Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Night Poeting: Hay(na)ku

Good evening! I'm not feeling the best and am tired from the week, so I'm happily perched up in my room with a couple of kittehs to keep me company for a poetic night and a poetic posting.

I've been reading the latest version of Poet's Market. Robert Lee Brewer, the editor, includes a fun section on poetic forms. One of the forms I have been working on is called Hay(na)ku. According to Brewer, this poetic form was created in 2003 by a poet named Eileen Tabios. I have not heard of Eileen Tabios or Hay(na)ku before, so I will be looking for her works.

Brewer explains the three-line poem by Tabios. There is one word in the first line, two words in the second line, and three words in the third line. That's it. Anything else goes in the poem. It seems like Haiku-lite to me, and Hay(na)ku is so much fun to write!

Here are a few poems that I came up with after reading about this new form:

solstice moonrise
colder than frostbite.

teasing the flowers!

second day
groundhog's lost shadow.

Feel free to try some of your own Hay(na)ku. I would love to see your poems! Feel free to comment with your poem/s. Have a good weekend! :)

Saturday, February 06, 2016

An Ekphrastic Poeting and Editing Opportunity

Happy February!

I am so glad that I have switched priorities around so that artistic and poetic opportunities can surface! One of my dearest artist friends presented me with both a writing (poetry) and an editing opportunity with the South Bend Museum of Art. I am excited about the prospects!

Last week, four of us (two South Bend Museum of Art members, the curator, and me) met to launch a chapbook. Several poets (just shy of 20) were asked to visit the South Bend Museum of Art, study one of the art pieces in the permanent collection, and write a poem (or poems) about it.

I did not know there was a name for it. The form of poetry is called ekphrastic poetry. Have you ever heard of it? I had not until recently! Microsoft Word has not even heard of it--I had to add "ekphrastic" to their dictionary. I have also seen the word "ekphrasis" on Google.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary (online), ekphrasis is defined as "a literary description of or a commentary on a visual work of art." I have written poems about artists before, so I have unknowingly written ekphrastic poetry. You may have too!

So, what will happen is that the selected poets will visit the museum, and then submit up to three or four poems about the particular piece of artwork. The poets will then send the poems to me, and I will compile them into a chapbook. After I have edited a draft, I will submit the chapbook to the other members for perusal. When it has been approved, the chapbook will be printed and copies will be sold at the event (which takes place in April). When everything is finished, we hope to collaborate next year.

There is so much talent in Michiana, and I am looking forward to seeing the poets and reading their words!

Friday, January 01, 2016

Reflections on 2015

Happy New Year! It's after one in the afternoon and I'm still in my pajamas. It's that kind of lazy day. However, I am going to get off the couch later this afternoon and work out to a walking tape. It's a start. I need to get on an exercise program so it is routine and something I don't even think about-- like eating breakfast or flossing. I normally don't like resolutions, but I do want to get healthy-- eat better, lose weight, and gain more energy. There were too many hospital visits this year in our family. We also need to have more fun. Life's too short not to experience more joy.

Despite my lamentations this autumn, 2015 was not all bad by any means. In fact, a lot was accomplished. With the help and unwavering support of my husband, Steve, we accomplished a lot. I co-wrote and published a non-fiction book with Karen Harris. It was risky and controversial because of the title and content. But, it was a book that needed to be born. We send out queries to publish, but we received a couple of rejections and decided that we would do it ourselves.

Karen and I started our own publishing company. Karen and I earned enough income from the book to cover a trip to Boston for a book event, and are still collecting royalties. We were interviewed by The South Bend Tribune. Our ebooks and print books have been purchased nationally and internationally, and live in personal collections, bookstores, and libraries. It was scary, but that was the reason why we needed to pursue our dreams. We just celebrated a year of MV, and we have only scratched the proverbial surface. We will promote and write more in 2016.

Also, I finished up my master's degree in liberal studies in December 2015. Although my thesis defense was in September, the thesis itself needed to be edited for binding purposes. My grade was released in December 2015 (A-!) and soon my diploma will be mailed. This chapter is closing. I am proud of what I have accomplished, and could not have pursued this without the unwavering support of Steve, my professors, my family and extended family, and friends. Thank you. :)

Steve is also writing and submitted an article for publication. I am so proud of his accomplishments. Besides being a great cataloger, librarian, instructor,blogger,colleague, gamer,husband, son, friend, and cat-herder, Steve can also add writer to his list. :)

We've managed to keep our herd of kittehs alive this year. Java celebrated her 17th birthday and she is hanging on. We are monitoring her closely. It's difficult taking this journey with her, but we are so grateful for every day we have with her. She's been on borrowed time for a few years. There's a lot that I can and have learned from the resiliency of an aging animal.

Steve and I took time out of our incredibly hectic schedule (self-imposed on my part, I admit it) and went on a vacation. We are now hooked on cruises. We had an amazing time; it was hell on the waistline, but heaven on the soul. Loved it, loved it, loved it. You know it was a damn good vacation when you come home depressed and wondering why the house isn't rocking us to sleep like the ship.

For 2016 and beyond, I aspire to live an active, calm, creative and peaceful life. Laugh more. Cry less. Spend more time with loved ones.

Wishing you a healthy and peaceful 2016,
-Lori xo

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Direction of the Blog


Not to be cliche', but I cannot believe how time has passed. This past September marked the ninth year that this blog has been launched, and I completely missed it. In September 2016, Marimba and Ice will be ten years old. This blog has been like a friendship; the kind of friendship that picks up right where it was left off no matter how much time has passed.

