March 31, 2009

Confession Tuesday

I'm really addicted to Jolly Ranchers. Especially grape-flavored ones. They might just be my new favorite candy. (Frankly, I'm not a candy person. Jolly Ranchers just appeal to me for some weird reason.) I'm sure no one really knows this about me.


If I'm slow on posting up your tags/memes, it's because I truly am slow at posting such things. It also means that it's on my to-do list and it'll be coming along soon. (Promise.)


Sometimes I think I'm absolutely crazy to believe that I can actually write a poem every day in April. Other times, I don't. But I know it isn't impossible, which means that if I really want to, I can do it.

Is it just me?


I confess that this is a short confession, that it is getting late. That I've been waiting for NaPoWriMo with more enthusiasm than anything else.

Italian sunset

Arms full of bags, we crossed the parking lot, the Italian sunset frosting us, our hands cradling statues of the Leaning Tower. Something about the blush of colors across the sky was satisfying, and the four of us leaned on each other's sweaters, knowing this was happiness.

March 29, 2009

The second time

I've been given another award:
(Thanks, Priya! It does make sense, seeing as you are my sister.)
I'm to pass the award around -- so I'm giving it to Leigha, of Meandering Along.

March 28, 2009


I'll be reading at the Duvall Coffeehouse at 7 p.m. as the featured reader. If you're in the area, do stop by!

Duvall Coffeehouse
15614 Main St.
Duvall, WA 98019

It was tons of fun! I'm so glad I got to go and meet so many fabulous people.

March 26, 2009

Mapped Me

I stole this from cuileann.

lips: licking the remnants of chocolate and caramel
eyes: pages of poems
hair: falling in front of my face in sheets
feet: cold, tapping
heart: happy

March 25, 2009

Fab Five

A big thank-you to Emily Ruth for my very first award

The Zombie Chicken Award

I hear there's a Zombie Chicken dance as well, though I'm not too keen on learning it. But the award itself is pretty cool.

I also hear the guidelines are as follows:

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their words.

So. I'm to nominate five spectacular blogs that I love. This is going to be so hard...but just keep in mind that I generally only read a blog if I love it. And, for this award, if I'm aware that you've already received it, I don't want to give you the award again.

Five amazing, splendid blogs:

the holly and the ivy

Seeking Neverland

Poet Mom

On Point

Reviewer X

March 24, 2009

...And a Half

11 1/2

I made it.

Happy half-birthday to me.


Since I haven't done Confession Tuesday in forever, I'm finally going to do it again now.

I attempted a vlog of my bookshelf yesterday, but like all other vlogs I've tried to do, it didn't turn out too good. (Maybe because my shelf was tilting...)


Writing has been awfully slow. I'm pretty dry on ideas, so I've got lots of drafts, but I'm hoping that April and NPWM will help me get back on track with my poems again.


The poll closes soon, so be sure to vote if you haven't yet. I'll definitely use that feedback to improve the blog. Thank you for participating! I'm so glad I put it up there, because I've been dying to know for a while now. I figured a poll would be the best way to find out.


I'm also going to try to post more...and when April comes along I'll be posting a lot of writing-related things. Maybe more poems; I'm not sure right now, but you'll see more posts.


I'm relieved that I finally posted for Confession Tuesday. I've been feeling so guilty lately that it keeps slipping my mind, but I will do it more often now. I'm shooting for every Tuesday. And next time, I hope I will have something more confessional to confess.

March 22, 2009

I'd like to see more...

Stop by the new poll on the sidebar and let me know what you think! Other suggestions/comments? Leave me a comment on this post.

And you all are so sweet. Thank you for your beautiful comments on my little poem-post.

Blades of Grass

I know
every blade of grass
too well. I
remember the rickety
fence, the plants
someone left in the ground,
the hill leading down
to the lake.

March 21, 2009

Painting Doors

The paint drips down the white, tossing fringes of color on top. My hair is highlighted with bits of green that have landed in the strands from all the paint I've been throwing on the door. I wipe my hands on my work jeans, which, too, are splattered with color that's found a home everywhere.

Poetry Foundation website

I really like this website, for the Poetry Foundation. If you click on the cover in the upper right corner, you'll get to see this month's issue of Poetry magazine, and even though I don't subscribe to it, I read the excerpts online.

Just take a few minutes to stop by and read some of the poems up there. It's really worth your time.

I'm trying to read more poetry because I don't read that much right now -- I'm waiting for Mary Oliver's new one, Evidence, which comes out April 1. But I figured that I might as well read the excerpts of Poetry every month because they really do have some fab stuff in there. So I went over there today and found what might be one of my favorite issues ever. (I've yet to finish it.) I thought I'd share, because the words there are so meaningful and worth every second you spend on them.

