The Wolf at My Door: A Conversation With Mary McMyne

Before we continue on with what I think is a truly superb  interview, I’d like to share a bit of exciting news: I’ll be returning to teach at the annual Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference next month. Held right here in our sparkling Emerald city July 17th-20th, this conference is not only a well-run, fantastic spectacle of fabulous writers, teachers, agents, and editors, but also holds a mighty special place in my heart. It was at the PNWA conference several summers back where my agent met up with the editor who would fight for my little story and eventually go on to publish it. Our trio felt like it was destined to come together from the very start, making our journey a PNWA success story we were all too happy to share during a panel discussion at last summer’s conference. This year, I’ll be teaching a workshop titled, Working with Literary Magazines, a topic a I happen to know a thing or two about after nearly five years behind the editorial desk of The Los Angeles Review.


I recently interviewed friend and fellow contributor to The Burden of Light: Poems on Illness and Loss, Mary McMyne, about her collection of poems, Wolf Skin. I’m a long-time fan of Mary’s writing and it’s been a pleasure to follow her success over the years, and an honor to be a part of that success.

wolf skin

1. Let’s talk about that fantastic title! At what point in the process of composition did you nail it down and know you had the title of your manuscript? What does it represent for you?

Many of the poems in the chapbook explore our preoccupation with putting on a front of invulnerability or fierceness. European folktales as we know them today are violent stories, with clear underlying assumptions about the widespread existence of evil in the world. One of the questions I found myself asking, as I wrote these poems, is do I believe in that evil? Whatever it is, how should we choose to react to it? The title poem follows the huntsman from the Brothers Grimm variant of Little Red Riding Hood as he comes upon the wolf asleep—snoring loudly—in the grandmother’s bed. Because the poem is written in second person, reading the poem, you enter the huntsman’s mind as he realizes what the wolf has done and rushes to save the girl and her grandmother. You become the huntsman, as he “slit[s] the beast open, the word hero stinging [his] tongue.” But Red and the grandmother do not respond, here, as they do in the Grimms’ version. At the end of the poem, the huntsman plans the story he’ll tell his friends, then tries on the “wolf skin” as he walks home. The title shifted several times during the writing process, but when the poem was accepted at Los Angeles Review, I loved your and Kelly Davio’s suggestion that I pull out the phrase “wolf skin” from the final verse and use it as the title, because of the way it brought out the themes of the poem. Ultimately, the poem asks, what really happened at grandmother’s house? Why do men become heroes or villains?
2. Has poetry always been your primary literary outlet; what about the genre keeps you coming back over the years?

Actually, although I’ve written poetry for as long as I can remember, I’m not sure I’d call it my primary literary outlet. Certainly, I was one of those kids; on a cross-country road trip when I was about nine or ten, I recall, very clearly, torturing myself over the rhyme and meter of an epic poem about St. George and the Dragon. In college, the first workshop I ever took was a poetry workshop in which I had the good fortune to meet and encounter the early work of Ava Leavell Haymon. But I’ve only ever enrolled in one poetry workshop since—a wonderful, idiosyncratic class with Andrei Codrescu, which I took in graduate school at LSU. My formal study of writing has actually focused on fiction. I’ve had the good fortune to study with wonderful novelists and teachers, like E.L. Doctorow, Chuck Wachtel, Moira Crone, and Jim Wilcox. The truth is, I’ve always written in multiple genres, and I don’t think of them as entirely separate. My poems are often narrative; my fiction has lyrical elements.

I think the thing that keeps bringing me back to poetry is its music. I took piano lessons for years as a kid, even composing a little, but seven years ago, during my second cross-country move in three years, I realized I couldn’t afford to keep moving my piano. Poetry is music you can compose anywhere. I love its lyricism, its brevity. When I’m working on a novel, it can take me hours to get started. You can slip into the world of a poem more quickly than you can slip into the world of a novel or story, and when I come to the writing table I am looking for that dream state.

3. Your poetry has strong anchors in history and place. Do you make a conscious effort to root your creative work in the context of time and place?

