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Creative Year in Review ~ 2018

December 31, 2018

Theme: nimble ~ brief ~ pizzazzy


Congruent with my overall low energy, interspersed with bursts of intense activity ~ my ideas incubate, I now realize, for several years before I germinate how to implement them:

  • 2010, began listening to Spanish-language radio in the car; 2013, I (slowly) puzzled through tweets in Spanish; 2015, composed my 1st fully-bilingual poem {cento of Vicente Huidobro}; 2016, 1st entry to A***********a to be solely in its originating language, Spanish, because I found the published English translation inadequate; 2018, reading short poetry, as well as IG captions, in Spanish.
  • {{See ~ Environmental / Mixed Media}}
  • 2015: Dissatisfied with system for numbering my poems. 2018: Realizing I need ~ a master list of poems; to designate various categories of poems, integrated into their metadata?; I can utilize similar methods of displaying metadata for both my own poems and A***********a.
  • Late 2015: I deleted my blogs’ About Me pages. October 2018, Spouse photographed me in the woods, but it was 6 more weeks before I began writing new text. (Will post in 2019.)
  • 2016? Began 13-hue color wheel on studio walls; 2018, still in progress.
  • Metadata entered my poems in late 2016. Chapbook organizing class {Sandra Beasley at TWC} in early 2017. Summer 2018, a poem with extensive metadata. After learning about Library of Congress cataloging, realized I want Metadata to be an integral element of my poetry.



  • Started 11 poems; finished 4.
  • Time working on most complicated efforts dramatically increased: 2+ months for bbmmpmnav poem; 2+ months for wvhosdvkyrppl poem; 4+ months for uklgpnwanishomegrslks poem.
  • I leveled up in degree of difficulty: complex interweaving of widely-disparate elements; unusual structural modules; more metadata, integrated better. Not just juxtaposing, but learning to ‘hear’ what connections I can show that on the page.


  • I sought out the work of poets of the Pacific Northwest, for a poem. I sought out poets of Kentucky, to understand where Spouse is from better.


  • Anishinaabemowin, a First Nations language from the Great Lakes region, which has had a presence in my life since 2007, is reshaping parts of my poetic practice.




  • Summer: began indexing volumes of MFP, now renamed as A***********a. Currently in #5.


River time

  • Instances = 20, in all 12 months.
  • 1.19, 2.16, 3.9, 4.13, 4.26, 5.15, 5.31, 6.22, 7.2, 7.18, 8.1, 8.17, 8.31, 9.10, 9.19, 9.25, 10.23, 11.21, 12.12, 12.21.



  • Photographing makes me a better observer, and helps me feel connected with my surroundings, so I do it almost every day — approximately 4,000 photos, red camera combined with camera phone.
  • March: (solo) session with art model. {Details of session(s) with art models.}


Household habitat {previously Potager}

  • I can see catalpa-friend and sycamore-friend from our kitchen window. I wave during daylight hours when I’m making coffee or tea. I visit during nice weather. Photos of friends!
  • I didn’t realize t-o-m-a-t-o could’ve been kept indoors, as a perennial, until after it was too late.
  • Snake plant, now named Slyvori, is thriving. (Watering every 3 days suffices.)
  • Have seen tiny soil organisms in the dirt of the windowboxes.


Environmental / Mixed Media

  • CYiR 2014, I imagined “creating a ‘tree’ sculpture from metal, bamboo, and glass bottles”. 2016: I added tree branches to my studio, and affixed them to the bed frame in the bedroom. 2017: In studio, I arranged tree branches in vases, mugs, so they activated negative space in their surrounding 3 dimensions. I also added a 5′ branch to my writing nook, left of my standing desk.
  • By 2018, it seemed possible to integrate the balcony garden (where I’ve often written) with the writing nook and studio, via tree branches. They are not quite stand-ins for live trees; in some ways, they’re better. They’re already dead, so I don’t have to keep them alive [not my strong suit, I’ll admit], but also, they can be oriented any which way — not just vertically.      So this year, I affixed tree branches to the balcony’s metal railings — mostly horizontally. I also have tree branches gathered vertically in one corner; tree branches arranged artfully (like the ones in the studio) in containers of dirt. An 8′ maple branch still has a few brown leaves on it.
  • I added small branches of (dried) cut flowers at nodes along the maple’s length, hanging vertically, so they would move in the wind.
  • I admire aspects of large-scale 1970s Land Art, and the site-specific works of British sculptor and photographer, Andy Goldsworthy, and American architect and sculptor, Maya Lin, but I often haven’t liked the disruption those works cause the sites’ nonhuman inhabitants.      My ‘installations’, however, mimic natural arrangements; can be easily adjusted, altered, changed (and eventually, removed); and have, in fact, encouraged some new wildlife to populate our balcony garden: Spiders! All sizes.         Photos!
  • An orb weaver (spider) lived and worked in a corner of our balcony, near the horizontal maple and vertical birch affixed branches, for several summer months! More photos!


