Category Archives: Poetry

ISBN: 978-0-9571859-9-9

winter/windows by Shana Youngdahl & MIEL press

winter/windows by Shana Youngdahl & MIEL press

I always make fun of poets. First of all it’s easy. How dare those sentimental bastards walk around this world making us think about really deep stuff? Like this chick, Shana Youngdahl  and her chapbook winter/windows published by MIEL press.

Maybe I shouldn’t joke about poets because so very many of them know where I live. Sometimes I imagine them sneaking around my house in spy regalia, peering into windows, waiting like cats for the perfect moment to strike…

That’s when I know it’s time to get going on a new short story wherein I make fun of poets. I guess you could say my personal brand of humor always stems from a place of respect. They can say in less than ten words what it takes me to say in 140,000. They capture the smallest of moments that pierce your heart the way a photograph or song or painting can. Instantly.

Sometimes when I think of writers, I think of the stages we go through. First being that overly sentimental, overly wrought, angst driven, stage one where everything we write is heartfelt and dear. Second stage: experimentation. We get caught in the craft, the tinkering, upping the pen with new techniques and tricks. We cut and edit over half or more of the hard, close to our heart sentences and try to leave readers with a ghost of what we felt, so that it may haunt them as it haunts us. Third stage: releasing work into the wild. Here is where the heart and earnestness has a danger of getting edited out altogether, driven by a market that perhaps wants a faster paced novel or scandalous scenes or something more trendy and salable. If writers aren’t careful they can lose sight of their young unknowing self in this stage, that place where passion and need drove the work. Paying bills is not the same as emptying a heart.

In winter/windows, SY finds a perfect blend of each stage of the writer, paying homage to the beginning writer, balanced with technique, and getting it into a beautiful package by MIEL publishing.

As SY writes it best in an excerpt from the poem windows:

 

…..Please,

when you pass through the glass

 

and into the darkness beyond my sight

don’t forget the thumbprints

you left on me.”

 

Who wouldn’t be jealous of lines like that? She deserves to be made fun of in at least twelve stories. And it made it into the salable world, not by being compromised, but by being made even more beautiful in a limited edition hand-made book and a sweet talking editor at AWP.

I’m a fan of small presses because rarely do they change an artist’s vision. It seems like these houses always try their hardest to rally behind your work with as much love and enthusiasm as you had for it when it was a first draft. MIEL’s mission statement is a testament to this, “to publish difficult, interesting, intelligent, deeply felt work by writers and artists, with a focus on work by women.”

Can I get a hell yeah?

This book, and those damn poets in general, got me to thinking about the small things, the overlooked things. I’m in the nesting phase of pregnancy, already past my due date, scrambling around the house organizing cabinets, writing thank yous for all the love and support of friends and family, finishing the touches on the nursery, picking out going home outfits, and preparing ‘en general.’

Part of the preparations includes thinking about adult matters. Unfun matters none of us like to think of: healthcare, insurance, and wills.

First on my docket, was updating my Health Care Directive (HCD) should anything happen to me.

Everyone ought to have a HCD. They spare family members and friends from having to make those hard moral and ethical decisions in a time where all anyone wants is for you to get back to normal. Stress runs high in these critical times; it’s guaranteed the people in your life may not agree with decisions made upon your behalf.

During my first reality juncture, Husband had to fight extremely hard to convince doctors of a medication regimen that I would approve of if I were of a sound mind. He also had to face relatives that wanted notification of my condition sooner, but due to stigmas surrounding the topic, chose to wait for me to make that decision when I was of sound mind. He came through like a champ, thinking and acting exactly as I would have, and still took the sound advice of friends on when to admit I needed to go to the ER.

All of this was done on the fly, without my wishes in writing, and I thought, it’s bad enough for my family to go through reality junctures, why not take away as much of the problem as I can when I’m “sane.”

Even if you aren’t mentally ill, a HCD is a good idea. It covers the basics: when to pull the plug, how you’d want surgeries to go down if you were clean out of it. Anyone can get into a car wreck. Anyone can find themselves with cancer.

This is a link to the Minnesota Advanced Psychiatric Directive And Health Care Directive.

