Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Fun Poetry Class: Week Three

This week, we got to enjoy cut up pop songs and sparklers, and also find out just how few words "Call Me Maybe" has! And, my lovely wife wrote a zombie poem out of the lyrics to "Such Great Heights" which takes a certain amount of twistedness!

For a how-to on cut up pop songs, visit

To join in the classes, go here:

Poetic License Horoscopes for June 29-July 5

Cancer (June 22-July 23): Dear birthday friend—this year, please believe all the nice things that your friends say about you, on your wall, in back-of-the-book blurbs, in vivid dreams. And while you’re at it, let accidental slights and mishaps float away like bubbles.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): I just Googled “collective nouns for hummingbirds.” Not only would that make a good name for something, but it also yielded the following results: charm, chattering, drum, troubling. (Who comes up with “a troubling of hummingbirds”? Clearly someone very disturbed.) Anyway, hummingbirds are like your quick, sweet luck and you’ll see a lot of them this summer.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23):  “Send me an angel, right now.” (Real Life) Your angels are your friends, invest everything in them. Everything shared at diner tables, sewing circles, and workshops will add up to everything you’ve ever looked for.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): See Virgo. You’ll have not just one angel, but dozens, everyone whose heart you’ve ever fluttered just a little bit is standing next to you as you reach this next important fruition.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22):Every time you ask nicely for something you want, you get a gold star, even when the answer is “no.” It’s time to start pushing past the boundaries of what you think you deserve. Your mantra is “more, more, more.”

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): You are your own foundation, the basis from which everything you create grows. This week, spend some time on structural integrity: Fix leaks, strengthen walls, make sure you have good ventilation and are not subject to flooding.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): A friend of mine recently hosted a summit of nearly every smart woman she knows—it must have been one heck of a sleepover. Create this for yourself, on whatever scale you can, even if it’s just inviting the sharpest lady you know over for coffee.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19) The stars have forgotten to send heart updates lately, but we wonder how you are doing—are you still twitterpated? Have your found new love and let go of the old? Is your family burgeoning, thriving, hurting? Be sure to let us know.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): Take a long walk past pretty fences and flowers, preferably when the lightning bugs are out. Make a good detailed wish on each firefly, each hydrangea petal. Then sit down with some nice friends and talk about books. Bonus points if there’s wine.

Aries (March 21-April 18): In Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, our hero gets shiny coins whenever enemies are defeated. This week will be like that, but with less actual combat. Every item crossed off on your to do list, no matter how small or large, will give you what you need to level up, sparkly and solid.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): Someone somewhere is writing a lot of paragraphs about you—you never know how deep of an impression you’ve made, how you’ve changed someone’s trajectory. I’m sure if they could, they’d send you the paragraphs, but for now, you can only imagine.

Gemini (May 19-June 21):  “I can love whoever I want.” (Charlie’s brother in Adaptation) This week the stars are having a Charlie Kaufman movie marathon, and we suggest you do the same—get lost in the layers of it, the hot existential love scenes, the ponderousness of everything. When you watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, be glad of everyone you haven’t erased.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Poetic License Horoscope for June 22-28

Cancer (June 22-July 23): Find yourself some grown-up coloring pages and go to town on them. Do this in front of the TV if you want. Embellish your pages with stickers and stamp-pads and hang them up someplace where you need to be reminded to trust your creativity.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): My wife recently wrote a Zombie Apocalypse Horoscope and may well be a guest horoscopist come Halloween time. I don’t know much about zombies, but I know you should never box yourself in in a basement, and don’t board up the windows. What’s coming for you is coming for you, turn and face it.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): Even if today none of the libraries were open, and you ran into your old nemesis, and you ate a shameful amount of cookies, no matter. Tomorrow you’ll get a good playlist in your inbox, you’ll go on a firefly walk with your love, you’ll watch a dumb movie. Life is always mostly awesome.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): The stars never grew out of drawing hearts in the corners of notebook pages, and neither should you. You can even indulge in the creepy-cute eighth-grade-girl thing of writing your crush’s name over and over. Go ahead, be ridiculous and smitten.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): Every day this week, find a poem—it could be anywhere, like magic. Collect them and build something nice.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): It’s almost time to go to summer camp, and you are a counselor. Remember your sunscreen and water jug. Remember, children can be a bit chaotic, so leave some of your Order-Muppet side at home; more Animal, less Kermit.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Yours is a religion of board games—read your future in Scrabble tiles, nothing as confusing as Upwords. I can’t master the strategy of chess (or even, some days, Bejeweled) but you can—you know where you’ll be three moves from now, so relax.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): Whatever imprisons you, accept it for a bit. Then watch I Love You, Phillip Morris, watch the clouds scoot by, and plan your escape or even your series of escapes. Whatever you do, don’t think about Camus’ The Stranger. Actually, that’s good advice for every week.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20):  Ignore any and all nay-sayers at the table—you can follow any goals you’ve set out for yourself. The breath and health and love you want are within reach, just take a good walk to them. Then rest in your cool and wonderful cave. Repeat.

