Publications, Updated

 

typewriter-vintage-old-vintage-typewriter-163116     Some of my poems, short stories, and nonfiction articles are included in books and magazines published in the UK, Greece, New Zealand, and the United States.

*Coffin Bell Journal,2018
“Herstory,” a poem, to be published October 1, 2018

*Spillwords Press, 2018
Stopped by Laura Lee at Spillwords Press

*Tuck Magazine, June 2018
Tuck Magazine

*Tuck Magazine,  May 2018
Tuck

* Southernmost Point Guest House (UK)
Poetry

* Journal of Modern Poetry 21 (Volume 21)
JOMP Volume 21 Dear Mr. President

* Journal of Modern Poetry 20 (Volume 20)
JOMP Volume 20 Poetry Writer’s Guide to the Galaxy

* Journal of Modern Poetry 17 (Volume 17)
JOMP Volume 17

* Magazine (New Zealand) , Raewyn Alexander, Publisher
Raewyn Alexander NZ

* Fiction in: http://staxtes.com/2003/
“Between the Sunlight and the Skipping” in English Wednesdays

*Poetry in: https://poetsagainstthewar.org/ Archives

* Illinois English Bulletin, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English, nonfiction article about teaching in an alternative education program.

* Poetry in Marginalia, Elmhurst, IL

Some of What the Mountains Taught Me

img_1070         Recently, my husband and I spent nearly a week in the great Rocky Mountains, at elevations of 8,000-11,000 feet.  I had not been in the mountains for nearly 26 years (The Blue Ridge Mountains) and before that, it was 1969 (The Smoky Mountains). I was young both times before, and the elevation was nowhere near that high as we stayed down in the valleys and had to drive up to be in the mountains.

When were were driving on the breathtaking Blue Ridge Parkway, I remember begging my husband to “Get me the ____ off of this road!”  The height was simply staggering to me.

This time, we stayed in a camp that came with warnings about altitude sickness.  During my time there, while I was so in love with the fresh air, the lack of mosquitoes, and those breathtaking views, I also was traveling for the first time with a chronic health condition.

Some of the things I learned:

  • I am weak, the mountains are mighty.  What a cliche’, but how true.  As I gasped for breath while hiking, this truth became very apparent.  The mountains were just there, strong, hulking,  huge boulders ready to fall, while I was slowly walking, stopping often for air.
  • It’s okay to realize your physical limits. I am not a young athlete. I’ve spent nearly all my life reading, writing, researching.  I’m not an athlete.
  • It’s okay to ask for help.  I was in contact with my doctor four times (poor guy!) while gone, and he assured me each time that yes, this altitude could make my chronic condition worse and might for up to a month after I got back down–but he hoped I could enjoy the vacation anyway since I had talked about it every time I saw him.  He gave me some tips.
  • I don’t have to do everything the others did, and in fact, I could not.  I felt sad one night while others were out at a barbecue, and I was back in my room reading and trying to recover some energy.  The next day I was able to hike and go up 11,000 feet on an aerial mountain tram.
  • Chronic medical conditions do not just leave because I was on vacation; they don’t care, they are not going away just because I paid for a vacation I saved for for a long time.  That’s romantic thinking, and not realistic.
  • I didn’t write as much poetry as I thought I would, although the natural beauty would have normally sent me to typing away!  I was dealing with my health. That’s okay as well.  I can write when my body is accustomed to being back to a normal elevation.
  • I cannot describe the beauty of the lakes, wildlife, and plants/ flowers we saw on our mountain hike.  Incredible.  See the photos blog entry here: https://wordpress.com/post/lauraleewriterpoeteducator.com/1379
  • At my age? I conquered an immense fear of flying and somewhat of heights in general–perhaps because I was so diverted by managing my health symptoms? I just didn’t have time to focus on my fear of heights!
  • I am forever grateful for my husband, who did not complain or in any way appear annoyed or disappointed I was not more agile, hardy, or strong. As I clutched his hand during some turbulence in flight, all I could think of was how blessed I was to know him for nearly 42 years.
  • I missed my maples, elms, willows, ashes, beeches, birches… I missed my deciduous trees, while being thankful to see and smell so many wonderful pines.  I missed my trees!
  • I was not wrong; sometimes at home I would imagine the immense clouds of summer looked like mountains.
  • Those beautiful images are starting to seep into me now, and I feel poetry coming.
  • I am glad to be back where there is 45% more oxygen.  Just because.
  • Coffee at 9,000 feet was WONDERFUL. So was the apple tart.
  • I was so proud of myself for doing something others find simple; I did not.
  • I cannot imagine how roads are built through such massive, imposing things such as MOUNTAINS.
  • We have a beautiful country!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

On Being a Poet, and a thanks to Chen Chen

poetry  Something the poet Chen Chen wrote on his Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/chenchenwrites) really struck me.

being a functioning person while being a poet: i am simultaneously trying to be less overwhelmed by the world & more.

(Quote used with his permission.)

As a highly sensitive person, a true HSP, I completely relate to his idea that we are sensitive, it helps us be poets, but we can be overwhelmed by the world! How do we function while being a poet?  It’s our sense of wonder, our amazing joy in small delights that are NOT small to us that can help us so much as poets.  I know for me, nothing is small.  I feel all deeply and personally.

How I survive is partly having a career in teaching, where I must be grounded, deal with students’ issues and concerns, grade those papers promptly, listen deeply, plan great lessons, and more.  Teaching has truly grown my heart and mind.

But as an HSP, I have been so deeply disturbed by some of my students’ stories of trauma and loss.  Can that go into my poetry too while not being exploitative or disrespectful? May I write in their voices, for I do listen so closely to my students.

This is another issue I need to and want to learn more about: how to respect the voice of others, share it, and not be appropriating their voices?

I’m learning, for I do have some small gift writing persona poems and dramatic monologues.

Right now this HSP is checking her class rosters several times a day, hoping her classes run!  I’m also thinking about the lessons learned from being in the Rocky Mountains for nearly a week (oh! I am so weak is one big lesson!), and thinking about how much I missed my trees here, back in the flat land.

And I am SHOCKED that I handled the heights of the plane ride and the tram ride up to 9000 feet. In fact, I am more afraid to go downtown by myself than I was of the plane ride or the tram! And I am afraid of heights.

But that’s another story, a story of being OVERWHELMED by all the sights and sounds of a big city, the sights and sounds of a great cultural city that can also truly overwhelm an HSP like myself.  I notice how tall the buildings are, how many people are on the streets, etc. etc. and feel overwhelmed sometimes. Sometimes just so alive by the hum and activities–so much to see, to do, to hear, to experience. The great museums, the great music, all that LIFE!

Best to you all, and thanks for reading.

America the Beautiful

What a vast country we have. Different terrains.

My first mountain hike. I am slow, but I did it.

Some pictures from the Bear Lake area in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

We must preserve these jewels of natural beauty!

iii