I can’t believe it’s been exactly one month since the wonderful book launch party Paddiwhack Gallery hosted for me here in Gainesville. What a great time we had! A small group of friends came out to spend their Sunday afternoon with me and gallery owner Chuck Sapp, a longtime friend. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and Chuck as usual had laid out a wonderful table, where everyone was able to partake in fruit, some most excellent cookies, and Chuck’s amazing homemade punch.
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This was a neat occasion, much like my first book launch party, which was also at Paddiwhack, but different as well. The smaller group size made for a somewhat different dynamic, maybe a bit more intimate; I only read one time, and nearly everyone who came was there for my reading.
My husband, Chad, was his usual supportive self, and was able to meet a few more of my friends. My friend and sometime-editor Lola Haskins came, and added to some lively discussions about my writing process, and why certain decisions were made as far as forms that certain poems took. (I can always count on my dear friend, Linda Homewood, to ask the best questions!) Overall, everyone seemed very relaxed, and the atmosphere was warm and comfortable, as it always is at Paddiwhack. I felt very at ease, reading, and this gathering was the first opportunity I have had since the book came out three months ago, to talk about Accommodations — how it came together, what some of the prevailing themes are, and so forth. In introducing a few of the poems I read, telling folks how those poems came to be and a little bit about why I felt the need to write them, I felt that I was articulating some things about my own work that perhaps I hadn’t thought about much before, or at least never talked about.
All in all, it was a wonderful day! I’m so grateful to everyone who turned out to support me.
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Within a week of the party, however, Hurricane Dorian loomed on the horizon. Chad and I had vacation plans, and we weren’t about to let a hurricane ruin them! We ended up leaving for our destination — Kauai! — a couple of days earlier than we’d planned to, which meant we were away 11 days, including travel time. We had a fantastic trip, and enjoyed hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and of course lots of wonderful meals and gorgeous scenery on the island. It was our second time there; we went back in 2013, and had a blast. This year, I wanted to plan a vacation before summer ended and the new fall academic year hit, and I was afraid if I didn’t plan something, we’d never go. I kept remembering how great our first trip to Kauai back in 2013 had been, and, not having a lot of energy or motivation to envision and organize a trip to a new destination, I just said to myself: “I want to do the same thing, all over again!” Which, it turned out, we kind of did: We ended up staying at the same VRBO rental properties, both right on the ocean on the island’s south and north shores. But we were a lot more active this trip. I even started three new poems! That “never” happens to me on vacation, guys. But I think maybe this was a sign that my mind, heart and soul were ready for that getaway. It also happened that this trip coincided with Chad and my 23rd anniversary!
The week after we’d returned home to Gainesville, I learned that two of my poems had been nominated by separate journals for the 2020 Orison Anthology. I have never been nominated for any sort of poetry award, and to be double-nominated felt, well — almost surreal. I am honored for this nod from the wonderful editors at two journals that have treated me so well, SWIMM Every Day (Jen Karetnick and Cat Prescott) and Split Rock Review (Crystal Gibbons.) Thank you, ladies! I will always be honored to know you and am forever humbled by your support.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]