Since my October 2017 MilspoFAN interview, I (miraculously) didn’t PCS. Previously, we had never made it to the three-year mark, but we found out in March that we’ll be stationed in North Carolina for at least another two years. No switching doctors, school, vet, etc. No finding another surf instructor for my daughter, someone who teaches scent detection for my dog, my way around another city, etc. No packed boxes, lost items, damaged furniture, etc. Yes, we’re still thousands of miles away from grandparents, but I’m seriously loving knowing we’ll be stationary a bit longer.
In April, I published my second collection of poetry: Permanent Change of Station (Middle West Press). The poems revolve around the move that brought us from California to North Carolina. My daughter was two, and all of the changes of environment, coupled with all of the changes associated with coming into her toddlerhood, was quite traumatic for her. The move was traumatic for me as a parent, as well. While I adjusted to the changes, my husband immediately entered into his cycles of leaving for long stretches of training, and I struggled to find ways to help her cope with all the upheaval. Bedtime was the time of day that still felt familiar. I would read a bedtime story and go through the tuck-in routine. After my daughter fell asleep, I would read a bit from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War as a way to focus and ground myself, then I would write. Many of the poems from this time borrowed language and phrases from the bedtime stories and from The Art of War. Our dog – constant companion, protector, fellow traveler – found his way into many of the poems. The manuscript was completed in late 2016, and happily found its publication day during The Month of the Military Child of 2018.
I’ve continued to write daily. My poetry resolution was to make sure my writing kicked off to a strong start. In January I participated in Tupelo Presses 30/30 Project (in which I and other poets wrote and posted a poem a day) and took Erin Coughlin Hollowell’s Haiku Path. I’ve been able to sustain that initial momentum and open mind so far. I completed a third manuscript while Permanent Change of Station searched for a home. While Permanent Change of Station was going through the turning-into-a-book process, I began a fourth manuscript, which was completed just months ago. And, while editing that fourth manuscript, I began a fifth. During the summer, India-based poet Jayant Kashyap invited me to collaboratively write. With 13,000 miles between us, we have done all of our communication via email. Several of our poems have been published, and we hope to create a chapbook together. Much of my poetry is in simulated communication with other writers/poets/artists, so it has been a wonderful experience to actively share words with Jayant. And recently, Desert, a chapbook of character/persona poems that are set in the southwest (my home for more than three decades before I began all the military moves) was published by Prolific Press in mid-September.
Besides all the writing, my daughter has continued with her accordion lessons and added surfing lessons this summer. She’s always been drawn to the ocean, so it wasn’t much of a surprise when she announced she wanted to be a surfer. Oh my goodness, she works hard at her surfing and just keeps getting up again and again. This was also the big Kindergarten year, which has been pretty exciting. My dog and I have also continued as a scent detection team and a therapy dog team. Unfortunately, Hurricane Florence interrupted our last couple weeks of summer. Our county received mandatory evacuation orders and so we fled to my brother’s near D.C. We are safe, and our home is intact, and all the little joys are celebrated.
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