Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It's in the mail!

This morning, I finally put my submission for the 2012 Lyrical Iowa poetry competition in the mail.  All submissions have to be postmarked by...today.  Yeah, I'm a procrastinator.  But it's on it's way to our lovely editor and I did manage to submit something.  Go me!

I found and edited five poems for submission this time.  I'm pretty happy with all of them and excited that I rounded up five whole poems to submit.  Of course, now I have to go hunting through my notebooks for more poems to work on, but that's okay.

I don't like editing poems in my notebook so much.  Sometimes I can't find the correct page again.  When I feel a poem has matured enough in the presses of my pages, I type it out and print it all by it's lonesome.  This gives me room to modify and play with the language.  Which looks an awful lot like chicken scratches.

This is the cover of Lyrical Iowa 2011.  My poem is on page 65!  I finally got around to ordering copies for me and family.  By the way, this can be found in the Ames Public Library, if anyone wants to check it out.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Masquerade

I've always been enamored of masquerades.  The masks, the costumes, the mystery.  Did I say masks already?  Something about masks makes me rub my hands together in anticipation.  They could be covered in feathers, in beads, in fabric, or even painted.  Even the blank ones make me sigh with their endless possibilities.

Of course, it's pretty rare that I actually make a mask.  But my dear friend gathered together a bunch of them for Mardi Gras and modified them a bit.  I got to take mine home and work on it before hand.  Of course, I ended up leaving it at home on Mardi Gras and wasn't able to wear it.  That's my luck. 

My mask started off as plain gold sequins and shiny trim.  I added some ribbon around the trim and hot glued some black sequins over the gold ones in random spots.  I found a black fabric rose at the store when I picked up the sequins.  The rose is detachable in case it got too annoying.  I flirted with adding more ribbon hanging from the corners with feathers trailing, but I like the mask the way it is.

The kiddo's was the same way, except his was red.  My friend made this one for him.  She took the trim off and replaced it with a black pleather trim.  A few pieces of the trim have fallen off and I need to fix it.  She added a few feathers to make it look more 'masculine.'  The kiddo loved it and wore it the entire time up on his head - he couldn't wear it on his face over his glasses.

A friend I went to high school with is an amazing artist, and I think she feels the same way about masks as I do.  She has created a shop called Red Robin Masks and has her great creations for sale.  Go check it out!
Photo from Red Robin Masks

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Deadlines and dirt


There’s one week left before the deadline for Lyrical Iowa and some of the national poetry organizations submission deadline.  I’ve had a plan for getting my poetry together and edited and all shiny in more than enough time to get my submission sent in.  Have I sent it in yet?  Of course not.

I’ve barely looked at my poetry over the past couple weeks.  I’ve picked out some promising rough drafts, typed them up, and printed them out so I could have them in one place while I edit them.  They are even saved on my USB drive so I could edit them in word.  All I have managed to do so far, however, is realize I write about rural Iowa a lot.

How many poems can there be about fields in Iowa at dawn?  Several notebooks worth, that’s how many. 

On the plus side, I am still inspired by the landscape every morning. 

Every day there is something different to draw out my inner writer and start scribbling on notebook paper.  Some days it's the fall of light across the stubby fields.  Others, it's the distant scattered farm house lights that echo the stars above.  And that's just in winter.  Wait until spring gets here and everything starts growing.  It's amazing how the first blush of green plants poking up out of the black earth can change a landscape.  

For the rest of the week, I will sit in my little apartment and revisit those early mornings, polishing them to the jewels I know they are.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Is it Mardi Gras yet?


I love Mardi Gras.  It’s not the drinking or the beads or anything like that, although one day I will visit New Orleans.  What I love is the whole idea of Mardi Gras – let’s have a huge party before we have to go be all faithful and stuff.  Seriously?  How nifty is that.

In history, Mardi Gras was Carnivale, which could be a celebration that lasted for weeks.  In Venice, my special sinful SCA city, you could say the Carnivale season lasted even longer than that.  There were rules stating how many months of the year masks could be worn. 

I’m not Catholic, and none of my current friends are either, but it’s always fun to get together on Mardi Gras.  You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and you don’t have to be Catholic, or giving up anything for Lent, to celebrate Mardi Gras.  So we will gather together tomorrow, bringing our potluck dishes and fancy masks, and have a great time with friends.

I will try to keep that spirit alive through the last of this winter until spring returns.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Weird things we do at restaurants

I get a little fidgety when I get bored or nervous.  Or when my meal is over and we're still sitting around talking.  I don't know what it is, but we've managed to leave some interesting things for those who had the pleasure, or pain, of serving my friends and I.