How did that happen? A lot has happened in 9+ years, and looking back, I can see that Marimba and Ice took quite a few twists and turns. Some years (like this one) I hardly blogged at all; other years I blogged almost every day. I am happy and proud to see a few of my friends contemplating and/or successfully blogging. This blog has been an outlet in the good times, and a safety net in the tough times. In this blog, my writer's voice has grown a little bitter, older, and hopefully a bit wiser. However, the forties have revealed to me of how little I know, and that I have so much more to learn--both in real life and in writing.

This year, I have not blogged much at all. Perhaps it was due to a book launch, finishing a thesis, and working too many jobs this fall. However, it is not a valid excuse, but I have had a hard time figuring out what to write about here and where to take this blog. From what I have read, author blogs should be personal and not entirely commercial. Of course, there are topics that may be "too much information" for readers. (Yes, like most people, I have been guilty of oversharing.)

So, my question for you is, what do you want to read about in 2016? Are you interested in blogs about everyday life? Do you want to read about book/movie/music/web reviews? Do you want resources about ADHD/Anxiety/Depression? Cat adventures?Food? Humorous Stories? Travel? Writing sources?
I am asking for your input, because you are the one taking the time to click on this blog and read, so I want to make this worth your time.

Thank you for your help and input!


Writerly Books and a Website


I hope you enjoyed your holiday. Steve and I visited friends and family; we are currently enjoying a quiet staycation. Today Steve and I made the blissful mistake of visiting Barnes and Noble(B&N) on the Sunday after Christmas after picking up makeup from Ulta.
B&N was right next door-- we couldn't resist.

There were a lot of sales and a couple of writing reference books (read:tax write-offs) I picked up.
Here was the swag (in no particular order) I purchased:

1. Poet's Market 2016
2. Writer's Market 2016
3. Be Happy by Patrick Lindsay
4. The Pocket Book of Positives by Arcuturus
5. Two sets of Season's Greetings cards (Don't judge me--I start writing my cards after Christmas and they were half off!)
6. Star Wars notepad (Because I am a nerd and it was an impulse buy.)

I've already thumbed through part of Poet's Market. I haven't purchased one for awhile. I'm looking forward to cracking open Writer's Market. The goals are to write because it is fun, and to earn some additional income (cat food is expensive!). I came across an online website on writing and if you are a writer, I think you will like it. The blog is called Creative Writing Now. The authors included a free PDF of writing prompts.

The happy books are to lift my spirits, and in turn, for me to lift your spirits! This past year has had a lot of highs and lows; I am anticipating a calm, creative,happy, and peaceful new year for all of us.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Electric Brew

Finding my Words in The Electric Brew

It's seven p.m.--
do you know
where your poems are?

I accomplished something
I have not accomplished
for awhile

I wrote a poem

during an open mike
poetry and words night
in a charming cafe
nestled in downtown
Elkhart, Indiana

swimming in
after a word drought

I wrote a poem

after writing
after presenting
after seeing

people smiling
people laughing
people clapping

I want to
write another poem

I want to swim
in oceans of words

where I know
where my poems are
at seven p.m.


*The website for The Electric Brew is

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Anxiety, Depression, and Poetry

As you are reading this blog, I hope you are doing well. It's okay, though, if you're not. You are not alone. I am one of the millions of people who deal with--and suffer from--both anxiety and depression, many times in tandem. There is no shame in having a mental illness! I'm so over the stigma. If you are suffering from anxiety and/or depression, tell someone. Confide in someone who is safe and non-judgmental. Please don't suffer alone. There is light--and there is always hope, even if it seems to be hopeless. You deserve it.

Both anxiety and depression reared its ugly head a couple weeks ago, and its remnants continue to lurk in the shadows. Knowing what I have and how to handle it is half the battle. Half of the battle is showing up-- waking up, getting out of bed, and moving forward, no matter how difficult it can be.

Steve sent me a link today on how to deal with anxiety and depression. It comforted me, and I hope it will comfort you as well. Please feel free to share.

I leave you with a ghostly poem, and no, I am not blogging drunk. ;)

why shy blight

i ran out of Klonopin;
the alcohol’s run dry
i can’t stand the anxiety
i don’t know


i can’t be normal
i can’t be content
my mind’s always spinning;
my body’s always spent.

i slumber after panic
i slumber after cry
i imbibe another spirit
to take away the


liquid courage
exorcise the wights
just as strong as skeletons
who exemplify the


lori caskey-sigety
october 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Thesis is Defended!

Last Monday was a very good day. I had hairapy at Salon Rouge, donned my summer khaki-colored business suit with the sapphire top since it was still technically summer, and strolled down to Wiekamp Hall at Indiana University South Bend. Since March 2014 I have been waiting for this day, sometimes patiently, most days anxiously, to meet and defend my thesis. Steve walked with me, encouraging as always. He said he was more nervous than I was.

The experience was like my academic advisor had suggested: it was more of a celebration and a thoughtful discussion on my topic, which is expressive freewriting. I spoke for about 5-7 minutes on the writing process, key concepts, prolific authors, and the takeaways.

After my introduction, it was a question and answer session with the thesis committee (which I hand-picked) and with the Director of the MLS program. I thought fielding the questions would be difficult, but it really was not difficult at all.

When the question and answer session was over, I was asked to leave the room while the committee pondered about my fate. (Just kidding—I had a very good feeling when I left the room.) When I re-entered the room, it was brought to my attention that not only did I pass, but I completed the project with an A-! I was expecting a B or B+, so I was pleasantly surprised.

The thesis was meant to be because I am more excited about the prospects than when I started this process. This thesis and the MLS program (Master of Liberal Studies) was meant to be a community service-oriented degree, and I intend on doing good things with it!

The final steps are to format the thesis so it can be bound and published in the library. I will receive my diploma in December 2015. Thank goodness!

The takeaway from this post is that I followed a dream and completed a goal. Life is short--take a risk, follow your heart, and follow your dream!