Thursday, January 27, 2005

Swopper: the ultimate chair for bad backs

I'm having fun with my new Swopper chair. It's been allowing me to sit for longer periods of time--reading, writing, working on the chax website, etc. When I don't have back pain, I think I can concentrate better too. And, since it forces me to have good posture while I'm sitting on it, I notice myself walking with better posture, too.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Bunny Update #5: Cecotropes

Captain Janeway has been having some trouble with her cecotropes. She seems to not be eating all of hers. I'm worried. I'm going to take her and Chakotay to the vet soon.

Construction of the Ultimate Bunny Box is on the way right now: a 2-story, 3-room, 1-tunnel bunny haven. Pictures to come soon.

A few years back, I entered a contest that was being judged by a poet whose work I disliked. I ended up submitting two of my poems that I disliked, because I thought he'd like them. I won.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Today, I am once again inspired by Lisa Jarnot's blog. Although I wrote another vision statement recently, I haven't been reading it to myself every morning. This was my vision statement from January 14th:

I challenge myself to take in more of the world each day, and reflect that in my writing. I take care of my body, which nourishes my mind. I write for at least one hour per day and read at least one poetry book per week. I ride the stationary bike five times per week. My mind is a pomegranite: difficult to manage, but worth it. My body is a good shoe: durable and comfy.

Right now, I'm going to revise my vision statement to reflect my current situation and what seems realistic to me.

I challenge myself to take in more of the world each day, and reflect this in my writing. I take care of my body, which nourishes my mind. I eat balanced meals and exercise at least 3 times per week. Each time I decide to sit down or go out to write, I know it is a good decision. I read at least 2 books per month. I am focused and determined like G.I. Jane. I keep going and going like the Energizer bunny.

Now, I just have to remember to read this to myself every morning.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

First Snow 2005 continued...

Originally uploaded by hlnagami.
This is one of my first steps in snow by our home. :)

First Snow 2005

Snowy Home
Originally uploaded by hlnagami.
This morning, it starting snowing. I've never lived in a place where it snowed before, so I got really excited. I was in my smiley face pajama top and my red and white pajama shorts. I put on a sweater and a jacket over my shirt, put on my black boots, and went outside to take pictures (...yes, in my shorts).

Monday, January 17, 2005

Bunny Update #4: Show Me the Veggies

Captain Janeway and Chakotay seem very happy to be back home since their vacation to Creature Comforts Inn. Chakotay, especially, seems much friendlier and more relaxed. He often sits near the open closet door, but facing away from it, his feet kicked out behind him. He seems to be using his bunny box more vigorously, tearing away at the phone book inside and having a fun time digging into it.

I'm still having trouble finding a good place to buy their veggies. I get their Romaine lettuce from BJ's, and I sometimes go to the Farmer's Market on the NC State campus to get them cilantro and mustard greens. I can't seem to find their favorites [carrot greens and dandelion greens] anywhere. I also can't find a place to buy parsely at a reasonable price. I think the three of us took the availability of veggies in California for granted.

How to build a bunny box: Get a cardboard box (at least 15"x12"x10") and fill it with fun stuff: an old phone book, junk mail, empty paper towel rolls, etc. Close it up and make two holes in it so your bunny can choose from a few exit and entrance points. Put it in your bunny play pen or living area. Your bunny will be entertained for days.

Friday, January 14, 2005

My Secret Blog

It all started as a secret. I made a blog and told no one about it. Yes, I wrote a comment on Lisa Jarnot's blog (because it inspired me to start this up again), which had my website address, but I told no friends or family. If you were to google me, yes, you'd find it. But otherwise, I was writing to myself. By now, people have found my blog, linked to it, commented on it, etc.

Looking back on
my first post, I realize I'd forgotten why I started this blog in the first place:

1. to record what I've been reading and writing in a (pseudo) public space, so that I feel more of an immediacy to my work and my studies, thereby keeping me motivated, or at the very least simulating the feeling of motivation until I find the real deal
2. to bring a sense of routine to my poet-life, in hopes that this will generate more reading and writing
3. to share wonderful poets and books with anyone who happens to click here
3.5 I also enjoy talking to myself

It seems that I've found my motivation again, I have a routine, and I am generating more writing.
Yay. And I'm still talking to myself. Yay? Therefore, I've decided to revise
my vision statement:

I challenge myself to take in more of the world each day, and reflect that in my writing. I take care of my body, which nourishes my mind. I write for at least one hour per day and read at least one poetry book per week. I ride the stationary bike five times per week. My mind is a pomegranite: difficult to manage, but worth it. My body is a good shoe: durable and comfy.

My Writing Group: 10-Minute Tanka

I never planned on putting any poems up, but we had an especially fun writing group last night, so I thought I'd post these. The exercise was to write a tanka, as described on*, from where we get a lot of our exercises. We had ten minutes. (Amber and Sharon wanted me to emphasize that--only 10 minutes.)

Amber West:

On the sidewalk, a
bird lies dead, blood trails
from beak, pricked finger.
How much more poured from her mouth
when they rolled her body over?

Sharon Reynolds:

socks in the wind, trousers
pinned up by the cuffs
it's your damn turn to take the
trash out: I did the laundry


The tiny bird chirps
from the bush near our driveway--
welcome home welcome
I hope we don't alarm her
We slam our doors, slam our doors

FYI, a more complete definition of the tanka.

