What’s Going On — August 2013

2013-06-09 12.01.42August is a transition month, when my children’s summer vacation comes to a close and I try to remember how to be productive in a silent house. The kids have settled into their new school routines now, but I haven’t yet settled into my new routine as a so-called “professional” writer and editor. Back in July while they were occupied by two weeks of summer camp, I began to lay out some ground rules for my new self-employed work life. Now it’s time to put those strategies into action.

I’ve decided on a regular schedule for my blogging and social media activities that will hopefully keep me active in these areas without being so restrictive I’ll instinctively want to blow them off. I’ve also put together a list of writing and editing goals I’d like to accomplish in the next several months. I had so many ideas swirling around in my head, I needed to organize them in print so that I could determine whether or not they were doable and in what time frame.

All that’s left to do is begin. That’s always the hardest part, isn’t it?

The first week my kids were in school, I was occupied being an adoptee activist: I participated in my first Adoptee Rights Demonstration and also spoke on a radio show discussing the Veronica Brown case. I was glad for the opportunity to speak on behalf of other like-minded adoptees and thrilled to meet some of them in person, but being the introvert that I am, these kinds of activities always wear me out. Last week I felt as if I couldn’t get going on anything meaningful. I only wanted to rest.

Now I have two book reviews to complete for the upcoming issue of Flycatcher, and another for Lost Daughters. Plus all the other things on my list of personal business goals. I’m ready to get started.

What’s Going On – July 2013

2013-06-09 12.00.53 editedI’ve been on a summer hiatus of sorts since my graduation and the end of my children’s school year. I’ve done the family vacation thing and the hanging-at-the-pool-with-the-kids thing and not a whole lot of anything else until this month.

Now I’m honored to be editing submissions for The Lost Daughters Anthology, which is due to be published this fall. The essays and poems in this collection speak to the complicated lives we navigate as adopted women. Though many of the pieces have appeared previously on Lost Daughters and other blogs, they somehow read differently when combined in this format with each other and the as-yet-unpublished pieces. The oneness of our journey reaches through our individual tales, connecting us to each other and to every other adopted person. I can’t wait for everyone to read this book! Continue reading “What’s Going On – July 2013”

What’s Going On – April/May 2013

My big news is that I have completed every page, class, defense, and reading required to earn my Master of Arts on May 15. It’s been three years of hard work while trying to maintain balance at home, but it’s been worth every difficult moment. I’m a better writer and, even more importantly, I’ve met some kindred spirits along the way.

I finally made it over to Marietta to read at the Play Pen Open Mic, a tradition for students in my program. I also read at the open mic during the American Adoption Congress National Conference in my hometown of Cleveland earlier this month–and, my birth father was in the audience! I’m so glad I had the chance to read a poem I wrote about our meeting for the first time.

Karen Pickell and Natasha Trethewey
Karen Pickell and Natasha Trethewey

Recently, a poem of mine called “Green” won second place in a free verse contest held by the Georgia Poetry Society and judged by Alabama poet Irene Latham. I had the opportunity to read the poem last week at a joint meeting of the Georgia and Alabama poetry societies. Later that day, U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey read selections from her books and talked about her role in cultivating an appreciation of poetry throughout the country.

May will be a month of transition, now that I’m no longer a graduate student. I have a couple of book reviews coming up at Lost Daughters, and will also be into the nitty gritty of editing our forthcoming anthology. I’m proud to have accepted the position of Associate Editor at Flycatcher, which comes with a new set of responsibilities. And, it’s time to get cracking on putting the work I’ve completed for my degree out into the world.

Excuse me while I break out my shades–the future’s looking bright!

What’s Going On – March, 2013

These first three months of 2013 have just whizzed by for me.

Priority number one has been finishing my Capstone thesis, which I’m thrilled to say has been signed off on by both of my advisors. Only the oral defense remains. I’m set to graduate with a Master of Arts in Professional Writing on May 15. Now I’ll be turning my attention to submitting individual pieces from my thesis for publication, as well as preparing the full manuscript.

This Saturday, I’ll be reading three poems from my thesis for the Johns Creek Poetry Group. The poems express various aspects of adoptee experience. This group is a local chapter of the Georgia Poetry Society, which publishes an annual anthology of members’ poems for which I’ve recently agreed to serve as assistant editor.

The second issue of Flycatcher went live on January 31, and received a nice write up from New Pages. I had the pleasure of reviewing Ada Limón’s poetry collection, Sharks in the Rivers, for this issue. We are also celebrating the inclusion of three pieces from our first issue in the 2012 Best of the Net Anthology.

Over the next couple of months, I’ll be co-editing an anthology of essays by the contributors of Lost Daughters, which will be released by CQT Media and Publishing in conjunction with the APRC Conference in November.

In April, I’ll be attending the American Adoption Congress International Adoption Conference in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. The push is on in Ohio to pass legislation that would grant all adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates, and I’m proud to be supporting this cause.

It’s good to be busy!