March 19, 2009

April is National Poetry Month

I do dare disturb the universe. I'd like to try to write a poem a day, just to get more writing in, as I haven't written much in a while. And check out January/Poet Mom's fab vlog, where she talks NaPoWriMo, NPM, and a couple of the challenges and suggestions she's got for you this April.

Think you'll run out of ideas? ReadWritePoem promises a prompt a day to keep you fueled.

March 16, 2009

I wanted to tell you this

they'll come searching for me sometime

Q & A with Beth Kephart, Author of "Undercover"

Ever since I read House of Dance, I've gained even more respect for Beth Kephart, a fantastic woman who's the author of the popular Undercover (which will be re-released with "extras" in May), A Slant of Sun: One Child's Courage (which was named a National Book Award finalist), Nothing but Ghosts, forthcoming from HarperTeen in June, and many others.

I wanted to learn more about her as I'm captivated by her blog, Beth Kephart Books, and her writing. Her words are beautiful and touching, and I admire her refreshingly honest and provocative observations -- the little things brought to light in a manner that makes you say, "Ah! That's perfect." (Which I've done countless times.)

I bring to you, now, Beth's own words.

1. You've stated that House of Dance was written during a difficult time in your life. How did you decide to write about dancing?

I couldn’t help myself. I’ve always danced. As a skater, as a lonesome teen in my parents’ basement, in jazz classes taken while at college. Three years ago my husband and I began taking ballroom dance lessons, which is a whole lot harder than it looks. What fascinated me most was the nature of the community that grew up within that studio, the courage dancers must have, the dreams that float them. Dancing can cut and wound. It can also heal. I was interested in how that healing might work for a granddaughter and her dying grandfather, and so dance became integral to the story I was writing.

2. According to your blog, Nothing but Ghosts features "a rising high school senior, a missing mother, a mysterious recluse, an obtuse painting, and a fabulous librarian." What was the inspiration for NBG?

The inspiration, oddly enough, was the goldfinch that came knocking on my office window shortly after my mother passed away. It would tap and tap and tap and hang there, like a hummingbird, forcing me to notice. I began to think that my mother’s spirit was somehow within that finch, and so I began to write a story about a girl who had recently lost her mother and who needed to find faith in living forward. A family painting plays a large role in the novel. So does the internationally renowned pleasure garden, Chanticleer, which sits down the road and was the setting for my fifth memoir, Ghosts in the Garden.

3. You were named a National Book Award finalist for A Slant of Sun. What was your reaction when you found out?

Ah, well. That’s an odd story, actually. I was in London at the time for the wedding of my brother-in-law. When my husband, son, and I returned to the hotel room at 1 in the morning there were all these notes stuffed under the door. My agent. My editor. Multiple notes from both. “Call me,” is all the notes said. “I don’t care what time it is, call me.”

I was hugely confused. I hadn’t told either that I’d even be in London. And if they somehow knew I was in London, how did they know which hotel? I’d also just had a small little problem in the subways of London (That is: We were running for the last underground train, the doors were being locked behind us, I was in high heels, and I had no money with me. My husband and son were far ahead and I was sure I was going to have to spend the night asleep in the station. I was having, in short, an anxiety attack.). So by the time I got these messages, I was more flustered by anything else.

I also could not for the life of me (in my muddled state) do the math and figure out what time it was in California, where my agent lives.

By the time I actually talked to my agent I was stunned. And even more deeply confused. I published SLANT for one reason only—to tell my son how much I loved him, how much he’d taught me. There had been no press about the book. I hadn’t been on any speaking tours. How in the world, I kept thinking, did anyone even know that it existed?

4. Undercover has received so many accolades, and it was also named a readergirlz recommended read for March. When you first wrote it, what were your expectations? Did you ever expect it to be so popular?

Oh, Maya. What is popular, I wonder? UNDERCOVER has its dear, fervent following, and I am so hugely grateful for that. But certainly it doesn’t have the commercial pull of a Twilight or Gossip Girls series. I am thankful that critics saw in it what I hoped they would see and more appreciative than I can say of those who have reached out to tell me how the book affected them. I am hopeful that more will want to join Elisa in her journey when the paperback is released in May; the paperback has “extras” that include a short book of new poems penned by Elisa.

