2020-03-30: Virtual Poetry Reading for Soul Picked Clean by Cat Russell!

Today is the one year anniversary of the Book Launch for my first published book, my poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean.

Since an in-person event is obviously not possible now, I wanted to celebrate online! I read a few of my poems, explain the thoughts behind them, and talk about how to keep in touch online. Enjoy!

If you would like to attend my FaceBook LIVE Book Birthday Party tonight, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/rhmzktp

 

PODCAST LINK: https://authorcatrussell.podbean.com/mf/play/53ujkf/2020_03_30PoetryReading-SPC-CatRussell.mp3


*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons License.

CURRENT EVENTS: New Year’s and the New (and Past) Decade!

reaching-new-year-2020

In honor of the decade’s end, as well as the new year, I’m posting my reflections on the past ten years as well as my resolutions for the next year. I’m obviously thankful for a loving family that I’m proud of, so this post is going to concentrate on professional accomplishments and goals.

2010-2019 REFLECTIONS:

I started submitting short fiction ten years ago, and my first publication credit appeared in Flash Me online magazine July of 2010, followed by my first print credit, the anthology The Best of Friday Flash: Volume One, and later The Best of Friday Flash: Volume Two. Over the years, I improved as a writer by participating weekly in Friday Flash and other online challenges like 52/250 A Year of Flash.

I’ve also blogged consistently and completed several rough draft novels via Nanowrimo. One of the novels, Pinholes, I edited over the course of a year into a serial, then revised into a single document and began subbing to different publishers. About four years ago, I began concentrating on poetry more than short fiction and sold a few poems to online publications. In 2017, I was honored to be invited as a guest author and speaker at the Massillon Library’s Local Author Fair; I was surprised, because I didn’t actually have a book, but they asked me as a blogger. That was my first scheduled public reading.

A couple years ago, I was finally able to attend writing events on a regular basis, so I’ve gone to writing cons and workshops ever since. Every month I go to Latitudes Poetry Night and The Write Stuff Writers’ Group. At Latitudes, I started participating in their open mic, because I planned to self-publish and hoped it would help me get over my stage fright.

A friend convinced me to try submitting to a press before I self-published. As a result, in March 2019, my first book, Soul Picked Clean, was published by Crisis Chronicles Press! At my book launch on March 30th, I gave my first scheduled reading as a published author. I spent the rest of the year promoting my book, scheduling reading events, and working on my next two books as well as my blog. I also began my Patreon page, renewed my podcast, My Writing Niche, and starting volunteering more of my time to help the writing community in general.

I’ve been lucky enough to live in northeast Ohio, a place blessed with two of the best library systems in the country–Cuyahoga County Library and Cleveland Library. And last, but certainly not least, I’ve been fortunate enough to know many lovely and creative people who inspire me both professionally and personally. This decade, and especially this past year, have been incredible. I’ll never forget it.

*

Next, I’ll share my New Year’s Resolutions with you; the point of this is twofold. One reason is to set them down so I’ll see them as something solid to work toward, and the second is to publicly declare them so I’ll pressure myself to complete them. If I make a big deal about them online, I’ll be too embarrassed to not do them (or at least work heavily towards them)!

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Submit my short story collection to a publisher.
  2. Submit another poetry collection to a publisher.
  3. Publish my short story collection.
  4. Publish my poetry collection.
  5. Market and promote my work.
  6. Volunteer more.
  7. Do things that frighten me.

This may seem like a long list–most people have one or two resolutions, but they are mostly variations of the same thing. Namely, I want to continue to get my work out there, put myself out there, and not let fear keep me from opportunities. Maybe admitting to that fear isn’t a good idea, maybe articulating it gives it power, but I don’t think so. I know I’m not the only person who gets scared of new things and new experiences, but if the past year–no, the past decade has taught me anything, it’s that facing my fears has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. I want to continue to grow, both as a person and a writer.

If you’ve read this far, I know this is much different than my usual poetry posts. I don’t know if sharing this helps you at all, but I hope it does. I know it helps me to read about other people’s experiences. If you would like to share your resolutions or have any polite feedback, I’d love to hear it! Thank you for visiting my blog, and I wish you the very best for the next year–and decade!

Happy New Year!

 

 
*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons License

POEM: “Bread and Circuses”

circus-elephant-vintage-poster-1545060317odq336294350488775428.jpg

Bread and Circuses

Today Washingtonian elephants Trumpet

away to the tweet tweet of distraction

for days on end while blue jackasses bray

away abuse, abused and abusing

the general multitude.

 

Meanwhile, the Ringmaster serves as clown supreme

serving double purpose: distracts us all

from our bread-full bellies as he erodes

our way of life, keeps us laughing

so we don’t notice

the price we paid to get here.

