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

2021-01-02 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

2020-12-20 Stand in the Mirror and Wait for Feedback

Sunday again. Lacking sleep again. Still working on that lecture. On and on. 

I’m trying not to freak out. You know, but there’s so much to do. Res. GLR. Christmas. Bills. You know I’ve got bills that are like 60 days past due and I can’t even begin. 

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Something must be. It must. 

Creature comfort make it painless. 

At least today I don’t have a hangover. Today it’s just cramps which in some ways brings welcome relief to the emotional roller coaster I sometimes live for about a week before my period with regard to my emotions. 

It’s just past 8am and I’ve just had my caffeine. I’m just now on the treadmill but have been awake off and on for like 100 hours. 

Somewhere around 5am I switched from reading about Adrienne Rich to Diane di Prima. The quintessential example of a poet embracing experience and freedom when it comes to both poetry and life. 

I’m almost wrapped with the research on this lecture. And I’ve probably got twice what I need for talking for 40 minutes. I’ll be polishing tomorrow while Jim is at work and then I’ll know for sure how much overage there is. 

Did I mention Christmas is in 5 days??!! Thankfully the family gatherings and gift exchanges are at a minimum. Thanks Covid. If I had my way it would be a repeat of Thanksgiving. 

Good food and just us. But.. being the good daughter that I am I’m going to CB Christmas Eve to visit with my dad and having my mom over Christmas Day. Part of me has wondered when it will feel ok to have them both over at the same time. So many levels of questions there. Least of which is the side-eye I’m certain I would get from my siblings. But whatever. 

It’s not like they make much effort. We were just not raised that way. 

Anyway. So I’ve got presents to wrap today and work to do on the GLR. 

Incidentally my newest side-gig is teaching my kitten Gus Gus to walk on the treadmill. Any day now he’ll be good enough that I can try getting some video footage. Then I’ll be making bank when the Instagram account I created for my cats blows up! I’ll put them on tic tok too or whatever the latest craze is the teenagers are wasting their time with these days. 

Every damn time I think about my distaste for the technological age, I feel old. I mean like seriously. I’m THAT person saying “back in my day we didn’t have no internet. We had to keep ourselves entertained. We rode bikes and explored the outdoors.” 

Yeah, and then a bunch of kids got abducted and that was the end of that. My poor little sisters, caught between the end of the latch-key era and before the advent of the internet. Stuck being raised by endless hours of mindless television. 

To be fair, I was a TV junkie too, more later though like in my twenties. 

Yeah. Any day now these cats are going to make me famous. 

The other night I created a new Instagram account for my cats. I had been drinking so the details are fuzzy but at one point my daughter takes the phone from me and just “fixes” everything. She declared that I didn’t know what I was doing. Said the username I picked was boring. Changed it to “kittens_shenanigans” and then we talked about hash tags. Yeah, I really have no business in that business but with her help, we can do it. 

The thing that makes me bad at social media (besides the constant resistance) is that I just don’t give a fuck. I just don’t. 

Post or don’t post. Tweet or retweet. Share, like, lick, suck, fuck… I DONT CARE!! 

There. I said it. So what? Perhaps I’m channeling Diane di Prima from the great beyond. 

It’s all just funny money anyway. Like titles. Tiny little boxes. Tiktok, ticky tacky. Little boxes on the hillside. Little boxes all the same. 

It reminds me of that theme song from the show “Weeds.” That was a good show. 

Little boxes on the hillside,

Little boxes made of ticky tacky

Little boxes on the hillside,

Little boxes all the same.

There’s a green one and a pink one 

And a blue one and a yellow one,

And they’re all made out of ticky tacky

And they all look just the same.

And the beat goes on, you know. But instead of little boxes were like zombies inside our little houses exploring the world with even smaller boxes in front of our faces, with all our creature comforts an arms reach from our couches and poorly lit desks and beds. 

Where’s the spirit of adventure? How do you teach that? You can’t just talk about it. You have to teach by doing, by example, and sometimes with a healthy dose of tough love. 

