Poems Shed Light on Life #Thursday Book Feature

Neoteny: Poems

by Emily K. Michael

Copyright 2019.

 

What Amazon Says

 

A lively and imaginative debut, Neoteny explores blindness, family, and birdsong. In these poems, Emily K. Michael meditates on literary and personal heroes like Jo March, her beloved grandmother, and her guide dog. This collection is rich with treasures from childhood — the honey-colored piano Michael played, the fig tree in her front yard and the trays of fresh mint drying on her grandmother’s table. The poems move between a child mind and an adult’s perspective as Michael contemplates the rich emotional power of commonplace objects and the way her own blindness complicates everyday situations. Poems like “In This One” and “I Say Yes” take the reader into the domestic moments of young romance while “Deficiencies,” and “Wood Thrush” invite readers to disappear in wonder for the wild world.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Michael weaves local sounds and spaces into her work. “Anniversary in St. Augustine” is the story of a couple’s private tour of historical landmarks, while “Ajeen” captures the quiet of a deserted street deep in hurricane season. “Trading Threes” and “Encore” welcomes local birds onto the page as Michael immortalizes the sounds of mockingbirds and cardinals.

Though Neoteny is an uplifting collection, Michael confesses the difficulties she experiences as a blind poet in a sighted world. In “Small Hours,” she asks readers to wonder just how important their vision really is, and in “Blindness Locked Me Out,” she catalogues the situations where her disability relegated her to the sidelines. “Natural Compliance” maps the challenge of exploring the wilderness with a white cane and wheelchair. And “A Phenomenology of Blindness” is Michael’s resounding answer to the common questions about how blindness works. To those who think Michael is seeking a cure, she offers “Faith,” a poem that examines how healing really works.

Neoteny also pays tribute to the poets Michael loves. “Practice” is Michael’s nod to CD Wright’s “Lake Echo, Dear” and “Antiphon for Emily” is her song for Emily Dickinson. Neoteny opens on “I Begin to Understand Jo March,” a finalist for the 2018 Atlantis Award. The final poem is “Cello,” first published in Artemis Journal and later included in Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital’s Poems in the Waiting Room. Poems from this collection have also appeared in Wordgathering, Nine Mile Magazine, The Fem, Saw Palm, The Deaf Poets Society, Rogue Agent, and The South Carolina Review.

 

My Thoughts

 

I don’t recommend starting this collection on an empty stomach. The author’s descriptions of delectable delights in “Ajeen” and other poems about food at the beginning will make your mouth water, and you’ll abandon any plans to enjoy some poetry before lunch. But if you download the Audible version, you can eat and read poetry simultaneously if you wish.

I love the way Emily Michael narrates her own poetry here. The piano interlude at the end gives the production a nice touch. I could identify with “Blindness Locked Me Out” and her poems about playing music and attending concerts. I also appreciate how she tells us what being blind is not. This collection isn’t just about blindness. Even if you are experiencing vision loss, it will enlighten you on a variety of topics.

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By the way, from now until July 31st, you can download My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress absolutely free from Smashwords as part of its annual summer/winter sale. Click here to visit my Smashwords author page.

Also, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. Thank you for reading. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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True Love #Monday Musical Memories

The song I’m singing today was included on a cassette of love songs my late husband Bill sent me after he proposed. At the time, he was living in Fowler, Colorado, and I here in Sheridan, Wyoming. So, he recorded his favorite love songs he’d downloaded from the internet onto a cassette and mailed it to me. It arrived on Valentine’s Day, along with other goodies he included in the care package. You can read more about this in My Ideal Partner.

As the song suggests, I want to believe  Bill and I had a guardian angel who put us together. Otherwise, if he hadn’t proposed to me or if I’d said no, his life after his strokes would have been different, to say the least. No doubt he would have spent the rest of his life in a nursing home and wouldn’t have had the quality or quantity of life he had with me. I’m not trying to be vain. I’m just saying when someone you love and who loves you takes care of you when you can’t do anything for yourself, it makes a world of difference. Although Bill is gone, I’ll still give him true love forever.

