On the cusp …

Today was first contact. First emails exchanged with the cohort of women I’ll be joining in Alaska in 12 days. And it has me feeling giddy and smiley and full and deliciously excited.

And these women, this group of strangers, has already extended their kindness, made a change in whatever plans they’d made for this residency … for me. From the moment I knew I’d be heading to Alaska, I’ve been looking at day tours, looking for one that would answer my craving for nature and wildlife and (with luck) excellent photos. But then I discovered a) that most of the tour outfits don’t start up until well after the time of my residency and b) the one that runs year-round doesn’t book solo tours and doesn’t have any tours scheduled that I could tag along on. Their minimum number for a tour is four people.

So I wrote my cohort and asked if they’d be willing to give up a chunk of a residency day to help make my dream become a real thing … and they stepped right up and said yes!

I am feeling lucky tonight, feeling seen and held. We don’t know each other … but we know each other, right? We know that each of us is a woman writer who’s been granted this time to embrace ourselves and breathe deeply and expand out to our farthest edges. And to support one another in that embracing, breathing, and expanding. And if part of that for me is getting to go on that wildlife tour, and I need their help to make it happen … well, there they are, saying yes. Saying yes for me.


And this little bubble of bonhomie is extending to ghazals tonight. I won’t pretend I’ve suddenly fallen in love with my poems or this form, but this one works for tonight, and I’m grateful for that, too.

Greater than Fear

We run toward the center, we're diving in deep.
Our minds all open and clear, diving in deep.

We haven't yet met but still, drawn to each other -- 
common desire wraps our sphere, diving in deep.

Each one carrying pieces that need making whole,
coming with all we hold dear, diving in deep.

We have faith in the chance that we'll find what we need.
Faith that rises, greater than fear. Diving in deep.

And I, Stacie, make my lists and check them thrice.
I'm arriving, ready, sincere -- diving in deep.

National Poetry Month 2022: the Ghazal

As I’ve done for more than ten years (what?!), I’ve chosen a poetic form, and I’m going to try to write a poem in that form every day for the month of April … and I’m saying that boldly, knowing that I’ve already failed. I couldn’t find my way through to a poem on Day One, but I’m determined to continue.

The “Ghazal” is the form I’ve chosen for this year. Here is the structure and a little backstory (thank you Poetry Foundation):

“Originally an Arabic verse form dealing with loss and romantic love, medieval Persian poets embraced the ghazal, eventually making it their own. Consisting of syntactically and grammatically complete couplets, the form also has an intricate rhyme scheme. Each couplet ends on the same word or phrase (the radif), and is preceded by the couplet’s rhyming word (the qafia, which appears twice in the first couplet). The last couplet includes a proper name, often of the poet’s. In the Persian tradition, each couplet was of the same meter and length, and the subject matter included both erotic longing and religious belief or mysticism.”

Should be interesting!

13 thoughts on “On the cusp …

  1. You are going to love Alaska, and I’m thrilled you’ll experience that dream and not surprised the women are on board to make it happen! The older I get, the more fortunate I feel to live close to wild places, and I’m hoping next year to visit Denali National Park. I think your poem is quite good, but the ghazal is a difficult form and can sound clunky. Do have a spectacular trip. I’m excited for you and eager to read about your Alaska adventure.


  2. I am so happy for you. It it wonderful that these women are stepping up to help you fulfill a dream of yours just as you would step up to help one of them fulfill a dream of theirs. We should all strive to be more like this, helping others with their goals. True meaning of friendship from those you haven’t even met yet. Wishing you safe travels. Looking forward to hearing about your trip and seeing photos.


    1. I have a hard time asking for things. I’ve been working on that these last few years, and have found that many people — most people — are happy to step up when you reach out to them and give them the opportunity to extend kindness. It’s a shame that it’s taken me so long to start asking, but I’m glad I’ve gotten to this place.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a writing residency. There will be five other women there with me. We’ll each have our own little cabin and hundreds of acres of property to roam around and a chef to prepare our meals … and nothing to do except whatever we want to do. I’m going for two weeks, but some of the other women will be there for the whole month!


  3. I am so excited for you and looking forward to your stories and photos of these adventures, both to see wildlife and to be writing in your residency. It’s so great that you asked, and you got such positive response.


  4. Lainie Levin

    I’m so excited for you, for the camaraderie and joy you are going to DESERVEDLY receive (and already have), for the time and space to develop a part of yourself with a group of like-minded folks.

    Here’s to a deep dive.

    And? I keep reading your post-script, the one about failure. I can’t help but think that you have been QUITE successful this month, if only defined by the standard of wrestling with a poetic form that’s giving you grief (and maybe gray hairs, who knows?). Your persistence amazes me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lainie! I continue to be surprised that I’ve made it through as many poems as I have. And I’ve reached a place where I’m a little nicer to myself about the process. I decided to skip today’s poem and catch up tomorrow. I went to the theater tonight, and knew I’d have no energy for writing a poem when I got home (to say nothing of no time!). And I didn’t stress over it for even a moment. Now, if I don’t write tomorrow, I’ll probably stress … but I’ll worry about that then! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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