Inspiring Friends, Small-Town Arts, & Why I Was at the Jail

My friend Jawanna inspires me.

I mean, really inspires me.

She’s a mother and a grandmother. She’s a Sunday school teacher. She dresses up in costumes to teach science lessons to kids. She’s taught me about prayer flags, ancient goddesses, muffin-top pans, and Gingko trees. (A few years ago I blogged about the “Gingko bath” she organized for our writing group.) She’s involved in an International Women’s Group here in my small town, organizes monthly lunches for women in our church, and teaches American Sign Language. Whew.

She journals. She writes poetry. And she makes truly amazing art in all mediums. She even has an “art room” addition on her house, bursting to the seams with beauty and supplies.

It’s because of her that I kept a pregnancy journal to give to the Bean someday. It’s because of her that I’ve taken a raku pottery class. And it’s because of her that I ended up sitting in what used to be our county’s old jail last week among a room full of local characters.

Continue reading

Two More Days of Shameless Self-Promotion…


I hope you’ve considered ordering a copy of Enough for Today, my chapbook of poems coming out from Finishing Line Press in November. I mentioned it a few weeks ago here at Texas Schmexas.

If you order a copy before Sept 7–that means within the next two days–your purchase will help determine the final press run for the chapbook. Though copies will be available for purchase after September 7, the more sold in the next two days, the more printed in November. Hence this final push.

You can order a copy here.

I know many of you already have bought copies–and many of you already have helped spread the word via Facebook and Pinterest–so thanks!

By the way, the opening poem in the chapbook is Broken for You, the tomato/open-heart-surgery/Eucharist poem I wrote last summer for my friend Thomas over at Everyday Liturgy. You can click here to read that poem and pretend you’re getting a sneak peek at the collection.

Thanks again, friends.

– Elizabeth

Writing in Community: Or, How I Ended Up with Enough Poems to Publish a Chapbook

Last night, I went to my monthly writing group meeting. We only had three poems to discuss–one of mine, two of another’s–and only four of us were able to meet due to the public school system starting up last week and causing some chaos in folks’ lives. But we still got together. We drove out to one member’s beautiful house on a lake. We ate pistachios and chocolate covered almonds. We rejoiced in recent writing successes–one has a novel recently published, another will have some of her incredible artwork on display in galleries, and I have a chapbook of poems coming out soon–and praised one member’s amazing poetry, a member who wasn’t even present! And then we got down to business and worked through the poems.

We jokingly call ourselves the “Odd Ducks,” and one of the things I like about the group is that, outside of writing creatively, I’m not sure we’d otherwise be friends. Some of us, yes, but probably not all of us. And yet we’ve been meeting monthly, give or take, for over three years. Three years!

That’s a lot of poems.

Continue reading