Leo Birthdays, Trips, and Inspiration

August is nearly over. You can feel it, finally, in the cooler mornings, mist rising from the forest floor. You can sense it in the honking flocks of geese returning, one can only hope, to their winter locales. And though our trees are holding on to their green foliage, I did experience some leaves turning while I was recently in upstate New York.

I had an excellent birthday this year. A milestone, turning 50. It seems uncanny somehow, perhaps because there has been so much loss among friends. It goes without saying that each year seems more precious, but this new decade arrives with such promise, and purpose, trite though it might sound, I am grateful to be alive. I had the good fortune to spend the week at The Crosby Hotel in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. What a fantastic place! From the farm fresh breakfasts, to the impeccable service, to the plush, large by NYC standard rooms, to the LOCATION (key in any Manhattan visit). I could continue endlessly. We shopped, romped around walking every darn place our legs could carry us, saw a Broadway show (“A Little Night Music” starring Bernadette Peters who was luminous and inspired, and Elaine Strich who was bawdy, gritty), had lunch with cousin Ameet, dinner with best friends, Andrea and Ian. Then, last Friday, we took Amtrak to Albany and spent the weekend in the great company of college buddies and their counterparts, sweet friends, loved ones. We have celebrated our love and devotion for over twenty years by coming together one weekend a year at the Chateau Lamoureaux. It’s our version of “The Big Chill,” without the suicide, or the affairs. While I was at the reunion, my eldest sister, Mikel, celebrated her birthday. Then yesterday (the 18th) was my best pal, Andrea’s birthday which co-incides with my nephew Rob’s birthday. I know a lot of Leo’s (it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention Gregory whose birthday was the 5th, and a nod to James, who would have turned 50 on July 31.)

The writing continues to surge, both in the daily practice, as well as publications. I spent two weeks in July/ August working again with our lovely kids in the Red Oak Young Writers camps. They inspire me, encourage me to believe that as a whole society, we are doing something right (thanks, parents, for this!) Our staff this year was director Kim, Pam, Kris, Laurel, Alison and I and though we missed Katie, I think we rocked! My personal concern was if I would be able to balance the teaching with my writing goals, and it seemed to work effectively.

Here are the pieces I have had published since my last blog:

“The Cheapskate” at In Between Altered States:The Cheapskate by Robert Vaughan « In Between Altered States

“Adversity” at Danse Macabre: Azaad Poetry

“True North” at Litsnack: TRUE NORTH by Robert Vaughan – LITSNACK

“Pretzel Logic” and “True North” at MiCrow:  http://www.fullofcrow.com/images/microw3pdf.pdf

“Rescue” at The Camel Saloon: The Camel Saloon: Rescue

“Corporate Runner” at Girls with Insurance: Corporate Runner | GwI

“Mountain Deep, River High” at Four and Twenty:  http://4and20poetry.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/4and20_v3i8.pdf

I am still waiting for poems to appear in an August issue that were accepted at Heavy Bear Heavybear, and a story, “Liminal” to appear at The Lesser Flamingo  lesserflamingo – Home. And there are four or five other acceptances on the close horizon as I continue to write, revise, submit, and repeat!

We have our last summer roundtables this week at Redbird- Redoak Studio. And as I was recently asked by founder of jmww magazine, Jen Michalski for a picture and bio, I can only assume that I will finally be added to their website as a full-fledged editor! I have been reading pieces for the magazine for roughly three months.

I am teaching a workshop for Redbird- Redoak this fall. It’s called Flash in the Pan, a flash workshop for writers interested in what many are considering the fastest growing genre in writing. It will be October 30th at the Marian Center. For more details, visit the Redbird Redoak website. RedBird-RedOak ~ A Unique Writing Community.

One of the poetry activities we shared with the kids this summer really got me thinking, so I wanted to share an edited version with you. Take a few moments, when you have time, to really ponder the following, and create a short written list for each question:

Where do you feel happiest?

Where do you feel most at home?

Where would you come from if you weren’t born where you were?

Now write a poem, informed from the above data. You can start it with “I Come From” or it could be a list poem, or an abstraction.

Have fun! Throw open those windows and enjoy the rest of summer. Better yet, get outside whenever possible. Laugh at the sky.

15 thoughts on “Leo Birthdays, Trips, and Inspiration

  1. Andrea

    You are so sweet to mention us all! It’s been a wonderful month and SO very happy and grateful to celebrate with you and S. So very proud of all your productivity and creativeness. You are loved and appreciated. I adore you.

  2. Theo

    I am also a Leo, too, Robert (August 23rd). So, yeah for the lions! Congrats on all of your continued success. I wish we were in NYC at the same time, but I was in the Hamptons. Would have been nice to see you and catch up!

  3. Cynthia

    Robert, you look amazing for being 50 years young. Congratulations on all of your writing success. And becoming an editor for jmww, that is well deserved. Your students must just adore you! Your flash fiction and poetry continues to wow me. Just amazing.

  4. Wallace

    I can’t think of a better person to have all of this success than you. Since the days we met through the New York office of the Aids Ride, you have given so much back to others. I can’t tell you how happy I am for you that you have found your writing. And the years of patience is certainly paying off. You must have volumes of work ready for publication. A book next? I see it coming.

  5. Yasmine

    Happy Birthday, fellow Leo! Mine is August also. We rock, ha ha. In our own minds, I guess, right?
    And I hope you know that I do admire your work, it’s getting to be quite the body you are assembling. Wow. I love the “Adversity” poem, seems like there is probably a story behind the creation of that one. As there probably is with much of your work. Thanks for sharing so much of your heart and soul with us, Robert. I appreciate it, and you.

  6. Mom

    Hi Honey,
    Just went back and read the list you had. Wonderful, of course, I love your brain and your poetry. LOL
    Love you so, Mom

  7. Dez

    Happy belated Birthday, Robert. Sounds like you had a great trip to New York. I checked out the Crosby online and it looks like a very upscale hotel. You scored! So nice that you spent an entire week in luxury. As far as your work goes, this entire new list of publications are all great! I especially enjoyed the flash piece at In Between Altered States, and the poem “Adversity” at Danse Macabra. But they’re all great! Congratulations on your continued success. Those kids at camp are lucky to have you and the other teachers.

  8. carolyn

    You are so wonderful, I can’t express or yes, maybe I can, how much I love reading your words. I send you the biggest hug I have for today….

  9. Sarah

    Love the opening of this blog, and I feel like there is so much I want to congratulate you about: the blog, your increasing writing credits (love the latest batch) and the WUWM radio interview. But, perhaps most importantly, as one of the kids moms that you have coached, thanks so much for sharing your gifts and talents with our kids. You are a natural born teacher.

  10. Grace

    You have a way with words that is so unique. I am a big fan! I really enjoyed your interview today on lake effect. I am inspired to read and try more flash fiction so thanks for this.

  11. Cathy Olliffe

    We’re the same age! I always thoght 1960 was the best year to be born in… if you forget how how you are, all you need do is look at the current year.
    I read your piece over at The Not and enjoyed it thoroughly. Sounds like you’re quite the writer – congratulations on all your accomplishments. And happy 50!

  12. bank loan

    Please tell me it worked right? I dont want to sum it again if i do not have to! Either the blog glitched out or i am an idiot. The second option doesn’t surprise me… lol. Thanks for a great blog!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *