Writers in Performance, Spring, and Other Katie News

Life, as usual, has been treating me well. Case in point: the photo above. Last week, I was fortunate to spend an evening at Lone Star College in the Woodlands as part of their wonderful Writers in Performance reading series. I had a great time meeting with students, community, and faculty at LSC.

At first, I'll admit that I was a little intimidated with the idea of being a part of this reading series. It's one thing to be on a panel of poets, but it's a bit of a different experience to be the only one reading. Having and event that's "all about you" is a little, hmm... scary. What would I say, talk about, and read to keep people engaged for an extended period of time?

It turned out to be not so scary, though. The first part of the reading was a Q&A with students, and truthfully, I spend so much time in front of students everyday, so that is no biggie. I really just chatted with them about how I got my start as a writer and tried to encourage them to pursue their own passions.

For my reading, I decided to read a little bit from each of my books. My idea there was that it would show the students in the audience the progression of my career as a writer, that we can grow and change in style, subject matter, and depth, but hopefully, at the heart, we still keep our essential voices as human beings. I read from The Garden Uprooted, Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots, Lost Chronicles of Slue Foot Sue, my forthcoming book, An Iliad of Bones, and even a few new poems from the scattered mess that has been my writing lately. I think more than anything else, it was an exercise in my own reflection, which for me, as a writer, feels vital and necessary.

After the reading, I sold and signed copies of Goddess, and then we all went out to dinner. It was nice to sit back and LISTEN to the people who were in my audience, since, after all, they'd just finished showing me the kindness of listening to me. I was amazed at the diversity of experiences around that dinner table: scientists, engineers, business owners, and yes, of course, English professors. What united us was a love of literature, language, and art. So naturally, there was a lot to talk about.

At any rate, I'm immeasurably grateful to Dave Parsons for inviting me to be a part of this reading series. I look forward to returning for their annual Walt Whitman birthday celebration come May!

So, it's spring. Outside my window, my begonias are blooming beautifully. The weather here in East Texas is divine. Spring break came and went like a welcome rain shower. This is truly my favorite time of the year: the mad rush to the end of the spring semester. Summer's on the horizon--a lovely, long expanse of time and quietness. And of course, next month is April, which means we're heading into NAPOWRIMO. I look forward to a month of poetry generation, inspiration, and terrible first drafts of poems.

In short, life's pretty good.