2018-03-01 Part 3 – The Hangover

When we last left our fateful hero’s, they were staring down at the bottom of a bottle of wine, with empty glasses in hand. Their fingers were on the keyboard possitioned and ready for brilliance to flow as easily from them as the cheap wine that had just played out a most impressive disappearing act.

But the words were elusive. As it turns out, at least in this case, drunk texting is easier than poetry. Channeling Mayer again and taking my own advice, I said what I needed to say. No regrets right?!

There was a brief exchange and then, according to my FitBit, I was in bed asleep by 10:08PM. Yes.. my life is that exciting.

I was urged awake l just after midnight by a buzz on my wrist frim that very same FitBit, letting me know I was getting a call. It was HL. Knowing that being awake at that time meant an inilabulity to fall back asleep, I promptly returned his call.

My head hurt so I walked about my house getting water and OTC meds for that as I engaged him in conversation. He had just arrived home from a night out drinking with a friend. Way less lame than my drinking alone sitting in my office with only my cat and my laptop to keep me company.

It had been a while since we talked so we had a brief catch up session. I recounted the circumstances and events surrounding the end of my relationship with Simon. He filled me in with details about a new girl he’s seeing. It’s not a competition, but my story was more entertaining than his. It stands to reason though, I’ve had a loner time to find humor in mine and everyone knows the ends of relationships are way more interesting than beginnings.

We talked for maybe an hour or so. I’m not really sure because I couldn’t sleep after that and got up and was up for a while. I humored my left brain by making a few lists on my new white board (yes, I just could not resist). My right brain was still stumped by the problem it’s been struggling with.

This is, specifically, how to write a poem about the idea I had a few days ago about that Violent Femmes song, “Outside the Palace”. If you are playing along, this was explained in Part 2.

Here’s a fun fact… I’m supposed to avoid cliche phrases, metaphors, and overused topics in my writing. Really? Really.

At residency I learned a ton of things and one of those things, although seemingly not a big deal, is quite a discussion. It has to do with using things that are overused and therefore considered cliche. If you subscribe to this rule you would not ever use the following in any writing: The heart, Soul, sun moon, flowers, mothers, fathers, any sort of weather, the ocean…. Theres way more, but you get the idea. I will probably stumble upon them sometime in the future by way of some constructive criticism because I employ these in my writing often.

I may be repeating myself , from days or weeks ago, and if so I apologize in advance.

One of the mentors at Residency actually said in workshop in response to another student’s work, which made a reference to the moon.. “Don’t ever do that. EVER”. She (the faculty) was very emphatic about her point and pontificated about it for a a few minutes. Later that day the girl who was subject to that criticism and I laughed about it over a glass of wine. But apparently it struck a chord with me because here I am 2 months later and still thinking about it.

Counter to that was another faculty member who actually gave a lecture about the use of “flowers” among other things in writing and he argued that there was still a place for it, in some cases. I swear over half of my poetry is about broken hearts, flowers, and philosophy of life and I really appreciated that lecture. It felt like some sort of validation. Even if the result is juvenile and will not be taken seriously. If I am not writing what I think and feel then why am I writing?! It brings up a good question, which is “Who am I writing for?”

The faculty member who gave that lecture is now my mentor for this semester. I have not brought up this subject yet in our correspondence, because there has not been a need and I have somewhat avoided submitting anything that would be a blatant direct violation of the “cliche rule”. Haven’t I? Maybe. Probably not. Again, half of my poems use some common metaphor or overused phrase so it is highly likely something like that was in what I’ve submitted. Who cares anyway, this is not really my point. What was my point again?

Oh yeah, the song.. which contains, in its chorus both the moonlight and the dawn.

The question that came to my mind yesterday, which is why the cliche topic is on the tip of my brain, was how is a person to distinguish the moonlight from the dawn. And how can I ever hope to fashion a poem from this thought when I have to invoke both the moon and the sunrise? How is one supposed to talk about those two things without actually mentioning them?

Am I supposed to find something else that equates to the moon? Some other celestial body that gives off light but is not the moon. The sun is off limits, the stars are off limits, and the other planets don’t emit light. You know what else does not give off light? EVERYTHING!! If I said “light bulb” well, that just doesn’t do my feelings justice. Not enough weight and it makes people think of ideas not some mysterious, shining orb in the sky. Seriously.