I recommend filling one out and updating it periodically. These legal documents are different depending on where you live. If you aren’t a Minnesota resident, a simple Google search (Advance Psychiatric Care Directive + residential state) can turn up the right form for you. In Minnesota, law requires that you + 2 witnesses sign the document. If you have the money, contacting a lawyer is an option to get it official and all legal like.

Maybe I’m an overachiever when it comes to this stuff, but I also like this form  (download from top left hand corner of page) by Mary Ellen Copland.

I don’t intend on this form being legal – I like it because it offers me the chance to task my personal support group (friends and family) with the little things, “can someone bring me a puzzle with kittens playing with string with jumbo sized pieces when I’m in recovery and can barely read or comprehend a sentence?” Or more importantly, signs to look for that can help me avoid getting into a crisis to begin with.

I E-mailed my support group the forms and then directed them to where I keep legal copies. As a writer, I made them as funny as possible, because well, they’re not fun to read. It’s important to me to give my supporters hope and remind them that I won’t always believe radio-active monkeys are coming to get me in my sleep.

Throughout the process, I kept thinking about how fortunate I am to have such a large support group. This is not always the case for those dealing with mental health issues. I kept thinking of someone like my mom, who has a kind partner to take care of her, but if she were on her own, she’d likely not have a huge group of friends or coworkers because she is on disability.

What if you’re a bit of a shut in? What if you’ve had a falling out with family or never had much family to begin with? What then?

Your doctor’s office may keep these forms for you on file. If you don’t have a regular doctor or are in-between doctors, (sometimes it happens) hopefully you’re still getting the medication you need. If you have a relationship with your pharmacist, it’s worth asking if they can keep it on hand for you. Be considerate to the person you’re asking to hold the form. Community pharmacists are busy – they’re the only health care professional you can see without an appointment. I think people often forget they hold a doctorate degree. Try to stop by during a non-rush hour time. Have a landlord? Tell them where you keep the document, should crisis arise. They likely go into your apartment for repairs from time to time. Maybe they wouldn’t mind retrieving the forms for you should you need them.

Perhaps part of your crisis plan is to stop in at your local police station to ask them to note somewhere in your file that you have a mental illness. I don’t know if they’d be interested in holding your form unless maybe you have a criminal record and you kindly explain you’re trying to get your life together. Letting them have the heads up on your situation if, unfortunately, they’re called to your residence, is a good thing. Mental illness symptoms can often be mistaken for substance abuse symptoms, and more and more officers are being trained to know how to respond to a mental health call. Perhaps they’d dispatch an officer with more experience for the situation.

All of these things are suggestions. It’s important to keep in mind that community members are busy, busy folk. Restrictions might keep them from holding records or making notes due to bizarre policies in your area. Don’t get discouraged. The point is you are in control of your health care, and more often than not, people want to help you with that.

Writing the HCD got me thinking about what would happen to my creative work should I happen to expire. It’s a realistic thought, seeing how depression can be a fatal disease and the world, heck your body, is full of ways to end you.

No one wants to think this stuff. No one except, Neil Gaiman. He posted a compelling article on his blog why a writer or any creative type may want to have a will made with special attentions going to their work. This article is found here.

And the downloadable sample will here .

I don’t have hundreds of books (yet), but what I did create is important to me. I want it taken care of properly when I’m gone. This way there’ll be no squabbling over who gets to sell the rights to my epic life movie! (We all know I’ll be famous someday…)

Okay, okay. Enough with all this Debbie Downer adult business. Now on to something more uplifting: I finally have an ISBN to call my own.

That’s right.

I published with Red Bird Chapbooks.

It’s titled, Tree In Winter, and was a visual collaboration with an amazing painter and friend of mine, Susan Solomon. One fine summer afternoon, she and I had lunch and the topic of her painting some of my stories came up. I love her work, so it was a no brainer to collaborate with her. She suggested Red Bird Chapbooks as a possible home for the book and knowing their objective: “to showcase the art and writing of as many people as possible,” I was down. I took a month and pounded out a story for her with Red Bird in mind. Soon into the first draft, it became clear to me that the story was more than just another story: it was a gift.

All proceeds go to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Purchased the book here.

Even if you don’t want to buy my super-amazing-most-fantastic-creation made for a worthy cause, spin around their website. There’s plenty of other super-amazing-most-fantastic writers on there. Plus, they sell pretty broadsides and pamphlets by more sentimental bastards.

So, like any good bird, I’m off to do more nesting. The next time I’m back I’ll have hatched a mechanical human of my own.

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Filed under Bipolar Disorder, Books, Life, Literature, Mental Disorders, Non Fiction, Parenting, Poetry, pregnancy, Writing

ISBN: 978-0-14-243723-0 (Part II)

Don Quixote by Cervantes

Don Quixote by Cervantes

 

It’s Don Quixote by Cervantes again this week. I’m halfway through the book, the end of Part I. I’m finding it hard to write about a book that I haven’t completely read—as I prefer to think about the whole story and how it fits into my life, then blog about it. Since I can’t do that yet, I’ll just share some more of my notes on the book:

1.)   Rocinante, DQ’s horse, is just as developed as Sancho or any other character in the novel.  It’s subtle, but the layering of R—when he appears, how he moves, makes him feel just as important to the story as the Barber or the Priest. I love it when animals become characters.

2.)   So it isn’t the masses who are to blame for demanding rubbish, but rather those who aren’t capable of providing them with anything else. Apparently, the debate between art and entertainment was raging hundreds of years ago. C goes into great detail, time and again, over this debate making the greatest case (thus far) for fiction that is both entertaining and of substance. Here’s one of my favorite lines: The subject you’ve broached, sir, the priest interrupted, has awoken my old loathing for these fashionable plays, which is as great as my loathing for books of chivalry, because whereas drama should, as Cicero puts it, be a mirror of human life, an exemplar of customs and an image of truth, these modern plays are just mirrors of absurdity, exemplars of folly and images of lewdness. This line is one of the most brilliant in the book because C has done just what the Priest describes, but somehow, by addressing it, he has also done so much more. In his own way, C creates a story that makes everyone involved in this topic utterly mad, the Priest for burning books (but enjoying the stories once he reads them) and DQ for living his tales.

3.)   And it’s all a big joke. Lines like this one pop up all the time: Others write their plays so thoughtlessly that the actors have to run away and hide after performances for fear of being punished. 

4.)   All this bounces back and forth between moments of truth: Showing that love can only be conquered by fleeing from it, and that nobody should engage with such a powerful enemy, because its human strength can only be defeated by divine might.

5.)   But as good as it is, it’s still a hard book to read. Every time C introduces a new character he goes into a backstory that can last ten to fifteen pages. He even freaking wrote a thirty-five page fictional story that the Priest reads aloud. You sort of just have to go with the breaks in the narration, or DQ’s storyline. You have to be like, cool a sonnet, or yes! An epitaph. You are, after all, following the mind of a madman . . . 

 

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Filed under Art, Books, Fiction, humor, Life, Love, Poetry, Writing

UNSAID V.6 N 1

 

Unsaid

Unsaid

This past October Husband and I went on a road trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan to visit EH, a close friend and fellow writer. No, we did not make it to the famous Zingerman’s Deli—which I am totally over, I swear—and despite the fact that I wasn’t able to convince Husband to let me purchase an antique chair from the Treasure Mart (It would have fit in the car! If we pushed…), I still had an enjoyable time.

Ann Arbor has that typical college town flavor mixed with, ‘I want to be more urbane, but there’s a farm ten miles away.’ There were so many funky local businesses that I just don’t have the space to highlight them all here (like a magic shop/sports memorabilia store in a somewhat creepy basement and one of the largest comic books stores I’ve ever been in). The only store that I must mention, because I found a yellow fashion scarf with swallows on it—the exact scarf I imagined Katniss Everdeen would wear if she had an MFA—was Heavenly Metal.*

Vicki, the shop’s proprietor can be seen here:

DSCN0951

And these are some of her wares:

DSCN0948

 

DSCN0956

Because of time and space, I can’t go on and on about how funky the store was or the friendliness of the staff, but I will say this—if you happen to be in Ann Arbor, Heavenly Metal is worth checking out.

Between stuffing our faces and window-shopping, we had time to visit the State Of The Book symposium where I met David McLendon, editor of Unsaid, the journal of new and lasting writing.

I wanted to blog about Unsaid earlier, but after I read it, I was left speechless.