Absolutely. Anything I write that’s not confessional or personal—set in a place and time I know well—I do a ton of research to get the details right. Primary sources, reading in the period, going there if I can, taking pictures, viewing videos or photographs, reading scholarly articles, whatever. The poem I wrote about Marie Curie’s daughter, “Irène Joliot-Curie,” which originally appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly but you recently reprinted in The Burden of Light: Poems on Illness and Loss, is probably the most painstakingly researched poem I’ve written to date. I wanted to make sure I understood not only Joliot-Curie’s scientific accomplishments, but also the details of the poem’s setting. I sought out photographs of Joliot-Curie in the lab with her husband Frédéric, photographs of the Curie Hospital in Paris where she died, and information on the exact medical technologies that would’ve been used at the time of her hospitalization, and so on.

The poems in Wolf Skin are set in two time periods: there are poems about a modern woman whose mother told her all the usual folktales, and then there are the poems retelling those tales. For the modern poems, because the speaker’s mother is into entomology, I did a lot of research on butterfly migration patterns and insect collecting. In order to write the fairy tale retellings, I researched the known iterations of each tale—how they changed over time—and the historical conditions that inspired them. For example, there’s a poem in the chapbook about the woodcutter’s wife, who convinces her husband to leave Hansel and Gretel deep in the woods, which is clearly inspired by the famine conditions that were often experienced in medieval Europe. I read a lot about that, about the medieval werewolf trials, the flora and fauna in southern Europe, you name it. I’m an obsessive researcher.

4.      What surprised you most about working through this chapbook?

How wonderfully consuming it can be to write a linked series of poems. Wolf Skin was my first multi-poem project, and I found myself obsessed with this woman’s story and emotional journey. In some ways, the process of writing the chapbook was similar to the process of writing fiction; I would see things, in my daily life, and consider them from my character’s perspective. The first poem in Wolf Skin is one I composed in the car, on my way to visit my husband downstate as my daughter slept in the backseat. I saw a billboard, heard the first line in my head, and felt compelled to keep reciting and reworking the subsequent lines aloud until I got it right and pulled over to record it on my phone. That’s another thing that keeps me coming back to poetry—the way you’re haunted by a line or image, at first, but have no idea why it fascinates you. I love the process of figuring that out with sound.

5.  As the mother of a young daughter, how did your treatment of fairytale lore change as the manuscript evolved? Surely, this must have been a complicated matter as both parent and artist.

Well, I’ve loved fairy tales since I was a girl, but I’ve become a far more critical reader since I became a mother. Rereading my copy of Grimm when my daughter was very young, in preparation for telling her the tales, is actually what inspired Wolf Skin and my novel-in-progress. Originally, I thought I was looking forward to telling Alice these tales. But rereading them, I had an altogether different experience than the one I had as a girl, finding myself less enchanted than irritated at their underlying assumptions about gender. Why does Little Red Riding Hood fall for the wolf’s scam?, I wondered. Why does Rapunzel slip up and accidentally reveal her affair with the prince to the witch—does she lack the intellectual capacity to deceive her captor? What would happen to the girl who grows up believing the lessons of these tales?

As I’ve read and reread these stories, I’ve come to prefer some tales over others. Rumplestiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, Seven Ravens, and Snow White and Rose Red, are some of my favorites, for their relatively active heroines. I can’t really stomach the classic Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, or Sleeping Beauty—if Alice wants me to read one of those, I can’t help myself; I’ll change details! I’ve also become a fan of folktale retellings for children, collecting a library of picture books with strong female heroines, such as Kate and the Beanstalk and Cinderedna, which I prefer over the classic versions. Right now, Alice and I are working on a musical puppet show that we’re calling Cinderelsa: a mash-up of Cinderella and Frozen. In this version, Cinderella has ice powers which she is somewhat careless in using to retaliate against her stepmother—she has to learn to control them. Maybe my aims as a parent aren’t so different from my aims as a writer. I want to teach Alice not to be a passive reader, not to look at stories as static.

6.      What project(s) are you working on now?

A sequence of poems so new, if I talk about them, I might scare them away, and a novel set in 12th century Germany, The Book of Gothel, which speculates about the historical roots of several well-known folktales. There’s actually a lot of crossover between my novel-in-progress and Wolf Skin; one of the poems, “Old Woman Gothel,” reads like a persona poem from the narrator of the novel late in life. I was lucky enough, last year, to win a grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation to travel to Germany to do background research on The Book of Gothel. Earlier this summer, I got to spend two weeks in southwestern Germany, following in my narrator’s footsteps, visiting city museums in Konstanz and Freiburg and Bingen, hiking to the ruins of medieval abbeys and castles in and around the Black Forest, making a pilgrimage to a thousand-year-old abbey, and being blown away by 12th century religious art. During the trip, I marked my manuscript to bits; now I’m revising those pages so that the time and place will ring true.