I tried “Yin” as a substitute. I guess that’s ok, but it is kind of obscure and people might not get it. Even if I figured that out, the next problem is right behind it… the dawn. Even tougher. Whatever.

So I might have to give up on that one which is kind of a shame but it’s not like there are 10 more right behind begging to be written.

I think being up in the middle of the night, drinking water and milling about my house actually saved me from having a hangover this morning. Thanks HL!

He urged me to not give up on Bumble, but I’m fairly certain that’s the right thing to do now. He suggested that I widen my net by also being on match and eharmony and also to not take any of it too seriously. That last bit is where I think my problem is. I can’t seem to help the daydreams and fantasies.

It’s just part of my nature. And why would I want to change that? Who am I living this life for anyway? Just like that question about my writing.. the answer is me. So I shouldn’t really worry too much about writing about the moonlight because the rules only apply if you care what other people think.

Perhaps I should give that poem another try.

But first.. time go go make some $$$. It’s the first of the month and First National and Capital One are knocking on my door.

Covered in Moonlight,

~Miss SugarCookie


2018-02-24 Look Who Just Showed Up


From deep within a three week slumber
With first a slow and sleepy lumber
The monster moves, now cocks his head,
Instilling thoughts of sudden dread

And In the wake of Panic’s stare
I also wake, acutely aware
Long days and nights I’ve been remiss
Choosing something other than this.


I just couldn’t help myself there. That’s the nature of poetry sometimes. It just shows up and when it does, it’s like, BAM, you thought you might do something else with that little bit of time but (and with a finger wag) it say’s “you won’t”. Just add that to my growing left brain list bearing the title “Why Poetry”.

In this poem I’m referring, of course, of our beloved and sometimes long hibernating panic monster. A few days ago I was thinking about how I haven’t made much progress on revisions or reading my assigned materials. I really was thinking I had a few weeks to go before the next packet is due. Then I looked up the schedule. I was wrong.

One week.. and that was 2 days ago. So now I have 5 days to finish everything. I have made some progress but not enough to equate to 4 weeks of work. Where did those days/weeks go??!

So I guess that’s what I’m doing with my weekend. The good news is that I have no other plans so I should be able to dedicate a lot of time to what I need to do. That’s the positive side of having a slim social life right now.. not a lot of other things consuming my time. I think it will also help that there is a lull at work right now and literally nothing for me to do again. Aside from “running the household” I can focus solely on this and hopefully knock it out in just a few days.

Last night I did have a commitment to keep (happily) to go watch my friend Amy play in her band at a bar. The band is called Dirt House and they are picking up traction in the metro area. The singer is somewhat like Sara Bareilles and plays keyboard and she’s backed up by a very good pop/rock sound with guitar and drummer and then my dear friend on the violin. Superb! The bar was an OK venue but either their sound system was garbage or the guy running it was. I’m guessing the guy running it because when I wandered over to that area, the board was pretty sophisticated. He was acting as if he was paying attention and making constant adjustments yet oblivious to the negative feedback and also the drums being way to loud and drowning out the voice of the singer. Duh! At one point Amy’s husband came to stand beside me and he was looking at the sound guy like he was about to knock him out so I know it wasn’t just me.

Amy had a whole crew of people there to support her including her friends and family and I was really glad about that because I went alone and would not have known anyone there otherwise. As soon as I walked in, one of the women I met at her wedding urged me over to sit with them at their table and that was a huge relief. For the life of me I could not remember her name and felt incredibly stupid about that, but it worked out OK because it never came up, and I can ask Amy later without feeling so stupid.

Anyway.. I really wanted to get this in because I’ve not posted in a couple days and it might be a couple more before I am able to write again since I’ll be heads down in my MFA work. Now that the Panic Monster has officially arrived, I need to feed the beast. Oh the woes of procrastination.

I don’t know if the ideas in the Ted talk I watched about procrastination were original, but that’s where the Panic Monster originated for me. It’s a great talk and definitely worth 14 minutes of one’s life.. especially if you are among the mass majority of people who operate on principles of procrastination. Tim Urban: Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator

Time to Write (Something Else),
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-02-20 It Takes Heart

What? What takes heart?.. Pretty much everything in life. Really, for us mammals, we can’t live without it but that’s the literal translation of course. I dwell a lot in metaphorical spaces.

