Archive for the ‘travel’ Tag

A Reading at Wyld Chyld: Long Island Welcomes Me Back   Leave a comment

I’ve read in a lot of different places in my career. Bars, bookstores, bakeries, all have been subjected to my literary genius at one time or another. But until the lovely and amusing Peter Dugan invited me to come on down to Long Island and read at the Wyld Chyld, I’d never read in a tattoo parlor before.

Helen R. Peterson reads her poetry at Wyld Chyld

Reading to the crowd at Wyld Chyld

Wyld Chyld is part tattoo parlor, part café, divided down the middle so the whir of the needles doesn’t disturb. Located in Merrick NY, it offers a unique intimate setting for a reading. I was the first to read, something I don’t usually like to do, as I like to riff off of what others present when deciding what to perform. But, in the end, it almost seemed as if the open mic readers had read my mind, bringing poetry that had similar themes and influences as mine did.

The other feature was Lloyd Abrams, a local Long Island poet and former educator. His poetry was entertaining and thought-provoking. He and his wife were kind enough to invite me to spend the night at their place and not make the three-hour drive back to Connecticut, but I politely declined, as I had kids to get on the bus in the morning.

The Wyld Chyld crowd

Listening to Lloyd Abrams read while sipping my green tea.

I always enjoy traveling to Long Island, as the audiences are always welcoming and encouraging. That’s why I’ll be traveling down that way again this Friday, May 18th, to feature at George Wallace’s series at the Barn. This will probably be my last Long Island appearance before the big move to Michigan in late August, so if you’ve wanted to see me live, make a point to be there!

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Haruah: Breath of Heaven   Leave a comment

Northern lights on the road

Image by Tom Olliver via Flickr

To read this poem, click here

2007, when “On the Shores of Gitcheegumee” was published in Haruah: Breath of Heaven, seems like a lifetime ago. Even more distant is the even that inspired this inspirational piece about grieving, loss, and hope.

My grandmother died almost 20 years ago, but the trip to Montana my family took is fresh in my mind to this day. Growing up we made the trek to Montana by van many times, but this particular trip was fraught with roadblocks along the way. The minivan broke down in Michigan, the part needed had to be ordered, the only campground nearby with a spot for us was run by a crazy old man who hated kids.  It was like something out of a movie, but the best, and worst, was yet to come.

At weeks end, we sped across the prairies, not stopping at night, my parents taking turns sleeping. During one of the brief stops along side the road so Mom could wake up and take Dad’s place, we were blessed to see the Northern Lights, my sister and I for the first time. The next day we learned that my grandmother had passed around the time we witnessed Aurora Borealis.

My family, my life, have always been a main source of inspiration for me, and this poem is representative of some of my earliest work, drawing on one of the bigger moments. Over time, of course, I have to delve further, draw from memory buried over time, more subtle. It’s nice to look back and remember a simpler, bittersweet time.

How deep into your own memory do you go for inspiration? Have you simply skimmed the surface in your writing, or have the layers slowly been peeled away? Do some free writing, quickly writing down scraps of memory, phrases, words, see what might be hiding, waiting to come into the light.

Southword Journal   Leave a comment

http://www.munsterlit.ie/Southword/Issues/18/contents.html

Southword Journal is an online literary zine out of the Munster Literature Center in County Cork, Ireland. Landing a story there was huge for me, because they pay well, and because it was my first Irish publication.

Ireland, especially Dublin, has a special place in my heart, as it was the location of my honeymoon. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the marriage will survive, but my love for Dublin will never die. I’m a huge history buff, a bibliophile, so visiting the National Library and seeing the James Joyce exhibit, visiting the Book of Kells, nothing could have topped the thrill of that for me. Dublin is dripping with culture, good people, great food, and so it was a given that I would write it a love poem or two. This one, “The Honeymoon is Over”, morphed from a prose poem to more of a flash fiction piece. Some people will tell you there’s very little or no difference between the two, but, for me, the language I use in flash is more narrative, less descriptive than my prose poems, although if you follow me at all, you know that very rarely do I write anything that doesn’t have a hint of the narrative in it.

So, I wrote a love story to Dublin, and added around the edges a bittersweet, and very personal, tale of a marriage that was doomed from the start, cursed as it was with addiction and codependency on both sides. It’s a victory march, the beauty of letting go, moving on. So, in many ways, it’s not only a love story between a girl and a city, but a love story between a girl and herself as well.

How about you? Is there a place on the map that inspires you for whatever reason? Tell me about it, write about it with love, and discover some new things about yourself along the way.