Let’s All Take Flight

I’m sure most of you have heard about the United Airlines debacle. If you have, you can skip down a paragraph or two.

Basically, from what I’ve heard, United needed to get four of their employees on the plane. Because of this, they kicked off four other passengers. First they offered them quite a bit of money, but when one of the passengers refused to leave, they had security come drag him off the plane. The man was a doctor, and needed to get home for appointments the next day.

It was very strange. I watched the videos of the man getting dragged off the plane and I felt sick. I can’t really tell you why “sick” out of every other feeling, but that’s what happened. I felt sick.

My husband had told me about the dilemma before I went to school. He was very shocked. When I got home, however, he was singing a different tune. He told me that he’d looked into both sides of the argument and he thought United deserved a little more sympathy. We fought about this for a while, eventually leading to me pinning him on the bed and saying loudly, “It gave me a bad FEELING and that MEANS something!!!!!”

We get really dramatic.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about that sentiment for a couple days now. I think we need to pay more attention to our feelings. With all the swayed views and “fake” news and opinions slashing each other, we’ve got to pay attention to how we feel about what’s going on. The inner you is telling you something, and you’ve got to listen.

However, that’s just my view of the world. Maybe it’s “fake,” too. 😉

On a lighter, less cheesy note (I’m hoping George Saunders would be proud of me), art makes us feel things too, and I think that’s why we’ve got to hold onto it right now. We’ve got to fight for it. Every day I am privileged to work with inspiring professors who have dedicated their life to it. We need your support. Come feel with us (I’ve said that before, in other posts. It seems to be this year’s theme. And I like that). COME FEEL WITH US.

Tomorrow some of those amazing people who dedicate their life to art will be reading to us! Same time, same place. I hope to see you there.

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And if you like that (you will), there are a couple other events coming up that you’d probably like as well:

First–Star Coulbrooke (Logan’s Poet Laureate, Writing Center Goddess, and A Person We Should All Be Like) will be hosting a poetry walkabout. Sure to be amazing as usual.

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Next, we have Star Coulbrooke’s book launch! (It is a Star world, and we are just living in it–and we wouldn’t have it any other way <3)

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And last but DEFINITELY not least, we have the Cache Valley Chapter of the NFB reading!

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UGH! So many INCREDIBLE events to attend. They will fill you up, break you down, and hold you close. We are so lucky to be here.

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Birds of a Feather

Hello everyone. Sorry for the hiatus. You know how Spring Break is–cRaZy.

Anyway, the other day my beloved husband put some clothes in the dryer. For a couple weeks (WEEKS, people. Remember that for the future of this post) I’ve been hearing weird noises in our wall, like scratching. I mentioned our squirrel friend a couple posts back, and I kind of hoped that little squirrel was somehow living in our walls during the winter. I would be okay with that. Even though it’s super creepy.

Anyway, so the dryer is running, and the clothes are rolling around, making weird noises, and all of the sudden the dryer stops. And there is scratching. Undeniable scratching, from an animal.

We go through different options. Call landlord? No, he’s very scary. Call Animal Control? Well, they are rated 1.7 stars on the website, so, no? Unhook the dryer ourselves with a plastic bag, ready to catch whatever animal resides in our walls? Sure.

So my beloved husband drags the dryer out, and the hose just falls off by itself (is that bad?) and we wait. And wait. But the scratching has stopped. (And I’m expecting the squirrel to pop out at any moment.) But a beak comes out first, followed by a gray-ish, blue-ish bird, looking around, its head twitching in that way that bird’s heads usually do.

We screamed. My beloved husband put the trash bag over the hose, and of course the bird did not fly into the bag. So we took it off.

The bird hesitantly peaked out once more. And then jumped out. Then decided to fly. Being the mature adult that I am, I took off running and screaming out our front door (expertly left open, as well as the back door, hoping the bird would escape). My beloved husband dove to the floor, covering his head.

When we both gathered ourselves, we couldn’t find the bird. We looked around for a while, and ultimately decided the bird must have flown out the back door, back to its normal life, away from the dryer’s heat that has been blowing on this bird for weeks. (Really though, HOW is it alive?)

Right before I closed the front door, I heard a bird singing. And I knew our friend was free.

On a more relevant note, if you’d like to hear something equivalent to bird’s singing, come to Helicon West tomorrow at 7 and listen to the Bull Pen Slam Team pour their hearts out. They are brilliant and beautiful and brave and their poetry will make you feel as free as my bird friend.

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Poetry that Simmers

It’s snowing a little and I think that fact may have broken my heart.

I have something to admit. Something that the feminist inside of me never wanted to admit. But here I am, admitting it, because the act of admitting it means I am using my voice however I please, and that is: good.

I like to cook. But I don’t think you understand. I really LIKE to cook. All growing up I told myself I wouldn’t be the woman in the kitchen that boys so often joked about, and I have avoided it until recently, when I realized: I should probably start taking better care of myself. And that includes cooking. Healthy foods. Putting in effort.

And I LIKE IT. I like putting this flavor with that. I like how a recipe can call for a teaspoon of seasoning and I think, who cares, and I take the seasoning itself and pour some in, because who cares about measuring a little spice that will only make the dish better? Who cares about exact amounts? Add it all in, try it all, see what you come up with!

I love that mindset. That mindset is ART. And so I am here to dub cooking as art and the kitchen as a studio because I do what I want.

Anyway, poetry is obviously also art and this week at Helicon West we get to hear from Shanan Ballam’s advanced poetry class! These kitty cats are so good at poetry, you’ll be begging for more…kind of like that sausage tortellini I’ve got simmering in the kitchen? Maybe I’ll share with you if you come.