This journal is uniformly disturbing in a very good way, like walking though an art museum or reading a Miranda July story. Not only is it mind candy, but it’s a departure from the classic narrative, the stuff that’s getting routinely published every where else. The whole time I was reading it, I felt like I was eavesdropping on a smart conversation about art and our emotional response to it.  This volume of Unsaid contains fiction, poetry, lyric essay, and even a lecture from sixty-two different writers.

It’s a great place for up-and-coming artists to showcase their work, so buying a copy would be the equivalent to shopping locally.

That’s all I got on Ann Arbor, for now, but if you know of some more hidden treasures, please don’t be afraid to comment.

 

*207 E Ann Street, Ann Arbor, MI (734) 663-4247  http://www.heavenlymetal.com/

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ISBN 978-0-87013-979-6

Love is the quietest of all things.

I suspected this when I first started reading Beso The Donkey Poems by Richard Jarrette back in May. When I finished reading the poems this week, I knew this truth.

Beso The Donkey found its way into my life because I admitted to SS that I liked poetry, but I just didn’t get it. It sounded bad. An MFA graduate still eluded by verse, but SS didn’t judge. She directed me to the book because it was “sweet as can be, even for those of us who are downright afraid of poetry.”

The question, “Why bother with relationships you know will end?” was on my mind when I started reading the book. Fifteen poems in, I had to set Beso aside to write a short story, just to answer the question.

Then I forgot all about Beso until this weekend when I ran into KS and we spoke of passion, chainsaws, and poetry.

KS: What people just don’t get is that poetry is all around us from the start. People think that their first exposure is when they get to seventh or eighth grade and some teacher pushes a poem on them, but I mean, just think of music, of all those lyrics we’ve been hearing . . .

I took up Beso again. This time I headed down to the Minnesota River Valley where I sat on a log and read the book front to back with the changing autumn leaves. Jarrette showed me a donkey that could gaze with the tragic dignity of Abraham Lincoln, a stream of gold that poured from his backlit silhouette, and the lingering record of Beso’s tracks in the mud as a lost civilization. All I had to do was look down in the dry riverbed, and I could imagine Beso plodding along beside me.

Jarrette wrote, “oaks feel a tiny shiver when a moth sighs.”

And in this sentence I knew, really knew, just how love is the quietest of all things.

 

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Filed under Art, Books, Life, Literature, Love, Music, Poetry, Random, Writing

ISBN 1-58234-416-7

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell a novel by Susanna Clarke

My thesis advisor, ML, recommended that I read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It was similar to my thesis in many ways; both were large complex stories, both involved magic, the fantastical, and both were going to take ten years to write.

From the look on ML’s face when she recommended it to me, I knew there was something else contained within the story that I would understand once I read it.

I was unable to physically read the book at that time, so I bought the audio book hoping that this would help matters. It was still no use. Try as I may, I could not get past chapter three.

That was a year and a half ago.

At the beginning of spring, I made a list of things I wanted to do before the summer ended. It wasn’t until last week that I looked at this list: cleaning and painting closets, trimming over 15 bushes in the yard, painting the basement, cleaning the attic and garage, etcetera. The audio book for Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell was 32 hours.

Perfect. Nothing could make bleaching the backyard patio more fun than a novel read to me in an English accent.

ML continually impressed the importance of the story upon me during thesis. I wanted to cram everything into my novel that I possibly could, but the ever patient ML would return draft after draft with the same comment: the story must come first. Themes, ideas, and social commentary should be subtle, and if possible, written almost subconsciously.

I didn’t understand the depth and weight of ML’s advice until I listened to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. On one hand, there is a perfectly good story about two magicians and their pursuit of magic. On the other hand, there is a tale of the creative process, the toll it has on relationships, what one pays in pursuit of their art, and a dance on the line between sanity and insanity.

Perhaps the reader wonders why it was that I was unable to physically read or listen to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell the first time around. It wasn’t the footnotes, the old timey language, or the fact that it was seven hundred and eighty-two pages. In the middle of thesis, I had suffered from a severe manic episode that landed me in the hospital for ten days with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

In the weeks that followed, I could not read. I could not write. I could not think. The deep, dark depression that preceded the mania was nothing compared to the trials and errors of finding a treatment plan that worked for me.

Husband sat with me. Every. Day. When I least wanted him there, he made me get out of bed and find the path back to myself.

