Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In which I do a little victory haiku dance...


I Won Now What

hollow victory
open space mars manuscript
so much more to do

Monday, November 21, 2011

In Which Vera Has A Day Off & Writes a Little


A chill mist whispered in  the trees. Dry leaves, here and there clung to their branches as if hoping that the seasons were wrong. That really, it was early spring and they could stay. Vera kept repeating that in her head. She bought a notebook at one of those discount pharmacies, the one where she got her medicine.
            Then she walked to a small pocket park and sat down in the early morning gloom.
She wrote:
            Trees whisper chill words
            One leaf clings to her bare branch
            Hoping spring will come.

Not bad. She wrote some more:

            The man eats mashed sardines.
            Without onion they are not so good,
            he explained once to me.
           
            tomato cuts the salt, sweetens it.
           The bread has to be toasted rye
            to remind him of his childhood.

            I wish I had a food I loved like that
            My childhood noodles are nothing
            but mush.

That one needs work but it will do. For now.

One more small one:

Iris blue eyes searching
Mine did not know to look

But that did not work.

I dreamed you were sweet in my hands
like syrup and you stuck to me

And that was all she could write. Maybe later.  As Vera walked back to her apartment in the darkening gloom, she wondered if she would ever see Iris again. She felt something like irritation and embarrassment in her heart. She wondered if she had been precipitous to think that she and Iris had any kind of connection at all. She still had the drawing, with the heart, but had not heard anything at all from Iris.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

First Person? Third Person? Who Knows?

And I'm at 14117 words right now. But who cares? What's important is that sometimes my narrator switches from 3rd to 1st Person and it's worrisome, but one WriMo told me that it might be a way for the protagonist to let me know exactly what the story is or how to tell it.

And that is somewhat true. I don't quite have a beginning, middle and end sort of story right now. It's all like the shapeless mass the earth was when the big bang happened.
With that in mind, I'm going to offer another excerpt. It includes some snatches of poetry. I like the sardines one best.

Please share only with attribution. Thank you.

Back on the Food Truck:
            I was filling the napkin holder with twice as many as Garland said I should. I just was not being careful. Or so I would let him think. In reality, I had had a dream, a dream in which I wrote beautiful poetry on napkins and gave them to our customers. They would read like fortunes and people’s lives would change.
            For instance, when I thought of Mrs. Robusto’s regular order for chili dogs on Chili Dog Wednesday, something like a haiku came to me:
            "When you bite me, dear
            You burn your lips. Hot mustard
            coats your lower teeth."
            Then Mr. Rosavsky’s sardines sandwiches:
            "I did not swim in salt for long enough
            to grow to my full size
            I was netted and gutted
            then smoked and drenched in oil
            How dare you! You don’t know what I’ve been through!
            That tomato is an insult."
I wrote with a soft, but sharp pencil and when Mr. Rosavsky came I got his napkin ready, stuffed it in his bag along with the nicely wrapped sandwich. I wondered what he would say when he saw it.
            But no.
            Garland grabbed the bag.
            Whew. It was just to put the cookie in.
            Then he winked at me.
            I wondered if he had seen. Of course I wondered what would happen when Samuel J. Rosavsky the third would read my silly poem about sardines. What if he just threw the napkin out?
            Just then Carl Strommer from the Internal Revenue Service came by. “Grilled cheese?” I asked him cheerfully.
            He nodded and said, “I wonder if I can get two sandwiches today. I’m pretty hungry and we have a lunch meeting. Also, do you know where I can get a hot chocolate? I usually like to drink one of your cans of lemonade, but I have a scratchy throat and want something warm.”
            Now that was one problem we had. We did not make hot drinks for our customers.  We could barely make a couple of cups of coffee for ourselves, let alone satisfy the hot beverage traffic. I looked over at Garland who was starting in on the sandwiches and told Carl, “If you stop by that cart over there, they have hot coffee. They might have cocoa or tea” I pointed with my elbow to a small cart a few feet away from us, the one run by the Gunderson twins: Big Julie and Chuckie.
            Quickly I scribbled:
            "the chill hurts my throat.
            my cry for cocoa, almost unheard
            if all the world was steam and smoke
            I would be happy."
            I had just enough time to finish it and stuff it in the bag without Garland seeing when he handed me the grilled cheese to give to Carl. Carl came back from the Gunderson cart with a small styrofoam cup. He did not look happy.
            “I got some hot water,” he said glumly.
            I felt so sorry for him, I handed him a packet of lemon juice we sometimes gave customers who ordered our fried calamari buns on Fish Fridays. I told him it might help soothe his throat.  He looked like it was the nices thing that anyone had ever done for him.
            “So,” said Garland, “What are you putting in those bags? Menus, I hope.”
            “Don’t be a kidder, Garland. I’m not putting anything in them.”
            “I saw you, Vera. Don’t lie to me.”
            I faced him directly and said, “Poetry.”
            “Poetry?”
            I felt defiant, as if I were thirteen years old and had been caught climbing the tree in the neighbor’s back yard so I could get their apples from the tallest branch. And they would catch me and I would say, “I wasn’t doing nothing!”
            “Is it a crime to write poetry? What are we? In Stalinist Russia?”
            “No, but what if these guys don’t like it? I don’t want to drive customers away.”