I’ve written a fair bit lately publically and privately about communication and language and the fact that words with definitions are one of the the basic building blocks necessary for successful oral and written human communication and understanding. “Thanks captain obvious”. Its not always obvious to everyone actually, but I’m going to leave that alone and start stacking other concepts on top. One tiny step up from words with definitions is the metaphor.

Metaphors provide a deeper understanding of meaning because of shared experience and context. There’s a vast catalogue of common metaphors that one can use to aid getting their point across. It’s why the saying “I love you to the moon and back” has gotten lots of traction as an expression of affection as of late.

People understand that the moon is a great distance away and they are searching for ways that appropriately express the vastness of their feelings. It’s novel because other metaphors have been over used, tired, and fallen out of favor. The ocean is still vast but has now been usurped by the moon. It is true that the distance to the moon is greater than the ocean is wide or deep so maybe there’s a smidge of one-upmanship there too.

Wow.. this is a serious introductory digression away from the real topic at hand, which is the heart. I had such a shit day yesterday and toward the latter part of the day I found myself in analysis mode again as it relates to my emotions. On the surface, it’s pretty clear. My self esteem had taken yet another hit from rejection. Nothing else has changed. The job is still awesome. The kids are great, school is the same, and there has been no impactful events. So, yeah, it’s about a dude. My heart hurts.

Yesterday I found myself looking over the poems I submitted in my first packet and the comments from my mentor. There’s one that I wrote in 2015 that I took to my first Residency for evaluation.

The feedback I received, outside the repeated constructive criticism of my lack of imagery and obvious need to get away from end rhyme, was all focused on the first couple of lines. This included using the heart as a metaphor, which is probably one of the most common and overused in history.

In some circles it’s actually considered against the rules these days to employ such cliche references. Color me with whatever shade of red best represents “I don’t give a fuck about that rule”. The comments from workshop, however, were not about that though. They were about the fact that the central idea in this particular poem is about different states of being, at the beginning, it is a state of trying to open my heart. By the end, there is some measure of success, but we didn’t talk about that. The focus was on the first stanza.

Revisiting this poem after the fact, I actually archived that draft and started over with just a couple lines from that first stanza… the bit about trying to open my heart. I wanted to find a scenario with a set of images that would elicit understanding of this predicament. I took something personal, true, and extremely relatable for most readers. The new title is “Toothbrushes”.

I didn’t put a ton of thought into this, it just came to me one day as I was standing in my bathroom looking at the pair of toothbrushes in the tumbler in my bathroom counter. I finally decided to pick up the one Simon used and toss it in the trash. As I did that, I thought, “hey, maybe this works” and that night I rewrote my poem.

I submitted it with my first packet to my mentor for comment. Not a lot came back in that one, except that it’s not finished yet. Something is needed to circle back to the original idea. Again, the idea of attempting to open ones heart. And also the state of starting over probably, because that is now what it’s about.

How very quant that this is exactly where I find myself again now. One thing not obvious in written communication that is a hurdle in blogs is the art of using sarcasm. So when I say “quaint”, please hear my curt tone and picture me rolling my eyes slightly up and to the left. 🙄 Then this.. 😒 and then maybe a little bit of 🤷‍♀️.

See.. I really need to work on showing instead of telling. I know that.

I’d like to revise this poem again now, but I just don’t know what to do with it. I have to figure it out. It feels kinda like a microcosm for my love life right now. I need to figure it out but I’m stuck and don’t know what to do.

My heart hurts and it’s not just some random dude I went on two dates with (though that is part of it). It’s a repeated pattern of rejection and my not being able to make sense of it. What does one do with that? I can’t let it go. I can’t embrace it. I’m having a hard time stopping myself from even thinking about it. I kinda wish I had a ton of work to focus on instead.