As it is with poetry, show, don’t tell. 

That’s enough wandering today I think. Gotta go get dressed to run errands. 

Peace and Love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-19 Christmas is Slithering Near

See what I did there? 

Oh last night I just got seriously smashed. I mean, it doesn’t take much these days. A half a bottle of my favorite red wine, Jam Jar, which is sweet and goes to my head almost immediately. But its sweetness also probably contributes to the midnight wake up with a dastardly headache. 

I literally wandered away from the living room scene at 8PM, leaving my darling Z chatting with Jim. I slipped out of my clothes and into the bed. The world be damned, I need sleep. I need it as my life depends on it. 

I didn’t even say goodnight though I was cognizant of my intentions. I was wasted enough not to care that I’d abandoned conversation in mid-moment and was opting to satisfy my own needs.

But oh, just after midnight I woke with a terrible head, and headed around the house in search of water, Tylenol, and my loves. Z had gone to bed too and I found Jim in the “Theater” room watching you-tube. He said, let’s get you hydrated and back to bed. That’s how you know someone loves you.

That’s how I know he loves me.

Of course I woke again at 4. Headache gone thank the Universe. Wanting more sleep I took half an OTC sleep aid and then snuck out of the bedroom with my laptop and books and and went to work on my lecture. Still on Louise Glück.

It’s so slow going because I’m needing to read a lot and then figure out how to work what I want into the content of my lecture. Listen here. It’s nonsense. The amount of work I’m putting into this. I already have my degree. Stupid COVID. Stupid lecture. Stupid brain. 

Anyway, I was able to switch to the next poet in the early AM, Adrienne Rich, whose life is simply fascinating. Probably more interesting (to me) than that of Glück or Bishop) and for certain a better example for my lecture as her poetic voice changed significantly in her early career. 

I read and wrote in between sleep of the wee hours of the morning. I’ll hopefully wrap that segment up today but as I said, Christmas is slithering near. 

So some of the other tasks on our Saturday agenda include wrapping presents, baking cookies, and a few timely errands. Hard to believe said sneaky holiday is less than a week away. By this time next week it will be over, the days will be getting longer again, and I’ll be gearing up to present that lecture (Monday the 28th to be exact). 

That’s how much I procrastinated the thing. Ugh! 🤦🏼‍♀️ 

As it stands now, the cookies I’m baking won’t reach their destination in time. 

As it stands now, the gears are engaged and wheels are in motion. There’s no stopping time. 

I suppose with the work I put on myself no one would accuse me of taking the easy road. Two paths diverged in a wood, as they say, and I… 

I took the one less traveled by. Why oh why would I do that?! Why couldn’t I just do a lecture on the same topic as my craft paper (as is typical)? Oh well.. too late now and the less time I spend lamenting the more time I have to make it good. 

Which is to say, it’s time to get back to it. 

But first.. coffee and homemade banana bread Jim’s mom made yesterday. Mmmmmm. 🍌 🍞 💕

Watch out for those Christmas creepers, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-18 Time Doesn’t Give a Reason

It just runs and rolls and takes the days away. Years lost inside fragments of fractured mirrors or broken bottle glass strewn across the lawn, bits so small and clustered they look like the tee-box of hole nine.

You know the one. Hard as hell to hit from because of the stampede of cottonwood trees swaying to steal your shot. But don’t they just sound like the rush of the ocean tide meeting the shore when you close your eyes and breathe in. Forget for a minute you’re in landlocked Iowa. 

I wouldn’t know, though. I hate golf. A fact you can’t help but remind me of with the regularity of a waxing crescent moon. Reliable as those little reminders dropped randomly in conversations about visits from the children and grandchildren who supplanted me and mine when we climbed up and out of the Big Lake and ran away. 

But now. Now I’m suddenly tiptoeing back across that broken glass to see you. Not so death defying but still an act of acrobatics for which I polished my best shoes. Cats in the craddle with a silver spoon. And yet.. yours is a life I can’t afford to lose. 