Aries (March 21-April 18): You are as adorable and strange as a little kids’ summer camp production of Wicked, only everyone hits the high notes and no one misses their lines. You are the mini-Elphaba to my Glinda heart, and vice versa.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): “I don't know when to start or when to stop
My luck's like a button/ I can't stop pushing it/ My head feels light
But I'm still in the dark/ Seems like without tenderness there's something missing.” (General Public)

Gemini (May 19-June 21): To the Gemini who finally found her McDreamy (Several years after Grey’s Anatomy became irrelevant, but still.) –it’s okay to agonize over what to say in your emails, miss him like crazy until he gets back to town, go ahead and believe in things a little bit!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Poetic License Horoscope for June 15-21: Cuddle Party Rules Edition

Happy birthday to my mom, brother, and sister, who were all born on the same day! And! Happy 9-year anniversary to the wonderful Leo who inspires me the most, Amy Lawson. Our family’s full of celebration!

Gemini (May 19-June 21): “You are encouraged to change your mind,” maybe even sort through all of the things you’ve said “no” to and try a “yes” here and there. Overturn all of your old thought structures like tilling the soil.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): “Tears and laughter are both welcome,” so feel free to emote up a storm this week. Recreational crying is underrated and forced laughter is overused. Be authentic above all else.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): “If you’re a YES, say YES. If you’re a NO, say NO.” If you’re a “give me a little quiet when I get home from work” or a “make out with me emphatically and at length,” then say those things too.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): “You must ask permission and get a verbal YES before you touch anyone. (Be as specific with your request as you can.)” Make a list of VERY specific bodily requests and check them off as you ask for them. Whether you get a YES or a NO, you get a big, fat gold star just for asking.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): “Pajamas stay on the whole time.” The day, the weekend, the week, as long as you possibly can, stay in bed with your loves, your pets, your books. Don’t get up until you are absolutely, unequivocally rested.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): “You don’t have to cuddle anyone at a cuddle party, EVER,” or anyplace else for that matter, whether you run to the world with open arms or cordon yourself off with caution tape, make sure it is your happy choice.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): “Keep the cuddle space tidy.” Take some time to clear out your physical and emotional clutter—yammer it out to a sweetheart or get it all down on the page—you’ll feel better and so much clearer.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): “Respect people’s privacy.” Take a break from sharing and tagging and “liking” and sit face to face with a stranger, even if you have to come up with a clever nickname for them when you write about it later.
Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): “WHAT TO WEAR: pajamas.” Pajamas are practically a religion in my household. Make altars to your soft pants, sing hosannas to the ribbon drawstrings, kneel down and thank your fuzzy slippers.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): “If you’re a maybe, say NO.” This week, find at least a little bit of time to do EXACTLY what you want, without any compromising. It’s difficult, but it can be done.

Aries (March 21-April 18): “Respect your relationship agreements and communicate with your partner.” That includes frequently telling your partner(s) how adorable he/she/they are. And you are adorable too!

Taurus (April 19-May 18): “Get your Cuddle Party Facilitator or the Cuddle Assistant if you have a question or concern or need assistance.” Asking for help can be tricky, but give it a whirl. What worries can you delegate, what weights could you live without?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Fun Poetry Class: Week Two

Last night, we started out our class with coloring--this is my favorite page of Lynda Barry's What It Is, which I never shut up about recommending. I told everyone to put their coloring page somewhere where they need to be reminded to trust their creativity. Mine is right by my writing chair.

Then we all gave horoscope writing a whirl. Last year, Radius published my step-by-step of how to write a made up horoscope, you can find it here:

I had a stack of books and Tarot cards out in case anyone needed a little extra inspiration, but my poet-pals were bubbling over with their own ideas--I was ready to steal them all for the Friday horoscopes. When Halloween comes around, remind me to use my wife's Zombie Apocalypse Horoscope--part of the reason I fell in love with her is that her writing is creepy as fuck sometimes.