By the way, for those using the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, my latest book, The Red Dress, is now available on their site. Click here to download the book.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

My Favorite Places #Essay #Writing Prompt

I enjoy working in my office at my three-corner desk containing my computer, printer, and closed-circuit television magnifier. Behind me is another desk with a braille calendar and other odds and ends. My entertainment center with my stereo receiver, CD player, cassette deck and shelves storing cassettes and CD’s stands in one corner. The speakers sit on a bookcase across from it. This bookcase also holds books and other materials. Next to it is a hutch containing, among other things, my Amazon Echo Tap, which I now use to play music while I’m working. I rarely use the stereo. As I sit at my desk, I can sort of see out a high north-facing window.

At the end of the day, I like to listen to books or podcasts in my recliner. This belonged to my late husband, who was partially paralyzed by two strokes soon after we were married. Now, I feel close to him when I use it. It’s situated in my living room, which also contains a couch, another armchair, a buffet, my piano, and a couple of end tables. The recliner has buttons that raise and lower the head and feet. As I sit there, I can see my front yard through another north-facing window above the couch.

My third favorite place is the YMCA. For years, I’ve been participating in water exercise classes there on a regular basis. Recently, they opened a new aquatic center, which is much nicer than the facilities we were using before. It features several pools, a hot tub, a rock climbing wall, and new locker rooms with private showers. In the morning when I go there, the sunlight streaming in from the windows in the pool area makes the water sparkle.

If you’ve read my latest book The Red Dress, you may be wondering if my main character, Eve, had any favorite places. As she points out in an interview I did with her last summer soon after the book came out, one of her favorite places when she was a child was her father’s bookstore, where she loved to stretch out in an old bathtub filled with pillows. You can read the interview here. If you haven’t read The Red Dress, and you’re now curious, you’ll find more information and ordering links here.

How about you? What are your favorite places? Thanks to Moondance Pages for inspiring this, and thank you for reading.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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TMI Tuesday February 25th, 2020

Hello. Welcome. Do tell because it is TMI Tuesday!

 

  1. What time of the day do you feel the most energetic, and what do you usually do in those moments? I have the most energy in the mornings. However, I’ve discovered that if I eat a light supper earlier in the evening, I sleep better at night. When I get a good night’s sleep, I’m often just as energetic in the afternoons as I am in the mornings. I spend my days dealing with email and working on blog posts and other writing projects. I also attend water exercise classes at the YMCA three days a week and occasionally entertain at nursing homes and other senior facilities.
  2. What’s the coolest thing about your life? That would be the fact that I’m the author of five books with a sixth one in progress. My stories and poems have been published in The Weekly Avocet, Magnets and Ladders, and other publications. To learn more about me and my work, click here.
  3. When are you most yourself? Although I enjoy going out, I’m most myself when I’m at home, either working at my computer or relaxing in my recliner.
  4. Would you rather be an ugly genius or a hot moron? I’m not sure I want to be either. I’m happy as I am.
  5. Would you abandon your phone, Internet, family, and friends for three months for a prize of 1 million dollars? Never! All those things are important to me. Besides, what would I do with a million dollars?

Bonus: If you could wave a magic wand right now and have your life be perfect, what would that new life look like? The perfect life would be one where I could see well enough to drive and maintain my own home without assistance. But there are worse things in life than being visually impaired. So, I’m not going to complain.

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If you’d like to participate in TMI Tuesday, click here and follow the instructions. If you don’t have a blog, you’re welcome to leave your answers to any or all these questions in the comment field below. Any way you do it, I look forward to reading your responses. Thank you for stopping by today.

 

as

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

What is Love? #Poetry

In honor of Valentine’s Day, here’s a poem from My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. I’ve posted this here before, but I think it’s worth a second reading, and I hope you agree. My late husband and I wrote it together. You can click here to listen to a recording of me reading it. Enjoy! Thank you for coming, and happy Valentine’s Day.

 

WHAT IS LOVE?

 

Being warmed from within by another,
having someone with whom to share dreams,
a soothing voice that comforts you,
gentle hands that smooth life’s hardships,
strong arms that hold you close,
lips that bring you pleasure.
Love is a heart that’s yours forever.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.