Last night, I attended a wine tasting and poetry reading hosted by my book group at a local independent bookstore.
We sipped wine and ate chocolate and gabbed. I shared a poem called “Boomerang Valentine” by spoken word poet Andrea Gibson and a poem I wrote that was just published in a collection of gender-neutral love poems.
In between wines, I boasted about some pieces I’ve written that will be published later this year.
“I’m living the life,” I joked.
And then I wondered, what if I am living the life? What if this is it?
My stomach did a little flip like Charlotte Flair performing a moonsault. Woo!
I looked around at our group of 20 women who had come out to drink wine and listen to readings about love on a freezing February night.
Wine. Women. Words.
Living the life.
If you haven’t picked up Andrea Gibson’s new book, Lord of the Butterflies, I urge you to do so. Gift it to yourself or a loved one. Gibson is a spoken word poet who writes about gender, love and growing up liking only the boys they wanted to be. Their words will break your heart and repair it so it beats truer than it did before.
If you want more poetry, try Put Into Words, My Love by Pomme Journal. This petite book, which is about the size of a brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tart, contains 57 gender-neutral musings on love, including my poem, “things that glow.” The accompanying line illustrations will make you smile. It’s the perfect I Love You gift for everyone on your list.
Who are your favorite poets? What are you reading these days? It’s been awhile. Let’s catch up.
Posted in Books, Gay & Lesbian, Life, love, Uncategorized, Writing
Tagged books, gay, gender, lesbian, LGBTQ, life, love, poems, poetry, wine, wine tasting, women, writing
Tired of feeling unworthy
I ate an entire carton of blackberries
$3.99 a pop
In the middle of today
With no apologies
Not even the President
I didn’t care that the fruit stained my fingertips purple
Marking me like a thief
As I plucked each piece from the plastic box and
Plopped it in my mouth
* * *
What are you unapologetic for today?
Posted in Gay & Lesbian, Life, Uncategorized
Tagged fruit, gay, lesbian, LGBT, poem, poetry, politics, protest, resist, writing
I have a cat who naps on my old library desk where I write. This is one of my favorite pictures.
I have an old library desk where I write.
I have words swimming in my head. These are some of my favorites — bric-a-brac, innocuous, innuendo, ubiquitous, kismet, juxtaposition.
I have notebooks: big ones and little ones and a million scraps of paper that I use to record my thoughts. Once when I couldn’t find something, W pointed out that I save everything. I couldn’t tell if this was a criticism or a compliment.
I have a king-sized bed covered in flannel sheets. It is warm and soft and inviting.
I have books and magazines and newspapers. When I am in bed, I surround myself with them. It is a fortress made of paper and words.
I have pens and markers that I use to make notes and jot down ideas. At night, the paper and pens get mixed in with the sheets and the blankets and our slumbering bodies. I tell W this is what happens when you live with a writer.
I have dreams. Good ones and bad ones that I remember in snippets. I try to write them down, but I am almost always too late.
I have good intentions to empty my brain every day and transfer my thoughts to clean sheets of paper. It never works out the way I had planned. Sometimes this is a good thing, and sometimes it is not.
I have writing that I am proud of. My pieces always seem different when they are in print. More important and truer for some unknown reason. When I’m alone, I read them out loud and wonder who that person was who wrote like that.
* * *
I wrote this from a prompt in my writing group. The assignment was to write a list poem starting each line with the words “I have” similar to the poem I have a horse by Tomaž Šalamun. You can read the poem here. Try it yourself.
Recently, I had a piece published in an LGBT anthology. Off the Rocks, Volume 18 can be purchased here.
Posted in Books, Gay & Lesbian, Life, Relationships, Writing
Tagged books, butch, dreams, gay, lesbian, list poem, list poems, poems, poetry, queer, relationships, transgender, words, writer, writers, writing, writing prompt, writing prompts
Good morning, my flannel-lovin’ followers. I thought I would take some time to talk about some of my favorite things — books and writing. We’ll have to save some of my other favorite things — Joan Jett, 30 Rock, Heidi Klum and the chips and queso at California Tortilla — for some other day.
