Monday, December 31, 2012

New Look at Book of Kells...

Anyone who has read this blog for a while and actually at the blog address (www.ofkells.blogspot.com) knows that each year I change banners and backgrounds.

This year, I've done that as well.

I like my new banner, but am not 100% sold on the spotted background.  So I may be working on that.

NOTE:  Since typing that, I've gone back and changed it to a wrinkled white paper, which I feel represents the image of the typewriter better.

Note:  The banner is my Corona Typewriter which I've been photographing all year.

Change has always been hard for me, so as you get used to this new look, I do too.
I think it's good for me.  I need to keep moving forward...



~ Kells

  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

It's Almost 2013, Do You Still Have a Blog?



There was a time when blogs were new and hip and happening.

Now to some, saying "I have a blog" is similar to riding around in your Cadillac while everyone is in driving SmartCars.  Except for one thing--while SmartCars are efficient, the Cadillac is comfortable and everyone can ride with you.

Or maybe unlike gas, words aren't a natural resource that we will run out of one day.

Maybe unlike Facebook or Twitter, where we create our lives based on "short content," blogs offer us the opportunity to expand our thought.

We are not limited to 140 characters or a status post where if you write too much, it covers up the final paragraphs with a link that says "more."

No, with blogs, every day is *more.*

But here's the question--

If you have a blog, does it offer you enough to keep it up?  And if yes, what does it offer you?

One reason I like blogs is that before Facebook, blogs were a way of seeing that the person was alive.  Sometimes I'd come to a writer's website and it felt as if there were cobwebs on it-- (c) 2003.  Is this website updated?  Is the person still writing?

A blog was a way to immediately hookup with a person and what was going on in their life.

When Facebook and Twitter came along, a lot of bloggers left to use their time there.

And there is a more immediate satisfaction to Facebook and Twitter.  You post something and people either LIKE it or respond.  Here on a blog, I can post something and wonder if anyone read it, did it make a difference to anyone?  Here, not everyone comments, nor should they feel as if they should.

Facebook became the mini blog.  Twitter, the minuscule blog.

I have both a Facebook account & a Twitter account.  Both are fine and dandy, but what I like about the blog is that I can delve a little deeper into things, I can share more (and I'm a huge sharer).  Plus, there can be a few extra bonuses...

Below are the main reasons I will keep my blog for another year--

1)  Connection -- I feel as if it's another way to connect with people about things that are important to us-- writing, poetry, creativity.

2)  Sharing info -- As a writer, you can feel cut off or out of the loop, I like that I can post things on this blog and they are there forever as resources to myself and others.

3)  Helping others -- One thing that I've always appreciated about this blog is that I can post things here to promote other poets, writers, and artists.  I can promote books and creative projects, websites and journals.  And it all can be found with Google, so if someone is looking for info on something 5 years from now, they can still find what they need.

4)  Free books & things -- I love that people send me books to read and possibly share here.  I also love being able to give away stuff.  I love getting mail, so I always appreciate the things that arrive in my PO box.

5) Your comments and emails-- Sometimes when I worry that no one is reading this, I'll get a note (or check my stats) and realize, there are quite a few of you out there who are listening and reading.  Thank you.  Your notes to me always make me thankful, and I'm thankful that you're thankful.

6)  Documentation -- I love having this public online diary to look back and see what was on my mind and what was happening at the time.

7)  I'm Old School -- I still have a rotary phone and a typewriter.  When it comes down to it, I'm into vintage, I'm into "what was."  So if blogs are old school and something "we used to do," well then, I'm a perfect fit.

So, yes, I guess I will continue blogging at least once a week (I know people still like Confession Tuesdays), so plan on hearing from me at least once a week.  I'll try to keep things interesting... so hopefully, you'll get something out of this experience as well.

Cheers to 2013!



~ Kells

  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Endings I Love: New Year's & Becoming the Person You Want to Be.

Ghosts of people who once had time...


When it comes to December, I love the end of the year because I know it's a time I can start fresh again.

I like the feeling that I can wake up with a fresh calendar and clean slate.  Actually, every morning we have that, but with the year change, it feels bigger.

It feels like a new opportunity to be the person I want to be.

The older I get, the more I realize we can be whomever we want to be.  We choose our thoughts, our dress, our priorities, our actions.

If we are not the person we want to be, if we are not living the life we want to live, there is only one way to look-- in the mirror.  Our lives do not just appear in front of us, we create them.

