If I Had a Nickel
Welcome to the March issue of my newsletter.
If you're a new subscriber, I want to extend a warm welcome. Feel free to drop me a line to say hello. If you're not into this literary stuff, you may unsubscribe at the bottom of the page.
FROM THE FRONT PORCH
I am thrilled that my new book, View from the North Ten: Poems after Mark Rothko's No. 15, is now available for pre-order from Mongrel Empire Press. It has been a delight to work with publisher Jeanetta Calhoun Mish. The book is $14; ordering details here.
*"Story in Hometown Newspaper," a poem of mine in the summer/fall 2012 issue of the Ohio Journal of English Language Arts (OJELA) is about a friend who lost his life not long after high school graduation in 1986. An amiable guy, Kurt stays with me after all these years.
FEATURED WORK: POEM
"Story in Hometown Newspaper"
We all know the details.
He was electrocuted while
sitting on top of a weathered freezer,
one of those industrial-sized jobs,
freezing him into form,
like those fixed bears
in taxidermist windows
or hunters' windowless dens.
We know these details,
but the description doesn't fit
Kurt. He cannot be as rigid
as the window display.
We all remember him the same:
the surfer hair, the yellow Vans,
the engaging eyes of Lieutenant Cable—
even the smooth hands of a tight end
and the way his shadow lingered past
straight corners in the senior hallway.
*My books are available to read online and on many e-readers, including Kindle, Nook, and Sony. Visit these author pages for my work: Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble.
WHAT'S THE RUMPUS?
*I am very pro technology, but I love this post from Mary Walters on how promoting your book on certain social media is a waste.
*In this same vein, while technology is grand, Dan Blank reminds us that writers need to focus on story.
SET A SPELL
[Ozarks vernacular] To visit.
West Plains, Missouri.
Dave: When did you start painting?
Kathy: I can remember being in the back yard when I was about twenty months old. I was sitting with a pile of brown leaves in the fall, carefully picking all of the leafy bits off of the vein parts and arranging the leaf skeletons into a sort of sculpture. I spent all afternoon at it. It was very satisfying. I did my first little painting at age seven and it toured in the Arkansas Art Center Art-mobile for a year. After that, I got involved in literary arts, quilting, and fabric arts. Eventually, I started painting on cotton with thickened dye. One day, my husband Joe was watching me paint on fabric for a quilt that was inspired by a haiku I wrote. He mentioned, ever so casually, "You know, some people paint on cotton or linen canvas with paint. You might enjoy trying that." I never would have thought of that. But bells went off in my mind—I was going to have to learn to paint and began sincerely to do so in January, 2010.
Dave: Talk to us briefly about your creative process.
Kathy: When a potential painting starts forming in my mind, if I don't listen to it and respond to it, I feel burdened by the weight of it. I feel encased in it like the branches encased and bent under the weight of our recent ice storm. I feel brittle and unsettled. Even my dogs will start to avoid me. Finally, I will just have to paint. In the yard this afternoon, the ice was sparkling, shattering, clattering off of the branches. The trees looked like they were springing up, freed. When I paint I feel that kind of shattering, clattering, sparkling energy and freedom.
Dave: How does the Ozarks region come into play in your work?
Kathy: The pace of life here in the Ozarks is slower, easier, than the pace of life in other places, at least if we let it be. There are fewer distractions I think. I can wander my property with my dogs, hike to the top of the ridge and "set a spell" on the old metal chair that someone left in the woods long ago. I'd have to work at it to see a neighbor. We can be pretty hermetic if we choose. My family has been in Missouri and Arkansas since the 1800s, so I feel a sense of connection to the region. I like that sense of connection to the past that seems important to people in the Ozarks. I like to go up to the old rock house on my land and watch for the flowers that bloom there in the spring, planted by someone long ago that I will never know, but to whom I'm grateful. We may not have the sweeping vistas of Big Sky country or the amazing light of Provence, but we have a pervasive easiness, a peaceful life in the Ozarks, room to breathe, to think, to paint.
To view Kathy's work, visit her website.
I appreciate your interest in the writing and artistic life.