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Come Out of Hiding

We used to have this squirrel near our house. Did I ever tell you about him? We named him something long, like Cornelius. Or Socrates. Something regal. Anyway, this squirrel was crazy–he would literally jump from tree to tree over a couple feet of pure air. If I heard a sudden rustle of leaves, I knew the squirrel was up to something.

He’d shake the trees so much that the pinecones would fall. It was like he collected them. He kept them all piled under the left tree. When I’d go outside, I would just watch him for a while. One time I tried to feed him grapes. He didn’t eat them. I even left them on the porch. He was basically like, nah, try again.

I don’t know where he is right now. I blame the snow. Do squirrels hibernate? I really hope they do. I hope our squirrel is curled up safe and sound inside a tree right now, just waiting for the scent of Spring.

I thought Spring was near, since everything had gone from freezing to dripping over the weekend. I could even kind of smell it. Yesterday, I walked outside to a snow storm again. It made me so mad. I did think, for one second, that I’d see the squirrel sooner than I thought. But no. Snow. And even though it’s melted away now, there’s supposed to be more coming next week.

This all to say….nothing really.

EXCEPT, if you, like my squirrel friend, are hiding in a hole this winter, come out tomorrow night for Helicon West. The writing makes the world alive again. You feel things. You feel new. It’s worth it.

Hopefully we’ll see you there. Hopefully I’ll see the squirrel soon too.

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The Slip

The other day I slipped on the ice very badly. And just so you know, for my whole career at Utah State University, I have never slipped and fell, and I am very proud of that. But the other day, I parked and walked towards the shuttle, and as I turned a corner, I fell hard on my butt. A girl in front of me turned around and said, “Are you okay?”

The wind was knocked out of me. I wheezed. I finally said, “Yes.” She seemed like she didn’t know if she should come help me or not, but I stood up on my own and kept walking, very carefully. I continued to try and talk to her as we walked. “Just the first of the season,” I said, and laughed to try and alleviate the embarrassment and pain. “I’m sure it will happen again.”

She just didn’t really respond. When I got to the shuttle stop I asked a different girl if there was snow on the back of me.

“I mean, yeah,” she said, “but it’s fine.”

First of all, what does that mean? It’s fine that there’s snow on the back of me? Second of all, what kind of an answer is that? I don’t know. It just felt weird to me. It’s not fine. It’s wet and gross and dirty. Help me.

I haven’t slipped since. Only, today my foot surged forward on some slush so I almost lost my balance, but caught myself. A boy walked swiftly by me and said, “Be careful.”

Thanks, man. I’ll keep that in mind.

Anyway, what YOU should keep in mind is HELICON WEST TOMORROW! We would love to see you all, and if you’ve slipped and fallen on the way in, we will surround you with love.

 

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It’s Been a While

We all know it’s snowing like crazy. Luckily, at this moment, the snow is wet and thus, not sticking. But here’s the problem, since there is always a problem:

My car is in the shop. The car we have left over is a Dodge Charger with a weak engine, and it is terrible in the snow.

This morning, my husband woke me up so I could drive him to work. I was very disoriented and threw on a pink, fluffy robe and sweats. I pin back my bangs with bobby pins at night, so the pins were sticking out at all sorts of angles that I didn’t care about. My glasses fogged up in the freezing air. Husband was slightly afraid to talk to me.

Have I mentioned my weird landlord? Yeah, he doesn’t pay for snow removal. So we tread carefully on the way out of my complex, make the turn, and another car is heading right for us. I swerved into a snow bank to let them pass. When I tried to drive forward, we were stuck.

My husband got out of the car to push and after several minutes he stood straight, defeated. Just then, a girl in a teal coat came with a shovel and asked if she could help dig us out. She did so, and we left in peace. Except I was still groggy.

“Was she an angel?” I asked my husband.

To this day (the same day) I still do not know.

Anyway, hopefully the snow won’t stop you from coming to Helicon West tomorrow! As usual, it will take place in the Bridger Room of the Logan City Library and 7pm. Good luck!

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A Little Bit of Baking

The other day I made lemon bars. But, full disclosure: I was very distracted and ruined them.

To give you a peek into my life, I’ve got this husband. He’s a really sweet guy. He forgets everything. And by everything, I mean, everything important. I can understand if he forgets his lunch one day. Everyone does that. But on Friday, as I walked out the door I said, “Will you please call our landlord to come pick up the rent?” (Our landlord is strange. He makes rent very difficult.) My husband said yes.

Later that day, I’m sitting in my Fiction class and I think, husband probably didn’t call the landlord. So I text my husband. Sure enough, he’d forgotten about the rent.

So I’m at Walmart, picking up stuff for lemon bars, fuming away, and I grab yellow cake mix instead of lemon cake mix. I realize this when I get home. I think, it’s too late now. So I pour a bunch of lemon juice in the mix. The batter ends up gooey and unspreadable. The pan shows no mercy.

However, the lemon bars turn out fine. They taste lemon-y. Dare I say…they taste GOOD. In fact, I do believe I’ve created my own recipe.

Which, of course, brings me to writing…because what doesn’t bring me to writing? There is no recipe for writing. You can throw together whatever you want, as long as you’re getting the central idea, nay, the central question to come together in the end. Sure I didn’t have the correct ingredients, but I got a good result. My point is, don’t give up on that recipe (writing) you’re trying out. It’s going somewhere.

Is it just me or are these posts making less and less sense?

Anyway, come to Helicon West on Thursday! It’s been TOO long, people. And it’ll be a good one. We’ve got Ken Brewer and Will Pitkin, as well as guest readers Star Coulbrooke, Paul Crumbley, Jerry Fuhriman, and Bill Strong. Let’s see what they’ve been cooking up.

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