Mary McMyne is the author of Wolf Skin (dancing girl press, 2014).Her poems and stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry International, Los Angeles Review, Pedestal Magazine, Painted Bride Quarterly, Word Riot, New Delta Review, Apex Magazine, and many other publications. Her criticism has appeared in American Book Review. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Rhysling Award for her poetry, and she has won the Faulkner Prize for a Novel-in-Progress and a grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation for her fiction. She teaches English and creative writing at Lake Superior State University, where she is co-editor of the journal Border Crossing. Follow her on twitter @marymcmyne.

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Hearty thanks go to Kelly Davio for inviting me to participate in The Writing Process blog tour; Kelly is a poet and teacher living in the Seattle area. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Northwest Institute of Literary Arts (Whidbey Writers’ Workshop), and works as an instructor of English as a Second Language.

Kelly is the poetry editor of Tahoma Literary Review, a new, quarterly journal published in both print and e-reader formats. Currently the Associate Poetry Editor for Fifth Wednesday Journal, she is also a book reviewer for Women’s Review of Books. Davio served as the former Managing Editor for The Los Angeles Review. Her debut collection, Burn This House, is available from Red Hen Press and from Amazon, Barnes And Nobel, Powell’s, or your local book retailer.

You can read Kelly’s responses to the blog tour questions here, and below are my responses to the same:

1) What am I working on?

I recently released my second book, The Burden of Light: Poems on Illness and Loss. This multimedia digital anthology has been the true definition of a “labor of love,” and though its creation nearly killed me, I could not be more proud of the final product. With 90 contributors, a mix of both formal and free verse, visual art, music, and video contributions, the collection provides something to just about every reader. And because the book is being offered on a donate-what-you-can basis, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance, I feel pretty incredible about what I’ve accomplished. So these days, most of my literary efforts are bent toward promoting the anthology and its brilliant contributors.

On the days when there’s quiet time and creative energy to get down to the business of writing, I dig into the post-apocalyptic novel manuscript I’ve nearly finished. I keep my life busy and my brain stimulated, that’s for sure!

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Though books on grief and illness saturate the marketplace, and poetry anthologies have long and ceremoniously taken elegy as their subject, none before this have so fully blended emerging and established voices. None incorporate electronic multimedia with powerful, well-crafted verse. The collection I have had the good fortune to curate represents literature at its best: here, we explore, we divulge, we share, and come back once more to the surface, renewed. I truly hope that readers will be as forever altered for the experience as I have been.

Because I write across genres, I will always challenge myself to face whatever fears and difficulties arise; certainly, this anthology presented its own set of both, but I wouldn’t change a single moment of my experience. I learned a ton! I believe that with every new writing project, we teach ourselves to write all over again. The passion, thrill and fresh perspective this inevitably incites comes across the page, and brings a certain sense of immediacy to my work that I hope excites my readers in the same way it does for me.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Good writing must accomplish many tasks, just as all art should strive to do: not only need it appeal on an aesthetic level, but it should also impact the audience in the mind, the heart, the gut, the loin, and so on. All the senses come into play and the whole of a person comes alive—at least this is the goal of a true artist. I want to hit those marks and hit them hard. I made a decision quite early in my career to bring a certain boldness and lack of inhibition to all my work—no matter the genre. In my life, I might choose otherwise, but I see no use in writing anything half-assed. There are important things to be said, and I want to say them with confidence.

I write the books that I need and do not yet have; I write the books that I myself would enjoy reading. I write about the things that keep me up at night, that ideas and troubles that linger, that effect. Hopefully, I write the kind of work that will keep me in the business long enough to keep on writing some more. Mostly, I write the kind of material in which I feel a great investment, whether that investment is emotional, political, or intellectual in nature. Without such devotion and passionate interest, I simply wouldn’t be able to endure the lengthy and often grueling composition and publication process. This industry ain’t for pussies.

4) How does your writing process work?

