Togowoods: An Alaska Cabin

Togowoods: An Alaska Cabin

I decided to go to Togowoods today.
The cabin is still simple and old,
there are no heaters, just a fireplace without any wood.

I walk outside to the only restroom for miles around,
an outhouse, and not a very good one at that.

As I open the door, it creaks, the sound is
similar to the one I remember all those nights ago.
The outhouse was scary back then
a long walk down a steep hill, icy from snow,
and dark from the absence of any electricity.

It was the 3 o’clock-in-the-morning-bathroom-runs
that showed who your true friends really were,
the outings where we swore monsters would get us
or at the very least a moose would charge.

Where the round seats were bigger than necessary,
and had a thin sheet of stick-to-your-ass frost
we always forgot about until it was painful to get back up.

Where the spider-webs and icicles melted together,
gossamer strands, unable to decipher the difference
until an angry arachnid suddenly appeared on your shoulder.

Where, when finished, I would shut the door
on the frozen hole they called “the outhouse”
and look up into the night sky, the stars glittering like jewels,
and feel the infinite emptiness
of that vast space pushing down on us
until we were ants on a blacktop,
crawling helplessly over pieces of sand
that were really mountains.

Where I first realized we were merely specs in space,
that earth, which seemed so big to my ten-year-old self,
was just one tiny planet compared to the millions of others.

Where the sun, our sun, the life-giving force
that brings us heat and energy,
the center of our solar system,
could be just another star to somebody else.

Now, ten years later, I am taller and wiser,
I know there is nothing scary about an outhouse.
Yet, the fact still remains; I am no larger than I felt
that one moment so many years ago.
A tiny speck on our edge of the universe.

Have a lovely evening, guys. Also, just so you know, Write to Publish 2016 went AWESOME! I’ve been recovering from it and starting on a whole new project {details to come} for Ooligan Press.

Warm regards,
Kellie

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Three Random Haikus

On Writing
Drink tea, write, sip wine
So many words on the page
I have to revise

On Editing
Novel edits are
Not as smooth as I wanted
Spent hours on it. 

On Life
I lost my glasses.
Where did I leave them today?
Oh, gosh! On my head.

Have you ever dabbled in poetry? I often do, just to clear my head.

Have a lovely weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie

A Copyeditor’s Job – (In Poem Form)

A copyeditor’s job is broken
Down into four little C’s
Simple C’s, elegant C’s
Clarity, consistency
Coherency, correctness

It’s distillation, clarification
It’s subjective… sometimes
But the typos, the grammar mistakes
The reading every single word
And asking every single comma,
Period, semicolon, and dash—
Whether it’s hyphen, en, or em—
What the fuck are you doing there and
Asking the almost existential question
We humans, with our huge souls and tiny homes
Are afraid to answer
Do you even belong?
These are not subjective

It’s 50-60 percent technical
40-50 percent creative
See it’s not all red, blue, or purple pen
Strokes on a keyboard
Bubbles in the margins
Not all judgments or
Queries
Or slicing your work—or your heart—to bits

We don’t want to ruin your voice or
Ruin your story or
Ruin your life

But

We fix the stuff that matters
Two passes are usually fine
And if we fix something and
You
Don’t like it
Feel free to query
But know
We will back our edits, our suggestions, our marks
With orange and blue facts
From the big book of CMS

We do make style sheets
For random things like
Dumpster
Your slang words
Our sanity

So on page 305
We don’t need to remember
If you decided to spell a character’s name oddly
Strangely
Incorrectly even on page 5
For a character not seen again for 300 pages
We’ll just look at our style sheet
And go from there

Be warned though
We will kill little words
Words that do nothing
Like “that”
And in a medium to heavy edit
Watch out
Our pens or keyboards will want to run the show

Your edited manuscript might look
Colorful
By the time we’re finished

But please know
We mean you no harm
It’s not a personal attack
On you
On your sanity
On your life
It’s just…well…
We want to make your work better
Polished. Refined, even

