Alice's Poet license plate

Alice’s Poet license plate

How did 2014 measure up for you? At the end of 2014 I made good on all almost of my promises: to get my book of poetry done, improve on my violin/guitar/Irish dance, get more of my new poetry published, win at Table Topics in Toastmasters, host a three day women’s writing retreat in Asheville and read more. I also vowed to let go of all of my copywriting, ghostblogging, and website writing clients—I did just that and found a lot more energy to do the things I wanted to do creatively. Practicing guitar and violin take up a lot of time!


2014 was the year of the Hero’s Journey. I started teaching the Hero’s Journey exclusively in all of my memoir/fiction classes I co-taught with the fabulous Belea T. Keeney. I also spoke about the Hero’s Journey at my speaking engagements and with new memoir and fiction coaching clients. Turns out I went on my own Hero’s Journey in 2014 by letting go of people, guitars, clients and organizations that didn’t serve me anymore—I found a new guitar teacher, a Taylor guitar, a new Irish dance school and decided I didn’t want to go back to Asheville in 2015. Instead, I will facilitate One Day women’s writing retreats four times a year. Letting go and saying no is hard at first, but it gets easier the more you do it.


The Hero’s Journey is also one of faith. In the last year I’ve become very involved in Unity of Raleigh by singing in their chorus. I sang and played guitar on “What Child is This?” during our Christmas candlelight service and sang Don Henley’s “Heart of the Matter” backed by a full band in late June. This merging of faith and music was especially important while I had a cancer diagnosis on May 19th, hours before going to the Willie Nelson/Alison Krauss concert. What I thought was a very nasty fatty tumor on my upper back, which was removed the day of the Rob Thomas concert in Durham, was in fact a sarcoma which needed TWO major surgeries at Rex Hospital to remove in June. But by June 20th it was all gone and my margins were clear. My family, friends and church gave me a lot of love and support—I trusted and had faith that all would be okay.


So cancer was a low and so were all of the friggin’ snow days we had in January and February—my oldest son had 10 SNOWDAYS! I was really out of my mind and a lot of work wasn’t done until after the sun came out. Fortunately, I have a very understanding publisher, M. Scott Douglass over at Main Street Rag. The collection I was sifting through and editing during the spring, Creatures of Habitat, finally did get completed! You can order it now for a March 2015 publishing date.


My poetry collection, Heroes without Capes, is nearing completion and I have to thank my muse, Boba Fett, who helped me transition from my family dysfunction poetry into sci-fi/fantasy/myth poetry that was published in 2014 in varying anthologies and literary journals. Yay! Yes, I am swept up in Boba Fett mania—I have the car sticker, two T-shirts, a hoodie, two necklaces and I’ve memorized all of his movie dialogue (not hard, BTW)—while writing Boba Fett poetry. Life is good. I guess you’ll know what I’ll be for Halloween 2015 and what I’ll be wearing at Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiere.


This was also the year I transitioned from adult Irish dancing beginner to advanced beginner. I bought hard shoes and dance publicly in them after surviving foot agony for about a month. Thank you so much if you saw me in the Raleigh St. Patrick’s Day Parade, at Irish Fest in October or at Tir Na Nog—I’ll be performing more and even competing some with my new school, Trionoide Academy of Irish Dance. Please stay tuned.


Speaking of foot agony, my husband Keith and I spent a week in New Hampshire this summer. We hiked a good portion of the Franconia Notch in the White Mountains while spending the night at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s hut at Mount Lafayette—now that was the hardest hike of my life, and it was especially tough since I hadn’t had a lot of time to train due to the cancer surgery. I know, I know…excuses.


What else happened this year? I studied metalsmithing with Monnda Welch in Pittsboro, North Carolina, and even sold a few of my sun/moon earrings—what a thrill! Monnda, I promise I’ll be back to complete my training. My kids loved going with me to the Pittsboro, Cary, Wake Forest, Durham and Raleigh Friday Art Walks and it showed up in their accomplishments. My daughter is a skilled crafter at the age of 7 and my son is a two-time award-winning poet and featured visual artist.


This fall I became a bird mama. Now, let me explain: since I’ve been married to Keith for almost 13 years there have been birds living with us, but he took care of them. Gerry the parakeet came into my life through my friend who was moving. I suggested that Gerry may like having bird friends if he lived with me and fortunately she agreed! He was originally named Jerry Douglas, but Gerry’s beak turned pink, meaning she’s a girl. Gerry became fast friends with our other two parakeets and even Ray our cockatiel likes Gerry standing on his cage. I knew I was a bird mama when I extracted Gerry twice when he hid behind a file cabinet.


Last year I promised myself I would read more, especially all of our selected Wonderland Book Club books. Well, I did and we sure had an amazing year! Our club grew from a bunch of nice folks into real friends who came together to hear authors share their lessons on point of view, character motivation, and plot both at the meeting and at Vivace at North Hills, where we met for lunch afterwards. Do come join us in 2015.


Speaking of bringing the writing community together, my longtime friends Beth Browne and Jane Andrews encouraged me to help them form a new Main Street Rag Open Mic Series. We did on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at So & So Books on Person Street in Raleigh. From August to December our attendance grew and we can’t wait to see what 2015 will bring.


What TV shows swept you off your feet this year? It was True Detective for me. I became obsessed with Rust Cohle and his philosophies—so much so I wasn’t that excited for Season Four of Game of Thrones. Well, that was mostly because of what happened with Ser Jorah, my favorite character. Stay tuned for more Game of Thrones and True Detective this spring and summer.


What are my intentions for 2015? To publish my poetry book, perform my violin in public, compete in Irish dance, write and sing originals with my guitar, gather more out-of-town speaking engagements at writing conferences, and get hired by more fabulous clients. But to do all of this I intend to envelope my spirit in a lot of Light and Love—and give my family the same dose of Light and Love—because without it, what do you have?


Happy New Year and I wish you a 2015 filled with love, laughter, music and most of all—fun!