Catching up with Lisa Stice

Right now, I’d classify my state of creativity as coming out of a dark age.

I began 2019 by staying in line with my daily poem (or at least editing some poems). I like to keep a steady routine because my mind feels more open and the ideas looser. When I know I’ll be writing, something gets put on the page. Sometimes it’s a keeper; sometimes it goes to the poetry graveyard. Always, though, the routine guarantees that more will be put to the page tomorrow. Submittable (a submission tool used to send my poems and manuscripts off to the consideration of journals and presses) had the usual few dozen or more submissions pending. Those submissions included two book-length manuscripts I’d finished a year apart from each other. I have half of a new manuscript, waiting to be finished.

Then, on Mother’s Day, while my husband was away, my landlord dropped the news that he wanted to sell. We had to be out by July 1. The poem writing that had been routine for years stopped. I needed to find another house to rent in an area where rental properties are usual fought over because they’re so few with so many damaged homes still not repaired since Hurricane Florence. As soon as I secured a house that we’d be able to move into in a month-and-a-half, I still couldn’t go back to writing. My husband was still away, and this was not a PCS in which the Marines would pay for our move, so my new daily routine became packing boxes.

When the week of the move came, I still wasn’t writing. I was moving boxes and furniture. I was cleaning the new place and the old place. Thankfully, my husband came back for that week before he left for training again. And my routine became unpacking.

I thought everything would return to normal once again. 

But no. There were serious storms. Some tornados and funnel clouds skirted their way around the neighborhood on several occasions. And, just a little over a year after evacuating for Hurricane Florence, we evacuated for Hurricane Dorian. With Florence, we were away from home for over two weeks, and the schools were so damaged that my daughter couldn’t return to kindergarten for more than a month. Dorian was not the direct hit that Florence was, but there was still a lot of clean-up when we returned, and everything that we moved in case of flooding had to be put back. 

I haven’t written anything since early May. All those submissions from way back when are down to five. Some poems were accepted into journals. One poem even went live on the day we evacuated for Dorian. Two of the five submissions were sent last week. They’re poems that I wrote in the latter part of spring, but never got around to submitting then.

Even though I loved my routine, loved how those poems seemed to fall out of my head so easily, loved that I had so much to weed through, I think a break is important, too. Things are starting to settle, and I’m feeling ready to write again. I think there will be some surprises. 


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Twitter: @LisaSticePoet

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