friday roundup (sort of) with a body and a rough net

Hello, reader, it’s been a while.

Summer has come and gone, the kids are in school, and—now that I’ve finished my MFA—some days I have time to do nothing for a while.

A short while.

The other day, I put up corn and tomatoes with my aunt. We blanched them, then cooled them in a cold water bath, cleaned (corn) and diced (tomatoes), then put them in containers for freezing. It reminded me of the importance of sometimes doing things that allow me to be just in my body, to take a break from what’s caught in the rough net of my mind.

I love the phrase “cold water bath.”

Most days I’m busy reading, writing, editing book reviews for The Rumpus, sending out poems and manuscripts of poems, looking for work, taking people to the orthodontist, making dinner, dropping off and picking up from ballet, etc.

I’ve been writing only small things. A list of words, a phrase, a grammatical construction: “The (n.) is what the (n.) (v.).” “Where (n.) (v.) you can find a way to (v.).” “I say (x) so as not to say (y).”

I’ve been casting about for something to read that will (get ready to laugh with me) Finally Make Sense of Everything Once and For All, that will (as I think of it) save me: a book of poems, just one poem, a couplet, a line, one word, rafter, loiter, femur, blanch.

Did you know the technical term for a joint (the kind in our bodies) is articulation? We say that one bone “articulates” with another where they join. Did you know that, amongst other things, articulate means “to divide into distinct parts”? Isn’t it odd that we use a word that means “to divide” to indicate a joining? From the Latin articulare, “to separate into joints,” from articulus, “a part, a member, a joint,” also, “a knuckle, the article in grammar.” A knuckle(!). Did you know that, amongst the many architectural (as opposed to corporeal) joints, there is one called birdsmouth. BIRDSMOUTH(!!!).

[This, by the way, is how one word can Finally Make Sense of Everything Once and For All, can save someone, at least for a while. A short while.].

I’ve been listening to the Commonplace Podcast while folding laundry, chopping onions, sewing ribbons on pointe shoes, ripping out ribbons from pointe shoes because they need to be repositioned, sewing ribbons on pointe shoes again (true story). If you’ve never listened, I recommend it enthusiastically. Rachel Zucker has interviewed poets (and some other people) and recorded their conversations. There are many gems for poetry, the writing life, and for all of life, really, in these interviews, and I’m grateful for the way they catch in my mind’s net and pass the time while I am in my body, folding, chopping, sewing on, ripping out, and sewing on again.

I’ve been reading women poets along with other poets and readers of poetry on Twitter. If you’re looking for books by women poets, search the hashtag #SeptWomenPoets and you will find treasure. This project is the brainchild of Shara Lessley. It’s been fun to read and tweet along.

Here’s a poem from one of the books I’ve read this month, which also happens to be by someone from my old writing group (during my California days): Even Years by Christine Gosnay (Kent State University Press, 2017). There is a particular joy in reading the poems of a friend and colleague, poems that you read when they were just born and solitary things, poems that you’ve watched grow up and begin to join together in constellations of theme and thought, poems that are now bound in a book.

*

AKADEMOS by Christine Gosnay

I give my daughter the name Hypatia, tell her
the monks pulled Hypatia through the streets
and sewed her back together. I give my daughter

an astrolabe and tell her ships baste slit-
seams in the ocean to snag falling bodies.

Earlier, white stones fell from my hands
and landed on the road
until I could not see one stone.

I give my daughter a body and a rough net,
tell her to straighten her back and be ready
to weave the welkin sphere that bleeds

skeleton-blue and gray. I give my daughter
eyes and a sky.
I give my daughter a long, bright day.

My daughter carries a harpoon. She drifts
the sea with her barb the size of a needle.

Sea full of bodies, she sings, stalling. Then bends
her back, out she climbs. Oyster shells
bunched in her net.

*

Happy weekend, thanks for reading.

thesis-ing

img_7994

The word thesis is from Latin thesis, meaning “unaccented syllable in poetry”; later (and more correctly), “stressed part of a metrical foot,” from Greek thesis “a proposition”; also “downbeat” (in music), originally “a setting down, a placing, an arranging…” from root tithenai “to place, put, set.”

I find this only mildly comforting.

Now back to thesis-ing…

friday roundup: being the cannibal, sensory detail in the brain (and also the heart), and the title for this post has too many words in it

wikimedia

wikimedia

Happy Friday, Reader. Did you know that in some species of insects and arachnids the females eat the males after or during the act of procreation? I have been thinking about this lately, not because I’m eyeing my spouse thinking ‘snack.’ No. Rather, because I’ve been cannibalizing old poems. Let me tell you a little bit about…

being the cannibal  The Manuscript That Will Never Say Die, Or For That Matter, ‘Done’ (as I fondly refer to my manuscript) has been sniffing around my desk asking to be fed and watered. Dear Manuscript, I sometimes feel like saying, I have nothing more to give. Except that I’ve learned again and again when I feel that way it’s time to go back.

By this I mean go back to old poems, old not-quite-poems, and old just-writing-in-my-notebook-not-even-close-to-poems. Because, guess what: the different, fresher, stronger, more resonant images that you think you need for what you’re working on today might be there.

In other words, let your poems be cannibals. Let them go back and eat the pinky finger of the poem you’ve decided is just not crucial enough to work on anymore, but whose seventh line you know is really strong.

And also, friendly reminder: All the poems in the ‘I Abandon’ file? Those, as you page through them, will tell you the story of how you got to the poem you are writing this week. Oh yes, the poem I finally wrote that stuck has twenty-seven failed poem attempts behind it. Nothing is wasted.

Which is not to say you never have to push through to new lines, images, metaphors, etc. It’s just to say: don’t forget what you already have. And, to repeat: Nothing is wasted.

(I can never think of the phrase “to repeat” without thinking of this scene in When Harry Met Sally).

sensory detail and the brain (and also the heart)  So, I’ve been memorizing a new poem this week (the poem’s not new; the me memorizing it is). It’s Jack Gilbert’s “The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart,” and if you glance at it you’ll see that it starts out making an argument, and then moves into a meditation on language. An image-heavy meditation on language. A full-of-sensory detail meditation on language.

And I’ve noticed an interesting thing about memorizing the poem. Usually I go in line order to memorize. But this time, I’ve learned the last half of the poem first — not for want of trying to memorize the lines in order… it’s just that the latter half of the poem has stuck with me in a way that the first half has not (yet).

Which  made me think of a Poets&Writers article I read last summer, “The Heart and the Eye” (sorry, not available online). In it, J.T. Bushnell explains the neuroscience behind the power of sensory detail:

“When we read about an odor (or image or sensation), it engages the exact same part of the brain as actually smelling it (or seeing it or touching it), and those parts of the brain reside in the lower region, alongside our emotional centers.”

This, Bushnell says, is why writing full of images, smells, and other sensations “can take such precise aim at the heart.”

This (I think) is why I’m having a hard time remembering the more rhetorical lines of Gilbert’s poem, but also why when my husband sends a text that he’s at the airport in Singapore getting on a flight to come home, the following line from the poem comes out of my mouth before I realize it, “My joy is the same as twelve / Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.”

And it’s why when the air cools and the ginko trees begin their slow walk from green to gold I can cry out (to the embarrassment of my children), “O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper”!

Note to self.

the title for this post has too many words in it  What can I say, I’m tired. But I’ve been thinking about titles and what they can do for a poem (or how they can sabotage a poem) — pithy titles, mysterious titles, unique titles, boring titles, luxuriant titles, and especially the title of a Jane Hirshfield poem, which is “For the Lobaria, Usnea, Witches Hair, Map Lichen, Beard Lichen, Ground Lichen, Shield Lichen.”

This poem is in her collection Come, Thief. Both in the table of contents and in the magazine it was first published in, it was titled “For the Lichens.” Space constraints, I’m sure.

But I’m so in love with its long, luxuriant title, which adorns the page above the poem in the book. Say it out loud! It’s amazing! And I like the poem, too — the way it’s a celebration of lichens but also of language and of survival. And, beyond that, of plain old keeping at it.

Here it is in The Atlantic.

May you have a luxuriant weekend. May you always keep at it, whatever ‘it’ is.

friday roundup: nash equilibrium edition

"The Pretty Housewife" by Amedeo Modigliani

“The Pretty Housewife” by Amedeo Modigliani

Friday again? What have I done all week? Oh yeah — there was the abandoned nestling (a sparrow, I think) that we nursed and delivered to wildlife rescue. There were anywhere from 3 to 5 kids in the house depending on the day and time. Many meals — mostly the scraped together kind, but one decent dinner. Swim practice. Doctor’s appointments. Laundry in there somewhere. A few early mornings at my desk revising, revising, and revising. Not as much reading as I’d like, not as much poetry time as I’d like, but there you go. Here is my humble offering for the week:

poetry and the Nash Equilibrium  Well, I never thought my economics background would come in handy in my poetry life, but just this week it did. The Nash Equilibrium is a concept from economics (specifically game theory) wherein people reach the best decision they can, taking into account other people’s preferences. In a Nash Equilibrium, it’s possible (maybe even probable) that no one ends up with their first choice, but overall utility is higher than it would be if people were not taking into account other people’s preferences. (I think this is right. It has been decades since Economics and I were in the same room together). The theory won John Forbes Nash, Jr. the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994. Its real-life  implementation won Anne Sexton the Pulitzer in 1967.

Let me explain. Well, no, I’ll just let this article explain. But the bottom line is that Anne Sexton was nobody’s first choice for the Pulitzer in 1967. The jurors couldn’t come to agreement. Eventually, they settled on Anne.

What’s fascinating about this to me is that, as a mere earthling, I always assume that whoever gets the Pulitzer (or any other prize for that matter) was everyone’s first choice — that their work stood head and shoulders over everyone else’s, even the rock stars they were up against. This story tells us that, no — sometimes the jury can’t agree, sometimes they settle on nobody’s first choice, but a choice they can begrudgingly agree on. Even in poetry, even in the Pulitzer. Something to chew on.

the work of play  Summer vacation ain’t what it used to be. At least, here in the P-town it’s not. Remember going outside after breakfast, finding a pack of kids to run around with, going home for lunch, reuniting with the pack, and then going home for dinner (then reuniting with the pack until the streetlights came on or your dad’s voice drifted through the neighborhood dusk, calling you home)?

I’m sure I’m romanticizing this. But I’ve watched my kids — especially the eldest — try to find friends to hang out with this summer, and it’s rare that anyone is available. They are at this camp or that camp or this class or that class. I’m not against camps and classes as a rule, but I’m definitely for time to just be — to play (or “hang out” when they get older), to get bored, to lose oneself in the shade of a tree or the pages of a book.

Madeline Levine is a child psychologist and researcher who argues for the importance of play (amongst other things). Here’s a brief article on why it’s important. Maybe this has nothing to do with poetry, but I can’t imagine how I’d have become a poet if I hadn’t had hours upon hours to be in the world, and in my head, on my own terms. And we all know that play is a crucial ingredient of art.

between the chopping board and the stove  I haven’t read much this week, and what I’ve read is Larry Levis’s Elegy, which is a-MAZ-ing, but does not lend itself to sharing poems in a blog post. But sometimes just the right poem finds us even when we are not reading much, or reading very long poems that can’t be shared in a blog post. This happened yesterday when I was reading through the current issue of flycatcher, and came across Francesca Bell’s poem “Housewife’s Meditation.” This poem saved my life yesterday. That is all. Go read it here.

And while we’re on housewife poems and Anne Sexton, here is that glam lady-poet’s contribution to the subgenre:

*

Housewife

Some women marry houses.
It’s another kind of skin; it has a heart,
a mouth, a liver and bowel movements.
The walls are permanent and pink.
See how she sits on her knees all day,
faithfully washing herself down.
Men enter by force, drawn back like Jonah
into their fleshy mothers.
A woman is her mother.
That’s the main thing.

*

And now for me it’s back to the work that is always undoing. Happy Friday, and thanks for reading.

friday roundup: overdue edition with track meet and bee sting

Blue Iris, looking fairly benign to me (wikimedia)

Blue Iris, looking fairly benign to me (wikimedia)

Hello, Reader, and happy Friday. It seems I will never learn. Last week, Friday passed by me in a blur. This week, I hadn’t planned on spending many hours devoted to transporting a 4×100 relay team to the county meet (and then staying to watch; mind you, relays are always last). I hadn’t planned on devoting many hours to care and treatment of a bee sting on a child’s foot. Many. Hours.

I need a sign above my desk: This week you will spend many hours doing things you hadn’t planned on. Plan on it. Luckily, notebooks and poetry collections are portable and they go with me everywhere. I did what I could, with what I had, where I was. It was less than I had planned on, but that’s life.

Also, for the record, I had not planned on the rest of the Thursdays and Fridays of the school year being half-days. ENORMOUS SIGH. Onward.

linguistic citizenship  I read a really interesting article in the New Yorker this week about language as it relates (or doesn’t) to world view. It’s kind of an extended review of the newly published Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexiconand an essay on whether language creates worldview (Whorfianism) or not (as John McWhorter argues). Adam Gopnik, who wrote the article, lands here:

“Although the differences between languages are minute, and can’t be elevated to either a prison house or a world view, it is in language’s minutiae that the small gestures of art live.”

As a poet, I like that idea, of course (and I also like that phrase: “the small gestures of art”). Here’s the whole article if you’re interested.

misperceptions  Another thing I finally read this week is an article about mis-readings by Sarah J. Sloat at Passages North. It begins with Sloat relating a story of opening her medicine cabinet and seeing some Apocalypse Oil (rather than appliance oil). She points out:

“Positive or negative, there is something refreshingly jarring about the unexpected. Good writers do it by thwarting reader expectations. But in the case of misreadings, not the writer but the reader delivers the surprise. The reader’s mind switches out the details. It lapses. It sees what it wants to see. Not only does it overlook, it compensates and embellishes. The misled mind is creative. It doesn’t take words at face value but gets involved, creating a personal subtext.”

Sloat keeps a notebook of her mis-readings — probably something all of us writerly types should do (My most recent mis-reading is thus: “Are you arthritis?” instead of “Are you an artist?” Pass the artist.).

To quote Sloat’s quote of Georg Christoph Licthenberg, “Every surprise changes the world.” Read the whole article here if you’re interested.

and speaking of which here are a couple of my favorite poems based on misperceptions:

One from Sandy Longhorn and her Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths: “‘Touch Me’ Misread as ‘Torch Me'” (scroll down for the poem — it’s amidst a review).

And another from Kelli Russell Agodon (this one based upon mishearing rather than misreading): “How Killer Blue Irises Spread.”

Keep a lawn chair and a hat in the back of your car, keep your shoes on (for Heaven’s sake!!!!) and plan for the unplanned. This is all I know for sure this week. Enjoy the long weekend.

assembling a whole little world

"the world is a scary place but I have waterwings" by Lisa Swerling

“the world is a scary place but I have waterwings” by Lisa Swerling

Hello, Reader, and happy Tuesday. I’ve been here and there — orientation meetings, packing lunches, making hurried last-minute purchases of shoes that fit, and taking care of my nephew for the week. I not a little baby! he says over and over. And no, he’s not — he’s two. I confess, I’ve never thought twos were all that terrible; I love the age. And I’ve loved having my nephew around the house. I’ve tried to keep my poetry expectations reasonable, and have spent 90% of my writing time working on an application — with a little morning reading and writing to keep the poetry muscles limber.

Still, poetry always seems to find me (does this ever happen to you?). On Sunday, while my boys had their hair cut, I was wandering through an art fair up in the College Town, and I came across the most amazing little shadowboxes. Here’s one:

"First Flight" by Lisa Swerling

“First Flight” by Lisa Swerling

Can you see the teeny-tiny woman on the bottom of the box? The artist, Lisa Swerling, calls these works of art “glass cathedrals.” I was so intrigued by them that I asked her how she began making them, and what her process is.

Lisa told me that a friend had given her a tiny figurine of a man that, for some reason she (Lisa) didn’t understand, she carried around for years. She didn’t know what she would ever do with the man figurine, but she knew she had to keep it.

Then one day, she thought, I wonder what would happen if I put him in a box? So she did. She talked about how the world can seem enormous and we can feel so small. She talked about how tiny things can become bigger, and enormous things smaller, when they’re put into a box. And, she said (I’m paraphrasing, but closely): “Once I put him in a box, he became part of a whole little world.”  She meant the world inside the box.

Of course, the whole time, I was thinking about poems.

You know that little scrap of language you’ve been carrying around for years — the one you’re not sure what to do with? Yes, I’m thinking about that little scrap of language, and about what might happen if you put it in a little box.

The little box of a poem.

The poem-box might be made of constraints you put in place: I will use these 5 words, the poem will be one long sentence, no longer than 10 lines. Or the poem box might be made of a traditional form: a sonnet, a villanelle, a (Saints preserve us!) sestina.  Or perhaps the poem box is made of a traditional poem with a window punched through it, or the door wide open — a variation on a traditional form, I mean. Or the poem box might even build itself as you go along, and notice the shape (literal and figurative) this poem seems to take. Then you’ll have this teeny tiny scrap of language inside a box.

Yes, the poem might assemble a whole little world.

If you’d like to see more of Lisa Swerling’s glass cathedrals and learn more about her work, visit her website here. Personally, I’m going to start saving my allowance so I can buy one.

Whatever little world you’re assembling today, I hope you enjoy being in it.

friday roundup: another way to steal, “slash I do mean word” and “my faithful, / flattened star”

Image

do I smell a rat? image from wikimedia

Friday again. All three of my children are at school. At least for now. Before that changes (not that I’m expecting it to, but…), let’s go straight to the roundup:

another way to steal  A while back we were talking about how to steal poetry. It dawned on me that I left one important (to me) way of stealing poetry off the list. That is: homophonic translation. Homophonic translation is the process of taking a poem written in a different language and translating it according to what it sounds like in your language, rather than according to its meaning. I use Google Translate to do this, although I’m sure there are other translation tools out there you can use. Of course, you can also just begin with a poem written in a language other than the one you write in.

My process is to take a poem in English that I love, Google-translate it into German (which has lots of really strong sounds), and then use homophonic translation to get it back into English.

Warning: You must be willing to write complete nonsense to use this tool.

Often, I will get just one usable phrase or line from the homophonic translation. But often, that one phrase or line is enough to get me into a new draft, or to get me unstuck in a revision I’m working on.

The other thing that’s nice about this is that the product is almost always a completely different creature than the poem you started with, so there’s no worry about needing to attribute. Steal away

“slash I do  mean word”  Word nerd alert! Have you read this article about the emergence of “slash” as a word rather than a symbol? Apparently, young folks are using the word “slash” in written communication where us old folks would typically just use the symbol. The article lists many examples, and goes on to say that not only does this novel use of slash fulfill the function that the symbol ‘/’ used to fulfill, but its meaning has also evolved to indicate not just a second, related thought, but to indicate (1). something like “following up.” and slash or (2). an afterthought or shift in topic.

BTW, I have heard from people who teach college students that the word “hashtag” (i.e., from Twitter) is making its way into conversation. I think it’s used, like, if your friend trips in front of the boy she has a crush on, you could say, “Hashtag awkward!” But don’t quote me on that — it’s been a really long time since my friend tripped in front of the boy she had a crush on.

“my faithful, / flattened star”  This morning I woke early to steal some time while the house was still asleep, and I went to Verse Daily for a dose of poetry. What joy to see that one of my dear po-friends, Cintia Santana, was today’s featured poet! Her poem “Elegy” is at Verse Daily for you to enjoy. I admire how much work gets done in this poem in just 17 lines. I admire the sounds, rhythms, and echoes of rhyme. And I love the way it makes me think about all those things — inanimate, or formerly animate, objects — that somehow become a part of our lives, a part of us. Go read this poem now!

That’s it for this week, Reader. Happy Friday slash weekend.

friday roundup: your brain on Shakespeare, eating your spinach, and “The room has earned its sadness.”

Billy Boy on a Hungarian postage stamp, wikimedia

Billy Boy on a Hungarian postage stamp, wikimedia

Reader, I realize it’s already cocktail hour on the East Coast (insert sigh of longing here), but I’m bound and determined to post a roundup today. Stakin’ a claim! I’ve been at my desk 20 minutes trying to start this post. Things keep happening. Bug bites. Disputes over the green marker. Paper cuts. Resistance to post-basketball showers. Requests for more food (did we not just finish lunch)? In other words, lentils. But lentils-shmentils, I’m writing a roundup. Let’s go:

your brain on Shakespeare  I’m a little late to this party, but this is really cool. I was reading an essay by David Kirby (“A Wilderness of Monkeys” from The Monkey and the Wrench: Essays in Contemporary Poetics) in which the author referred to a study of what our brains do when they’re reading Shakespeare. The study was published in 2006 by the University of Liverpool, and it found that Shakespearean language, and particularly “functional shifts” wherein one word can change the grammar of a whole sentence (such as a word that’s typically a noun functioning as a verb or vice versa), causes our brains to light up in ways that they do not when functional shifts are not employed. A quote from one of the researchers:

“The effect on the brain is a bit like a magic trick; we know what the trick means but not how it happened.  Instead of being confused by this in a negative sense, the brain is positively excited. “

Well, no wonder Shakespeare’s work has stood the test of time — it makes our brains happy! I love it when brain science and literature have things to say to one another. And methinks there’s a little craft tip in these findings as well.

eating your spinach  I confess, I’m an on again/off again subscriber to Poetry magazine. I subscribed for a few years, then let it lapse when we moved to California. I recently resumed my subscription. For me Poetry is all about eating your spinach. You know you need to read it; it’ll be good for you. Sometimes it’s delicious — fresh, crisp and drizzled with a sweet and sour bacon dressing. Other times — meh. But I’ve really enjoyed the “A Few Don’ts” series they’ve been running, in which contemporary poets follow in the wake of Ezra Pound’s A Few Don’ts by an Imagiste to list their own don’ts-for-poets.

I especially appreciate this one by Reginald Dwayne Betts in the March issue:

“This ain’t about risk. Risk is living below the poverty line in the worst part of town; risk is raising a black boy in a town with laws like Stand Your Ground; … risk is what soldiers, police officers, firefighters encounter. Poetry is about language, words, about being as honest as you can on the page.”

Writers sometimes talk about “taking risks” — and it can feel risky to a writer (in a personal way) to delve into material that may be painful for her. But — aside from helping us keep things in proper perspective — what I like about this quote is the reminder that poetry is about language and words. Even those subjects that feel personally risky to the poet must make themselves useful within the tools of the trade. For me, this idea can help take some of the emotion out of drafting: Get in line, you slippery emotions, you’re in poetry school now!

“The room has earned its sadness.” In my small cracks of reading and writing time this week, I’ve been reading Alison Titus’ sum of every lost ship. I’m really enjoying it, and will write more about it soon, but for now I’ll send you to read a couple of motel poems found in the book, and originally published at Blackbird. I love that these poems are tiny but packed with emotion. I love their loneliness, their forlorn-ness. I’m so intrigued by the way they’re full-justified so that space happens randomly within the lines, and so that the unfolding of the poem is both irregular and constricted — moments of almost-freedom within a small box. Rather like the feeling of being in a motel room, no? The first one is here and the second is here, and while you’re there you won’t be disappointed if you read this poem, too.

Reader, have a wonderful weekend. Thanks, as always, for reading. And may your brain be lit up like Vegas.

the universe delivers, and… some other stuff

IMG_1091

one reader’s trash…

Reader, long have I yearned for a copy of Gray’s Anatomy. The body is fertile ground in my writing, and anyway, the drawing of the hand alone is worth a whole obsession packet! But, y’know, book-buying budgets… and poetry is always my first priority… . So, I’ve been getting by with the library copy now and then, making copies, scribbling notes, etc.

This morning I finally went the grocery store parking lot recycling center with a few bags of shoes and clothes that have been sitting in my garage for months (these are the shoes and clothes that are so beat up, I can’t in good conscience hand them down or donate them). As I was loading the bags in the shoes/clothes bin, I noticed that there was a big mess of books left outside the book bin. And, of course, I couldn’t help myself. I had to look through it. And what do you think I found? Yes, a copy of Gray’s Anatomy. I snatched it right up, of course.

It’s a bit worse for the wear. Who knows how long it’s been camping in the grocery store parking lot? It’s a 1995 edition (I was shocked when I did the math and realized that 1995 was 18 years ago!!??!!). It’s marked up a bit, bent, spine slightly crooked. It’s not perfect, but it will do.

And it was a cool moment for me — a reminder that, sometimes, the universe delivers. There is synchronicity. Perhaps if I’d taken the clothes and shoes last week, I’d not have found the book (it doesn’t look like it’s been through any rain, which we had early last week). I kind of needed a reminder like that this week.

As for the other stuff, this is just to say: I’ll be away from the blog for most of the next week or so. Motherly duty calls as one of our kids is going through some medical stuff — nothing too scary, but it’ll take time and care. I may check in here and there if there’s something quick and easy to post, and if I can find a sliver of time. If not, I’ll see you back here when things open up again.

Meanwhile, I hope the universe delivers for you, too.