Two Poetry Podcasts? I Guess So.

Sorry for the blog silence these last few weeks, folks. It's the end of the semester. Regular posting will probably resume in a week or so.

Meanwhile, here's an odd collection of two poetry podcasts:

One, here, has the audio from a reading I gave last month at the art museum here on campus. (I read with another poet, Abby Paige, who has the second half of the reading.)

Another, here, went out on the radio Thursday morning when my advanced creative writing students took a field trip to the campus radio station to read their poems on-air.

I think they're both pretty pleasant to listen to. My thanks go to Chris Evans, whose "Writers@WRUV" program hosted both the broadcasts and the podcasts.

Energy Conservation Tips

Hi, I'm Eco-Isaac, Isaac Marion's environmentally sustainable alter-ego, and I'm here to share with you some important tips for conserving energy.

What is energy conservation, and why is it important? Well, it's like this. Most of modern society runs off of fossil fuels, which produce large amounts of greenhouse gases, ozone gases, carbon gases, and other unsustainable gases that all combine to create pollution. Believe it or not, even natural gas is pollution. "Natural gas?" you say. "But that sounds so natural!"
Trust me. It's not.

"But what about my Sega Saturn?" you ask. "That doesn't run on fossil fuels, it runs on electricity." Well guess what. Electricity is just fossil fuel in the form of electricity. All the electricity we use--even the electricity generated by wind and solar generators--is generated by fossil fuels. The more electricity you use, the more fossil fuels get burned. And the more stuff you do, the more electricity you use.

"So what can I do to help?" you ask. Well, it's simple. Everything you do consumes energy. When you pet your dog, it consumes energy--about 35 calories. When you wave to your mom, it consumes energy--about 28 calories. Where does that energy come from, you ask? From food, of course! But where does food come from? From the grocery store. And guess what? That apple you're about to eat? The grocery store used lots and lots of fossil fuels to create that apple. So every time you eat food, you are burning fossil fuels and destroying the environment for your children.

"Should I stop eating food?" you ask. Of course not! You'd die! :) But there is one important thing you must remember in order to make energy sustainable---everything you do burns fossil fuels.

That's right, even waving to your mom! Because every time you move or think, it burns calories, and calories have to be replaced by food, and food is created by grocery stores using machines made from fossil fuels.

"Now I'm getting it!" you say. "This is where the 'cycle' in 'recycle' comes from! We're all connected in the cycle of life, so I need to reduce my energy usage!"

Now you're getting it! Here are just a few of the millions of tips I know for reducing how much you destroy the environment for your children every single day:

Not only is it fun, you'll save millions of pounds of energy every additional hour you sleep in. And if you lose your job in the process, you can triple that number based off not needing to drive a car and do unsustainable work for non-green businesses.

Did you know that jogging around the block one time consumes as much energy as leaving a lightbulb on for two years? Next time you feel the urge to go for a run, consider just thinking about running instead!

Believe it or not, even just thinking consumes energy! That's right, the human brain runs on electricity, which comes from food, which comes from fossil fuels, so slow down there, Einstein! Watching a Daddy Longlegs spider crawl up a blank white wall uses one third the energy of formulating biochemistry theories, and it's way easier! So next time you're thinking about writing a great novel or entering the medical sciences, think about its impact on the environment. Or don't! You'll save energy!

When you're stressed, your heart rate increases, and your body goes into an energy-inefficient "fight or flight" mode in which large quantities of unsustainable energy are wasted on unsustainable body functions like sweating, stuttering, and getting pimples. Relax! Avoid situations that might lead to stress. That cute girl that you keep bumping into in the Chilton's Auto Repair Reference Manual section at the library? Think about how much stress energy you'll burn if you decide to talk to her! Consider going home alone instead--but don't masturbate! That consumes almost as much energy as having sex!


Signings in May

I have had several people request that I post my book signings on my blog, so here we go.

