Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate, is a poet, writer, and founder of Transformative Language Arts, who writes poetry, fiction, memoirs, and songs. She offers workshops and writing coaching, and roams the prairies as a visiting scholar. She's pictured here with her administrative assistant, Shay.

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You can help create more transformative writing, workshops, and a new podcast series on the power of words. Please consider supporting my Patreon campaign for as little as $3/month. In return, you receive cool perks (books, poems written just for you, and more), early access to my new work, and weekly inspirations to spark your creativity.  More here.

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Connect with Caryn

Read Caryn's Words in Everyday Magic, her blog, essays and interviews, and books of poetry, fiction, memoir, and anthologies.

Coach with Caryn: Caryn offers coaching on writing, the writing life, and right livelihood, and finishing your book.

Create Your Right Livelihood: Check out the Transformative Language Arts training in doing the work, art, and service you love, Sept. - Dec., 2019.

Write With Caryn: Attend a workshop, online class, or "A Leap Forward Workshop."

Come to an Event: Come to a talk or reading around and beyond the Midwest.

Bring Caryn to Your Community: Have Caryn present a workshop, talk, reading, or collaborative event in your community.

Find Your Brave Voice: Join Kelley Hunt and Caryn for Brave Voice: Writing & Singing for Your Life retreats.

Catch Caryn's Newsletter: Read the monthly The Writing Life, and for weekly creative inspiration, become a patron at Patreon.

When the World Opens Its Heart to My Ears, Cicadas and All: Everyday Magic, Day 979

It has been a time out of time, or perhaps more accurately, a time landed right in time. Unable to use my eyes as much, I realize how most of my waking hours are encompassed in seeing. Like Dracula, I also have to forgo direct sunlight and generally aim my days toward deep shade. Add to this the pain (thankfully very much receding!) of this eye cancer odyssey, and I burrow deeper into the dark, so far from my regular natural habitat. But there’s nothing like pain and healing to guide an anxious mind out of its usual hamster cycles and into the real.

For a writer who loves reading, movies, watching James Corden Cross-walk theater videos, and visually scanning the world for so much of my orientation, this has also been a deal. But for all ills, there are remedies, and the best one I discovered is to go outside about 8:30 p.m. each night to the chartreuse padded chair Daniel once got at a thrift store for his first college dorm room, and sit still on the night porch as dusk travels to dark. It’s taken a while for me to stop resisting what this body has been telling me lately in no uncertain terms: shut up, and close your eyes already. But when I do, the rewards are immense.

In July, twilight comes calling with a cast of thousands. Sitting out there last night with Ken, my eyes closed for an hour, we counted at least six different kinds of cicadas, starting with the low soft click of the green winged cicada, then the back and forth mild buzzsaw of Tibicen bifidus. Eventually, we got to the steady sweet roar of the plains cicada, a sound I describe as he wheels of a wagon moving across the prairie although the wheels, spokes, and wagon are made of cicadas, and of course, the wagon is hauling cicadas. (If you want to hear these and others, check out this site).

Tree frogs leapt into the fray for short or long stretches, and of course, the crickets showed up as they always do when it comes to getting any party started. These thousands of insects and amphibians not only coordinated their wild rushes into circle hums or steady chirps of green joy with their fellow specie comrades, but they also blended their sounds — something beyond and encompassing the essence of music — altogether. The plains cicada stretched their journey song into multiple cycles, then stopped on a dime. The tree frogs jumped in the gap, then paused. Suddenly, everyone from all directions started again.

We listened, my dreams merging me with the sounds as I dosed in the chair. I wanted to lie down to sleep in the house, but Ken urged me to wait for the telltale call of night, heralded by the Katydid. “When will the Katydid start?” I asked, and just then, the Katydid whisper circled over us. “Listen carefully,” he said. “There are two Katydids,” which we quickly named Katy Did It and Katy Didn’t. (Hear Katydids here).

Back inside, I sat in the beautiful healing darkness, serenaded by the hum of the air-conditioner, the snore of the dog, the padded rush down the halls of the running of the cats. From outside, I can hear the barred owl calling. There’s also the drumming of my hands on the keyboard, writing this before I forget, mostly with my eyes closed while the world opens its heart to my ears.

Please support me creating a lot more writing, transformative writing workshops, and a new podcast series on the power of our stories! You can support me on Patreon, get cool perks and weekly inspirations for your creative life for as little as $3/month. More here.

Nine Reasons to Give a Little (or a Lot): Everyday Magic, Day 978

One of the beautiful cards with Stephen Locke's photography for patrons As many of you know, I'm leaping from my day job of college-level teaching to creating more transformative writing, community-building writing workshops, and a podcast series on the power of words. I'm also asking for your help in supporting this leap. Here are nine reasons to consider being a patron through Patreon, a great online platform that helps writers, artists, innovators, and others do cool stuff in the world. You can see more here. 1. Perks: You get a signed book of your choice, gorgeous greeting [...] Read More

Oh, For the Relief of Pain!: Everyday Magic, Day 977

When the anesthesiologist and nurse started me on Fentanyl last Wednesday, I told them I loved them both, and I meant it. By the end of the five days of hosting the gold heart of radioactive seeds in my right, the pain around in my eye and temple was so intense I was up most of the night before surgery. But once I got to the surgery prep room, told the good people around me of my nausea and pain, all manner of relief ensued: the nurse gave me a small cotton ball with peppermint oil for my nausea, then [...] Read More

“God’s Got You, Baby”: Everyday Magic, Day 976

The lovely view from the porch where I'm spending most of my waking time. That's what Cynthia said as she led me back to the surgery prep room when I told her I was scared. "And don't you worry because God made women stronger so we can get through anything." Cynthia works for St. Luke's hospital in Kansas City, and although I don't know her official capacity, she wears a bright blue and white button that says "success coach." Her words were cool water to me in the desert, pretty literally because I was parched from [...] Read More

Preparing to Be Unprepared and Other Quirks of Cancer: Everyday Magic, Day 975

Over udon soup and sushi at my favorite Japanese restaurant, Nomi said health challenges taught her this: "Prepare to be unprepared." This pithy phrase speaks to just about everything I know about cancer treatment, which often feels like a too-fast or too-slow medical excursion in an unknown desert with a big bottle of water and no map. As I get ready for surgery at high noon on Friday to implant a teeny-tiny gold bowl bearing radiation under my right eye, I realize how little I know what I'm preparing for.  I understand that the implant will be removed June 19th, [...] Read More

Upcoming Events

August 15, 2019 -
Hays Public Library, 1205 Main St.
Hays, Kansas
August 16, 2019 - 12:30pm
Kiowa Senior Center, 431 S. Main
Greensburg, KS
August 28, 2019 - 6:30pm
The Story Center, 8900 NE Flintlock Road
Kansas City, MO
September 21, 2019 - 10:00am
Private home near Lawrence, KS (directions will be sent to you)
Lawrence, KS
September 25, 2019 -
December 14, 2019
Scottsdale, Arizona and online and by video
Wherever you are!
October 23, 2019 -
December 3, 2019
Online class you can do from wherever you are!
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