And if we need to research if
Buttfucked is one word or
Butt plug should be hyphenated
We’ll do just that

We will also call out at least three times
The repeated actions your characters do like
Looked, pointed, smiled
Flipped off, rolled his/her eyes,
And ask you to vary it a bit, use
The full range of motions
If you will

Trust us, doing so will make your characters more believable

Like any profession
We have rules and guidelines to follow
Or we, too, will be called out
But we don’t remember everything

For example, I will never remember
Numbers or numerals so that section
In The Copyeditors Handbook will always
Remain open in my lap but
Never in my mind
I’m the same with hyphenation so
I have that section flagged in CMS
We are not perfect
We just want your writing to be

But we do it for you and your work
After it’s through our hands
Your poem
Essay
Short story
Full-length manuscript will be
Better
Than before

All that’s left to say on your part
Is “Thank you.”
On ours
“Anytime.”

Until next week!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Next Month

Tomorrow’s Fourth of July already?

WHAAAAAAT?

I can’t believe how fast June went by, like Sheldon’s Halloween costume in The Big Bang Theory.

sheldon cooper

So. Crazy.

And get this? I’m leaving next month! No, not the blog. What I mean to say is I’m moving. From Alaska. To Portland. With my two cats. It’s going to be an adventure, for sure. I’m driving down with my mom and my cats and as much stuff as I can stuff into my car… with my mom… and my cats… and me. (Insert Crazy Here)

I just can’t believe I’m leaving next month.

NEXT month.

Next MONTH.

NEXT MONTH.

NeXt MoNtH.

Any way I write it I still get chills.

Now for some people moving is no big deal. I’ve had quite a few friends who’ve done it. They all say it went fine. And I’m sure it will go fine.

But as someone who has lived in the same town for her whole life, moving is more of a big deal than most. How is that possible, you ask? (Okay, maybe you didn’t but oh well.)

When I was younger (think, as a one year old) my family moved to Alaska for my dad since he got a job up here. That was twenty four years ago and we haven’t left since. I did homeschool here, I went to high school here, I even went to the local college in Anchorage (go UAA!). I lived at home throughout my college life. Now, to be fair, I did spend a semester in Montana in 2009, lived in the dorms and such, away from my family. But that was one semester. And my friend went to the school in Montana so it wasn’t that terrifying.

[Now this isn’t… terrifying, per say. It’s just different. And my family and friends can tell you stories of how I deal with change. Hint: Not Too Well.]

But I’ve lived in Alaska for my whole life. Heck, I lived in the same house for my entire childhood and only recently moved out. And even then, I moved into a condo with my sister. That is down the street from my parent’s house. Like really, I can walk to my parent’s house without much difficulty. (Of course, you can pretty much walk anywhere in my little hometown though.) And I get together with my family every week, if not multiple times a week. We’re very close knit. And I’m not complaining, because it’s honestly been great. I consider myself very lucky to have such deep roots in my little hometown and to my family.

Any my friends, too! I’ve made friends here, damn it! Good friends. Nice friends. Best friends, even. Friends who understand my weirdness. Friends who get that my favorite color is in fact orange and I do have a ton of allergies and I really really REALLY hate spiders.

And all the groups I belong to? Two writing groups (Jitters Critters and Writer’s Ink), my reading group (The Living Room), and my book club (The Pages We Turn).

And my internship with Cirque!

And my current job at Michael L. Foster & Associates, Inc. My 8-5 job with a solid paycheck and nice co-workers (some of them have become my friends)!

All of this will change.

So the thought of moving is… well… strange.

But it’s so I can go to my dream school. It’s good to be more independent. It’s good to see who I’ll become when I’m on my own.

And I’m sure, when I get down there, it’ll be great. I will manage. I’ll do better than manage, though, I’ll flourish.

It’s just a change.
Change is scary.
But good.

