Grad school doth be no joke

7 10 2014

Just kidding. So, I’m in graduate school now and it’s great. I’m a grad assistant so the college has basically decided to pay me to go to school. I think I’ve officially become a professional student. But we all knew that was gonna happen, right? By contract I had to give up all my other jobs, 3 or 4 of them. I think. I stopped counting a very long time ago. I actually don’t get out of bed before 8am now. WHO KNEW SLEEPING IN WAS A THING? And yes, 8am is sleeping in. I’ve also seen more of my family in the last 6 weeks than I have in the last 8 months and it is glorious. It’s amazing the things I now have time for. family, friends, sleeping, writing, HIKING, and thinking. I have certainly missed just being able to sit and ponder things.

I am now also a member of the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators. But I may have told you that already. I don’t remember. Anyway, I’m looking forward to getting some of my picture book ideas peer reviewed and hopefully will find an agent for them. There are so many possibilities swimming around and I’m very excited about it all.

Anyway, just wanted to pop in and say hey. If any of you are working on something new, feel free to share in the comments box. I love making new friends and sharing ideas!

~Cheers

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Community

12 02 2013

Community… not to be confused with the awesome TV show by the same name, is defined by Merriam-Webster as:  “a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society.” One of my favorite poets, John Donne, has a few words to say on the subject. You’ve probably heard it before but read it again.

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

One of my favorite Biblical passages can be found in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 whhiiiich states:

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

No one should live their lives on their own. Sure it can be done. And solitude is a blessed thing to escape to every now and then. BUT it’s not healthy as a permanent situation.

One person has the power to change the world. But TWO people, two people don’t double those odds, they more than double them. Basically the influence of  1+1=10.

One can create a community. You’re probably a part of several without fully realizing it. Your family, co-workers, church group, bingo partners, college classroom,  knitting club, gamer enclave …etc. You have influence in these circles. But just as importantly, they have a strong influence on you. I have several jobs and full time school. I’ve been in a lot of social situations. However these communities were not life giving. This kinda left me out on a limb. Working and going to school and working and going to school with some power naps in-between. I was around people all day long but the social interaction was very draining. Creative juices ebbed. Something had to change.

So I seized what bare-bones spare time I have to involve myself with others in what I consider two very important areas of my life. 1. My faith. 2. writing.

I’ve joined a new Bible study. It’s awesome! I only knew one person in the group to begin with but it’s a fantastic group of ladies, we’ve all connected and I’m loving it. We are studying the book of Daniel, which to be honest has a lot more to it than I’ve picked up on in my previous readings. Reckon that’s why they call it a Bible study. Anyway we’re using Beth Moore’s Daniel: Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophesy. It’s all about being culturally relevant without becoming spiritually irrelevant. And it has been such a blessing.

The second community is my poetry group. And as I promised to you in a previous post here I am telling you more  about it, or rather us. I recall telling you that we now call ourselves the Jones Valley Poetry Company. I even set us up a cool new blog site which I will now shamelessly promote. Check us out at jvpcompany.wordpress.com. Boom. Now that’s where it’s at. We started out just attending poetry class together studying under the incredible teacher I’ve mentioned before, Adam Vines. But then we started hanging out together. And poetry infused all of our meetings. Things just kinda went from there. We’re a fairly diverse group, however, our love of poetry and the city of Birmingham (which resides in Jones Valley) binds us together. We’re working towards cultivating love for these two topics within the Magic City (which has so much potential yet is widely misunderstood. Birmingham is trying to change it’s stereotype. A lot of times it gets a bad report. Don’t get me wrong it does reside within the top ten most violent cities within the US. And it by no means is the most gorgeous city out there. It has more the rustic or rather rusty charm about it. But against all odds, it’s trying. And we’re gonna help as much as we can.)

Communities, when faced with a common challenge/goal, get things done. When there are people there to support and encourage you, laugh when you laugh and cry with you when the world busts you in the face… it’s this human interaction that builds a home, a nation a world.

My communities are important to me. Be it my family, best friend, close friends, church family, writing group… they all have influence over who I am and how I’m interacting with the world. And Lord willing we’ll produce fruits that will touch and influence the lives of others.

That’s all for today,

Cheers!





A reflective note (almost post finals)

13 12 2012

I write this briefly as I bang my head against the last paper of the season. I have finished all my finals ( two ten page papers, one portfolio with 8 revised poems, one test with 40 essay questions, an internship portfolio with all my work from the entire semester, an art portfolio, two more finals tests and now just this remaining ten page paper.) It seems the closer I get to graduating the more college wants to keep me right where I’m at. I had a lot of fun this semester though, mainly in my poetry (thank you Adam) and art classes (and thank you Doug.) I feel accomplished but also borderline comatose. This will be relieved with a trip home for the weekend to see my Momma and sister. There is nothing that says Christmas quite as much as being with family with the sweet anticipation of Momma’s cooking. I wrote a good bit of poetry this semester which I shared a bit with ya’ll. There is more to come, which I’ll post when I can actually catch my breath. This is just one of those teaser posts. On a related note I did try my hand at NaNoWriMo and got about 10,000 words in before pre-finals preparation ripped me from my plot line. They really didn’t consider us poor college students when they chose November to be the month of eternal challenges. Oh well, I’ll work on it more come Christmas break. 

In the meantime I don’t want to leave you completely poetryless so I have included one of my beloved poems by Carl Sandburg. I love it for it’s minimalist nature but also for the depth of imagery in just a few lines. It reminds me of a place where I’d like to curl up with a cup of coffee and look out over this scene. Try reading the poem quietly to yourself really taking the time to savor the words.  Well here it is, enjoy!

Cheers!

 

Fog

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

 





Poetry Restriction = Clamming

1 10 2012

Hey peoples, so as some of you may know and probably most of you do not, I’m in an advanced poetry class this semester. My professor gives us a lot of severe restrictions (syllable count per line, enjambment, topic specific, etc.) for each poem. After you get past wrapping your mind around such limitation you’ll discover it’s actually pretty liberating. I’ve written about some things I never would have attempted before… such as clamming. The research for the poem actually took longer than writing the darn thing. I googled my heart out and even reverted to calling up my momma (yes a shout out to the lady that birthed me! hi mom *waves*) who is a Florida native. This is just the first draft of the poem I created today so it’s by no means finished. But I was decently pleased with the results (minus the last couplet which was a little rushed) and figured I’d share it with you. If you have any suggestions for the next draft just leave them in the comment box. Well here it is peoples, cheers!

Clamming

The moon is like a fat man’s fingernail tonight.
And the barnacles under the dock are as rocks

Closed up tight like morning glories before the sun’s first light
Breaks over the horizon. My grandfather once told me,
“You can eat the tubers, the Indians did, ‘tater style.”
But I prefer to sink my toes into the brackish silt,

Tread out the quahogs and reach down to mitt my
Hands into live ground. Thick soles don’t weal
Unlike the baby skin of the snow birds who
Rent shinicocks instead. But the rake is faster

And faster is what I need as the water threatens to lap
The hem of my rolled denim. And when the bucket’s filled
I’ll sit on the shore, wet skin prickling in the breeze
And inspect the bivalves who’s sides cleave to one another

With the adductor muscle; “One of the strongest in the
World,” my mother says popping them open with a sharp twist.
Tomorrow there will be chowder but tonight I watch
As my scrounging marks are erased

And that which was stale is refreshed and submerged,
Like the Nile’s inundation, restitution to the land.





Spider in English Class

12 03 2012

While sitting in my English class

Sleep crept upon my being

My head began to dip and nod

My eyes were blurred of seeing

 

She took a firm grasp o’er me

I tried in vain to fight her!

Then all at once my heart leapt up

For I thought I saw a spider

 

All dreaming flew far away

As I looked yet again

For within these stone mundane walls

I thought I found a friend

 

Dear reader you may make of me

That my senses, leave have taken

Yet I will say I was quite sad

To find I’d been mistaken

 

A living thing that creeps and crawls

Within this cold hard place

Would have filled my heart with joy

And put a smile on my face

 

Yet no matter how hard I stare

My wishing’s not enough

I can not make a spider of

This lifeless ball of fluff








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