It’s gonna take heart to continue to work on this and find my way. It’s gonna take heart to keep trying. I’m going to have to dig deep to find what I am looking for I think. Not “ocean” deep, maybe just “Great Salt Lake” deep. 😉

One Step Forward,
~Miss Sugarcookie

2018-02-11 Just a Times New Roman Girl with an Affinity for Starting Fires

Most of the time when I start to write, I’m writing about what happened yesterday or today or what might happen tomorrow. It’s my current stream of consciousness thats pouring out my fingertips and sometimes I know where I want to start and where it will end and sometimes I have no idea. If I know, then I already have a title in mind but if I don’t know or as I write it turns and goes a whole different direction, I go back and think of a new title when I’m done.

Today I am compelled to write about something because of what I read when I woke up in the middle of the night last night. As I laid in my bed, I did what I am sure all single girls do when they can’t sleep.. I checked Slack, and email, and social media (not necessarily in that order). There was a notification in my email in-box for a new post from a friend of mine which I always enjoy reading.

Contrary to my droning on and on about my life and times in the here and now, his posts are mostly historical accounts of his life. It’s funny how you can be friends with someone and chat them up about current events and maybe never really know them. I talk too much, I’m sorry.

Things revealed about a persons past are very telling. They are a major contributing factor to who that person is today because if they didn’t go through all that stuff, they would be different. Their lives would be completely different and maybe that means you never would have met them at all. It’s a concept that is little too twisted to contemplate for long but it is a factor none the less. We could dwell in the “what if” world when thinking about the past, but that’s not productive either so probably the best thing we can do is stop once and a while to acknowledge it out of respect and recognize those moments that played a part in making us who we are.

So this post is a head nod at little bits of my own past, so I can read what I wrote when I am 75 and remember…

I’ve been journaling and writing poetry since about 7th or 8th grade but I also really liked burning candles and starting fires. We moved a lot when I was a kid because my parents were divorced and my mom was quite swayed by her relationships and most of the time when we moved it was because of that.

She dated and married a guy and we moved into his house. She divorced him and we moved out. She got a better job and bought a house. She dated another guy and we moved into his house. They got married and bought a house together and we moved again. That was all in the span of about 5 or 6 years. My Jr. High and High School years.

One of the houses we lived in had a real fireplace which I thought was pretty much the bomb. Of all the houses we lived in, that one was my favorite (it was also the only one that was in-between marriage 2 and 3 where no boyfriend or husband was involved). There were four of us kids so my option, as a freshman in high school, was to either share a room with my two sisters (8 and 1 years old), or live in the sun room. I chose to live in the sun room. It was less like a porch and more like an addition to the house and the room had nice carpet and windows and came complete with both a stand up piano and an organ left by the guy we rented the place from. I couldn’t play, but I thought it was super cool anyhow. That room was my sanctuary and where I did a LOT of writing. It’s also where I burned a lot of candles.

Back then I didn’t have the foresight to recognize how important that writing would be to me. I was an emotional teenager who struggled in the silence of my own little world because my parents were too preoccupied by their own agendas which didn’t really include us much. I didn’t really rely on my friends much for the heavy stuff either probably because I didn’t think they would understand. In 10th grade I connected with Stacey who I knew did. She was a year younger than I was and in band. I feel compelled to write about that relationship too, but it deserves way more than just a tangent here.

Anyhow, I wrote hundreds of pages in notebooks to work through everything. It was journaling, poetry, even short stories. The main characters in those stories were always teenage girls who were suicidal. I wasn’t, but maybe that’s because I had that outlet to release those kinds of thoughts. I don’t know.

I lost most of what I wrote back then to the fire. Not like a house fire or anything as dramatic as that. It was fires I would start in our fireplace on Saturday nights when I was babysitting and my mom was out on dates. I’d have an emotional moment and get pissed off at my life and throw those pages into the fire. So… poof.. they literally went up in smoke.

That went on until we moved into the house of the man who would become my moms 3rd husband. He didn’t have a fireplace and he had really strict rules. I hated him.

I eventually had to leave because of that. Or I got kicked out.. I don’t really remember.

Can you imagine kicking out your eldest daughter, who didn’t drink or party or hang out with the wrong people? A girl who was in honors classes and excelled at school and was into cheer and drama and choir? No.. me neither, but that was the situation. It’s probably because I stopped babysitting when I finally started dating and coming home after curfew.

