2021-05-11 All of This Is True.. Or Is It? 😉

This morning I was listening to my “Gear Shifter” playlist—the one I curated with songs that are sure to pump me into a cardio machine mood. One of the songs that came up in the shuffle was Hoodie Allen’s “The Real Thing.” 

The end of the song is a clip I have to believe is an authentic message left in his voicemail. It’s some girl, presumably his girl friend telling him she knows he’s working hard on a new album but he needs to get his priorities straight and pay more attention to her. For real! 

When she left that message she probably had no idea that it would make its way into one of his songs that would eventually be distributed to thousands of adoring fans. What do I think when I hear her sharp tone and biting words? What a bitch. 

I was given advice once to always be careful what you say and write, always, lest some unsavory nugget make it out into the wide world. It’s a conundrum. We spend so much energy making our public profiles look exactly how we want people to perceive us. For better or worse, I suppose.

The flip side of this is the freedom of letting your freak flag fly and not giving two turtles what other people think. In my head it’s a balancing act. My hatred of social media helps tip the scales in favor of not posting anything, ever. However, Facebook and Twitter and Instagram are obviously not the only places I’m putting myself out there.

My biggest public facing platforms are my blogs—in various levels and colors of “findability.” My newest website which is less of a blog and more of space for self promotion is the place I’m thinking (hoping) people find me if/when they are looking. I was told that all writers should have a website to promote themself and their work. That it makes publishing their work more appealing to potential publishers.

That blog isn’t really a replacement for my original shyspark blog which I still post on a few times a year. That blog is home to first drafts of poetry and is also the archive of poems and musings from all the way back to the beginning of my poetry writing (which incidentally was when I was about 12 years old). In any case, it still serves a purpose.

Here’s me finally getting to my point…

A few weeks ago I posted to that original shyspark.com blog, which is connected to my Twitter account and posts automagically to Twitter. I had written a first draft of a prose poem. It was more of a musing than a poem, but I’m gonna call it a hybrid piece.

In the poem I had embellished some details of the situation I was writing about, letting the imagination in my fingers do the talking. I had an argument with myself about whether or not to post it, worried what people might think. I ended up posting it. 

Fast forward a few hours and whatever part of me won the argument about posting it waffled and I edited the post, rewriting the details of the lines to smooth over any content that might cause someone to question my character. Doing that made me feel so much better about the poem. 

Fast forward to the next day when it was brought to my attention that my husbands ex-wife had read the post AND brought it up with her son AND had him look at the post. 

They didn’t find the original lines. As timing had it, by the time she was pulling him in to read what I had written, the post had already been changed. I chalked it up to a lesson learned. But what was the lesson?

This question is one I’ve been struggling with since then. Here is what I’ve learned:

  1. Given the timing, it’s clear my husband’s ex-wife (who I’m thoughtfully calling whore number 1) is somewhat stalking me. To have seen that post in the short time it was in its original state, she is either following my blog, following me on Twitter, or just looking at all my shit on a regular basis. Any way you slice it, it’s creepy. If you are reading this, Jill, get a life!
  2. I still, after all these years, struggle with the thought of people actually reading what I write, worried about their perceptions of me. I’m a good person, but obviously have flaws and problems and make questionable decisions at times, that are not so pure of heart. Can I let that go and should I?
  3. Does the poem have to be true or are embellishments ok? If I twist the truth to shine a light on the deeper meaning I’m trying to come to terms with, is that being dishonest? I think most seasoned and learned writers would say it’s ok. Still, I write so much that’s nonfic, it’s tough to spin anything else when writing poems.

In the end, I felt like I wanted to write about this incident because it upset me but suppressed the urge, in favor of trying to just let it go. Clearly I haven’t let it go because as I began to write about that voicemail clip in the Hoodie song, it’s exactly the incident my mind zeroed in on. I didn’t plan this.. it just happened. 

If I was more brazen, I would tell you what kind of person is semi-stalking me. I would tell you that I call her whore number 1 because in an email to my husband she called me whore number 3. She wrote it and sent it and she’s never even met me.

