My book and I will be out and about the next few weeks. Check out “Upcoming Events” for more details on when and where.
My sabbatical year is now, and has been for a few weeks, officially at an end. I’m back in the classroom, and the committee meetings, and the long commute. Back to that kind of free-floating anxiety that comes with this job: the cloud of so many things that must be done, things half-remembered, or overdue, things that could be done, ideas and responsibilities and conversations and worries, the gray cloud that slouches behind you all day, every day, shows up in your dreams, eats lunch with you, sits beside you, gets between you and the book you are trying to read, the papers you are trying to comment on..
I’d forgotten about this.
A year away and there was no cloud, nothing between me and the work of writing. While on sabbatical, I felt at my desk as I always do working in the barn. When mucking stalls, grooming horses, cleaning tack, moving hay, riding — all the work and pleasure of horses — the cloud just isn’t there. There is something about working with your body that clears the mind. Your hands are busy, and your imagination is loosed.
.So now, to recreate “barn mind,” I make time every morning to work at my analog desk.* The desk was my mother’s, and her mother’s before her. Solid mahogany, a drop leaf writing surface, the desk probably about a hundred years old, maybe more. It’s a desk made for writing by hand. I sit at this desk in the morning, write longhand as long as I can. And the cloud goes away. Even if it’s only for a few hours, this makes all the difference.
*a nice idea I stole from Steal Like an Artist. Go read this book. It’s terrific.
So, there was this: Augsburg Summer Residency.
And it was lovely, all of it. The students, the faculty, the readings, the workshops, and the most beautiful delicious book cake ever to celebrate the launch of Still Life with Horses.
…you can officially pre-order Still Life with Horses. Here’s the link: right here.
My book and I thank you. We really do.
There is now a publication date: November 1, 2017. That’s when Still Life with Horses will be launched into the world. You can’t quite pre-order it yet, but you can click on a little link that says someday you can. And that link is right here: LITTLE LINK
So, you don’t really have to save the date. Just the link.
Eight years ago, although it seems just like yesterday, I was in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Two weeks of unbroken time to write. It was wonderful. Ha! It was brutal and miserable, to be honest. I was trying to write about the death of my beautiful horse, Buddy, working day after day in my studio, putting words on the page about all of that was difficult, to say the least. I was also teaching an online class, cramming in several hours early each morning for about 30 students, they too writing things and having their own hard times. And, if that all that weren’t enough, I had the worst cold I’d had in years.
But. There were delightful and brilliant people at VCCA, two horses outside my studio window, and amazing food day after day. One of the nicest, wisest, writers at VCCA was Randon Billings Noble. She and I had many conversations about writing, writers we admired (and did not), the writing life, the various things we were writing about. I really liked Randon, and we have stayed in touch over the years as writers do, seeing each other off and on at AWP, which really should be called AWR, Annual Writers Reunion.
Randon has just written a wonderful blurb for my book, and here it is:
My dear poet friend Amy Pickworth wrote a lovely, lovely blurb for my book. Here it is, as it will appear in print. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Amy.
There is a lot of heart in Still Life with Horses, but this isn’t a soft book. It’s a love story in the fullest sense, glittering with ragged truth and hard-won wisdom. Beautiful.
Amy Pickworth is the author of Bigfoot for Women, a gorgeous book of poetry. You should go read it. Really soon. You can read about it right now on Amy’s website
The latest blurb of my book is from Barb Shoup, Executive Director of the Indiana Writers Center, and author of Looking for Jack Kerouac and An American Tune.
Yesterday, we took our paint horse Cody to the vet clinic for his routine therapeutic shoeing appointment which periodically involves x-rays to see how he’s progressing. Cody has “ringbone” which is a horse person’s term for osteoarthritis. In Cody’s case, as the x-rays revealed yesterday, he has both high and low ringbone, which means the arthritis affects the coffin joint and the pastern. Which means, for Cody, things hurt. His new shoeing prescription should help, as will the injections of steroids he will soon receive.
Yesterday, the clinic was slammed Continue reading