For several years, I’ve tried to stretch my reading by participating in the Read Harder Challenge through Book Riot. I thought last year’s topics would be a breeze. And, I did read harder. Unfortunately, I compulsively read the news (which I don’t recommend to anyone!)
I was an equal opportunity reader by picking up essays from CNN, Fox, Breitbart, Vox, The New Yorker, TownHall, Huffington Post, and The Guardian. And for the heavy hitting articles? I turned to People! Don’t know where you stand on a current news topic? I bet I could draw up talking points on both sides and then you could choose which side you want; I’ll debate the other. (It won’t even matter if I believe what I’m saying or not! I have that much useless information in my brain now.)
With all the endless hours focused on the news, I let the 2017 Read Harder Challenge slip by. I confess to my own inadequacies.
But 2018 is a new year, filled with lots of promise and another list from Book Riot. May you and I both read more from the challenge list and less of the news.
What do you need to confess?
I struggled at the end of 2017 because the boys were constantly sick with earaches, strep throat, the flu, and coughs. Attending to them through much of the fall, I didn’t feel like I made very many gains in my writing last year. But, opening the mailbox the other day to find my work in Voices from the Attic made my New Years a little brighter. It always happens, at least so far (knock on wood!). Whenever I feel doubts overshadowing the time I dedicate to writing, or when things are not coming easily, something happens to give me a boost and help me continue writing just a little bit longer. The publication was just what I needed at the end of a long, long year.
What reenergizes you?
In the end-of-the-school year rush, I forgot to send out some good news! My poem “Twin Birth” has been published in Literary Mama. Feel free to stroll on over and take a peek.
What good news have you forgotten to share?
Have a long commute? Puttering around the house with nothing to do? Well, I may have the perfect thing for you to listen to!
When I was in Pittsburgh for the Patricia Dobler Award reading, I was interviewed by Jan Beatty for Prosody, a regularly scheduled program that features contemporary poets. It’s been aired for over twenty-two years, and other poets interviewed include Eavan Boland, Sandra Cisneros, Nikki Giovanni, Yusef Komunyakaa, Dorianne Laux, Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Ted Kooser, among many, many more. Look in the archives to find me.
When have you been listened to lately?
Sometimes, you get to live in a dream for just a few days. Two weeks have already passed since attending my reading for the Patricia Dobler Award at Carlow University, but that’s exactly how I felt while I was in Pittsburgh. People were amazingly friendly, and I got the chance to hang out with Allison Hedge Coke and Jan Beatty, who are fantastic!
Besides numerous meals and being the opening act for Allison, one of the highlights was an interview on the show Prosady. It might take another week or two for my reading to air and reach the archives, but I’ll be sure to post for those who might want to listen.
When have you lived in a dream while being wide awake?
If you missed the 2016 challenge, you’re in luck. A brand new year brings with it a brand new list of topics for you to choose from Bookriot’s 2017 Read Harder Challenge. This year’s list of topics doesn’t challenge me as much as last year’s list, but I’m excited to jump into some books I might have procrastinated reading.
There’s still plenty of time to join me. Like last year, I’ll share my list at the end of the year. Hopefully, it will be completely full!
What books challenge you?
Last fall, a friend encouraged me to send off my work to a contest I’d found. I’ve entered other contests, and I’ve even been a finalist for a couple. But in December, the organizers of the Patricia Dobler Poetry Award called to tell me I had won!
The prize is $1000 and a trip to Pittsburgh to read with Allison Hedge Coke, the judge who picked the winning poem. Even though it happened almost two months ago, I can still hardly believe it!
What have you won lately?