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Creative Year in Review ~ 2017

December 30, 2017

Theme: Stop trying*



  • This year’s version of a spatial–dispersed poem contains information design and visual poetry elements. It also uses more colors, has text oriented in 3 directions, and involved meditatively poking pinholes into paper. Way more fun to construct!
  • Garzota project ended (2015–2017).
  • I’ve leveled up in the types of scholarly reading I’ve been doing: sure, poetics, but also Baltimore history, Black literature, culture/sociolinguistics, Indigenous languages, music/performance art, and other things. This year, I’ve been thinking more interesting thoughts!
  • 5 full years after giving away my previous cohort of indoor potted plants, this year I fell in love with small plants again, particularly stowaways, and t-o-m-a-t-o. Maybe I’m ready to invite a small indoor tree into my life.
  • I don’t “keep” plants so much as plants and I form a household. But there are also important plants that live outside of my household, and are therefore… part of my community? When they’re nearby then we’re denizens of the same watershed, but I mean individuals I’m particularly fond of, and have ongoing relationships with. Similar to the ongoing relationship I have with, in fact, my river. I don’t really have a vocabulary to think about these things, although reading [First Nations–Potawatomi writer] Robin Wall Kimmerer’s books is helping me figure things out.


Household habitat {previously Potager}

  • January: Bought a snake plant for my writing nook, but decided it suited my studio better. Sharing its pot part of the year were a small trailing forb (wee white flowers, bean-like fruits!), and brown fungi.
  • (early) April: Cacti drooping, so I experimented with repotting them into a windowbox, putting them outside. They seemed happier.
  • (late) April: Tomato plant bought already flowering; eventually 8 fruits developed, staying small and orange. I was inspired to sketch the plant while fruiting, 2x, even using a copy of the drawing as stationery for a letter. Plus, I now know the word tomato is of Nahuatl origin.
  • Transplanted various oxalis into windowboxes. Most thrived for at least a few weeks, flowering and fruiting; some did well for months.
  • Rescued 3 mint plants, which went into a windowbox (which were brought inside in November). They did reasonably well into December.
  • Cacti flowering in November, December.
  • Most of the year, spider in residence on studio windowsill. Many happy photos of spiderwebs!
  • Have seen tiny soil organisms in the dirt of the windowboxes.


River time

  • (Something I’ve been doing, irregularly, for years, but only this summer realized I should include on my frequent Cosas Hacer lists, and note when I went.)
  • Known instances = 15, across 10 months.



  • Still doing it. A lot of it. Almost every day.
  • [[August: Spouse attended a weekend photography workshop in upstate NY.]]
  • November: First session photographing an art model (shared a session with Spouse). I got many opportunities to improvise and I hope to do more sessions in 2018.



  • June: Upstate NY – Corning, Elmira, Ithaca, Watkins Glen ~ Susquehanna River
  • October: Upstate NY – Hyde Park, New Paltz, Phoenicia ~ Esopus Creek; Hudson River


Social Media

  • Still on Instagram.
  • Reactivated Postcrossing account (dormant since mid-2014): postcards mailed to 80+ recipients in 35 countries; plus 20+ direct swaps to 10 countries, 2 Canadian provinces, and 7 US states.
  • Quit Twitter.
  • Quit LinkedIn.
  • Part of crowdfunding Noel Arthur Heimpel’s The Numinous Tarot.
  • By December, I was supporting 5 writers (3 of SFF), 1 photographer, and 2 SFF magazines on Patreon.



  • I sent 52 letters, and received 29 letters.
  • Mid-year, I broke up with my poetry penpal.
  • I actively looked for more penpals, finding people through a penpal newsletter, the snailmail community on IG, and the Letter Writers Alliance.
  • I’ve been writing letters for 40+ years. I’ve always enjoyed writing letters — they are appropriate venues for clarifying my thoughts and feelings, noticing connections between things, as well as, potentially, developing and deepening emotional intimacy with their recipients. In 16 months of letters, though, I never felt like I got to know my poetry penpal well at all. Moreover, I wrote far too many letters this year — needing to write more letters now fills me with dread, rather than delight. Debating with myself about how to handle things in 2018.



  • Read 293 books all the way through;
  • Read (at least) 25 books part of the way.
  • Aversion to reading poetry: 2.20 – 5.1.
  • 4 other periods of non-reading books.
  • 88 Films; 40% (35) were foreign, documentary, JHU film fest, visual art videos online.



  • Class on chapbooks at The Writer’s Center.
  • Wrote 24,392 words in 30 blog posts (including this one). This year had the fewest number of posts, 60% of last year’s (previous-record) low number, but the number of words was 4% more than 2010 (the year with the previous record of fewest words).
  • {10.19.09–12.30.17 inclusive, wrote 593,126 words in 760 blog posts.}



  • I’ve finally realized I need to rethink my whole approach to even everyday activities. New self-talk: “I’m disabled, and that means I have to be especially careful of certain things (even though other people don’t)”.
  • March: Broke finger of my left hand. 2 months PT regained me ~50% of its former range of motion, and somewhat more on 2 adjacent fingers.
  • IBS being managed fairly successfully [small portions; low fiber; avoiding dairy, tree nuts; >80% gluten-free eating].
  • November: Recording “Standing & Walking” times again. I’ve ranged from 2 to 9.6 hours per day, but am averaging >3. I’d like to work up to 5 to 6 hours, but that’ll likely wait for warmer months. {Body temperature dysregulation}
  • B: 11 (27), 12; P: (3), 3


*Not Yoda’s bullshit.

Stop behaving from (discredited, but not fully eradicated) internalized ideas that I’m inherently unworthy of notice and fond attention. End (even congenial) relationships because I’m unhappy in them, rather than persisting until I amass abundant evidence that we’re not compatible. Recognize and acknowledge what & how I really am, and embrace that.

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