‘I Didn’t Break The Lamp’ is out!

My short story “Exit Interview” is included in the anthology I Didn’t Break The Lamp: Historical Accounts of Imaginary Acquaintances, published today by DefCon One. I hope you’ll buy a copy of the book, as it’s quite entertaining. I’m honored to be included among these 25 other talented authors.

Cover image of I Didn't Break The Lamp, ed. Dawn Vogel and Jeremy Zimmerman
I Didn’t Break The Lamp is available in print and eBook.

“Exit Interview” was a difficult story to write. It took years to develop in my imagination, and, although it never really happened, some of the details have roots in a nonfiction book I’ve been working on concurrently. It is deeply meaningful to me, and I’m glad to be able finally to share it.

I hope you will give this anthology a try. Who among us doesn’t need to call on an imaginary friend now and again? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book. It’s available from Kindle and other retailers.

What you write

What you need to write for yourself.

What you ought to write for others.

What you enjoy writing.

What you enjoy having written.

What they tell you they want you to write.

What they secretly want you to write.

What they don’t know they want you to write.

What they will actually take the time to read.

What they will be better for having read.

What will catch their attention.

What will earn you a living.

What represents who you are.

What you realize you could have written.

What it takes for you to start with a blank page.

Recommended podcast episode: How your personality type drives your creative process

art_stuff_podcastLauren Sapala never liked planning her writing projects. Then she learned about personality theory and began to understand why. Now she’s a writing coach. Now she’s on Episode 7 of the “Art Stuff” podcast, “Creativity For Introverts & Empaths INFJ & INFP Personality Types,” interviewed by Jessica Johannesen.


INFJs tend to make clear, firm decisions based on other people’s feelings and then are able to move on. They have single-minded focus on a project they want to pursue intensely.

By contrast, INFPs may take extra time to make decisions based on their own feelings and, after deciding, may need to “backpedal” based on how they feel about the decision “in their body.” They need to spread their creative attention between multiple simultaneous projects. Because of this, they may have more difficulty serving a linearly product-driven model in a corporate environment.

Both processes are valid. It’s also normal to need unstructured time to allow unexpected ideas to surface and to feel grief when a creative project ends.

Whether we are content with our own processes may depend on whether we have a deep-seated belief about the need to hide the way we really think and to change ourselves to fit a different model. Self-doubt will always come in waves, like all other emotions, but, if you’re familiar and comfortable with your personality type and creative style, you may be better able to predict and handle your moments of self-doubt.

Listen to this podcast; it’s an enlightening conversation!

Sapala is the author of The INFJ Writer, a guide for sensitive intuitive writers, and Firefly Magic: Heart Powered Marketing for Highly Sensitive Writers. www.laurensapala.com

