Word Witch

Boston Poetry Marathon 2023

My Reading at My Final Year as an Organizer for the Boston Poetry Marathon



I read in the 12 o’clock hour yesterday in the 2023 Boston Poetry Marathon. My intro and reading starts at 35:35 in the Facebook video.

This year was special for a few reasons. First, my mom and my brother were there for my reading. (They were heading to Fenway for the 13-1 slaughter by Blue Jay).

And the other reason was that it was my final year as an organizer of the Boston Poetry Marathon. It is very fun to organize such a large-scale event as a poetry reading marathon featuring over 100 poets, but it is A LOT of work. I’ve called it my unpaid part-time summer job. And I am absolutely brain dead today. I probably shouldn’t even be making this post. Am I at all comprehendible? (comprehensible? see, this is what I mean.)

But it is a MAGICAL event. All ages, all geographies, all languages, all spiritualities, all heritages, all gender identities, all sexualities, all races, all ethnicities, all aesthetics, all experience levels, all poetic credentials, all poetics, all practices, all forms of poetry, all types of poets perform their work at the Boston Poetry Marathon, and everyone gets 7 minutes a-piece. It’s fortifying and nourishing on an artistic level. Once I take a couple weeks to recover all the energy it takes to put this event on, I’m left with deep appreciation and inspiration.

As the rare breed of Extroverted Poet, being an organizer of literary events the perfect type of thing for me to do–meet, welcome, engage, introduce, converse with lots of people in the purpose of connecting poets to each other, to each other’s work, and to the literary arts in general. I also have a knack for organizing chaos, and chaos it is to wrangle poets, as my friend and poet Andy Peterson called it. Meeting so many people and connecting with them in such a way is my favorite part of the whole process.

But the process does take its toll. As a Cancer-Scorpio-Scorpio, I’m an Ocean Girl. (Perhaps that’s why I’ve always felt right at home in the Ocean State, when I moved here the same summer I started organizing the BPM!) But my beach days, and a lot of other summer enjoyments, like my garden, get neglected in favor of writing email campaigns, calendaring important dates, holding planning meetings, creating the mammoth schedule, and so many other small and big things that go into making the magic happen each year.

It’s been an honor to be a part of the BPM and have this small but meaningful place in Boston poetic history. And now, I get to enjoy it as a participant in future years. And do my herb garden. And make 4x as many summer beach trips (I hope). And write more posts on Notebook Witch (finally). And help my downstairs neighbor as she gets older (that would be my mom 🙂 …). And not have a big old mental load of To Do’s on my mind from April-August. And devote more of that mental load to the 3 boards and 2 committees I belong to in Rhode Island for politics and my UU church. Ha! What can I say? I’m an extrovert and like to get involved!

If anyone in the BPM community is reading this: thank you! I felt a lot of love this weekend and for the past 7 years as an organizer and 14 years as a participant. Looking forward to the future as this marvelous entity continues on in its various iterations. ❤️🤍🖤

Things To Do

Tori Amos Boston Concert Pre-Show Meetup

Tori Amos Boston Concert Pre-Show Meetup at 4pm, Sat July 1 at the Lord Hobo Patio, 2 Drydock Ave, Boston

Please RSVP at the Facebook Event Page, or email me at, subject: Tori Meetup and let me know how many people are planning to come

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if one is in that rare Venn Diagram overlap of “Devout Tori Amos Fan” and “Totally an Extrovert” it is practically one’s duty to organize a pre-show EWF meetup (& I’m quite sure I’m in quoting the from the wrong fandom…) 😆

Therefore, I have organized one again for this year, starting at 4pm. The venue for meetup is the patio at Lord Hobo, 2 Drydock Ave, Boston. I have reserved the patio of Lord Hobo for 20, but they want me to call if we will be a bigger group than that, so please make sure to RSVP on the Facebook Event page or by emailing me.

I organized a pre-show meet up for Tori Amos’s Boston last year, and it was so much fun nerding out with my fellow Ears With Feet (nickname for Tori fans) 🤓🥰🎹

See you all soon!!! 💙💙💙

PS I’m crossposting this all around so you might see it a bunch ☺️

Activist Witch

Juneteenth 2023

Meme with tumbled stones in border background, "Wouldn't it be nice if we knew what stone repelled racism? Protected you from sexist projections? I am tired of every crytal being able to "heal bad vibes and invoke your angel ancestors." Which stones invoke your pissed off ancestors and help you overthrow fascism?"
Meme from SubRosa Magick

I felt this meme would be good to post for today’s holiday, #Juneteenth 🖤❤️💛💚

For me, the spiritual is the political, so to speak. My spiritual practice as a modern pagan Unitarian Universalist solitary eclectic witch is intrinsically tied to my firm belief in equality, equity, and justice for everyone, especially minoritized groups.

I put energy into fighting for those things through volunteer work, and at my paid job doing whatever I can to promote the equity agenda there. And I also do so in my spiritual practice, however I can.

Which brings me to this meme. For me, I don’t think of crystals as wielding power as if in a fantasy story. I think of them as tools to help evoke in oneself the capacity to do what one sets their mind to. In that case, a plain old selenite wand, or clear quartz, touched as I toil away on paid and volunteer work for those thing I mentioned working on, is a crystal for helping promote equity and justice.

Word Witch

Spring 2023 Boston Austen Book Club

Jane Austen’s Letters edited by Deirdre Le Faye, 3rd or 4th edition

Saturday, June 3 at 11am, online event

The next meeting of the Boston Austen Book Club will be Saturday, June 3 at 11am, and we will meet online. (We may try for a late Summer in-person meeting, and we can discuss that at the Spring meeting…)

About the Spring 2023 Book

We’ll be discussing Deirdre Le Faye’s collection of Jane Austen’s Letters. (I’m using the 3rd edition; there’s also a 4th edition but there isn’t much difference between those two.)

This will be too much to talk about the whole book, so just go through and read what compels you and when we meet, we’ll each discuss those bits with the group. Some of us may have overlapping interests in the same parts, or not, but together we’ll help each other get a good sense of this comprehensive work. 

If you don’t have a copy of Le Faye’s collection of Austen letters, you can read the free copy available online at and be sure to note the date of the letters you’ve read and want to discuss so we can refer to them during the discussion.

RSVP Information

You can RSVP at the event page on Facebook, or, if you’re not on Facebook, you can email your RSVP. Please make sure your Webex link matches your RSVP information.

All are welcome – new, returning, and regulars!

Spring BABC 2023 Details

  • Who: Boston Austen Book Club – anyone can join; all you have to do is read the book and come to the meeting (and for this season’s selection, you only have to read what you can of the book)
  • What: Deirdre Le Faye’s “Jane Austen’s Letters” -or- the back up free edition of Austen letters
  • When: Saturday, June 3 at 11am
  • Where: Webex Link posted here the day of the event. Check back then! Make sure you RSVP by email or Facebook event page and make sure your RSVP info matches your Webex info
  • How: Read what you like of the book and we’ll discuss our interesting observations together. You don’t need to read cover-to-cover for this one!
  • Why: because it is fun to be a Janeite nerd

Keep Up with Boston Austen Book Club News

Here are the two websites for Boston Austen Book Club news:

Hope to see you on the 3rd of June!

Plant Witch

Tori Amos’s Imaginary Earth Day Festival

Coming soon to the Notebook Witch Blog…

a fake 2-day festival of Tori’s most nature-y and/or eco-justice-y songs

Bey Hive, Swifties, Deadheads, Phish Phans, Ears With Feet–all devoted fan bases have the same troubles: what to do with oneself when the tour is over and we are no longer weirdos on social media constantly refreshing our feed for news from people at the shows, waiting for posts on the latest song from the set list.

What’s an EWF like me to do at the end of the 2023 Ocean to Ocean UK/Europe tour? Why, make up a 2-show Imaginary Earth Day Festival playlist of Tori songs, of course.

Behind the Scenes for the Imaginary Earth Day Festival

I do not want to tell you how much time I put into this. Actually, yes I do! First I had my own brainstorm, then I went to the Facebook Tori groups and to Tori Twitter and asked for further recommendations. I gathered them all up, added the songs to a playlist. But then, I went even further and put the playlist in a specific order. And then I didn’t like that order so I redid it. And I didn’t like that one either, so I redid it a third time, this time hand writing out each song on the playlist on quarter sheets of scrap paper (reduce reuse recycle) and grouping them by subtheme, then building a set from that.

Then I listened to the end of each song and beginning of the next to make sure they flowed well, and did some additional tweaking to get that part of things correct. And I also made sure to incorporate almost every studio album (sorry, Midwinter Graces).

The Fake Set List Vignettes

I then went to Tori’s social media, downloaded a setlist picture, reuploaded it to a “font finder,” did some research to find a comparable font in Canva, and created fake PDFs of the Tori set list. My next phase is to decorate the set lists like Tori’s social media team does. And then I’ll post those and the link to the YouTube playlist so my fellow EWF can geek out with me.

This process took a ridiculous amount of my non-existent free time, was so incredibly geeky, and was also entirely too much fun.

Next I’ll make up keys for the songs (I’m not doing THAT MUCH research; there must be a limit!) and add them in my best facsimile of the handwritten notes.

And finally I’ll be gathering up all my witchy and whimsical tchotchke to put around the printed set lists to make it look like those lovely vignettes we get on Tori’s social media channels of the final set lists, and I’ll photograph those for Notebook Witch social media and will also post in this blog entry.

Stay tuned right here for the final product. (Might be doing something special for the official unveiling, though.)

Don’t Just Listen: Act!

Proceeds from this imaginary festival will go to the following organizations. Please consider donating to these worthy causes:

Get involved at the local level! Find an environmental group near you:

Word Witch

Blazing in Gold and Quenching in Purple

Emily Dickinson’s Poem Illustrated by Bridget Eileen

An Illustrated Version of Emily Dickinson’s Poem ‘Blazing in Gold,’ as Part of a Close Reading Project

Before I polished and primped my critical thesis for my MFA in Creative Writing, I blogged the content of the project. In fact, those posts were the origin of my arts and culture blog. Below is one part of my third semester critical thesis project on the concept of “a close reading of poetry” and what it entails.

In honor of the author India Holton’s latest novel, “The Secret Service of Tea and Treason” I posted some of my illustrations of this poem by Emily Dickinson’s to my Instagram, and I said I posted the whole thing to Notebooke Witch. The poem is quoted during an EXCELLENT scene in the newly released book 🤭 (IYKYK)

Blazing in Gold and quenching in Purple
Leaping like Leopards to the Sky
Then at the feet of the old Horizon
Laying her spotted Face to die
Stooping as low as the Otter’s Window
Touching the Roof and tinting the Barn
Kissing her Bonnet to the Meadow
And the Juggler of Day is gone

~Emily Dickinson

blazing in gold an quneching in purple
Blazing in gold and quenching in Purple
Leaping like leopards across the sky
Leaping like Leopards across the Sky

Then at the feet of the oldhorizon, laying her spotted face to die
Then at the feet of the old Horizon
Laying her Spotted Face to die
Stooping as low as the Otter's Window
Stooping as low as the Otter’s Window

Touching the roof and tinting the Barn
Touching the Roof and tinting the Barn

Kissing her Bonnet to the MeadowKissing her Bonnet to the Meadow

And the Juggler of Day is gone
And the Juggler of Day is gone

View the Close Reading of “Blazing in Gold” that Goes with These Illustrations

These illustrations were created in part to help with an exercise in close reading, that I did as part of my third semester critical thesis project in graduate school. The accompanying close reading can be viewed at:


Ostara 2023

Ostara sabbat graphic for Facebook cover, Twitter post, and other social media. Feel free to use on your social media as well! Please credit

Spring Is Here

Happy Spring Equinox, northern hemisphere friends! Hope you’re having a lovely early autumn, southern hemisphere folks.

I felt like making a sabbat banner with a vintage vibe this year, for no particular reason.

It was a relatively mild winter in southeast New England. How about you? What things are you excited for, for Spring?

My Spring Plans

I’m looking forward to planting a stellar, burgeoning herb garden this year.

I’ve got ideas in mind for my container garden: LOTS of lemon balm, since Sweet Melissa is good for so many things but can really overtake a garden, trustly old chive and scallion since they’re first to arrive to the party and one of the last to leave, and low maintenance.

And then I hope to do a raised bed in the side yard, with a lot of different varieties of herbal plants. I was looking at past photos from my patio garden in Federal Hill Providence, and it was so abundant! I want that again.

We shall see! Happy planting and planning, gardeners! Spring is here!

Modern Witchcraft

Strawberry Moon Declaration

I Am a Solitary Eclectic Pantheist Modern Pagan Witch and I wholly and fully repudiate the religion I was originally baptized under

Reposted for the 50th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision.

Note: this post was first published in 2018 (at my arts and culture blog), when former Justice Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. Though he was a reputed centrist, he knowlingly retired when the political powers in place in the Legistlative and Executive branches who would nominate his replacement were hardline conservatives, intent on seeing Roe v Wade overturned. His replacement was Brett Kavanaugh. I knew in my bones what was to come, though I had hoped I would be wrong. This spiritual declaration was one of many ways I did and continue to do what I can against the threat of liberty and bodily autonomy, which the overturning of Roe v Wade signifies with the Dobbs decision.

The Catholic Church Has No Claim to Me as a Member Despite My Baptism and I Declare Myself an Apostate Who Wholly Repudiates the Catholic Church

For today’s Strawberry Moon 🍓🌝❤️ I declared my un-baptism from the Catholic Church, on the website 🇮🇪 Joining and declaring your apostatehood on that website is only symbolic. Canon Law makes it really difficult to remove yourself from the official tally from the Catholic rolls. But on this day especially, with the announcement of Justice Kennedy’s retirement, I want it shouted from the mountaintops, or at least all over social media: I am not Catholic. 

I do not believe in the tenets of the Catholic Church. I am not Christian. I do not believe in monotheism as conceived in the Abrahamic religions. I do not believe in sin, nor in the devil as conceived in the Abrahamic religions. I believe you should do right by yourself and others based on your own inherent morality and not for or on behalf of a religious entity. Further, I do not believe that sex and sexuality have any inherent morality in absolute form. I believe that to assert actions regarding sex and sexuality have inherent morality has lead to much of what is wrong in this world, and it needs to stop. 

I am a pantheist: I believe there is a spirit in all living things. I am a modern pagan, and I observe the Celtic earth-based holidays. I don’t think magic is a hocus-pocus imaginary thing; I think it’s often science intuited and not yet proven. “The myth is proof of fact.” Further, and most importantly, I believe that if you harm none, you can do as you will. 

I am pro-choice. I am pro-women’s rights. I am pro-women as dynamic, whole, wholly capable beings who need not feel shame for their body, or feel any inferiority to men, or feel they are only vessels for children, or feel that taking pleasure from their body and in their bodies is wrong.

To my mind, and to my spirit, I feel that any of the good that comes social justice work done by factions within Catholicism is, unfortunately, moot. While I will always have an affinity, admiration, and love for the legacies of certain figures within Catholicism who have informed much of our current notions of justice, equality, and love, such as St Francis of Assisi and the spiritual figure I was named after, St Brigid of Kildaire, they and their likenesses have always been outliers of the institution of the Catholic Church. The church itself chose to focus more on hate: for women and pregnant people by being anti-choice, for children by enabling predatory priests, for the LGBTQ+ community by focusing on Augustinian & Thomistic notions of sexual activity sanctioned solely for procreation, and for all those stances taking precedence in Church doctrine and politics over, “Love thy neighbor.” 

I am not Catholic, and I denounce the Catholic Church, and all anti-choice entities–religious or otherwise–for focusing vehemently on the politics of a pregnant person and/or woman’s right to choose what to do with their bodies, over all other concerns; for bringing the very real impending threat of the end to this democracy that has brought–along with the bad–so much of the good we have in this world. 

Consider this a schism. Consider me a heretic. Consider me an apostate, wholly and fiercely repudiating such a loathsome, hateful, destructive institution. 

I love this earth. I love justice, equality, and freedom. I am a pantheistic solitary eclectic modern pagan witch. That is my declared spiritual practice. 

It is so ordered ⭐️


Yule 2022

Merry Yuletide to All Who Celebrate!

I seriously could not be happier to welcome in a new season. Fall 2022 was a complete and total PITA (pain in the a$$).

Feel free to use the graphics in this post on your own social media. Please credit @NotebookWitch on social media, or @TheNotebookWitch on Instagram.

How I Observed Yuletide for 2022

I celebrated the Sabbat this year by:

  • Finally getting all my outdoor holiday decorations up (and they’re STAYING UP until Imbolc!)
  • Doing two readings for the Bell Street Chapel Unitarian Universalist Church’s Yuletide service this past Sunday
  • Taking a BIG step to (hopefully) usher in better changes for me at my job (hoping the higher ups see the [Yule] light…ha! — thanks to my friend Ellen for the pun idea)
  • And, as always, writing a post for my blog for the Sabbat. (I am not the self-ascribed “Notebook Witch” for nothing!)

Where the Heck Did the Flying Reindeer Come From, Exactly???

At the Yuletide service this weekend at the Unitarian Universalist church I started attending in October (and I really need to do a blog post about this!), we also learned about the origins of the Christmass tropes of reindeer, red and white furtrimmed attire, and flying through the night sky.

Of course, it is all related to pagan customs from Arctic-adjacent regions. According to Danielle Prohom Olson’s essay, “Doe, a Deer, a Female Reindeer: the Spirit of Mother Christmas,” the female reindeer drew the sleigh of the Sun Godesss at Winter Solstice and “the Ancient Deer Mother flew through winter’s longest darkest night with the life-giving light of the sun in her horns.”

The red and white fur trimmed costume of Santa comes from red and white amanita mushroom, which was ingested by female shaman in far north, and that is how they would “take flight.” 🍄


Merry Yuletide!!!

Whether you’re flying through the night sky on mystical fungi or just cozying up with a thick sweater, hot cocoa and cookies, I hope you have a very Merry Yule!

Five Hours of Holiday Music

PS If you’re looking for a pop-genre-expansive holiday playlist, I make one up each year, and it’s called “Yule Love This Playlist 2022” (or whatever year). Here’s the link to this year’s:

Word Witch

Boston Austen Book Club – Winter 2022 Meeting

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron – Boston Austen Book Club – Winter 2022 Meeting

Jane Austen Birthday Bash! Come celebrate Jane’s 247th Birthday!

The Winter meeting of the Boston Austen Book Club takes place on Jane Austen’s birthday: Friday, Dec 16, at 7:30pm. We will be staying remote for this meeting. Bring your own cake to celebrate Jane’s birthday, and Regency costume attire is encouraged though not at all required. We’ll meet to discuss “Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas” by Stephanie Barron.

You can RSVP at the event page on Facebook, or, if you’re not on Facebook, you can email your RSVP. Please make sure your Webex link matches your RSVP information

About the Winter 2022 Book

Stephanie Barron (aka Franince Matthews), who is retired from the CIA, has written a series of “cozy” mysteries with Jane Austen as the protagonist. Jane solves a slew of crimes throughout her adult decades. Barron also weaves compelling fictionalized back stories for the little limited factual biographical information we do know about Austen and adds her own personal “spy” background into the characters and events in her Jane Austen mysteries.

You do not need to have read the previous titles in the series to get into the later ones. But if you like mysteries and Regency era stories, I recommend these books. I cannot put them down because they’re all my favorite types of fiction blended in one series.

Winter BABC 2022 Details

  • Who: Boston Austen Book Club – anyone can join; all you have to do is read the book and come to the meeting
  • What: Stephanie Barron’s “Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas
  • When: Friday, December 16 at 7:30pm
  • Where: Webex Link: Make sure you RSVP by email or Facebook event page and that your RSVP info matches your Webex info
  • How: It’s Jane Austen’s birthday. She is THRIVING at age 247. Wear some Regency attire (optional) to celebrate and bring your own cake and beverage to toast to Jane.
  • Why: because it is fun to be a Regency lit nerd

All are welcome – new, returning, and regulars!

Keep Up with Boston Austen Book Club News

Here are the two websites for Boston Austen Book Club news: