Category Archives: collaboration

A Virtual Interview with Loueva Smith

Loueva Smith will be the featured reader Thursday, October 13, 2016 7:15 – 9:00 p.m. at BookWoman.

Background

Poet and playwright Loueva Smith of Houston is the winner of the 2015 Robert Phillips Chapbook Prize, awarded by Texas Review Press, for Consequences of a Moonless Night. She is also the author of The Book Of Wool And Fur, a hand-made fur-covered collection of love poems. Her poems have been published in such journals as DoubleTake and the Louisiana Review, and anthologized in Goodbye, Mexico, Untamable City, The Weight Of Addition, and TimeSlice. Her poetry is spoken as narration in Shamed, a dance film by Frame Dance Production, choreographed by Lydia Hance, has  been painted into nude watercolors by Cookie Wells for the artist’s 2015 show, Body Language, at Archway Gallery in Houston, Texas.Her work has also been presented in a dance performance by jhon stronks called Purging Honey at Rice University. Her play Tenderina was staged at Frenetic Theater in Houston, Texas.

The Interview

CH: When did you first start thinking of yourself as a writer? What inspired you to become a writer?

LS: I’ve written since I was a teenager but I don’t think I ever knew, or really understood myself as a writer until I started reading my poems out loud to people. Once I felt that connection to other poets listening to me, my understanding of myself as a writer deepened. I first read out loud when I was forty, and I’m fifty six now.

My inspiration to be a writer comes from a sense that by writing things down in an intuitive and skillful way I can become more deeply aware. I want to say I love you in a way that has my breath and my easily teary eyes in it, or the troubling dream I had last night. I need language to use as a container for the tenderness and bitterness of memory. I sense the power of knowing how to name my terror, or my astonishment, or my urgent yearning. In some ways, writing helps me to make power out of my powerlessness.

CH: Your work includes plays as well as poetry. How would you describe your identity as a writer? Do you have writing interests beyond poetry and drama?

LS: I think of poems as little performances. I often see them on a stage with lighting and props, movements and costumes. Sometimes a poem starts with notes about how it could be acted out.

I’m very drawn to the need to tell stories. And I’m variously drawn to ways of telling stories. I love to explore the various ways of not just telling a story but of ritualizing one.

Words are so constantly with us and in us. Once I got curious about that and wrote a story/poem partly in a book and partly on my body. I was trying to find out which words belonged on my body and which belonged on the page…and where on my body did they belong…and once they were on the page, did they need a picture?

CH: Tell us a little about your path as a poet and playwright. How did you go about growing and expanding your skills?

LS: Working with an actor and a director is the best experience a writer can have because they mostly only want to know one thing; what’s the motivation? An actor cannot act a symbol. It has to be real, alive, have a motivation like hunger.

A director gets under the skin of the character and can ask a writer very penetrating questions about the backstory which is a kind of hidden text that isn’t spoken but is implied in the actor’s gestures and clothing and tone of voice.

I think poetry is greatly constructed around implication, or a kind of backstory. Poets call it connotation.

So…I love processes that teach me about the nuances of language and communication…but like all writers I’ve had to earn my identity as a writer by writing which takes so much solitude and sometimes it makes me sad to spend time doing that instead of being with friends and family.

CH: What is your relationship with the world of dance? Tell us a little about your experiences with having your work danced.

LS: I saw Lydia Hance do movement to a story by Diana Weeks, and it was so magical how she made the words into almost physical objects. It felt like she was putting the story into my hands…setting it on my lap. She made the words prick, or curve, or scurry away.

I sought her out and tried to learn from her. I collaborated with her and her dancers on a few dance films which she choreographed from writing prompts and texts. She’d watch us put our words into movement and then distill phrases of our movement into choreography. Sometimes, she’d sit watching us with tears streaming down her cheeks.

It is an enthralling art form to put poetry and movement together.

Lydia danced to an art opening for Cookie Wells at Archway Gallery. Cookie had painted a series of watercolor nudes with lines from my love poems written along the lines of the figures and in the background. Lydia did a dance interpretation with the watercolor images surrounding her and me sitting off to the side saying poems. That performance is something that still gives me goose bumps.

CH: What inspired The Book of Wool and Fur, with its hand-made fur cover? How did you go about having it produced?

LS: The Book of Wool and Fur came out of a doomed and impossible love affair. I presented it at the Houston Fringe Festival, and my performance can be seen on YouTube. It’s pretty dramatic storytelling with a poetic dialogue in the middle.

My friends and I cut out fake-fur and glued it to three hundred hand-made copies of stapled text. I gave them away for free and billed it as a book of Lesbian love poetry. I also made an audio recording of the book and will give away those CDs  at BookWoman on Thursday the 13th.

CH: Some of the publicity for “Tenderina” describes it as “the surreal story of a stripper/ballerina and her journey to self-revelation.” What role does surrealism play in your work as a whole? How was this protagonist developed?

LS: I love surrealism because it surprises me. It feels like a surrealist moment has the power to jog my memory all the way down to its roots.

“Tenderina” is a dance/play about the trial of Tenderina. She is on trial for having a dead kitten for a heart. She is carrying around a huge pink egg which is the focus of the interrogation  because she can’t set it down, doesn’t know where it came from, or if it is saying something. It seems to be haunted somehow.

She can’t give an accurate account of this huge egg except she knows it can be easily broken. The prosecutor gets so angry he jerks it away from her and a dead kitten falls out. (Not a real one. No animals were harmed in the production.)

I play a one-eyed voyeur. I live under the stage platform at the strip club. I watch Tenderina and when she discovers me our hair becomes entangled. We walk around tied together by our hair. I’ve seen her practicing ballet moves. She has so perfected her ballet that does a fire-walking act on stilettos with military-grade bullets for heels. When the bullets get almost hot enough to explode she does spectacular high kicks out into audience. Thus, she is empowered, and as her mentor my character counsels her to give up stripping for ballet.

CH: I understand that “Tenderina” was a collaboration involving film and dance, in addition to the script. What role does collaboration play for you as an author? How has your own work evolved in response to working in collaboration?

LS: I love collaboration because it stretches me. I’m endlessly curious about the intersections between artists. Of course, all such intersections are on the outskirts of town, but it is there that magic is made. I mean, both “Tenderina” and Lydia’s dance performance at Archway gallery were so unique, and had within them a fleeting incandescence…or…a shimmering that lasted for a moment signaling possibilities. Collaborations have at times filled me with a rush of joy. Collaborations can be difficult. They are made of listening and responding from your real self.

CH: How were the poems of Consequences of a Moonless Night selected? How did you decide on sending the manuscript to the Robert Phillips Chapbook Contest at Texas Review Press?

LS: Of course, Robert Phillips is an incredible poet and scholar of confessional poetry. Who isn’t captured by Sylvia Plath? Who doesn’t remember the first time they met up with her book Ariel? But confessional poetry doesn’t have much to do with why I chose the contest.

I selected the poems with the intention of telling the story of my family and of showing at the end who I grew up to be. There is a falling off a cliff moment in the book where things turn from memory to more urgent matters. I wrote it while I was grieving the death of my brother. I was very aware of my family because of his passing.

I sent the book to the Robert Phillips Chapbook Contest because I graduated from Sam Houston State University. I wanted to give part of myself back to the university, and I have great respect for the Texas Review Press.

CH: What are you working on now?

LS: I’m working on a book called “What The Music Wants.” It is set in Houston. The speaker’s name is Zoe. She works at the Jung Center. She is fifty years old and is giving an account of her life’s journey by recalling all of her lovers and recipes.

CH: Whose poetry inspires and delights you? What is the most recent book of poetry you’ve read?

LS: I most recently read Vanessa Zimmer-Powell’s manuscript called “Girl Eating Bird.” It is a series of poems based on responses to paintings which she hopes to find a publisher for. She came over for a swim in my above-ground pool and we talked about the poems in it.

I love poetry so much. I love to go to readings. I love that there are a lot of readings going on in Houston. I will buy books of poetry whether I know the poet or not. Poets are just such interesting people with gorgeous souls.

The poet who first bewitched me was Emily Dickinson. The one who helped me find the voice for Consequences of a Moonless Night was Charles Simic. He is so incredibly imaginative.

The one who taught me how to write poetry was Paul Ruffin. There is always something dark hidden under the layers, or the waters of his poems.

The one who made me go temporarily insane was Coleman Barks with those recording he did of his translations of Rumi.