Monday, November 07, 2011

Vera confided in me


My protagonist Vera confided in me last night as I was leaving the KanMoWriCo Write-In. She whispered that she was so afraid that if I told her true story, I would break my own heart in the telling.
No. That's a lie.
What Vera is worried about is that I won't do her story justice. That I won't be able to tell it, only report it. What I am worried about is that I will want to report, but also embellish and then I worry that if I embellish, it's not the truth.

But the truth of it is, it's a novel. It's my novel. Vera's story is my story, and I can tell it any way I want to.

P.S. KanMoWriCo is Kansas City, MO. & Kansas City, KS participants (and environs) of NaNoWriMo. This is not an official NaNoWriMo site, and the content has not been reviewed by National Novel Writing Month. For more information on National Novel Writing Month, visit www.nanowrimo.org.

P.P.S. If you think that a protagonist can NOT whisper in your ear, think again.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Vera Hates Me

It's back to standard time and my protagonist, Vera doesn't care that we gain an hour. She is right now resisting all my cajoling and threats. I want her to spill the beans on what really happened. I want her to trust me.
But of course I'm a writer and want someone to read what I write.
No wonder Vera hates my guts.
But then I went and visited Now About Music and listened to the tracks about time. The author of the post is so perceptive and truly gets what music is all about. And time.
I wonder if I can calm Vera down and bring her out of her shell with a little drop of music...

Thursday, November 03, 2011

With Closed Fist: Growing Up in Canada's Toughest Neighborhood


but the best news is that my friend, Kathy Dobson is launching her book tomorrow at St Columba House in Montreal. Her book, which I have not read, but am eagerly awaiting is called With Closed Fist: Growing Up in Canada's Toughest Neighborhood.  A review of the book has created some controversy and bullies were evidently threatening the release event. But St. Columba is holding fast and I trust it will be wonderful.
Kathy is a smart and compassionate woman. I love that as a journalist she's been able to report on events and situations in which she is thoroughly engaged. I love that she will be able to turn her talent to a story that needs to be told.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Excerpt & 2600+

Here's an excerpt from the first or second chapter. As you can see it's very rough.

Vera awakened at the nightmare hour: a short time after four in the morning and well before the eastern sky would gray itself awake. She could feel the leaden, lowering sky in her head. A shrill bark from a neighbor’s dog pierced her brain and seemed to draw a raging force through her left temple.
She hadn’t had that much wine, had she?

Thirty days to a new Vera and already she had to call in sick with a migraine. Lucky Kay would understand because she got them herself. Vera rolled herself gently to the edge of the bed, trying not to move her head. No good. Her stomach began to push waves up through her throat. Toilet. Now.

She made it, retched and sank to the floor as the pain in her head became volcanic. She felt as if she could not leave the bathroom for any time. She pressed her forehead to the cool tile floor as tears squeezed out of her eyes and her sinuses swelled. Nothing was going right. The unforgettable images of the bad movie that was her life kept scrolling through her thoughts: the thing that had happened when she was four; how their family moved right after that; how she’d never fit in at any school, or work and finally how the child’s balloon had risen to the ceiling, popped and began to pop all her dreams for the stable, quiet life she craved.
Vera pushed herself up to a sitting position. Her stomach seemed settled for now. She moistened a washcloth with cool water, sprinkled a little lavender onto the cloth and patted her face with it. The scent and chill revived her a little and she went into her kitchen to make some coffee. She used a stovetop Moka for her coffee, and a very dark roast. She was not about to grind any fresh right now, though. Especially when she knew the sound would tear up every cell in her body. Fortunately, she had some she’d ground yesterday. Enough for a double.
While she waited for the coffee, she dialed Kay’s home number. Kay would probably be annoyed, especially if she had a migraine herself. Nothing drew sympathy more than seeing a fellow migraineuse in the throes...

