Thankful Thursday: Guilty Pleasures 

It's Thankful Thursday. Joy expands and contracts in direct relation to our gratitude. What are you thankful for today? A person, a place, a thing? A story, a song, a poem? What makes your world expand?

I've entered the season of gluttony, which is quickly followed by guilt. In an effort to shake the shame and simply enjoy the excess, this week I'm giving thanks for small, indulgent pleasures:

Mountain Crunch
Crunchy caramel corn and almonds drenched in white chocolate — from Roberta's Chocolates, Candies & Nuts, based in Denver, Colorado. Years ago, I lived down the street from Roberta's small, unmarked shop. I made frequent stops, and rarely shared my sweets. Now I live 1000 miles away, and I'm thankful for online shopping and parents who bring a bag when they visit.

Modern Family
I don't watch much television. And when I do, I mostly annoy others with my commentary — What's with the overacting? Who writes this crap? — before leaving the room to read a book. Still, I have my sporadic guilty pleasure viewing, shows watched alone and in marathon stretches. For a while I was hooked on Say Yes to the Dress. Now it's Modern Family. My taste in mindless distraction is improving.

I read earnest literary journals, dark novels and complicated poems. Quick, someone pass the People magazine! While it's vital to feed the mind, sometimes that heavy head needs a break. I don't care if the glossies are full of Photoshopped images and anorexic child models. I don't care if they contribute to my body image issues. Well, really, I do, and for years I avoided fashion magazines for just this reason -- but I've learned to compartmentalize. Mind over body. My mind needs a break and my body's surrendered.

 This Thankful Thursday has turned into Confession Thursday. Must pleasure and shame be entwined?

 Enough about me! What (guilty pleasures) are you thankful for today?



I Sing the Book Electric!*

We've come a long way baby!  Book and blog — we've gone digital.

• Now you can enjoy Forecast in three wonderful ways:

Ebook - just $3.99   

Softcover Book - $35

Hardcover Book - $48

About the Book
Using daily horoscopes as a launching point, writer Drew Myron tumbled and turned astrological prose into what she calls “horoscope poems,” a form that — like a horoscope — directs and suggests.

Complementing the poems are 12 interpretive oil paintings by artist Tracy Weil. In a style that has been called “Dr. Seuss meets Van Gogh,” Weil paints imagined landscapes where realism and surrealism meet in a colorful world both playful and profound.

Collaborating for over 20 years, Weil and Myron share an unusual approach to the creative process: They encourage ‘accidents’ to emerge. In this space of adventure and play, the duo blend forms to create inventive, accessible art. The result is a combination of chance and possibility, the zing of what is and what could be — in art and in everyday life.

What's your sign? Each of the works are sign specific. Which one speaks to you? A key is included in the back of the book.

• Also! Now you can read this blog on your Kindle.
Get it here:  Off the Page - Kindle Edition


* as in:
- I Sing the Body Electric
, a 1855 poem from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
- A song from the  film Fame (1980 film).


On Sunday: Less yourself 

The poem is not the world.
It isn't even the first page of the world.

But the poem wants to flower, like a flower.
It knows that much.

It wants to open itself,
like the door of the temple,
so that you might step inside and be cooled and refreshed,
and less yourself than part of everything.

Yesterday, driving lonely roads, my want returned. As before, I wanted a spiritual experience. 

Not church. Not saving. Not even epiphany.

But dramatic transformation.

So much of life is showing up. Listening. Being present. These are not small things. They sound small but they are not small. They are not even simple. In this dailyness, I know, is transformation. 

But you can't see it. Not right away.

There are no harps or bugles or sweeping sounds. A lot of life is crickets.

And so, for many years, this urge arises: I want to awake with new eyes. I want to really see.


 * * *


A friend and I roll our eyes at those who boast of being "called." We imagine lightening bolts and mock their certainty. We envy this sort of clear direction because we think most of life is figuring out the path as you are on it. This method of travel doesn't feel spiritual, determined or even accredited, but it is our way.


* * *


This week I found a book wedged within another. The Leaf and The Cloud by Mary Oliver. It's a thin book of just one poem. (Caveat: I am not an Oliver follower. I like the wildly popular Wild Geese — most likely because it departs from her usual nature-gazing style). 

But this thin volume has me entranced. The sentences are short, clear, and the sentiment reverent and reflective. Reading it, I am giver and receiver. I am hushed and expectant.

Would it be better to sit in silence?
To think everything, to feel everything, to say nothing?
This is the way of the orange gourd.
This is the habit of the rock in the river, over which
the water pours all night and all day.
But the nature of man is not the nature of silence.
Words are the thunders of the mind.
Words are the refinement of the flesh.
Words are the responses to the thousand curvaceous moments—
we just manage it —
sweet and electric, words flow from the brain
and out the gate of the mouth.

We make books of them, out of hesitations and grammar.
We are slow and choosy.
This is the world.

I copy these words, messy and quick, into my journal. I want to inscribe the tone onto my muscle, my memory, the mysterious place in the brain where words gather to mix with experience and reason and later rearrange into poem. I do not understand this place or process but I hope immersion will leave a residue.


* * *


Yesterday, traveling roads far from home, I loosened in the quiet. Tires on route. Rolling miles. The sun showed up, warmed the dashboard with light. The pale sky brightened, and I could see.


And I am thinking: maybe just looking and listening
is the real work.

Maybe the world, without us,
is the real poem.




Wish List 

This season of giving is making me greedy. Shopping for gifts the other day I came home with a bag of goodies mostly for me.

It's probably a good thing my 2011 Wish List is short, and that it offers great gifts for readers & writers to both give and get:

2012 Women Artists Datebook
This handy 5x7-inch, spiral-bound, day planner offers 12 months of poetry and art by women writers and artists — and includes the poem, Why I Knit, by Marjorie Power of Corvallis, Oregon.




The Poets Laureate Anthology
A collection of poems, gathered and edited by Elizabeth Hun Schmidt, from each of the 43 poets who have been named U.S. poet laureate since the post was established in 1937. The anthology includes introductions and work from Billy Collins, Rita Dove, Elizabeth Bishop, and more.

Bad Writing
A wry documentary from a self-declared "wannabe poet," featuring interviews with Margaret Atwood, Steve Almond, Nick Flynn, David Sedaris and more. Favorite line (from the trailer below): "There's no rule," says novelist Margaret Atwood, "that says you get steadily better."


What's on your Wish List?
What gifts are you giving? or hope to receive?



Last taste  

In the spirit of thanks giving, we've feasted on words all week.

Thank you, readers and friends, for sharing your thankful-themed poems, prayers, paragraphs & praise.

Today, we wrap up the Feast of Words with poems from Gisele Vincent-Page and Jill Hardin. 

It's the season of gratitude. Let us savor and share.


Time, how lovely of you
to sit here with me.

The lake's edge of any entity

Water Rock Sand
All over the land.

Time amiss in bliss
Time for that, time for this

Time, time, time

Yesterday, today, tomorrow

Time, how lovely of you to sit.

— Gisele Vincent-Page


Gratitude Is

Gratitude is ... Gladitude!
Its Longitude and Latitude
expand greatly our Attitude …
Thus … adjusting to Wondrous
the ever changeable Altitude
at which
we find ourselves

— Jill Hardin