The one who most changed my understanding of poetry was Alicia Ostriker and her book of scholarship on women’s poetry called Stealing the Language.

The one I always come back to is Elizabeth Bishop.

A Virtual Interview with Donna Snyder

Poet Donna Snyder will be the featured reader on Thursday, January 8, from 7:15 to 9:00 at BookWoman (5501 N. Lamar) for November’s 2nd Thursday Poetry Reading and Open Mic.

Background

Donna Snyder publishes work in literary journals and anthologies throughout the United States and on-line, and has presented readings in Sitka, Alaska, Venice and Santa Monica, California, Boston, New York City, Denver, and throughout New Mexico and Texas. Her book reviews appear in Red Fez, the El Paso Times, and other venues. She is a contributing editor to Return to Mago, an international webzine which since 2012 has featured a continuing series of her poems based on the divine feminine principle and the role of women in world culture. Her poetry is featured monthly in VEXT Magazine, a webzine of international art and literature.

Virgo Gray Press released her chapbook, I Am South, in 2010, which was resissued in 2014. In 2014, Chimbarazu Press published her collection Poemas ante el Catalfaco: Grief and Renewal. NeoPoiesis Press will publish her book Three Sides of the Same Moon in 2015. She is working on a poetry collection for Slough Press.

Snyder’s work as an activist lawyer advocating on behalf of indigenous people, immigrant workers, and people with disabilities has garnered multiple prizes and recognitions. She founded the Tumblewords Project in 1995, and continues to coordinate its free weekly workshops and other events.

The Interview

CH: I gather from your biographical sketch that you’ve been in the El Paso area for some time. How long have you lived in El Paso? Where else have you lived?

DS: In my early thirties, while living in Santa Fe, by some fortuity I joined a series of writing groups led by established writers Miriam Sagan, Joan Logghe, Judyth Hill, and Natalie Goldberg. I wrote mostly stories, linked together by recurrent characters and place. Joan gave me a bilingual book of poems by Pablo Neruda and César Vallejo. This book changed my life, introducing me to a type of poetry that appealed to both mind and heart. Another factor was moving to Las Cruces, where I read each week at an open mic. No one there had a preconceived notion that I could only write fiction, so I started writing more poetry. Once I began the Tumblewords Project, weekly workshops that focus on writing on the spot and reading aloud, I found poetry was easier to create in that format.

CH: Living in a border city offers unique opportunities and challenges. How has living on the border influenced your work? What kinds of collaborations occur between artistic groups on the two sides of the border?

DS: Living aqui en la frontera, here on the border between Mexico and the US, has had a major impact on my poetry. I speak, write, joke, argue, and think in el idioma fronteriza, that is, Spanglish. The sound and rhythms of Spanish permeate my writing, without conscious thought or intent. This area is or was home to some of the greatest Chicano/a writers: Felipe de Ortego y Gasca, Ben Saenz, Arturo Islas, Denise Chávez, Pat Mora, Ray González, Ricardo Sánchez, José Burciaga, Lalo Delgado, Juan Contreras, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Sergio Troncoso, Daniel Chacón, Ana Castillo—the influence is pervasive.

As for bi-national collaboration between artists, from its inception Tumblewords has been a tri-state project, with participants from New Mexico, Texas, and Chihuahua, incorporating Mexican writers, artists, musicians, actors, and playwrights into workshop presentations, performance events, and art shows. For years a young man rode his bicycle across the international bridge every Saturday to write in the Tumblewords workshops. There have been other bi-national projects, such as Free Hole Slam and BorderSenses, to name just two. Moreover, through collaboration with universities and arts groups on both sides of the border, Tumblewords presenters have been from throughout the US, from Los Angeles and San Francisco to New York City and Washington D.C., from throughout Mexico, as well as from Chile, Peru, Cuba, Hungary, Jamaica, and Hungary.

CH: The last two decades, the news about Juarez has frequently been terrible: the murders of hundreds of women; the rise of the drug cartels and violence associated with them. How have El Paso’s literary and artistic communities responded? How have ties between the artistic communities in Juarez and El Paso been affected by the changing social landscapes on both sides of the border?

DS: The Juárez terrors-femicides and narco wars-and the post 9/11 difficulties imposed on border crossers have reduced bi-national projects to some extent. Everyone in Juárez has been affected, and consequently also friends, families, and colleagues throughout El Paso. Many artists I know are also activists. We demonstrate on both sides of the border, on the bridges, in front of the consulates. Our writing and art serve as testament to the lives lost, the disappearances, the terror endured, the anguish suffered.

