Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Big Poetry Giveaway

Spring is creeping in on us. Cherry blossoms decorate the still cold ground and wave pink against the sky. And it's nearly April, Poetry Month. In the past I've distributed poems to strangers as I walked around downtown, part of the Poem in Your Pocket concept of spreading poetry. This year I'm participating in the giveaway. And it's ever so simple. People can visit here and leave a comment and their email contact info for me from now until the end of April. A random drawing will be how I select two winners, sending them each one book of poetry. Since I am unpublished as yet, I offer two of my favorites:
On the left is Miss Coffin and Mrs. Blood, Poems of Art & Madness by Port Townsend Poet 
Sandy Diamond. May Sarton wrote: Begin Sandy Diamond's Miss Coffin and Mrs. Blood and you will have to finish it. As powerful as a long novel...compassionate....a work of art..."

And the book on the right is The Apple That Astonished Paris by Billy Collins. If you've read his collections or more recent books, I think you'll enjoy going back to this one. I loved it enough to buy it twice. : ) 

So there we have it. I'm an unknown and you needn't read my work, but let's keep spreading the love of poetry, together! 

Here is a link to the fabulous Susan Rich's blog where you'll find a list of everyone participating. Enter at all the sites you like! 



It's been a long time since I've posted. In February I turned 65 and you'd think that would have been reason enough to write something for a blog titled Woman of A Certain Age, but no. What can I say about being in this time of life? Let's see. I skipped a rare dance at our Fellowship last week. Dancing doesn't call to me anymore, or if it does, it's a rare flash of a call from a song on the radio, which I rarely turn on, or something I'm playing on a cd, which sparks a spontaneous churning of my body as it tries to recall that old connection between body and feeling and sound. It can be cathartic. It can be breathtaking, in a disheartening sort of way.

So here's what being 65 is meaning to me, besides skipping dances. I have an incredible urge to do things I've been putting off forever. In a two week period when I was home sick with a bug/cold, I cleaned my library out and let go of about 17 grocery bags of books I don't believe I'll ever read or read again. It was not hard. It was freeing and exhilarating. So rather than feel spent, I felt like I wanted to tackle the next thing. 

I ordered blinds for all but two windows in the house. I've wanted to do this for twelve years. I always felt I couldn't afford them. I was not right about that. I was, in fact, wrong. So now I have blinds. I close them at night and the house is kept a little warmer and I feel more snug here, more nested. This is a wonderful cozy feeling. It makes my house feel more like a sanctuary than I've been able to create here since moving in. 

Before the blinds arrived I pulled out those paint samples I bought a year ago, the ones Jeanne Moore, a great person who's really good at finding colors for a space, had chosen for me. She called it a cameo palette and I was anxious to try it out but not anxious enough, apparently. Finally I painted around three large windows to see what the colors would look like. I think I'm really going to like the change, from himalaya green (which I've loved) to a sort of cocoa color in the fireplace/living room; a warm peachy beige in the dining area and a lighter brighter cream in the kitchen. There'll be a deep taupe-rose-like shade on the floating wall in the foyer too. 

While I was about it  I moved the living room furniture around. Finally the seating takes full advantage of the fireplace wall (not pretty but when there's a fire, as there often is, clearly the heart of this home) and makes the room feel like it's finally welcoming and comfortable. This involved moving some pieces out, which shouldn't surprise me. Clutter is a big issue and one I've talked about getting under control/changing for years. 

I moved the computer and newer desk back to the library along with a second sofa my friends Nancy and Earl gave me. This is a small room but it is so cozy now and doesn't feel isolating at all. Being more organized and the presence of the sofa softens it and makes it more inviting. This doubles as my 'tv room' or a place to watch Hulu or movies on my computer. The closeness of the sofa to the screen helps with this. The living room was long and narrow and it was hard to arrange things for multi purpose use, so the computer/tv was never really close enough to the sofa. Now the seating is gathered around the fireplace, which is the natural thing to do...in effect, a long rectangle has a square of seating in front of the fireplace. I can't believe it took me twelve years to figure this out. 

I'm tackling the kitchen next and the closets and the garage and....the realization seems to be that finally I am ready. Ready to de-clutter my life. To let go of more stuff. To please myself. 

The heaviness in my life is lifting. Or I'm pushing it out. And that goes for the body. It's taken me a long time to feel whole and healthy and I've been a compulsive eater all my life, so physical health is threatened by my current weight and condition. I can't walk the miles I used to a couple of years ago without my arthritic feet really acting up, so yesterday I started swimming. It's a beginning. I'm keeping fruit on the counter all the time and eating lots more oranges, pears and apples, the fruits of the season. Now I have got to get my meal portions under control. My hope is that this determined work to change my environment will help me to be as dedicated to treating my body well too. 

Best of all, everything I'm doing is to support a life I truly love. Writing poetry is my passion. I was asked, and honored to be asked, to sing for a fundraiser next month. I declined. When I first moved here and people asked what my passion was I said: writing, singing, acting and photography. What it's come down to twelve years later is the realization that I don't have time and energy to pursue them all. So all I've been doing for much of the past two years is writing. And it really really feels good. I'm creating an environment to feed my health and feelings of fulfillment while I pursue that passion. 

That's where I am. Anyone reading this: I hope this year has started off with you loving yourself and your space and nourishing your life as well as you possibly can. If you feel you're failing, like I did over the weekend, well, start again. You're allowed.