Archive for April, 2013

How We Grieve

April is coming to a close.  I have just a few more classes of the semester and then I am facing the summer — with lots of projects and tasks I should complete.  Yet, in light of the events that have happened this past month, I’m finding it hard to get excited about the months ahead.  It’s funny — but everyone thinks that if you are a writer, then of course, writing about your grief helps you find some relief and closure.  But I’ve always had trouble writing about personal loss — at least right away.

So for now, I’m wrapping up the semester, and I do have a “To Do” list that NEEDS to get done, no matter what.  I also have a lawn that needs to be mowed (yes, the neighbors with their rumbling lawnmowers make me feel guilty).  I have boxes of book left over from spring cleaning that need to be donated.  I have laundry.  I have dusty window blinds.  I have dishes in the sink.  I have one last lesson that needs work.

The business of living must continue.

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RIP: Lola

Best Picture Ever of Lola

 Today, Anthony and I lost our beloved cat, Lola, after she fought long and hard to overcome chylothorax.  She was only three years old.  I have posted my favorite picture of Lola, where she is helping me with my manuscript. 

As I type this post I am thinking of a conversation I had with a creative writing student a few years ago.  In her short memoir, she used the phrase “My heart was broken.”  When I tried to explain to her that phrase was a cliché, and could she maybe find another phrase to describe grief, she said, “But that’s what it feels like.  Like your heart is breaking.”

She was right.  That is what it does feel like.

CFS: Love Poems

Spring is here and love is in the air. Rattle is looking for your love poems!  Now through October 15, 2013, the journal will be accepting submissions for love poems of any kind.  Read here for complete guidelines. The editors will also be considering narrative essays about love poetry.

Troubling Days

There are indeed days when I feel like we are living in a very dark world.  This week started out this way.  Like many others, I was glued to my television set (and when I wasn’t near a television set, a computer) watching the news of the Boston Marathon bombing and the events that followed.  Locally, we had another tragic and horrific event where four men invaded a country home (located about a half hour from where I live) and killed the couple who lived there.

On the homefront, things haven’t been too much better.  I’m suffering from some health issues that aren’t going to kill me, but are making me uncomfortable and tired.  Our cat, Lola, had a setback this week, and once again, had to have a chest pump inserted into her chest cavity to drain fluid.  The vet is hopeful, and says that in cases like this, it’s not unusual to have to pump a cat’s chest three or four times before seeing results.  Lola is back home with us and seems happy and healthy — she’s eating and playing and resting in the sun.  When I look at her now, it’s hard to believe that two days ago, she could barely breathe.

So, as I’m writing this post, I’m looking forward to weeks of recovery — at the national level, at the local level, at our little home.  I have a colleague who told me that good heals pain faster than fear.  I know she is right.

April Showers & Spring Cleaning

For the past week or so, I have lived in a soggy world.  But hey, it’s better than living in a cold, white world.  According to the weather reports, we are in for some dry weather in the days ahead.  I really need to wade through the mud that is currently my backyard to start spring clean up.

And because we are nearing the end of the semester, I also really need to wade through the stacks of papers that are scattered on my desk.

Today is the half-way mark of the month, and I’m happy to report that I have kept up with my poem-a-day challenge.  It’s too early to tell what poems will really be poems, but I know from looking back at my scribbles, that I have some strong starts.  After weeks of silence on the submission front, I have also received two rejections.  The first rejection was disappointing, but I have to admit that the second rejection made me laugh — it was from a journal I submitted to over two years ago.  All four submitted poems were accepted elsewhere for publication (and yes, I contacted said journal to withdraw my submission).  It was a snail mail submission, so when I got the SASE in the mail, I couldn’t even remember what the submission was until I opened the envelope and saw the form rejection.  Huh.

Guess there are editors out there who are doing their own spring cleaning!

CFS: Unreal Poems

The editors of Poemeleon are now accepting submissions for their next issue: the Unreal.  What defines the unreal?  According to the journal’s website,  the unreal could be defined in many ways including works that are magical realist, fabulist, or speculative or poems that otherwise incorporate the strange, the surreal, and the unreal, whether or not it could possibly really exist. Submissions will be considered until June 30, 2013.  Take a look here for complete guidelines.

Spring Has Sprung

Spring has arrived just in time! (So says the poet blogger rather sarcastically).  I’m back to the classroom tomorrow and looking forward to the whirlwind of April events, including JCC’s celebration of Earth Month.  The temperatures have warmed up, and the cats (Lola is holding her own.) are enjoying open windows and the outside drama of birds and bunnies and chipmunks.  Yes, it’s supposed to rain later today, but I will take the warm April showers, instead of frost and snow.

Cruel Month

T.S. Eliot was right.  April is “the cruellest month.”  Dear Scrapper Poet readers, Anthony and I have found out that our beloved kitty Lola has been diagnosed with a rare condition called  Chylothorax, which is basically a build up of lymph fluid in the chest cavity.  The prognosis is guarded to good.   Right now, she seems to be fine — she’s eating and playing and is very alert.  She has some respiratory problems, but is managing.  We are treating her with medication and a new diet that is low in fat.  She had a chest tap last week, and yesterday, a follow-up visit to the vet, who was pleased with her progress.  I know that this type of medication often takes weeks before we see any results.  I also know that this condition is often fatal to cats, but I also know that many cats heal and live good, healthy lives.  So please think of Lola in our little humble household of cat lovers.

I was on spring break this past week, but my days have been taken up with cat care.  Now that Lola is on the mend (fingers crossed), I hope to focus a bit more time on poetry — after all, it is National Poetry Month! I’m trying to write a poem a day and so far, on day five, I have been successful.  I’m also trying to catch up on all poetry reading — too many friends with too many good books out! (Wow, what a great problem to have!)