CH: How has your work as an activist lawyer influenced your poetry?

DS: Working as an advocate for indigenous people, immigrant workers, and people with mental and physical disabilities blew the borders of my small-town-Texas mind to smithereens. I was able to attend college and law school courtesy of scholarships, loans, my tips from waiting tables, and support from my family as was feasible. Nonetheless, working for and with my clients and colleagues provided a much more direct understanding of the cruelty and stupidity of racism and other forms of exclusion. All of my experiences increased my awareness of the defining differences and commonalities of diverse cultures, and expanded my concepts of the nature of reality, spirit, religious beliefs, philosophy, surrealism, and more, all of which has undoubtedly fed my writing.

CH: 2014 has been a busy year for you, with the reissue of I Am South by Virgogray Press and the publication of Poemas ante el Catafalco: Grief and Renewal by Chimbarazu Press. And Three Sides of the Moon is coming out in 2015 from NeoPoiesis Press. Tell us a little about these books.

Virgogray Press, located in Austin, first published I Am South as a chapbook in 2010. Michael Casares had read my poetry on-line and asked me to send him a few dozen poems. He chose the ones he liked, put the poems in order, chose a title and voila! This year Virgogray reissued I Am South as a perfect bound book.

Poemas ante el Catafalco: Grief and Renewal also came about by the publisher’s invitation. Guillermo Echanique, a performance poet from Brooklyn, started Chimbarazu Press by releasing a few digital books. He, too, was familiar with my work from reading it on-line, and had seen me perform in New York City twice. After my husband died suddenly at age 54 in October 2013, Guillermo contacted me with the concept and title, part Spanish and part English, like my poems. The first half addresses grief born from personal bereavement, public tragedies, and catastrophic events. The second half of the book reflects recovery from grief through creativity, productivity, and loving relationships.

Three Sides of the Same Moon is slated to come out next year from NeoPoiesis Press, of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. They issued a call for submissions and I sent a manuscript relates to women’s roles as goddess, crone, and oracle, the source of abundance, law, writing, healing, and wisdom, and the erasure of those concepts by a violent and misogynous culture.

My most recent good news is that Alicia Winski has informed me that she wants her press, Seattle-based Nightwing Publications, to publish my next book, whatever it might become.

CH: Talk a little about the collection you’re working on for Slough Press. Are other collections also in the works? Do you see your series in Return to Mago eventually becoming a book?

DS: Chuck Taylor asked me to send him a hundred or hundred and fifty poems. He chose several dozen and sent them back to me with instructions to edit them as I saw fit and put them in order. The manuscript contains earlier poems, and so needs more work than my more recent manuscripts. I have great respect for Slough Press, which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, and want to transform this pile of papers in a manila folder into a strong collection worthy of publication.

I am a contributing editor for poetry for Return to Mago, an international webzine that addresses the divine female principle and women’s roles both currently and throughout history. The other editors have honored me by publishing a number of my poems that address these issues, several of which will be included in Three Sides of the Same Moon.

CH: You’ve had quite a bit of success finding publishers for your work. How have you gone about identifying candidate publishers for your work? What is your process for readying a manuscript for submission to a publisher?

DS: I have been extraordinarily fortunate that three publishers have solicited manuscripts from me. The book with NeoPoiesis Press is the only manuscript I submitted in competition with other writers, and without denigrating the value of my work, I consider myself lucky to have mine chosen. I have been reading NeoPoiesis authors for almost a decade. I own several of their books. I also have Slough Press books, and scads of other books from small, independent presses and far flung writers. I contribute to anthologies and journals, and have over a hundred publication credits to my name. “Cast your bread upon the waters” is the single Bible verse that has stuck with me these decades after leaving church behind me. If you want to be published, you need to buy books by other writers, support independent publishers, and submit individual pieces of your work for publication.