In the midst of the darkest of dark times, I learned what love really meant.

If this news makes one flinch and feel all sorts of uncomfortable, then I feel sorry for them. Depression is a silent killer amongst artists. When one tries to suppress or hide their irregularities out of fear of what others will think or say, they do a disservice to those who lost their lives. I thought hard about sharing this experience. The last thing I wanted to do was sound melodramatic or solicit sympathy.

There is no reason to be ashamed of mental illness. The same way one’s hair is brown, or eyes are green, is the same way other people’s brains misfire.

When I found out that I had bipolar disorder, I immediately told my friends and family. No one made fun of me, at least not to my face. Some people did talk to me in the same tone one uses with a puppy, but that wore off eventually. Dozens and dozens of people told me that they too suffered from depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. They told me they saw therapists and were on medication. Others told me that their best friends, sisters, brothers, and parents suffered from mental disorders, substance abuse, or both.

If this is the case, why is humanity so afraid and ashamed of mental illness? Why was it that less then one hundred years ago women were locked away in rooms in the attic for such displays? Why is judgment cast upon those who are different? Can one help the color of their eyes? Can one change the circumstances into which they were born?

I dance this line daily, like some of the characters in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and many of the magicians that have come before me. There are days when I cannot turn off the disparity produced by the negativity I see around me. But there are also days when I cannot help but surrender to the blue of the sky and the endless vibrations of love that I feel coming from so many around me. I suspect this has more to do with the creative process and less to do with mental disorders.

I want to thank ML for not only recommending this book, but for knowing me so well. And I would like to

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke audio book and hard cover

thank Susanna Clarke for writing it. She’ll never see this post, but at least that gratitude is out there in the universe.

I would gladly toil for ten years in the pursuit of one novel that remembers the story and shows us love when all we see is darkness. Love isn’t going to be some huge thing that knocks us over when we enter a room.

Love is going to be subtle. It will creep in when you are pulling the weeds, painting the closets, and reading your books. It will happen when someone cuts the crusts off your raisin bread because you are busy writing a blog post.

Those who do not recognize it are the insane ones.

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Filed under Art, Books, Life, Marriage, Mental Disorders, Poetry, Writing

ISBN 978-0-307-27950-7

Walt Whitman lost money on the first edition of Leaves of Grass, writes Lewis Hyde in The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World. Wish I’d known that before I got my Master’s degree in Fine Arts.

Just kidding.

But the topic of creativity in the market place had been on my mind. I came to CT, a fellow writer, with the question: if you knew you couldn’t sell your art as is – would you change it to fit the market? CT told me that there was a book endorsed by Margaret Atwood, David Foster Wallace, and Jonathan Letham that addressed this question.

The query morphed into a very real possibility: if I never gained financial compensation for my art, and my work never gained exposure – would I still continue to do it?

I started reading the book, and it was just pages and pages of economics. One page had a four-paragraph footnote. I failed economics. I needed help. I looked up from my desk and saw Husband swinging from a vine outside our yard. He didn’t seem busy.

Me: What do you know about economics?

Husband: (still hanging from vine) Adam Smith and the invisible hand.

Me: I went to school with an Adam Smith.

AS and his twin brother BS were identical twins. Once we were playing Hang Man in class. AS or BS (I got them confused) had a word on the board that no one could figure out. BS kept raising his hand, but AS would not call on him. The teacher finally told AS to just call on his brother, but AS was like, he knows it! The teacher was like, well, the man is basically dead.

AS called on his brother. BS pushed his thick now-trendy-hipster glasses up the bridge of his nose and, smiling, called out CYBORG. He was correct.

When I think of Adam Smith, economics, and invisible hands, I think of robots.

Me: Why are you hanging from a vine?

Husband: I saw that there weren’t as many plums on this wild plum tree as there used to be, and it’s because of these vines! I started yanking on one and (looking around at the massive pile of vines that would later fill four fifty-five gallon trash cans) I don’t really know . . . I just couldn’t stop.

Me: Now you know where my days go.

I asked Sarah Turner, a fellow writer, on a date to address the questions that had been plaguing me. ST told me to meet her at the ship mast on Lake Calhoun.

Only ST would suggest a rendezvous at a ship mast.

I didn’t know the location of this “historical ship mast”. Turns out 4 of 4 breathless joggers didn’t know either. Luckily, I was near a playground, and the first mom I asked knew where it was, proving that moms really do know everything.

I told ST about my question and the book. I told her that I had gone to the Uptown Arts Festival, in Minneapolis and reached out to several artists, asking them the same question. ST shook her head.

ST: They’re all gonna say the same thing. It’s not about the money.

I believed ST, but I had also spent some time on Twitter and the amount of artists peddling their wares – not at all concerned with creating dialogues with other artists – was alarming.

Hyde frames the history of gifts in the first half of his book with anecdotes and folk tales. In the second half, he cites the lives of Walt Whitman and Ezra Pound as a sort of folk tale in terms of art, morality, and money.  The book touches on the idea that true art is a gift and should be treated as such.

He’s not suggesting that artists shouldn’t make money. I believe he’s saying if you’re an artist concerned with only money, your art won’t feel like a gift. He writes that true art gives its observers a feeling. Sometimes that feeling is strong. One cannot help but respond by creating art in turn, thus creating a gift cycle, a gift economy.

I asked ST to tell me what was going on in the Creative Non-Fiction world. She was flustered.

ST: It’s all about what is new and shocking. I mean poets don’t have to worry about writing what’s already been written like CNF writers do. There are a million bird poems out there and people just keep writing more. In fiction, it’s like you want to write about vampires? Bring on the vampires! But in CNF, it’s like, we already have THE vampire-bird essay. Sorry.

I hope this is not the truth. I need only think of Jonny Cash’s ‘Hurt’ (originally by Nine Inch Nails), Obdadiah Parker’s ‘Hey Ya’ (originally by Outcast), or Counting Crows  ‘Girl From The North Country‘ (originally by Dylan, re-recored with Cash, and covered by Roy Harper). Songs that are, in a sense, examples of the gift economy.

Back to Husband and the vines —

Husband: I was coming down the hill, admiring the way the sunlight now shone through the branches of that plum tree when I couldn’t see the plums! Immediately I thought, someone has been stealing my plums! But they just fell to the ground because they were ripe.

Me: I’m sure there’s a squirrel out there thinking the same thing.

Husband’s plum tree is not even on our property, but I feel his pain. His sense of, I took down the vines, I did the work, so now the fruit is mine. All mine. We want rewards for our work.

Whitman hung around staring at grass on graves and came up with a masterpiece. Now other artists look to his work for inspiration, and that’s a good thing.

I discovered Olive or o*Live Land at the Uptown Arts Festival. The pieces reminded me of the petulant, uniformly disturbed, monster-like characters that often populate my stories. Not that these little guys were petulant or uniformly disturbed monsters – they were loved, and a real gift.

I wrote O and asked what inspired her in terms of creating       art. O replied:

“Honestly, what inspires me is to make my living by making art. That is the goal. All artists I know hate this question. Artists are artists because they are naturally inspired all the time.”

O’s answer didn’t really jive with the moral of The Gift, but it did correspond nicely to the Ezra Pound section. I also asked if she felt that her artistic nature was a gift passed down from her parents or something she was born with. O replied:

“Is this what the book is about? I believe we chose to be born into the situation that we are: parents, country, circumstance, the whole lot.  I believe that, on some level, we chose everything. [Both are] Again, a choice. A deep level choice.”

Unfortunately, I can’t write back to O and tell her exactly what the book was about in one sentence. Hyde addresses this: “The Gift has always been hard to summarize in such pithy prose.”

The Gift left me thinking about AS, standing in front of a room full of people that hadn’t a clue what he was trying to express. With the chalk man near dead, AS was desperate, frustrated, and a little happy he was so cleaver, but there was one person able to fill in the blanks.

It only takes one.

If you are alone, in your studio or at your desk, and begin to wonder if any of this matters, or if you will ever see a small sign of gratitude from the external world — remember this: it only takes one.

Whitman on with your bad self!

Someone will see it as a gift, and the cycle will continue.

*If a brown elephant with ink eyes or a little cone headed man end up in one of my stories, you’ll know how they got there. For more of O’s work please visit her website at http://www.o-liveland.com . o*Live will be at the Saint Louis Arts Fair in September. Is it ironic that a bank sponsors the festival? You betcha!

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