So, I hope everyone, both on the world's edge and off are enjoying the mighty lumps of snow. I have not posted in a little while, so I wanted to keep everyone abreast of my life, and hopefully inspire you to fill me in on yours. First off: Happy Holidays, especially if you are really, truly, happy to be spending this holiday with family and friends. And if you aren't? Happy Holidays to you, especially also. Find a man. Find a woman. Find someone whose company you enjoy, who can emphasize how spectacular and important you are, and how unimportant it is to be happy, anyway. Or, if you are obligated to hang out at family parties with awful, Republican, nasty, or hypercritical family members, well, you can always take the high road and retreat into your bedroom at odd intervals for liberal applications of pills, then into the dense jungle of the living room to the closest bar and douse yourself with the alcoholic shower of your choice. If your family is that miserable, then chances are at least some of them have some fun prescription meds you can take. Always worked for me. 

Anyway. Onto cheerier topics. So, I spent part of my winter at the Wellspring House. It is a retreat for writers located in Ashfield, MA. Western Mass, in other words. It is a small, unspoiled, quaint little town that is comparatively smaller to even that of Ptown. It has a fire station, a town hall, a library, a hardware store, and a little organic coffee shop. You will see plenty of terrific, liberal indicators that this place is SO NOT Deliverance Country, ie, bumper stickers endorsing same-sex marriages, organic farms, bringing our troops home, and so forth. The proprietors of Wellspring House are two amazing and generous souls: a mature couple named Ann and Preston Browning. They are both retired English professors who since settled in Ashfield with the artistic quest to take a carriage house dating back to the 1800's and redesign it into a gorgeous, peaceful house for writers, complete with shelves and shelves of books! The energy is fantastic, and most of all the place is affordable. If you are thinking of getting away, you should go there. 

I stayed in the Thoreau Room, possibly the best room in the house. It had huge windows to let in the light and blue spruce. The light spilled onto my huge desk. I got a lot of work done. By that I don't mean generating of new poems--I wrote one new, good poem in the three weeks--what I mean is that I got a lot of internal work done. This meant a lot of calming walks though the rustic New England countryside, up grassy, green meadows, past huge, strange furry cows with horns penned into a rickety wired fence that read "DEATH VALLEY" complete with a bunch of bovine skulls bedecking it.(Highland Cows, I later found out, is that they are called!), past the beautifully lit cemeteries at dusk, and straight into every last painful, dimly lit crevasse of my heart. Of course, this meant frequent spurts of weeping. OK, fine, all and out sobbing fits. A lot of meditation. And simple just BEING. Something, with my energy that often explodes into a million different directions, that has always been a challenge. On top of it, the quaint little village of Ashfield does NOT believe in cell phones. That means no cell towers. So, aside from the occasional gracious, friendly, interactions with fellow residents, often accompanied by wine and beers, I was basically alone. 


I did go back to my old stomping ground of NYC for a wild, wild weekend, and the occasional little fun time in the nearby college town of Northampton, and what fun that was! I shall leave it at that. It was much-needed fun, and both of the aforementioned places each have their own unique energy. New York, I was delighted to see, did not change much. I visited my dear friend and landlord's lounge, China 1, and...all of the stunning, cherrywood furniture imported from Bejing, the wraparound, red-cushioned couches, the brass gong, wooden beads strewing the walls, and the downstairs pagoda bed (my favorite!), but most of all the amazing friendly staff was all still intact! It was a warm, wild time spent there. 

Right now, I am gearing up for Costa Rica at the end of the month. I am notoriously bad and reading guidebooks and notoriously good at being overwhelmed. All I know is, I want to see hummingbirds. Yeah. 

For the time being, I have the delight of subletting a gorgeous place from a beyond-generous friend. It provides a sprawling view of the ocean. I love sitting here, even as I write this, watching the snow, layer upon layer. You get some badass winter sublets with a little help from your friends. OK, a lot of help and warmth and generosity. You know who you guys are. Don't THINK I don't do reverence to you-all every day. 


Finally, the last major development: recently I submitted my first full-length unpublished book of poems, "Trailer Park Heart," to a small press that I truly admire. I received an email back from the editor that said she likes my work, but needs to see a good, thorough job of editing done to the individual poems, as well as the manuscript as a whole. After I submit this fully-revised version, the book needs to undergo review from a panel of editors. 

Whew! So, this is the short version of said editor's well-articulated, thoughtful feedback. I've gotta lot of work to do. Right now, it consists of taking a lot of notes and staring out the window. I really believe in this book, and I really believe in this press; they are a great prospective venue for my first book, and if nothing else, I shall walk away with a more polished manuscript. This has been wonderful constructive advice. Soooooo, this denotes my main winter project. Again, I understand this is NOT an acceptance, it is interest, however, and so much the better if I walk way not only with a stronger manuscript, but an overall working knowledge of my work as well. That being said, I love this press. I would, of course, love the acceptance. For now, though, I am in love with the IDEA of acceptance, and more so the idea of working towards a longterm goal in furthering my craft. Wish me luck, because that's half of it. 

And so. This brings me up to speed. I am not going back to the Midwest for Christmas this year. Instead, I shall be spending it with some of those lovely friends whom I alluded to earlier. I think it will be amazing. No. It WILL BE amazing. In the meantime, I hope each and every one of you who reads this blog will have a cheerful holiday. Or at least have fun. There's always that.