From the very beginning, I’ve only ever been able to write in the evenings or at night. My creative juices might be flowing all day, but my fingers don’t hit the keys until after dark. I work a full-time day job (as most of us do), so most of my writing sessions begin at 7 pm, ending around midnight or 1 am, if I’ve been particularly productive. Nothing makes me happier or keeps me in my chair longer than when my dog, Mona, sleeps on her little sofa beside my desk—that is just the best! I tap my away on the keys while she snoozes peacefully at my side, and when it’s finally time to crawl into bed, we are both pretty darn happy to hit the lights in the office and shut the door. If I write new poems, I write by hand with a special pen. All other genres form on the computer. I am very careful to stay away from Facebook and Pinterest—a writer’s worst enemy! I often research as I write, however, so I still need the Internet enabled. I need all my books nearby, and often have piles spilling forth from my desk, as I like to page through for bits of information or sometimes just for inspiration. It’s a messy affair, this writing business of mine.

Because a lot of the subject matter I work on—especially The Burden of Light—tilts toward the heavy or even disturbing content, I often need to read or watch something lighthearted before I go to sleep. Sometimes just a few minutes of an old Harry Potter movie will do the trick and help me recalibrate my mood, but I find this silly little ritual very helpful when I work with dark subject matter. Hey—whatever it takes, right?

Next week, two new poets/bloggers will respond to these questions as well. Both of these smart, savvy, accomplished writers will give us some good thoughts to chew on, I guarantee it!

Andrea Scarpino is the author of Once, Then, a collection of poems that will be published in March 2014 by Red Hen Press, and The Grove Behind, published by Finishing Line Press in 2009, She is a weekly contributor to the blog Planet of the Blind and is widely published in print and online journals. She teaches in Union Institute and University’s Cohort Ph.D. Program in Interdisciplinary Studies where she is the Creative Dissertation Coordinatoor.

Alyse Bensel serves as the Book Review Editor at The Los Angeles Review and as the Assistant Poetry Editor at Beecher’s. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Shift (Plan B Press, 2012) and Not of Their Own Making (dancing girl press, forthcoming 2014), and she has poems most recently forthcoming or in The Fourth RiverCold Mountain ReviewBlue Earth Review, and Ruminate.

Alyse is currently a PhD candidate in creative writing specializing in poetry and eco-lit at the University of Kansas.

Things We Inherit

A lot of what happened and was said when my father was first diagnosed with colon cancer has long since blurred with the fog of time. I was turning 17 that summer, and could absorb only so much of the changes and information exploding all around me. But among the early memories of my dad’s first room at St. Michael’s hospital in Milwaukee, there is one washed-out afternoon I can still just scarcely recall. That brightly lit corner room would prove to be just the first of so many hospital rooms to follow, but we didn’t suspect it then. We were optimistic, simply because we didn’t know yet not to be.

My father had been admitted a few hours earlier, plastic bracelet wrapping his wrist and silly yellow gown failing to cover his chest hair. Though I can’t remember anymore where I was sitting, I know the doctor sat bedside, because I was relieved for my dad that he at least was lucky enough to have one of his friends, Jimmy Ansfield, as his gastroenterologist. Not everyone’s doctor sits on the bed and offers hugs, but my dad lived a charmed life in that way; he made friends with nearly every single person he met. As Dr. Ansfield took my father’s medical history and prepared us all for the surgery to come, my attention likely drifted, my own overblown teenage emotions eclipsing all else.

I don’t remember it now, but during that same conversation, Dr. Ansfield told my family that because of our father’s diagnosis in combination with a family medical history that predisposes us to colorectal cancers, my brothers and I would need to begin getting colonoscopies as early as age 30. I could argue now that at 16 years old and in a room with my older brothers, I wasn’t eager to hear details of a test where a camera would be shoved up my butt, I suspect that my thoughts were more occupied with rapidly blooming fears for my father’s health.

16 years later, my father is gone. Fear, worry, health, and family have come to hold new meaning in my life. I turned 32 this past August, and could put it off no longer: it was well past time for me to have my first colonoscopy. The night before the procedure, I filled a gallon-sized plastic jug with my prescription laxatives, and went to work. Drinking down what tasted like salty bathwater in such quantity took some time, but I managed it. I wouldn’t call what followed fun, exactly, but neither was it as horrible as legend would have us all believe.

As with most of these types of cancer screenings, the doctors and nurses usually do their best to make things as easy and comfortable as possible. Though patients may opt out of conscious sedation (read one brave man’s account here), most people choose not to remain alert during such an unpleasant and awkward procedure. As a starving poet struggling to balance two full-time careers, I was by this point almost looking forward to the test, simply for the chance to take a nap.

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The Life Less Ordinary

Often as a writer, I find myself struggling to answer questions that on the surface likely seem very simple: “What do you write?” proves difficult to explain depending on the day I’m asked, and “That must be fun, huh?” nearly sends me into a lengthy diatribe on the cruel realities of the current publishing climate, which almost no one genuinely cares to hear. The most challenging of all to resolve or describe, though—at least in recent weeks—has been the most basic and essential of them all: “What makes you want to write?”

A writer must write for the writing itself—that much seems plainly certain (Channeling Dr. Suess, anyone?). I always try to think of Vincent Van Gogh, who produced masterpiece after masterpiece without ever selling a single painting while he was alive. He loved the act of creation that much. Would that I could trust in my work enough to create page after page, unchecked, unencumbered by promotion timelines and web presence—to know that the writing would speak all I wanted to say into eternity, long after my death and without my constant self-promotion. Would that I could.

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For when the cold winds blows, I will close my eyes calmly, knowing I am anchored to you.

                                                                                                            -Tyler Knott Gregson

As a writer these days, I often find myself wheeling around between genres like a drive-in burger joint waitress on roller-skates. All pig-tails and bubble gum.

I suppose I’ve become the kind of writer I always hoped I’d grow to be—just like my beloved Papa Hemingway: publishing throughout his career short stories, articles and essays, poetry, full-length fiction AND non-fiction. I have forever so admired writers and artists like he, who could tiptoe amongst mediums with such seamless grace, such fearless command. I find that talent feverishly attractive; I must have it and make it mine.

And in a way, some might argue that today’s publishing climate demands that writers possess this skill for adaptability. Being a one-genre-pony limits one’s opportunities in the industry. Poets, for example, who exclusively write poetry are going to have a tough time earning a living on their creative work alone; we all know this. But poets who can challenge themselves to trying a hand at other content might have an easier go. I’m not saying I like the system. I’m just saying that it does seem to be the way the game is played these days.

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Bananageist Watches

In honor of Halloween, I share with you now my own spooky ghost story. This is all true, my friends. Right down to every last banana…

When I moved into the ground-level unit of a quaint brick triplex, I was desperate to find a place to live on short notice. Freshly sprung from the near miss of an ill-fated engagement, I was lucky to find such a score just as winter began to dig its heels in. Friends and family pitched in to set my spare furniture just so, settling my dog and me into our new home. Just the two of us. Safe and sound.

I spent a happily solitary Christmas drinking wine by the fire, the weather finally cold enough to need one, and at midnight took the dog for a moon-lit walk around our quiet new neighborhood. When we returned home and set feet crunching on the frost-encrusted lawn, I was confused to find the porch light off, the whole doorway cast in darkness though I was certain I’d flipped the switch on our way out. Once inside, I saw that the fire had also been snuffed out; only a few hissing embers simmered and snapped behind the mesh metal curtain of the fireplace by then, though the fires I build are the kind meant to burn slow and strong the whole night long. I checked the flue for drafts and flaws, and, finding none, next checked the wine bottle atop the kitchen counter to see if I’d left behind less of its contents than I’d intended. None of my inspections gave me satisfying answers, but I shrugged my shoulders at the dog, turned off the rest of the lights, and went to bed.

That night, I slept fitfully, dreaming of otherworldly images. I finally began to drift back toward consciousness shortly before dawn. Before I had the clarity of mind to open my eyes, I heard the sound—and felt the sensation—of a man speaking in my ear, pressed closed to my head. I opened my eyes and sat up, breathing hard, expecting to see a stranger standing next to my bed. But only the shadows danced against the walls, only the curtains flitted up and away from the windows in the slight breeze. I was too terrified to remember what he said.

I looked down at my dog, Mona, sound asleep in her memory foam bed on the floor in the opposite corner, completely undisturbed. “Some watchdog you are,” I said as I flopped back on the bed, scooted closer to her, and pulled the covers over my head.

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A Little Gypsy and Her Friend, The Tiny Jew

When I was in graduate school and in the midst of a blustery, winter residency up on Whidbey Island in the San Juans, my thesis advisor and poetry legend, David Wagoner stated at breakfast one morning—apropos of nothing we’d been discussing—the importance of keeping company with different creative types. “Painters,” he half-growled, half-whispered in his sweet baritone, “the photographers, the other artists. They’ll keep you sharp, keep you writing prolifically.” And then David went back to his quiche with shaky hands and slow-blinking lids. Nearly everything he said was gold, and I’m lucky to have gulped down every nugget.

