I hope your day is filled with as much light as you can find – the good news is it will only be brighter going forward. It is difficult to believe this right now when the news is grimmer than grim.
We canceled a family trip because it seemed like the right thing to do. This new variant is a bummer. Boston has stepped up with free test kits for families, because as Bree Newsome pointed out, one test kit equals 3.5 hours of labor at a minimum wage job. And then there will be those who will capitalize on this, because that is the whole point of our country after all, as seen here: ABQ airport has same day VIP PCR for $260.
So that’s grim.
But because I didn’t write to you to anger you or depress you, I want to share some good news.
First, I will be teaching a class with Frances Donovan on memoir. We’ll be co-teaching and alternating classes. It’s a generative class — we will offer a variety of prompts to dig in and get those words flowing! There is only space for 6 students and it starts January 5, so sign up today!
Also, I volunteered for and was voted in to the New England Poetry Club’s board as Communications Chair. It gives me an opportunity to do what I love – celebrate poetry and the hard work poets put into their words, as well as promote the NEPC, a poets’ association founded in 1915 by Amy Lowell, Robert Frost, and Conrad Aiken to foster the art of poetic expression.
I’ve been reading Make Your Art No Matter What & it’s a balm for me. I’m sharing some choice quotes because maybe it will be a balm for you!
For example, I have always had a complicated relationship with employment. Do I give too much of myself & then regret not doing the art because I’m caught up in work drama? Yes. So imagine my relief when I read this:
“Your paid employment owes you a paycheck, maybe benefits. You owe your job the labor you agreed to provide…the more you give time and resources to your art, the more you’ll understand paid employment as something that supports your art and life. We get this backward, thinking that we are on this planet to work and earn money. Let’s flip it – we earn a living to pay for our lives.”
In order to be free and to evolve, your work needs to have space surrounding it, and fear is suffocating and constricting. Fear keeps us small and unwilling to take up space, take risks, be vulnerable, be seen.
Each chapter is thematic and based on the most often reported barriers to artist being artists: employment, money, time, grief, other people, etc. A lot of it hits very close to home, so I usually manage a chapter and then have to ruminate over it for a few days. I highly recommend it.
[Lisa & I will be reviving the Notebooks Collective in the new year. We are at work on updated mission, programs, calendar, etc. Hope to see you online soon.]
I hope wherever you are, you are tending to yourself and sharing as much comfort as you are able. Today I will be attending this: OnBeing’s Midwinter Gathering and hope you will join in to reflect and repair. It’s a mess out there. I am sad that we won’t be seeing family over the break. However, we will watch O ice skate/skateboard & watch movies & generally stay-cate for which I am grateful.
Stay safe and much love!
- Randall Kenan’s If I Had Two Wings
- Frank O’Hara’s Collected Poems
- Lyz Lenz and Anne Helen Peterson all the time, but in particular, this post and this post.
- This is an older piece yet I’m proud of it, so I am sharing it again here. The talented Leigh Belanger & I take on the reasons for an elected school committee in this op-ed.
- Dolorology (PAIN). Please listen to this because Dr. Zoffness is a neuronerd and she will blow you away with all things pain-related. Look, I took three pages of notes while I listened to it because I couldn’t stop saying WOW.
- UmamiCart – O wanted Pocky & Boba tea. I got Korean BBQ sauce & chili paste & edamame. A delightful treasure trove.