April 29 Salt Lake Costco 1-6 pm

May 4 Murray Costco 12-6pm

May 6 Bountiful Costco 12-6pm

May 8 Studio Mother's Day Sale and book signing at my studio 1150 E 800 S Salt Lake City Don't miss this!

May 11 Orem Costco 12-6pm

May 13 SLC Costco 12-6

May 18th Sandy Costco 12-6pm

May 20th Lehi Costco 12-6 pm

May 25th Bountiful Costco 12-6pm

I am continuing to make slow progress with the book, here a little and there a little. I have had to go back to the wheel to make some pots so I can continue to live the dream of being an author someday. That's why its nice when people buy my books instead of checking them out at the library:) Life is good, but always busy. I have been speaking to about 3-4 books clubs a week. I am still having fun, but feel sometimes like I have had to cut my candle into twelve pieces and then burn each of those pieces on both ends. Someday, this will all make sense, I am sure of it.

Meanwhile, thanks for all your supportive phone calls and emails. Cheers, Ben

Things My Dog Hates


1. Music
2. Babies
3. Kittens
4. Bunnies
5. Her fellow dogs
6. People that aren't me
7. When I leave the house
8. When I go upstairs
9. When I go to the bathroom
10. When I move
11. Hopes
12. Dreams
13. Being alive

The Rainbow Connection

Whenever I hear the phrase " the rainbow connection," I think immediately of Kermit the Frog and my Muppets record from when I was little. Years later, that phrase carries a whole new meaning.

In the world of baby loss, your rainbow baby is the child you have after the one you've lost. That gives Isaac an interesting place... Both a rainbow baby after the baby I miscarried when I was 13 weeks pregnant, and yet still the son I've lost, and so deeply still long for. If you've been reading a while, you may remember that rainbows were a particularly special thing during my pregnancy with Isaac. I saw so many of them, and each time I would tell Isaac all about it... the colors, how it arched across the sky...All the while being personally reminded of God's faithfulness and commitment to His promises.

Eliana is truly my rainbow baby. Our little "God has answered" fills our lives with so much joy and is such an answer to our prayers. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with my friend, Carly, and her rainbow baby Finn,and my friend Susi and her rainbow baby Max. We have this sort of, rainbow connection.

The three of us met at an infant loss support group quite a while ago, and have walked together down the twisting, turning, and often unpredictable road of grief. And because of His goodness, God is allowing us to share in each other's joy through the birth of our sons' siblings.

We were thankfully able to gather a few shots yesterday of Max, Eliana, and Finn. And while each picture is almost identical, various babies were in different stages of falling over in each one, which I think is just funny and pretty darn cute :)

And this morning, my precious daughter not only allowed me to get a bow clipped in her hair, but gave me one of the most beautiful smiles...

Our Newest Enemy in the Animal Kingdom

Friends, I have discovered  something horrifying that I must share with you all. Bees have found an unlikely ally in their war against humanity and happiness--the Hippo.

Hippopotamus amphibius, more commonly known as "Hippopotamus", "Deathbringer", or simply "Hippo", although generally considered one of the fattest and cutest animals ever, is also considered the most aggressive and ferocious creatures in the continent of Africa.
AFRICA--heard of it? It's where they have fucking LIONS.

Hippos kill 100 to 150 humans per year. To put this in perspective, BEARS kill only 5 to 10. This fatality rate puts the hippo at number 7 on the list of Top 10 Deadliest Animals in the World.
In the WORLD--heard of it? It's where they have fucking EVERYTHING.


Despite having the leg length and belly-to-ground clearance of a weiner dog, Hippos can inexplicably, magically, in defiance of all laws of physics, run 30 miles per hour.
Think about that next time you're thinking that buying a Vespa so you can commute to work without getting gored by hippos is a good idea, because it's not gonna help.

Hippos ooze a natural sunscreen from their pores, so they never get sunburned and stay looking youthful throughout their entire lives. It's kind of a win-lose though because they have to be covered in red slime all the time. Although they probably enjoy that because of how sick and fucked up hippos are.

