Thursday, August 31, 2006

Poetry

I've always loved poetry. Maybe always is too strong a word, but for years now at least I've enjoyed poetry, both reading and writing it. Some of the most powerful things I've ever read were poems. Poems that lament war, that challenge us to look at ourselves more carefully, that celebrate spring or an ugly river in England. My first publication was a poem, about the small mountain that stood over the city in Spain where I spent a semester in college.

But I've written very little poetry recently. I have a few out on submission now, but they're mostly older poems. I wrote one speculative poem a couple weeks ago, and I'm pleased with that. And I wrote a handful of scifaiku last winter, 4 of which will appear in Scifaikuest. But I want to get a better feel for speculative poetry in general. I tried recently to get a hold of Alchemy of Stars through our library. It's a collection of all the Rhysling winners for the past 25 years. But no library in the state of Colorado had a copy. I might have to go out and buy one. I also read Jeff VanderMeer's collection--the only thing of his that I haven't been completely thrilled by, though it wasn't bad by any means...just not great. And I read the poems that appear on Strange Horizons and other ezines. But I guess even all those things hasn't been enough to inspire reams of poetry from me.

If you have any recommendations of poetry, I'd love to hear them. And otherwise, here's hoping my muse drinks a bit of poetic ink. In fact, I've just had an idea--we'll see what happens.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Out of practice

I've been back now for a couple days from Yuma, but I haven't added any new entries here. I think I've just gotten out of practice of the concept of blogging. It really is a weird creature. I've written a fair amount over the past few weeks, and done a bunch of careful editing, being rather blunt and cruel with myself. So it's been a productive writing time, but it's just been so far removed from blogging. Now that I'm back home, I find myself easily distracted from writing. Things need to be done around the house, for one thing, things I didn't have to worry about in the house apartment they provided us in Yuma. Also, I suddenly have good internet access again, so I want to catch up on all different discussion boards and blogs of others that I've missed for the past month. And one click leads to another, a mention of an other or a story sends me to Amazon and to my library's website, and pretty soon I've written nothing in an hour. Even as I wrote those last couple sentences, I remembered another forum I hadn't checked for a little while and had to see if anyone had posted things in answer to my posts. In general, I'm pretty good about not getting addicted to this type of thing, not wasting too much time posting meaningless messages or reading those of others, but every once in a while, I think my brain just needs to do something different.

Goal now--finish the chapter I'm working on.

Procrastination. That should have been the personality trait I shared on the questionaire I filled out for a JWP promotional chat session last night.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Back in town for a few days here

Well, this last stretch out in Yuma was a bit longer, and my son was definitely getting antsy to be back home. But now we've been home for a few days, and it's been really nice. We go back out tomorrow for one last week out there. I've been thinking a bit more about what's so strange about being there. Some of it is definitely the lack of trees. There are plenty of trees in town, but so little in the surrounding areas. The fields where I grew up were almost always lined with trees, and there'd often be a little area that was too wet or too something else and so it was just left wooded. Nothing like that in Yuma. Check out the google maps satellite/map hybrid of it: Yuma, CO . All those circles of irrigated fields are so striking from the satellite.

Anyway, I'm getting good writing done--more of some things than I'd expected, less of others than I'd hoped. Here's to getting a lot done this coming week. Have a great week, everyone!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Heading back out to eastern Colorado

We're leaving this evening for another stretch out in eastern Colorado. I said I'd mention a few things that had intrigued me when we were out there this last time. I grew up in a very small town--fewer than a thousand people, surrounded by orchards, corn- and wheat-farmland, cow pastures and muck, which is very rich soil that had once been marshland--good for growing carrots and onions and such. But rural eastern Colorado is very different. Growing up we had other small towns nearby and a large city within about a 30-minute drive. That part of Colorado has scattered small towns like the one we're in (which has about 3000 inhabitants), but they feel farther apart, and there's no decent-sized city within probably an hour and a half. The farming is all grains and cows, not the variety I remember. It's just a very different feel to what I grew up with.

The other thing that struck me were the side roads crossing the two-lane highway we were on. There's something so evocative of these little dirt roads with names like County Road YY or CR 32 that would struggle to accept a car going in each direction, heading off over the horizon with no buildings in sight. Now in some places, the horizon is so far off, that would be really impressive, but as flat as the country is, often there are long, gentle hills that make the roads disappear sooner than you'd expect. Still, I get curious as we drive by, something I've always felt with out-of-the-way roads I've never gone down: Who drives on them? Surely there are people who know those roads as well as I know the roads I grew up on. Who are they? What is life like for them? The writer in me--both the fiction writer and the journalist--gets intrigued, imagining these people. I want to explore the roads, find the houses and people, see what's over the next hill and the one beyond that.

Of course, I'd want that anywhere. We drove up into the foothills yesterday to a state park and went hiking, and I wonder what life is like for those who live there in the small community near the park entrance. It's not as far from Fort Collins, and many of the houses are likely only vacation homes, but for those who live there year round it must also be a source of wonderful and wild stories.

Have fun chasing your own stories while I'm gone!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Canyon of Babel now live!
I wasn't able to update this out in eastern Colorado, but now we're back for a couple days. While we were gone, Canyon of Babel went live. So check it out!

Jupiter World Press also had a contest announced on its website for naming the Higher Education themed anthology that will be released next month. So if you want a free copy of the anthology (which includes another of my stories) come up with a good name and submit it!

I've read some stories by Lindsey Duncan, who has the other story just released, so I'd certainly recommend checking that one out as well (after you buy and read mine, of course).

Like every place, eastern Colorado has its weird and fascinating things, and I'll make an entry on some of that next time.