5. What advice would you offer to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. I’ve worked on books for years and years and years—dozens of drafts, sometimes. Then I’ve put them away. And then I wait. And then I figure something out, and the book comes alive. This is the case for something I’m working on now, a novel in progress that takes place in Seville. I wrote 80 drafts of that book, five years ago. Only now have I figured out what the story must be.

Thank you so much, Beth!

It’s a privilege, Maya.

March 14, 2009


I cannot begin to explain how much I love this post from Erin. It's so well-written, and it's very heartfelt.

My favorite part? "...But that's okay because I meant every word, singing it in front of people who have given me so much, much more than they will probably ever know."

March 11, 2009

More Link Love

Here's some more fun linkage headed your way -- this time, with shout-outs for some of the fantastic blogs and bloggers out there. (Just because you're not mentioned in here doesn't mean that I don't love your blog.)

Angela always brings something fantastic to the spotlight at my little corner of the world. The gorgeous layout + fabulous pictures (never seen a better collection of pictures!) + the amazingness of Angela's a perfect combination. I love this blog, the spectacular title, and Angela herself.

Beth is so good -- too good, in fact -- when it comes to beautiful and emotional writing. She's also too good when it comes to friendship. Over at Beth Kephart Books, she shares moments, tidbits about her books and other bloggers, pieces of works-in-progress, book recommendations, reviews, vlogs, and much more. I've loved her blog for so long -- so it came as a gift and a surprise when I found my name mentioned in Beth's post. Thank you so much!

I don't know about you, but I'm completely in love with cuileann's unbelievably amazing blog, the holly and the ivy. I'm a fan of her montages of flickr favorites, just because she picks out the most lovely ones. Plus, she's a marvelous poet.

Over at chromatic aberration, bloggers Erin and Jocelyn delve into a daily photo-taking routine -- a photo that captures the day, or, as they put it: "every day, we will document one tiny slice of our lives. we will each post one picture, any subject, every day, taken the same day. follow us through 2009."

And how could I ever close today's linkage without mentioning Summermoon of The Summermoon Chronicles, who is Australian, has the most beautiful accent I've ever heard, and is sweet and funny. Her blog is gorgeous and she shares her favorite songs and other musings. I love her blog. It's so much fun.

March 10, 2009

Enjoy the Ride

I'm loving "Home Sweet Home" by Carrie Underwood -- be sure to check it out if you haven't yet. It's a nice rock-turned-country tune and it's a pretty unique and amazing song.

(I'd also like to add that today is Carrie's birthday -- HAPPY BIRTHDAY CARRIE!)

What do you think of the picture above? (I took it. Guess where and what it is.)

March 09, 2009


The snow was so perfect, flakes big enough that I could touch them and carry them off my eyelashes. It was nearly blinding, sticking to every bit of me that it could reach -- swirling through the air, those little bits of white. It almost felt like confetti, like I was at a birthday party for my snow-covered self.

March 08, 2009

Keeping it Forever

Thank you all for your fantastic comments on my previous post. It was such fun to see the next response, and the next, and the next.

I'm delighted because I've got 16 amazing subscribers. For those of you who have much much more, this won't seem like much of a big deal, but it's really a remarkable journey from 2 -- my sister and me -- to 16. Thank you, fabulous subscribers!

Whew. I cannot begin to explain how crazy and mind-blowingly wonderful life has been lately. Books really do keep my mood high in the air.

There is also no way to describe how satisfied I feel. I've no idea why, but I'm strangely happy. Whatever it is that's caused it, and whatever this spirited feeling is, I want to keep it. Forever.

March 06, 2009


you’ll wish you crossed the sky
when you could

March 04, 2009

At Home

for Justina

Reading your words,
over and over,

tracing my finger across the w,
the m,
the t's and the y's.

The blinds are open --
lit sky turning blue,
sun sinking into darker shades.

I open the door behind
the blonde hair.

March 03, 2009

Sweet and Lovely Things

The folks in the blogosphere are far too kind. An indescribable amount of thanks go to the fabulous Miss Erin and Sherry.


I know I'm a day late, but happy 2nd anniversary, readergirlz!


I had the pleasure of meeting a group of children's authors/illustrators yesterday at an event for Read Across America. My first event = amazing experience. I loved it. I sat next to this author, who was absolutely fantastic in making me feel welcome and entertaining me.


Again, I'm late in mentioning this, but that doesn't decrease the walking-on-air feeling. Thank you oh so much Kelli!


On Goodreads, we are mourning the castings for The Lightning Thief -- join us!


I <3 the blogosphere. And you all. I really do.


I wanted to have a unique contribution today. Since there are so many amazing things going on, why not links? Why can't links be confessions?

And thus ends my Tuesday linkage -- a confession of sorts.

