I guess in a way, this is one of those things that began at the Round House Cafe. It was over a year ago when I was helping out one night at the cafe, taking orders and running the register. On the other side of the counter was a woman who looked familiar, but who I couldn’t quite place.
“Maria” she said, “it’s me Jackie.” I hadn’t thought about Jackie in years, but we worked together in a frame shop around the time I first moved upstate. Almost 20 years ago.
I always liked working with Jackie. She introduced to me to feminist writer Angela Carter and adopted my frog and newt when I took a trip cross country. (she gave them a better home than I ever did and they lived longer than anyone expected them to)
How could it be that after all that time Jackie didn’t seem to change at all. We easily slipped back into a friendship, meeting at the Round House for lunch, visiting each others homes.
And we had a creative connection too. Jackie’s a writer, photographer and painter. She’s been writing her whole life and when she told me she never had a problem writing, that it came easy to her and she loved doing it, we started taking blogs.
It didn’t take long for Jackie to create her blog (she’s also a graphic designer) Creative Journey Woman. Then she started taking Jon’s writing class. And now Jackie is publishing her first poetry book called Gone to Ground.
There’s nothing sentimental about Jackie’s poetry. It’s beautiful and real. She doesn’t just observe nature, but sees it as the place to go to look for the answers to the questions in her life. And that taps into the wild place inside of her, which isn’t always pretty, but is beautiful and very real.
Jon and I had lunch with Jackie at the Round House Cafe today to talk about her book and how to best promote it. We went back and forth about what each of us thought would be the best kind of cover for her book. Jackie’s designs, though well done, were subtle. Jon was urging her to create a more striking and eye-catching cover. I understood what Jackie was doing with her designs, but thought they almost looked too much like a poetry book cover.
Then we went next door to Battenkill Books where Jackie and Connie got to meet each other and discuss Jackie doing a reading there.
We invited Connie into the book cover conversation and were standing in the poetry section, looking at book covers when Marilyn, (Connie’s mom who works at the book store and is showing her paintings at the Open House in June) who is generally a quiet person, came over and told Jackie that as the person who stocks the shelves, she’s more likely to put a book with a colorful or interesting cover on the front table or in the window to get people’s attention.
If Jackie still had any doubts, I think Marilyn’s input convinced her to rework her cover. (You can see Jackie’s first designs for her book cover here)
Jackie will be reading her poems and selling her new book at the Bedlam Farm Open House on June 25th and 26th. You can read her poems and prose and see her photo’s here.
For more information about the Bedlam Farm Open House just go to my Event’s page at the top of my blog or click here.
“gone to ground” By Jackie Thorne
rough in my palm
scrape and peel
carving their way
into my bones
stiff thorns break
thin pale skin
blood flows, ready
to meet the air
kiss the ground
silken soil slides
through my fingers
under my nails
down to the quick
never to come out
going down now
into the ground
again, taking up
my place, kneeling
here on earth
finding a heaven
lies in the dirt
the rock, the wet
and sky, as above
so with me below”