When Hippos poop, they spin their tail around like a helicopter so as to spew their poop in all directions as far as possible. Scientists say they do this so as to spread their scent all over their territory, but WE know they do it just to be sick and fucked up.

In addition to being nature's shit sprinkler, Hippos are "retromingent", which means they pee backwards, even the males. I'm not sure if this means they have rear-facing hippodicks, but it wouldn't surprise me AT ALL.

Hippos are designed by God for murder. Their mouths can open up to four feet wide, and guess what's inside? Fucking TEETH! Teeth that make the saber toothed tiger look like a platypus. A hippo can kill you so many different ways, you will lose count halfway through the experience.

Hippos look fat and silly but they are not silly, only fat. Never make fun of a hippo's weight; he will only make himself heavier by eating you.

The Bible has a whole chapter (Job 40) about how awesome hippos are. God seems to think hippos are pretty fucking badass. And If GOD thinks you're badass, how badass does that make you? Science has no gauge for it. In fact, God somehow uses the fact that hippos are badass to justify all suffering and injustice in Creation. (Job 40:6-8) How badass is that??

JOB: Oh Lord, I am a righteous follower of thy law and have served thee faithfully all my life. Why hast thou slain all my livestock, smitten all my crops, afflicted me with painful boils and diseases, and murdered my entire family with flaming hailstones from heaven?

Check out this Hippo I made! Isn't it badass?

JOB: Damn, that thing IS badass! Nevermind about all that suffering and injustice stuff--sorry I asked!

(Paraphrased from the New King James)

Roo dog!

thinking about redoing the story of the three little pigs.. might base the wolf character off of my dog roo. stay tuned..

Illustration Friday Sketch #2. Detective

Rough Environment Sketch

just focusing on some light and color...not too worried about rendering just overall feel for the environments. Anyone have any thoughts?

Today in Religion

It's so beautiful to see that regardless of age, race or nationality, people all over the world can come together under their religious beliefs and make lunatic statements about earthquakes:


Two months is too little
They let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that Providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling
Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We're asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held

These lyrics by Natalie Grant have spoken volumes to my heart during my pregnancy with Isaac and in the months since,. They speak truth on so many levels.
Lately, I've been doing a lot of holding. I am sure this comes as no surprise, being the mother of a 6 1/2 week old. After feeding Eliana, Spencer or I hold her upright for a bit to help her tummy settle so that she doesn't spit up as much. I have come to love that time in the middle of the night; while tired, I love sitting up in bed, holding her close, listening to her breathe, and just taking her in. Ellie is just so cuddly and snuggly. She loves to be held.
This past week I received an email from a friend... another mom who knows what the pain of losing your child is like. She lost twin boys who would have turned 2 this past March. In addition to the beautiful little girl she had before her twin boys, she has since had another beautiful baby girl after them. She of course asks about Eliana; but in her email, she asked me something I have truthfully failed to ask myself recently.
How's the grief?
I was so thankful she asked, and at first I wasn't sure how to answer. I have been so preoccupied caring for Eliana, holding things together at home, trying to figure out my job situation... I hadn't really slowed down enough to really think about it, or to really let it in.
Her email caused me to reflect. As I did, it occurred to me that the grief has been intensifying. Perhaps it's because it was around this time two years ago that we were floored with Isaac's prognosis when I was only 12 weeks pregnant; hearing the words, "There's only a very slim chance that your baby will live" is absolutely numbing. Or, perhaps it's the fact that I am now walking through all of the things that I have missed out on with Isaac. It's no longer theoretical. I thought about what a gift it is to be able to hold Eliana whenever I want. She's here... and at any time I can pick her up, snuggle her, and love on her. It seems obvious, I know. And as glaringly obvious as that is, it is also equally as obvious to me that I don't have a toddler here to snuggle, too.