 

the price we still pay.

#

Thank you for visiting my blog. If you would like to read more of my work, I’ll be posting fiction, non fiction, product reviews, and other goodies at my new Patreon in addition to this blog’s content. Until next time, have a lovely week!

 

*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Universal License.

 

Announcement: My New Patreon Page!

20190608_170649

Patreon is a subscription site where creators provide content for a monthly subscription fee. It’s a modern low-key version of the patronage system that allowed Shakespeare and Michelangelo to do their work. Basically, it’s an opportunity to support someone whose work you enjoy, without needing to commit an exorbitant amount of money. Now, for the cost of a cup of tea (or less), you can support a creator, as well as enjoy additional members-only content available through her Patreon page.

I will continue my normal posts to this blog, once every other Friday, but now I will provide additional posts and monthly audio or visual content for Patreon subscribers. The details are on my Patreon page, as well as my introductory video. Please, check it out! Even if you don’t subscribe, I’m proud of the work I’ve put into the page and excited about my new projects!

Please, come back next week for another new poem. Thank you for visiting my blog, and have a lovely week!

POEM: “Trump’s Greenland”

iceberg-1507734720utH

Trump’s Greenland

 

Trump’s Greenland

wouldn’t be dwarfed

by a golden Trump tower’s

glittering phallus

not compensating for anything at all.

 

Trump’s Greenland

would be a dream

capitalist utopia

except that everyone

would know he’s the best, they all would love him, all!

 

if only Greenland was Denmark’s to sell,

he could trade Puerto Rico for it.

 

 

#

Since this is more specifically political than I normally post, here is my common sense disclaimer: This is a joke, based on the President’s own tweets and words. One of his tweets that I based this joke on was a joke tweet he made about Greenland. The others were apparently completely serious. I’ve also included links, because I realize it’s hard to believe.

This post is in addition to my scheduled Friday post this week, because I frankly couldn’t resist. I hope you enjoyed the poem and come back tomorrow for my normally scheduled post: same Cat Time, same Cat Channel.

*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Universal License.

**additional source links

https://www.google.com/amp/s/theconversation.com/amp/greenland-isnt-denmarks-to-sell-some-essential-reading-for-trump-on-colonialism-122193

https://www.newsweek.com/trump-once-joked-trading-puerto-rico-greenland-1455689

https://www.ft.com/content/da9e8170-c3fe-11e9-a8e9-296ca66511c9

https://theweek.com/speedreads/860462/trump-reportedly-joked-about-trading-puerto-rico-greenland

POEM: “A Few of my Favorite Things” *AND* an Announcement!

.

A Few of My Favorite Things

 

the smell of oncoming rain

as my hair is carried

by the wind rushing through

the car’s open window

at 45 mph

 

the ceramic and cloth

sculpture of a sandwich

no one will consume with anything

other than their eyes

 

the trade paperback of

Sylvia Plath poems

beckoning from a library’s

mid-level shelf

 

my husband’s smile

touching his eyes

caught off-guard

sipping from a frosted glass

 

the scent of jasmine

and fresh dark earth

as my sneakers squeak

on the way to a store

 

brimming with books,

pens and pencils and

bookmarks with optical illusions and

papers lined with flowing letters

 

the last of the

Mother’s Day chocolate

melting on my tongue

for breakfast

 

Announcement:

Tonight, if you haven’t already viewed my prominently displayed promo video, I will compete in Writing Knights sWord Fight against fantastic poet Adam Spells tonight!

Also, I’ve been making some practical (as well as cosmetic) changes to this site. While my Author Cat Russell site acts as my online resume, this site is my primary blog. I’m expanding my blogroll with additional links to markets where my work can be found, and I’ve added an additional page at the top (beneath the blog title) for Upcoming Appearances. So now my posts will simply be poems, flash stories, or non fiction.

Last month at the INKubator Writers Con, one of the workshops talked about Patreon being a possible source of revenue for content creators, so I’ve been researching how to create a successful Patreon account. I would still keep up my normal output for my blog (every two weeks), instagram, twitter, and FaceBook, but I would need to add incentives for supporters to pay a monthly fee for additional content or perks.

I am looking at incentives for different monthly tiers ($1, $5, $10) such as exclusive video or audio content, additional members only events and posts. I am open to suggestions; what type of monthly incentive/content would want to become a monthly Patreon supporter?

Currently, I’m working on a prose novel (or novelette, depending on length) of Greek mythology from Hera’s point of view, as well as writing poems and short stories. Soon I should have enough poems for another book. I’d also like to publish a collection of my short stories.