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

1848

...with 500 words sort of about snot.
I needed a prompt. I was stalling.
I pulled a pebble out of a bag. Yeah, I know it was probably some kind of quartz thing, but it had that milky, pearlescent quality of a big dab of mucus.
In the story, wailing child = snot.
Got at least 500 words out of it.

Off to a good start with some back story on the protagonist.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pre-NaNo Warm-up

Vera Kalman is working on the food truck Destiny's Sammies when an inspiration comes to her. As she writes it it gets lodged in between in the sandwich Samuel Rosavsky III has ordered (skinless & boneless sardines mashed with a little mayo & mustard, tomato, lettuce, onion between two slices of lightly toasted rye). She has to follow him in order to get it back, and if she does, will she still have her job with Destiny?

Will she still want it?
What was on that piece of paper?
Was it a menu?

Rice and beans. Hot sauce
The green kind: habanero
Tortilla. Eggs. Grits.

Tzatziki. Hummus.
Kotopoulo patates.
Baklava. Kafe.

Ground chuck for chili,
Meatloaf with barbecue sauce
Vegan nut loaf too.



Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sunrise

Between clouds, sunrise
pouring warm waves of butter.
Words make me hungry.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

National Novel Writing Month 2011

National Novel Writing Month is coming up in just 8.5 days.
About a month ago, I was feeling so-so...like: do I want to do it? What am I going to write? Last year's novel was full of gruesome stuff...what do I want to do to challenge myself this year, if anything?
And since I seem to be writing lots of poetry, why should I write a novel?
Then I started reading the NaNoWriMo local forum. Friends are getting excited about it, and it's just catchy. Like the flu (by the way, did you get your shot yet?).
So I'm looking for ideas for my NaNo novel.

(1) Poet drives a food truck by day, burns food while distractedly writing about the beauty of her/his cuisine...offers poems to patrons. Becomes a hit with the local foodies.

(2) Food truck driver/chef/poet while playing in a big pile of leaves with her nephew (or niece) uncovers a dead body. Yuck. She knows who it is and hijinks ensue as she is suspected and has to clear her name. She names her food truck: Bug Juice and Mystery Meat. Becomes a hit with the local foodies.

(3) Food truck driver/chef realizes her special sauce induces a trance state. She sends her astral body all over the universe to get new recipes.

(4) Food truck driver/chef Protagonist suddenly finds herself in charge of a non-profit agency when the director promotes her just before dying of something that kills quickly and relatively painlessly, but it's a disease, so don't get all suspicious. Protagonist (P. for short) has to lead a ragtag team of misfits to accomplish great things all the while doubting herself.

oh good grief. I'll just start writing and see what happens.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Only a test

Hello.
A test.
Get me to Facebook, pronto.

Shanah Tovah! It's wrestling time!

I have just started teaching at my synagogue, Kol Ami. This teaching thing is a volunteer deal (I could get a break on synagogue membership, but the synagogue needs the money more), but will give me experience and get me back into doing something I loved...oh about 9 years ago. It will also help me hone my own views about god, gods, no-god etc. And I find teaching Bible stories a good way to let people know that there are more than one way to see things. Unlike most Conservative and Orthodox Jews, I do not believe that the words of the Torah are set in stone (so to speak), but whatever's there that has shaped the lives of Jews throughout the ages is important to read, to learn so that we can keep engaging with the concepts.

I find that I cannot and do not want to escape it: I am Jewish. For good or ill, it's a large part of what shapes me...especially since when I was younger and wanted to know more, my family kept me in the dark (Mom: we can't afford to send you to religious school or synagogue; Grandpa: we'll send your brother, but not you, because it's not for girls).

Therefore, it's tied to my identity as woman, because, who are they to deny me what I want to know? And to my life as a librarian, because I believe everyone should have access to the knowledge they desire. Because when you know stuff, you enrich yourself in ways that can never be taken from you.

A Pintele Yid

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Teshuvah

I long to return
I am starting to return
I am returning
I am here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

See, It's Difficult...

I was going to put the title of "See, It's Hard," but I was afraid of some snarkmeister saying, "That's what she said..."
It is much more difficult writing humor than non-fiction or the serious observations about my life. But for a taste of something really humorous (humourous if you're reading in Canada), please visit Donna Louise.She's incredibly snarky and on target with her observations.
She's like a splash of good iced tea with lemon. No sweetener needed.
I especially liked this post written on the anniversary of September 11th. Thanks to Donna Louise, I might just get a bumper sticker for my car this election season...One that won't ire up my neighbors.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pioneer

says much of what I feel...if I've read it correctly. A good poem to read today.

Ten Years After: E Pluribus...no longer one

Today is almost as pretty a day as it was back then. It's warmer, more humid and the sky is...sky blue instead of being azure or deep turquoise, the way it was that crisp September morning.
What is the correct thing to do today? I awakened from disturbing and energetic dreams this morning at 7:43 AM Central time.

I got up and made coffee. Fed the cat and thought about it. The elephant in the room. The elephant in the country.
Maybe that's it. Blame Republicans.
Anyway...
Here's the link to Google's blog about it.

This is the link to my last post about it: E Pluribus Unum.

The nation is more divided than ever. Last night, I even dreamed about it...how the media can't ever say anything positive about President Obama and how the Tea Party and the ultra-conservatives and fringe groups seem to part us from our sensible middle way.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Cruelest

I'm still working on this one:

The Cruelest

It turns on you
slaps your face with
rough cut diamonds
your blood is sweet
as it flows in ribbons
toward a heaving, gray
ocean,
filled with flotsam
and jetsam

you will wash up on shore
drained
dizzy
crusted over with wounds
your heart, scored with gutters

the first person you see
you have to ask:
Where am I?
How do I get there?
When she points to the map of scars
over your skin,
you have no choice,
and there’s a ragged, “oh no,
not again” on your lips.

you find the tool
where you left it, soldered to your hand
wired to the soft part of your brain
so you can begin the
whole damn thing
over again.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

JibJab Media Launches JibJab Jr!!!!

Quite possibly the most anticipated literary event in my household:  JibJab Media is releasing their first children's book, The Biggest Pizza Ever. It's an electronic book, designed for the iPad and it features JibJab's "Starring You" technology, so you can customize it with your child's photograph!

Also, the author of this first ebook, Scott Emmons is one of the wittiest poets you'll ever read.

And the love of my life!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The 40 Year Old Virgin Housewife: Can We Hit 1000 Pageviews In a Month?

Just helping out my friend Becky...she's a good writer and a superb human being. Read her blog!

The 40 Year Old Virgin Housewife: Can We Hit 1000 Pageviews In a Month?: Hey Friends,

I began this blog on July 29, 2011, one month ago tomorrow. I just checked the stats and we're already up to 923 pageviews!...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Morning

Air and sky dark, still.
Wearing spider’s sticky strands
this morning, I walk.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Writing a Post Every Day...

...is more difficult than I thought it would be.
I would much rather just play online than do actual work.
See I'm not even thinking. I just thought I'd put up a picture from our trip to Maui this past June.  Which shows my son, snorkeling.
Snorkeling was easy compared to blogging.
This is not even poetry.



Monday, August 22, 2011

Doldrums

They should be over by now, the summer doldrums. It's only occurring to me at this point in my life that I need to push myself out of them. They won't go away on their own.

It's like I have to pass through them at least once every spin around the sun.

I need to row. Hard.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

I was, you know, busy

With survival
when the power went out,
adrenaline came on.

With purpose I pointed
the beam of the flashlight
and tiptoed to the basement.

No, it was not overloaded circuits.
I knew that.
The boom and flash that tore holes in the sky
The deafening sheets of rain
That's what kept me from writing

to you all.

In daylight, much later
"Hello, do you have power?"
from everyone I met.
And that sense of envy when I would overhear
"Oh yes, the lights just flickered a bit."
And the sense of dread:
what would I find when I returned home?
Slimy petrie dish of a refrigerator?
Heat and the still air, a stifling blanket,
reminder of my powerlessness?

