October 20, 2012
September 26, 2012
September 21, 2012
I'm all about the afterlife right now. My chapbook, Dead Letters, is so hot off the press I haven't even seen it yet, but you'll find it this weekend at RoadWorks. If you find yourself with a copy, tell me all about it! All of these lovely books and notebooks are available at Meridian Press, so you should definitely check it out.
Also, I'll be reciting a Mary Oliver poem this weekend at A Glimpse Beyond at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. I've been practicing the poem so much that my children have it memorized.
September 14, 2012
Hello all you alls,
August 23, 2012
August 12, 2012
August 8, 2012
July 28, 2012
July 24, 2012
For Sweet P's 15th birthday we took her to the cat shelter, and she picked out two orange kitten brothers whom she named Crook & Shanks (Harry Potter fans will recognize their shared kneazle namesake).
it can't float away.
And the rain, everybody's brother,
won't help. And the wind all these days
flying like ten crazy sisters everywhere
can't seem to do a thing. No one but me,
and my hands like fire,
to lift him to a last burrow. I wait
days, while the body opens and begins
to boil. I remember
the leaping in the moonlight, and can't touch it,
wanting it miraculously to heal
and spring up
joyful. But finally
I do. And the day after I've shoveled
the earth over, in a field nearby
I find a small bird's nest lined pale
and silvery and the chicks—
are you listening, death?—warm in the rabbit's fur.
July 15, 2012
July 7, 2012
July 3, 2012
June 26, 2012
June 22, 2012
June 6, 2012
I am of the opinion that adults should be allowed to choose to read any old book they please. That's one of the few great things about being an adult: We get to choose (I especially am not fond of bread crust, and I choose not to eat it ever again).
And whatever a kid wants to read, I say let him read on, because today's Captain Underpants may turn into tomorrow's To Kill a Mockingbird.
Lord knows I spent a fair amount of time reading Danielle Steel in high school, until I realized every book told the same story, and look at me now bloggity blogging about Fahrenheit 451. Were you wondering when I would get to it?
I never had any desire to read this one, partly because I'm just not attracted to books written by men (and I know this is so unfair of me because some of my all-time favorite books were written by men-- well, I can think of two), and partly because the story itself seems very masculine. It's about a fireman for crying out loud.
I keep forgetting to say fireman. I want to say firefighter because that's one of those PC things that stuck with me-- unlike mailman/letter carrier, which I'll never get right-- but Guy Montag doesn't fight fires, he burns books. Not just banned books, but all books, because in the future where Montag lives, all books are illegal.
Then Montag has a breakdown in which he discovers how books came to be illegal: It's because of the people. They don't want to read anymore. They don't want to think or be unhappy, and the government realizes how handy this could be. The problem is that no one is happy. They're all trying to commit suicide.
It was a frightening little read in terms of where society may be going, and I was very happy I didn't read it while the Bush administration was still doing its dirty little deeds.
Here's a funny thing, though: Some of the characters in the book wear headphones, listening to mindless jabber to keep from thinking. It didn't occur to me, until I read an interview with Ray Bradbury, that headphones hadn't been invented in 1953. He made them up! Also, as he says in the interview, he was aghast the first time he saw someone wearing headphones while walking through the park.
It's Star Trek and the cell phones all over again-- well, I guess Bradbury pre-dates Star Trek by 13 years. Who's counting?
It's not a book I would read again, mostly because I really do like a few more people of the female variety in my books, but it did make me stop and think about modern media in new and interesting ways. It frightened me enough to make me want to finish one New Yorker article instead of just reading the poetry and short stories. Those articles are always so long and tedious!
And for your perusing pleasure: a list of the most controversial books in America since 1900, and another from Amazon of 2008's challenged books. That one is worrisome. I just can't imagine walking into the library director's office in Nampa Idaho to borrow a copy of The New Joy of Sex. Can you?
Don't these lists just make you want to read all of the banned books? Or am I the only one who's wacky like that?
June 5, 2012
May 30, 2012
May 15, 2012
Nick Flynn will host the event, and there will be readings by Mary Morris, Maria Venegas, Eric Fair, Kelle Groom, Melissa Sandor, Danielle Blau, Patricia Caspers, Michael Dumanis, Monica Ferrell, Michael Klein, Eileen Myles, Gregory Pardlo, James Tolan, Suzanne Wise, and Ronnie Yates.
