This post is the annual update of my writing career, such as it is.
I am exhausted. After a couple years of waiting in limbo, the doors of opportunity opened. 2022 was the year of small business development, poetry, travel, and caregiving. Throw in my day job and there’s my whole life.
I attended the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference at Bemidji State University on June 20-26, 2022. This is an excellent writing retreat on the shores of beautiful Lake Bemidji. As an attendee of one of the writing workshops, it was full immersion in the craft from 7am to 9pm for a full week. I never wanted to come home.
I was honored to emcee the League of Minnesota Poets Fall Conference awards gala at Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria, MN on November 4-6, 2022. My balcony faced Lake Darling and I watched a flock of ducks lift off in the lake in the thin colors before sunrise my last morning there.
Four of my poems were published before life got ahold of me and I paused submissions:
4/10/22- 1st grade report card note: “Too much daydreaming” with Lyricality.org
04/27/22- Let Us Consider was one of six winners of the Environmental (In)justice in Mni Sóta Maḳoce Storytelling Contest, sponsored by Saint Paul Almanac and University of St. Thomas Sustainable Communities Partnership.
6/28/22 Lace & Half-Naked in the Depths of Winter with Spring Thaw, Itasca Community College
You can say that I should make time, make submitting my work for publication a priority and you’d be right. But it turns out traveling, running a small business, being a caregiver, having a career, and actually writing takes a whole lot of time.
American School of Storytelling (AMSStory)
I am the co-founder of the American School of Storytelling, a title I claimed last year, though the first reference I have found for the business was in January 2020. I spent early spring prepping our business plan to compete in the MN Cup but we are too early in our development to be a viable competitor.
Our spunky little start-up arts organization kicked social media into high gear in April and we have been collecting followers at an accelerated rate. We owe our success to Loren’s content and my consistency in posting it.
Here’s a list of our appearances, classes, and events:
- 1/24 Houston – KPFT Radio Stories
- 3/25 Sharing the Fire – Fringe performance of “Finding Gregory and Other Stories”
- 4/12 The Story Space
- 4/21-4/24 Stone Soup Storytelling Festival
- 5/24-5/29 Rivers of Voices, Ocean of Stories: Coming Together Conference 2022 for Storytellers of Canada on Vancouver Island
- 6/3 & 6/10 ‘How Do You Read Me?’ with Howard Lieberman at Bryant Lake Bowl
- 7/7-7/28 Storytelling Summer Camp
- 7/31 Debut: A Fusion of Storytelling and Play
- 8/7 Livestream Poetry Reading
- 8/13 AM950 Connections Radio
- 8/19-8/28 ‘How Do You Read Me?’ with Howard Lieberman at the Indy Fringe
- 9/3 Doctor Buzz’s State Fair Odyssey
- 9/6-9/20 Fairy Tale as Life Story with Laura Packer
- 9/8-9/22 Introduction to Family Oral History Collection
- 9/10 East Isles & Lowry Hill Super Sale
- 9/18 Inbound Brewco Pop-up Bookstore
- 9/27 Northern California Public Media: A Novel Idea
- 9/29 Story by Story: Fata Morgana in Frankfort, KY
- 10/1 Deep Valley Book Festival in Mankato, MN
- 10/7-10/9 National Storytelling Festival
- 10/15 Twin Cities Book Festival
- 10/19 Telling Ghost Stories- Online
- 10/28 Utepils Brewing: Possibly Paranormal Podcast LIVE in the Utepils Brewing Taproom
- 10/29 Telling Ghost Stories- Eat My Words Bookstore
- 11/3-11/17 Introduction to Storytelling
- 11/13 Gag me with a spoon in Duluth, MN
- 11/16 @ The Briar with Diane Jarvi
- 12/14 @ The Briar with Rose McGee
I was on the road a lot- 75 days! Many of these trips were related to caregiving. I went to Peoria, IL mostly to attend to my brother Steve and bury him in July. I went to Rochester, MN to take Jenny to the Mayo Clinic. Here’s the list of my adventures:
- 3/4-3/7 Peoria, IL
- 4/20-5/1 Woodruff, SC; Richmond, VA; New York, NY
- 5/1-5/2 Rochester, MN
- 5/28-5/30 Cedar Rapids, IA
- 6/20-6/26 Bemidji, MN
- 7/1-7/10 Peoria, IL
- 7/21-7/27 Peoria, IL
- 7/27-7/28 Rochester, MN
- 8/16-8/17 Rochester, MN
- 8/24-8/28 Indianapolis, IN
- 9/23-9/25 Duluth, MN
- 10/6-10/9 Jonesboro, TN
- 10/31-11/1 Rochester, MN
- 11/4-11/6 Alexandria, MN
- 11/13 Duluth, MN
- 12/10-12/12 Peoria, IL
- 12/29-1/6/23 Tulum, Mexico
My brother Steve died of pneumonia and other infections in July after a long sickness. He had been disabled by a stroke in 2005. My mother was his primary caregiver and after her death in 2020, he sort of gave up.
I spent a lot of time helping my friend Jenny attend appointments at the Mayo Clinic. She’s had a life threating condition since March 2021. Mayo Clinic is her last hope. If they can’t help her, no one can.
My cat Midge died of cancer last January. Cats won’t show that they are sick until it’s way too late. I took her to the vet and came home without her.
2023 will be another year of caregiving as Jenny will receive a long awaited life saving surgery. I was scheduled to travel this spring with the American School of Storytelling but because I am her primary caregiver and power of attorney, that surgery takes priority.
I set a goal to submit for publication every month. I am deep into a creative nonfiction piece about the madness of the first half of 2020. I am waiting to hear about acceptance to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the results of the Boulevard Poetry Contest for Emerging Poets.
I’m just getting started.
-Copyright C.M. Mounts, January 2023