Sunday, October 22, 2017

Steering for Joy: The Ship’s Wheel, Marriage, and Writing

An omen hunter and rapture reveler for life, I had to share this metaphor thread with you. This is a photo I took in early October on mini-retreat with a group of my larger-than-life writing loves (we met for four scant days to fill our hearts, and to read from Unmasked: Women Write About Sex and Intimacy after 50). Running away to play with these writers keeps me sane and helps me see my world in a way in which I can thrive. I love that in this photo the mirror sits framed inside of a ship’s wheel, that I’m finally in a place in my life where I feel I can think about putting myself at the center of the steering wheel of my joy again.

Remember this post and image from September September 2, 2011: Why Every Wife Could Use Her Own Hmong Tribe (and a Thundershirt)The mirror in my room, the room of my first AROHO retreat (where I very first met the very women I met this October to write with) spoke to me of the yin-yang stress of feeling forgotten and invisible in my marriage due to a convergence of high-energy factors, including a joyful one: a wedding, and an incredibly stressful one: loss of twenty-three lives overseas, and a confusing one: trying to make sense of the impact of two-city living on my marriage.

Remember this post and image from September 14, 2013: Emerging From the Cocoon: Sisters Real and Imagined? I had the same room, two years later on AROHO summer writing retreat, and this time instead of division, I captured in the mirror an open door. Our family was living under the same roof, no longer split between two cities. And I was on the verge of seeing my first poetry book, November Butterflytake form thanks to Saddle Road Press, learning to trust my writing process and myself again, again in large part due to trusting that in order to heal and grow, I had to be willing to risk letting my family take care of themselves while I took care of my inner calling. My extended writing support network helped me believe over and over again that I needed to take time for my work.

Fast forward to fours years later, and I’m happy to be moving into the full spectrum of color again and waking up in so many ways and writing, always writing, to clear the debris of the past to be more fully awake now. I’m grateful to have a practice of writing, companions of heart, readers who care, and this blog, like a steady, familiar friend, where I’ve been able to quietly write, post, reflect, and converse with the listening hearts Feral Mom, Feral Writer has so steadily brought into my orbit.

Zoetic Press Write Like Your Alive 2017: Free Fall Poetry

Zoetic Press challenged writers during the month of August to see if we could turn in work every day for 31 days, otherwise known as the Write Like You're Alive Challenge. Many of us came close, and thanks to Lise Quintana and the Zoetic Press staff,  you can download a PDF of the WLYA anthology of selected works created during the challenge. 

The download is free; I have a poem titled, “Grand Canyon” and below you’ll find a word cloud, a word or phrase per entry, just to get your curiousity going.  I found particularly moving the works that focused on looking at various forms of mental duress—one in particular is a short story, "Out of true," by academic surgeon David Hoenig, written from the point of view of a narrator trying to keep his schizophrenia in check so he can love the woman he loves. So poignant. Here’s the world cloud from the collection as a whole:

stepford composure             marginalia      opposing moons  
custody           experiment    Mimosa           future            civil rights      

bourbon        cad

fiction gal       lifeline                        papillae                                  

target              pita dough     return-to-sender

rumpled suede of your voice           broom             fissure                        


green shoes   God     hotline            forbidden magic                    

coyote             dragonfly       Grand Canyon           coffee              

wooden teeth                       

Adam and Eve

marimba        scribe  quarantine     bullseye

Friday, October 6, 2017

Love and Spirituality: Trusting Your Inner Compass

Unmasked: Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty

What does a love life look like for women after fifty? Lover or no? Online dating or no? Love of friends eclipsing lover love? You’ll find fifty-three views in a new anthology, "Unmasked: Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty." I’m honored to be included, writing that I first posted here on Feral Mom, “Sex, Hammers and Self-Care in a House with Three Children.” 

Editor Marcia Meier will give a brief introduction, followed by those of us reading from the book: readers Lisa Rizzo, Barbara Rockman, Renate Golden, and yours truly. 

Editor Marcia Meier answers a few questions about Unmasked over on the SDWI blog.

Come out if you can tomorrow night (Saturday, October 7th) to San Diego Writers, Ink over at Liberty Station 5-7 p.m. for the reading and signing and refreshments.

