Turning 40: Why I Write

At three days away from turning 40 years old, I haven’t been published, and yet I continue to write and call myself a writer. I’m not published because I haven’t ever submitted anywhere or queried an agent. Sure, I’d like to be published some day, but that’s never really been the point for me. The effort required to submit to agents and magazines and to market my work seems like it would sap all the fun out of writing. For me, the point is the process itself. I write because I have to. I have to explore ideas on paper and play with words and get creative. I’ve loved the written word since I was very, very little. Even though writing is an intrinsic part of me and a huge piece of my identity, it hasn’t always come easy. I took a nearly two-decade hiatus from creative writing, something I regret now even though I know I can only look forward. I did this exercise—a history of me as a writer in ten chapters—as part of a class I took and thought this would be a great time to share it on my blog.  Continue reading →

Tanka, July 12th, Soldotna

a bear paw thrashes

beneath the surface, missing

salmon from the lake

later splayed on styrofoam

because bait evokes no fear

 

Memories of a trip to Alaska, told in tanka. Tanka follow a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7. The middle line serves as a turning point, so that if you read just the first three lines, there is a different tone than if you read just the last three lines.

Tanka, July 11, Homer

no road leads to this

remote Alaska, carved by

nature, tamed by none.

we traverse in awe, then fall

silent and still at the source

 

Memories of a trip to Alaska, told in tanka. Tanka follow a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7. The middle line serves as a turning point, so that if you read just the first three lines, there is a different tone than if you read just the last three lines.

Tanka, July 10, Nikolaevsk

simplicity of

old believers on display

for a price, enjoy

the inauthenticity

of dumplings sold at Costco

 

Memories of a trip to Alaska, told in tanka. Tanka follow a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7. The middle line serves as a turning point, so that if you read just the first three lines, there is a different tone than if you read just the last three lines.

Tanka, July 9, Seward

fish vanish in the

breach, in the gull tornado

as vast mouths surface

a million shutter clicks

quelled by our own nothingness

 

Memories of a trip to Alaska, told in tanka. Tanka follow a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7. The middle line serves as a turning point, so that if you read just the first three lines, there is a different tone than if you read just the last three lines.

Tanka, July 8, Seward

toes in frigid stream

respite from the humid trail

we tread with others

unseen but present in grass

trampled, just recently quit

 

Memories of a trip to Alaska, told in tanka. Tanka follow a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7. The middle line serves as a turning point, so that if you read just the first three lines, there is a different tone than if you read just the last three lines.

Tanka, July 7th, Talkeetna

their soft drum on pine

builds symphony with songbirds

spattering raindrops

collide against plexiglass

a discordant ballyhoo

 

 

Memories of a trip to Alaska, told in tanka. Tanka follow a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7. The middle line serves as a turning point, so that if you read just the first three lines, there is a different tone than if you read just the last three lines.

Tanka, July 6, Hurricane Turn

Denali above

running salmon below, guide

the Hurricane train

of no stations, just hands, hands

for Redfearn, who knows them all

 

Memories of a trip to Alaska, told in tanka. Tanka follow a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7. The middle line serves as a turning point, so that if you read just the first three lines, there is a different tone than if you read just the last three lines.

Tanka, July 5, Whittier

forward through the sound

backward through the mercury

I button my coat

yet widen my eyes, to earth,

our past told in blue strata

 

Memories of a trip to Alaska, told in tanka. Tanka follow a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7. The middle line serves as a turning point, so that if you read just the first three lines, there is a different tone than if you read just the last three lines.

Tanka, July 4th, Anchorage

bellies of airplanes

relentless dominance of

mankind in nature

fails where the earthly blue meets

mud and claims another fool

 

Memories of a trip to Alaska, told in tanka. Tanka follow a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7. The middle line serves as a turning point, so that if you read just the first three lines, there is a different tone than if you read just the last three lines.