Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring in Minnesota

Yes, it's spring in Minnesota. More often than not, that means a foot or so of snow, with more on the way, temperatures in the low single digits overnight, with below-zero windchills, and a bunch of grumpy people who have stoically waited out January and February, and now wish to receive their reward. Next month. The cruelest month.

But the light. The March light! This light doesn't fit piles of snow. This light is for green grass and flowering crabs. It's for baseball and walks at dusk. Have you ever noticed there's no such thing as dusk in the winter? Night wants to hurry in when it's cold.

But spring in Minnesota is for yearning, and we are awfully good at that, we quiet Norwegians and stolid Germans. Nobody knows yearning like we do. Nobody knows waiting like we do. So March will pass and April will hypnotize us, and we'll forget what January was, and stay here for another summer, another fall, at least one more mad winter.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Next Big Thing Carries On

This week, four writers whom I tagged for The Next Big Thing have their interviews up: Becca Barniskis at; Christin Lore Weber at; Carla Hagen at ; and Sharon Chmielarz guest blogging right here on my site. Please give them all a read!

Guest Blogger for The Next Big Thing: Sharon Chmielarz

First of all, many thanks to Kath Jesme for tagging me and also providing me room to post on her blog.  If you haven’t gotten a copy of her Meridian, your poetry collection is missing a vital book.  

Coming soon in June will be my eighth book of poems, and my whereabouts manages to remain as obscure as ever.  But you can find me at

Where did the idea come from for your latest book? 

That would be Love from the Yellowstone Trail (North Star Press).  Its material stems from my childhood (As if childhood were an unusual source for writers...) I spent my first eighteen years within sight of the Missouri River seen from our front porch steps in South Dakota.  Thus rose six poems about the river.  The Yellowstone Trail is an old name for stretches of the current Highway 12 (or 394 if you live in the Twin Cities).  Thus rose the book’s title and a way in and out of the book’s sections, just as the Trail was a way in and out of my hometown.  On the Missouri’s west side lies the Standing Rock Reservation.  You drive across the “Singing Bridge” and when your wheels hit land again you’re on the rez and in Mountain Standard time.  That was always fun for me as a child: gaining or losing an hour within a couple of minutes.  Thus rose nine poems about the Hunkpapa and other Lakota/ Dakota who live on Standing Rock and in my hometown.  The book’s last section is about houses, anyone’s houses.  (Are you still with me?) 

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

I’ve never had a book represented by an agency so the Chmielarzbogian will again do the honors for this one...  

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

...but if Love from the Yellowstone Trail were made into a movie or stage play, I’d certainly insist on a professional agency.  And I’d want actors of the same race as those in the poems.  Naturally, the men would all be handsome because I’d be on the set as often as I could and would engage in a bit of flirting.  They, of course, would play along to a certain point, deferring to my age, friendliness, and the fact that they have a job based on something I wrote.  

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Poems in Love from the Yellowstone Trail have been languishing in a manila folder or magazine back issues for at least seven years. I’m happy and grateful to have them collected in one book.