As far as preparing a manuscript, I begin by combing my computer folders and throwing potential poems into a folder with some general title such as goddesses or physics or raza. When I feel that I have gleaned most of the poems pertaining to the subject, I print them out and read them, revising as I go, then shuffle them like cards, shuffle and read, shuffle and read. The sequence of the poems is fluid, and I’m not sure where it comes from, some intuitive place, I think, more than calculation. I print out the revised versions and read them through. At this point, I create a Word document and copy and paste the poems into that document, hard page breaks separating each poem, and making the font, spacing, margins, and other format matters uniform. I create a prior publication list a page for a dedication and another for acknowledgements, then add pagination and a table of contents. All this said, I’ve only prepared two manuscripts of my own, and one chapbook for another person. So my advice may or may not be of value.

CH: Name five of your favorite poets.

DS: This list can change from day to day, or even hour to hour, but perennial favorites are Pablo Neruda and Federico García Lorca. At the moment, high on my list would be Will Crawford, Petra Whitely, Phibby Venable, Luke Buckham, Eduardo Galeano (who is technically a historian, but his histories are poetry). Oh, I see I named seven. Math has never been my strong point.

CH: 2015 will be the 20th anniversary year for the founding of the Tumblewords Project. What inspired you to found it? What has sustained you in continuing to be engaged with it?

DS: I modeled it after writing groups in Santa Fe using a series of timed writings, each followed immediately by each person reading aloud what had just been written. After attending my workshop at the first Border Book Festival in Las Cruces, two women from the New Mexico Arts Division took me to lunch and on the basis of a handshake and a subsequent telephone call, I received funding for my first series of weekly workshops. From the beginning prominent writers were willing to both present and participate. In 2001, after the death of my 44 year old partner, I quit writing grant proposals, and ever since have paid presenters by passing the hat. Nonetheless, renowned writers from across the US have been willing to present workshops and give performances year after year.

Tumblewords is a gift to the community, but also a gift to myself. New people continue to come to the weekly workshops I organize, while others have been coming throughout two decades. Writing and reading aloud improves a person’s craft. Hearing other writers read aloud is a learning experience. Weekly participation creates a large body of work and extensive lists of publication and performance credits.

CH: What is the most recent book of poetry you’ve read?

DS: Lupa and Lamb by Susan Hawthorne

A Virtual Interview with Janice R. Campbell and Toni Heringer Falls

Poets Janice R. Campbell and Toni Heringer Falls bring their collaborative poetry performance, Braided Stream: A Poetry Duet, to BookWoman (5501 N. Lamar) for October’s 2nd Thursday Poetry Reading and Open Mic on October 9, 2014 from 6:45 to 9:00 p.m. The evening will start with music from guitarist Renée Suaste beginning at 6:45 p.m., followed by Braided Stream at 7:15 p.m. Campbell and Falls will sign their book, Braided Stream: A Poetry Duet after the open mic.

Background

Janice R. Campbell and Toni Heringer Falls are the co-authors of the collaborative performance and book Braided Stream: A Poetry Duet.

BraidedStream
Janice Rebecca Campbell (right) is a poet, artist, photographer, and graphic designer. Her poems have appeared in anthologies and publications including bottle rockets, The Dreamcatcher, Passager, San Antonio Express-News, tinywords, and Verses, a poetry exhibition celebrating Contemporary Art Month in San Antonio.

Campbell is the author of two books of poetry, pink merrymaking allowed in the midst of green geometry and A Disturbance in the Field: Collected Poems 1971–2013, and co-author of Braided Stream: A Poetry Duet, a collaborative performance and book with poet Toni Heringer Falls.

Toni Heringer Falls (left) graduated from Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX) with a BS in elementary education and from St. Mary’s University (San Antonio, TX) with a MA in counseling. She is a retired teacher, psychotherapist, and an inactive Licensed Professional Counselor. Formerly from Jonesboro, Arkansas, she now lives in San Antonio with her husband and an ill-mannered dog.

Falls’ poetry has been published in anthologies and publications including The Dreamcatcher, San Antonio Express-News, Sustaining Abundant Life, Texas Poetry Calendar, Voices Along the River, and Voices de la Luna. The poem “Gift” won first place in the San Antonio Poetry Fair, 2010.

Falls is currently seeking a publisher for her completed manuscript, Snow in Summer.

The Interview

CH: How would you each describe your own work? How would you describe each other’s work?

THF: Almost all my work consists of stories—stories from my life and from the lives of others. I’ll know when a poem is about to “come up.” (That sounds like I’m preparing to throw-up, but instead, my body resonates, starts to hum, and a central line will begin running through my head non-stop. It won’t stop until I catch it and pen it to paper.) Most of my poems are rather long; it seems to take me awhile to make my point.

