16 February 2021

Getting started on a new journal. and new opportunities.

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been spending a little time in my studio over the last few days, making monoprints with acrylic paint and a gel plate--I use these papers in my journals, and I burned through my entire stash during 2020, because of lockdown. 

In 2020, I filled four altered books as journals--so much more than usual. However, since the last one was filled, I've not started a 2021 book. I am hoping that part of the hold up is that I don't have pretty art paper to leaf through and add to the substrate of a new book. 

I am about 15% into *The Overstory,* and it's strangely compelling. My kindle is surprisingly heavy (it's an older model), so I need to pull out my book triangle and work out some way that I don't have to hold it. It doesn't help that Tony Cat wants to sit all 16 pounds of himself on my lap and belly every time I sit on the sofa. So I'm trying to balance him, a book, two other cats who are also wanting to be as close as possible, and the fact that I have to pee every 20 minutes. 

I have a therapy appointment this morning via Zoom--my first in a month. I am reluctant to suspend appointments while we're still in the pandemic. I am afraid I'll bottom out or need that outlet as soon as I let it go, so we'll continue with once a month for a few more months. Once spring is fully here, I'll start considering whether I will be able to trade the garden for therapy for a few months. 

And the poetry. 

Getting a new altered book journal started will force me to at least play with found poetry a little bit, which is a tool I often find helpful when I am running low on inspiration. Sometimes, just a two- or three-word phrase, taken from three different pages in a book, can be the start of a strong line of a new poem. And, to paraphrase Robert Hass, it is harder to write a good line than it is to write a good poem. (I think I've mentioned that quote/paraphrase before--it really stuck with me.) Hass writes about the power of a good line in his book, *A Little Book on Form.* That book, incidentally, is on my bedside table, and it's another one that I plan to read in its entirety this winter or spring--for too long, I've read a chapter here, a chapter there . . . truth is, it's full of valuable lessons, and I need to finish it. 

I sent an application to the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, CA last week for their summer poetry workshop. It's a juried application process, and although I'm already using my faculty professional development funds to attend AWP in March, both AWP and the Squaw Valley workshop are virtual this year, meaning that I only have to pay the registration, not meals and lodging and travel. However, I've already told myself that I'll charge the registration fee if I am accepted to the workshop but don't secure funding. 

Susan Olds will be one of the instructors, and Brenda Hillman, Blas Falconer, Kazim Ali, Forrest Gander, and Evie Shockley are the other planned instructors. Robert Hass will be reading. Holy shit. They'll make notifications by May 1, so I'm crossing my fingers that I might have a shot. I'm so unknown, and it's been so long since my writing has been workshopped by others in any formal or informal way--I'm hoping I'm not completely out of touch with what was expected in the writing sample. 

I'm still waiting for word on a fairly tall stack of submissions to journals and magazines . . . and I need to get back to generating new drafts of new poems. I know I've written a lot of poems in the last year, but I worry that if I get out of practice, I'll stop trying.

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