Sometimes-monthly, sometimes-weekly, when-I-have-the-time blog.

Reading Lists and Laundry Lists and How Spring Is The Busiest

Oops, I forgot to blog last week! I was frantically trying to finish my fifth and final packet for the first semester of my MFA program. It’s done, the email is sent, the packet is in the mail, and…I’m still scrambling to finish up other assignments. Haha, it doesn’t really end, which is okay—the writing life is a lifestyle, not a 9-to-5 job.

Happy belated Mother’s Day to: all of the moms, those who have lost moms, those who have lost children, those who cannot be moms, those who do not want to be moms, those who want to be moms, those who have difficult relationships with their children, and those who have difficult relationships with their moms. I hosted brunch for the moms in my life at my home last weekend, and it was wonderful and hectic and I think everyone even enjoyed the food.

My mom and the concept of motherhood play a huge role in my writing, despite not having children myself. Instead, I have book-babies and, hopefully soon, a fur baby or two. Would it be totally over-committing to get a kitten and a puppy around the same time? Probably.

Anyway, one of the requirements of my program is to write an annotated bibliography of every book I read for the project period, including work I read to prepare for the 10-day MFA residency last December. I’m assembling that biblio now, and seeing this list of books, short story collections, anthologies, memoirs, essays, poems, and countless online articles I’ve read throughout the semester is extremely satisfying. I'll post the entire list when I'm done drafting it, but by the numbers, I read 22 books, countless online articles--including online short stories originally published in print--and more than 500 poems. 

Another laundry list of sorts—fun events in the past couple weeks. Besides throwing a brunch and attending a baby shower, I also:

  • Attended “The Patterns’ Vicious Influence” exhibit at Arts + Literature Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin, as part of Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s Spring Gallery Night. This excellent show by the Spooky Boobs Collective featured beautiful and trendily designed wallpapers made up of words that are often used to diminish or attack women and our ideas, bodies, and beings. In a neat performance element of the show, the exhibit organizers walked around issuing “arrest” warrants to women for certain behaviors or ways of carrying themselves. I was “arrested” for being a “slut,” “having body confidence,” “being an extrovert,” and “enjoying sex.” The grin on my face when they took my mugshot was huge and sassy, and I enjoyed every second of it. Other female friends of mine were “arrested” for “being high maintenance,” “being overly dramatic,” and “acting like a man”—presumably because they act with logic and decisiveness. What a fantastic cultural critique of the language society uses to describe women and their actions and behaviors. Examining and reclaiming this language is so important.  
  • Attended a road rally, which entailed driving around in cars around rural Wisconsin, finding clues and prizes with lots of fun restaurant, park, and bar stops along the way. It was a lovely way to spend time with family, enjoy the sunshine—finally—and engage in some serious teamwork!

  • Decided to sign up for a sprint aquabike event—swimming 500 meters and biking 20K, or about 12.5 miles. I’ll be participating in an event in mid-July in Holly, Michigan, which I strategically signed up for so I can see and visit with my best friend from high school. It has been way, way too long.

What’s your favorite reading list? What role does motherhood play in your writing? Have you ever been “arrested” for (accused of) being an extrovert? Of being an introvert? Of being too passive? Too sexy? Too dowdy?