Dear Friends, 

As we sit here at the end of the harvest, poised to enter the dark period, which here in Portland means rain, I am not much compelled to get to the hard work of being a poet. I'd rather make pies- pumpkin, pear-cherry crumb, apple. I'd rather walk the dogs. Potato the puppy is now 7 months old and has begun to ask for walks herself, bringing a leash to your hand and contorting herself into an animal version of the word "please," a white flash wiggling under your hand, urging you outside. 

Someone once told me that poetry is like a bad boyfriend- never calling you back. I know what she meant and I have been thinking of it often. I've been playing the Buffalo drum I made this April, stitching all my hopes for the coming years into its hide. I've organized the office, the whole house really. It seems as though it took me a year to believe this is really my house. Now I go through fits of organization, everything must have a home! Dan retreats to the garage. 

There have been a half-dozen rejections on the chapbook, but I've done some readings from it and felt that the pieces connected. I'm re-writing now. Again. I often wonder how to communicate to my students the sheer vastness of the re-write. Nothing is ever done. Well, nothing is hardly ever done. 

We planted a blueberry, two raspberries, deer ferns and sword ferns on the bank to replace the invasive ivy we have been pulling- that we will be pulling back as long as we live here. It's kind of like writing- it never really ends, keeps growing when you do your best to kill it off. 

I play the ukelele instead of writing. I run the stairs. I take epsom salt baths so salty and stinky with essentials oils I am limp as a rag after, curling up in our bed with the sliding doors open so the breeze can blow on my face while I trap my body heat inside the blanket and snuggle Potato. And I write. When I am uncomfortable and there is nothing else to do I write. Or re-write, or send off my little poems through the darkness of the internet to some unknown editors praying they will like it and pay me nothing to publish it. But at least it will have a life on paper. In hands. 

I'm teaching for Writers in the Schools (http://www.literary-arts.org/) in Parkrose and Madison this fall, and will be participating in Urban Storytellers (http://www.pdxstorytheater.org/) more on these and upcoming projects later. What are you doing this October? How are you preparing for the dark?

J

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