Yes, there are many things we don't plan for, many things that catch us off guard, but mostly, the every day stuff, the things we choose to do with our time-- that's us.

When I was younger, this freaked me out a bit.  It was much easier to see my life as a series of bad things that happened to me or because this was just how things were than to take any sort of accountability or action for my unhappiness or dissatisfaction with the way things were.

What I don't think I realized is that we are each given our time and we choose how we want to use it.

Do I want to write or watch reruns of Glee?
Do I want to make my way as a writer in the world or do I want to do laundry?  (Note: sometimes you have to do laundry.)

We are in the places we are because of decisions we made in the past.

If you are not happy with your life, ask yourself, "What can I do differently?  Better?"
If you are happy with your life, ask yourself, "How can I continue to keep this happiness or maybe, even create more?"

What do you like about your life right now and what do you want to change?

~

What have I learned most in 2012?

That I need to stretch from my comfort zone and do things that make me uncomfortable, I need to do things that stretch myself.

I have learned that big changes happen with little steps forward.

I am nowhere near perfect, but the older I get the more I realize how this is my life and I may not always be steering it (or steering it perfectly), I can definitely lean in the direction I hope to go.


Cheers to all of you in the New Year and sending much good energy to the person you are and person you hope to become in 2013...


~ Kells

  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Thursday, December 27, 2012

After the Holidays, And It's Time to Return to Writing...



Sometimes I think there are three levels of Christmas.

1)  Level 1: The Watcher:  You don't partake in the holiday.  Either you are an atheist, Jewish, don't have kids, don't care, have better things to do, enjoy the simple life without the need to buy lots of stuff for your family, are truly spiritual &/or celebrate Kwanzaa, the Solstice, Festivus, or something else entirely.  If you celebrate Christmas at all, it is a small gift exchange that is similar to a birthday.

2)  Level 2: The Average Family:  You are religious or not, but put more emphasis on "Christ" than the "mass."  You have a smaller family with kids, you have no divorces in your family, you have traditions, but don't feel tired.  You have a list, but no more than 5-7 people tops.  Christmas is just another holiday you like, but it comes and goes without too much issue. You have a tree, but you may get it the week before Christmas or whenever and that's okay.

3)  Level 3: The Overdosed:  You are or are not religious and/or Catholic and Christmas is an event that takes months of planning and coordination.  You arrive not just at one house dressed in red, but at least 2, sometimes three. You know where Candy Cane Lane is and you view it yearly along with a mass of other traditions.  People do not hear from you the week before Christmas because you are running around like a nut.  You know ever Christmas carol and may think that Christmas is the happiest time of the year though sometimes you are sad and aren't sure why.


Dear Readers,

I am a Level 3 Christmas partaker.  In my best world, I am Level 2, but honestly, I have never been a 2 and never even close to a 1.  Christmas is HUGE in my family.  People do not see me (except at holiday festivities dressed in red) the week before Christmas.  It completely overtakes me in every way--emotionally, physically, spiritually.

During this winter break, when I should have time to write, I'm wrapping.  With a W.  I'm not rapping.

Now, there are bags of gifts under our tree, so much stuff to put away, and all I want to do is write.

I want to write and write and do anything creative.

I know for me, the last week of December is putting everything away, making huge donations to Goodwill, simplifying and trying it all again.  Starting anew.

Every year.

Every year I clean up and start over, by December of next year, I am a mess of stuff and time has slipped away.

But for now, I am on winter break, not taking phone calls, rarely checking email and returning to what is what I once knew as the writing life.

Christmas always pulls the rug out from under me, but January reminds my goal-oriented self to pull it together.  I'm a work in progress.  Trying to be creative, trying to write even with the clutter of Christmas breathing down my neck..... I will move forward.

Cheers to a new year!




~ Kells
  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Generating New Work Class & Sending (Polished) Work into the World for Poets in Seattle, Feb 2.

Susan Rich and I are hosting a 4-hour class in Seattle on Saturday, February 2, 2013 

and as of 12/27/12 at 5 pm we have 5 spaces left.


We'll spending first three hours writing new poems and starts for poems, then finish the last hour up with submitting our work and a Q&A period.

What you will leave this class with--

New poems or starts to new poems
At least one submission out in the world 

It should be a fun way to start out 2013--writing poems and getting older poems we have finished into the world!