That is why I did not write
Until now.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Zeugma

A Z word! Zeugma.
I am using an actual ink-on-paper dictionary, Webster's 9th, which my spouse & I purchased for one another in 1988.
zeugma (from the Greek lit., joining, and related to the word yoke: the use of of a word to modify or govern two or more words usually in such a manner that it applies to each in a different sense or makes sense with only one.
For example: ".. opened the door and my heart to homeless boy..." this from the dictionary, (but I think it's more an example of Syllepsis).
My example: "She gave her heart to Jethro and her body to the whole damn world," Tom T. Hall.
Wikipedia has a much more detailed analysis here.




Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Front Yard Haiku


I long for bright weeds,
splash of color here and there.
Front yard is too green.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Road Trip: Omaha's Got Art!

In Omaha, we had originally planned to go to the Henry Doorly Zoo, especially to visit the Scott Aquarium. But we got there kind of later than we had planned.

We had lunch at King Kong Gyros & Burgers across the street from the Zoo/Rosenblatt Stadium and then decided to go to the Joslyn Art Museum.

At the Joslyn we saw some incredible things...

I think I can link to this specific painting...I sent a request for permission to do so but have not heard back yet. I'll take the link down if I am told I can't but since this blog is not for profit, I can't imagine what problems I'll have with it. It's Makovsky's Russian Beauty and Cat. I thought it was stunning, the way the artist painted light into just about every pearl, on the fabric, on her face and on the cat's face. You will have to go there to see the painting itself and enjoy all the details up close.

There was also a Chihuly installation in the atrium between the modern pieces and the older ones.

Our visit was so short. I really wished I'd had more time there.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Road Trip: Long Way Around

We took a short road trip to Omaha this weekend. We had time constraints although I had requested Saturday and Sunday off. We knew that Omaha was a short trip north along the beautiful Missouri River.
What we hadn't counted on was the beautiful Big Muddy's floodwater being all over the highway and well, we had to take the long way around. Interstate 29 was closed north of Rock Port, and highways west of there were under water.
To me it was amazing, that with the record heat we'd had, the river hadn't gone down below flood stage in some places.

We did not mind the detours. We got to see some pretty farmland in western Missouri and Iowa, where the gently contoured terraces of crops were dotted with eerily beautiful wind turbines. That got us curious about wind turbines in general. How would you maintain them? Would you have to lift someone by helicopter or crane (or jet pack) in order to fix a broken turbine? The following video will help elucidate those eager to know:


Friday, August 12, 2011

My Excuse

I forgot to post
Yesterday
When warm, sweet winds
and tolerable temperatures
relaxed me.

I took a long drive
Somewhere
I had never been before
A little lake sparkled
bewitched me

When I came home
Much later
My brain grasped for words
that until today
eluded me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Jet Packs vs. Broomsticks: Are We at the Crossroads?

I have been thinking about jet packs a lot these days. This may be because it's been a hot, boring summer and I have time on my hands and lots of empty space in my brain once I finished rereading Harry Potter prior to seeing the final movie. In any event, Harry Potter can fly on a broomstick or thestral or hippogriff. He might choose to Apparate/Disapparate, take a Portkey or use the Floo Network. Evidently certain really advanced wizards can also fly without broomsticks.

All this has made me pretty envious in a wistful, slacker sort of way. Thus the problem of jet packs. Are they supposed to be the broomsticks of our time or something else? In any event, we don't have them yet.

If we did have them--my spouse and I were discussing this today--there might be insurmountable problems:
1) How far could you go before having to come back and refuel?
2) Could you achieve airplane-like speed and height? Probably not unless you were wearing a spacesuit and what would be the fun of that?
3) What about the traffic problems? If you and your neighbors all had jet packs, it could make flying as time consuming as driving in some places. Could you cut across some open space to make time, only to bump into someone headed in the opposite direction? In other words, how regulated would jet pack travel have to be?
4) What would be the aim? Would you want to be able to travel at low heights (above the average suburban treeline, say) just to get around without a car or bike?
5) Would you want to be able to use your jet pack to lift you to say, a mountain top without having had to climb it? Some would say what's the fun of that--but what if you were on a rescue mission? I think jet packs would be great for rescue missions in the mountains. But you'd have to carry oxygen, supplies and more oxygen for whoever you are rescuing.

Back to the drawing board...

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Hold the Presses: Newspaper Movie Critic Lives!!!

