Blogging on all channels will be light until autumn. You’ve probably noticed the crickets around here, so I thought I’d pop in and offer a peek at what I’ve been up to, which is by extension what I plan to do with the approaching summer.
Perhaps you’ve noticed my tweets about South Park Seattle and other neighborhoods? That’s because one of my favorite projects right now involves writing for neighborhoods around South Seattle. For these projects I get the opportunity to meet with local merchants and learn their stories. Then I do my best to tell those stories for print and web use. Our goal is to help attract new customers from around the Puget Sound area by sharing the unique goods and services to be found in these communities. Did you know that there are over 30 languages spoken in homes throughout the Duwamish Valley? There’s a load of history surrounding the Duwamish River. I’ll try to share the best things I learn along the way.
If you’ve missed the tweets and want to learn more about South Park Seattle, I recommend these starting points:
Poetry & Prose
The solstice is just a couple days off, and I feel good about staying on track with my writing goals for 2011. Sometimes it has been a challenge for me to set aside significant time for working my own creative material. Life happens. This year I’m spending more hours writing and editing my stories. I’m powering through spiral-bound journals with greater velocity. I’m also taking more time to submit one or two finished pieces—at least once a month.
For the poets in the audience: among my foci this year is prosody, and if you’re interested in honing the music of your poetry (or if you’re just among the curious who would like to learn ways to read and enjoy poetry) I suggest these reference materials as starting points (which I borrowed from Kitsap Regional Library bookmobile—love your library):
The poem’s heartbeat : a manual of prosody by Alfred Corn
I also checked out this book, but had to return it before I had time to read: All the fun’s in how you say a thing : an explanation of meter and versification by Timothy Steele. If I get back to it I’ll let you know what I think.
It wasn’t the refresher course in the rules of scansion that excited me about these books. What I did enjoy was each author’s use of examples, philosophical musings, and allusions to the evolution of language. It’s always a good to be reminded of the intimate relationship between poetry and breath. (It’s also nice to remember that I’m not the only over-analyzer on the planet.) If I had one wish about these books, it would be for less emphasis on poets and poetic forms that I already know. I’m on the quest for similar books which address poetic traditions and forms from other regions. If you know me, you know I’m not much of a gal for tradition. But there is much to be gained from the careful study of those predecessors who had way, way more self-discipline than I do.
Reads & Critiques
So what else am I reading? The stack is tall, but my favorite interest this year is slipstream. I blame it on the folks at GUD (review here) and a cappella zoo (review here). Years ago someone told me I was writing magic realism, which was before I’d even heard that it was a genre folks wrote to. Now that I’m a more of an active reader, I’m curious to learn about the evolutions of speculative fiction and slipstream. What I know is that I love well-done specfic and slipstream, and I’d like to learn to write a story that’s as effective as it is ethereal. If you’re interested in slipstream, I recommend this title (originally recommended by a cappella zoo): Feeling very strange : the Slipstream anthology, edited by James Patrick Kelly & John Kessel.
Part of the reason I’ve returned more than a few unread library books is that I’ve gone into critique partner overdrive. It started last winter when I wanted to add a couple people to my critique exchanges to help keep me active. May rolled around and I had somehow accrued 10 critique partners, including one full manuscript exchange (not a short story but a rather ambitious novel). What I love about critiquing is not just reading newly-forming work, and not just challenging myself to share feedback that’s useful, but the act of the exchange itself. I think it makes me feel alive as a writer to trade with someone else who’s hacking away at the same mountain, hoping to strike a vein. Just remember, all ye who venture to pursue the full-manuscript critique: it’s worthwhile work, but you must be prepared to donate a significant chunk of your life to get it done.
Do you love trees? Sure you do! Blog, pod, vid, whatever medium you like, share a tree, orchard, garden, or forest from your neck of the woods. Then send us the permalink at the Festival of the Trees. Our monthly blog carnival is hosted at a different blog each month and celebrates trees in all their forms. The upcoming issue is our fifth birthday! That’s right – we’ve been blogging trees with folks from around the world for five years. Join the party at Dave Bonta’s blog Via Negativa.
If you’ve been reading my blogs these past years you know that for me, health and garden are intimately connected. While I didn’t finish moving the compost pile (did I mention that life—and the occasional flood—happens?), I did stick with my other health goals from 2010. I don’t do my qigong every morning, but I’m pleased to be in much better health this year, most especially because it means I can stay productive in my work. My new 2011 health goals include restarting my yoga/dance routine. I’m renting the upstairs of a farmhouse with big open floors, so it’s a great time to dust off my books from the Evergreen days and get my form back. The rental is located on a short neighborhood street with lots of trees, so my other simple goal is short, daily walks. I love being a writer, but it does require a fair amount of sitting. My final word for you all this summer: make time for recess.
More from me next month – Autumn approaches!
Join in the green festivities online with two lush blog carnivals:
First, high thee hence to The Organic Writer blog where Yvonne Osborne has prepared an inspiring forest-garden for every wanderer at The Festival of the Trees 49: Favorite Trees.
Happy Birthday, Festival of the Trees! Since July 2006 the Festival of the Trees has been celebrating all things arboreal online with the participants and hosts from around the world.
Roberta asks that we consider submitting child-friendly posts. Ideas include sharing bark rubbings, children’s drawings of trees and leaves, ideas for or photographs of tree houses, nature journals with tree themes, photos from a favorite walk through the woods, science experiment ideas, etc. If you want some serious inspiration, she suggests you take a look at Rachel Carson’s book THE SENSE OF WONDER.
You can read details about issue #50 here, and the easy submission information is included below:
Host: Growing With Science Blog
Deadline: July 29
Email to: growingwithscience [at] gmail [dot] com – or use the contact form
Theme: Trees through a child’s eyes
Important! Put “Festival of the Trees” in the subject line of your email
Berry Go Round
To begin, enjoy issue #29 of Berry Go Round at the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog, which brings us “11 blog posts about plants that you really must read.”
Berry Go Round is a celebration of all things botanical, which encourages lively discussions about plants, their natural history, life cycle, growth habit and other related topics. I’m asking participants to expand this discussion to apply concrete botanical information to your personal interactions with plants, and allow yourselves to be inspired, to create, and to share.
Scientists and laypeople alike are encouraged to investigate not only the physiological and ecological aspects of a plant, but also a plant’s relationship to you, people, culture, place, art, dreams, and beyond.
Deadline: July 28
Email to: trees [at] brainripples [dot] com (or use the BGR submission options here)
Themes: Stretch yourself – incorporate botanical observations with artistic reflections
Important! Put “Berry Go Round” in the subject line of your email
Recap: What’s a Blog Carnival?
If you’re still scratching your head, and you want to participate, here’s a little help…
Botanical Blog Carnival Participation in four easy steps:
Step 1: Blog about plants, trees, and all things botanical (or create other content/media, and share it online)
Step 2: Send us the link (see above for each blog carnival’s submission information)
Step 3: Spread the word (tell your friends)
Step 4: Enjoy!
Blog carnivals are published on a regular schedule, usually at a different Host blog for each issue. The Festival of the Trees and Berry Go Round are each published once per month. To find additional Nature Blog Carnivals, visit the Nature Blog Network.