friday roundup: on balance, twenty-two hacks, and “the mother, the witch, the briny womb”

Sometimes you just have to drop everything and notice how beautiful your front walk is.

Sometimes you just have to drop everything and notice how beautiful your front walk is.

Hello, Reader, and happy Friday. It’s finally fall in the Peninsula Town and I’m reveling in the gorgeousness of falling leaves. Yesterday when our yard helper came and swept up many of our Ginko tree’s fallen leaves, the little sister of this household wept copiously. “But they’re so beautiful,” she cried, “I wanted them to stay.” I know just how she feels. Speaking of beautiful and fleeting things, let’s talk poems:

on balance  Well, first let’s talk balance. Kelli Russell Agodon wrote a post this week called “The Balance Dilemma: Putting Your Writing First.” You should read it. Even if you are not a writer, you should read it. Because it talks about how to make your writing (or whatever your life’s work is) your first priority.

One thing I love about the post is that it doesn’t give you any sweeping advice about how to do it. There is no magic wand with a writing time spell inside it. Kelli list a few small but concrete ways she ekes out more writing time in her life. It reminds me of the old family budget. I don’t know about at your house, but at our house there are no big ticket items to cut out and suddenly have a bunch of extra money every month (Oh, okay, I guess let’s not go to Aruba after all. Um, no.). No, we pinch pennies by taking short showers, turning out the lights in unused rooms, and eating lots of legumes. The way you eke out more time for your life’s work will be different than Kelli’s or mine or anyone else’s. But you can do it.

The other thing I love is the image that accompanies the post. I think of it as: Floating Woman with Typewriter. This image captures exactly how I feel so many days — I’m trying to stay anchored in my writing, but there go my feet… the world is pulling at me… and it’s hard not to float away from the work.

twenty-two hacks  Here’s a post from Carmen Giminez Smith who’s guest blogging at Harriet this month. She lists twenty-two “hacks” (you could think of them as quick fixes) to apply to your poem as you work on it. Many of them you’ve probably seen before, but the list is worth having in your revision file — you’ve seen the strategies before because they work, right? And then there are a few that maybe you haven’t seen before. A worthy list either way.

“the mother, the witch, the briny womb”  I’ve been reading Sally Rosen Kindred’s chapbook Darling Hands, Darling Tongue which recently came out from Hyacinth Girl Press. Oh, how I love this chapbook and the world it creates around the story of Peter Pan. I would tell you more about it but Kathleen Kirk has already done the heavy lifting in her review of the book at Escape Into Life. Go over and read it, and while you’re there look for a few of Sally’s poems that appeared in this feature at EIL, too. A particular favorite of mine is “Story Hour” — it seems to perfectly compose the atmosphere of those afternoon read-alouds we remember from childhood, and somehow also encompasses the mother’s complicated perspective. Congratulations to Sally on this fine, fine work.

Now I’m off to do some of my own work. I can’t promise it will be fine, but I’m going to try hard not to float away from it until the kids get home from school. Thanks for reading!

4 thoughts on “friday roundup: on balance, twenty-two hacks, and “the mother, the witch, the briny womb”

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