Friday
Oct192018

Thankful Thursday (everyday)

On Highway 97 in Oregon

It's Thankful Thursday. Please join me in a weekly pause to appreciate people, places, things & more. 

This week I'm thankful for the small things (weather, letters, poems) that help me feel gratitude for the big things (love, learning, sincerity): 

1.
A Letter Love Story

A woman tells me she met her husband through writing letters.

The two lived in separate states, had mutual friends, and courted by mail — long, hand-written letters that offered kindness, humor, and truth (I'm fat, she wrote. I don't like bars or church, he wrote). Two months in, they were engaged, having never met or talked on the phone. A month later they married. They've been happily wed for 45 years. 

2.
Poem By Chance

The list of books I want to read is long but sometimes a chance encounter jumps to the top. At the library I was looking for a chair and found a book of poems instead: Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting. I thought it was a book of heartbreak though letters (and that combo is sure to reel me in). But this was better: a collection of powerfully restrained poems from Kevin Powers, an Iraq War veteran. Here's an excerpt from the opening poem, Customs

We passed the welcome sign
five miles ago. Another crossing 
missed. On some naked mountainside
a small signal fire is lit. I can tell you exactly 
what I mean. It is night again and endless
are the stars. I can tell you exactly
what I mean. The world has been replaced
by our ideas about the world. 

3. 
The Brilliance of Good TV 

All praises for David Simon, the writer of television tales. I've recently revisited my two favorites: The Wire, about the drug trade and its reverberations in every aspect of urban life; and Tremeexploring the emotional, physical, financial, and cultural aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. 

Both shows make complex issues real with writing and acting that is deep, honest and accurate. With each episode, I laugh, cry, and can't wait to watch another. 

4. 
Blue Sky, Yellow Leaves, Warm Sun 

For days I say the same phrase to everyone I meet: Can you believe this beautiful weather?

Crisp mornings, cool nights, warm days, blue sky, yellow leaves, day after glorious day. It's a script of happiness because sometimes there are not enough words to convey the gratitude of good weather, so I just repeat my mantra like a contented fool. 

 

Your turn:  What are you thankful for today? 

 

Thursday
Oct042018

Fast Five with Patricia Bailey

   I feel better on the days I write. Happier. Clearer. 

             I’m unsettled when I’m not writing." 

             — Patricia Bailey
             author of The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan
 

 Patricia Bailey — Trish — lives in Klamath Falls, Oregon, a small town in southern Oregon. Her debut novel, The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan tells the story of a sharp and spunky 13-year-old girl who defies age and gender expectations to stand up for what’s right.

The young adult novel has earned numerous accolades, including 2018 Oregon Book Award for Children’s Literature, the Oregon Spirit Award from the Oregon Council of Teachers of English, and the 2018 Willy Literary Award from Women Writing the West. 

“The bad-tempered, outrageous, courageous, and determined Kit will steal your heart,” says novelist Karen Cushman. 

It's time for Fast Five, in which we ask five questions that open the door to know more — and give away great books!

To enter the drawing to win The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovanjot a note in the Comment Section below, or zip an email to: dcm@drewmyron.com. The drawing will be held on Sunday, October 14, 2018. 

Are you Kit?

Not nearly enough to suit me. She’s far braver and way more outspoken than I am. She’s also much more likely to say what she thinks regardless of the consequences. She’s kind of my hero. 

How did you come to writing?  

Slowly. Or rather I should say I came to see myself as a writer slowly. When I was kid I realized that sorting out my thoughts on paper and making up stories was fun – more fun for me than it was for many of the people I went to school with. I liked trying to get each sentence just right. I enjoyed the buzz I got when I found just the right word. In college I discovered that my classmates and friends seemed to like to read what I wrote – that I could make them laugh or make them sad or make them think with my words. It wasn’t until much later that I realized I could write outside of a classroom assignment. It was later still when I realized that the real writers that I admired were just ordinary people who wrote – not magical, mythical creatures – and that with hard work and persistence I might actually become one too. 

What writers or books have most strongly influenced you?  

This shifts for me almost day-to-day, depending on what I’m thinking and what I’m currently working on. That said, I think the one book that stands out for me the most is Pam Houston’s Cowboys Are My Weakness. I remember finding it at a bookstore when I was in college and devouring it. It was the first book I read that felt familiar. I knew these people. I’d been to these places. I had stories like this. It was the very first hint that maybe I had things to say that people would read. That my stories might actually matter too. 

What’s the best writing advice you’ve received?