Trusting your Healer’s Compass: Amazon Wisdom Keeper Van Tuyl

As I keep working slow and steady on writing prose about an Illinois commune I lived on as a child, I’m reading memoirs voraciously—for inspiration, for strength, for joy. I met Loraine Van Tuyl on-line last year and fell in love with her forthcoming memoir, “Amazon Wisdom Keeper: A Psychologist’s Memoir of Spiritual Awakening,” which comes out at the end of this month with She Writes Press.

In “Amazon Wisdom Keeper,” Loraine anchors us in the physical landscape of her native Suriname, the fertile green and heat a backdrop for her childhood experiences and family lineage of teachings (a quality of light and heat that prepares Loraine for later trials when her deepest visions are questioned). To escape the turmoil of the changing political power-scape in Suriname, Loraine’s family moves to the United States where adolescence’s lessons arrive through Western belief systems. Intuition’s early lessons came through love, and later, through college psychology classes with their fixed ways of approaching healing as well as spiritual groups with rigid understandings of the ways to access healing power.

The gift of Amazon Wisdom Keeper is the intimate look at the very push and pull of different ways of believing and healing and what it takes to undergo rejection and somehow find the strength to trust one’s internal compass to navigate life, to know when to stay, when to let go, when to change mentors or groups. Van Tuyl reminds us that in our deepest moments of personal and spiritual rejection lie the seeds for self–love. We learn that by confronting our obstacles and trusting the process, we have the potential to awaken beautiful parts of ourselves otherwise left untested and dormant. Thank you so much Loraine, for your beautiful book. For more information, here is a link to a short video about Amazon Wisdom Keeper and a link to Loraine's page on Goodreads.

Keep your eye out for an interview with Loraine later this month--I will post the link here when it is live. 

**October 19 update: Here is the link to the interview: Amazon Wisdom Keeper and Spiritual Awakening.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Sex after Fifty, The Empress, and Tarot for Joy

Cover Photo, Unmasked
With two teenagers in the household and one tween, when am I not aware that I’m aging? Does it mean I’m not allowed to have anymore fun? Of course not! Now is the time to play more than ever. I won’t be bringing my children to this event although they do star in the non-fiction essay I’ll be reading as a contributor to Unmasked, Women Write about Sex and Intimacy After Fifty, an anthology of essays and poetry co-edited by Weeping Willow Books’ publisher Marcia Meier and her colleague, therapist Kathleen Barry. The collection explores the physical and emotional aspects of intimacy and sexuality after age 50 in pieces written by women from the United States and beyond.

Here’s what Gloria Steinem has to say about the collection:

“Sex for women after fifty is invisible for the same reason that contraception, abortion, and sex between two women or two men has been forbidden: sexuality is supposed to be only about procreation. This lie was invented by patriarchy, monotheism, racism and other hierarchies. Sexuality is and always has been also about bonding, communicating and pleasure. Unmasked helps to restore a human right.”
         -- Gloria Steinem

The reading and book signing, hosted by Weeping Willow Books’ publisher and editor Marcia Meier, will be held on October 7 from 5-7 p.m at San Diego Writers, Ink, so pencil us in on your calendar! I will share more details as we get closer. For more information, visit Weeping Willow Books

Poetry: Ron Salisbury, Peter Krumbach and Yours Truly

I’ll also be reading poetry in a couple of weeks for A Turn of the Verse at Meraki Café along with poets Peter Krumbach and Ron Salisbury; you’ll really enjoy their poetry. Ron’s work is rich, humble and often humorous while poignant and I love Peter’s masterful gems too. I will be reading from the commune manuscript as well as new poems I’ve written since then. I’d love to see you if you can make it, Friday September  8th from 7-9 p.m., Meraki Café, 1735 Adams Avenue in University Heights.

Back in June I promised a sound file for “Dropping in the Eight,” which was published in SDWI’s A Year in Ink, Volume 10. Here’s the link: Dropping in the Eight, MP3

Tarot News: Tarot for Two Podcast

I jumped in to this new podcast adventure with writer Mary Allen at Tarot for Two. With our usual sense of humor and our growing library of Tarot reference books at hand, we look at the images and themes and colors and and give you our laid back impression of how the cards relate tangibly to us in present time.

Here’s a podcast in which we ask: How can we find meaning and joy simply by looking at images printed on paper? In other words, is a Tarot deck just a deck of cards?

And we began to look at the Major Arcana one by one:

Tarot for Two: The Hanged One

 Tarot for Two: The Empress

Tarot for Two Cards of the Month: Even though we’ve started podcasting, we haven’t given up on our practice of writing about the cards. How do you define fortune? Which aspects of your life bring you a wealth of joy? Does writing help you see past poverty as a form of currency, as I discovered last month?

Tania on The Wheel of Fortune:

All month long I glance at the Thoth Wheel of Fortune card on my desk. Behind the pale green wheel in the center of the card, one sees lightning bolts, their top jags ending in stars. “The stars exploding into lightning bolts represent the experience of awakening to the possibilities that can turn our lives in more positive and expansive directions,” writes Angeles Arrien in relation to the Wheel of Fortune. The quote accurately reflects what I’m experiencing as I take scenes from my childhood that I first described in poetry and develop them in prose for a new writing project of mine.

Read the rest of Tania on The Wheel of Fortune 

How do you experience personal power and the joy of your will translated into action? How do you hold the world in your hands? Mary writes about the Two of Wands in relation to her writing practice:

I guess I can say that my month was about power brought down to the earth and made personal.  The way I do that is by writing, which as I see it involves connecting to some universal creative power floating in the air sort of like electricity, connecting to it and bringing it to earth and making it personal, through writing. For me this involves seeing and noticing and doing something with what I’ve seen and noticed, capturing it as precisely as I can, with all of its detail and meaning, and mirroring it back to the universe as I write about it. 

Read the rest of Mary on the Two of Wands

Artwork by Tania Pryputniewicz
Fall Writing Classes

Tarot for Joy: Fall Writing Class. Whether you are Tarot curious and new to Tarot or a life-long Tarot enthusiast, this course is designed to help you focus on love, light, and joy by writing about the joy cards in the deck. Love, Creativity, Prosperity, Clarity and Celestial support will be our focus. While we cast an eye back towards how we experienced the aspects of the card before, we also cast an eye forward towards what we’d like to invite into our lives and hearts. If you are interested or have questions and would like to know more about my particular approach to the Tarot, use my contact form to drop me a note and I will schedule you for a free simple three card layout reading over Zoom (or Skype if your prefer). Read the full course description here: Tarot for Joy.

Writing Through Fear: Free Your Butterfly:  Several years ago on book tour for my poetry collection, November Butterfly, I taught small two-hour workshops on the theme of writing core stories. I’m very excited to now offer two full seven-week course for which we use poems in November Butterfly and writing prompts in the accompanying PDF I’ve since created, Thirteen Writing Prompts Based on the Power and Creativity of Iconic Women Designed to Help You Write New Work From Multiple Points of View.

The PDF pairs beautiful stills from November Butterfly’s poetry movies with each featured iconic woman, multiple writing prompts, and links to additional writings and sources. My goal is to help you connect to your own mentors and invite you to draw strength from the ways they faced challenges as you prepare to write your own core story.

Questions we take up in this class include:

Who inspired you when you were growing up? Who do you consider to be the lighthouse women in your personal orbit? What have you learned from them that will shed light on your own story?

During this seven-week session, we read poems and selected writings about Marilyn Monroe, Sylvia Plath, Amelia Earhart, Jay DeFeo, The Three Oranges Fairytale, and Lolita as a springboard to help you engage with writing your own work. For more information, feel free to reply to this newsletter. This online class starts September 5, 2017. Here’s the full course description on my website, Writing Through Fear: Free Your Butterfly.

Second Saturdays: Poetry Draft, Craft, Submit!

My Second Saturday morning San Diego in-person poetry workshop is a great place to keep your poetry writing practice going in a supportive environment. Class runs from 10 am to noon at Liberty Station in the art gallery upstairs. We always have room for a few more writers if you’d like to join us. In September we write to the theme of Livestock and Pets. Just bring paper, pencil, and an open heart and you’ll come away with prompt worksheets and some sample targets for where you might consider submitting poems for publication. In October we write to the theme of Omens. 