I know my mom regrets all that very deeply now, but at the time that is what she chose. It may have been for the best though because that man was willing to take my infant sister as his own and help raise her. She turned out really great and is now a shining light in my life and one of my best friends. So I’m glad she had a father. See.. that’s a case for something rotten that I went through, yet my life is better for it.

Here’s a few more relevant facts for posterity…

1. My favorite childhood movie was The Dark Crystal by Jim Henson, it’s superb.

2. My favorite movie as an adolescent was Dead Poets Society. Yes really.

3. My favorite movie in my 20’s was Shawshank Redemption.

4. Til Kingdom Come by Coldplay will forever be the song that reminds me of the day my 17 year marriage officially came to an end.

5. My favorite font is Times New Roman.

6. I still like to start fires and having a real fireplace was a prerequisite when I bought the house I live in now. I never use my pages as kindling and almost everything I write now is electronic.

I think that’s enough looking back now. Time to turn around and look today in the eye.

Let’s Do This Sunday Thing,

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. 45,000+ songs is a shit ton!! I thought my 7k was a lot! If you like Smashing Pumpkins and don’t know Silversun Pickups, check them out. I highly recommend. 😊

2018-01-26 Just Another Post About Relationships

Yes.. again. I’ve apparently been condemned to a life of never ending questions about relationships and not a lot of answers. Where does one start? I’ll start with the state of starting over.

A friend of mine said to me one time that if he and his wife were ever to part ways, for whatever reason, he thinks he would not be interested in starting over. That somehow he would just live the rest of his life as a single dude. This feels impossible to me.

I know everyone is different, and perhaps there are people out there, like my friend, who are built with an internal fortitude enough to know they could live a long time without a partner. I know I’m not.

This just means that I can’t be out of it for very long before getting back in it. This leads to my current predicament, which is the state of starting over. Beginning again is challenging, and it never gets easier. In fact, I think it gets more and more difficult each time.

It’s such a strong current of thought that it surfaces even when I am with someone. For example, even before things were even ‘over’ with Simon, I was already thinking about the notion (including both the positives and negatives) of being single and available again. Maybe that was really the final sign I needed to recognize he wasn’t right for me. I’d started thinking about starting again and my mind was wandering to other prospects.

I found myself thinking about Lance. As unrealistic as that is, due to the distance between us and the precarious nature of our history, my mind went there. The mind is a powerful thing. It convinced me that, despite the obstacles, there could be something more there. I weighed the pros and cons and, yes, acknowledged I have feelings for this guy and somehow concluded that it was possible.

We have a great time when we are together but he lives in Denver. He’s got a good job that he likes and he’s got his shit together, but he lives in Denver. He’s a happy, positive, attractive person who is attracted to me, but he lives in Denver. He’s active, has a great network of friends, and lives a healthy lifestyle. Oh, but did I mention, he lives in Denver.

So that’s just a tiny detail right? And of course there are more difficult challenges that people have, but the brain is one with the force and the force is with the brain. It concluded that it could still work so I initiated a conversation.

It was more like sending a very benign question across the line. I suggested that I was looking for an excuse to get out of town, which I want to do anyway, and asked if he’d be available for a visit in February. The conversation that followed only proves that the Universe, while possibly brilliant, is also a dirty bastard with a keen way of reminding us of what was written in the fine print.

In short, he’s just started seeing someone and said I’d be welcome to come stay at his place because he’ll probably be staying at hers. Quick, somebody take the knife out of me before he twists it.

“She’s a hot 44 year old that has a really good job .. and he’s deleted the dating app he used to find her because he really wants to see where it’s going”. Too late, knife=twisted.

“Great! Good luck with that.” Was my response. I also said that if he wasn’t going to be available there was no reason for me to go to Denver. Like, thanks, the last thing I want to do is go to Denver alone where I don’t know anyone else. I’m sure he sensed my disappointment, even if it was just a text conversation.

Can you even believe I was upset about that? How on earth is it possible that some idea in my head could be so convincing that there are residual hurt feelings over some guy I never dated seeing someone else. What is wrong with me?!?!

That’s rhetorical.. moving on.

I’m not built for life without a partner. I’m not even built for life without the idea of a person who might be my person. I’m condemned to either ponder it endlessly or actually take steps to start over. At least I know myself.

