Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"I CAN'T!" Notes on resistance in life and writing...

Resisting the paparazzi. July 4, 2014
My darling daughter, Stella, is twelve and a half now, prone to the vagaries of tween moods and whims, with a little extra spice from the "typical" stubbornness commonly exhibited by people (especially adolescents) with Down syndrome. When she is asked to do something and doesn't want to, which happens with alarming frequency, she has taken to protesting, "I CAN'T!" in a voice harsh with impatience.

I know how Stella feels. There are so many things I "should" do--or even "want" to do--that provoke serious resistance in me. Whether it's exercise, or eating right, or the proverbial cleaning my room, I feel like I'm twelve and a half and find myself having to be my own parent--or, worse, just giving in to the "can'ts" and not doing anything.

Writing, unfortunately, is one of these things. Although I identify as a "writer" and a "teacher of writing," and there is nothing like the feeling of being lost in language and in the flow of creation, I admit that I do not always see putting words on the page as a fun and exciting activity.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ah, Summer! Taking the Virtual Blog Tour...

Summer is half over already (or something like that), and all of the "real work" I was gonna do has yet to be done. Instead, I have been teaching (2 online classes in June), parenting (more on that later), and plunging into a healthy new lifestyle of plant-based food and regular exercise. Oh, and recovering from one heck of an academic year, both for myself and my kids. As I have learned many times over the years, I really need a deadline, and a metaphorical cattle prod, to get words down on the page and out in the world.

So I was delighted to be invited by a dear and long-time friend, April Lindner, to participate in a "virtual blog tour," aimed at giving more exposure to blogs that readers may not have seen before. It's been quite awhile since I've posted (yikes!), so I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to get Saint Nobody up and running again--in hopes of revving up my own writing. This is the first in a series on various subjects I've saved up since my last post--time to put it out there.

First, meet April, the author of two poetry collections, This Bed Our Bodies Shaped from Able Muse Press and Skin from Texas Tech University Press.  She also has written three young adult novels—JaneCatherine, and the forthcoming Love, Lucy, all published by Poppy. With R. S. Gwynn, she co-edited Contemporary American Poetry, in Longman’s Penguin Academics series.  A professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University, she lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania.

April and I were classmates in the PhD program in Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati many moons ago. We read drafts of each others' poems in workshops, were roomies at my first-ever AWP Conference (Pittsburgh '95), and walked together for our doctoral hooding ceremony in 1998. It's been wonderful to see April from time to time at AWP and the West Chester Poetry Conference near her home in the Philly area. I've been a fan of her poetry for years, and have watched her career as a YA novelist with admiration ever since my niece, Mary, devoured the signed copy of Jane I gave her in 2012. I'll be posting a poem of April's, which I've used often in my classes, later in the week.

The next component of the blog tour meme is a quick "self-interview." Because this post is already fairly long, I will answer briefly here, and elaborate a bit in future posts.

1. What am I currently working on?