I’m a slow writer, so I think the best advice I’ve gotten is to just take the time you need to get the story right. I’d love to be able to write a quick draft and go from there, but it just doesn’t work for me. Remembering that my process is my process and it takes how long it takes is helpful when I’m feeling old and overwhelmed.

Writing — and publishing — can be difficult work. In the face of challenge, what keeps you going? 

I think the act of writing does. I feel better on the days I write. Happier. Clearer. I’m unsettled when I’m not writing. So, if I can remember that the act of writing makes me happy - no matter how hard the day is – and focus on just that part, the other worries seem to shrink a bit.

Bonus Question:
I’m a word collector and keep a running list of favorite words. What are your favorite words?

Glimmer, jellyfish, moon, smarmy, moxie, shiver, loaf, and about a million more I can’t recall just know. I really should keep a list.

Win this book! 

Enter the drawing for The Tragically True Adventures of Kit DonovanWrite a comment in the Comment Section below.

Feeling shy? Send an email to dcm@drewmyron.com.

The drawing will be held on Sunday, October 14, 2018. 

 

Sunday
Sep302018

On Sunday: Orphans


As one week ends and another begins, what keeps you — and what will you let go?

orphans (noun):  in typography, words or phrases that do not fit; in writing, phrases and lines discarded from original text but which the writer hopes will shine in a new work.


[ 1 ]

The morning smelled of fresh laundry. 

 

[ 2 ]

these smooth suede hills

  sedge and reed

           stubble and stalk

     cheat grass and ash

soft winter wheat

 

[ 3 ]

For years it was winter. 

 

[ 4 ]

Some days, I feel so lucky.
A door opens, a smile widens, I am let into a life.

 

[ 5

Some days I wake up missing you, counting the days and dreading the markers that will make you more gone. You are here, in my mirror, in my tears, everywhere and nowhere. 

 

[ 6 ]

"Each poem is a miracle that has been invited to happen." 

— William Stafford

 

[ 7 ]

The mind is always editor: sorting, sifting, discarding. 

How much energy it takes to write and rewrite a life. 

 

 


Sunday
Sep162018

On Sunday, driving home

 Doubletake in Rawlins, Wyoming. Photo by Andre Myron.

1.
Sometimes when you are driving you begin to know things you can’t see or touch but have always carried: the way a jaw tightens to say nothing, how eyes can dart away a shame, and birds how they form along the telephone wire, each with a secret in a long silence of miles. 

On a road for hours, you are sleepy with quiet when a hunger like longing wants the words in your throat to meet the world but knows, like a rain coming, that the feeling will fall and quickly pass. So you hold back and in the suspension the world waits and grows into something similar to illness and you remember the way a fever clarified your life.

Your map is a quilt of lines and dots, and you wear every landscape. You are numb with canyons and hills, with scrub and rock. Every terrain says try me, and so you are haybale and scorched field, broken window and rusted phone. You hold heat and storm, and keep breathing, slow and pronounced, over and over like a prayer or a plea. You are throat and lungs and fear.

Because stillness is a gift, you keep at the wheel, holding tight, holding on. 

2.
If you ask, I'll say I'm happy. But I usually add the ish, happyish, wellish, because each moment is singular and subject to change.

3.
Was I born this cramped, all blister and knots? These weeds inside me, prickle and thistle, were they planted or did I emerge from scrubby plain, growing wind-worn and hard all on my own? 

4. 
These Sunday nightsraising sadness and regret. The solitude of Sundays, the letting go and gearing up. Looking back meets going forward, a loss and weight all at once. 

5. 
On Sunday, poem as prayer:

A quality of attention has been given to you:

when you turn your head the whole world

leans forward. It waits there thirsting

after its names, and you speak it all out as it

comes to you: you go forward into forest leaves

holding out your hands, trusting all encounters,

telling every mile, "Take me home." 


— William Stafford

 
excerpt from "For People with Problems About How to Believe"
a poem that appears in An Oregon Message: Poems  

 

Friday
Aug312018

You Belong In Your Life

reminder no. 10 in a series • by drew myron

This is number ten one in a series of reminders that serve as notes to myself (and now you). Consider this a public service announcement, poetic nudge, sticky note, or just idle chatter. 

Reminder, a series by Drew Myron

No. 1 - Note to Forgetful Self

No. 2 - What's Your Trick?

No. 3 - Secrets of the Slim

No. 4 - What I Don't Know

No. 5 - The Myth of Patience

No. 6 - If I Am

No. 7 - To Do

No. 8 - Things That Make Me

No. 9 - Five Things

No. 10 - You Belong In Your Life