In the meantime, though, I need to take a bunch of pictures of Alaska. Yes, I have a million pictures of Alaska. And yes I will be back for Christmas and (probably) a week next summer, but really, I don’t know when I’ll be back. I might find an amazing opportunity that is only in Portland and I have to be okay with that. I will be okay with that.

So, to allow me to be okay with that, I will take pictures to PROVE I AM FROM ALASKA.

(Okay, so maybe Portland people aren’t as amazed by that since they are kind of similar, but other Lower 48ers are just astonished by it so I need proof.)

Anyway, I will go camping with my family. I will do crazy stuff with my friends. I will go to a wedding AT THE ZOO! (Which I am psyched about!) And I will take pictures. I’ll make memories here in Alaska to look back at in Portland. (And I’ll make memories in Portland to bring back here, too.)

All in all, it will be awesome.

Because I am awesome.

I hope everyone has a lovely Fourth of July Weekend!
Warmest regards,
Kellie
Post Script – I saw this really cute girl today in passing and I wrote a poem, because I’m artistic like that.

Cutie

I saw a cutie today.
No, not the orange,
The weird tiny fruit made only for children
That are actually kind of good
For everybody.

This cutie walked past my car.
No, rushed really
Unaware of my staring
Not creepy or weird
Just captivated.

In my mind I saw things.
Don’t go in the gutter, I say.
I saw pixie wings and horns
Dragons and beasts and creatures all tamed
By her.

The little five-year-old
In a green shirt, dark pants
Skipping by her father’s side.
A sweet cutie and
Little muse.

– Did you think I was going to write about an adult ‘cute girl’? Well, I did. But not on here. I posted the one about the little girl instead. Am I a little bit evil today? Perhaps…

Back from vacation. I need another one just to recover…

Well, my fellow writers, I am finally back from my crazy-long vacation. It was quite the good time but I felt badly for neglecting this blog of mine. Anyway, on the flight home I had some time (lots of time really but that’s besides the point) so I decided to write a a poem of apology with a nod to This Is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams. If you’ve read it, you know what is about to flow over these pages:

<>

Undone Blog Posts

I have neglected
the blog
that is on
this virtual site

That you, readers, probably
peruse
with your morning breakfast
or late at night.

Forgive me, my vacation was fun
so warm
and so inviting.

<>

I also wrote two more poems on the plane named Rant, Insanity and Hide the Notebook (my personal favorite from the bunch, which nodded back to both my youth and only a week ago.) I will feature them both now…

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Rant, Insanity

This airplane is cramped but I can deal with it
This airplane is smelly but I don’t really mind
The people snore, the babies cry, and every now and then
my shoulder, knee, computer, eye
is poked by some idle passerby.
These events are annoying,
aggravating, nettling, niggling
but do you know what the worst part is?
It’s the god
forsaken
humming noise
constantly in the background.
A shushing sound if you will,
a drunk man trying to be quiet,
the whoosh of recycled air circulating again.
It should be considered noise pollution
somewhere, anywhere that is not only my mind
surely someone else shares in my pain
No?
Well then.
You’d think I’d get used to it.
I don’t. Didn’t. Won’t.
Yet I still ask myself the same question
and the only reply is always the same
Hhhhhhhhhhhhuuuuuuuummmmmmm.

<>

Hide the Notebook

My computer ran out of power
blip, died,
abandoned me.
In the midst of an eight hour flight
and my novel-writing
my Mac decided enough was enough
and shut down.
Fear not, though, I was rescued
(as any damsel in distress should be)
by the cute guy sitting a row over.
He sparked a great love affair
between pen, paper, and imagination,
a menage a trois, if you will,
transforming Cute Guy into a myriad of men:
Fantasy Winged Man
Hunk on a Rock with Unrealistic Muscles
Fox-Guy Lounging About and
(my personal favorite)
Sexy Dryad Dude.
Needless to say
I was happy that Mac
abandoned me.
Writing with pen and paper hidden away
is easier than on computers anyone can turn on.

