuff which is my big plan this week. Capitalize on being under the umbrella of Res to sort of be absent from normal life, as much as possible anyway. 

Ugh. I’m so done now. Going to cut short and try to be productive. 

Cheers to Day 1!

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-27 Final Countdown…

There have been nights I’ve tossed and turned in my bed, unable to sleep for the thoughts in my head. Playing and re-playing a scene that was years, months, and weeks in the future. I may sound melodramatic but I’m sure as hell not exaggerating. I’ve been thinking about the lecture I have to give tomorrow from the first moment I found out that was an MFA graduation requirement.

I’ve given my fair share of presentations in my days, but it’s all been work-work. Work like, the thing I was the most expertest person in the room on. Hands down nobody can speak HL7 like I can (or used to, at the height of my career as a healthcare integration specialist). I had confidence on my side too. For this shiz going down tomorrow I have almost no confidence.

My mantra for the next 24 hours… fake it till you make it (through). Fake it till you make it. Fake it till you make it…. and on and on.

Maybe I’ve mentioned my love hate relationship with public speaking. It’s the strangest dichotomy to be terrified but also be so exhilarated and satisfied with the experience. What IS that? 

At least I’m giving my lecture early in res so that I can relax and cruise through the rest of the week fairly stress free. 

The virtual MFA res officially starts today with a check-in in just a few hours followed by a lecture by one of the faculty. Then I’ll be back on my laptop with a final run through of my presentation. Then that’s it. Then it’s just me internally freaking out and not sleeping and then rolling through the full day tomorrow. 

What I know for sure is that my content is solid. And that I have too much actually so trying to figure out what I can cut. I also need to write some conclusion. A pretty bow for the final slide. I’ve got ideas brewing but need to be in a completely isolated environment to finish. 

I’m going to try and start now, as I’m walking alone, but then try to finish after that lecture. Yeah. That’s what I’ll do. 

On that note, that’s it. It’s go time. Next stop Zoomville. 

Fake it till you make it… all day long!!

~Miss SugarCookie