More information below if you're interested!  And please feel free to share with others~


Generating New Poems and Sending (Polished) Poems into the World
February 2nd, 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Lake Union Area Seattle

For those poets who want to begin several new poems and then submit (more polished) work to literary journals.

Join Susan Rich & Kelli Russell Agodon in a 4 hour class, February 2, 2013,  which includes writing exercises, how to submit your work and a discussion of which journals suit you best.

Not only will we discuss submitting your work, but before this class, Kelli & I will have you send in 3-4 finished poems and we will prepare a submission for you-- including a cover letter, SASE, and choose the literary journal best for you.

Let's start the new year right with new poems and new publications.


Limited to 16 participants
To Register and Have Have Us Hold Your Space:

Email me at at kelli (at) agodon.com  to let us know you're coming 

Then mail your check for $96 (made out to Kelli Agodon) to:
Kelli Agodon
PO Box 1524
Kingston, WA 98346

 More information: 
http://agodon.com/classes.html
Thanks so much!

~ Kells

  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Generating New Work Class Offered to NW Poets: Feb 2 in #Seattle @susanrichpoet @kelliagodon #amwriting



Susan Rich & I are offering a class on Groundhog Day 2013 to help poets get some new work as well as send some older, more finished work out into the world.

I think we have about 7 more spots available, so if you're interested drop me an email at kelli (at) agodon.com and I'll hold your spot while you mail your check.

Here are some details on it--


Generating New Poems and Sending (Other) Poems into the World
For poets who want to write new poems as well as submit their work to literary journals, this is the class for you.  
Join Susan Rich & Kelli Russell Agodon in a 4 hour class of February 2, 2013 to do writing exercises and spend the last hour discussing  submitting your work and answering your questions.

Not only will you discuss submitting your work, but before this class, Kelli & Susan will have you send them 3-4 finished poems and they will prepare a submission for you-- including a cover letter, SASE, and choosing the literary journal for you.  

If you want to start the year out right with new poems and some older poems out in the world, please join us for this class.
Limit to: 16 participants


To Register & Hold Your Space:

Mail your check for $96 (made out to Kelli Agodon) to:
Kelli Agodon
PO Box 1524
Kingston, WA  98346

(And drop us an email at kelli (at) agodon.com so we can save you a spot.)


Here it is on my website if you want to pay by PayPal.

~ Kells

  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Next Best Thing Q&A on my Third Collection


I was tagged by Midge Raymond for this Q&A on my next book.  
Here are my answers and you can go to her blog to see what she's up to... (I will be tagging  Martha Silano, & January O'Neill - I was planning on tagging Jeannine Hall Gailey, but Ivy Alvarez beat me too it!  )

What is the working title of your book?
Hourglass Museum

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I guess the goofy answer would be--my imagination.  
Mostly I started looking at the poems I was writing and imagined putting them in a book as one does exhibitions in the museum.  How would that look?  What would be included?  
The more I thought about it, the more poems I wrote.

What genre does your book fall under?
Poetry

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
The "I" in the poem, which is the speaker and includes much of myself, feelings, and experiences would be played by Maggie Gyllenhaal because the woman at my local post office thinks I look like her.  
The "He" in the poem, who many times takes the place my husband in real life, would be Antonio Banderas.  And if Antonio Banderas was playing my husband in the movie, I would play myself.
There are many cameos in here by famous artists-- I would want their ghosts to play them.   

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Art reflected in life reflected back in art again --or-- everything is beautiful if you stop tearing it apart.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
At least a year, but probably longer.  

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
God, the ghosts of dead artists, or just that inner desire we have as writers.  

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The second section is called "Sketchbook of Nudes."





~ Kells
  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Confession Tuesday: The Gratitude Edition



Dear Reader,

It's been a tough week for many so today's confessions are a gratitude list of what I love & are thankful for.

To the confessional--

I confess the simple things--turning on the heater, hot showers, food in the refrigerator, unpolluted drinking water from the tap, shelter--are things I am thankful for daily.  I have little idea how any of them really truly work, but am thankful for all of them.

I confess I'm constantly amazed how I can send email to people around the world and they get it in seconds.

I confess I am thankful for both science and spirituality and do not feel you have to choose one or the other.

I confess I love Total cereal and seeing it in the morning makes me happy.  As does coffee. And bubble water.

I confess when I heard of the school shooting I looked this video and it made me feel better:



"Take away my trouble, take away my grief
   Take away my heartache..."
I confess I am thankful for geography.  My life is good because of where I was born.  And my parents. And who is around me.  There's a lot things I had no control of and I am thankful they all worked out for me.