Among my favorite poems read in 2019

After spending 2018 with poems of grief (as previously posted on this blog: Part 1: Immediacy, Part 2: Identity, Part 3: What Happens Next), I continued to read more poems. Here’s what I stumbled across during the first eight months of 2019. Because I felt differently in 2019, poems began to feel differently to me. Jennifer Atkinson, “From the Psalter,” in Drowned City
Robert Creeley, “Song”
Alexandra Teague, “Selfie with Pomona: The Goddess of Abundance,” in Or What We’ll Call Desire
Frank O’Hara, “My Heart”, “Poem”
Mary Jo Bang, “Consider This Corruption”
Cristina M. R. Norcross, “Leave the Light On
Rainer Maria Rilke, [i’m not sure yet when]
Gerald Stern, “Song”
Lucille Clifton, [i am accused of tending to the past], “mother-tongue: to the child just born”
Yusef Komunyakaa, “Kindness”
Mary Oliver, “Spring”
Frank Bidart, “Things Falling From Great Heights”
Li-Young Lee, “One Heart”
Carl Phillips, “To Be Worn Openly at the Wrist, or at the Chest and Hidden,” “White Dog,” “That It Might Save, Or Drown Them,”
Dorianne Laux, “Dust,” “Joy”
Keegan Lester, [“to all of this which does not just seem, but is extraordinary…”]
Franz Wright, [“Kneeling…”]
Anna Akhmatova. “A land not mine…,” “[Everything is plundered, betrayed, sold]”
W. S. Merwin, “The Room,” “Elegy,” “The Solstice,” “Still Morning,” “Song of the Barren Orange Tree”
Olena Kalytiak Davis, “six apologies, lord”
D.H. Lawrence, [“What is the knocking?”]
Devon Balwit, “Blood Rites”
Chelsea Dingman, “It’s Possible a Mother’s Body is Elegy,” “Winter Solstice,” “Peripeteia”
Kathy Fagan, “Perpendicular,” “Blue”
Katie Ford, “Little Belief,” in Blood Lyrics
Vladimír Holan, “Snow”
Czeslaw Milosz, “In Common”
Noor Ibn Najam, “Revised Surah”
Tess Gallagher, “Trace, in Unison”
Wislawa Szymborska, “An Unexpected Meeting” [trans. Stanislaw Barańczak & Clare Cavanagh]
Catherine Barnett, “Uncertainty Principle at Dawn”
Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné, “How to Break a Curse”
Marie Howe, “Without Music”
Blythe Baird, “An invitation”
Laura Fargas, “Winter, Leper of the World”
Diane Wakoski, “3 of Swords,” in Inside the Blood Factory
Phillip B. Williams, “Bound,” in Thief in the Interior
Elizabeth Bishop, “Casabianca,” “Keaton”
Nazim Hikmet, “Occupation”
Nicole Sealey, “Object Permanence”
Agha Shahid Ali, “After You”
Dean Young, “Cotton in a Pill Bottle”
Donika Kelly, “Love Poem: Mermaid”
Sophie Klahr, “Before Results”
Joanna Klink, “Pericardium,” “The Graves” (in Raptus), “Winter Field”
Maxine Kumin, “After Love”
Amy Meng, “Recovery,” in Bridled
Ahmad Shamlu, “Nocturnal”
Galway Kinnell, “On Frozen Fields”
Thomas James, “The Wharf”
Danusha Laméris, “Small Kindnesses”
Chase Berggrun, R E D
Ruth Awad, “In the gloaming, in the roiling night”
Tomás Q. Morín, “Circus Pony”
Jericho Brown, “Correspondence,” The Tradition
Rick Barot, “The Wooden Overcoat”
A. R. Ammons, “Gravelly Run”
Gwendolyn Brooks “Paul Robeson” Family Pictures
Lucia Perillo, “Given Unlimited Space, the Dead Expand Limitlessly” in Luck is Luck
Kelli Russell Agodon, “What I Call Erosion”
Jenny George, “The Drowning”
Tomas Tranströmer, “Black Postcards” [trans. Joanna Bankier], “Sketch in October” [trans. Robin Fulton]
Jean Valentine, “my words to you”
Danez Smith, “a note on the body”
Sneha Subramanian Kanta, “Post-Elegy”
Geffrey Davis, “What Make a Man”
Victorian Chang, “Mostly Ocean”
Carmen Giménez Smith, “Origins” in Be Recorder
C. T. Salazar, “Poem About Changing My Name + An Elegy,” in This Might Have Meant Fire
Shannon Sankey, “Grave”
Maire Ponsot, “Bliss and Grief”
César Vallejo, “There Are Days, There Comes to Me an Exhuberant, Political Hunger” [trans. Clayton Eshleman]
Keith S. Wilson, “I Find Myself Defending Pigeons”
Seamus Heaney, “Postscript”
Sasha Fletcher, “abide with me”
Mark Strand, “The Coming of Light”
Lora Rivera, “[What are the limits of empathy?]”
Richard Hugo, “The Hilltop”
Kathryn Nuernberger, “Rag and Bone Man”
George Kovalenko, “Spooky Action at a Distance”
Chen Chen, “I’m not a religious person but”
Alice Branco, “Water on Stone” [trans. Alexis Levitin]
Heather Christle, “Religious Practice,” “Suggested Donation”
Amorak Huey, “Portrait of My Brother as Indiana Jones” in Boom Box; “The River Beyond the Pasture”
Alison C. Rollins, “To Whoever Is Reading Me”
Justin Phillip Reed, “On Being a Grid One Might Go Off Of” in Indecency
Aracelis Girmay, “Ode to the Brain,” in Teeth
Stephen Dunn, “After Making Love”
Michele Bombardier, “What We Do”
Alberto Ríos, “Sudden Smells, Sad Songs”
Elizabeth Lyons, “Death Roll”
Ansel Elkins, “Coffin Bone”
Desirée Alvarez, “‘Un Tintero,’ Inkwell”
Reginald Dwayne Betts, “I’m Learning Nothing This Night”
Gretchen Marquette, “Macrocosm/Microcosm,” in May Day
Leila Chatti, “The Rules,” “Postcard from Gone”
Bob Hicok, “Amen,” “Confessions of a Nature Lover”
Daniel Simko, “Coda”
Richard Siken, “Landscape with a Blur of Conquerors”, “Landscape with Black Coats in Snow”
Linda Gregg, “Grinding the Lens”,  “Christ Loved Being Housed,” “Heavy with Things and Flesh,” and (from In the Middle Distance) “Even If the Gods Look Down”
Louise Glück, “Matins,” “Sunset,” “October,” “The Night Migrations” 
Adrienne Rich, “My heart is moved by all I cannot save—” “The Dream of a Common Language,” “IX,” “XVIII”
Stanley Plumly, “Infidelity,” “Fifth and 94th,” “At Night,” “Jesus Wept”
Audre Lorde, “Sister Outsider”
Ada Limón, “The Millionth Dream of Your Return,” “The Conditional,” “In a Mexican Restaurant I Recall How Much You Upset Me”
Jessica Abughattas, “Dinner Party”
Larry Levis, “Though His Name Is Infinite, My Father Is Asleep”
Rosa Alice Branco, “No Complaint Book” (translated by Alexis Levitin)
Wanda Coleman, “In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Forever,” “Nocturne”
Shannon K. Winston, “Shame Is a Bull”
Joy Harjo, “Remember,” “Speaking Tree,” “For Keeps”
John Ashbery, “Loving Mad Tom,” “Feverfew”
Carolyn Forché, The Country Between Us
Marianne Boruch, “He was touched or he touched or,” in The Book of Hours
Hala Alyan, “You’re not a girl in a movie”
Robert Hass, “Faint Music,” in Sun Under Wood
T’ai Freedom Ford, “namesake”
Maggie Smith, “Good Bones,” “December 18, 2008,” “First Fall”
Carolina Ebeid, “Dead Dead Darlings”
George Oppen, “The Gesture”
Carrie Fountain, “Will You?”
Kaylin Haught, “God Says Yes to Me”
Amy Gerstler, “Poof”
Galway Kinnell, “Crying”
Julia Beach, “sudden the homecoming”
Maggie Nelson, “The Beginner”
Rosemary Tonks, “On the advantage of being ill-treated by the World”
Luisa Muradyan, “Clams”
Tess Gallagher, “Kiss Without a Body”
Jane Hirshfield, “A Person Protests to Fate”
Jane Hirshfield, “Falcon”
Tiana Clark, “Conversation with Phillis Wheatley #1,” from I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood
Keetje Kuipers, “Native Species,” “Picking Huckleberries as the World Ends” in All Its Charms

Denis Johnson, “Looking Out the Window Poem”
Rita Dove, “Pithos”
Claudia Emerson, “Metaphor”
Todd Smith, “In This Kingdom,” “The Past”
Mary Jean Chan, “The Window,” Flèche
Alicia Mountain, “A Deer Mistaken for a Statue of a Deer”
Lonely Christopher, “For Light”
Mary Ruefle, “Errand,” “The Tenor of Your Yes,” “Kiss of the Sun”
Shara McCallum, “A storm / is an opportunity for all to to be given / form.”
Lee Potts, “Traces”
Matthew Zapruder, “Scarecrow,” American Linden
Franz Wright, “Promise,” “Request”
Jason Shinder, “Morning”
Lauren Clark, “Carmina 101”
Rimbaud, “The Visionary”
Louise Glück, “Landscape”
Morgan Parker, “We Are the House That Holds the Table at Which Yes We Will Happily Take a Goddamn Seat,” “The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady & The Dead & The Truth”
Lisel Mueller, “Joy”
Anne Lauterbach, “Some of Us, in Spell
Sharon Olds, “Aria to Our Miscarried One, Age 50 Now”
Bianca Stone, “Elegy with a Swear Word”
Talin Tahajian, “Tragedy”
Wendell Berry, “Do Not Be Ashamed”
Nick Flynn, “God’s Will,” in I Will Destroy You
Shara Lessley, “The Explosive Expert’s Wife”
Marie Howe, “One of the Last Days”
James Merrill, “The Mad Scene”
Maria Isabelle Carlos, “Clean
Lauren Licona, “genesis of the daughter isotope”
Jubi Arriola-Headley, “Transubstantiation”
Chelsea Rathburn, “Apology,” in A Raft of Grief
Anna Ross, “Self-Portrait at Tree Line”
Matthew Olzmann, “My Invisible Horse and the Speed of Human Decency”
Sean Shearer, “Rewinding an Overdose on a Projector”
Paige Ackerson-Kiely, “Administration”
Page Hill Starzinger, “And: Still”
Sandra Lim, “Wintering” in The Wilderness
Erica Hunt, “The Massacre of Rocks” in Time Slips Right Before Your Eyes
Jack Underwood, “The Upshot,” in Solo for Mascha Voice Lisa Zimmerman, “In Early December”

Nifty non-fic about novels with eunuch villains…free for Kindle! (limited time)

For a few days only, Painting Dragons is a free download for Kindle! Now through Monday 27 May 2019 (through midnight Pacific). If you haven’t heard of this book, learn more, or just go ahead and download it — you’ve got nothing to lose!

Painting Dragons book cover image
“Painting Dragons: What Storytellers Need to Know About Writing Eunuch Villains” by Tucker Lieberman