Friday, November 21, 2014

Out of The Chrysalis: Feral Mom Attempts November Butterfly Book Tour Sans Kids

I am still basking in the warmth of a beautiful homecoming trip to Sonoma County where we celebrated November Butterfly’s arrival—I left Southern California with a bag full of books and returned with a scant three copies that were spoken for before my plane landed in San Diego. I traveled alone, having celebrated with my husband and my children at San Diego Writers, Ink the week prior. How odd, but lovely, a bit alien, to escape as writer self and leave mother self behind.

Or try. Within two hours, texts from the kids and husband trickled in… “Where are the car keys?” “When are you coming back?” “I miss you already!” And one graphic photo of a bloody toe…all gently eclipsed in San Francisco by my brother, his wife and my niece. They kindly whisked me off for a beer—even though I am not much of a drinker and fruitflies tend to get the better portion of any quarter glass of wine my husband pours for me.

But this was The Trappist, and in the bronze dusk of the unassuming low-lit hallway that makes the venue so cozy, I converted, sipping a very fine, dark, foaming 8 Wired I-stout, admiring the miniature tree limbs advancing up the wall above us with evenly balanced tendrils. I was further spoiled each day of my visit--omelets by my sister-in-law, Italian dinner out, and girl-time curing toes of their winter pall. Finally, by night, in the slightly freaky and deafening silence of putting only myself to bed, I succumbed to the pleasure of losing time between the covers of The Book of Symbols:Reflections on Archetypal Images, (Taschen), table of contents pulling me in with incantatory list: Egg, Breath, Star, Sun, Moon, Crescent, Eclipse, Comet….

Further north at my father’s home, my collaborator Robyn’s chrysalis artwork greeted me on the table. Inside, tucked in a butterfly pocket, she and my father had collected “magic words” (bookmark sized quotes to lift the mind).  At nearly a foot tall, the chrysalis card is a delight to hold and open, serving as a three-dimensional out-picturing of this year’s process.  After some superb seven-secret-ingredient pancakes (my father’s specialty), we headed out to Shiloh Park for a morning hike which is just what I needed in order to ground before the afternoon workshop and reading at Coffee Catz (thank you Debbie and Keli!).

The vibrant reds and golds of the changing leaves and sprawling oaks still linger in my mind’s eyes as do the heartprints of the friends and writers circling the workshop table and back room at Coffee Catz, and again, in Berkeley at Moe’s Books, where I had the honor of reading with Ruth Thompson (Woman with Crows) and Michelle Wing (Body on the Wall) to a full house at the invitation of Poetry Flash (which meant lovely introductions for all three of us poets by the generous and thoughtful Richard Silberg and venue set-up and arrangements thanks to Joyce Jenkins).

I also had the privilege of meeting Don Mitchell (A Red Woman Was Crying) for the first time in person (after months of email correspondence).  Don is the other half of Saddle Road Press (located in Hilo, Hawaii) and the man responsible for the book cover magic and logistics of poems on the page plus all the hand-holding during the thousand invisible decisions that signal final stages of book-making. Ruth Thompson, pictured here, is the other half of Saddle Road Press, and the woman responsible for editing November Butterfly and seeing it through to completion.

Other collateral joy: time with my poetry steady Liz Brennan—she’s already put up one of our new short prose Perhaps, Maybe video collaborations we had time to record over the weekend, The Hummingbird’s Complaint.

I am in the process of mapping out new book tour events and will announce dates as we confirm them; I am overwhelmingly grateful for the love and support of my family and friends.

Additional Links:

January Blogging Class:

I’ll be offering a four part blogging series of classes (from Beginning Blogging to Advanced Blogging) in person through San Diego Writers, Ink, starting in January, 2015. Here is the link to the first series of classes for Beginning Bloggers. I welcome bloggers at any point on their blogging trajectory, and former students are always welcome to join us again for blog support. I tailor my courses to fit the needs of each forming class.