I confess all the things that make me nutty about my family--their messes, the chaos, the emotional highs & lows, the details, the scheduling--I am thankful for because without them, I would be sad and lonely.  These are the people who keep my heart alive and warm and give me reason to live.

I confess I can't imagine living a life without pets.

I confess sometimes I look at my golden retriever and think he is the most beautiful dog in the world.

I confess tragedies remind me of the heartbeats around me and people & pets trump everything in the end.

They give me love, love, love, love, crazy love...



Thank you. Again and again.

Amen.




~ Kells

  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Monday, December 17, 2012

Healing through Poetry: Excerpt from a Denise Levertov Poem


I suck when dealing with tragedy. Really, there's no better way to say this.

When something terrible happens, I become unfocused, don't stop checking the news, and basically feel a knot begin in my stomach.

This happened to me Friday after the Newtown Elementary School shootings.  My husband was at the store and he called me and I knew about them, but I didn't tell him because I wanted him to live a little longer without the knowledge of knowing 20 children had been murdered at school.

Can you believe I am typing that?  Murdered at school?  First graders?

It sickens me and angers me and depresses me and makes me so sad.

But we have to move forward and I realize there's a time when reading or watching the news is only hurting us more.  It is in these times that I turn to books and poetry.

I can't make sense of what happened.

But I can use another's words to help me heal.  On Friday, it was Denise Levertov's poem (first published in 1981) called "Mass of the Day of St. Thomas Didymus."  This is from the second section "Gloria."

The typewriter is my own, my old Corona (think 1929 or 1937, I forget as I type this).  The evergreens are from my tree and the poem, that's all of ours to have now.

Here's the full section, the above was what I needed to get me through, to help me begin healing.

ii  Gloria
Praise the wet snow
        falling early.
Praise the shadow
        my neighor's chimney casts on the tile roof
even this gray October day that should, they say,
have been golden.
                Praise
the invisible sun burning beyond
     the white cold sky, giving us
light and the chimney's shadow.
Praise
god or the gods, the unknown,
that which imagined us, which stays
our hand,
our murderous hand,
                   and gives us
still,
in the shadow of death,
            our daily life,
            and the dream still
of goodwill, of peace on earth.
Praise
flow and change, night and
the pulse of day.
 

I signed this petition on the White House webpage to begin talking and making changes in America on gun control when it was at 15,000 names. It's currently at 168,000. 

It helped me feel as if I was making a difference.  If you want to sign it, feel free. 

Anyway, I hope you are all healing and finding good in your world.

Be well.

~ Kells
  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Confession Tuesday - Late Night Elf On a Shelf Edition

I'm Dangerous.  You wouldn't like me because I'm dangerous...
Dear Reader,

It's that time of year again.  If there's a war on Christmas, it's not happening in our state as everything is tinsel and light covered, Christmas music is all over the place.

I'm late and trying to get my confession in before it's tomorrow. Let's begin.

To the confessional--

I confession Elf on the Shelf freaks me out.  No, I do not have one, but my friends do this and I think it's weird and creepy.

He also seems like another chore for mothers to do.  Another chore instead of writing.

Honestly, he looks way too much like a clown for my tastes and I hate clowns.

~

I confess I received GREAT Fantastic AWESOME news since I last confessed-- my manuscript Hourglass Museum has been accepted by White Pine Press for publication.  Yes, I will have a book 3 of poems.

I also have a nonfiction book in the works.  I'm not saying too much on this as it's early and I'm a superstitious gal or as my friend's brother says "Stupidstitious"- yay, I'm that too.

~

I confess I feel rushed hurried moved along in December.

I also realized I'm getting old.  Old.  I remember being in my early 30's - there the bleep did that go?

Time freaks me out so I try not to think about it.  It doesn't just pass, it passes me, arms waving, some sort of butterfly stroke in the pool while I'm floating on my back looking at clouds.

I'm too young to be getting old.

~

I confess am thankful for all I have, though I also realize sometimes I feel as if I have too much. I can't imagine what really rich people think about their lives. I appreciate simplicity.  I recently got overwhelmed at the $1 store and at Target.  I prefer having less material items but more experiences.  Actually, that may be untrue as I also like to stay in the house and write, do nothing, interact with only one or two people in a day.

There are just things we don't need.

Christmas sometimes gets crazy like that and the next thing you know, someone is giving you a decorative snowman.  I don't need a decorative snowman.

What I need is peace, love, and less clutter.  I'm easy like that.  My favorite things have heartbeats.  I also love French Dip sandwiches this time of year.  Other than that, donate some money to Kiva.org and help out someone who really needs help.  I would never use a panini maker.  I love paninis, but can make them in our iron skillet just the same.

Give generously and give with your heart.
I try to do this.  To the things and organizations that matter to me.

Who do you want to support this year?

Amen.
Kells


~ Kells

  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Class for Seattle #Poets-- Generating New Work & Submitting Feb 2, 2013



Susan Rich and I have decided to celebrate Groundhog Day with a poetry writing workshop. 

Generating New Poems and Sending (Other) Poems into the World will be held in Seattle (South Lake Union neighborhood) 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Saturday, February 2nd.

The idea came to us at an Irish bar in Nye Beach, Oregon. I scribbled the first ideas on the edge of a napkin. Why not help writers launch their poems into the world? Why not link generating new poems to sending out "finished" poems for publication?

We're keeping the group small and hoping that you'll consider joining us. In the last few hours we've already had several people sign up. Maybe there's something about Ground Hog Day that just seems ripe for creativity? I believe so. Here is the information on our workshop and a link to sign up. All levels of poets invited: beginners to advanced writers welcome.



From the Class Description:

Join Susan Rich & Kelli Russell Agodon in a 4 hour class of February 2, 2013 to do writing exercises and spend the last hour discussing submitting your work and answering your questions.

Not only will you discuss submitting your work, but before this class ends, Kelli & Susan will have you send them 3-4 finished poems and they will prepare a submission for you-- including a cover letter, SASE, and choosing the literary journal for you. 

If you want to start the year out right with new poems and some older poems out in the world, please join us for this class.


Limit to: 16 participants  (we currently have 5 people signed up...)

You can sign up on my website or mail us a check.  Just go to: www.agodon.com/classes  to sign up via PayPal or learn how to save your place with a check



~ Kells
  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Confession Wednesday



Dear Reader,

I confess that again I am a day late on confessing.

This has been my life since Thanksgiving... running a little behind and by little, I mean a lot.

To the confessional--

I confess I am almost better.  I have been sick more often this fall than usual.  Not sure why, but it bums me out because I hate being unproductive.  I'm a Capricorn.  We like to work or be doing things that feel important--even if it's cleaning out the guest room closet, we like our tasks.

~

I confess I bought my cat a bed for my desk and at first thought I wasted $12, but now, she loves it and I wonder how this princess even got by without it.


I confess love animals - cats, dogs, birds, deer, owls, bunnies, foxes, cows--this will be a long list if I continue.  My new favorite animal is the red panda because they look as if they are wearing black onesies.

I'm endangered. Protect me.


~

I confess I'm very Blanche DuBois as I'm always depending on the kindness of strangers.

Seriously, from the stoner couple eating pizza off of their dashboard who had me roll down my window to tell me my gas cap and cover were hanging off my car to the woman in Macy's who said, "You can be my new friend" so I got the 20% Friends & Family Discount off of the boots I was buying for my mum to give me for Christmas (I know it's odd to be buying my own Christmas stuff, but our family does this kind of stuff).

I also had woman who handed me the cover to my camera, the man who chased after me to give me my car keys I left on a table, the woman who found my wallet.

Either people are really good, or I'm just a mess that needs my own entourage of strangers to help me get through the day.  Honestly, it's probably a little of both.

~

However, with that confession, I'd like to confess that I do believe there are angels or some sort of otherworldly helpers on this planet.  I know, it sounds cuckoo, but lately I feel as if I've been escorted through the days with a lot of extra help and luck.

And maybe the otherworldly I feel is one soul connecting to another.  Maybe when we are in a place of contentment people are more likely to be able to break through any walls we've put up and connect with something bigger.

I've been so sick this last two weeks, my brain is fog and I have zero walls because they are too hard to build when I'm tired.  Maybe this is why it feels as if everyone I meet smiles at me or is happy or helpful.  Maybe it's because without my angry-eyebrows on people respond differently.

Though honestly, I don't wear angry-eyebrows very much at all, but I can be in my head and not in touch with the world when I travel through it.

Maybe when I see kindness coming at me, maybe it's more of where I am than where they are.

I'm not sure, but I'm thankful.

Amen.



~ Kells


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