Janice’s work is altogether different. We write about many of the same subjects, but she usually writes very short, concise, straight-to- the-heart-of-it poetry. She loves haiku and nails everything within those three short lines. I’m jealous.

JRC: I think Toni’s work and my work have some similarities: The poems are honest and accessible, and we each strive to make poems that are clear-eyed lenses on the world. But our styles and voices are different: Toni’s poems are lush, and longer; my poems are spare, and shorter. We make a good braided stream!

CH: What inspired you to engage in the collaboration that is Braided Stream? Is this your first collaborative work?

THF:  I bow to Janice on this question. The idea of collaborating was entirely hers. She invited me to read with her at Floyd Lamrouex’s “Awaken the Sleeping Poet” venue in San Antonio at Barnes and Noble last September. Then she suggested we try to pair our poems with like-themes and asked what I thought of the title “Braided Stream.” I was all in, even though it was/is my first collaborative work.

JRC:  Braided Stream began as a performance. I was invited to do a one-hour reading and wanted to do something different, shake things up, push the boundaries. I had an inkling that Toni’s and my poems might make a good call-and-response; that two voices, alternating, would be more interesting than one voice; and that an audience might be intrigued listening for echoes.

This is my first poetic collaborative work.

CH: What was your collaborative process? How long did it take to develop your book?

JRC: After our first poetry performance was well-received, we were invited to read at another venue. Toni called to say “Let’s make a book!” It took about six weeks from phone call to having books-in-hand for the second performance. Prep for the first performance consisted of sitting with our two stacks of poems and attempting to match them up one by one—that was a nightmare. The breakthrough came with the idea to put poems in thematic “buckets.” After that, it was a matter of sequencing the poems to make an interesting journey for an audience. The performance has 40 poems; when we decided to make a book, we revisited our work and matched and sequenced 80 poems.

THF:  We met at Janice’s the first time. We piled all our collective work on the table and shuffled paper around for several hours. I left Janice’s that day feeling exhausted, frustrated, and wondering what-in-the-world were we thinking. All we had at that point were some tentative themes coupled with some individual poems that met our criteria. After that first difficult meeting, it all seemed to fall together rather easily. At this point we were only preparing for a sixty-minute reading. We hadn’t even thought about a book.

The book happened months after our first reading, when we were preparing for a second reading in the spring at The Twig Book Shop. I said we’d spent so much time on the venture—why not do a book? I thought Janice might hit me on the head, but she’s a graphic designer by trade and answered, “Why not!”

We fleshed out the themes with additional pairings and the next I know, Janice had done the book! She’s amazing. An electronic moron, sometimes I feel like I’m just along for the ride.

CH: How has this collaborative process changed your own process? What impact has working in a collaboration had on you artistically / personally?

JRC: I don’t think my process changed, but I have tried using some of Toni’s “strategic spacing” in poems, and liked the results. Mostly, I was thankful to have Toni as a partner on this project. She wasn’t deterred by the “staring into the abyss” part of the creative process; she had good ideas for moving things forward; and she was an excellent sounding board.

In the process of choosing poems for Braided Stream I read Toni’s manuscript Snow in Summer and thought it transformational; reading it was life-expanding.

THF: I don’t think the collaboration has changed my own process. Artistically, I would say I now write with a leaner frame of mind. In the beginning I used poetry as a therapeutic process; now I write with more of a world view and social consciousness.

Personally, the impact has been enhancing, enriching, mind expanding. I feel like a universe that’s continually growing, a horizon that’s forever reaching out. Working with Janice has stretched me, humbled me. She’s generous, exacting and always in all ways seeking the truth. Our minds have become so connected that she’ll mention something that’s been on my mind, too. The braided stream has become our relationship.

CH: What’s next for Braided Stream? and what are you each working on now?

JRC: What’s next for Braided Stream: sharing Braided Stream with as many people as are interested. My next project is an illustrated memoir, in poetry.

THF: Janice is encouraging me to publish a manuscript that’s been gathering dust for a number of years. On the other hand, we have Braided Stream bookings through next March; I am content to keep my seat belt fastened and concentrate and on this wild, miraculous ride.