Colin Falconer, Family, Heidi Durrow, Liebster Award, Melinda Palacio, Michele Serros, Pat Fry, Women's Literary Festival, Writing

Writing to Feel Better

Heidi Durrow-Author

Boy did I have a great weekend. It started with  four ‘nominations’ of the Liebster Blog Award. That’s an interesting award, and I’ll explain that soon.

Next was the Santa Barbara Women’s Literary Festival where I was enthralled with the stories told by amazing writers. I was also lucky enough to take some photos with authors Melinda Palacio, Michele Serros, and Heidi Durrow. All of them were so sweet and I found them to be most engaging. Same as their fascinating stories. Of course, I came home with a bagful of books. And I won the beautiful centerpiece: a large terracotta pot filled with fragrant herbs and viola flowers.

Later I visited with my sister who took an unexpected trip into town, spent two nights dancing to a great band and gazed at the gorgeous supermoon on a warm coastal night. The one below is over our pier in Ventura, CA.

FjB63 Studio

I’m so glad for the amazing weekend because today I feel kind of lousy. Two of my three kids caught a stomach flu with resulting headaches, temps, and a bad case of the ‘ralphs.’ (throwing up). Ugh, I know you probably did not want to hear that last item, TMI for sure. 

I explain this because I didn’t want to do revisions on my WIP today nor blog but proceeded to read the blogs I follow instead. I’m glad I did because I came across Colin Falconer’s post. He tells a lovely story about his mother and the history of memories. After attending to the kids, making chicken soup, and cleaning up, I fell asleep. Then I got up and read more posts. Which led me to Patricia Fry’s blog on writing. 

Her question: What motivates you to write? 

It made me think. Although I still feel rumblies in my tumblie, I’ll feel worse (emotionally) if I don’t write something today. So now that the nap refreshed me and the aspirin kicked in,  I think I’ll jot my thoughts down. 

If I’m rambling, please understand. 

Now back to the Liebster Blog award, which makes me feel even better. 

The word “liebster” allegedly means dearest in German. I don’t know about that, but its a sweet idea. The writers/poets who nominated this blog were:

Michelle Pond, at MAPoet who was so kind as to say I tell amazing stories. She’s just published a book “I Keep You With Me-Looking at Grief with Verse.” 

Sarah over at Sarah Writes has a funny story on Beta readers that I completely agree with and took to heart.

I love Jennifer Chow’s description on her profile: “Like a fortune cookie, I’m twisted into dual selves, my Asian-American nature. This blog serves my words and my culture in a written delicacy.”  Captivating.

And lastly, the tagline on Bonnie’s blog, Just Ventures Coaching, is a twist on one of my favorite quotes from Ghandi: “Be the change you want to see.” Her unique twist is ” It’s Time to be The Change.” Here, here. 

Now, the awardee (me) is supposed to nominate 5 bloggers for every nomination. That would be 20 bloggers. Remember I said I’m not feeling too well? So you will forgive me if I nominate one writer-(pretty please)

Nomination goes to:

 Anne because she made me laugh so hard when I read about the Jersey Oompa-Loompa Mom. I’m sure she’ll have you ROFL-ing. 

(it’s not the ralph mentioned previously , but rolling on the floor laughing). 

Enjoy their blogs!

Authors, Folsom Lockdown, Melinda Palacio, oetry, poetry, Strong Women

Folsom Lockdown-Poems by Melinda Palacio

               Poetry: The spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings~Wordsworth

A few days ago I had the pleasure of hearing Melinda Palacios, poet and author, read several of her poems. She was a guest poet at the Carnegie Museum’s 2011 Arcade Poetry Series. I’m a recent ‘follower’ of her blogs on “La Bloga,” and admire her style of writing. So it was without hesitation that I jumped on the chance to listen to her give a reading in my hometown.

Melinda’s book of poetry, Folsom Lockdown, is the winner of the 2009 Sense of Place Chapbook Award. I love the title of the award “Sense of Place.” Now how did poems which deal with a father being in the second oldest prison in the state achieve a “Sense of Place” award? By being damn good poems is the quick answer. A more thoughtful one is given by Luis J. Rodriguez, “Somehow, we’re all behind bars. And Melinda Palacio’s poems are a welcome reprieve that dares to illustrate how poetry and art are the only real keys to our liberations.”

Once Melinda began reading I was mesmerized by the powerful sound of this petite woman. Her rich voice was full of passion, her hands moved to the imagery created by her words, and she spoke in the vivid voices of the characters in her poems. This was particularly entertaining with the poem “United Steaks.”

Some of the other poems like “Dancing with Zorro’s Ghost, Snake Charmer, Remember Persephone, and Names and Numbers” are wistful, questioning, and often harshly realistic, much like the prison system. All of the poems illustrate the reality of growing up with an often absent father, violence, loneliness, and questions. But the strength of family, acceptance, and maturity are also there, side by side. There is no bitterness in these poems. And that is what allows the depth of her voice to be heard, which is part of their uniqueness and their power.

Melinda’s new work is a novel, Ocotillo Dreams, published by Arizona Press. It will debut in July 2011 and is available for pre-sale on

Folsom Lockdown is published by Kalupi Press, ISBN: 978-0-9817653-1-0. You can find it on or at her website,