May 8, 2012
May 2, 2012
April 17, 2012
April 8, 2012
“It Don’t Mean a Thing”
March 29, 2012
Which means, you know, that Fish Head Soup may be a somewhat more neglected than usual. Perhaps not. It's possible I will be so inspired by the women I celebrate over there that I'll have more than ever to say over here.
One is always allowed her fantasies.
March 28, 2012
"I don't know," is my standard reply.
I imagine there will come a time when I'll stop dreaming of sugar, and then I'll know it's ok to eat it. Or maybe I'll be able to picture having a platter of some crunchy sweet confection in the house and not want to eat every last morsel in one go. That may never happen. My friend Sparkle Fairy says it won't. However, I continue to hold out hope.
Another friend, Rocky Mountain Runner, says it took her a year to banish the addiction, and even then she allowed herself one dessert every three months lest it became a Hydra.
I'm not comfortable with not knowing. I think I make quick decisions because the muddle of indecision is so uncomfortable for me. I'd rather make a poor decision and deal with the consequences later-- which, come to think of it, is probably how my daughter was conceived. Thankfully, she turned out OK, and I learned at least one important lesson.
I was plodding along in my sugarlessness, and then we had a wonderful sermon at church about peaceful eating, which made me want to give up meat. I don't think there could be anything as difficult for me as giving up sugar. I never dream of salt, for instance, or gnawing on a chicken bone. I haven't eaten meat in a week.
I've gone meat-free before. I was horrified to learn that a two pound roast creates pollution equal to 150 miles of driving time, and gave it up for a while, but then I slipped, ate some pepperoni (what is pepperoni?) and felt so guilty about it I fell off the chuck wagon. Recently, though, a good friend said of my sugary desires, "Recovery is not perfection, it's progress." I think it applies to meat as well.
I've decided to live in meat limbo. I'm not going to call myself a vegetarian because I may have a local, grass-fed, organic burger one day. Maybe tomorrow. I'm going to commit to progress, not perfection.
This living in the blurry areas is all very new for me as I tend to create strict rules for myself. I was thinking that it's sort of like living in a gray area, but that's too depressing, and I've had enough melancholy for one lifetime, so I'm going with pink: not the red of failure, not the white halo of perfection. Just pink.
Another wise woman (my mother-in-law, whom I'll call Microscopic Mama, because she works with the tools, and not because of her petite stature) once said, "When you're uncomfortable, it means you're growing."
I must be growing a lot. And at the same time shrinking, as I've lost a pant size.
February 21, 2012
Just like our organs, our anger is part of us. When we are angry, we have to go back to ourselves and take good care of our anger. We cannot say, “Go away, anger, I don’t want you.” When you have a stomachache, you don’t say, “I don’t want you stomach, go away.” No, you take care of it. In the same way, we have to embrace and take good care of our anger. When we embrace anger and take good care of our anger, we obtain relief. We can look deeply into it and gain many insights. One of the first insights may be that the seed of anger in us has grown too big, and is the main cause of our misery. As we begin to see this reality, we realize that the other person, whom our anger is directed at, is only a secondary cause. The other person is not the real cause of our anger.”
So two millennia later we read depictions of God angry like a disappointed parent who has expended so much energy to lovingly create and raise humans who turn into ungrateful selfish little brats or worse, violent, homicidal maniacs. We recognize in God the pain-soaked rage of a child now grown who knows parents in the fullness of potentiality should be present, attentive, loving—and yet sometimes they fail due to their own brokenness.
January 30, 2012
I often let my dream life show me where I'm going, or where I've been, and my first sugarless week I dreamed of sweet things, lamenting a half-licked lollipop, or arguing with friends about the merits of Rocky Road. Obvious enough.
It's been twelve days now, and last night I dreamed I was in China. I walked the streets and photographed everything. I couldn't wait to edit the photos, and then to put it all into words. I woke and wanted to run away from home, and since I couldn't run, I wanted to pull the covers over my head and huddle the day away.
I've felt that travel tug while high on Twinkies, though, so I'm guessing the sugar was not deadening that desire so much.
Then as I spread peanut butter and honey on bread for the kids' lunches, I found myself asking: What is wrong with me? It's certainly not the first time I've asked myself that question, but in the past I've always silenced it with a nice hot mocha and a cream puff.
Well, I didn't eat those things, and I still don't have the answer. All I know is that I've hit the crankypants stage of Discovery, as the Wise Woman said I would. I hope it blows over quickly or I may be divorced and friendless by the time it's done.