Fun Times at Reading, and Amazing News!

Publicity sheet David L O’Nan made for the reading I participated in.

I had a nice time in Evansville, Indiana, reading with David L O’Nan (Editor of Fevers of the Mind) and friends. I also played Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on the violin under David’s reading of his poem, “A Hallelujah for a Midnight War.” Met nice people; heard good poetry and an excerpt from Shawna Kay Rodenberg’s memoir, Kin.

Maybe it was a long way to go for a reading, but I’m trying to reach out more. I do hope I will get tips and contacts that might help me market my poetry collection, but I also enjoy traveling to different parts of the country and meeting fellow artists. Now I am looking forward to the 2% Milk launch party in San Francisco (click on link for all the info).

But wait–there was more. When I returned and checked my desktop computer, I found I had been named a featured poet in the erbacce-prize poetry contest! My poetry will be featured in a future issue of the erbacce-journal, and they will be interviewing me. To be named one of the top nine poets out of more than 15,000 is too unreal to contemplate, but highly gratifying nonetheless. Again, thanks to all the judges.

Screen shot of erbacce-prize results. Check out “Featured poets”!

Long-Listed by the Erbacce Prize Again

Sharon Mollerus, The Sun Shines on Weeds Too. 14 Aug. 2008. Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 2.0.

I’m highly gratified to be long-listed again for the Erbacce Prize, or “erbacce-prize,” as the press writes it. “Erbacce,” the press tells us, is Italian for “weed”–hence the picture I selected for this post. Although many people made the long list, it is truly an honor to be selected out of almost 15,000 entrants from all over the world. Also, it is my second time making the long list out of two times I have entered, so there’s that. Thanks to all the judges and everyone who helps facilitate reading and judging all that poetry!

I’m also looking forward to the reading at Bluestocking Social in Evansville, Indiana this Friday evening and the launch party for 2% Milk at Pizza Hacker in San Francisco on Thursday the 26th.

Now, if I could just find the time to organize my novel and write some new poems in this “life filled with incident.”*

*Lady Bracknell disapprovingly describes Cecily’s life this way after hearing her medical history in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

Launch Party & Reading in San Francisco

Instagram post from 2% Milk inviting people to their launch party. They asked me to share this.

Even though I can only dimly remember the last time I went to a “really cool PARTY,” I was excited to get this invitation in my email. First of all, as I intimated in the “update” at the end of this post, my fellow artists are impressive. Here is a video by Ha Vay to illustrate. Second, the concept behind 2% Milk is to combine an eclectic but edgy and experimental collection of artworks in various media with discussions about art and the artist in society. These were conducted live with the San Francisco-area artists, and will be presented with bits from interviews with the rest of us edited in. There will be an interval when just the artworks will be up on the site, and then the discussions will be added, generating a new conceptual angle on the art.

This is my understanding of the project from what Nic, of the editing trio of “Nic + Lilly + Reed” has shared with me. The site is due to go live on June 1st, and I look forward to seeing how everything is integrated. In the meantime, I am grateful to be included in such a sophisticated and well-thought-out presentation.

These positive feelings, together with the opportunities to read, sell my books, and support my fellow artists, made me decide to go to the party. If you are going to be in the area, please stop by and say hello.

P.S. Now that the academic year is all but over, my son has made our reviews accessible again. So search the “reviews” category, and enjoy.

Flash CNF Accepted at Pine Cone Review

Darrell Taylor, Magic Kingdom – SpectroMagic Parade. 22 Oct. 2006. Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 2.0

One of my violin students is a magic child. She always wears magic clothes. Last lesson it was a retro kimono over athleisurewear. Sometimes it is a glittering unicorn t-shirt. Other times, lots of sequins. It’s not just her wardrobe, either. Sometimes she “is” an animal. Other times, she expresses astonishment over my (very rudimentary) piano playing, as if it were miraculous. Always, she gives the impression of living in her own world, a world where anything could happen, at any time. She also has a magical name: Isabella.

She is eight years old–a magical age. When I was eight, I remember visiting some friends of my mother’s in Rome. They were a couple–grown-ups, but young grown-ups. I called the man, whose name was George, “the Wizard” (not sure why–I had read some of The Hobbit by then), and I had a great time with him. He gave me a copy of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, which I loved because my third-grade teacher, whom I had left behind at my regular school, had worked on a reservation and woke us all up to the sufferings of Native peoples. It was magic to be in Rome with cool adults, to be allowed to swing George’s hand and carry his umbrella, and to talk about books with him. I know eight is a magical age.

So of course I had to write about Isabella. I juxtaposed her magic with Ukraine’s surprising and seemingly miraculous defense against the Russian invasion, and the editors of The Pine Cone Review accepted my flash creative nonfiction for Issue 4. I look forward to seeing it there and to familiarizing myself with the publication. It is interesting because it is rooted in “brown” identity–the staff are from various formerly colonized nations–but open to a mix of perspectives, as long as they are creative voices. I feel this is a hopeful and positive approach in our divided world. It seems like the sort of magic we need.

Creative Nonfiction Up at Fevers of the Mind

I am pleased to see my second contribution as a Wolfpack Contributor to Fevers of the Mind up on the site. I mentioned this piece before: it is the essay I submitted to the “Word Solvers” column of The New York Times. Although they gave me the opportunity to revise it, I found I had said exactly what I had in me to say and could neither transform it into glorified ad copy for their Games app nor come up with any alternative that would do.

I was equally reluctant to submit it elsewhere, since it is transparently puzzle-centric, and no doubt many editors are aware of the Times‘s call for submissions. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to put it up at Fevers, where it fits with the current theme of mental health awareness being stressed on the blog, and I know Editor O’Nan will value what the essay has to say and not scrutinize its provenance.

So if you want to know yet more about my strange life as a faculty brat in a dysfunctional family, or if you would like to be moved by the plight of people with good intentions trapped in the repercussions of mental illness, head on over and take a look. This piece means a lot to me because I am only just now able to depict aspects of my past that were constantly papered over at the time.

Photo credit: Illustration: Sapna Khandwala, Public Library of Science. One way of mental exercise. From Fig. 1 of Gatz M (2005) Educating the Brain to Avoid Dementia: Can Mental Exercise Prevent Alzheimer Disease? PLoS Med 2(1): e7. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020007. 25 Jan. 2005. Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 2.5. Size altered.