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In the Deep Rain of Lilacs
Summer waits with its brief berries
Boozhoo! Aaniin! I’m posting today from a position of gratitude. A friend recently wrote in her wonderful newsletter about how she … well, here is what she said:
What’s on my mind is gratitude. I’ve spent most of this summer swimming in it. Every morning when I wake I feel a big wave of gratitude roll through, and I say to myself, “Oh, wow, I get another morning in this beautiful world.” Sometimes I say “thank you” right out loud.
These are the words of the writer Janisse Ray. I urge you to check out her newsletter, Trackless Wild, and then dig into one of her books. I came to her work through the modern classic Ecology of a Cracker Childhood and I also strongly recommend her most recent, Wild Spectacle, which is out in paperpack a little later this month.
I actually woke up this morning thinking how sweaty I was and, I have to admit, it wasn’t that awesome. As Cheeto says, “It’s hot, dude.” But I’d waddled off the night before to try and sleep thinking of Janisse’s post, and my own points of gratitude. Yesterday was my mom’s birthday, and we gathered at her house for fingerfood and cake and ice cream and it was good. I’m grateful to have my mom around, and I’m grateful for these rare times my small family is able to come together. It really only happens a couple times a year and I am grateful that we have the opportunity to do so at all when so many don’t.
I have a wife and a couple close friends that I am very, very grateful for, though I don’t talk about any of them much and that is purposeful. I choose to make my life somewhat public, or parts of it anyway, through this newsletter … but that doesn’t give me a right to tell the world about their lives. It’s challenging enough for them to have to put up with me as it is.
Finally, lest I go on and on about all this when there are Important Announcements to make, I am grateful to you readers for showing up here week after week. It is a kind of mutual aid, which people around here a while have heard me say time and again. But it is! Few in “the industry” are doing much for us writers, but this direct connection is working pretty damn well for a lot of us and it’s awesome. I was in Fact & Fiction yesterday to sign some more copies of the new Wildsam book. We are just a hair under the 100 copiesI hoped to sell through the offer of signed copies. Consider this my last appeal for you to consider buying one for yourself! I bring it up because your generosity has been profound, and what I like about it is that, together, we have essentially handed an indie bookstore over $1000 that they might not have gotten otherwise and that’s no small thing. So thank you so very much.
Four Tuesdays in September
Friends, this workshop is happening and it is a virtual one. I’ve done this workshop once before online and it seemed to go pretty well. When my good friend Holly at Poetry Forge asked if I’d like to teach a workshop under her umbrella, I was thrilled to say yes. Most importantly my other chance to explore this idea – in Yellowstone Park – was cancelled due to the floods last spring. So here’s a chance for even more folks to get in on the action. All the details are right HERE. The workshop hasn’t been announced to the public until this moment, as it will be capped at 25 people. Holly wanted me to give my readers the first opportunity to sign up before she makes the “official” announcement. I’d sure love to see some of you participate! I know there are a few readers here I first met as part of other things I’ve done with Holly. It should be great.
This thing is happening in just under two weeks. If you’re around, it would be wonderful to see you. Wine and poetry! And I finally get to read with my friend Corrie Williamson, whose work is fantastic. I don’t know the other dude but I’m sure he’s great. As a drinks-wine-from-a-coffee-cup guy, I’m sure I’m the rube in the bunch, which is typical.
The last time I did something like this my friend Sarah gave me an introduction to my part of the reading – after I’d been paired with a wine called Prairie Thunder – that kind of gave me the vapors because it was a little steamy … as were all of her creative intros to the readers that night. That was many summers ago, pre-Covid, during a hot, smoky night in Missoula. We need more of this kind of thing!
We Like It Loud
A friend of the band invited us out to Seeley Lake to play his wedding pre-party a couple weeks ago. We dominated the Swan Valley with volume while we were dominated by mosquitos. The rocking was fun, the bloodsucking less so. Now, next week, we are headed back to the Newberry in Great Falls to open for a touring band called Black Stone Cherry. I know this announcement is probably relevant to nobody, but there could be the odd Great Falls person reading this who might think it would be fun to check out. Because it will be! Bring earplugs if you are sensitive that way.
Back to Janisse Ray, and a poem from her book Red Lanterns….
Miigwech for reading friends, and maybe clicking a link or two, maybe buying a book, maybe subscribing, whatever. Let us all be grateful for more moments in this beautiful world.
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I’m not a math guy but it’s got to be around ten or less, which is pretty fantastic