Friday, May 20, 2011

Celeste is TWO!

I've been a horrible blog slacker, but I feel inspired today to share my excitement about my little girl turning two today. In the chaos that is our life--identity theft, job interviews, long commutes, rain and more rain, sick dog, business trips, and so on and so on--it feels pretty amazing to take a minute to just pause and think about Celeste.

She is the kind of child that just makes you smile. Unlike Eliot, who was so serious all of the time, Celeste is hilarious and constantly making jokes. It's like she feeds off of your smile and it makes her happier. She has the most amazing belly laugh that I've ever heard. She truly is an astonishing child.

Recently, I had the chance to visit her school and watch her in action for a short amount of time. I would dare to say that her favorite activity is the trampoline. It's a small, one-child activity and has what looks like handlebars for the child to hold on to. Then they just jump and jump and jump. Celeste, all 21 pounds of her, jumps like her life depends on it. Watching her jump on this thing gives you a sense of exactly who my child is--fearless, determined, athletic, but with a free spirit that allows her to jump higher and higher with every spring-loaded jump. She is truly at home on this trampoline--truly in her element. Of course, she's fallen. And again this is a testament to who she is. She has, in fact, launched herself into the air and fallen on her bum. And then what? Tears. Love. And then right back on the trampoline, but jumping higher this time, eager to break new boundaries. She is a force to be reckoned with, and I already know that this child will teach me things about my own limitations as time goes on--how to challenge myself, how to break through, not only how to get up after I fall, but how to use the fall itself to gain momentum for the next step forward.

It's hard to believe that two years ago today I was laying in a hospital, worrying about my newborn girl in NICU, wanting more than anything to just touch and hold her. A new scar on my abdomen. The love inside, which I thought had reached maximum capacity, doubled in an instant. The happiness balanced with the grief balanced with the stress balanced with the instant inability to remember what life was like, just yesterday, without her in it.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl! You are an incredible force of nature!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Dusie article is out!

The article the Marthe Reed and I wrote for Oppened Zine is out and pretty sweet. It tells all about the collective as well as provides many mini-reviews of past chaps. Check it out!

Friday, January 22, 2010


a Haiti poem

as observers, we stitch together reels of tape to form memory. she says they showed a picture of the mass grave, mounds of dark skin melting together like swamp water. we've all seen the dead covered in sheets. in aftershocks, new holes are made in roofs, windows; crevices too small to enter become doorways. observing. it’s difficult, we say, to put our finger on exactly. through someone else’s lens. we watch them scramble in, leaving a hole in the street where they slept. giving water to thirsty babies, taking water from thirsty babies. each shifting leaves more holes. cavities. blemish on the earth, visible from satellites. now, a week later, they pull more children from the rubble. one is alive, bleached white with dust and arms open to the sky as if he is floating out on water.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This year's job market

Well, all signs point to the fact that academia is facing its most difficult times ever. The protests, the tuition hikes, the faculty job freezes- all of this in light of the highest enrollments in most schools' history. It's an extremely strange paradox that sheds light on how important the government is in funding education, and a lesson to be learned about what happens when government decides not to fund it any more. From my own personal experience, my visiting professor line evaporated into thin air in exchange for several more adjunct positions at Metro, and this certainly isn't an anomaly. It's a crisis, and I'm afraid of what the trickle down effect of this is going to look like. In lieu of hiring highly qualified, well educated teachers and giving them benefits, etc, schools are hiring adjuncts who teach 8-10 classes a semester in order to be able to pay their bills, and some are definitely more qualified to teach than others. At a school like CU, Berkley, I'm sure students will end up paying more for less qualified teachers, as I believe all state schools in California have had a hiring freeze on faculty positions for quite some time.

Again, in my own experience, the job market is extremely brutal this year. The MLA reports that jobs are down in English studies by about 25%, an unprecedented downturn that mirrors the global economic downturn. I'm putting myself out there this year, applying for jobs that look to be a good fit, but have absolutely no expectations of making it to the top of the pile. The piles, after all, have hundreds of applicants in them for each position. I suppose the right experience, a writing sample that catches their eye, or the right turn of phrase in a cover letter might give anyone an edge, it's quite a jungle this year in the job market. It's kind of laughable, actually. With 1 in 4 jobs completely eliminated and even more people out of work seeking jobs, it becomes a complete crap shoot. You have to wonder whether or not the hiring committees even read through all of the cover letters/ CVs, etc.

I'm not sure I really have a point, except that to be an academic right now probably means to be unemployed or looking for a job. Those with jobs are overworked or are being stripped of benefits or asked to take paycuts. I'm interested to see what next year will bring, but this year is pretty much a wash. Nightmare? Insanity? Pretty much.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The end of Aunt Flo

Let me immediately clarify: Aunt Flo is NOT a euphemism for my period and this post is NOT about pregnancy or menopause. It's about my husband's real, true Aunt Flo who died early this week here in Denver. She was a cool lady and apparently in her day, a real socialite. She will definitely be missed.

When I entered my husband's family landscape about 10 years ago (then as the "girlfriend"), Aunt Flo was an interesting family fixture. She seemed even at that point to be on death's doorstep, at least at first glance. Bit when you talked to her, she was alert, and as soon as she smiled, it was obvious that she was very much alive, despite the fact that her body seemed to be completely giving up on her. Since then, she has been on a slow decline, but much slower than many of us anticipated. This woman is a fighter, and according to family who were with her at the end, that spark burned brightly till the very end.

I had the pleasure of looking through some old family photo's yesterday as the family gathered to comfort one another. She was a beautiful young woman with an uncanny resemblance (IMHO) to Tori Spelling. She lived till the ripe age of 89, so there were plenty of pictures, but the oldest ones were the most interesting. I got to see pictures of my husband's great grandmother who was 100% hispanic/ native american. I heard stories about how Aunt Connie, Flo's sister, worked for JFK in the White house (there's a picture of her, in fact, documenting this fact which is quite fascinating). Flo had four sisters, in fact, one of which is Brian's grandmother, Fifi. These women are true forces to be reckoned with, no doubt. Fifi, at the forever-young age of 87, wakes up between 4-5 am and goes to the pool to swim several miles every day. From there, she goes to visit her husband, who is buried at the Fort Logan military cemetery.

Until Flo's death, four of the five sisters were still living. All four of them have outlived their husbands, some by decades. It's quite a legacy.

My heart goes out to the family she leaves behind, especially her children and grandchildren. If the pictures of her life showed anything, it was that she lived a full and gratifying life- most of us can only hope to be so surrounded by love.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A new purpose

As someone who had been either a student or a teacher in academia since I was four years old, the end of August marks a specific timecode for me: the start of school. In whatever capacity, I have returned to school in the fall for the past 29 years of my life, with the exception of the year I took off between undergrad and grad school. And this year, of course. And it's weird.

I'm not entirely sad, but I have an inkling that I will miss the students, which are my favorite part of teaching. Each one is unique and a little odd, which I absolutely enjoy. I will miss talking about the things I'm passionate about, especially Creative Writing. I will miss being part of a campus community, which I really enjoyed last year at Metro. I will miss the paycheck and benefits.

I know that I'm far from being done; in fact, I joke with my husband that my career will probably not start till I'm over 35, so in the reality of this context, I really haven't even begun. I'm still waiting for that job that's worth missing- the complete package- and I'm willing at this point to wait for it.

But it is a bit surreal, says my biological clock, that it's fall and I'm not stressed out about syllabi, class lists, first assignments, etc. On the other hand, it's my biological clock that presented me with the ultimate imperative, who is turning three months in three days, named Celeste. And my poetry calls to me desperately: nurture ME. Publish ME. Make more of ME.

My mother described it today as a "melancholy" emotion, in the context of watching some element of the world move on without you. I think this is a wonderful adjective, especially as it applies. We always want to be an important element of something, and when that something moves on, seemingly unscathed, without us, we wonder about our purpose in both the large and small scheme of things. Purposes shift, though, and embracing this will surely be my saving grace.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I'm reading in Loveland, CO

Poetry Reading by The Alleged Poets Society

Thursday, August 20 7 p.m.

Foote Gallery/Auditorium -- Loveland museum 503 N
Lincoln Ave

Karla Schorzman. Introductions.

Selections from

“Musings of the Magdelena”

Larry Grieco. “Of Baseball and Buddha”

Mackenzie Carignan. Selections from Metaphors for Miscarriage

Very Special Guest: Selections from Magmaphonic Poems

KK Shores. Selections from Van Gogh’s Kaleidoscope

Free and Open to the Public

Refreshments will Be Served