Birdathon: Mute Swan

Peculiar that swan should mean a sound?
I’d thought of gods and power, and wounds.
But here in the curious quiet this one has settled down.

From “Inside My Head” by Robert Creeley

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Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

(Note: The mute swan is not native to Central Texas. In the Travis Audubon seasonal distribution guide notes that it was an introduced/escaped species originally bred in captivity. The mute swan now manages to breed in the wild.)

From April 1st until May 15th I’m taking part in Birdathon, a challenge I’m undertaking as as member of Travis County Audubon to raise money in support of local birds and their habitat. My goal is to raise $500, and I’m 35% of the way there! If you’d like to contribute to my campaign, visit my donation page.

Birdathon: American Coot

American Coots

Not everything that floats
is a duck. Or contains
the mythic beauty
of a swan. Or honks
a song all the way
across a continent.
Or inspires philosophy
and odes. We squeak
and clack, white beaks
stark against the black.
Not everything that flies
does so with grace.
We can race
into the sky, but our wings
strain against the air.
Not everything made
of meat is edible.
Not every game
is worth the chase.
We thrive on indifference.
Not every water bird
waddles. Watch us dig
our toes deep into the sand,
watch us root
ourselves to the world.

From April 1st until May 15th I’m taking part in Birdathon, a challenge I’m undertaking as as member of Travis County Audubon to raise money in support of local birds and their habitat. My goal is to raise $500, and I’m 35% of the way there! If you’d like to contribute to my campaign, visit my donation page.

Birdathon 2017: Great-Tailed Grackle

Warn those you love when the predator
approaches. Screech loudest when you
are the predator.

From “Advice from the Grackle” by Susan Elizabeth Howe

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Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus)

From April 1st until May 15th I’m taking part in Birdathon, a challenge I’m undertaking as as member of Travis County Audubon to raise money in support of local birds and their habitat. My goal is to raise $500, and I’m a third of the way there! If you’d like to contribute to my campaign, visit my donation page

Yoga + Writing Workshop Coming Up!

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A year ago, a good friend of mine took me to Modo Yoga Austin to try out a class. I had no idea I would be walking into a hot yoga session. I’d tried Bikram a few times and didn’t enjoy it, so if I’d known, my prejudice would have gotten in the way.

I was shocked to find that I loved hot yoga. I kept going back. Now, if I go more than a few days without a hot class, I feel like I’m missing something.

The Modo community is fantastic. I’m thrilled to be a part of it. And I finally have the opportunity to host a workshop I’ve wanted to run for years.

On Sunday, November 13th, I’ll be running “Embodied Creativity: Yoga + Writing” at the Modo Austin studio. In this workshop, we’ll use both asana and writing as a way to unblock our creative forces. The workshop is suited for all artists, whether you’re a designer, poet, dancer, actor, musician, writer, or anything else. All levels are welcome! The yoga sequence is designed for all levels, so even if you’re an absolute beginner, you can come enjoy the practice.

The workshop is $30 ($25 for Modo members), and you can register at the school. Space is limited to 15 people, so sign up soon!

Check out the workshop flier for details: workshop_flyer_2

A Spider Summer, Continued

About two weeks ago, I woke up to find an egg sac attached to my bedroom window. I was amazed. I’d never seen one up close before, and now here it was. I’m happy that the spider finds my house safe enough. The abundance of wasps, bees, mosquitoes, and chiggers probably helps.

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But wait! There’s more!

Yesterday as Simon and I were coming back from our walk, I saw another egg sac attached to the side of the house. I hadn’t realized that spiders would create multiple sacs in a season. The thought occurred to me that it might be from another spider, but this second sac is close to her web. And Arigope are pretty noticeable. I think I’d have seen a second spider.

I’m just amazed she’s thriving enough to lay a second set of eggs.

Apparently Arigope aurantia is also known as the Writing Spider, because of the zippers they weave into their webs. I’m quite happy to have a writing spider hanging out with me.

img_2445Yesterday there was also an amazing double zipper on the web. I didn’t know that happened, either!

 

A Spider Summer

A black-and-yellow garden spider set up shop outside my bedroom window last month. While she might look scary, she’s in fact harmless to humans. I’ve enjoyed watching her weave her web in the morning. It’s also quite a show to see her kill and wrap up a bee or cricket when it flies into her nest. And the process of watching her eat her prey is fascinating.

I’ve taken quite a few videos of her this summer. If you’re not arachnophobic, check them out! And even if you are, just watch. You might discover there’s nothing to be afraid of.

 

Welcome to the world, chapbook!

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Yes! It’s true! I have a new chapbook!

Five Oaks Press has just released We’re Smaller Than We Think We Are.

It’s hard to believe that a year ago, I was still struggling to get a failing project into the world. I didn’t imagine this book would happen. But I was also in the midst of a second round of the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project, and something was happening. I was writing a lot of cathartic poems. About my past. About my failed marriage.

I had spent a long time trying to get over it. Get over everything. And now it seemed I finally was.

Not all of the 30/30 poems made it into this chapbook. Most were culled; many didn’t fit thematically. But I added a few older poems and wrote a few new ones as well. By July, I had a manuscript. And after lots of revision and lots of rejection, I found out that Five Oaks Press had named it a finalist and was offering me a contract.

Going from manuscript to publication in less than a year feels like a miracle. I’m very lucky that things all came together. I’m in love with this book, and the relationship I have with Five Oaks.

April might be National Poetry Month, but May is an auspicious one for me, at least with my own work.

You can purchase the book on Amazon. Or, to order a signed copy, send $15 via PayPal to literaryaustin@gmail.com. The price includes shipping, and I’ll be happy to inscribe it however you want!