Finishing Begin Again: Everyday Magic, Day 432

Yesterday, the books came, marking the end of months of editing, proofreading, checking the proof, talking with designers and photographer, and hundreds of emails to and fro with the press, and the 93 contributors. When I thought of doing the 150 Kansas Poems site, the idea of a book was just a glimmer (as in, “This might be a cool book”), but as the site unfolded, the poems shone brighter, and Woodley Press indicated some interest in publishing an anthology, a book became inevitable.

The space between a book’s inception and the box of books arriving isn’t often pretty, and it’s always far more complicated and challenging than any writer or editor imagines. I learned even more how much I hate rejecting people’s poems, particularly when some of the rejectees take it personally. I struggled with how to organize 150 poems, finally settling on a seasonal approach, and then finding ways to fit the poems together like a puzzle that would reveal a narrative of moving through weather, places, changes and realizations. There were many details to check over and over. “Begin Again” isn’t just a title of a wonderful poem in the anthology by Nancy Hubble: it’s a way of life for anyone generic cialis in australia putting out a book.

At the same time, I worked with great people — Kevin Rabas and Dennis Etzel at Woodley Press, designing poets superb Matt Porubsky and Leah Sewell (who also fed me at the fabled Porubsky’s in Topeka), and photographer of the skies Stephen Locke. Holding this book in my hands, looking at how artfully the photograph wraps the cover, and how full the book is of poems of so many stripes and spots, I’m very happy……and happy it’s done.

Now that Begin Again is finished, we begin anew to do readings — over a dozen happening soon or in the works, and some in a city near you. I’m especially looking forward to a Southwest Kansas tour (Garden City! Ulysses! Dodge City!) where we’ll bring a little poetry roadshow to a corner of the state where there aren’t many readings (I’m told our reading in Ulysses will be a first).

The book is beautiful, the poems are gorgeous, and where the book leads us now will bring many writers in this state and beyond together in ways we’re just glimpsing at the moment, kind of like the notion of this book itself less than a year ago.


Begin Again: Everyday Magic, Day 398

Read Nancy Hubble’s amazing poem, “Begin Again,” which is also the title poem of the forthcoming anthology, Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, being release in November by Woodley Press.

I started this post on the back deck in high winds on a day approaching 102 degrees, but the hot wind drove me inside, where I begin again. Last night, our Wabi Sabi group shared stories of what it means to begin again. Trying to drive home in a straight line, I encountered a stretch of Iowa Street closed because of a fatal motorcycle accident, so I had to begin again toward home another route, but that was nothing compared to those who love the young man who died, who face the ultimate challenge of what it means to begin again.

Begin again living. Begin again rising in the morning. Begin again feeding yourself something and getting yourself out the door. Begin again returning. Begin again learning something you thought you knew or had long forgotten.

Life is a series of do-overs, each moment completely new, and each moment asking us to in some ways to begin again: when plans fall through, when they don’t, when unexpected guests arrived, when the hurricane keeps them away, when the driveway freezes over, when the fields bake in the months of hot sun.

Everywhere I look, I see how much we live in begin again. After losses and before new ventures. In hard times and when the living is easily. When the chips are piled high and when the chips are down. I think of my friends and family who, between them all, are beginning again in these varieties: piano lessons, Italian lessons, lessons in how to live after a divorce, a new job, an old job that needs new dedication, a body that needs new repairs to old parts, a new year of college, a close-to-final year in the workplace, a new way to make a living after an old career ends, recovery from surgery or cancer or long days of illness, discovery of love or livelihood or luminosity.

As I finish this, I hear my hairdresser of 28 years talking with my daughter as Natalie gets her long hair trimmed. Natalie is about to begin again college while Debbie is about to begin again her superb hair art in a new salon. Both shine with the thrill of new beginnings. No same old same old except when we’re limited by our bright new imaginations which, let free, can show us how to see with new eyes the shining beginning as well as the courage, creativity and faith to begin again.