Guest Writers · Writing Life

Let’s Start With the Good

Good beautiful sunset evening, friends. I’ve got tears crawling up my throat, so I’m gonna start with some things that are motivating the happy tears…

  1. An Interview With Me from my good friends at Black Moss Press!

It’s #NationalPoetryMonth and so many folks are doing incredible things with poetry – from live-streaming poems on demand to sharing beautiful poetry written by friends and family, the socials are flooded with extra poetry, and the world can always use more of it! Assistant to the Publisher at Black Moss Press Alicia Labbe sent me some questions to answer about poetry in my life. It was really special to write about poetry…haven’t done that in a while! Thanks Alicia, for the thoughtful questions. To read the interview, click on the link below (and be sure to check out the site for more interviews with other poets!)

Vanessa’s Interview about Poetry

2. Shout-outs

My dear friend and *best-selling* memoirist Jane Christmas and I, have shared many-a-thought over the last month not only because her new book ‘Open House – A Life in Thirty-Two Moves’ released to the best-seller list, but because she’s an amazing human who’s been a huge mentor in my life, and it feels good to write about writing during this strange time. Well, she’s pumped about her ‘socials’ – and she’s rampin’ it up on the interwebs with a new Insta account and a robust author website…so robust (isn’t that a fun word?) that she’s written a shout-out blog to little old me! Shout-outs are hugs, that’s the damn truth of it. So thank you for the embrace, my friend!

Read the shout-out here – and then take a looky-loo around Jane’s site and BUY HER BOOKS. (Please.)

3. Upcoming interviews

I’m super grateful for the folks who I ask to participate in email interviews for this blog – everyone keeps saying YES! Upcoming interviews include: Stephanie Steinberg, owner of The Detroit Writing Room, gets down and deep with me about opening up her dream writing space; author Lindsay Wong ( writer of The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug-Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family, and the upcoming My Summer of Love and Misfortune) answers twenty questions about writing process, vulnerability, mental illness and more; and local sci-fi writer Ben Van Dongen talks to me about his new book, Broadcast Wasteland, living through COVID and other cool things. I’m hoping that when I ask Ami McKay about her new(ish) book Daughter of Family G, (I’m reading it right now!) a memoir, she’ll say yes to an interview too! Stay tuned!

4. Emails

I’ve never written so many emails, but it’s turning out to be such a fine way of staying connected with family and friends – honestly, vulnerably, humorously…I spend hours writing emails nearly every day. I mean…consider these golden quotes…

I like mischief.  I chum everything I write with just enough confusion to make it unsolvable.

The feelings of loneliness and loss are somewhat mitigated by technology… but not entirely. It’s possible to stay busy (since I’m working from home) and still feel as though I am staggering through the day, just distracted enough to keep the total collapse into grief at bay….When this is all over, I will commence a nightly crawl around Windsor and Detroit that will likely last for several weeks so that I can go and venerate my sacred spaces all over again.

Today it rains hard and cold and of-course I want to be the hero.

Hi how are you? Can you give me a hug please?

I mean…golly. And there are so many more treasures…

5. The Journal

I started a new journal Saturday, April 4th, 2020. Writing in my journal helps keep my ‘collapse at bay’, as they say…I’ve filled twenty-four pages since then…the opening line of the first entry? Welcome dear colourful friend! I say welcome to the sweet madness that is being alive in the year 2020. 

And just last night…Certain….patterns continue to emerge even though my experience of time is completely different…I’m like a zombie who doesn’t know how to be a zombie.


The good. There is much good. There always is. In the world. In our communities. In our families. I’m still watching John Krasinsky’s (yikes, pretty sure I spelled his name incorrectly the last time I mentioned him) Some Good News, and I’m still having sexy dreams about him…and also dreams about Tom Hanks; yes, Tom Cruise, and a real-life friend and it was totally inappropriate (!!!). My dreamscapes are hot and passionate, and typically following the narrative of an action film. I don’t mind. I wonder though, if that’s why I wake up so exhausted…

I’m reading a lot.

I’m not writing though. At least, not my own things. It’s very, very strange – creativity in covid. Two weeks ago, I was a machine, my brain and fingertips bursting with new projects and ideas…but it’s been days since I’ve written something that’s all me-related. Hence: Certain….patterns continue to emerge even though my experience of time is completely different. Hence: putting my personal writing at the back of the to-do-train…or not even on the track.

The nasty voices in my head rage: what are you doing to ‘give back’? how are you helping? why aren’t you writing? you should write better, more! you’re not good/brave/helpful enough!

Yesterday after dinner I was pacing back and forth in the living room…anxious, aimless, scared, exhausted, lost – a zombie without her zombie-ness. So I took a bath to submerge my skin in something other than fear. It worked enough to change my heart’s thorny temperature.

Today was better. I have no idea how I’ll feel tomorrow. How many emotions will overcome me within a speck of time…when I’ll be a revolving door of I-don’t-know and I-don’t-know-why-I-don’t-know…

It snowed today. I cried twice.

This is ‘life’ right now.

I know it’s not forever – that I know and believe.

But ‘normal’ – and getting back to it? *She shakes her head* No. Impossible.

And what does that mean?

I don’t know….but maybe…start with the good?

I’d like to start the #embraceforaweek hashtag. When this is over…we need to give ourselves time to hold each other, cry, eat, cry more, laugh and share everything that we’ve learned. Reflect together. Create a new way of existing…right?

One thought on “Let’s Start With the Good

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