My Brain is Heavy

May 6, 2014
Writing poetry is like catching mist in your hand.

Writing a novel is like building a sculpture of various and mysterious components: not only do you want it to convey a truth you have hidden even from yourself, but all the branches of the 50-foot-high structure have to balance or it topples over.


January 6, 2014
Well, a post or two from 2013 went missing. For the best, believe me. Now we're in a new year, with a new attitude.

I said that 
just to see if it's true. Attitudes present themselves at my internal doorstep in a fairly regular basis. Some knock more insistently than others, but I open the door to all of them, perhaps even the ones I shouldn't.

In Iron Pot I wrote a series of poems about grief after my dad died. One was grief as a gentle old lady, one was grief as a thief stealing even the threa...

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City? What City?

November 26, 2012
I've been fretting, honestly, with this move to the city. I discovered that my roots in Ojai went deeper than I thought. I was sorely missing my early mornings, sitting outside in all the kinds of weather that southern California can provide--blue skies, often; morning fog, often; rain and frost, though never at the same time. I was missing my dark-eyed junco and the towhees, the oak titmouse that would scold me from the branch overhead every single morning. The squirrel making his predictabl...
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Moving to the City, Part Two

August 11, 2012
Forget the house. Hallelujah for home inspectors who spend three hours poking into every nook and cranny. Cracked pool, cement driveway incorrectly installed that has led to leaking under the house, cracked foundation. And--this is kind of funny--no heat in the upstairs rooms. I loved the old screw-in fuses, but the inspector noticed several 15-amp fuses that had been replaced with 30-amp ones. They didn't anticipate flat screen tvs in the 1920s. 

So, the house hunt is still on. In the meantim...
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Moving to the City

June 26, 2012
Wow. After living in a small town for 19 years, we've said goodbye to our juncos and towhees and moved to City. House-hunting has been interesting. Not just getting used to postage-sized lots, but postage-sized lots in which structures are maximized and dirt is anathema. Open space is paved for patios, or extra car parking, or just because concrete is easy to care for.

Where does the rain go? How can the birds possibly hear themselves over the roar of traffic?

I wrote a poem:

he has a repetoire...
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The Critic's Familiar

October 9, 2011
I take a creativity lab with a wonderful, passionate artist named Maria Lucia Phillips, to whom I've dedicated my first two books and will probably dedicate every other book I'll ever write.

The lab is not about critiquing yourself or others, or honing your craft. It's about shaking you down to the deep core of yourself and seeing what comes up. It's about expressing your emotions in a way that the soul -- no, wait. It's about letting your soul express emotions in a way that it/he/she underst...
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June 6, 2011
Well. I'm not a blogger at heart. I don't think you will benefit from seeing the inside of my neurotic mind. Some day it might be less neurotic. Some day, I might be a wise old woman with great insights to impart, and then, perhaps I will put down my thoughts more often.

But for now, the few insights I get come after writing a poem. Then I look at the ending and think, "Oh, so that's what's going on." There are times I don't get it even then, I'm sorry to say. Sometimes a friend will explain i...
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It's Poetry Month!

April 8, 2011
On April 10, I'll be in Santa Barbara for a poetry reading of poets with new books out. Check out the info here.

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April 8, 2011
A few weeks ago I noticed some serious edginess and disconnectedness when I was writing my morning pages. So first I wrote a poem:

the way the tongue
trips in fluttery stops
and starts

the way the eyes scan a room

the off-balance stumble when
hugging someone

why let it be so?

sit by that stream you know
set the boxes of unusable clutter
into the current
and give them a push goodbye

then roll into the shallows and
face your upstream birthplace
the water scours you clean
it floods you--
with your own s...
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