On our recent trip to Iceland, my siblings and I were blessed with a bright icy blue sky speckled with occasional clouds (rather than the summer rains typical in Iceland). Wind was a constant presence, rippling over the seemingly barren landscape — vast fields of craggy lava rock covered in a grey-green spongy moss giving way to green hillsides, mountains, steaming geysers, crashing waterfalls.
We never got used to the local time — the ever present daylight denying any possible acclimation. The would sun dip behind the horizon deep into the evening, but only far enough to hide its round face — light still penetrating over the mountains. We lost all perception of time. We stood under waterfalls at 10 pm, settled into camp at midnight. We slept until our tired bodies let us wake. It was a strange, surreal way to travel, like nothing I'd experienced before.
Endless days, endless possibilities.
When considering my writing process, I've always believed that I work slow — poems and stories taking weeks, months, years to finish. Sometimes it feels as if I'm lucky to complete more than two or three pieces in a single year.
And yet, a fellow writer recently called me prolific — their impression of my work so different than my own.
This difference is in part nested in what I believe to be accomplished work. I tend to only consider the poetry and fiction as an accomplishment, while she also included the poet spotlight interviews, podcasts, blog posts, and any number of other random endeavors that I primarily do for my own pleasure. When I take this into account — consider the full bulk of the work I do — I begin to see her point. Maybe I'm more prolific than I think I am.
My attention is spread across a wide variety of projects. I would do all the things given the chance — explore all the endless possibilities. But my available time to create is not endless, so I have to ask myself: Where am I focusing my attention?
I don't intend to drop the various projects that I'm already committed to — however, I will be assessing ways my daily tasks to be sure to include regular focus on my personal writing projects. I plan to also try to say "no" more often in order to prevent myself from getting spread too thin (or really, any thinner than I already am).
What are you focusing on right now? What would you like to be focusing on?
I have a new short story up at Corvid Queen! "How Bluebeard Ends" reconsiders the classic Bluebeard myth from a number of angles. I'm particularly proud of this piece, which came out of The Brainery workshop taught by Jilly Dreadful.
I also finished a new episode of New Books in Poetry, in which I speak with John Sibley Williams about his book, As One Fire Consumes Another. We also talk about poetry, parenting, inspirations, and everything in between.
Book of the Month
I loved The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss. The story is about Mary Jekyll, left alone and penniless following her mother’s death. Curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past, she discovers that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be still be alive. With the hope of a reward to solve her financial challenges, she pursues what little clues she has to find Hyde — only to discover Diana, Hyde’s daughter instead. As the mystery thickens, Mary learns of more women who have been experimented upon by their fathers. Together, the women begin to uncover an evil secret society of scientist attempting to transmute the human body in order to unleash it’s potential.
You can find the rest of the books, movies, TV, and games I consumed in June here.
Other Good Stuff
"I sometimes wonder why certain things cause me to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed or guilty — and exploring such things poetically is part of my attempt to reveal parts of myself instead of hiding myself," says Juliet Cook in our discussion of dolls, body, and uncomfortable poetry.
What Are Chapbooks? and Why You Should Read Them.
"One afternoon I decided it would be important to research puppetry for the novel, even though there isn't a puppet in the novel," writes Heather O'Neill, who read one hundred books just to write one.
Does library ebook lending hurt book sales? Jason Sanford presents an interesting analysis of the recent experiment performed by Tor Books.
In 1990, author Gabriel García Márquez had a two hour long conversation with filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. In this fragment, they discuss the art of filmmaking and the identity of the Japanese people.
"I can feel this body dying all around me" — Miranda Corcoran discusses how death and disenchantment play a pivotal part in the 1982 animated film, The Last Unicorn.
The Forgotten Trans History of the Wild West.
I've recently joined Shuffle, a new social media network centered around community and meaningful conversation. Posts are nested into overarching categories, which allow you to narrow your focus on the platform to the subjects that you're interested in — such as Literary Arts, Cinematic Arts, Travel, etc. Currently, Shuffle is invite only, so if you would like to dive in and check it out, I can provide you with a link.