Why I’m Not Doing NaNoWriMo This Year

  1. I could be eating something pumpkin-flavored instead.
  2. I could finish watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Miss Hammurabi, Game of Thrones (I might still be on season one), or find a new nature or travel documentary.
  3. I could deep clean my house, or at least go through the clutter, or at least give it a surface clean, or at least straighten things up…
  4. I could learn to knit?

Okay, silliness aside, Continue reading

Advertisements

Christmas Postcards!

Announcement time!!

Last year I wrote a Christmas poem to include in all of the cards I send out to family and friends. I had so much fun doing it that I want to write a small Christmas poem again this year… but I’m going to share it with you too!

If you aren’t already on my Christmas card list and you love snail mail that isn’t asking for money or selling something, then I’d love to send you a Christmas postcard with a poem on it this year.

I’m not putting a limit on how many cards I’ll send out just yet. If the requests are overwhelming I’ll edit this post that I’m no longer accepting addresses for this year when I hit a limit on what I can handle.

I am accepting requests from now through November 30th. International addresses are okay.

(I hope to mail everything the first week of December.)

Please post your name and mailing address in a comment below or email me at lissa.clouser@gmail.com if you don’t want the information publicly visible.

Legal/Privacy: I will not be sharing your name or address with anyone. This is simply for the purpose of a one-time postcard mailed to you. Addresses will not be kept afterward.

 

*Photo by user Jo-B at Pixabay, creative commons usage

Fall 2018 Writing Retreat (Journal 4 of 4)

Ankles in the watery muck!

We’re packed and ready to leave soon. Well, not ready but our time on retreat is up for now.

Last night we were treated to one last view of the Milky Way before the clouds came in. This morning it is a calm sort of overcast with a light breeze at just the perfect temperature. I’ll miss the water and the cottonwood that sounds like rain. I’ll miss running barefoot in the grass. Continue reading

Fall 2018 Writing Retreat (Journal 3 of 4)

Poor birdie flew into our door and was a bit stunned, but he flew off okay!

It’s the dawn of our last full day here. (Okay, it’s 9:30 am, but it’s the start of my day. This is vacation after all.)

I’m sitting on the front porch in a wooden rocking chair. The sun is beautifully bright reflecting on the surface of the pond and the tiny, rippled waves on the water are soothing to watch. The air is comfortably cool, the breeze is fresh, Continue reading

Fall 2018 Writing Retreat (Journal 2 of 4)

Sunset walk

Last night we saw the Milky Way. It has been more than ten years since I was anywhere dark enough (with a night clear enough) to see. We wondered aloud how could anyone live somewhere where the Milky Way is visible and not stare up in awe each and every night. One of the RRFS noted that people get desensitized to it over time like we do everything else. She then added, “and it’s a damn shame.” Continue reading

Fall 2018 Writing Retreat (Journal 1 of 4)

It’s hard to make the switch to going on retreat. It’s a vacation, of course, yet quite different. Once we’ve stopped by the local grocery store there’s no shopping to be done. There are few, if any, sights to be seen. Just a cabin and the noises that nature brings. It’s a hard stop from working the day job, running errands, and planting yourself in front of the TV.

I’ve spent the last few weeks so eager to get away, to breathe, to read and write… but there’s something to be said about waiting too intensely for something. Something to be said, but I don’t have the words. Continue reading

October

I’m throwing all sense or hope of schedules around here out the door and just promising not to forget about my blog for too long at a time. I honestly do enjoy blogging, even if sometimes I struggle with what to say that anyone else may want to read, but sometimes even existing feels like a lot of work and when that happens, things like blogging get put on hold. That’s pretty much been the last 12-15 months for me. And you know what? Existing is hard work and if that’s all you can manage (speaking to everyone now, not just myself) that’s okay! That’s the most important bit. Always continuing on, even if sometimes everything gets put on hold and you work at a snail’s pace to get back to it. Just keep existing.

That being said, I recently went on a writing retreat and wrote a few short journals while there. I’ll be posting those starting next week!

Then in early November I have a fun little announcement to make…

I may blog in bursts, but I’m currently in one, so stick around for the next few posts!

 

Worldwide Post Report: 2018 Part One

Time for a fun post and something simple while I’m still tackling brain fog and fatigue that makes snails look fast.

It’s been quite some time since I posted an update of my postcrossing adventures, but I’ve been getting back into the habit slowly this year and have a few new favorites to share.

For those of you new to the blog in the last year or so, postcrossing is a hobby in which you receive the address for someone in the world, write them a postcard, and when they mark that card received YOUR address gets handed off to someone else so that you can receive a card. You never know where in the world the cards will come from or who you might meet. Most people treat these as one-time interactions, but I have actually found a long term pen pal this way.

This first one is from Russia. The postcrossing project asks that all cards be written in English (unless the person you are writing to has specified they can read another language), but unfortunately this one is written IN Russian so I’m not sure what was said. The handwriting is very flowy and beautiful though! Continue reading

Life Update the 2nd

I just realized I haven’t done a life update since March, and now it’s nearly August. This year is beating me up.

  • Hubby and I bought a new lawn mower, because the one we got when we initially bought the house has needed major repair every year. It was time to bite the bullet and we could handle a small loan for a new one, so we took on the expense.
  • With the new mower came the need for a new shed, having torn down last year the very old, very large mess of a shed originally on our property. We opted for one with just a little bit extra room for other tools, and took on that expense too.
  • In May I was driving to work when suddenly my car start shuddering horribly and would barely accelerate. I called my boss, told him I was driving straight to the mechanic while my car was still sort of working, flipped on my hazards, and hoped I’d make it the 3ish miles to the mechanic. About 2 miles in, a lovely police officer pulled me over. The first time I’ve EVER been pulled over. Did he pull me over to check on me since my car was shaking like crazy, I couldn’t get up to speed, and was obviously distressed? Nope. Pulled me over to tell me it was illegal to drive with my hazards. Even after telling him the trouble I was having he just told me not to do it again and didn’t offer to follow me the last mile to the mechanic’s or anything. Our police department here is pretty awesome, so I’m just hoping this guy was having a bad day. At least I didn’t get a ticket.
  • Back to the car… once I made it to the mechanic’s it didn’t turn back on again. One of the caps somehow came off while I was driving and flooded oil through much of the engine. It would have been thousands to fix it.
  • Much as I absolutely hated giving up my car (the only one I’ve ever had, it was only a 2002 and under 130,000 miles), it was time to buy a new car. I am fond of my new car, but still missing the old one. And certainly missing the days when I didn’t have a car payment.
  • Not long after this, my health finally gave out on me. (I know I’ve said it before, but autoimmune diseases suck, ya’ll.) I’d been having more trouble since last fall, but figured it was just a flare I couldn’t kick. I’ve spent most of this month only working half days because that’s all I could manage. Went to see my doctor and she took one look at me before asking what on earth had happened, she’d never seen me this bad. The first round of new meds didn’t work. The second round of new meds seem to be helping at least some, for which I’m grateful. But new meds and several appointments are an expense I was not prepared for, especially after taking on so many new expenses already!

Guys… I’m wiped out. I apologize for not blogging, but if I’ve learned anything from hosting three different personal blogs (trial and error) it’s that sticking to a schedule when I don’t feel up to it just makes me worse.

I’m wiped out, but my brain has taken a lot of time to reset (when it can think straight anyway). I’ve done a lot of thinking about the type of poet I want to be while I’ve been doing a lot of reading other poets. I’ve also done a lot of reflection on how my views of myself as a poet have evolved over the last few years. (And I’m sure will always evolve.)

I don’t have the words to spell it out yet, so I’ll just keep writing poems and see how it goes.

Maybe I’ll have something interesting and coherent for all of you soon. Assuming I can stay awake for more than the bare necessities and use brain power for creativity any time soon!

KidLit Love: Are You An Echo?: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko

A children’s book about Japanese poetry that isn’t haiku? Yes, please!

(I have nothing against haiku, but for Western audiences that is usually all one thinks of when hearing the words ‘Japanese poetry,’ so it’s nice to see something different.)

are you an echoThis book is part biography, part anthology of poetry.

The first half of the book answers the question “Who was Misuzu Kaneko?” We are introduced to Setsuo Yazaki, the man who rediscovered her work before it was lost to the public forever. He meets Misuzu’s younger brother who tells him the story of her short life, from childhood to marriage to motherhood and death, and the way poetry affected her throughout. A few of her poems are scattered throughout her biography, to highlight certain parts of her story.

Warning: Misuzu passed away at the age of 26 from suicide. Though this is a children’s book, it does not shy away from the fact she took her own life and this is part of the story. It is handled well and addresses the situation without embellishing or glorifying, but as a parent you may want to read it first to see if your child is ready for it and/or to be prepared for questions they may have.

The second half of this book is a selection of her poetry. Misuzu wrote 512 poems in her short life and this is a small sampling, but the poems chosen for this book are varied in subject and wonderful. The poems are presented in English and Japanese both, with furigana printed next to kanji in the Japanese printing. (If you’re a student of the Japanese language, this might be great reading practice!)

This is one of my favorites from the selection in the book (click for full size):

last year misuzu kaneko

The art for this book is awesome. It looks a little like the artist is still working on a sketch rather than presenting something perfectly painted/shaded, and I think it adds a lot of charm to the book as a whole. Toshikado Hajiri did an incredible job and I’d love to see more of his work in more books. It’s the sort of art that makes me feel warm and cozy with the book I’m holding. I spent a lot of time just enjoying the details of the illustrations after enjoying the story and poetry.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s a wonderful piece of history that most Western people, children and adults alike, will not have learned, and includes beautiful poetry that demonstrates the sort of Japanese mindset in regards to life and nature that I so dearly love.

*Is there a children’s book about poetry, books, or creativity that you want me to check out? Make sure to leave the suggestion in the comments!