***

First draft Friday again and that’s a rough drive down the fairway. Rules be damned.. this one stays (for now). 

Late yesterday as my eyes became blurry with sleep I was waist deep in an interview with Elizabeth Bishop. Another poet I’m learning about for the sake of a lecture nobody’s going to give two shits about but me. Here’s the Universe’s honest truth. I’ve never liked her poetry. I keep trying, but still don’t. That’s ok though. I needn’t like it to talk about it. 

Her work has been called meticulous. Characterized as a blend of the impersonal (accurate descriptions of things) and personal (inspired by actual events from her life). 

I find it dull. But I’m still just a newbie and maybe don’t know enough to appreciate it. 

The poetry is one thing but the person is another altogether. I love reading the interviews. You get more of a sense of who the poet really is. Little windows you can peek in and glean the juicy good stuff.

Alas, I was mid-read and sleep was not to be denied. I could not finish the interview. It’s therefore my first order of business today (after this).

When the transcript was first published, it had been edited by her. As she was with her poetry she had meticulously modified some of the text to correct or clarify her statements. She’s no longer alive so they re-released it with the original unedited text. Poets beware… all bets are off once your no longer walking the planet in physical form. 

They also have published her unreleased poems after her death. A fact that probably has her soul rolling in unrest from wherever it is. Yeah. That.

Later today I’m making cookies and moving on to Adrienne Rich which will undoubtedly be a larger portion of my lecture. Bishop has micro-shifts in her poetic voice and style in her lifetime but Rich’s underwent a grand transformation. Changes one can really sink their teeth into. A good way to kickoff the weekend. 

I think this will be it today. I need to get rolling before the day rolls over me. 

Cheers to Friday (and First Drafts), 

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-17 One Way to Save a Life

It’s December 17 again. I see the calendar and think, “This day again.” We all have them. A day in time, a date on the calendar we recognize immediately, a date that takes us back to the past. We may have several, but for me, December 17 will always be a day that gives me pause. Whatever it is I am planning to do, I have to stop and think. I have to nod to what I have accomplished in my life and what I have made of myself and my time. And my children! 

Long before my children were winks in my mind, I spent a lot of time alone. I spent a lot of time thinking about relationships (that I didn’t have). Not just romantic relationships but also relationships with my parents, siblings, grandparents, and acquaintances that I daydreamed could be friends if I tried hard enough. It was teenage stuff, sure. 

Common I’m sure. But to the melodramatic teenager, the isolation, angst, and constant daydreaming was a sort of maze I could not figure out how to get out of. 

By the tender age of 16, I had already turned to writing to find my way through that maze of endless walls. So there is some verifiable proof of the events of my life that led to what happened the night of December 17 (the year escapes this current recounting). 

I don’t intend to recount the events. That’s not my aim. My angle today is one of gratitude. More than anything it’s gratitude for writing. The ability, freedom, and its saving graces. 

By December 17 I had already begun writing a fictional story about a set of twins, Stacia and Elizabeth. Separated at birth and suddenly back together as teenagers in high school. It’s not lost on me that these girls were me. I gave them and both characteristics I felt in myself. As is often the way with young writers. 

Their chapters unfolded with events I dreamed up, both hardships I was enduring and daydreams of scenarios I wished for my own life. By December 17 I had chapter upon chapter of their lives on paper, with no goal of a conclusion. No earthy idea how the story would end. I understood that there should be some climax, resolution, and anti-climax, but was not concerned about that. 

The night of December 17 events Of my own life seemed to find their way to a natural climax. It was dire and I could literally take no more of what life was offering me. 

That night, as I cried and wrote and wrote and cried, one of the twins made her way through events of the the alternate universe I had created. The house and the conversation she had with her mom, the woods where she would wander alone, the high-school with its winter dance in progress, and finally the street with its concrete curb. The place where she tiptoed over the edge, into oncoming traffic, and died. 

I’ve long since come to terms with what had happened, both in reality and in the story. I don’t remember writing any more of that story after that. I suppose it was the climax I didn’t know I was looking for, didn’t know I desperately needed. As for an anti-climax, well, I suppose this will have to do. 

I still have some of that writing. Some was lost to the fire, but that’s another story altogether. I was such an emotional teenager. 

In 2019 I wrote a poem about some of this. My experience with isolation and suicide as a young adult. This poem was published this year in an online literary publication, Boston Accent Lit. The Poem is titled “Nothing Can Kill You” and is still online at the site here.

I suppose that’s part of the resolution too. Writing how it had been my constant companion and savior (and still is). Now I make beautiful art from my pain. It’s a therapeutic endeavor. And I know that it will be there, reliably, for my whole life.

There’s been a lot of introspection lately about writing and the path of my life. The journey of the poetic voice (the topic of my MFA lecture). I would be remiss if I didn’t nod to my own experiences, my personal evolution, and somehow (without being too preach-y) encourage people to evaluate their own writing to discover what it has to teach them. 

As a part of my MFA I’ve studied the poetry of people like Louise Glück, who this year won a Nobel Prize. But it isn’t until I began studying their life that the puzzle pieces begin to form a more complete picture. 

Said poet finished high school while undergoing psychiatric therapy that continued for 7 years and caused her to not enroll at a college or university in a formal program post HS. I wish I could ask her if she feels writing saved her life. 

Of the 4 writers I’ve included in my lecture, she’s the only one still alive. That’s a good reminder too. This life.. it doesn’t last forever. Better use it till you lose it. 

That’s it today. Time to listen to some “Sweet As Whole” by Sara Bareilles to get in the “write” frame of mind to write the conclusion for my lecture. 

Stay Frosty, 

~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

2020-12-07 I’ve Got Crocodiles Now

I don’t have much. My attention span feels thin today. Reading Poem-a-day, something about a duplex, I’m left uninspired by the language and really wondering when “This” will appear. Some days are like that and I just want to let it be. I’m giving myself a pep-talk as I write this. You can do it.

I am always hopeful when I make plans. Hopeful that when that day arrives I’ll still be hopeful enough to see plans through. I can’t cancel again, it’s too suspect. Three strikes and I’ll be out, so I have to keep my plans today.

The caffeine doesn’t seem to be working today. Maybe a shower will do the trick. Other things need attendance today. Check boxes empty and waiting. Unpaid bills bulging in my paper planner.

I travel briefly to Paris and find a Quarter, but the only trigger in that town was a dime. Inadequate. I wonder why they made the dime smaller than the nickel. Who decided that was a good idea? This question is about as far away from poetry as one can get. Like standing on Earth and looking up at Mars in the night sky, neither tragic nor romantic. Just a red question that never looks any different and is entirely inconsequential.

Typical. The over-explanation. Still working on that.

I open the messaging app and see where I left off—an open thread with my dad. He’s alone and I offered yesterday to come back over today and walk the lake with him. But like father like daughter like chickenshit. I don’t text, I close the app and toggle back to this.

Then board the Commuter Train. It’s an amusing story about babysitting crocodiles but it’s not amusing. It’s tragic. Poor girl and her invented words and broken heart and dead crocs. Written well enough to make you feel sorry for the babysitter too, who neglected them and let them die.

I get the metaphor. And it makes me think of my own crocodiles.. and also those of the friend I have plans with today and also my dads.

I’ve never been in charge of his crocodiles before. Now suddenly I am. Suddenly is the worst kind of tragedy. Suddenly the lake by his house has turned from dream to daily reminder. Suddenly everything is a reminder.

A week ago he stood between my sister and I behind the dining table and said “Why’d you have to leave me” and “I was supposed to go first.” And Just like that I’m tearing up again.

I need to put pants on and text him back. Or better yet call.

I suppose I can afford to cut this short if I’m headed back to the lake today.

The bills and checkboxes can wait. I’ve got crocodiles now.

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie