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Goodbye 2018, Welcome 2019!

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The New Year began without fanfare for me this morning. B worked the graveyard shift, so I spent the evening at the apartment with the cats. At midnight, I was at my computer, writing a poem. It isn't a very good poem, but it was a good way to begin 2019.

With a new year, I'm naturally reflective. Lately, I've been feeling a little negative about my progress as a writer. 2018 didn't feel like a monumental year, but it really was. Since beginning my vacation, I've been having some health issues again, so my output hasn't been where I'd like it to be. I started having my usual stomach trouble and an uptick in my migraines, so I figured it was a good excuse to find an new doctor in the Houston area. She was concerned with the frequency and intensity of my migraines so she's sent me to a neurologist. Then, during a physical exam, she found an "inflammation" in my abdomen, so she ordered some tests, and after getting the results, more tests. Bleh.…

Feeling 32

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Today was my birthday. It was a good one. I don't teach on Tuesdays, which means I stay home and mainly do press work. That's mostly what I did today, though my stints at the computer were punctuated with cake. I also had a chance to write, run, and spend time with B.

31 was a good year both personally and professionally. The older I get, the more I realize how charmed my life has been and how fortunate I am to be able to live this writing life. I have time and space to work on something I'm passionate about. I get to share that passion with young people. I have a steady job, a decent income, and the support and love of an amazing man. No, my life isn't glamorous. I'm not off on some adventure. I'm not filthy rich. I'm not famous. But I am wholly blessed, content, and joyous. In short, life's been good these past 32 years.

So, how's the writing life been since I left off? Ok I suppose. I'm giving the whole writing a memoir thing another shot. F…

Summer Winding Down

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Ok, so I didn't blog this summer.

I'm sorry. It's been a crazy season. But isn't it always?

Blogging just wasn't a part of my routine these past few months, and when life gets a little crazy, well, it's easy to skip out on the blogging for more seemingly important things.

But now, so many months have passed, and I think it's time for a little update. What's happened in my life? Was my summer a successful one?

I think it was, for the most part.

My goals for this season were to finish revising my NAPO poems, find the shape of my next manuscript, write a new short story, keep up with my column, and submit Iliad to at least two new publishers. I also wanted to teach a summer class and survive my ear surgery.

So, here's how my summer went:

In May, I did have my ear surgery. It sucked, but not as much as it could have. I was in and out within the same day and sent home with lots of pain medication and antibiotics. I felt pretty out of it that day and was …

Kicking Off Summer

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I can think of no better way to begin my summer than with a poetry reading. Last night, I attended FIX, a poetry reading series at FIX Coffee Bar. I was one of two featured poets and shared the stage with the talented Ayokunle Falomo, a Nigerian poet and author of kin.DREAD. I had a marvelously unique Lavender Latte and read from both Goddess and Sue. B attended, too, which always makes a reading that much more special to me.

So, now my routine changes. With grades posted, graduation complete, and a long expanse of warm months before me, I need to figure out what to do with the time before me. During our last meeting at Writing Group, I articulated the following goals for my summer. This is a good place for me to begin:

1. Revise my NAPOWRIMO poems
2. Find the shape of my next poetry manuscript, tentatively titled The Wrath of Mother Nature's Child
3. Write one new short story
4. Keep up with my column, The Beaumont Book Beat
5. Submit Illiad to two additional publishers for cons…

Year One Done.

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Here I am, decked out in all my academic gear on the evening of my first graduation ceremony as a faculty member at Lamar. It was a great way to finish off an amazing year--perhaps one of the most eventful of my life so far with a new job, a move across the state, a hurricane, a new book, induction into TIL, and my ear problems. It's had its ups and downs, though in the end, I really wouldn't have had it any other way (except maybe the ear thing. That's really sucked).

Looking back, I think I'm at the point where I'm out of the "honeymoon" phase with Lamar and I'm starting to settle into a certain comfort and understanding for the department, the institution, and the community. That's a good thing. A healthy thing. I love my university, my students, my department and my colleagues. I love my job to pieces. But I also know that none of this is perfect, though it does feel like a perfect FIT for me.

This time last year, I was a wide-eyed, big-dream…

NAPO 30

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I did it! I'm done! What a month this has been! Of course, most significantly, it's been a month of making time for my poetry even when the going got tough. Heck, I wrote a poem on the day of my induction into the Texas Institute of Letters. I wrote poems in the car, in hotel rooms, doctor's offices, and even a few at work with my students.

All in all, it's been pretty charmed. I had some days of "writer's block" and some poems feel utterly stiff, but I also have some gems that I'll come back to over the summer and rework into something wonderful.

Today's poem, the last poem, was to write about a time I didn't feel safe. The moment that comes to mind most immediately for me is just before Hurricane Harvey hit Beaumont. I felt powerless, terrified, and very small. Of course, if you follow this blog, you know B and I left before the storm hit, and what a privilege it was for us to have the means to do so. We had somewhere to go that would welco…

NAPO 29

A Recipe for Time
If only time were something You could brew in a French press. Every morning. If only days Were beans you could grind up, Sip and savor at your convenience Or desire, warm and bitter, Quickening the heart.
If only moments were made While standing at the stove, Learning how to use the molcajete Just right, the pumice in your hand As you grind an avocado As you listen to another story Of all the moments made within this basalt bowl— Chipotle, that unnamable green sauce, Ajo paste that makes the kitchen Smell like home for days.
If only hours could be flipped On the iron skillet like a pancake With a syrupy I love you.
If only days could be created In that stock pot full of beans, Softening like hearts As they soak in the spice of life. If only minutes mixed like your recipe For the perfect martini, Four parts patience, One part dreams, a couple cubes of ice to keep it fresh, an olive, its branch. Alcohol, too, heals most wounds.
If only this most precious thing could…