Summer Fun Poetry Class: Week One

I'm a little bit behind in posting about my summer classes, ( but here we go! For week one, I decided to try Apples to Apples as a writing prompt, and guess what, it worked. How it worked was, for each round of Apples to Apples, we wrote a poem based on the words everyone had played. As with most of my workshops, we wrote until someone went "Ding!" at a random interval, then read them in a circle, generously lavishing each other with motivational stickers and butterfly stamps. This resulted in such wonders as a series of letters to J.J. Abrams and my wife' s current poetic obsession with the Zombie apocalypse.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Poetic License Horoscope for June 8-14

Gemini (May 19-June 21): It’s time to plan birthday parties, complete with elaborate fireworks and superhero-themed cake. Make a list of all of your presents, tangible and not. Send real paper thank-yous for all.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): Listen to the music of everything your loved ones say. Compose it into melodies and hum along wholeheartedly, as if you’re out on the open road, out on the world’s best road trip.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): Take your summer bonus money and buy a vacation, even if it’s a little one-get time to gaze into your sweetie’s eyes, write gratuitously in glitter-emblazoned notebooks, or catch up on your Firefly episodes.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): Do what you need to do and don’t worry about who presses “like.” Okay, worry a little, that’s okay, but for the most part, give yourself to real and present things, like dancing, or walking, or cuddle parties. If you DO try a cuddle party, I promise you this: you will be closer to your inner Reid Mihalko by the end.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): To the Libra who recently enjoyed a good first date: So much can be accomplished while only sort of watching a movie. So what if you don’t remember the plot of Marie Antoinette and I’ve only seen glimpses and heard synth-mantras of Liquid Sky—say “Let them eat cake!” to you inhibitions and look forward to what comes next.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): To the Scorpio who keeps having a little tree stolen out of the pot on the front stoop: don’t give up. Keep planting. Yes, over and over. I think maybe that’s what some of life is.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): The stars wonder how you have been doing lately—how are your poems? Are you still writing them every day? Are you still a Tasmanian Devil flurry of paragraphs? Do you still note and collect motivational quotes? If so, please send the stars some. We can always use more.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Throw yourself a party like the ones they used to have in grade school, before sugar was outlawed. Find a cute someone to help pour the punch. Deal out cookies of celebration onto plates. Have the loudest and most cheerful game of Apples to Apples you’ve ever known.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): Go past what you see at first glimpse this week. Tell your assumptions to take a vacation and get as in-depth as you can.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): “Strive for what you deserve. Don’t go for second best, baby!” (My pal Joseph Prisco, sensibly quoting Madonna) Write out and follow all the best advice you give and get. Make whatever changes you need to. Also: put your love to the test.

Aries (March 21-April 18): Well, Sally Draper is a woman now. You’re ready for rites of passage as well—go ahead, go forward, someone will be there to help you settle in.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): Yesterday at my afterschool program job, we had the most amazing talent show ever. This week’ll be like that for you—imagine children singing acapella versions of uplifting radio hits, making spontaneous collaborative art, playing the piano, and reading poetry. It gets really raucous toward the end. Don’t be afraid to clap along!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mid-Year Heart Updates

  1. Holy cow! The other day, my ACTUAL book came in the mail. I got overflowing with joy and brought punch and cookies and Caramel Creams and Hershey’s Hugs over to the library and had a celebration with the afterschool kids. We played a very sugared-up game of Apples to Apples. A cute grown-up friend of mine showed up to help pour the punch and sat there reading the book almost the whole time—I got to watch him laugh at the funny parts. It was truly one of the happiest days of my life, and I’m so glad that I got to share it with my beloved students.

The editing process was a joy and a breeze. I’m seriously lucky to have found a perfect match in my editor and pal Bryan Borland. I look forward to doing a book launch party or two, and a tour date here and there—it looks like there may be time after all.

  1. This Friday is my last day the library. I am so very sad that it is over. When I arrived there, I was broken from my AmeriCorps service, unsure if I was fit to work with children, and the library gave me a chance to start fresh in such a nice, easygoing way. I am so proud and excited about the relationships I’ve built at the library in the past two years, both with the kids and with the library staff. The amount of art and poetry we’ve created is staggering. I could not be prouder of the way this job turned out—I will miss it very much.

  1. Yesterday I was notified that this fall, my student teaching will take place at Wister Elementary, my school of choice, right down the street. It’s been my dream to work in one of my neighborhood’s public schools, and this is one step closer to that dream. I’ve been doing classroom observations at Wister since last summer, and it is, for the most part, a warm and welcoming place with kids who really need me. It’s covered with beautiful murals on the outside—I’ll be glad to see those every morning.

  1. I’ve finally found a good therapist. She is on maternity leave at the moment and the interim girl is doing okay, but Dr. Alicia is kind of a miracle. She trusts me to get where I’m going—I’m sure she has an agenda for me, but her guidance is minimal and it is WORKING. As a result, I’ve made a whole bunch of progress, unloading a lot of misconceptions and thought-structures that have been holding me down over the years.