As I was holding Ellie while she slept this morning, my thoughts turned back to October 7, 2008. I remember sitting in my hospital bed, feeling my time with Isaac ticking away. I remember holding his body, even though he had already gone to be with Jesus, and feeling like I just didn't have enough time. And I remember so clearly the last time I held him... the last time I kissed his little face, the physical pain my chest as Spencer and I handed him to the nurse, and the sob that came out of me when the nurse walked out of our room. It was the most painful experience of my life... knowing I would never get to hold my son again.
And so the tears came, like they do; and in the midst of them I am just grateful for the chance to hold my daughter... and for a faithful Father who is not only holding me in my tears, but who is also safely holding my son.
What a beautiful thing... to be held.

Back in the Saddle, Again

Ahoy! It feels like it has been a long time since I last updated by blog, and I guess it has been over a month. I have wanted to write many times, but opted out, deciding my time would be better spent working on the book. Sorry about that, but things have been moving along nicely. I am now 142 pages into the book so I probably just crossed the two thirds point.

I spent some time in St. George, just before Easter. I went down to sign books at Costco and then spent the evenings and mornings writing like crazy. I made some good progress there before I took my wife and kids up to Washington State for a vacation and to visit some friends for the week after Easter. I hoped to be able to write a lot while I was there too, but I wrote about 3 pages. I returned home very frustrated, wanting to find out what happens to Jake and Amy next.

This has been a very interesting journey of faith for me. I started this book more than eleven years ago with no idea where I was going with it or where it would take me. For many years I was faithless, making very little progress but feeling continually compelled to write. I still am not sure where this series is going. Some things have been clear from the beginning, but very few. When I first started writing, I was writing in first person, through Isaac's eyes. That never really worked, yet I knew I couldn't give it up. I had to keep moving. When I discovered Jake and killed the potter, Isaac, things blossomed and became what they are in a relatively very short period of time.

With this third book, I am feeling a huge amount of pressure. You have fallen in love with the characters of Niederbipp like I have and you want to know what happens next in their lives. So do I. When I am sitting at the wheel, or working in the clay, the voices of Niederbipp scream out and me to finish their story. I want to. Perhaps I am still a little faithless. I think I just broke even with the books, but up until now, pottery has been paying the bills for the books. What would happen if I gave up on the pottery? I think I might lose my mind--it has become so much of who I am, but what if I was able to concentrate on my writing without worrying about making a living. I may never know, but I hope there will come a time when my writing pays the bills and I can make pottery just for fun. I have to finish this book. I have to finish this series so I can get on to the next books I need to write, but for the time being, I have to wear a lot of hats. Too many sometimes.

So, this was going to be a short entry. I just wanted to say to whoever cares that I am progressing. I may not have things done now until July, but things are coming. I have been speaking to a lot of book clubs lately--between two and four every week. This has been exciting and fun to see and hear how the book is reaching people in different ways. It is nice to have people believe in me and thank me for the story. I have also discovered how sensitive I am. I make the mistake every once in a while of reading the reviews on Goodreads. I say mistake because though the majority of the reviews are positive, the negative ones make me feel sick inside. I tell myself I am not going to read the reviews anymore, but then something happens and I get curious and so I look. Like I said, by far the majority are positive, but I am kind of ashamed to admit how powerful the negative ones are to me. I feel like I totally lose my steam. I feel like I am just pretending to be a writer. No one likes to be told they have an ugly baby. I wish I didn't care what people think, but unfortunately, I still do. I am still very vulnerable, too sensitive, too thin skinned. I wonder if authors ever get over negative reviews. If they do, how do they. I would love to hear from any of you have have experience with this.
So then, tomorrow I am going back to the writing. I am going to try to buck up and buckle down and get past the fact that some people think I have an ugly baby. I don't entirely know where I am going, but I have learned through this process that if I move forward with faith, believing, the path always rises to meet my feet. I suppose there will always be critics and citiques. I need to remember I cant make everyone happy, but I am going to keep writing--I have to. I have been faithless long enough and suffered because of it. The path forward is cloudy and unsure, but I know it is the only way for me to go. I am pressing on, my ugly babies in tow! Thanks for coming along. I appreciate your support and help. Cheers to the journey!


Just trying to figure out how I feel about all this.. If you live in New York and want to check out my windows go to Macy's in midtown. my good friends eric inkala and ben olson also have windows. Go midwest in midtown.




Illustration friday: Detective

Little House on the prarie

Im really enjoying these quick environment sketches... great way to work with color and mood. This took just under 2 hours.

My First Interview! by Playskool

This week I did a phone interview with an internet radio show in which they asked me about how I self-published Warm Bodies (spoiler: I didn't, really, all that much, only kind of...) what the book is about (spoiler: long and rambling explanation) and what the Secret to Success is. (spoiler: Dunno.)

I'm definitely better at writing my thoughts over period of hours or days than speaking my thoughts over period of seconds, but I will get better at this, I must!

So, listen here guys...
Listen here:

(I come in at about the 30 minute mark. You can click in the time window to advance forward)

Life As We Know It

It has been way too long since any update of substance. I am so sorry! Somehow my days feel like they're flying life in three hour cycles is quite a change of pace for me.

So, some long overdue updates, and just some other things that have been on my mind. Buckle up... this is sure to be all over the place.

Job update-- My job is still up in the air. The ball is rolling, and our request for me to amend my leave and return to work on June 1 in order to keep my position at my current school goes before a review committee this Friday. I don't want to have to go back in June, but I am willing to in order to not have to transfer to a school that could potentially be over 90 minutes away. Please pray that the request is approved and my position will be secure.

Eliana update-- She is doing great! Her 1 month checkup went very well last Friday. She's up to 8 lbs and is 21 inches long. Her newborn clothes are getting a bit snug, but she is swimming in the 0-3 month things! She also started on Zantac for her mild reflux, and it seems to be helping her a lot. She still has a strong sensitivity to any dairy in my diet, so when I end up consuming some accidentally, it makes for a rough day for her. She is becoming much more alert during the day, and has even started to smile! Here's a picture of our litle sweetie on last night's walk... the first one for which she actually stayed awake!

Spencer update-- His grad school program is coming to a close, thankfully, and he graduates in May!! This year has been pretty grueling for him, and I know we're both ready for him to be finished.

Isaac's Playground update-- Our church building is set to be complete this summer, and from what I am hearing, there's a good chance the playground will be finished right along with it. I am so excited... excited for our new church building, excited that the playground will be built, excited to see little kids playing on it, and so amazed at God's provision through the generosity of so many people to make this happen. I feel really fortunate to be able to honor Isaac in such a neat way.

Isaac's Golf Tournament update-- The 2nd Annual Isaac Timothy Delisle Memorial Golf Tournament is scheduled for Friday, August 20, 2010 at Worthington Manor Golf Club in Urbana, MD. If you're interested in playing, becoming a hole sponsor, donating a prize, or being involved in some other way, please feel free to check out the tournament website, or email us at

And on a random note, in the past two weeks, I have met two other little girls named Eliana. Neither of them spell it the same way, but I was shocked to meet other girls with that name! Both of them are under a year old, so maybe the name Eliana is on the rise? I had never heard of it before a kind blog reader left the name suggestion in a I am bumping in to Elianas everywhere!

Lots of thoughts still being mulled over about the transition of being a mom to a child who has died to a mom whose child is living, how the Lord stretches and prunes you through the gift of motherhood... they're just not coherent thoughts yet :)

So now, I'll open it up to you. Anything you've been wondering or want to know about?

Pirate Day in Baltimore and a cry for help

Today in baltimore there was a pirate festival. Unfortunately i didn't know about it until most of the festivities were over today. There were Pirate re-enacters everywhere. Some were fairly humorous but others were just plain creepy. Granted some of them were payed to be there but the people who seemed to pop out of the woodwork without entire pirate outfits with matching tattoos and facial hair really creep me out...seemed like they wait all year for this one day to release their obsession. Anyway, tons of great drawing material, here are just a few quick sketches i did today, the crowd was so intense it was hard to draw fast enough.

One thing i miss about new york is having people to draw with or being part of some sort of an artistic community. If anybody reading this can suggest to me a group of people in the baltimore dc area that actually likes to go out and sketch please let me know. Im also trying to find more blogs like art jumble to join, if you know any or would like to start one with me please drop me a comment.

New Sketchbook!

New sketchbook! So stay tuned for hopefully a quick increase in blog posts. Kicked it off with some life drawing today and a selection of faces, might work on some of these with paint later on


I had a nice celebration of my 65 th birthday when I was in Florida. We drove to Gainesville, toured the museums, and had a great dinner at Harry's Seafood Bar and Grille. Harry's is a "New Orleans Style Restaurant" and I had a plate of the best Jambalaya that I have ever tasted. After dinner we attended a concert on campus of the college accappela group; "No Southern Accent". They put on a terrific show.
The truth is, I don't feel very old. Most of the time. But every once in awhile something comes up and I realize how much older I am then some others. For instance, the boys and girls on "American Idol' were assigned the task this week of singing from the John Lennon and Paul McCartney songbooks. Many of the contestants talked about their unfamiliarity with the Beatle's and their music. What? I forget how much tiome has passed. In my mind the Beatle's are still contemporary. I guess I am getting old.

Easter/ 1 Month Old!

Pictures, as promised... Enjoy!
One month old!

The obligatory cousin picture

Spencer, Eliana, and me!

As If It Were The First Time

I promise to have some one month pictures and Easter pictures up shortly... coincidentally, they will likely be the same pictures since Eliana turned one month old yesterday! We hope that you and your family had a blessed Easter, and were reminded afresh of the hope that is found in three simple words: He is risen.

Yesterday was a great day for our family. We made it to church, and through half of the service before Eliana decided that it was time to go. Spent a beautiful afternoon at my Dad's with much of my extended family. Ellie took a great nap, and was generally in a happy mood! Even though she is too young to understand what Easter is all about, or to participate in any Easter traditions, it was still special to be able to celebrate her first holiday. I am incredibly thankful that God allowed it to be a sweet day for our family.

Today, though, my heart is heavy... heavy with the missing. I've spoken countless times about the bittersweet aspects of holidays and milestones, and today is no exception. You see, while for Spencer and I, Isaac's place in our family is firmly established, it often feels as though our home is the only place where it is.

Over the past few weeks, I've heard people say to my stepbrothers, "You're an uncle now!"... as if it were the first time. I know that when those words are spoken, they are done so in excitement and love; but in those moments, I want so badly to cry out... "Now? But he already was." I know that the fact that Eliana is here and is tangible makes someone's uncle-hood, aunt-hood, or whatever else feel that much more real; but the truth is, Isaac had already established those titles. Eliana adds to them. It's difficult to be a parent of two children, but having people respond to us as if it were the first time. It's difficult thing to articulate... but if you've been there, I know you know what I mean.

Stay tuned for Easter pictures... hope to have them up later today!

T Shirt Design

i know i have neglected the blog terribly im sorry. I guess thats the price you pay for being busy with work. I will try to be better, ive noticed a serious down trend in blog posting on all the blogs i follow since the weather got warm. Seems like everyone is out enjoying themselves and off their computers, which is nice to see. Anyway, here is a t shirt design i did for a friends dog who passed away. This was a crazy dog who was obsessed with all things plastic, from licking garbage cans to chewing bottles he couldn't get enough. He was the mascot of the local skateshop..where the t shirts will be for sale. See for more info.

Everyday Oddities #4 -- Unsettling Signage

They promised me the kids were still in great condition but these days I prefer to buy new.

Is this angry sentient urinal someone's idea of folksy quaintness? I'm sorry I peed on your face, angry bathroom spirit! Please don't turn me into a scent cake!

4 weeks!

Eliana is 4 weeks old today! I can't believe she'll be celebrating her 1 month birthday on Easter!

Just a quick post giving you a glimpse at our little Eliana with her friend, Madelyn, who turned 4 months old today...

They both have so much hair!! I love it!