Summer Status 2011
June 21 at 5:53pm
As I filled up the water bucket for the second time today, I watched the shadow from the elm tree wax and wane in the paddock, saw a piece of glass glinting and listened to my phone singing underneath the water. The chickens were perched on Morgen’s stall, all in a row. I looked for cracked eggs. The wild roses have bloomed since the ditches burned.
June 23 at 10:30am
The mares blasted through the gate even when I held their lead ropes. (I knew I should have lead them out one at a time. I didn’t feel good enough to hold them.) Thank God they did not wreck. I picked up Tessie and lead her back to the gate, made her walk through. Morgan squeaked and bucked like it was her I was leading. Goofy horse.
June 24 at 8:19am
Saw what I’ve dreaded, the ponies out grazing. (At least they weren’t trotting up the main highway or worse.) So I parked in the way. Morgen used me as an excuse to run. I picked up treats, a halter and walked around the house to pick up Tessie, so they wouldn’t escape out the gap in the bushes. Sandals and skirt not good horse handling clothes. Oats and alfalfa cubes great horse catchers. Morgen followed.
June 24 at 8:50am
Saw a baby swallow fallen on Tessie’s mat, naked, on its back, wiggling. She had tiny wings and no way back to the nest. I was startled, afraid of her nakedness and life that would be gone. I took a shovel, took her out to the grapevine on a day I wasn’t feeling much worth. Jesus says, “Do not be afraid, you are of more value than the sparrows” after he said no sparrow falls to the ground apart from your Father.
July 1 at 9:34pm
I think its something to see lightning bugs spring out of the grass, and listen to the wind in the popple tree and watch a front moving in from Minnesota. Sometimes you just gotta go out in the grass, lay back and watch a slow night coming on.
July 4 at 6:08pm
Nearly a perfect day. Rode Tessie and even cantered her both ways. She felt like a normal horse cantering, not like she’d slip and fall. Then went to the local, campy parade, saw some friends and went to a picnic at our neighbors who have taken us in like family, blunting the hurt these holidays can bring if you’re missing your own people, even though they passed years ago, still, still it can hurt missing them.
July 6 at 11:19am
Who’d a thunk the chickens warm my heart as much as the ponies nickering in the morning. They see me and run up to me, purring, and strutting for oats. I am well trained. One has found a spot in Morgen’s stall to lay perfect brown eggs.
July 9 at 12:32pm
Bruce went blackberry picking under the high tension lines, beside the tracks. He said they were dry and seedy. He said he heard what sounded like someone flailing a scythe or an arrow shot. A red tail hawk folded up like a chicken diving through the air, than snapping open his wings. Buckle. He posted a new window in our barn, the first of three. Proud. Grateful.
July 10 at 8:52am
We left the chicken house door open last night. Bruce has seen coyote tracks in the garden. Blackbirds pecking feathers for their nests. Three dead chickens. Their roost, terrifying. The thief comes to steal, kill, destroy. Wisdom pays attention, shuts the door. I’ve got three survivors under a bush. Two gone. Bruce made friends, selling eggs. I made pets with oats. Sad. Time to clean up.
July 11 at 10:43pm
Bruce took all three chickens back to the chicken shed, one biting his arm and breast. Fierce. Shrieking. We don’t blame their terror, the whole shed that morning evidence but it’s the only safe place for them when the door is closed. They hide in the barn all day, feeling safe with the ponies, and a roof overhead, barely coming out to peck their oats.
July 13 at 9:48pm
Progress. We took the chickens to the shed without being pecked. I held one, talking softly, telling her how sorry I was, that I left the door open, that I betrayed her safe place. No more are they happy creatures, queens of the yard, pecking everything including maggots, coming to my oats. They hide under bushes and roost in the barn. The flies coat the ponies’ eyes and bodies, nasty.
July 19 at 9:19pm
The chick-e-babes are getting their queen back. One found her way to her roost in the chicken shed without Bruce taking her there. All three strut around the farm, pecking and picking. We can’t find their eggs. The corn is taut with the heat, leaves straight up rigid, like my toes when pleasure hasn’t quite come. The storms veer east or fizzle when they cross the Miss.
July 21 at 7:54pm
The chickens are purring again, running to me for their oats. One even found her way to the roost on her own the other night. They’ve been laying about three eggs a day, in the dark room off Tessie’s stall. Resilience. Now, if we could only get rain.