I’m still actively participating in my weekly writers’ group. Every time that I write something about the meetings, W points out that I refer to it as “group” like I’m talking about group therapy. She says it’s cute. She pretty much thinks that everything I do is cute. This is not a bad problem to have.
In a way, my writers’ group is like group therapy. It is a safe place. We share our most intimate life experiences. We support and encourage each other. We draw knowledge and wisdom from the other group members. Bonus: It’s a whole lot cheaper than traditional group therapy.
Often, I find myself mentally and emotionally exhausted yet exhilarated from these group sessions. It is not the physical pen-on-paper aspect of writing that wears me out. Instead, it is the process of delving deep and transforming some of my life experiences into words that is so tiring. In the end, it is a rewarding experience that is allowing me to take control of my life and to move forward with my life-long dream of writing a book.
Some of the members of my group belong to another writing group, and they have penned chapters or poems that appear in a published anthology called Slants of Light: Stories and Poems from the Women’s Writing Circle. It is a wonderful collection of short stories and poems written by a group of very talented women.
I enjoyed the pieces on their own, but I was struck by the power of the anthology as a whole. It made me think of my own writing group and how we are each made stronger by the other writers. It might be because of a suggestion in a critique that strengthened a chapter or a chuckle in response to a humorous quip read during a read-around that provides the feedback and encouragement that a writer needs to keep pushing forward. Even though writing is a solitary pursuit, we can, as writers, gain so much from our fellow scriveners.
I would encourage you to check out Slants of Light. There’s something inside for everyone, including a very inspiring coming out story penned by one of my friends. Plus, it’s a great way to support other writers who are honing their craft and working on getting their stories into print. I know that I’ve been inspired by the mere act of holding their book in my hands.
You can order Slants of Light on amazon.com.
Posted in Books, Therapy, Writing
Tagged book review, books, group therapy, poems, poetry, short stories, therapy, women, writers, writing
W and I received a Christmas gift in the mail yesterday.
The small box was filled with a few hand-crafted soaps, which are one of W’s most favorite things in the whole world, and a small book entitled “I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats.”
I was tickled by the gift. It was nice to know that someone had gone out of their way to send us a Christmas care package.
The gifts weren’t extravagant, but I could tell that they were selected with care, and that’s what made them so special. That, and they were totally unexpected.
The book is hilarious. It would make a great gift for the cat lover in your family or the crazy cat lady down the street. On second thought, she might not get the humor.
Here are two poems that struck my funny bone:
Who Is That on Your Lap?
There’s another cat in the house
A cat I’ve never seen
A much younger cat
You seem to know her name
You accidentally called me by her name
Right in front of the lamp
And my friend the throw pillow
I’ve never been so humiliated
I may never love again
* * *
Did you really think
That you could hide fish in rice?
Oh, the green paste burns!
Posted in Books, Cats, Life
Tagged books, cats, Christmas, gay, gifts, humor, lesbian, poems, poetry
All that talk of poems in my last post made me think of the only real lesbian-themed poem that I know.
I thought it was super sexy upon first read and clipped it out and stored it in my quote journal for future reference.
This was back when I self-identified as a lesbian but not necessarily a butch. It’s the butch imagery — the Windsor knotted tie and suspenders clipped to wool trousers — contrasted with the femme imagery — black dress and heels — that gets me every time. Guess that’s why I’m a butch.
Let me know what you think.
Madchen in Uniform
I am smitten, thinking of the suit you wore
to our college dance, a dance you did not
invite me to and so I showed
with a bright blonde in a black dress
and we made sure to dance her heels to dust
in front of you
and your sulky grrrlfriend.
Muted, scarlet as a mouth, your suspenders
snuck out from wool trousers, my winter boy
in alarming white sleeves–
sound the all-clear.
This is my breath: every cigarette we shared
whispered our wide-open secret
no longer safe
in a blazer’s breast pocket.
After, in the middle of the night,
in the too-fragrant room of another, all I could taste
was your yellow stripe of tie,
the handsome Windsor knot neat
and next to the throat I will never, it seems,
lay my mouth on.
— Heather McNaugher
* Madchen in Uniform is also the title of a 1931 film about an all-girls boarding school in pre-Nazi Germany. It is believed to be the first lesbian-themed movie.