Travel: none.

  • September: Planned trip to the Smokies, cancelled.



  • January: I broke up with my 2nd LWA penpal;
  • November: I broke up with my 1st LWA penpal.
  • December: LibraryThing’s Holiday Card Exchange ~ 5 mailed, to AR, CA, NY, WI, and BC; 1 received, from NJ. (1 received was evangelical Christian/hectoring, so, ugh.)       [[1.7.19: Received 2 more cards, from CA and NY. No metadata, or mention of what connects us. | 1.18.19: Received 1 more card, handmade, from WA; it does mention shared authors!]]


  • May: A strong intuition that a family funeral was imminent => I now have 2 or 3 possible outfits to wear. [I expected my ailing late-70s MIL, but it was actually my own aunt who died, too young, at 69.] My condolence letter to my uncle incorporated mail art and vintage stamps.
  • August: Proposed visit from OK to MD ~ cancelled.
  • December: Unable to coordinate visit with Spouse’s cousin’s family.
  • December: Accompanied Spouse to see his parents, after his dad suffered an alarming double mishap. 11-hour drives are not fun, plus I know I’ll feel multiple physical discomforts once we arrive, which is why I generally let Spouse go alone. But I was quite worried about his dad, so I made the trek.                And… FIL and I bonded.           Spouse also took me to see a (spectacular) 300 year old tree, and a favorite independent bookstore.      So even though (2 days at home) I haven’t completely recovered, I’m very glad I went.


  • Being an Extrovert with nonhumans, while, often, an Introvert with humans… perhaps this is ideal for a =vallo=?   When happy and relaxed, I can enthuse all I like, paying no social cost; when tense or unsure, I can stay quiet and observe.
  • 5 Love Languages book ~ Me: Quality Time & Words of Affirmation tied for #1; Touch is #2; both Gifts and Acts of Service are way, way, at the bottom. Spouse is actually quite similar (I was surprised): his tied-for-#1 are Quality Time & Touch; he also doesn’t care about Gifts or Acts of Service.               Unfortunately, for him Words of Affirmation are down at the bottom.       On the plus side, when he does offer affirming, encouraging words, they’re insightful and heartwarming, and I treasure all of them.



  • Coffee: now at ¼ strength (tisane?); spices: black pepper, clove, cardamom.



  • For the first time since I started keeping track (~8 years), I did not get seasonally depressed in January/February/March! Possible contributing factors: river-witching in all weathers; warm woolly sweaters in mood-lifting colors; reserving a jar of local farmstand honey to open and use mid-winter; accommodating my [non24hour] sleep schedule. Also, more sunlight?
  • “Standing & Walking” ~ (12.30.18) 1365.9 hours total! Range: 0.6 to 8.2 hours per day; daily average, 3.75 hours.
  • Dictation software abruptly stopped working over the summer. Beginning in September, I’ve been aiming for 2 “Hands Free (HF)” days per week, where I minimize using my hands for repetitive activities. It’s quite difficult; also, I forget to do it, and (when I do remember) it’s boring & frustrating. Easier to achieve via ½ HF days.
    • Monthly numbers should be >= 8-10 HF days
    • Sep: 5.5 (8) / Oct: 9 (13) / Nov: 4 (6) / Dec: 5.5 (10)
  • B: 12 (38), 13.57; P: 3 (3)




  • I sent 27 letters, and received 17 letters.




  • Read 319 books all the way through. {2010–2018 ~ 2,673 books, averaging 297 per year.}
  • Read (at least) 40 books part of the way.
  • 2 periods of not reading any books for at least 8 days, plus 1 period of not reading poetry books for 29 days.




  • Wrote 18,509 words in 29 blog posts (including this one). Following the pattern of decline over the last 3 years, this year’s number of posts decreased, although it reached 93.5% of last year’s; the 2018 word count approximates 74% of 2017’s.
  • {10.19.09–12.31.18 inclusive, I wrote 612,267 words in 790 blog posts.}



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