July 22 at 9:28am
Praise be, we had rain today. A good hard rain, with thunder more joyous than I’ve heard it. The horses munching their hay, startling as much as white around their eyes. The warm tones of a barn inside. Bruce standing at the door saying that was a close one. Reassuring, no, it didn’t hit the barn. With the metal roof and ground it’s pretty safe.
July 25 at 8:27pm
A baby rabbit found himself in the barn while I was cleaning. He snuck in behind the big door and hopped into Morgen’s stall. The mother rabbit sat outside waiting until I opened the big door to let air in and the rabbit out. My horses have wondered where I’ve been, staying inside to sleep, finish up school, and stay out of the heat.
July 26 at 11:46am
Bruce likes the windows open so I went to sleep smelling the heavy, rich smell of manure. Neighbors must be starting to spread theirs. Woke up hearing coyotes howling in the cut wheat field. Thought about the horses outside and the chickens behind closed doors. Dreamed about tornadoes, long, snaky things, and woke up to a rainbow over our neighbor’s cow shed.
July 27 at 11:45am
Driving along a road cut in Maine four tornadoes sprouted. “I think they’re coming this way,” I said. “No, no it’s all right,” said my other mother. Then we were in the dust, rain, wind, blurred gray. I screamed. Bruce touched my leg. I woke. Tornadoes drive down, divide, upend my world. I think of shares cutting the ground. They say the Holy Spirit is like the wind don’t they?
·July 29 at 9:06pm
When I check the horses I see the hot wire sparking pinprick light. Then lightning flashes so fast and hard I wonder why there is no thunder. I watch it fork across the sky, with open eyes and no fear. I make Bruce watch it strike a cell tower that flashes white like a welder’s arc, then fades back to red blinking. Booker leans tight.
July 31 at 4:26pm
Last night. Tessie’s legs were tucked under her like a little lamb (Little Lamb who made thee?) or a hippo in a wallow. Bruce said the mud was cool, soft. I ran my finger down her dorsal stripe, felt the dampness and dirt. As big as she is, she rolls all the way over, her hooves clattering on the ground. I wanted to straddle her. I touched her hooves instead, feeling for heat. She did not stand. Trust.
August 2 at 8:40pm
The cloud right overhead, sun lit, linen colored looks like God touching Adam. Over Lake Michigan, “In Xanadu, did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome…” We bring in the horses. Our hens sit in a row on Morgen’s stall. (They come now for oats.) I’ve been thinking how the Lord’s coming is said to be lightning flashing across the sky. That quick. Bruce called me to the road to hear the rain trotting across the corn.
August 6 at 4:18pm
Bruce and I stood in the barn door watching the lightning flash like a tantrum, sometimes a jagged finger pointing cloud to cloud. But silent. We watched rain shafts and felt the cool air, now a breeze. Behind us the ponies ate hay I’d given them to bring order to a world where the wind blew rain like grass through the yard and light could not stay still.
August 6 at 9:08pm
Fear can sidle up to you with bad thoughts that sound like yours but they are not. It can say I don’t want to go through that brush or over that log that is high as the mare’s knees. It can slam through you like the first blow of a summer storm, and seem so real and so forever, but it’s not. Mostly fear is a liar. And your friends are there to go first and nudge you through the tangle out to the clear, rutted trail. Thanksgiving helps.
August 11 at 1:45pm
The ponies were eating hay at 1:30a.m, Morgen looking as though I’d caught her in the act. Both had gotten the slobbers from an hour on clover and both were dopey all night, so I checked, the night silent behind the locusts and peepers, the moon a pothole, my back sweaty. This morning it took all my push to ask Tessie to move off my leg. Now they ache like a migraine.
August 13 at 12:33pm
Chatted with a storm chaser, taking pictures of the wall cloud. His car had a tornado decal and bad paint. He’s seen eleven live ones, not just in nightmares. He’s chasing now because of those dreams and pointed at rotation on doppler, the green poking into the red like a peninsula. He pointed at a tail drooping. I offered our basement but he said no, he wanted to get under it but not get killed The thunder way high sounded like a two man saw, set to singing or a train in the distance.
August 17 9:30 pm
Thought I’d school Morgen after such a good ride on Tessie and lead her through the gate, fully harnessed, the leather “brakes” dangling because the trainer said she’d self train. I thought the idea would make a wreck, and wreck it did, catching on the gate. Morgen turned onto my foot. Stood a good half minute. Sneakers. Harness slid off. I pushed her off. She ate a hay bale stacked there. I Jerked. Stand. Well, she was standing. My bad.