Robert Butler is alive and well but he's no longer writing for the Kansas City Star.
Although I miss reading him in the Star, I'm glad I get to read his blog--sometimes twice a day. I'm thrilled that he's writing about what he wants to see and not every big screen big movie that comes along. I agree wholeheartedly with Butler that it's not about the 8 bucks or whatever it costs to see a movie these days--it's about the time.

I also sometimes suspected that Butler was a little easier on some movies than he would have been given free rein. I am probably wrong, but I'm enjoying reading him so much more these days.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Haiku is gaining...

I've just noticed that in my Cloud, Haiku is overtaking Librarianship as a tag.
Poetry wins out every time.

To Live and Write in Kansas City...and environs...part one

I recently joined The Kansas City Writers Group.

It wasn't until the end of the spring semester and now, during the summer that I got the courage up to submit my poetry for critiquing.

I am so glad I did! For one thing, others catch things that I will have missed and the good feedback from the group proves to me that I have something worth working on.

Testing...

testing...testing

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Sleeping Beauty

Roses close the castle
Thorns scale the walls
As day becomes night
For a hundred years...

Friday, August 05, 2011

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Word that I like

Lately, it's a word that neither begins nor ends with Z.

It's SALMAGUNDI.I just like the sound of it.



salmagundi!
salmagundi!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Midsummer Sorrow

I often get really depressed in the middle of the summer. It wasn’t until I did some work in therapy that I began to relate events from my earliest years to who am I today.
My brother was born in the summer and for the content 2-year old girl that I was, it meant the beginning of the end.

The end of my mother’s love and care for me.

Some of my earliest memories involve me holding a turquoise-colored plastic or rubber bowl filled with urine-soaked diapers. I remember the smell. I remember the heat. I remember the crying of my new little brother.

I remember being yelled at for something having to do with my brother and then going away.

Yes.

That’s what my depression was: going away because the reality of my life was too painful. That’s what happens when it’s too painful now, as well. Yet, I had to exist. The pull to survive was very strong. So I pushed away all my 2-year old neediness and became helpful and quiet instead.

Now you may wonder, wasn’t there a father here to balance the mother’s consuming need to care for her newborn?

Well, at that point in time, my mother and father were separating. My father stayed around to help out, but his help consisted of molesting me.

I know these things, so when I become depressed in the heat of the summer now, I let it wash over me and try to calmly observe the connection. Sometimes an event triggers it.In my hormonal youth, a summer occurrence of PMS would always overwhelm me with grief. Most lately it has had to with travel and dislocation; the loss of personal space while we've had visitors and work has been done on the house.

But it's August. I can see autumn on the horizon, and a return to myself.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Grindbone

I'd like to draw your attention to Grindbone, a blog written by 3 excellent and very different authors.
I was made aware of it, especially of the contributions of Brent Allardby my friend Jasilandia.
Both great and I'd write more but I have to pick my son up from work.

Monday, August 01, 2011

What I'm Reading

I have a Barnes & Noble Nook Color and I love it! It's got wifi...but not 3 or 4G, but that's okay. It has me reading more. Best of all, with the Nook, I can download FREE books from the library or Project Gutenberg.
So this is what I'm reading lately:
Cold-Blooded Kindness by Barbara Oakley.Actually I've borrowed my husband's Kindle to read it. And I'm reading it because the subject of the book was someone my spouse was very close to at one time. And she stayed at our house with her now-dead husband. Whom she murdered. So it's an interesting read for a number of reasons.

Also, I'm reading on my Nook: Louise Penny's Fatal Grace, the second in the Armand Gamache series. While I find the lovely town of Three Pines a little too cozy, the twists and turns in the mystery are very intriguing. And the author has such a rich way of describing artwork and poetry as seen by the characters in the book. If only artists could always have such loving attentiveness paid their work!

And I started 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill, which I downloaded from among the library's ebooks. I didn't finish it because...I got scared...and then it was due!

I finished Helen Simonson's Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, which was an actual ink-on-paper book, I checked out from the brick-and-mortar library and returned on time. It was beautifully written, the characters just wonderfully drawn. In some ways it was very familiar: clash of cultures, clash of generations, evil business decisions that threaten a traditional way of life in little British town. But through it all, there is the character of the Major...who just blossomed into three-dimensions. Highly recommended!

And...Gary Taubes's Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It. It's easier to read than his "Good Calories;Bad Calories," that's all I'm saying for now.

Hoc scripsit.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The hot weather; the debt ceiling.

The heat, the debt ceiling.
Here in the GKC, anticipating temperatures of 102 later on this week...ugh.

But here's a local voice of centrist reason, Henry Bloch, the founder of H & R Block urges Congress to balance increased revenue with lowered spending.

Compare that with the anything-but-centered rants of Tom McClannahan. Should I wish a lack of "entitlement programs" for him when his safety net fails? When, for instance, the Kansas City Star decides to downsize again?

Naaaah...I pay my taxes and I don't mind paying a little more to help my fellow Americans. Even stingy bastards like McClannahan.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Brokenhearted over The New Yorker Magazine...

I am brokenhearted and furious. Right now I am furious with The New Yorker.
Mostly I am furious that some old, famous poet, still alive and probably still able to write beautiful verse had something so second-rate published in the July 11th edition of the New Yorker Magazine.

This is Frederick Seidel, born in 1936 in St. Louis and now living in NYC, winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. I'm not thinking of the content of his poems. This article in the currently available New York Times shows you the power of his writing. And it illuminates some of the controversy surrounding his work.

It's just that the selection in that issue of the New Yorker...is so pathetic. Ah...here's a blog that posts the poem: Before Air-Conditioning.

What don't I like about it? It seems unpolished. Maybe the author was going for a kind of child-like rhythm and rhyme. I just feel it seems like something half-worked on. If I sent something like that in to The New Yorker, do you think they would publish it? No way. It would be rejected out of hand.

So it's not Frederick Seidel that I have a beef with. It's the New Yorker. I no longer consider the New Yorker to be an arbiter of literary taste.

Now this is almost as bad as becoming disillusioned about my parents, the end of innocence, so to speak. I love the New Yorker. When Hendrik Hertzberg defended the magazine's editorial choices against conservative critics, my heart swelled with pride. This is what it meant to be thoughtful and liberal and intellectual. This is what freedom of the press was all about. This was a magazine I had been reading my whole life: from my childhood, paging through the cartoons whose meaning I barely understood, to my adulthood: reading for instruction, pleasure and a sense that people of like mind were reading along with me. I had the sense that editors who understood me and my fellows carefully selected articles, stories and poetry for us...with only occasional missteps. And these missteps I took to be--oh it's just not my style or taste--and therefore excusable every once in a while.

But now I just think...why bother even thinking about the magazine as a venue for the young and talented, when its poetry selections are just aimed at mid-level mediocrity. Thus I am left disillusioned and brokenhearted. I will quote Shakespeare, his 87th Sonnet:
Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing,
And like enough thou know'st thy estimate,
The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing:
My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting,
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thy self thou gav'st, thy own worth then not knowing,
Or me to whom thou gav'st it, else mistaking,
So thy great gift upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgement making.
Thus have I had thee as a dream doth flatter,
In sleep a king, but waking no such matter.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

No Library? Know Peace!

It was a little over a year ago that I quit my hyper-responsible job at a public library.
I had been a manager, thinking I was supposed to do that and suffered greatly because I did not do it right.
And I couldn't figure out how to get from there to somewhere where I would be one of those epic, cool, bloggerific librarians.

Well the truth of the matter is, I liked being a librarian. I hated being a manager. I think ultimately it's sad that public libraries have to cull from their MLS/MLIS personnel to staff managerial positions -- as if being a manager is a reward!

I guess it's a reward only to those managerial types. Like most of the administration.

I did not like supervising, writing performance appraisals, having to be so freaking careful about everything I said. And I hated being micromanaged by my supervisor and her supervisor.

I am nowhere near librarianship now and honestly, today I don't care.
Really. The skill set transfers, you know.
I have more time to be my bloggerific own self.
How do I spend my days? I work part-time as a receptionist at my community center. I manage my household and I figure I'm my son's case manager.

And I write. I write poetry and prose. Life is pretty good.

Sylvia Comics

Do you remember Nicole Hollander's Sylvia Comics? My favorite character was The Woman Who Does [Everything More Beautifully Than You].

Anyway, I subscribe to Hollander's Bad Girl Chats and life is so much better!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Custardy Agreement

I always thought the word "custody" sounded like "custardy," so if you got custody, well, what kind? Chocolate? Coconut?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How to succeed...

So, I think about what success means.
I used to think it meant: a confident woman in business attire. And not just you know, a knit pantsuit, but something tasteful and tailored.
And carrying a leather briefcase.
Maybe this woman had leather lingerie too. I don't know. It was never me.

Nevertheless, I think about success: aiming for a goal and achieving it. And thus I find this article from the Harvard Business Review blog. I especially like what Halvorson writes here:
5. Focus on getting better, rather than being good. Believing you have the ability to reach your goals is important, but so is believing you can get the ability. Many of us believe that our intelligence, our personality, and our physical aptitudes are fixed — that no matter what we do, we won't improve. As a result, we focus on goals that are all about proving ourselves, rather than developing and acquiring new skills.




It's nice to think that we can develop new skills in life. I'm going to assume I can apply this to my just-blossoming writing career. And you know I'm a writer because I don't want to wear that business suit!

Monday, July 25, 2011

2 Haiku

1) Dinner Haiku


Empty stomach growls

So weak with inanition

Hollering for food!


2) MetaHaiku


How I love haiku!

Compact verse, pointed few words

voicing large stories.

Pure awesome

Sunday, July 24, 2011

No Hormones? Know Peace

One of the most significant events for me has been menopause.
Before the Pause, I went through the Peri...wondering: do I get a signal, some official sign that it’s all going to stop? What are hot flashes like?

Little did I know the Peri is the signal. And it can last for years.

I won't bore you with how much I suffered with hot flashes or mood swings or memory problems. If you're a woman and you're reading this, and you're in good health, you'll get there sister. Oh yes!

I will however tell you what awaits on the other side:
No more cramps. No more monthly bleeding. Hardly any hormonal headaches. That's because you have hardly any of those handy hormones left. No more estrogen! None. Zip. Zero.

And that's where the peace comes in. I look at how much I was tormented by my libido: the crushes, the affairs (uh-oh, you didn't read this!), the inappropriate anger and jealousy over what?

Well, all those sex hormones are gone, gone, gone. I have to work to spark my libido and with my aging memory, I'll be getting into some sort of fantasy and all of a sudden...pop! the thoughts disappear and I'm thinking of the groceries...or the debt ceiling and then I'm looking at the ceiling and thinking, "We really need to get rid of those cobwebs...'

Without precious estrogen I can get brittle bones and lose protection for my circulatory system--because your cholesterol levels and blood pressure go up when estrogen goes away.

It's as if Nature is saying, "No more egg production? What good are you? Die, crone, die!!!"
And there are days when I think, "Yeah. I've had it. Goodbye cruel world in which I'm never going to be as hot and sexy as I once was!" (as if!)

But then, a friend of mine, who's been on the other side for many years now and is still alive, reminds me of all the good things and about living each day as it comes.

Ah the hell with it. I'm going to talk to my doctor about hormone replacement therapy.* I want my body back!

*hormone therapy is not without risks, though...

Who? How?

A blog post a day. I almost wrote "blob." Because that's the way I feel.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

So now what?

Rapture didn't happen, but I'm Jewish and I don't believe in the second (or first) coming. If there is God, She is bigger than any religion or creed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Advance Notice! Kathy Dobson & Internet Friendship

I want to promote my friend's book: With a Closed Fist: Growing up in Canada’s Toughest Neighbourhood. Kathy Dobson, the author is a journalist with the Toronto Globe and Mail.

How do I know Kathy? She's in Canada and I'm...well, I'm in the suburbs of Kansas City.
The Internet. We met nearly 8 years ago on a public forum--in a way that must be so familiar to Internet natives: you join a site and before you know it, you meet people who have similar points of view and interests. They have friends. Suddenly you have more Internet friends than you ever thought possible.

Then gradually you deem it safe to meet IRL. Some of your younger friends have done it...as long as you take precautions how dangerous can it be?

But the biggest worries are: will they like me in real life? Online we communicate in bursts. Sometimes one of us has a lengthy post, sometimes we PM each other. What if the conversation flags?

I remember how skittish we were about putting our faces up as avatars on the forum. But little by little as we were assured that it enhanced our relationships, we got bolder and bolder.

Online we have celebrated births and birthdays, anniversaries, bar mitzvahs, weddings. We have grieved with one another, comforting as best we can when when one of us experiences illness and death.

It's both amazing and deeply wonderful (and I'm just a boomer, what do I know?) how deeply felt are our loyalties to one another.

I know very few people read this blog (must do something about that!), but I wanted to do my small part for promoting Kathy's book.