March 01, 2009

Miss Erin

I had the opportunity to interview eighteen-year-old Erin McIntosh, book reviewer, highly respected blogger, Cybils judge, and friend extraordinaire.

A talented writer, she is an actress who is so deeply passionate about performing that she aspires to continue acting "till the day she dies."

three wishes
Erin McIntosh, 2008
reprinted with permission

What would you do
with three wishes?
(taking for granted
you couldn't
wish for more)

I would like a walk
on a beach, maybe
the one by Bette Davis's home,
with someone I love

I'd like a black body-suit
like Kiki's,
and I would explore hidden tunnels
unturning the unknown
with my fellow Irregulars

The third wish is hardest
because it's the only one left
and decisions like that
can't ever be easy

A broomstick to fly on,
seeing Gypsy in New York,
recording a CD,
market day in Japan,
being caught up,
or no more sickness

dreams that I can see
but never hold
those are the things
I wish for

You run a popular blog, Miss Erin. How did you decide to start blogging? How did people find you?

I started because I thought it would be a fun outlet for any creativity or randomosity that struck me. Eventually I realized that there was a whole world of other blogs out there (surprise surprise!) and I started commenting on some of them. People commented back, and I suppose that's how I got my first visitors.

What are your plans for the future?

You know, I have no idea. And sometimes that scares me half to death. But most of the time I do my best to take a breath, be excited for whatever's coming, and trust trust trust that God will work it out.

A lack of concrete plans doesn't equal a lack of dreams, goals, and hopes, though. I am an actress and a writer, and I pray to be able to live out those passions every day of my life. My "plan" is to pursue acting till the day I die, really.

What is your favorite story or poem and why?

First reaction: I absolutely cannot choose! Impossible!
After pondering for awhile: The Nativity story. It's the most powerful, inspiring story in existence, I daresay. It makes me cry, when realization of the wonder and beauty of it strikes me.

Acting is such a huge part of your life and it's very important to you. What does being an actress mean to you?

It means that I get to share stories with hundreds of people. It means I get to make people feel and think. It means that I get to become different people and experience more than one life. I can really try to delve into what makes everyone tick and also what makes an individual tick. People fascinate me to no end, and acting means connecting with and developing an understanding for them.

Being an actress means I get to do what makes me feel truly whole and alive and on fire with the brilliance of life. I don't think I can ask for anything better than that.

You also have a blog called chromatic aberration, which you run with fellow blogger Jocelyn. What inspired this photo blog?

I heard about the idea for taking a photo every day for 365 days in a photography newsletter or blog. I thought it was a terrific idea and immediately wanted to attempt it. A few days later, I was at Jocelyn's blog reading a list of things she wanted to do in her lifetime. Lo and behold, this project was on the list. I emailed her right away and we brainstormed for title ideas, etc. It's been difficult, but I'm really glad I'm doing it.

What is something about you that most people don't know?

One of my favorite things is browsing art galleries.

What are some of your favorite blogs?

Oh dear, this is difficult, because no matter how many I list I'm bound to leave someone out. How about, before I even begin, I limit myself to five? That way I will have to stop, whether I like it or not. Alright then. Shannon Hale's squeetus is a longtime favorite. Always funny and insightful and thought-provoking. Tent Cent Notes. Quotes, music, books. Yum. girl with a kaleidoscope: pretty pictures, pretty words. Artista Blog is just darling and is good at making me smile. Never Jam Today because Noel always has lovely, original things to say. Annnd that's five. So I'll stop. But I read millions of blogs. Not sure how much of that is an exaggeration, ha. There are so many I love and could list...

Thank you muchly, Maya!

Thank you so much, Erin!

I Will Dance

It's crazy to think that today marks the first of March. Hopefully it'll be a little warmer this month -- though I have to say, I don't mind rain. Or snow, for that matter. Still, I'm looking forward to summer (spring, too), when I'll have more time to write. That can't be anything but better.

-I haven't done Confession Tuesday in two weeks -- I admit, last week I completely forgot and the week before, I didn't get a chance -- so I'll be jumping in again on Tuesday.

-I've found a lot of pretty tunes, and I've been humming or singing almost all the time. ("Drops of Jupiter" (Train) and "So Far" (Kelley McRae).)

-I redid my website and updated my events page. I've received positive feedback on it so far -- drop me a note and let me know what you think! I'm rather pleased with the new look. It's perkier.

Still writing here. No dancing yet, but the inspiration for the title of this post sprung from the wildness of life lately. And from reminiscing (an old but sweet post on Venice from Beth Kephart).