I’ve been thinking about my master’s studies a lot these days, so nestled as I am once more in the warm cradle of my poetry roots while putting together The Burden of Light: Poems on Illness and Loss, my current anthology project. I never could have guessed that my training and education would eventually lead me to a project such as this—one that has grown far beyond my own stories and imaginations. Something so wonderfully kinetic doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen in solitude; with every day that passes and bit of progress made, I realize how fortunate I am to work with so many talented artists from such varied backgrounds.

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Author Leslie Lindsay Moves Mountains, One Rock at a Time

So much of a writer’s life is spent hunched over messy desks under the glares of overworked computers, all alone,  trapped inside the creative avalanches of one’s own mind. Those few times each year when we congregate at conferences, book fairs, and workshops, we marvel at and cling to one another with abandon. The connections we make and those intellectual bonds we form sustain us year-round, often throughout our entire careers. They buoy us during hard time as well as success. I was fortunate to come across just such a friend in author Leslie Lindsay this past April at the University of Wisconsin Writers Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. My very own home state, no less.

With all I’ve had on my plate these last few months–putting together this incredible poetry anthology, finishing my novel, promoting Girl, working a full-time day job, and trying to keep myself and my dog in good spirits, I am fascinated by how writer-mamas manage to throw their families into the mix.  I damn sure plan to keep writing as I move through life and, hopefully, one day become a mother myself. I asked Leslie what writing means to her as she evolves, and how she balances those dual identities of artist and mother. Here’s what she had to say:


As I write this, I have a load of wash going, towels in the dryer, a happy basset hound at my feet, dinner simmering in a Crock Pot and two children happily playing outside with rocks, sticks, and their imaginations.

Am I distracted?  Of course!  Am I a driven writer?  Yes.  Can I do it all and still have time to do the things I love?  Well, that depends.

The art and craft of writing takes time.  Lots of time.  It also takes a certain doggedness, a thick skin, a passion for the written word, and more time.  To make it work for me and my family—which is comprised of a devoted hubby, a basset, and two very busy elementary-aged children—I must be very disciplined.  Some days it’s easier than others!

Leslie Author Pic (1)Perhaps you’ve heard of the jar and the rock scenario.  Bear with me as I explain. Take a glass jar…one of those big canning jars and fill it with a few large rocks.  Those are your main priorities in life like home, work, church/synagogue, family, school.  You have to do those things to make it in life, right?  But the jar’s not full yet, is it?  Okay, so go out and grab a few smaller rocks—the things you like to have as part of your life.  Maybe that’s time to shop, study, read, time with friends, etc.  Still not full, right?  Then you add in sand and water…now the jar is really full.

As a mom-writer, I’ve had to shift my priorities so that writing is one of my “big rocks.”  It’s quite literally what grounds me.  When I am writing, I am in my own world where nothing seems to matter except my story and the characters that inhabit that world.  Yet, all of those other things need to get done.  It’s about balance.  For me, writing is as integral as eating, breathing, and being with my family; it’s a strong fiber of my being.

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Call for Submissions: Poetry Anthology

Call for Submissions: Poetry Anthology
September 4, 2013
Call for Submissions: Poetry Anthology

Submission deadline: November 1, 2013

Publisher: Foreword Literary
Editor: Tanya Chernov

Seeking submissions of poetry on confronting serious illness and loss, and the lessons learned as we find our way through the darkness. 100% of the proceeds will benefit the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance. Submit poems along with a brief bio via email to Read full guidelines here.

When the Ink Bleeds Together

Out here in the Internet ether, things can get a little lonely. Leaning back in a creaking desk chair inside the dimly lit office of my cozy, quiet house and pecking away at the keys, everything seems to go unanswered in the dark. I’m like a spaceman cast adrift in windless space, neither coming nor going. From time to time, it’s hard to know who I’m writing for and what the point of blogging even is anymore. Is it for me, for you, for my platform, all for nothing? Who the hell knows anymore?

But then I hear about Lori Hettler and her blog series, bringing all the crazy kooks together from the dusty corners of our own private worlds, whispering our stories in her ear. Suddenly we’re a community of crazy kooks, delighting in each other’s wonderful brokenness. Speaking with one another and all who’ve come before us and those who’ll come after.

Thanks, Lori, for letting me take a turn.

Read Tanya’s post in the Indie Ink Runs Deep Blog Series Here