Sign up here for 2nd Saturdays: Poetry Draft, Craft, Submit.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sunrays to Dispel San Diego June Gloom: Poetry Publications and Tarot Podcast News

A Year in Ink Anthology Launch Celebration

Thanks to editor Judy Reeves and Team Ink, along with 39 other authors, I have a poem coming out in the San Diego Writers, Ink Anthology. The poem, "Dropping in the eight"  is for my youngest son Nicholas and celebrates the hours I watched him skate and drop into the eight bowl so fearlessly--how do those skaters fly on out over that lip and drop into oblivion?

Here's the backdrop to the poem: Last summer while flipping through a poetry anthology when I was visiting my father, I remember thinking about how my relationship to writing poetry and my relationship to reading poetry are different. Depending on one's mood, when acting as a consumer of poetry, the interaction can range from casual (entertain me) to intense (help me understand something about the world, people, God, self). 

My husband likes to remind me that my poetry tends to be cryptic or too insular to reach someone cruising to connect. Would I convert a casual reader to poetry, I think he's getting at, if they came across one of my poems? I hope this particular poem is one that readers can relate to and enjoy. 

I'm looking forward to reading and sharing the stage with our San Diego writing community; copies of the anthology will be on sale.  Join Editor Judy Reeves and Team Ink for a celebration including food, drink, and readings from the anthology.  $5 suggested donation at the door or an unopened bottle of wine:

A Year in Ink Anthology Launch
Old Town (Cygnet) Theater 
Tuesday June 13: 7-9 pm

Whale Road Review

"Goat Milk Ice Cream" is also up in the latest issue of Whale Road Review: A Journal of Poetry and Short Prose, thanks to editor Katie Manning. Can I just say I love that metaphor--what a beautiful name (Whale Road) for the ocean and the massive gliders of the deep we get to witness spouting now and then. WWR is also currently open for submissions; check out the entire issue, full of lovely work and additional features like Pedagogy Papers and Reviews.

And I’ve also made you a sound recording of the poem if you prefer audio.

Tarot for Two Podcasts Now Live

In other forays in sound, Mary Allen and I are thrilled to have posted our first two podcasts:

Podcast 1: How does the Tarot work? (about 12 minutes long) and

And honestly, we are just getting our podcast "sea legs" so I would love any feedback you can give us about our pacing, podcast length, subjects you think we should take up for you, questions, whatever comes to mind.

Tarot Deck Makers Interview: Tarot of the Sixties

You may also have missed the latest Tarot Deck Makers Interview with historian and photojournalist William Haigwood. His Counterculture Tarot: a photo journey of the sixties is a beautiful sojourn through that particular time and the events and how they relate to the Tarot archetypes. 

Here's an excerpt from the interview: 

As I searched through my 40-year-old photos I began to find subjects that worked amazingly well as Tarot images and that also suggested, with their reference to Tarot qualities, the experiences many of us actually “lived” during that period.  The Tarot cards, all 78 of them, appeared to be silos of experience through which I could interpret many aspects of the Sixties.  Educated as a historian at Berkeley, I began to write essays that reflected on the quality of each card’s traditional meaning and how those meanings related to specific experiences of the Counterculture.

Anniversary Love

Eighteen years of marriage today and I'm so grateful we've made a house of poetry, constant motion, ocean, three children, and the love of our friends and family. I wanted to repost a link to the poem Silver Birch Press recently published. It sums up the interlacing of our love, our loves apart from one another, and our art. Dollars from my first paid poem prize went towards the artwork (a pencil drawing of Kolmer's Gulch where my husband loves to dive). Here's the poem, Kolmer's Gulch, about the reality of loving a diver, raising children, and still having something left over to witness and bring it to the page.

Transition Love

...And I want to sign off with a final dose of love going from my heart to so many of us are getting ready to witness children or loved ones graduate and move on to their next adventures. My transitions..."mansitions"....are just that, the bittersweet joy of watching my two sons and the sons of my friends, sons of my extended heart, grow and change. 

Blessings on this season of letting go... Be kind to you and's to trusting the world to receive and challenge our boys in ways that best help them continue to grow and become the best versions of themselves. 


Exception of 1) top photo of the anthology, the photos are by yours truly. 2) My youngest at Coronado skate park at rim of the eight bowl, 3) stars from the underbelly of Nikki de St. Phalle's Queen Califiia mosaic sculpture in her Magic Circle Garden in Escondido, and the last photo here is from mural art on the old Monte Rio School Gym wall at the skate park.