So Much Stuff

I have a confession to make. I am a hoarder. I’m not like the hoarders you see on the TV programs that are surrounded by overflowing stuff and trash. My house is roomy and airy. My computer is a different story. I am a digital hoarder.

I compulsively save memes, jokes, interesting lists, screenshots and image grabs, PDFs of interesting articles, short stories and whatnot from the interne, and years of emails. Of course, there is plenty of poetry, mine and others, and a packed file of “In progress” work.

Here is an example to illustrate the depth of the issue. In just one folder in Outlook, I have over 1100 emails from Merriam Webster Word of the Day. I’ve subscribed to the daily email since 2018 and used to save every one of them but finally stopped doing that. Now I only save the odd or fun words, or the words that I can’t seem to hold onto, like “defenestration.” Sure, I know the meaning of many of those words. However, they usually go beyond the common usage of a word and provide the second or third definition or historical usage. I have to have that information available! Right?

This year has been full of health challenges and I’m currently nursing a recalcitrant foot. My ability to walk and stand is currently compromised, and I can’t do much in the house. Instead, I am playing around in my files and working on digital decluttering. It feels good. It gives me the same sense of lightness that I get from dropping off usable goods and clothes to the charity thrift store or getting a haircut. As I make room on my hard drive, I’m also making space in my soft drive.

My hope for myself as well as you, Dear Reader, is that we all have plenty of space in our lives, both physical and mental, to write, make art, and create in all the ways that make us happy.

Names, dates, and pictures
All this data doesn’t mean 
wisdom will follow

*Defenestration:

  1. a throwing of a person or thing out of a window
  2. a usually swift dismissal or expulsion (as from a political party or office)


A few things

One of the best things about Facebook are the memes, jokes, and funny tweets. Well those and the cat videos. One classic meme that I still find funny: You know you’re an adult when you get mad because the grocery store rearranges the shelves. Truth. But I can one up that one. You know you’re old when you get mad because a phone or computer “upgrade” changes the look of your icons.

The last update to my android phone changed my messenger icon and screwed up the settings. I can no longer send or receive pictures or gifs. (Confirmed it was the upgrade when I heard the same complaint from another android phone user.) The pain of this development is exacerbated by the fact that I can’t fix it. Or not yet. I will need more help. I’m getting old. I’m no longer interested in technology for the novelty of what I can do with it. I don’t need New. I just need Functional.

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Further proof that I am getting old was the birthday I had a couple of weeks ago. It was not a milestone year (ending in zero) and it wasn’t a half decade year either. A woman of my advanced years doesn’t need a lot of fanfare. Some friends came over for a low-key pizza party and it was lovely. I did not serve cake. I went with some nice cookies instead. Besides, if the Covid pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we should not blow (and/or spit) on food other people are going to eat. Still, there are rituals to this thing.

I had some potting soil in a small container. I stuck a few candles in the dirt; my friend lit the candles and they sung to me! And There were two children there, ages 8 and 3 and they blew out the candles. It was kind of adorable and a lot of fun.

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Two questions: How do you improve your writing craft? Are you currently seeking publication and need help?

I highly recommend signing up for the Author’s Publish free email newsletter. It is a great resource for finding current calls for submission for poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. There are no ads and I’ve never experienced an uptick of spam as a result.

In addition to calls for submission they offer online craft workshops in various aspects of writing and publishing. Some cost money but many do not. I signed up for their 2021 webinar series. Each month was a different topic with a variety of writers presenting. Next week they are offering a free lecture “Shaping your Poetry Manuscript.” presented by Kim Addonizio. She is the real deal. Check out her poem First Kiss on the Poetry Foundation website.

Technology Tanka

My response to the Monday poetry prompt.

The machine age brought
ease, comfort, new ways to war
and a race to space.

What will be our epigraph 
when at last we destroy ourselves?


Author’s Note: Don’t mistake me for a luddite. Some of my favorite things are electricity, WiFi, my devices…. You get the picture. But I worry sometimes about the ethical implications brought about by the leading edge of science. As to what the epigraph will be, that’s up to some alien archeologists to figure out.


When your BFF Gets You

I was alerted to a package at the front door.

“Please send thoughts, prayers and chocolate,”

:

The BFF wearing dress and hat she designed and sewed,

Yet when I was asked to send Proof of Life after a tornado touched in my neighborhood recently…

I got nothing…

Who? Me?

The Cruelest Month

April and National Poetry Month are here again. Let’s hope Elliott is wrong and it doesn’t become a Wasteland.

finding truth
finding ourselves
finding treasure
is a process of discovery
as painful as physical recovery

we are all onions

Under the bandage. That’s a lot of ink.
Stitches out and a lot of careful cleaning I’m finally ink free.
This is supposed to happen.

Poetry News and Notes

I haven’t been writing. I stare at a blank computer screen for a bit, then switch over to Facebook to read memes, watch animal videos and read articles about odd and weird things. Because I’ve spent two months migrating myself and my mother into a new house! Because I’m adjusting to being her caregiver! Because I’ve had surgery! Because blah blah blah. The world keeps turning.

It’s time to get back to Poetry. I have news!

Last year I was honored to receive Honorable Mention in the Light Verse category of the North Carolina Poetry Society’s annual poetry competition. This year I submitted to six of the 10 categories. And …

I received Second Place for my poem “Assume the Position” Bruce Lader Poetry of Witness category!

The full list of winners

Bruce Lader was a wonderful and prolific poet with four books of published poetry. He was very active in the North Carolina poetry community and a great believer in social justice. He was also a long-time friend of the editor and great supporter of the Heron Clan poetry anthology series. Sadly, Mr. Lader passed away from a very unexpected and sudden illness in 2020 just as we were assembling book seven of the series. So, I am especially thrilled and honored to have my poem win in this category..

A couple of days after the January 6 Insurrection attempt at the State Capital, I posted a poem about it (Epiphany Demonstrations), with a note about it being a rushed draft. As expected, the submission group I monitor on Facebook had a rush of calls for poems about the event. It gave me a reason to work on the poem a bit and I submitted it to Gnashing Teeth Publications for an anthology on the subject. The poem was accepted! I haven’t bought the book yet cause, busy, but I will. The anthology is available on Amazon.

So that’s it on the self-promotion front. I certainly need to get back to poetry as I’ve got a “ghost” of a poem floating around my head. (Thanks to Audrey Driscoll and her latest blog post, A Page a Day, for that term, and for the nudge to write.)

Transitions

Dear Diary,
My re-entry to normal civilian life has been bumpy and surreal. While I am happier than a squirrel living in a Mr. Planter’s nut factory to be in my own bed again, I almost miss the convenience of ice chips and jello delivered bedside.
Princess JeanMarie

Hello! It’s good to be home again, behind the screen, fresh off a two-week stay at UNC hospital (Chapel Hill, NC). I don’t recommend emergency surgery for a bowel obstruction, but if you’re going to get your guts twisted into a knot, it’s a good place to go, and to leave (cause really, leaving the hospital is always better than going in.)

I don’t really have much to say at the moment. No poetry (yet). Looking forward to a full recovery (stupid post op infection). Oh….

2021: You can suck it!