August 18 at 10:32pm
Bruce invited me to see the moon rising behind our woodpile, an eerie half, bright orange. I left Facebook and walked out. Night yanked Bruce close, and sniffed my leg while I pointed at a satellite cruising between the elbow angles of Cassiopeia. Tessa nickered with her clear bell of a voice and blinked when I switched on the barn lights, grumping at Morgen to stay back.
August 19 at 8:42pm
I am not so sure dreams are all they’re cracked up to be. Sure the wise guy said without a vision the people perish. But don’t dreams break people? The ice cream shop with an antique soda fountain and a wall full of candy, the people didn’t support and I wonder the cost, how deep the grief to the dreamer. And isn’t just living our life, finding thanks in the day to day, enough dream? Maybe life without a dream is not Langston’s broken winged bird, but a sparrow, weaving horsehair into a nest.
August 19 at 9:00pm
Bruce called me upstairs to read how a local church does communion, with baked bread, no yeast, some honey. They take the leftovers out for the birds to eat and pour the wine into the ground. We believe it’s the Real Presence of Jesus, blessed, what we eat that becomes us or we become Him. Magic. A mystery. I looked at the birch leaves and asked if they were turning. Bruce said, No it’s the setting sun.
August 20 at 10:16am
Booker sniffed a corn flower, his nose barely touching, a delicate smell. Night came to sniff. Then big Night, dropping his nose to the ground. Bruce pointed out the slim coyote trail through the barbed wire by the Milkweed. Off to the northwest the sky smoothed over to slate. An hour later clouds rounded and jagged, too low, too fast. I pulled the horses back to their stalls.
August 22 at 9:36am
Just because some relationships are broke, smashed, kaput, shut down, not speaking, doesn’t mean they will stay broken. Even anger at the hurt keeps the friendship alive, though you might as well pour battery acid on your arm as be bitter. Jesus said bless your enemy, because blessing heals. Seems to me life and reconciliation are persistent as weeds. And even if people die, well I don’t think that’s the last word because I think reconciliation may well come when the Kingdom comes.
August 29 at 7:11pm
Sweat pouring like sobs down my face, kneeling as high as the barn eaves, I haul, push one bale, tuck it in, high up, while Bruce bucks four, tossing them to their place in the stack. I hate to say the East Coast’s hurricane, gave our thick, clover hay, days to dry. All told this year’s harvest came to eight hundred bales. Now to break up the redolent manure pile, scatter it on the fields, then some municipal lime to feed them.
September 1 at 1:41pm
Just as I brought Booker in for the last time, the backside of midnight, Morgen whinnied. I sighed. The coyotes sang off to the east, close enough to make me a tad unsettled. They sing to the rumbling train. Morgen came in first. Then Tessie, blinking at the light. They stood, ears forward, eyes bright. I let them nuzzle the target, fed them a treat. Left for bed and thought, damn, if I’m not careful they’ll train me to feed them at midnight.
September 2 at 8:37am
Finally, done with Facebook, done with my day, I opened the door to walk the dogs and saw the mares grazing in front of the barn. What gate did they break, did I leave open? Hauled the dogs back inside, called for Bruce and walked to the barn for treats and halters. They were happy to graze, not run, thank God. The clicker has trained them that I am good to be with, so I picked up Tessie, Bruce picked up Morgen. I hate when I don’t latch the gate, though I thought for sure I did.
September 4 at 7:01 pm
Nate dog couldn’t stand on his own yesterday, the floors too slick. He almost fell back down the stairs. I called my horse vet, Kevin Sugdon, who saw him this morning, gave him Deramaxx, saying you might be surprised how this could bring him back, give you another four years, though more likely eighteen months, better than saying goodbye this weekend. My good man, Bruce cut carpet runners where the tile shows to give Nate traction. He turned fourteen in July.
September 4 at 6:21pm
The two mares, this deep valley of silence, wait all day by the barn door, for me to come to them, hand them treats for doing something simple. I appear with the dogs and Tessie whinnies. It’s a touch of fear keeps me from saddling Tessie, entering this glorious day, walking down the field, the air cool and the clouds rounded with light like Italian paintings. The quiet. I don’t want to speak to anyone tonight but Bruce and my students’ papers.
