“After what might” have been a night on retreat, I am instead sitting on an upholstered chair next to our still-fragrant Christmas tree with my new Christmas-present laptop on my lap.
I had hoped to be on a 24-hour retreat at a nearby spiritual center. The theme was to have been finding some optimism for the new year.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough people sign up to go ahead with the program.
Part of the reason signups were low was probably the weather. Yesterday, the weather was rainy with a high in the 60s F. (16 C). Overnight, the temperature plummeted to well below freezing. There is an inch or two of snow (5 cm), mostly likely with a coating of ice underneath with more snow expected.
I know it is safer for all of us to be at home, but I still wish the retreat had not been cancelled.
I need any hope or optimism I can get for the year ahead.
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week was to base the post on the sixth, seventh, and eighth words of whatever piece of writing was at hand when we sat down to write, hence the quotation marks at the beginning. It’s also part of Just Jot It January. Join us for one or both! Details here:
Once upon a time, I think I got a year-end summary from WordPress that compared how many people visited the site to various buildings or transportation modes, like trains. You could share it to your blog.
I assumed that WordPress sent us an email with a link to our personal information, although I didn’t remember. I have been on the lookout, though.
I finally searched for my 2015 summary and realized that I had the info well before now. I started searching and found out that, unfortunately, WordPress is not sending out year-end summaries for 2016.
As a (less fancy and engaging) substitute, I am taking a (rare) look at my stats page to share a bit.
In 2016, Top of JC’s Mind had 226 posts, which garnered 7,507 views from 3,578 visitors from 62 countries. (Or thereabouts, given that people who read my blog via email don’t show up in my stats.) The United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada were the top three countries.
The top posts were:
crying does not help dry eyes
Poem: Crowning Glory
Feeling the Bern in Binghamton
the legacy of Father James
It’s a fairly eclectic list, albeit a bit heavy on the personal trauma scale, but that was the kind of year that 2016 was.
I want to thank everyone reading this post and everyone who visited Top of JC’s Mind in 2016.
And thank you to Linda for once again motivating me to get off to a good, energetic start in January with Just Jot It January. No promises, but I’ve made every day so far…
Linda is hosting Just Jot It January again this year. Join us! Details here: https://lindaghill.com/2017/01/06/jusjojan-daily-prompt-jan-617/
2015 marked the first year that I published poetry available outside the Binghamton area. I had planned to submit to journals on a regular basis in 2016, but lots of unexpected things happened and I submitted very little.
I did have two poems in Eunioa Review, a new poem “The Last Night” and a reprint “Fifty-four”.
My poem “Crowning Glory” appeared as part of Silver Birch Press’s “My Mane Memories” series.
I did keep up my participation with the Binghamton Poetry Project and published in both the Spring and Fall anthologies.
Binghamton Poetry Project also brought me an unexpected and wonderful opportunity to write and present a poem at the annual Heart of the Arts award ceremony. This blog post contains the poem, as well as links to a video of my reading and the story of how the poem came about.
I was thrilled to return to North Adams and MASS MoCA for a reunion residency of the Boiler House Poets. It was fantastic to be back and to have a chance to work on my collection under development. There is a series of blog posts on the residency beginning on September 30th.
There are two exciting developments that bring the Boiler House Poets out to a wider audience. The first is the publication of Verse Osmosis, an anthology that grew out of an exercise from our first residency in November 2015 in conjunction with Tupelo Press. The second is a new collaborative videopoem that Marilyn McCabe produced which we recorded in and about our beloved Boiler House. It is currently entered in a contest, but when the link becomes publicly available, I will return to this post to do an update.
Given my track record with making plans, I know better than to make any firm commitments for 2017. The three things that I will dare to state here are that I will continue to work on my collection under development, I will attend the Boiler House reunion residency this fall, and I will continue to stay active with my local poetry groups, Binghamton Poetry Project, Bunn Hill Poets, and Sappho’s Circle, to which I owe a debt of gratitude. I have learned so much from you all and admire your work and generosity in helping me become the poet I am today and the poet I am becoming in the future.
Update 2/22/17: The Boiler House Poets’ videopoem is once again available to the public. You can find it here: https://vimeo.com/187387583
Today, my mother-in-law, known here as Grandma, would have turned 85.
Instead of buying flowers or her favorite truffles from a local sweets shop and making plans for her birthday dinner, we are faced with the six-month anniversary of her death and the beginning of a new season without her.
We have already been through the first Easter and Mother’s Day without her.
On August 15th, we didn’t buy flowers in remembrance of her and Grandpa’s wedding anniversary.
In the months ahead, there will be the first Thanksgiving without her and the first Christmas and the first Valentine’s Day.
We won’t be bringing her flowers on March 17th to celebrate Evacuation Day, an inside family joke that originated with Grandpa’s years as an elementary school principal.
A few days later will be the first anniversary of her death.
And then a year of seconds.