November Butterfly Prompts:

As promised to workshop participants, I am still writing poetry prompts for the iconics in section 1 of November Butterfly--I will have one up for Nefertiti in the next couple of days. Visit this link to see all ten prompts up so far (from Marilyn to Jeanne d'Arc). 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

November Butterfly comes to Northern California

Goddesses, fairytale queens, and legendary heroines: these are the stuff of fantasy. Aren't they? But November Butterfly introduces them in the vivid colors of now...Tania Pryputniewicz remolds these characters: they batter down your door, rush into your living room and unapologetically take all the most comfortable chairs. In return, they offer clear and often cold-eyed views of their worlds dominated by the men and circumstances they are steered by...I read and re-read sections, astonished by the fresh and dynamic beauty in the writing that opened a door for these characters to step into our time: utterly captivating and overwhelmingly relevant...--Excerpt from first Amazon page review to go up for November Butterfly, with gratitude for Sandra Hunter (LosingTouch)

As a newbie author, I have to share the unexpected joy of walking into the public library here in downtown Coronado to see November Butterfly in the local author display. True, I had turned in the book to the librarian when the call came out, but I had forgotten about it until I walked in last night with my daughter. What a rush! 

The most recent poem in the collection to be featured online, Guinevere Braves High Noon in My Backyard, can be read here, at The Mom Egg: Author Note: Tania Pryputniewicz on November Butterfly (poem follows the Author Note). 

I'll be in Sonoma County next week--come out and play with me! I'd love it if you pre-registered for the workshop so I know how many strings of paper dolls to make for us--use my Contact page to email me regarding payment. Certainly I will not turn anyone away at the door; feel free to just show up for the reading portion if that's what's in the cards.

Monday November 10th, 2014:

Sonoma County Book Launch Event: "Writing Past Fear: Free Your Butterfly" Workshop and Reading

Sonoma County’s Coffee Catz holds a special place in my heart; not only did I get to spend Friday mornings for a few hours writing when my children were babies (Grandpa and Grandma took over every week so I could sneak away), but we even hosted the baby shower for my firstborn in the back room behind the velvet curtain. Owner Debbie chatted me sweetly all through my first pregnancy and the next.  I am so thrilled to return to use that back room to celebrate November Butterfly’s release. Come out and write with me for an hour; we will follow our writing workshop with a reading and book signing. No prior writing or art experience needed.

Workshop descriptionWhat story have you kept in the cocoon? What would happen if you wrote it out, just for you? In this dual focus workshop, we’ll consider our heroes, both famous and family, who have inspired us. Using them as inspiration, we’ll write our cocooned core stories. We’ll also explore the butterfly and hero metaphors via colored pencils and paper cutouts. Art supplies provided.

6761 Sebastopol Ave
Sebastopol, CA  95472

2:00-3:00: Writing workshop (Free Your Butterfly, description above); $30 includes hour long workshop and a copy of the poetry collection, November Butterfly. Please contact me to pre-register. Or sign up at the door.

3:00-4:00: Reading and book signing (free of charge)

Tuesday November 11, 2014:

Bay Area Reading and Book Signing for the poetry collection, November Butterfly

I’ll be reading with Saddle Road Press sisters Ruth Thompson (Woman with Crows) and Michelle Wing (Body on the Wall).

Moe’s Books, Berkeley
2476 Telegraph Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704
7:30 p.m. (free of charge)

Monday, November 3, 2014

First Butterfly Out Over Open Sea: Poetry Launch at San Diego Writers, Ink

November Butterfly enjoyed a stellar launch in San Diego at  San Diego Writers, Ink (I've written a bit before about SDWI in the post Writer Heavens). Shout out and sincere thanks are due SDWI Executive Director Kristen Fogle and Inspirations Gallery owner and writer Jill G. Hall for their hands-on support and of course to my beautiful team at Saddle Road Press, Ruth Thompson and Don Mitchell (the mage behind the cover design).

Both Ruth and Don are here from Hawaii and safely nestled in Sonoma County for upcoming readings from their respective books from Saddle Road Press (Woman With Crows and A Red Woman Was Crying) in the cities of Cloverdale and Sausalito and with Saddle Road Press sister Michelle Wing (Body on the Wall) and I in Berkeley.

I am very eager to celebrate also with cover photographer Robyn Beattie! I'll see her next week for Sonoma County's November Butterfly launch. I'm thrilled to be featured in several locations: Coffee Catz on Monday, November 10th and Moe's Books in Berkeley on Tuesday, November 11th. Visit my Events page for details; preferably pre-register for the Coffee Catz writing workshop (so I know how many paper dolls to make). Or just come on out for the reading.

Launch day started beautifully with a message from a new writer friend overseas informing me she'd ordered a copy! Imagine! First Butterfly out over open seas! And of course, following that blessing, in true Feral Mom, Feral Writer style, November 1 was rife with challenges to surmount on the way to the launch. First: the daughter to rescue from her Halloween sleepover, her neck stiff from having slept in her friend's dog bed (her choice, the horrified sleepover mom informed me, yep, sounds like my girl). She flinched, head pasted to her shoulder, for the whole twenty minute drive home to the refrain of "ow, ow, ow" in response to the car's every swerve. Next: the middle son: to shepherd to soccer, stepping over his 523 individual pieces of candy sorted by wrapper to tear through four laundry bins in search of matching socks and plundering cupboards for stale water bottles. And last but not least: the youngest son to prepare for an ice-skating play date. More rummaging in clothing archives for long pants which frankly we haven't worn since we lived in Sonoma County...followed by the requisite coaxing of hand-washing, hair combing, and please-&-thank-you drills.

By 12:30--with two hours to spare--the house was mine, just long enough to cut out six strings of paper dolls for workshop participants which turned out to match perfectly the number of students, including walk-ins.

My red scarf gave me fortitude for the next potential disaster--the husband, returning from the soccer match, never made it home in time to retrieve my lovingly delineated driving directions note from the kitchen table. He texted me two minutes before the workshop started from the iPhone repair shop (only my husband could destroy a phone bound in a Life Case--nothing new under our roof--see Feral Wife: Two Chainsaws, The Ocean and an Untended Husband). In my new role as busy author, I confess, I directed my husband to my website for directions (side with me? Maybe? I had writers at The Inkspot table to tend in the moment).

As much as I love my children and my husband, I wasn't prepared for how sweet it felt when they did finally come sauntering in to catch the last few poems, my husband's cell phone buzzing so many times I finally said, "Who is that guy?!!!" We all cracked up good naturally and poems, I promise, were delivered in peace...What a blessing to read to an audience of writers I'd had the chance to meet in workshop for a bit.

I continue to welcome any and all permutations of support for November Butterfly. I am funding the book tour myself and am performing as the marketing team, which involves the wearing of an entirely new bouquet of hats for me (so far a creative and playful adventure with much love and support from many writers I've come to know over the years). I'd love to be directed towards any additional reading, review, radio interview, or teaching opportunities. Here's a link to my Events page where you can read a bit about my workshop/reading structure. A copy of November Butterfly comes with the writing workshop fee and the readings after are usually free or come with a small suggested donation amount.

If you'd like to support Saddle Road Press itself, order the book directly from me through my Contact page on my website. The book is also available in paperback or Kindle editions through Amazon. I'd welcome your customer reviews on the Amazon page as well.

I invite you to check out the poetry prompts I've been writing to accompany Section I of the book (poems for iconic women). Try them out yourself or if you teach, try them with your writing students. I'd love feedback about how the exercises go and/or I'd love to come visit your writing class. Here they are:

Ophelia, Circling Possible Futures and Alternate Endings

Additional Links of Interest:

Stop by Alessandra Bava's Blog, Poetry Rules; Bava caught my eye with some crossover poetry interests and with the title poem for her collection, They Talk About Death (for Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton). Her chapbook They Talk About Death is just out from Blood Pudding Press (and won the 2014 Blood Pudding Press Poetry Chapbook Contest); I've devoured the poems and adored the special care with which Blood Pudding Press packaged/presented her book. The cover art, Yellow Carousel Horse, by Erin Wells, is stunning.

Photo Credits: 

I took the top one; the typewriter lives at San Diego Writers, Ink, at The Inkspot. The image for "Before the orange," of course, is by Robyn Beattie.