Three or four days ago I opened the Bumble app (which I never deleted). I rewrote my profile bio in the dead of the night and adjusted my target age range. I waited until the light of day to start swiping again because nothing says “creeper” like a person who matches with you at 3am. 😂

Now I’ve got 2 or 3 conversations that are active and am spending my precious time chatting instead of work and schoolwork. That’s so wrong, but what is one to do anyway?

Also rhetorical.


I keep trying to open my heart.
But I just end up back here,
the place where folks start.

These are the only three lines I kept from a poem that got workshopped during Residency and have subsequently rewritten the rest. It’s called “Toothbrushes”. It’s probably still shit, but I’m including it in my first packet regardless.

Ok.. now to resist the urge to do more swiping and get to work.

Friday Fringles,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-01-24 Why Poetry

I’m in the car this morning navigating the ice rink that is the high school parking lot. I was dodging teenagers and their Pontiacs and late model Cadillacs and somehow maintaining my positive disposition despite my daughters insistance on fighting with me about a 5 minute discrepancy in our schedules.

I’m only half listening to her because there’s a Soundgarden song on with lyrics that are speaking directly to my soul. My mind is thinking about poetry.

At Residency, the second most asked question (besides who my favorite poets are), was “Why poetry”. Nobody has ever asked me that before. My gut response then was “because it’s always been Poetry”, but that doesn’t really explain it and so I’ve been thinking about the question ever since.

As a part of my course of study I’m reading texts and collections of poems by famous poets and also googling things of interest that are related to see what someone outside that sphere of influence has to say about things. Here and there I am gathering bits and pieces of “Why”. Due to the demand of organization required by my left brain, I’ve been keeping a list. Every time I feel I’ve discovered another reason, I write it down.

When I began to listen to the lyrics of “Halfway There”, there was something about it that vibrated within me. Not any one word, but the arrangement culminating in an interpretation that bounced around inside of me and created ripples of thought.

As I let the waves take over, everything else began to fade into the distance. My daughters voice became muted. In my peripheral vision, I could tell by her movements, she was still speaking but I couldn’t hear it. All I could hear were the vibrations from “Should a good life be so hard won / is that what our dreams have become.”

My daughter got out of the car and refused to respond to me as I said “Have a great day. I love you”. I’m used to that by now.

As I pulled out of the parking lot I hit the rewind button so I could listen from the beginning.

I wondered, as I encountered the first 4 way stop if I could say what Soundgarden had said any better. The arrangement of those words flirting with perfection in my ears. I rounded the next corner and concluded that any form of imitation or rework of the same subject would fall so far away from the original and result in complete failure.

I pulled into my driveway and allowed the song to finish and kept the car running long enough to hear what the Universe had chosen for my next song.

It was “Lurgee” by Radio Head. Oh the mystery and mastery of the omniscient. Well played.

I want to write lyrics that not only heighten my sense of being and elicit recollections of feeling, but perhaps also to shine a light on something bright enough to move others to also see it and feel it with me. This is not coming from a place of ego. It’s a genuine desire to channel my endless empathy into something worthwhile.

In order for me to do this, I have to get out of my ‘I Thought’, and commit to gaining a deeper understanding of the universe, Earth, and all forces at work on a random Wednesday morning in a High School parking lot. Based on what I know now, I have a long way to go.

I need to study my craft and fine tune my senses with experience. And it needs to be Poetry because that’s what was placed inside of me before birth. It’s thousands of thoughts waiting to be brought to life on the page with a syntax and vocabulary and rhythm that sing when read outloud or in the mind, touching the deepest part of one’s soul.

It’s the best answer to the question I’ve come up with yet to “Why Poetry?”. Time to go add that to the list.

Happy Hump Day!
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-01-18 Poking the Panic Monster

I have just under two weeks to get my first set of assignments turned in for this semester of my masters program. The panic monster inside of me is still fast asleep. That’s probably not a good thing. I think part of me thinks it’s going to be easy and the other part thinks that since this is my very first submission, if it’s not quite right, my mentor will correct my mistakes, give me more direction, and then we’ll just move on to the next one.

There are basically three elements required for this first “packet”.

1. A sampling of my creative writing, either first drafts or revisions, with a minimum number of pages.

2. A set of critical essays written on subjects derived from my reading of the books on my reading list. Again, there are a minimum number of essays and pages.