September 7 at 9:57pm
I helped Bruce carry a hen to the chicken house. She feels so warm, so alive, those reptilian feet clutching my hand, like a baby grabbing a finger. I feel her breast bone, and think about the meat I tear when sit down to fried chicken at the Machine Shed. These three hens, the queens of our yard, are pets. I doubt we’ll eat them, but it shouldn’t be so foreign, this tending kindly to animals we will eat one day.
September 7 at 10:19pm
I was backing Morgen tonight, from her right side, sliding my hand down the lead rope, dropping it as soon as she stepped back, clicking her after a few steps. But a few times she snapped her tail. My sticking my chest out must be too much pressure. When I transitioned to do chores, Tessie walked in, stood in the corner and backed up neat as could be, to show me she can do this too.
September 10 at 8:06pm
The cronies took us on a side trail to look at the river. I’ve seen the river but the train passed over the trestle, so we missed that rumble. On the way back to the proper trail, Tessie caught a big branch in her tail. She amped up, ramped up, trotting, all hot, the kind of feeling that tells me I’d better dismount. I sat up straight, sunk my heels down. The cronies were were waiting. She didn’t go crazy or bolt or buck. She backed, stepped the stick off. Love that mare.
September 12 at 10:03 pm
FB, you can be hard, I comment and like, but the shoulder goes cold. I must not be cool enough for you to comment and like back. It’s the same old picked last for kickball bit. Facebook you are the taste of the Party to come–the old story of the barren mom, in a new country with children who are hers, that she did not bear. People I’ve loved who come back and say, you, it’s you that I tell my children about. You. People I can say the same, You were my hero. You saved my faith. Gathered here.
September 14 at 7:25pm
Today Becky Young’s goat jumped in my pick up, over the center console into the passenger seat and back again. Nothing like cloven hoofprints where they don’t belong to make a person wonder like Salvador Dali. He jumped down, sniffed Tessie’s nose and she sniffed his butt. He runs through the yard chasing the dogs–happy, happy creature, almost convincing me to ask Bruce if we can have one. Tessie bent away from my leg, rounded her back, and pretty much cantered where I asked her to canter.
Bruce said the moon was pretty bright behind the barn, until he looked and saw I left the light on for the horses. They looked up, saw he didn’t have a treat, went back to their hay. Last night he pointed at her rising like the Clarion hotel sign. The other morning I stood and pointed at the moon setting through clouds in the east but didn’t stay to watch until that night when the moon slanted squares through our windows onto us both.
September 18 at 10:05am
I think I am getting the hang of this neighborly thing. I’ll admit I whined, cried and complained about doing the neighbor’s chores–walking into a cow yard to feed, is a bit intimidating, though Bruce did that mostly. Just showing up twice a day for a week can tilt a person’s schedule. But yesterday Mr. Peterson came over to spread that rich, redolent manure pile, two years worth, the spreader kicking it out like a smelly fireworks show, dispersing our fly magnet and feeding our field.
September 20 at 10:47pm
As I dump my muck buckets, I think of the strange heat the South American farmer felt, the drawing of his hat riding a line of air, his astonishment that became a towering volcano that I read about in All About Volcanoes as a girl. Imagine how the world is hot like the sun down therethat sometimes bursts out in these godlike mountains. Even the manure pile reaches a temperature that will cook the dead and convert shit to soil.
Some notes on “Summer Status 2011″:
When I read that I have to teach audience to my composition students, I shrug my shoulders, how in the heck am I supposed to teach that? My students’ audience is obvious and a little dull–myself and members of their class. But since I teach the way I write and how I think, it makes sense that I go blotto with audience because I’ve not been the kind of writer who writes for an audience. I’ve used all three genres—fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry–to lean my ear down to the quiet voice coming up from my gut and out to my fingers. Writing lets me listen to what my life is saying. At times I have been surprised by what I heard. Because most of those messages are my interpretations and not a reader’s and they are private, let me just say that writing and rewriting The Normanskill Farm dumped me into a peace that good therapy rarely brings. I realized how deeply my parents loved me; though if you read that version of the novel that is not what you’d understand.
Up until Facebook I have been afraid of my audience. Whenever I think I’ll publish something I’m afraid I’ll get sued, or break up someone’s marriage. I’ve been afraid my reader will see something I haven’t seen and point it out as my workshop teachers have been doing ever since I submitted poems in creative writing school years ago. They’d point out how my poems were full of sexuality even though I was a virgin, or claim the images were products of a schizophrenic mind or say your mother really was a terrible person wasn’t she? The floor would slip out from under me. All I did was write what I saw, heard, felt, smelled, touched the pictures in my mind.
My mother hammered the message when I got off the bus and told her the latest gossip, “You talk too much. Don’t talk so much. You shouldn’t be so open. People aren’t interested in all that detail” until I nearly went nuts trying to figure who I should talk to, and what to say, and when I should shut up. Finally, I leaned on my faith and let God figure it out and went about my business. Years later a therapist wagged her finger, when I told her I was ashamed of the things I’d just said, “You have come from a silencing family.” Oh. Well. Yes. And my writing leaped from the codes of poetry to the plain speak of prose.
As a young woman I figured out my mother wasn’t interested in all that detail, that mature healthy women talk in fine detail about their lives, even happy ones. As if to confirm this family trend, a few weeks after my therapist spoke this truth, my aunt said, there are things you only tell God, no one else. Even now, the shame that wells up, when I’ve said something I shouldn’t have, can be debilitating. I curl up in a funk that only repeating the Jesus Prayer—Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me a sinner–can release.
Another insight came when I realized that my mother’s saying I talked too much, and my consequent talking too much was a lie. Who doesn’t know you like your mother? Why wouldn’t she be spot on about my personality? The power of her suggestion pushed me to reveal more than I should have in many conversations.
It took writing, and time to realize that no, she’s dead wrong. I am a private person. I prefer letting others talk. I don’t care to tell all those secrets. And while creative writing teachers might have pushed me to write close to the bone because that was supposedly where the powerful writing came from, I didn’t much care to submit those vulnerabilities to literary journals. When my students finally ask what I think about something, I draw a blank and turn it back to them, saying it’s my job to ask the questions, to listen. I’m also not all that comfortable with people spilling their history, right now, right away when they’ve just met me even though that’s just how I used to be. (People in my rural neighborhood have told me the family history upon first meeting and there’s been a shock of recognition because I used to be that way too, so now I wonder if that’s a characteristic of country folks, whose neighbors are merely a mile away. I too grew up with neighbors at a distance and used to spill myself just like they do. But twenty years in town and shame at people being taken aback by all that noise, ah news, as well as schooling myself not to gossip, have quieted me.)
Even with all this therapeutic insight, my ambivalence over audience has remained. It didn’t help that just as my collection of poetry was about to be published, my brother died. Somewhere deep I know there is the fear that if my work gets published someone I love will die. When the Maui Writers Conference sponsored a contest that connected you with agents and editors and I was connected with eight agents and four editors, my dog died and I was estranged from some people. So twice I’ve grieved when my work moved towards an audience. Publishing has become what some horse and dog trainers call a poisoned cue, a cue that is no longer a signal to do something, but rather a signal to hurt.
People were kind about that poetry book. Eighty people showed up for a reception our local library held, and my college literature professor invited me to read at Wheaton College’s fall literary conference. A friend said he found my book signed by me when he went through his mother’s things. We hadn’t been friends then and he remarked how those poems touched her life.
I have been as afraid that someone would buy my work as not. The discouragement of rejections, even nicely written personal rejections has become comfortable. The dream to become published in a big way has mostly faded. I’ve watched a friend receive the royal treatment for her novel, her publisher sending her on a tour to talk to booksellers about her book, and all I felt was tired. Sure I was glad for her, but that perfect answer to many author’s dreams—your book nudging the bestseller list—didn’t seem like much fun. Audrey Niffenegger told me once that someone advised her to enjoy her time alone with her work, because once she was published the game would change once an audience was reading her work. It would also belong to them. That makes sense to me. I have taken more time than I ever thought to be alone with my work, working it out.
But this fear has slowly been repaired since that day in the therapist’s office. My fear about telling tales on people was answered by Frank Schaeffer, a person I based a main character on in The Normanskill Farm, when he said he uses everything in his life for material, so if I portrayed him as an asshole or worse, that was fine by him.
Through Facebook I’ve found I can speak up without being shut down or ignored or insulted. I’ve even participated in a few fierce discussions about this country’s need for unions or how horses can teach us how to be in the world without being terrified or losing my neighbor as a friend.
Facebook has shown me what it’s like to have an audience and who might read my work. When I first started writing my statuses I thought of them as 440 word prose poems. I thought about things that happened on the farm because people have said they’d read those stories. I keep an eye out for what happens. It’s kind of like a hay baler. I pack in raked up experience, jam it together in that many words, tie a knot on it and pop it into a status. I’m surprised when people say they’ve read what I’ve wrote even if they have not pressed like or made a comment because often I feel like I’m spitting into the wind. But enough have pressed “like” or commented for me to have a sense there are people who would read my work. Roberta Lawrence a friend from high school has said these have reminded her of Kathleen Norris in Dakota, and has said some of them have knocked her on her heels for the beauty. Ruth Schubarth a new friend asked where I’d been when I stepped off for a weekend doing clicker training. Jen Digate has said my voice is very old, like a pioneer woman. They’re asking when I’ll publish the collection. The editor for this journal invited me to submit from reading those statuses, though I had no idea she thought anything of them. They’re saying don’t give up, we want to read you.
I’ve become comfortable putting my perceptions of the world in these statuses on Facebook. And wonder if this is unifying my desire to be published because on a weekly basis my work is being read. It’s similar to how my horses are forcing me to practice gentle leadership day by day by day so that authority transfers to my classroom and relationships. Maybe that will unify my desire to get published and the block will break loose and finally people will buy my work. (I saw this when I met my husband Bruce. I’d been with a man before him who showed me you could be with a man and not lose your creativity or privacy or inner silence. Then Bruce came along and we married after years of my longing and wondering why not, why hadn’t I met the right man, just like I’ve longed to find an audience with my writing.)
Facebook reminds me of the county fair where people place their folk art for judging and for others to see. You walk through the home economics building and look at photographs and quilts and paintings. These are not museum quality works of art, but they have been put out there to be judged and for others to see and enjoy. That’s how Facebook feels to me—an opportunity to put my jars of jelly, the tomatoes I grew in my garden, a few photos and paintings, and cake, for others to look at and enjoy. The ribbons or on Facebook the “likes” or “comments” help but they are not really the point. The point is to be read.
When you read these you’ll see reserve, a sticking to what I’m seeing, hearing, smelling here on the farm, but not much of what I’m feeling. A friend has said that is good, that I see what’s there, the “isness” of things or what Gerard Manley Hopkins called “inscape”. I’m aware of my audience, aware that my boss and other colleagues read these.
For instance, the neighbors who harvest our hay are on Facebook. So do I close out the arch of this year’s hay story with how our elation turned to so much discouragement that Bruce wanted to sell the hay as standing hay the next time around, that the little kids putting up the hay thought it cute the bales busted open into a fat pile of loose hay that is hard to feed my horses? Or that our neighbor used a tedder that pulled our clover into windrows much too thick to let the hay dry properly. No I do not write how my elation that was so high that I bought new clothes and we celebrated over Italian in Cherry Valley deflated to weariness as we climbed into the hay mow and I stuck my hand between bales and felt warmth as strong as my computer recharging. Bruce tossed bales onto the rack of logs, twenty/thirty of them. I left the barn door open until the wind blew hard, snapping trees and we shut it. My night wakeful, worried about spontaneous combustion and my horses trapped inside. I do not round over that story with how it really turned out.
Or when I had an MRI scan of my brain and it came back showing twenty lesions, do I say the docs were looking for MS when colleagues and bosses read these? No I do not. I make an oblique reference to stones skipping across water and raindrops on pavement until I know more, a year later.
I have been overwhelmed with how to sort these, how to make them into some kind of order for this essay. Read altogether, they’re boring. The novelist in me wants to organize them with some kind of tension, some kind of question, what will happen next? I see the patterns of the farm showing up here, hay making, storms, training my horses the wild roses in the ditch, our manure pile, rich and redolent as freshly turned dirt. But I also see that I have at least one collection for a book and my heart lifts up, at the challenge of taking colored pens and seeing what fits together. Maybe even taking scissors and pasting them to index cards and shuffling them in an old fashioned card game that is more tactile than cutting and pasting with a cursor.
Katie Andraski’s first collection of poetry, When the Plow Cuts, was published by Thorntree Press in 1988. Since then she’s been working and reworking a novel, “The Normanskill Farm.” She is currently shopping around a collection of essays, “Baptisms of a Sorta Former Evangelical” and is contemplating collecting her Facebook statuses into a prose poetry collection. She is learning how to train her horses using the same techniques dolphin trainers use. She and her husband tend a very small grass farm in Northern Illinois. She has been teaching First Year Composition at Northern Illinois University for seventeen years.
Banner image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons.