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Yesterday was the official publication date for the new anthology, One Minute Till Bedtime, edited by former children's poet laureate, Kenn Nesbitt, who organized the book into four sections, each one introduced by one of his poems. The collection has already earned three starred reviews, all well-deserved given the variety of poetry in the book (and the caliber of the poets with whom I am keeping company)!

My poem, "Baseball Season", is in there, and here's what it looks like:



I am thrilled to be part of this anthology, and to be in company with so many poet-friends, including fellow poetry princess, Laura Purdie Salas, who has a poem entitled "We're Bats!"



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Well what do you know?

I have been telling myself a story for a while. The story goes something like this:

"Once upon a time, you were a poet and an author, but those days appear to be gone. You aren't getting things out much. You aren't getting things accepted at all. Maybe you are done with that, even though you intended for this to be ongoing until death (or really old age)."

But.

As I posted two weeks ago, I had a poem published online at Silver Birch Press.

And as I posted last week, I continue to inch along with progress on my Adelaide Crapsey biography.

And though I forgot to mention it, I recently got an acceptance from Chanterelle's Notebook for a poem. And yesterday, the current issue went live online. You can read my poems, "In a Whirl" and "postcard, post-conversation", at Chantarelle's Notebook. (And do check out the rest of the issue - it's good!)

And in yesterday's mail, I got my contributor's copy of One Minute Till Bedtime, the new anthology of children's poetry from Little, Brown, edited by former Children's Poet Laureate, Kenn Nesbitt. Inside, you can find my poem "Baseball Season", on a page that looks like this:



All of which just goes to show . . . something. That there is still life in this here writing and publishing career, even if it's not the sort of amazing! overwhelming! success! that I once envisioned.

For today (and every day, really), I am grateful for what I have.


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Today was one of those days

As I posted on Facebook earlier, today was one of those days:

One of those down days. Haven't slept well three nights running, joints are extra achy. Good thing I have an infusion tomorrow (first full-strength one). Just hoping I can avoid the jaw pain that came with the half dose!

All true.

But. Then I asked myself what do I need to do today to not feel badly about myself?

Get out of the house, I thought.
Work on Adelaide, I decided.

So I packed up the printed manuscript and took myself to Starbucks, where I had a cappuccino (turns out I needed that caffeine) and read through the manuscript, making edits, taking notes, and writing helpful things like "fix!" in the margins.

I feel better now. Still tired. Still in pain. But so much better, in some of the ways that matter most.



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If I Had to Say - a link to my own poem

This week, I was lucky to have my poem, "If I Had to Say", posted by Silver Birch Press on their website. It's a poem I wrote several years ago, while in the midst of a divorce.

Here is the link!

You can get to the Poetry Friday Roundup at Irene Latham's by clicking the box below.





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Over at Guys Lit Wire

It's my review of TETRIS by Box Brown. It is a biography of the game itself, which is a fascinating concept to me (and one that caught me a bit off-guard.)

And now, to share the cover. Which will likely make you think the image is tilted, but no - the cover art is all at an uphill angle, which just makes you THINK that the entire image is crooked.





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Today's Poetry Seven post is supposed to be an ekphrastic poem based on an image that I chose. On photos I created, as it happens, when I was in Lyon, France, earlier this year and visited the Musée des Beaux Arts with my sweetheart. There were lots of gorgeous paintings and sculptures there, and it is SO worth your time if you are ever in Lyon - it's the largest art museum outside Paris or somesuch.

What really caught my eye while there was a statue in the middle of a gallery. It's a masked boy/young man, named Arlequin, and created by René de Saint Marceaux out of plaster. He was so smug and cock-sure, and you could get right up to him for photos.


copyright Kelly Ramsdell Fineman 2016

And here he is for his close-up of his looking down on you:


copyright Kelly Ramsdell Fineman 2016

The thing is, while I LOVE LOVE LOVE this statue and these images, I don't have a poem to offer about him. At least not yet. Life got in the way, between health issues and High Holidays, and time got away, and I am delinquent.

But these ladies are not. Please go read their spectacular work:

Sara
Tricia
Liz
Tanita
Laura





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The Baltimore Book Festival

On Saturday, I was at the Baltimore Book Festival, where I was invited to read inside the Story Share - a new tent that is a cozy reading spot. It is also a cool art installation, designed by my super-talented cousin Stewart Watson, who is written up in Baltimore Magazine this month along with Area 405 (the art space she manages).

The name of the installation is Goodnight Moonlight Nightlight, and the tent featured a HUGE nightlight that changed colors and involved a moon cover that Stewart made . . . somehow. I neglected to ask. The tent was lined with colors and patterns inside, and contained beanbag chairs and poufs and pillows, plus bins of books for the reading.

Heres are some photos:


Here's me, before getting to the reading.



Stewart Watson and me inside the Story Share


My sweetheart, Morris, next to the giant nightlight

It was a great day - I got to read my picture book, At the Boardwalk, a number of times for people who stopped in, and also read poems from other anthologies and from my chapbook, along with fielding questions about writing for children and visiting with an aspiring picture book author who was really fun to talk with.

Glad I rested all last week in advance of it, and not sorry that I'm still wiped out because of it!



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Today's writing victory

I've been happily back at work on my Adelaide Crapsey picture book, and inching forward. I wrote about it the other day, as you may know, in a post entitled "One Step Up and Two Steps Back". (Side-effect of that post is that I've had that Springsteen song in my head for days. I consider this a good thing, actually, because it's a great song.)

Today, I pretty much wiped out two days' work and replaced it with something completely different, and now all things feel right in the world again. (Yes, I have seen Twitter already and know that's not the case, but for this short, happy, post-writing period, all is right in the world. Which may be the best reason for writing of all.)

Now to chug a lot of water so that I can have a less-unpleasant IV infusion this afternoon. I'm starting a new RA medicine. The last one did absolutely nothing to help the RA, though it did give me a fungal infection in my hands and cause dry skin and lots of hair loss, so one cannot say it did nothing. I do not like IVs (or any needles, really, though home injections were way better than this B.S.), so think kind thoughts for me, okay?




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Upcoming event: The Baltimore Book Festival

Four years after publication, and my little picture book and I are being featured as part of the Baltimore Book Festival in Baltimore, Maryland.

Here's a link to the event details for my reading, which will be inside the Story Share, an installation built by the wonderfully talented artist Stewart Watson (who happens to be my cousin - I am so very proud of her!). The Story Share is located just along Light Street, very near the Festival Bookshop.

If you click on the box below, it will open the page from the Book Festival, and you can then click around to see what else is going on:



I plan on reading At the Boardwalk, along with poems I have in other anthologies, including the National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry, the National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry, Dare to Dream . . . Change the World, The Poetry Friday Anthology, and, of course, from my chapbook of adult poems, The Universe Comes Knocking.

If you live in or near Baltimore, I hope you will stop by on Saturday!



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One Step Up, and Two Steps Back

That's just how the writing goes sometimes.

And by sometimes, I mean mostly all the time for me.

I have been allowing health issues to derail me for quite a while, but have finally decided that if I'm a writer, I should be writing. And Adelaide was calling me, so I've returned to her story, telling her life for a young audience.

Mostly, it involves me sifting and picking out the essentials to share. And then I write too much about them. And often, in a too complicated way. And then I have to go back and pare and whittle and reassess.

Also, as any reader of The Little Prince by Antoine de St. Exupéry knows, "what is essential is invisible to the eye", which means I often end up going back and removing something like an actual life event and adding in one of her poems, or a quote from a letter, or some other humanizing detail.

Because a parade of simple facts is not a book - or at least, it's not a good biography. Maybe that's a topic for a different day.

Today I wrote nearly 200 words. Three paragraphs. Then I focused on that first paragraph, which was a good 95 words or so, and struggled through what was and wasn't important. I took out lots of facts. I added in a bit of a quote from a letter. It's now 44 words. I won't know until tomorrow or later whether they will stay. For sure the remaining 74 words have to be scaled back. Or maybe be entirely replaced. Again, it's a choice for another day.

One step up and two steps back.

And yes, today's title comes from a Springsteen song: "Somewhere along the line I slipped off track. I'm caught movin' one step up and two steps back." The back-up singer eventually changes it to "two steps up and one step back", and that's my goal. Meantime, this is me. Writing, then undoing, then rewriting, then paring, then inching slowly forward.

One step up and two steps back.
Two steps up and one step back.





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