building bridges – 

all about the building,

not the bridges

We’re taught to accept criticism – at its best – as a means to improve, even while negativity – so often without substance – absorbs our initiative, so often leading to the walls, or – at least – not taking it personally. 

That makes compliments – even the substantive, phenomenon-grounded – just as difficult. We’re reduced to Wayne and Garth trembling on the floor – “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!” How often do we answer a compliment – one meant not superficially, but meant courageously – with self-criticism? We are always our own critics. That makes the compliments, support – even love – difficult to bear. Selflessness is often just that. Perhaps this is why the bees are dying.

At the end of a week after a time change, at the end of two weeks of parents running out in the evening, staying late at work, children making do; at the end of a day when dinner at a local restaurant with the whole family, meant to celebrate the end of the work, ends before it begins because the children are really too tired, leaving us with frozen waffles for supper (not so bad really, especially with fresh whipped cream), while the kitchen remains a certifiable disaster area (still awaiting FEMA support), one bed is without sheets, the laundry is half done, the warm weather clothes are drifting around the living room, a few kind words go a long, long way.

Perhaps it is temperament, perhaps it’s some kind of self-denial, perhaps it’s just inevitable when the daily grinder acts like an invisibility cloak to the heart, but I continue to swim upstream, writing this stuff called poetry for me and yet wishing there was more space to celebrate my work. The day copies of my first chapbook arrived, one of my children threw up. My poems are up for awards alongside Neil Gaiman and Jane Yolen, two full-length collections and a chapbook were just published, and 2017 has been a lively year for individual poems, even while it seems that my energy is taken up with other concerns.

Today, despite recent challenges, I found a package with copies of my latest chapbook publication on the porch. Always nice, but also bittersweet. Another one bites the dust. But then I find this review at The Honeyed Quill .

In the almost four years I have been submitting poetry, what astounds me the most is the people I’ve found along the way. This is largely due to the internet – I have met precious few of these people in person. There are writers everywhere doing their best, editors working like mad to create space for the creative word. 

We’re all in this together. And yet, I’m still surprised when someone proves this.