The kiddo and I went out to eat with a friend (not romantic) on Valentine's Day.  We brought cards and talked and ate and had a pretty good time.  When we were getting ready to go, my son requested a ninja star.  My friend has recently learned how to make ninja stars and has made a ton of them. 
I, of course, suddenly remembered the second placemat hadn't been used at all.  I couldn't have that!  So I made a Swedish heart by tearing paper.  I'm pretty pleased with it given that I had no scissors and only used my hands.   The kiddo colored the paper so you can't see how it's woven that well.
 Halfway through, my friend was said, "You could just quill a heart instead."
 Not to be outdone, I decided to put my tip money in my woven heart.
More tips for the waitress.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Procrastinators of the World Unite.... Tomorrow!

I'm a terrible procrastinator when it comes to writing.  I have a plan, but things always get in the way of my plan, or I find myself staring out the window for the entire time.  My many writing plans have gone out the window to never return.  How am I supposed to get writing done if I can't sit down and write?

The Renegade Writer tells me this is okay.  Well, sort of.  An article I read a while back states that as long as you are getting your projects done on time, don't force the writing.  There's a definite emphasis on getting things done, though, just taking the writing as it comes to you.  It still involves planning and editing and all the stuff that makes up writing, but the article just states to write when you feel like it.  If you have a writing date scheduled for Thursday afternoon and on Wednesday morning the writing bug bites you, then write.  If on Thursday writing feels like pulling teeth, then don't.

If I was free to write whenever the mood struck me, this would be great for me.  And it slightly relieves some of my self-guilt about not following a writing schedule.  A part of my plan has always been to write when I feel the words coming on.  As long as I make my deadlines, it shouldn't matter too much when I write.

The main problem with my writing plans is that I have no enforced deadlines.  Any suggestions?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Clothing oh my!

As I've mentioned before, I went and joined the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) recently.  Not only did I give up free time and brain space for the SCA, but I went and infected a friend and my sister with it.  Last weekend, my sister went to her first event and had a blast.  Before she could go, however, we had to make her some clothes.


A friend forwarded me an awesome pattern generator for the inner layer/chemise/slip/smock.  We thought my sister might be able to get a hold of some loaner garb, but it fell through.  Instead, we used the same pattern to make an over dress to go along with the smock.  This pattern is amazingly easy to follow and fits pretty well.  My sister was complaining halfway through the day that it was actually too loose, so we will have to add in some lacing to the back or something else to keep it in place. 


While we were there, the wonderful lady we stayed with managed to convince us to participate in the memorial portion of the Walk Through History, a historical fashion show.  Well, my sister really didn't need convincing, but me going out and having people stare at what I'm wearing?  Not the best situation.  But we made it through it and I am very glad I was able to help a new friend honor someone she deeply cared about. 
While I managed to snap photos of my sister, I failed, once again, to get pictures of my own garb.  Here is a quick and dirty photo I wrangled up.
Now I have to finalize plans for my next set of garb.  Mwahaha... ahem.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Write it down... Or Else

I'm terrible about remembering things.  In the middle of my ride to work, I can have five ideas, but if they aren't written down, I lose them.  I can have whole stories run through my head while washing the dishes, but if I don't stop and write notes, I'll never be able to remember them.

Scratch paper, notebooks, and white boards are my friends.  They may be scattered through the house or buried in a pile, but they are still places I can take notes and wedge my memory of an idea a little further into the Swiss cheese of my mind.  Sometimes I can remember the idea without ever looking at the note.  It seems like once I commit to remembering it, it sticks.  Other times, I don't even fully remember writing the note. 

Have you ever thought to yourself, "Brain, just what the hell are you doing?"

Next time, take notes on how you respond. You might need it later. :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Imbolc and Writing

Today is Imbolc by the Pagan Calendar.  It is a day to celebrate the fires of the goddess Brigid, patron of poets, smiths, and healers.  Today is the feast of St. Brigid, by the Catholic calendar.  It is a day to celebrate the patron of poets, smiths, healers, and more. 

There are cyberspace poetry readings in honor the Goddess and Saint going on all day.  While I am mostly Hellenic in my religion, I can't turn down a goddess of poetry now, can I?

Here is a poem by William Stafford, titled When I Met My Muse.

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off--they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. "I am your own
way of looking at things," she said. "When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation." And I took her hand.