This Space: A Reckoning

A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that I hadn’t posted here in over a year. In truth, I almost closed this blog down entirely when it was up for renewal in January. I was aware then that I hadn’t posted in a long time, but I also decided to keep it open just in case. Still, months have gone by, and I haven’t felt an impulse to return. Every now and then I get an impulse to delete the entire thing. Still I can’t quite bring myself to let the site go entirely. It’s my hope that perhaps in writing a post here, I’ll work through some of my thoughts on the matter.

What happened?

The short answer is that I ultimately had a negative experience in my MFA program, and once I graduated, I lost the will to do poetry things. Aside from my weekly haiku exchange with one of my former classmates, I stopped writing poetry (and prose, for that matter) altogether. I stopped attending most poetry events (except for I Scream Social, which is one of the best things Austin has to offer). While I kept reading poetry, I no longer felt any desire to do much in the way of either create my own work, or participate in a poetry community.

What have I been up to?

Since April 2018, I started focusing more on my yoga practice. I started my own business for my teaching practice: Luna Nidra. I started recording meditations and hosting workshops.

I’ve also kept busy in my teaching life at ACC, helping to grow our department. We’ve started hosting more events, and I led the relaunch of our social media presence.

Finally, I’ve been having some amazing adventures, including travel to Mexico City (my favorite), a road trip through New Mexico, and a glorious adventure in Peru this past July.

After my trip to Peru, I started feeling called to write again. I finished an essay that’s out for submission. I revised my manuscript and started sending it out again. And I’ve even written a few poems.

Still, I wonder whether I really want to continue keeping this space. On some level, it’s so deeply connected to a past life: my marriage that ended five years ago, old jobs, old friends, old adventures that are distant memories. I needed that hard break after my MFA, and I am starting to re-emerge as a writer. And yet I don’t necessarily want to return here. When I think about this site, and how much of the past it contains, I’m just not sure I want to keep it.

I’m not making any decisions just yet. Quite frankly, I’d be surprised if there were any readers left to see this after such a long silence. Perhaps I just need a total fresh start with my digital life. I’ll always be writing, but maybe this isn’t the place for it anymore. We’ll see.

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Make Blackout Poetry Online

As I’ve revised and revised and revised my thesis some more, the only new work I’ve been interested in making are my blackout Cantos. Aside from the persistent fear that I’ll never write a new poem after I finish this MFA (I defend on the 17th!), I’m really enjoying the process.

One of my friends has, as well. John Escobedo, who is one of the first three friends I made after moving to Austin 10 years ago, is a programmer who took an interest in the blackout poetry photos I’ve been posting. He’s written a fun blackout poetry program for anyone to play with. He’s been working on it steadily over the past few days. There’s a passage of text up there for you to use; you can also paste your own text into the box and work with it as well. In this program, you mark the text you want to keep, and when you’re done, you can click a button and block everything else out.

Here’s a piece I made using the program. Check it out and have fun!

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