3. A cover letter which is to serve as the main communication between my my mentor and myself. It’s the start of a semester long dialogue to discuss what I’ve done, problems I’m having, and any questions I might have.

This is all to be compiled in a single document and emailed to my mentor by the deadline, which is January 31st.

#1 is Cake! That’s money that is already in the bank. I’ve been writing everyday and revising everyday and inspired by things around me that naturally fall into words on a line on the page. It’s been quite magical actually.

#3 will also be a snap. An hour at the keyboard at most and everything I’ve been thinking about this process and my work and my reading will just simply appear. At least that’s what I’m thinking about it now anyway.

#2 is where it gets tough. I’ve got three texts and three collections of poems from three poets on my reading list. Week 1 was acquiring the books. ✅

Week 2 was beginning to read in order Of interest and also as directed by my mentor. ✅

But that’s where the train stops.

I read up a little on both Robert Creeley and Emily Dickinson on wiki and began reading poems from each. I haven’t yet started in on Wallace Stevens. I’m going to hold my comments for a minute on first impressions.

I also started my first text, “A Poets Guide to Poetry”. I’m still in the introductory section and have not made it to chapter 1. I will not hold my tongue on my initial thoughts where this is concerned. It’s confusing as hell.

Picture reading a novel where the subject matter is completely foreign and so the terms used to describe things are unknown and have to be looked up, one by one. Then, add in that the language itself is on a level above what one is accustomed to. This just means that not only is there a teminogy gap, but a language gap, and ordinary words also have to be ‘googled’.

As if that was not enough, it is also written with a cadence that someone who is used to reading and interpreting a poem might understand. The whole thing feels like a poem whose subject is not obvious without some diligent re-reading, analysis, and reflection.

In fact, it goes right into that very idea, even before chapter 1. Some analysis of lines with conclusions I never in my wildest dreams would have come to in my own. I wondered when reading if the author had some insider information from the poets themselves or interviews or explanations written after the fact. Is it common knowledge? Are these famous poems used time and again in lectures in universities to highlight the exact point she’s making? Is this the stuff I should know already? Shit.

It feels like I’m a pre-med or pre-pharmacy student who is taking organic chemistry for the first time. For those that are not aware, “orgo” is the class they use to weed students out of these programs who don’t belong. Sure, being a doctor sounds like a fantastic idea, so why not go for it? However, not everyone has the mental capacity to do that job. The system is designed with keepers of gates and checks and balances to make sure that when you go visit your PCP, you don’t end up talking to ‘“Biff” from Back to the Future. Orgo does that. It separates good candidates from those who will not be able to make it through the program.

But this is POETRY, not rocket science. I get that there’s a lot more to it than just words dancing on a page. I’m engaged with learning all those things and am committed and have my mind set, but I actually want to learn them. I don’t want to guess and pretend to learn them and end up spending every penny I ever saved for a piece of paper and a few letters. I want to grow as a person and come away knowing more than I did before and be able to talk about it intelligently and even perhaps even pass on what I have learned. Nobody’s life will hang in the balance if I mess up, for sure, but that does not mean I’m ok with fluffing my way through.

I recognize part of my problem is me, and the fact that I’m not classically trained in literature or poetry or art and that I’ve been out of school for 20 years. My brain is mush. I’ve fallen to reading young adult dystopian fiction and I hang out with teenagers in my spare time. My vocabulary has not advanced in adulthood and everything new I’ve learned is based on acronyms, systems of operation, and thought processes of software development. Not helpful, as it turns out, when reading poetry.

This is probably why I’m having no issues picking up all this AWS stuff. It’s all cake so far, and being fed to me with language an elementary student could understand. I’ve aced every practice test and have not yet come across a concept that didn’t make complete sense.

It’s as if instead of “Poetry for Poets”, I need to start with “Poetry for Dummies”. According to my mentor, that the one he assigned is the best reference book on the shelf today and the easiest of the three texts he assigned me to read. Damn. I shudder to imagine what the other two texts will be like.

Thinking about all of this is making the Panic Monster roll over in his bed, as if he were having a bad dream. I’m thinking he’s about to wake up.

Let the Chaos begin!

~Miss SugarCookie