In my personal life, aside from poetry events and author fairs, I’ve been reading a lot. I’m currently reading Rikki Santer’s In Pearl Broth: Poems New and Selected, Wonder Woman volume 6: Children of the Gods, Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist, and Watchmen and Philosophy;** that last one I’ve been dipping into every so often, as the material requires more time to digest. I recently finished reading Desiree in Paris: Priestess of Magdalene, Shazam! volume 1, Laura Grace Weldon’s Blackbird (poetry anthology), and Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach.

Thank you for visiting my blog! I hope you enjoyed the post, and remember–polite feedback is always appreciated! Have a lovely week, and please come back. 🙂

#

*promo video created with the help of my son, Christopher Russell, using CyberLink’s PowerDirector.

**This post was written early, so I have since finished a couple of those books and moved on to Wonder Woman volume 7: Amazons Attacked and an ARC of S.T. Hoover’s Hail to the King.

 

POEM: “Ode for a Dog” *AND* Upcoming Events

Ode for a Dog

You became a cosmonaut,

the Moscow stray taken away

from those frozen city streets–

your unlooked-for honor: to make history,

           to reach the heavens.

.

I wondered if they gave you a view,

one last look at the world you left behind,

or was that denied you    along with escape,

buried in darkness   before you ran out of breath

            among those distant lonely stars?

.

A window might have stopped your heart:

Earth’s cobalt blue oceans, pale frosted poles,

rust-colored deserts receding    framed in fire as you hurtled

hurled into that azure vault, afraid and alone.

            You survived that long.

.

Where is your constellation? My heart breaks

for you, dear sweet dog, your three short years

had not prepared you for such betrayal.

A statue honors you as hero, Laika.

             You made history,

.

yet I can’t help these thoughts

creeping unwanted into my dreams:

you would have rather shivered on Earth,

lived on scraps, unnoticed and unknown,

           than burned through the heavens alone.

.

.

*Since this month marks the 50th Anniversary of a man walking on the moon, I wanted to share a poem I wrote in honor of another astronaut. I wrote the poem after reading of Laika’s flight, and yes, she did have a view. The video is available, if you don’t mind crying.

*

Upcoming Events

Saturday, July 27th

Literary Cleveland’s INKubator Writers’ Conference:

This all day conference is FREE and takes place at the Cleveland Main Library. It’s an incredible opportunity to take workshops, support local writers, and take part in Cleveland’s vibrant literary community!

.

Saturday, August 3rd @ 1pm

Author Talk and Poetry Reading at Snowball Bookshop in Barberton. I will be giving a short talk about my journey to becoming a published writer, followed by a poetry reading from my book, Soul Picked Clean.

.

Friday, August 9th @ 7pm – 9pm

Writing Knights sWord Fight: This time I will be competing against motivational speaker and all-time awesome poet Adam Spells!

.

Saturday, August 10th @ 10am – 1pm

Local Author’s Fair at Dorrie’s Booktique in Canton. I will be there with copies of my book, along with several other local authors from the North Canton The Write Stuff writing group.

.

Saturday, August 10th @730pm

Poetry Reading at Visible Voice bookstore! I’m thrilled to be reading alongside the fantastic Sara Minges and Juliet Cook. It’s going to be a great poetry event!

.

Wednesday, August 21st @7pm – 9pm

Latitudes Poetry Night at Compass Coffee in Akron. There is a featured reader, followed by an Open Mic.

.

Thank you for visiting my blog. I’ll post again in two weeks, but, in the meantime, I hope you have a lovely time enjoying books and poetry!

*Image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Universal License.

POEM: “Waters”

beach-painting-1522389912HgX

 

Waters

The oceans call to us

Like sirens on the waves

And we listen

Watching

Waiting to return

To those primordial waters

That birthed us

.

Pulling ourselves up, out

To stand upon solid land

Yellow sand

Damp red clay

Dark rich earth

Clover blossoms caught between our toes

As we search for a way back to those pliant shifting waves

.

But children grow up, leave home

You can never go home again

Only make one where you are

There’s no escaping you

Only you

And where you are

Now

.

.

Upcoming Events (July)

 

Wednesday, July 17th @7pm – 9pm

Latitudes Poetry Night at Compass Coffee in Akron.

.

Friday, July 19th  @4pm – 7pm

I will have a table for book sales and signing at Peace, Love, and lil Donuts in Canal Fulton. Please, stop by!

.

Thursday, July 25th @6pm

The Write Stuff Author Group will meet at the Canton Winking Lizard for our summer celebration!

.

Saturday, July 27th

Literary Cleveland’s INKubator Writers’ Conference:

This all day conference is FREE and takes place at the Cleveland Main Library.