Yes, I am my husbands third wife, but if I’m whore number 3, that makes her whore number 1. Good gravy!! 

(Oops.. I guess I’m more brazen than I thought!) 

If I was bolder than that I would tell you all kinds of other horrible things this woman has said and done and written. But not today. I’ve already satisfied my need to vent about this situation and her and it would really serve no purpose. I guess that means I’m done. 

And it’s about time.. I’ve definitely gone way beyond my allotted time for walking today. 

Cheers to Getting Shit off Your Chest(Finally), 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-03-02 In Like a Lamb?!… 🐑🔜🦁

March.. I think the saying is supposed to be “In like a lion and out like a lamb.” 

***

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the weather folklore stems from ancestral beliefs in balance, meaning if the weather at the start of the month was bad (like a roaring lion), the month should end with good weather (gentle, like a lamb).

***

But what happens when March marches onto the scene like a gentle lamb? It’s Nebraska round here people and let me just tell you, when there’s not a lot going on (and there is often not) we get giddy talking about the weather. The buzz around town right now is about the potential for the temperature to break into the 60s and I’m just as excited as the next person. The 10 day extended forecast looks balls-out amazing and it fills me with joy thinking about the opportunities to get outside. 

But Again I ask, what happens after that? If the old farmers almanac saying is about balance, does that mean we’re in for trouble toward the end of the month? And should we forget so quickly that our beloved (and sometimes hated) furry friend Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on February 2nd securing the prediction of six more weeks of winter? 

Incidentally when I decided to get married on February 2nd. And mark my words… I am the one who decided and didn’t entertain much discussion about it. When I came up with that date, the fact that it was Groundhog Day (or the Super Bowl) didn’t even enter my mind. Now it’s a pretty good joke. I’m still happy with my decision even if that means I have to share my special day with a woodchuck with an over-inflated ego. I digress.

The change in the weather has the distinct ability to change people’s moods. I know I’m not alone in this. The drone of life through winter in the Midwest is long and boring. Endless strings of cold and overcast days can cause even the most positive and energetic human to feel as though hibernation is a good option. Though this might be good for Netflix and Hulu and Sling (Disney Plus, Apple TV, and Amazon.. good grief!).. it is NOT good for the human psyche and soul. 

The bright sunshine and it’s warmth are essential for fulfillment. I mean, obvi a person can survive without it, but it becomes tough to get to a place of positive energy and enlightenment. Seasonal depression is a real thing and there’s a reason Seattle, as hip as it is, is also kind of a depressing. 

I’ve visited Seattle twice and both times felt very “meh” about the town. And that’s after going to some really cool places! It just feels so monotone. Perhaps I was just there on grey days, but I think they have a lot of those.

***

I’m looking forward to today despite another 4:30am wake up. I said to Jim at the breakfast table this morning, “i don’t know what’s different between yesterday and today, but today just feels like it’s going to be good.” Can it really be the weather? 

As of right now everyone else is either at school or work and I have the house to myself. I’m finally catching up with myself in regards to the to-do list and don’t feel too pressed about deadlines. I received more feedback late yesterday from the publisher who will be publishing my debut chapbook. It wasn’t from my assigned editor so I think I must have submitted with the option to request feedback. 

Strange to get feedback after they’ve already accepted it. It was written as if the person wasn’t aware it had been accepted. Maybe this is just a larger publishing company and my manuscript is just being pushed around different channels based on how I submitted it. Who knows what happens behind the scenes?? 🤷‍♀️

I now also have the official contract in my hot little inbox just waiting for me to have the time to really read it thoroughly. I would like to give myself an hour where I will be completely free of distraction. Today would probably be the perfect day for that. It will also help me keep the positive mood going as thinking about this book is starting to really sink in and I’m over my anxiety and getting excited about it.

I still haven’t told too many folks about it. A handful really but I think after the contract goes through and it’s “official” I’ll begin being more public about it. Not that the money matters beans to me but the presale numbers dictate the percentage I’ll collect on the deal. I mean to say, money matters, but I never expected to make anything from “selling” poems or books. 

Thus far in my poetry career I’ve collected exactly $110 and that’s a fraction of what I’ve spent on submissions. If this poetry game we’re offered at a casino, the odds are so bad nobody would play. 😜

When I quit my job I had a few friends comment “now I could give my life to poetry.” How true.

I’m giving poetry my time, money, and effort (measured in brain cycles). Not to mention my heart and soul through the words on the page. When I said “take all of me poetry” it seems as though poetry was listening and decided to take me up on the offer. 

Ok. That’s enough of that. One more comment and then I have to git. 

I’m working with a new set of metrics this week to measure how I’m doing with certain health goals. Sunday I busted my ass to get 30 minutes of cardio in on the bike and apparently my heart rate never reached the “cardio” threshold. I clocked a ton of time in the “fat burn” zone according to FitBit. What the hell??!! Thanks FitBit. 

So now I’m spending cycles figuring out what activities get me into that cardio zone (above 121 bpm). Yesterday it was walking really fast on the treadmill, which is slightly less like hell than jogging. I think Jazzercise would do it, but I’m not doing that yet. I’ve thought about classes at the gym. That would essentially be something I could do without shelling out loads of cash because classes are free with my membership, 

Anyhow. We’ll see how this week goes. 

Cheers to the anti-taco Tuesday,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-05 This One Time at Band Camp…

JK.. I never went to band camp. 

I did go to cheer camp like 4 times though. Sadly there are zero juicy stories from that. All I have to show for my four years of cheerleading in high school are a bunch of pictures of all my bad hair days, nightmares about perpetually being excluded by the other girls, and a couple of trophies for being the “most improved.” 

In a world where popularity and good looks were everything, getting the “good effort” award was like a serious gut punch. I did work my ass off to be a good cheerleader however and I suppose in the long run learning how to work hard to achieve something has served me better than any fragile friendships or being noticed for my looks. Though, damn, those would have been nice. 

These days, getting acknowledgement for my efforts from people I respect is so affirming. A few days ago we had a team meeting for the lit mag and one of our teammates threw some compliments my way and suggested introducing me to The Local Girls Gang which is a group of bad-ass women bosses and entrepreneurs. I was soooo flattered. Kind of speechless. One of my other team members spoke up and piled on. My oh my. 

Sometimes I’m just so unsure how I’m doing and what people’s perceptions are. And often I don’t know how to react to compliments. Some people deflect compliments or minimize them thereby coming across as very modest. The approach I typically take when I’m overwhelmed or dont know what else to say is just to respond with “thank you.” But I honestly don’t remember how I reacted or what I said. 

The zoom meeting was recorded and I’m still waiting on that being sent to the group so I could eventually play it back to find out. 

In other similar news, I recently contacted a professor of mine from a class I took at UNO in 2019 with a request to help spread the word about the lit mag and among the kind words he sent me in response was a comment about me being such a “hard charging dynamo.” Again I’m filled with pride. Sometimes it pays off to be the “most improved.” 

It reminds me that it’s ok to not know how to do something or to maybe not have a natural affinity for something and just work hard to be better.. I mean.. nobody knows how to do a thing until they try it. But if you work hard, you can get better and eventually people will notice. 

Statistically speaking, by this time in a blog post 99% of people have stopped reading. And sometimes that is the same amount of time it takes to get to my REAL topic. 

I suppose this might seem like a bad thing. I’ve lost all readers before I get to the point, but in this case (with this particular blog) it actually works to my advantage. I want to write about something I’m unsure of or worried what people might think. Why today’s REAL topic falls into this category is a mystery to me but it does. 

The same night as that team meeting I mentioned (which was incidentally also the day/night I was empty of energy and having concerns about my relationship) I found a message in my inbox just before I went to bed. It was a notification that a chapbook I submitted last year was accepted for publication. 

I’ve had individual poems published online, among a sea of other poets. I’ve had individual poems published in print anthologies with other poets/poems but this is new! This is an entire 30 page chapbook of poetry, just MY poetry that will be published in 2021!! 

Holy efffing shit people. This is such fantastic news I don’t quite even believe it. And I was so wrecked when I read that email that I don’t think i had the mental capacity to process the news. 

It was one of the things that kept me from sleeping that night however and was partially responsible for my getting up at 4am. I read it a few times to make sure I was sure about what it said. I subsequently updated my personal website with the news which isn’t much. I only know the publisher and since it had been a while since I researched them I mined their website again for more info. Publishing full length manuscripts and poetry chapbooks is their main thing. And they gave some recognizable names in their list of authors which makes me feel great. 

I have great respect for Terrance Hayes’s work and he has a book with them. Wowza!! 

So that was Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Now it’s Friday night and I have yet to tell another soul, save this blog. What the hell?? Why is that?? 

Now we’re getting to the REAL REAL topic. All thoughts converge on this question. 

As questions often do, it multiplies before it can be answered sufficiently -or- so it CAN be answered. 

Do I feel I don’t deserve this or that my poetry is not actually good enough? 

Am I just not sure how to react to this “success?”

Or am I worried about the other consequences if the poems being in print? That could be it. The focus/theme of the book is about relationships which is mostly benign however there’s a heavy emphasis in the second half on my new life at “the castle.” 

Besides the two mentors I had in the last two semesters of my MFA program, an friend who helped me edit, and my mom.. no one else has read most of these poems. 

I’ve not shared with workshop peeps, friends, or Jim. Especially not Jim. 

My 3rd semester mentor encouraged me to “give in to the destructiveness of a subject.”  I’m not sure I quite understood his point, until now. 

My moms reaction after reading was to be worried I’m not happy with my new life. I assured her things were fine. Still, I have elected not to share with my husband, who is my biggest fan and always wants me to read my poems to him, especially now the ones being published. 

It could be that I’m worried what he will think. That he will also take to heart the sentiments and that will throw a wrench into our relationship. 

To be fair, three years ago when we met I told him my passion was writing and that I was pursuing an MFA in poetry. His response was frankly that he never wanted me to alter my art or have our relationship cause me to change what I was writing about or how I was writing. I interpret that as “keep writing what is in your heart no matter what.” 

At that time I never dreamed we would get married or that I would be living this life of a doctors wife. I never dreamed that I would be compelled to write so much about my current circumstance. However, I could have predicted that whatever I would write about, it would not be the rainbows and butterflies. That’s just not my style. 

And thank the universe as rainbows and butterflies are not in fashion this century. “Today” poetry is all about free-verse with lots of tension and surprise. This pending chapbook (submitted under the working title “Unsuspecting Cinderella”) is all about tension and surprise and suggests that the house I live is inhabited by a dark force that gets into the heads of anyone living there and changes them (and not in a good way).

I do worry living the charmed life that’s virtually worry free financially will change me (and my children). The poems in no way implicate the owner of the house, but it’s not a large leap to get there. 

There’s actually very little mention of Jim. And maybe there’s something about that which is also concerning. Or maybe I just don’t know how to write a love poem. I have written a love poem about Jim and even took that to the MFA workshop. “Lack of tension” was one persons comment. Another said they didn’t quite believe the speaker and thought the poem was actually about the speaker missing being single. If that’s not proof I can’t write a love poem, then I don’t know what is. Good gravy!! 😜

I digress. Sorry bout that. 

“Girl, Stop Apologizing” 

So yeah, I’ve officially got a book coming out. That’s what’s up!!

Bringing this full circle.. I did work my ass off on those poems, revising relentlessly and arranging and rearranging tirelessly until the order in the book was “perfect” and working diligently to get the individual poems placed (which is key in the process/decision for a publisher in selection, I think). I might not get the extra-most-bestest award, but I certainly feel like I deserve an “A” for effort.

In this case, I’m pleased as punch with the result.

Now I just have to figure out how to navigate telling people. I suppose posting this blog is the first step. Haha! 

Statistically speaking, Friday nights are the lowest traffic time for this blog so it’s perfect!! 😜

Staying Frosty, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-22 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