<>

That is all for now, I hope you enjoyed the poems, as always, feedback would be lovely. I’ll update again soon (most likely tomorrow, since it’s a holiday!). Until next time, fellow writers, readers, and bloggers.

Warm regards,
Kellie

The Tool Box website

I’m amazed to see how far the world of art has traveled, how art has helped others. Creating something – drawings, paintings, sculptures, poetry, prose – just the act of creating something helps. Helps to relieve stress, helps to channel the energy – bad or good – into something productive, helps to heal. This website, Tool Box, does just that, it attempts to heal by expressing art of all mediums.

I submitted one of my poems entitled Shards of Blue. The lovely Elise accepted. So now it’s on the website. Hopefully my words will help someone out there, hopefully the poem will inspire them to do better, to be greater, or at least… to remember.

The works there ones born of pain, of anxiety, of suffering. The works there are beautiful. Check it out, you won’t be sorry.

Warmest regards,
Kellie

Dark Poetry

A darker version of myself lives these…

The Nightmare of Revenge

Black roads, white rain,
and leaves of gray

blurs outward into the night.

A hint of orange on the rose

suspended above the frame.

Her numb hand stretches forth to me

my old ring, now hers, glints dark.

The suitor lay dead on the floor.

Shutting the door, I walk on.

Snapshot

The dark, dreary, dorm room seemed empty after the fight,

An angry lonely lover stalked out into the night,

A picture of the perfect couple lay out, torn in two,

While trembling hands wiped the tears long after he bid her adieu.

Coma Patient

I tell someone the truth

But they don’t seem to care.
I tell someone the truth

But they pretend to not care.
My voice shakes out

But they can’t be unaware.



They treat me like a victim

When I’m not trying to be.

They treat me like some victim

When I don’t want to be.

I have to speak the truth

Because they can’t clearly see.

I’m awake. I’m alive.

I can see things just like you.

I am awake, I am alive!

I can feel things just like you.

They walk around ignoring me,

It’s like they’re bidding me adieu.

I lie here day by day

Shouting endlessly.

I stay here day by day

Yelling constantly.

My mind screams the truth

But no one can hear me.

New Poetry

This is a new piece for my Poetry section. I decided I would display any new poems here for a few days then move them to the Poetry page, that way you’ll be able to read the new works first before they go off to the Never Never Land of my Poetry page. Organization is key to these things!

Anyway – This piece is an origin work that I did for one of my creative writing classes at UAA. The University of Alaska Anchorage…sigh, my old alma mater. (For those of you who don’t know, that statement was not sentimental but actually done in jest because I JUST graduated last May. It’s an odd feeling not going back to school.).

On to the poem, shall we?

I Am From

I am from Edward and Deborah,
Beatrice and William,
Francis and Elisabeth.
From Staten Island, New York
where pollution litters the air.

I am from pile high plates of food
because there’s no second chances
and veal cutlet parmesan with spaghetti
on Sundays.

I am from wing-nuts, teachers,
soldiers, accountants, and bosses.
From humor, diligence, arguments, 
and happiness.

I am from, “I am learning and I will make 
 mistakes”
and “one for the bucket, one for me.”

I am from Roman Catholics,
Latin masses, small churches,
and two Fathers, both named Leo.

I am from camp-outs, RV trips,
Disney World, Orange Lake, and cruises.
From board games on Thursday,
pizza night on Friday,
and cartoons on Saturday.
From Mom’s spaghetti house,
Ah Sa Won Dad,
and s’more bars made by Jessie.

I am from seizures and colds,
Alzheimer’s and heart problems,
hospitals, prematurity, and C-sections.

I am from optimism and sarcasm
fun and laughter,
from fights and tears and apologies.
And one day I will use these things in my past
to create 
a future all my own.