Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Breathing out, breathing in: Some book-and-arts tour highlights!

A "Creative (M)othering" workshop in Kidron, Ohio (July, 2012)

The past six months sent a blur of unfortunate (and sometimes sad) events. Imagine black walnut trees falling on houses, beloved grandfathers passing away, broken ankles, cat's tails getting accidentally cut off, and cars deciding to stop working in the middle of a city highway... At one particularly low point, my husband started muttering about Job.

But something happened in the midst of our long season of weighty matters: for the first time in our 4-year marriage, we laughed in the midst of constant chaos and loss. We laughed a lot. We held on to each other. We let the day end, and we started over when we took long swigs of strong coffee the next morning. Last night, we walked to the end of our driveway'a hill to watch the clouds lit from behind with melon-gold light. It felt good to be standing there, still and still standing after the storm, in a light we could not explain or take for granted.

Sometimes, after I finally (finally!) finesse a poem onto paper, after I've arm-wrestled images, revised a line thirty times, can see a bit of myself--or, on a good day, the world I want to be part of--in a strange new light--I get a similar feeling. Some of the hard part is over (until the next hard part surfaces, at least).

In June and July, I zig-zagged to book-and-arts tour events that gave more to me than I could ever give in a reading or workshop. I met people who have changed me. I read in the Big Apple with extraordinary friends, visited Vermont and New Jersey, and sang for peace at a folk festival. I came to rest in the fields that raised me, surprised and elated that Ohio's Amish country can draw 30 people to a poetry reading!

What's next? That's the exciting question. Some things are in the words (ha! what a slip--in the works) but I'm always on the look-out for ideas.

A few summer book-and-arts tour highlights:

WOUB radio interview with poet and host Wendy McVicker. (Link to show.)
Photo by Elliot Nicolson.

Signing a book at Orrville, Ohio reading.

Performing at the 2012 MennoFolk Festival as "strange light."

                                                      My mom and I both offered workshops
                              for Mennonite teens at the Ohio Conference Youth Retreat.

Bennington College Alumni House w/ some MFA classmates. O second family.

Program from a June reading in NYC at the Cornelia St. Cafe--what a night! I still get shivers.

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