Today I drove my partner's very fast car down the 101 from Pepperdine back into the city. The sky was hazy-cloudy-gray, and the ocean stretched out to the horizon. The sun was falling toward the sea and the whole world shimmered like it had been dipped in silver.
2023 has been a year, but I'm trying to let go of judgement. I don't know if 2023 is was better or worse than the one before. It feels like we've had a streak of rough ones, but I do know the year is almost over, and a new one is about to begin.
Last year started with letting go my position with the Women Who Submit blog. The Breathe and Push column and the numerous writers who submitted helped me grow as a writer and editor. What a wonderful opportunity to serve this creative community for so long. The unexpected gift of letting go, was seeing how Thea Pueschell took the reins in that space and filling it with beautiful intersections.High Country News who commissioned beautiful artwork to accompany my essay. It was a powerful experience and I urge all to look back at the names of their ancestors and take time to honor them.
At the end of February, I joined the Altadena poet laureate, Carla Sameth, for a poetry reading. My first in-person reading as a poet!
In March, I made my way to Seattle where AWP was being held. I didn't go to the conference, but helped host a Women Who Submit celebration. We heard from powerful voices in our WWS community and opened the call for submissions for TRANSFORMATION, the next WWS anthology.
I published a couple of poems with The Rising Phoenix Review: "Cat's Cradle" which Rising Phoenix later nominated for Best of the Net, "Pronunciation Guide for my Mother" and a short story, "Birdless Dawn," with Literary Mama. My story, "All That Can Wait," was selected for Made in LA's fifth book, Vantage Points.A few weeks later, on the ides of March, UTLA members found ourselves back on the picket line as part of the SEIU solidarity strike. SEIU won big on the other end, as did UTLA a few weeks later. We celebrated birthdays, attended and coached so many soccer, basketball, baseball, and softball games that we lost count and our minds. We graduated a fifth grader who moved on to start middle school.
Books you should read:
Xochitl Julisa Bermejo's Incantation, a spellbinding poetry collection that honors, grapples, and loves this complicated world.
School Trip a graphic novel by Jerry Craft, which helped my and my students travel to France and re-examine humor and our identities as Americans.Breaking Pattern, and be transported into the world of competitive rodeo with Adriana and her family and friends.
Ruth Ozeki's The Book of Form and Emptiness which beautifully gives voice to The Book, Benny, and all the voices he hears.
2023 was a year that was both hard and fast, so in 2024, the year I'll turn 50, I'm setting an intention for a slower, softer year. The beauty of tonight's silver sunset filled me with gratitude. As the vast ugliness of the world rears its head with wars and vitriol, I hope some shimmer of beauty sneaks up on you in these last moments of the year. Happy New Year.