Prairie Wife of the Week January 9, 2015
Posted January 9, 2015 by Prairie Wife -
Several years ago The Cowboy and I headed up to the small town in Northern Wyoming where he grew up. We spent several days with SisterInLaw1 and her family, and made sure to stop by and visit some old family friends, who are in their 90’s now. They played a huge part in The Cowboy’s life and we always take the time to bring the Cowkids by for a short but always sweet visit. This time when we stopped by were were surprised to see that they already had visitors! It turned out to be Karen and her 3 children. We chatted away and bonded over our busy kids and love of life out West. We exchanged names and reconnected over FaceBook. I had noticed last year that a link to a poetry and photography site called LitteHouseInAmerica.com kept on showing up on her timeline. One day I clicked it and found myself immersed in a charming blog. I found myself adding it to my regular list of blogs I stop by weekly. The poems and pictures were often a calming breath of fresh air in my week. Imagine my surprise when I realized that Karen was the blogger and author of the poems I had enjoyed so much! I knew I had to have her as one of our Prairie Wives and I am so pleased to introduce her and her work to our readers. While I am an avid reader I can’t say that I often read books of poetry. But, Karen’s poems are so heartfelt and place such beautiful and vivid images into my mind that I became and instant fan. Her love of family, her passion for her writing, her appreciation for the wonders of nature, as well as her ability to listen to her inner voice make her the perfect Prairie Wife of the Week!
Prairie Wife (PW): First tell us a little bit about you and your family.
Karen (K): I grew up in Connecticut; when I was 13 my parents moved our whole family to a non-working ranch in Wyoming. My dad was ready for a change of pace from his job in Manhattan and my mom, who grew up on a dairy farm in Upstate, New York was eager to get back to her country roots. My mom and dad met in Manhattan and always joked about how they must have been the only two Manhattanites who loved hunting, (so of course Wyoming seemed like the perfect place for them to move)! As soon as we moved, I fell in love with the open skies of the west, the people of Wyoming and the ranching lifestyle. I went to boarding school in Colorado for High School, and after college in California knew I wanted to go back to Colorado or Wyoming to live. My three kids, husband and I currently reside in northern Colorado where I can still sneak up to Wyoming and get my fix when I need!
PW: Before you became a stay at home mom (if you don’t like this phrase feel free to switch it out) you taught English/Creative writing was that challenging in this increasingly tech focused age?
K: I took a break from teaching High School (eight years ago) right when technology was starting to require a lot more from teachers in and out of the classroom. Managing students’ cell-phones was a huge issue, and incorporating the most up-to-date programs and technology into lesson plans was becoming the new standard. Technology is both a blessing and a curse for teachers, because while it makes certain things more complicated and difficult, it also makes it easier for students to turn in papers online, or keep up with lessons and homework through their teachers’ websites. The increased accessibility and communication means that there is little excuse for a student to be unprepared. It can also discourage plagiarism and cheating because information is so easy to find and trace.
PW: You currently have a blog called LittleHouseInAmerica.com where you share your daily experiences through poetry and photography, what led you to start this blog?
K: After having my first two children pretty close together, I realized that I wasn’t living in the moment like I always pictured myself doing before I had kids. When I was teaching, I used to tell my creative writing students to walk around their world as if they had a camera around their neck—to look for the things around them that might be seemingly mundane, but had the potential to be turned into the most fantastic, beautiful image if they could just get down on their knees and look at something from a different angle or lens, then describe it using words. I decided that I needed to be doing that for my kids and myself as a way to remember and cherish those whirlwind first years of parenting. Certain looks from my kids; a snowstorm outside their bedroom window while they were taking a nap; a coyote on my jog—changing a diaper. I just needed to change my lens, slow down and see how awesome and amazing all of those moments really were. I’ve always loved writing and photography, so LittleHouseInAmerica was born after I decided I really wanted to share those moments with others.
PW: I think that poetry in this age is an art form that is misunderstood and even overlooked. Can you share what you love about writing poetry?
K: I love writing poetry because if fulfills something within me to write it. It feels like the greatest endorphin rush to put words together on a page in such a way that I am relaying a moment the way I wanted, and in a way that (I think) sounds melodious and nice when it rolls off the tongue. It replaces chocolate or a fit of temper when I am broody, or a jog when I can’t get outside.
PW: You are also currently working on a novel can you tell us how you find time with three kids to write, and also your process?
K: I have to treat my writing like a job, and have just recently come to terms with the fact that being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t mean I can’t designate separate “work” time for my writing on a daily basis. Even though my writing is not paying the bills, I have to respect the process and my long-term writing goals enough, to treat it like it is worth the time. A huge part of the writing process for me, has been to do it every day. In the past, I wasted too much time trying to figure out what my own process was, (like there was this magic formula I was supposed to follow), that I didn’t realize the only way to truly figure it out, was to keep writing, making mistakes, and keep on writing some more. Even when I don’t feel like it, or am not sure about where my story is going, I just have to keep those juices flowing so that I keep on pushing and learning new things about myself and things I didn’t expect to end up on the page.
PW: Many of your poems are about your childhood out west, growing up living off the land, and just enjoying nature. What do you hope your readers will learn when they read your work?
K: I really want my readers to feel that no matter the differences we all have in the way we were raised or in our chosen system of beliefs, there really are so many common values we share in our relationships, for ourselves, and in our way of seeing the world.
PW: Physical activity is a big part of your life, can you share more about that?
K: My running, since the time I discovered a runner’s high in college, has been such a centering force in my life. The amount of times I have gone on a jog in the worst mood possible and returned a better person, has been countless. I am not fast, and my form leaves a lot to be desired, but my love of running has allowed me to finish six marathons around our beautiful country. Running and writing has always gone hand-in-hand for me too…Just like a clean room, my mind needs to be cleared of the clutter with some good old-fashioned cardio before I can sit down and write 🙂
PW: Any last Prairie Wife words of wisdom for our readers?
K: Keep on being honest with, and checking in with that little voice inside of you who can so easily get lost in the business of life. Keep listening to what she cares about and wants, and devise a plan for her to go after that!
PW: Karen will be stopping by throughout the week to respond to any questions and comments. If you like her work please Like her FaceBook page and receive regular updates about her blog and writing!
Categories: Prairie Wife of the Week