Titling the Chapbook

97º ~ sun setting, low humidity keeping us all somewhat sane, a good wind keeping life bearable out there, have resorted to watering the lawn

Today has been quite a roller coaster dealing with the sick cats, and while I promise not to make this a “tending for your sick cat” blog, I think it is important to acknowledge that we don’t write/work in a bubble. 

After a rough morning, I sat down on the couch with Jeannine Hall Gailey’s new book, She Returns to the Floating World.  While I only read two of the five sections, I can already recommend this book without hesitation, as we say when writing student recommendation letters.  As I read through some of Jeannine’s haibun, I paid special attention to her craft, given that I’ve recently written three and the form is new to me.  By chance, the poem exchange I mentioned several posts ago included the three haibun.  I received my friend’s comments on my poems during the height of the cat crisis and the thoughtful responses have been lingering in the back of my mind, even while I was too exhausted to work on the poems.  Today, as I read Jeannine’s book, I was called to get up off the couch and go back to my computer and work on revisions.  It is not often that I feel this calling, a force almost outside of myself propelling me to the desk, perhaps because I keep a more regular schedule, so there’s no reason to be called.  Regardless, I’m in Jeannine’s debt because her poems lit a fire under my butt and I put it back in the chair.

Despite developing a fierce headache (lack of sleep, a bit of dehydration) as I worked, I kept going as long as the energy remained.  Between my friend’s solid comments and my inspiration, I feel like I’ve made good progress on all three poems.  WAHOOOOOOOOOOOO! 

Finally, though, I had to succumb to the headache and the exhaustion and I went back to the couch for a nap.  I don’t sleep well during the day, but I did close my eyes and rest in a quiet room for an hour or so. Toward the end of the hour, my brain began to mull over a title for this chapbook I’m working on.  The poems are newly created fairy, haunting, cautionary tales about a girl from the Midwest.  There is a bit of Grimm reference, but it doesn’t overwhelm the book.  I want to use the word “Tales” in the title, but I’m sorting through.  In the meantime, I read Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s Lucky Fish just before the crisis began, and in “The Soils I have Eaten,” she references a variety of state soils.  Imagine my shock to discover that there are state soils out there.  Me, a dirt girl through and through!  Sure enough, Iowa has one: The Tama Series.  After reading up on it, I bookmarked a couple of websites with information and let the words sink into the mush of my disordered brain.  Today, all of that might have come to fruition.  At the end of my not-napping, but-resting time, I wrote this down:

Black Hawk County Nursery Tales

I have no idea if this will stick, but it feels like a step in the right direction.  So, thanks to Aimee and Jeannine for their beautiful books, which inspired me today.

from creativecommons.org

Posted by Sandy Longhorn


Thanks for these kind words – and happy to have helped even a little 🙂

Sandy Longhorn

You are so welcome, Jeannine. The book is also a bright spot in a difficult time, so I'm doubly grateful.


I hope your next update will include better news about the precious kittehs! Poetry is what gets me through the dark days — such excellent companions you chose. :o)

Sandy Longhorn

Ah, Marie, thanks for the comment. I know you've been through some tough days this past year so that means a lot. Poetry and kittehs are pretty much my go-to stress relievers. Thank goodness I have the one while the others are down.

I also have an ill and aging kitty. It stinks – my thoughts are with you!

Sandy Longhorn

Thanks, Jeannine. 🙂

Sorry about your cats and headache, glad about your inspirations.

Sandy Longhorn

Thanks, Kathleen!

Quintilian B. Nasty

Sorry to hear about the cats.

Great title.

Sandy Longhorn

Thanks, Q.!

And I keep seeing this as "Tilting the Chapbook," which might itself be an interesting chapbook title….

Sandy Longhorn

Yeah, I've decided that "titling" is a funny word. I see "tilting" too, which is funny because one of the haibun that I wrote talks about the new super-windmills in the midwest and alludes to Don Quixote.