Erasure Failure x2

I wrote 53 poems in April for National Poetry Month. I only cheated twice (and had to write something that adhered to the previous prompt the next day). Unfortunately, not every piece was a winner.

Instead of giving up, I decided to turn the meandering mess into an erasure. It couldn't get worse, right?

Okay, so it's not the best attempt. I don't normally make erasures/blackout poetry. Maybe a second try would be better...

I think more interesting things are happening in the second erasure, but it's still not great. After this failure, I decided to scrap the piece as a whole. Not everything is a masterpiece.

Even though a fair amount of poems from April didn't work out, I still have fifteen new poems strong enough to edit and submit to literary magazines. I have more that are destined for Instagram. Overall, it was a wonderful result for thirty days.

Another Library Reading

Stop hyperventilating, damn it! 
I implored myself to read slower and breathe deeper. Every line of poetry felt like an ocean swim with my head emerging from the waves just before my vision faded. I desperately tried not to speed read. I read four poems, though I planned on five. But I made it.

There were four authors (not including me) sitting at gray tables on a pleasant afternoon in April. We had a fantasy writer, a YA author, a children's writer, a Christian author, and me. Each table had a banner across the modesty panel with our author photo, biography, and the cover of one of our books. I felt "legit."

The audience was great. We had a good Q&A, and the people who came my way were chatty and kind. I saw my middle school librarian who said she still sees my 3rd/4th grade teacher who was the person who inspired me to write poetry. No one gave me guff about my mask.

I learned from mistakes I made during the last reading. Pens were on the table from the moment I entered the conference room so I didn't have to scramble once the signing started. Brandon had smaller bills for the people who bought copies of Domestic Bodies and helped give change. I didn't misspeak as much when reciting my work, though the panic wasn't lessened.
During the Q&A, one of the topics that people kept coming back to was how we all got published. I know it's a common topic, but the amount of questions regarding the specifics surprised me. Within the next month, I want to approach the library about an event where people can learn more about the publishing industry and different pathways some of us local authors used to get our books into the world. I'll let you know what they say, but at least one other author thought it's a good idea.


Battle Wheelchairs in TTRPGs (Video)

I know the topic of the battle wheelchair in tabletop role-playing games (mainly Dungeons & Dragons) seems like old news, but a post on Twitter fired it up again last month. Since I had a lot of thoughts, I made a video. (It's not the best, but I tried.) Click here to go to the video.

Also, my horror poem "The House of Disappearances" was recently covered on the Tiny Frights Podcast. Click here to listen.


Stirring: Word Search Verse

Note: If you missed my reading, you can watch the replay here. Comment on the video for a chance to win a copy of Domestic Bodies

Since I'm not starting a newsletter, I want to post the occasional Word Search Verse for those who liked the idea when I mentioned it last summer. I apologize for the blurriness of the puzzle... I don't know how to fix it. Solutions for current (and future) WSV puzzles will be available on request.

I use the word search generator found here.

A poem in black text on a background with hues of blues. Text: She feels an echo, phantom heat pulsing through her body as she lies upon the permanent imprint his figure left in their marriage bed.


My First in-Person Reading

On February 25th (Sunday) at 1:30 p.m. central, I will be reading from Domestic Bodies on my YouTube channel. My husband and I tested streaming on YouTube, and everything appears to work! If it goes sideways again, I will probably swap over to my Twitch channel... but I hope it won't. Please join me if you have time!

My first in-person author event was on an icy day early last month. I had poems picked to read, but the transition comments between pieces I thought would be best off the cuff. I set my book at a discount and gave all proceeds to the library, but I forgot to bring change for people who needed smaller bills. The librarian who runs the writers' group there monthly was supposed to give the introduction, but she got busy and wasn't even in the conference room until almost the end of the event. 

I'm nervous when speaking publicly. I don't read well out loud. I was definitely out of my depth. My baby brother, husband, and sister were in attendance which helped more than I can express; I still messed up quite a bit, though.

One of the most important things I did was deciding not to read alone. When setting up the reading, I asked members of the writers' group if they wanted to read with me and two did. One author made change for one person who wanted to buy my book but only had a $20 bill. The other author let me borrow her pen until my husband could dig mine out of my backpack. Both of them read well and were extremely gracious. The three of us also drew a bigger audience than each of us could on our own.

The audience was lovely and warm. I went on a tangent between poems about ableism and inspiration porn because my book's themes include disability and cancer. I try to do everything with authenticity but worried it was a little too much for my conservative town. But people thought it was interesting. 

In total, I raised $40 for the library by selling four books (two to my sister). My husband donated $10 and keeps asking me for a signed copy because he's my biggest fan. The other author selling books also donated his money to the library, though I didn't ask anyone to do it.

It was a pleasant time, and I'm glad we didn't read to three rows of empty chairs. I'd consider doing it again in the future. 


Venn Diagram Christmas Poem

While researching poetic forms last month, I came across a Venn Diagram Poem. I've never encountered those words in that order before. The idea was intriguing since it's a type of column poem, and I love working with those. But I balked at the fact that the left and right columns don't make sense on their own... until I realized why.

In a Venn Diagram Poem, only the middle makes sense on its own. It also ends the left column's lines and begins the right. When I write them, I try to make the circles different colors to help readers understand what belongs where. For example, the first line of the left poem reads: "There was once no sight better than your eyes" and the first line of the right poem reads: Your eyes tell me stories. Their lessons".

I had to take away my original final line from the middle poem because it wouldn't make a proper "bridge" between the sides. Some poets have extra lines in the middle without extending the left and right columns to the end, but I like things more uniform when I'm working with these.

I'm absolutely enamored with the form. Writing has not come easily to me this year, and toying with a new way to do things makes picking up my pen less arduous. 


Happy holidays, lovelies!


Failure to Launch (Party)

On the 19th, I was set to have my book's virtual launch party on YouTube. I researched the key ingredients to a great event, created cute graphics, promoted it on social media, and made sure my Internet could handle the platform. I've had my channel for years and thought I tried to stream there before...

... but apparently not. I needed to verify my account. Okay. My husband frantically punched in the code while I laid out copies and swag on the table in front of me and tried not to cry as OBS Studio refused to let me go live. Then, we learned YouTube has a waiting period (24 hours) before streaming is enabled. And it was fifteen minutes after my start time.

I mentally panicked. I'm used to Twitch as a streaming service but not YouTube. I had my husband create a Twitch channel for my launch, told everyone about the change of plans, and went live ten minutes later. I knew few people would see the pivot. I knew I shot myself in the foot. I knew I didn't really have options.

The live ran smooth, and I gave it everything I had. I was approximately halfway into it before someone talked; he was the only person who did, but my statistics claimed six people stopped by (though one was a bot). It was a better turnout than I thought, but there weren't enough people to do a Q&A session or proper giveaways. 

Twitch has a stream archive feature where replays are stored for a week and creators have the choice to upload them elsewhere. I decided to do the giveaways in my YouTube comments after I uploaded the replay there, only to learn the archive option isn't on by default. I was too upset to check before starting stream. So, no archive. No opportunity for giveaways. I almost broke down entirely but laughed instead.

Now, I'm faced with a decision: Do I try for another launch party next month, or do I just hold a giveaway on my blog/YouTube? I'm not sure. I feel as though no one will bother attending a relaunch, especially in December. My in-person event will be in January, so the holidays won't be as pressing. 

And I have no idea what to do with the Twitch channel. Do any of you even want to watch me gab about random things once a month?