 The other day at the Trans Health Conference, one of the speakers was talking about activist work as tilling the soil—it might be difficult, it might bring up unpleasant things, but tilling is necessary if you want to plant anything. I feel like that’s what therapy is for me. I’ve still got a lot of hard-packed soil that needs tilling. Sometimes it’s frustrating and really dark, but I think if I just let the momentum I’ve created carry me forward, I’ll get to that liking-myself dream that seems so important, especially for an almost-teacher.

  1. I’ve become a prolific writer of smut in the last six months. My pseudonymous blog has given me a chance to really push my writerly/bodily boundaries, and I’m so proud of that. I’m proud of how absolutely FILTHY I can be. Finding a language for sex has been part of finding out what I really want, and how to say what I really want. Now if I could only find one more person to give it to me.

  1. Siiiiigh, love. As I write this, I’m in a place of deep ambivalence about relationships, even my relationship with Amy. When I wrote my year-end heart update last year, I was in a pretty good place about Amy, guys, and polyamory, but it has been a rough six months. I sent myself on a year of body adventures, and some of the experiences have been incredible (I’m talking to you, fire massage…) but they’ve also been fraught with triggers and sadness and betrayal. Lately, I am having a really hard time believing that there is a guy out in the world for me—I worry that the universe forgot to make me one. Looking back at last December’s heart updates is painful, because I felt so close to having what I wanted, and then all of a sudden, it/he was gone.

My friends, I sometimes feel like a crazy person, because I am still in love with one of the guys from last December. After six months! He was mean and scary in some ways, but in other ways he was exactly what I’d been fantasizing about all those guyless years. He pushed me past so much, he was an unstoppable force, he was one of the top three kissers I’ve known, and the chemistry between us was as irresistible as a crash. Between us, we exchanged about 250 songs.  I do my best to move on, so much has happened since then, he’s been gone for so long, but other guys just end up feeling like a ghost of him.

I know I’m just lonely, and it won’t last forever. I’m going to do my best to keep on with my adventures and hope that the invisible ribbons that tie me to him will someday soon untie and blow away.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Poetic License Horoscope for June 1-7

Dear Readers,

I am very pleased and excited to announce that my biggest dream is in the process of coming true: my first full-length collection of poems, "For the Comfort of Automated Phrases," is now available for pre-order from Sibling Rivalry Press! 

I'll also be planning some launch events and a few tour dates. Check here for details!

Many, many thanks,
Jane Cassady (a.k.a. the stars)

Gemini (May 19-June 21): Even more than usual, listen to song lyric for messages. Shuffle, the radio, the dreamy music over the credits, they’ve got something important to tell you.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): To the Cancer who just got into an MFA program: CONGRATULATIONS! You are worth every writing minute. fill your notebook with answers and forms and formulae. You’ll be even more yourself.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): to the Leo  who’s moving when the lease is up: Your new place may or may not have a garden, its own washer-dryer, or a tall-person’s shower, but I promise you this: quiet, a fresh start, more windows that open. You and your love and your cats will be happy and safe.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): You’ve been taking a break and now you’re frustrated, but I promise you—time to heal and read novels, to finish your homework, to take up half-assed yoga again, all the time you are taking for yourself will pay off in snuggly, sweaty, musky dividends, sooner than you think.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): Buy yourself a T-shirt that says “I want to cuddle you so hard.” Wear it someplace where snuggles are likely, which, for someone like you, is everywhere.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): Be naked wherever you can, even if you’re just doing the dishes or sitting around watching TV. Feel everything against your beautiful skin, the sun on your shoulders, the breeze on your knees.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): When my book was accepted last fall, I was warned many times about how difficult the editing process would be, what a nightmare. Actually, it was an ease and a pleasure—sometimes things actually work out to be easier than you thought. Things match up sometimes, notice miracles like that.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): The other day at my after school program job, when I launched into one of my many rousing speeches, a favorite student made me a sign that said “Teachable moment!!!” This week, put your two cents on whenever you see fit, maybe even a little more often than usual.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): Think of all the things you loved but stopped doing, and pick a few of them up again. Let me know what you find—discarded games, old rituals, new geysers of inspiration.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): To the Pisces celebrating a book release this week: The stars are there with you, of course, blazing with pride, cheering you on. May the night be every sweet thing you ever wished for, your book’s spine strong, your loving friends elated.

Aries (March 21-April 18): Last week on Mad Men, Peggy Olson realized her worth. She took a raise and moved on to an agency where she could shine. Give notice to something that’s already expired and get what you deserve.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): No matter what you do, some connections stay with you, invisible ribbons looping their way across the city or across the world. Love them until they fade or never do. Learn what you can from them.