Amber and Sharon were both a bit lax on the syllable count, but hey: 10 minutes. :) Since the two of them live in San Francisco, we do the writing group via conference call. I'm still amazed at how well it works, but I guess we've known each other for almost a decade now.

*something is wrong with that page on, but just keep scrolling down and you'll find it

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Writer's Block Ends Here

I've been having a difficult time focusing these days. I was looking through all of the drafts of poems I wrote over 2004, and I found 7 that I felt were completed poems. At this rate, my next book will be completed in... maybe another 8 years, which is how long this first book took. Yes, 8 years of writing. I'm happy with my book (which is coming out from Chax Press in Spring 2005), but now everything has changed.

This is how I've explained my 2 1/2 year writer's block:

First year: recovering from MFA program

Second year: working a 9-5 (or 9-6) job in retail, where I felt I was giving nothing positive to this world, yet I had to pay my therapy bills in order to literally stay sane; at the same time, I could not write about my conflicting feelings about retail work because it would lead to me quickly quitting my job. Closing off a part of my life to writing was a cruel act on my part, though I felt it was necessary at the time. I didn't realize how much it would close me off from the rest of my life.

Last half-year: Well, my writing began to pick up here. Still, I felt like (and feel like) I was/am trying to adjust to the freedom to take in the world around me in the more complete ways I'd known during most of my life. There is something so beautiful about walking down a road lined with yellow-leaved trees, and the line comes into your head: "That time of year thou mayst in me behold/ when yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang/ upon those boughs that shake against the cold/ bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang." I always loved the meter in that last line--where Shakespeare deviates from and then so easily slides back into his iambs. I have mixed feelings about that movie "Shakespeare in Love," but I loved that part where he's walking through the town's streets and you hear lines from different plays come from the mouths of the locals. It was like the poetry and plays were living around him and he just had to isolate them and arrange them for viewing. I used to feel like that, and I'm trying to regain that gift.

Before, I was writing individual poems, not knowing if they'd ever be published. Now that I know my poems could lead to a second book, I don't know what I'm doing. I guess this is good. Change and unrest seem to lead to good things.

In the previous version of "life indefinite," I had this ongoing "Confessions of a Poet" string. I think I'll try that again, because it's fun.

I sometimes go to open mics so that I can hear "bad" poetry. Then, I start to believe again that I am a good poet, and that I have something unique to contribute. And I go home and write good... or bad... poetry.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Rabbit Update #3: The Big Bunny Closet

Captain Janeway and Chakotay came home from Creature Comforts Inn yesterday, after a 12-day vacation. They now reside in the "bunny closet," as opposed to the "bunny room." We have a large walk-in closet downstairs that we cleaned out and bunny-proofed for when my mom came and stayed in the guest room (formerly known as the bunny room). With the new Murphy Bed in that room and the matching night stand that Bryan made, we were a bit hesitant to give it back to the bunnies after mom left. When we also noticed that the bunnies seemed much more at ease in the closet, we decided to keep them there. As in the bunny room, the bunny closet is fully outfitted with its own air filter, marine carpeting, baseboards to protect the molding, and any power cords tucked away from the bunnies' reach.

Captain Janeway seems fine anywhere; Chakotay is the one who really seemed changed in the closet. I got Janeway in Tucson a few years ago, so she's traveled with me a lot. We drove a U-HAUL from Tucson to San Francisco, towing my car. After a year in the city, we moved to Oakland for a short while, which is when we adopted Chakotay, and then to Burlingame on the Peninsula. Every time, Janeway seemed to settle in easily. Chakotay never seemed relaxed, but now that he's in the big bunny closet, he often lays himself out on the floor with his feet kicked out behind him. When I go to the closet to look in on them, Chakotay bounds over to say, "hi," and to get a good petting.

They have a digging box, other toys I made or bought for them, and an open cage where they can lounge inside or on top. I still want to make another platform for them, where they can jump and have a little more exercise space.

New observation: Captain Janeway will come to Bryan to be petted, even if he doesn't have food; she will shake her head in frustration with me, if I try to pet her without food in my hand, and then she hops just far enough away so my hand can't reach her. Chakotay comes up to me to be petted, even when I don't have food; he won't come up to Bryan at all.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Writing for the New Year

I'm currently working on a pantoum that won't seem to end. For a few weeks, I was just working on 4 or 5 stanzas. Then, in the past few days, it grew to about 8 or 9 stanzas. Now, it's back down to around 5; I can't seem to decide what to focus on... Ugh.

I just bought
Best American Poetry 2004, because it contains a poem from Antennae, which is edited by my friend Jesse Seldess. Bryan and I were just reading Ron Silliman's "Compliance Engineering" and marvelling at it. Lyn Hejinian guest edited this issue.

Writing for the New Year:
For the next month, Bryan and I are starting a strict writing regiment. He wants to get a first draft of his novel written by the end of the first quarter of the year. I would like to begin a new poetry project, which I believe will help me focus. We're planning on writing 5 days a week for an hour each day. Over the next few days, I'll be drawing up some constraints for my project. My plan is to do my normal writing during the day, but during that one hour that Bryan and I sit down, I will have only one set agenda.