 

.

Thank you for visiting my blog. I’ll post again in two weeks, but, in the meantime, I hope you have a lovely time enjoying books and poetry!

.

*Image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Universal License

 

POEM: “Our Lives are Borrowed from Tomorrow” *AND* Announcements

baby-buddha-4

Our Lives are Borrowed from Tomorrow”

 

Each day of sun,

rain, hair-raising wind,

pink blushes, joy,

fear-chilled veins,

apple blossom

snow-capped hours

is taken from another

day by day by day.

greens consumed

staving off the grave,

buying one more

twenty four

until we’re spent,

our final debt paid.

 

*

My poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean, went into its second printing this week! If you would like your very own copy, you can buy one at one of my upcoming poetry events where I’ll be happy to sign it for you! Otherwise, you can directly from Crisis Chronicles or Amazon for $12.

I’m also reading The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton, Watchmen and Philosophy by various authors, and The Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam.

.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

JUNE

Every Saturday night CanalFulton has an open mic downtown (weather/schedule permitting). Musicians and poets welcome!

Wednesday, June 19th (7pm – 9pm)

Latitudes Poetry Night meets at Compass Coffee in Akron on the third Wednesday of every month. There is usually a featured poet for the first hour, followed by an Open Mic.

Thursday, June 27th (6pm – 9pm)

The Write Stuff Authors’ Group meets monthly at the North Canton Library to workshop WIPs before adjourning to TD’s Grill at about 7:30pm for general literary merry-making.

.

JULY

Saturday, July 6th @7pm Poetry at Manic on Main Art Gallery in Wadsworth. Poets Sonia Potter, Cat Russell, and Cris Shell. Free event. Merch available.

Thursday, July 11th @7pm

Broadsides and Ephemera open mic from 7pm – 830pm at Loganberry Books. I will be a featured reader, and copies of Soul Picked Clean will be available for purchase at the store.

Wednesday, July 17th @7pm – 9pm

Latitudes Poetry Night at Compass Coffee in Akron.

Friday, July 19th  @4pm – 7pm I will have a table for book sales and signing at Peace, Love, and lil Donuts in Canal Fulton. Please, stop by!

Thursday, July 25th @6pm The Write Stuff Author Group meets at North Canton Library. Bring 6-10 copies of a WIP if you’d like feedback, or you can come and just sit in!

Saturday, July 27th

Literary Cleveland’s INKubator Writers’ Conference

This all day conference is FREE and takes place at the Cleveland Main Library.

.

Thank you for visiting my blog, and I hope to see you at one of these events. Have a lovely week!

.

*Image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Universal License

POEMS: Time Haikus *AND* Upcoming Events

watchcloseup

The last couple months have been wonderful, incredibly busy, and absolutely packed with awesome poetry events. My reading schedule is a little lighter this month to fit my family’s summer plans, and I also have plenty of exciting writing things in the works. In the meantime, enjoy these haikus on the theme of “Time.”

 

Dating my journal

ahead each night–a promise

my next day will come.

.

In my mind, I go

back, tell myself not to ask

permission: just do.

.

Firefly lives lit

on the thunderstorm’s sharp edge:

birth, sex, death, rebirth

.

The broken timepiece

parts scatter. Sun dials only

work on sunny days.

.

Discontented, she

breaks the mirror. Its sharp shards

accuse her with stars.

.

The rising sun lets

us see with its beams, dispels

the darkness of night.

 

Upcoming and Current Events:

Sunday, June 9th (3pm – 4:30pm)

Second Sunday Poets is a round robin poetry event that takes place monthly at the South Euclid-Lynhurdst branch of Cuyahoga County Library. If you attend, plan to bring a couple poems to read!

.

Wednesday, June 19th (7pm – 9pm)

Latitudes Poetry Night meets at Compass Coffee in Akron on the third Wednesday of every month. There is usually a featured poet for the first hour, followed by an Open Mic.

.

Thursday, June 27th (6pm – 9pm)

The Write Stuff Authors’ Group meets monthly at the North Canton Library to workshop WIPs before adjourning to TD’s Grill at about 7:30pm for general literary merry-making.

.

Thursday, July 11th (7pm – 8:30pm)

Broadsides and Ephemera Open Mic takes place on the second Thursday of every month at Loganberry Books, and I am so excited to be July’s featured reader! If you are in the Cleveland area, they will also have copies of my poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean, available for purchase so I can sign one for you!

.

There is also another July reading planned, but I am waiting for the details to be finalized before I post them. In the meantime, thank you so much for visiting my blog. I hope you enjoyed the poems and I’ll get to see you at one of these events. Have a lovely week!

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com