Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
This is earlier than I normally get up, but I woke up at 4 and after an hour of not being able to fall back asleep, I decided to go downstairs and work on my manuscript. (Did I tell you I'm changing titles again?) So for the last 88 minutes I've been looking at the notes I've written about this manuscript and what I'm trying to do. I have two possibilities for new titles, neither seeming too perfect this early in the morning. From my bed, I had it all figured out, but now from here, in the actual pages of my manuscript, what seemed like a solution ends up just being another question.
So I'm thinking about titles this morning.
Some of my favorite titles are from Tupelo Press--
Miracle Fruit by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Dancing in Odessa by Ilya Kaminsky
Sleeping with the Dictionary by Harryette Mullen
and Jeannine Hall Gailey's Becoming the Villainess
Other favorite titles of mine?
The Cartographer's Tongue by Susan Rich
Albert Goldbarth's Budget Travel Through Space & Time
Richard Blanco's City of a Hundred Fires
and Nin Andrew's has created her own art form with titles:
The Book of Orgasms
Mid-Life Crisis with Dick & Jane
Sleeping With Houdini
So...somewhere out in the pages of the dictionary are the words to my title, I guess I just need to find them, one word at a time.
* * * *
Saturday, October 27, 2007
If you look closely you can see I'm actually reciting "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" as I knock out evil aliens. Actually, what can I say, sometimes you just need to sample the dessert tray of life and minus the fires around us, California and Oregon were fantastic. We are home safely and with many stories.
I've decided the best time to travel is in the off season when all the tourists are caught deep in their own lives. We had beaches, aquariums, missions, museums, galleries to ourselves. Wait until you see the photos of the jellyfish room from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We all need our own jellyfish room.
More to tell soon.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
***This a fantastic book if you haven't read it yet. I just received my copy and what wonderful work this is!
And here's the great news---
Announcement, Winners of THE GLOBAL FILIPINO LITERARY AWARD FOR POETRY
We are very pleased to announce that TRILL & MORDENT by Luisa Igloria shares
the Global Filipino Literary Award with PUTI / WHITE by Patria Rivera,
for Poetry published in 2005.
TRILL & MORDENT will be submitted to the Library of Congress
and will receive a special catalog number for inclusion in
the Global Filipino Literary Awards Collection
housed permanently in the Library's Asian Reading Room .
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
THE Right Brain vs Left Brain test ... do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?
Here's a link to the full article (Also, the image of the dancer is better here than what I was able to upload to my blog.)
If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.
Most of us would see the dancer turning anti-clockwise though you can try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it.
LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
words and language
present and past
math and science
knows object name
RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
"big picture" oriented
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
knows object function
Monday, October 15, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Also, if you'd like to receive emails from Al Gore or just visit his website, I put the link above and here.
Subject line: I am deeply honored.
I am deeply honored to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This award is even more meaningful because I have the honor of sharing it with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change--the world's pre-eminent scientific body devoted to improving our understanding of the climate crisis--a group whose members have worked tirelessly and selflessly for many years. We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest opportunity to lift global consciousness to a higher level.
My wife, Tipper, and I will donate 100 percent of the proceeds of the award to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a bipartisan non-profit organization that is devoted to changing public opinion in the U.S. and around the world about the urgency of solving the climate crisis.
Here are my responses to her questions...
How do you find encouragement or validation?
***I return to the friends who are writers and know my previous successes and get a pep talk or even just to talk to them. Get out of my cave and realize that success goes up and down. Some days you're the prized pony, other days you're just pulling the cart.
When my friends aren't around or I don't feel like assigning anyone the role of "friend," I remind myself that I'd be doing this despite publication or awards. I honestly believe there is nothing more important than participating in the creative arts, no matter what they are (did you read Li-Young Lee's interview I posted, he said something similar, though a little more poetic).
If I'm going through a rejection phase or a lot of nothingness (which I am), I just tell myself that it's not my time right now and to keep trying. I just found out I didn't get an Artist Trust Fellowship. I was bummed. But talking with one of the winners I realized that it was her time for this success and not mine. I felt better after seeing how she will benefit more from the fellowship than I would.
How do you measure "success" (on your own, in your writing community)?
***I try not too. If I even find myself comparing myself to anyone, I pull back immediately. I think comparisons are one of the best inspiration killers. I have always measured success in my feeling of happiness, contentment, and fulfillment. Poetry helps fill those categories.
If I thought "Prize X" = success than I would lose track of what I'm doing. I'd be expecting others to validate me as opposed to validating myself by writing. I guess I've begun to care less and less about what others think and external success. My new mantra is "It's not my business what others think of me." Just as I can't let myself be down when I'm not receiving acceptances, awards, publication, I cannot allow them to create my happiness either. Both are subjective. Both require other people to validate me and call me "good." In the end, they are usually one person's opinion.
How do you keep in the top of your mind the real why you write poetry?
***the real *reason?* I write poetry.
For me it returns to that Berryman poem by WS Merwin. I don't know what any of this means, why I do it, or how it will turn out. But I feel I need to do it. I just try to stay focused on the poem and let the other thoughts slip past me.
How do you keep on keepin' on?
***Good question! I think a little faith help and a little desperation. Also, not having many other skills keeps me writing too. ;-)
I just remind myself-- if I had all the money in the world, how would I spend your time?
My answer is always writing (and traveling) so I know I'm doing what I love to do, so I keep doing it.
* * * *
I've posted this here before, but here it is again--
I will tell you what he told me
in the years just after the war
as we then called
the second world war
don't lose your arrogance yet he said
you can do that when you're older
lose it too soon and you may
merely replace it with vanity
just one time he suggested
changing the usual order
of the same words in a line of verse
why point out a thing twice
he suggested I pray to the Muse
get down on my knees and pray
right there in the corner and he
said he meant it literally
it was in the days before the beard
and the drink but he was deep
in tides of his own through which he sailed
chin sideways and head tilted like a tacking sloop
he was far older than the dates allowed for
much older than I was he was in his thirties
he snapped down his nose with an accent
I think he had affected in England
as for publishing he advised me
to paper my wall with rejection slips
his lips and the bones of his long fingers trembled
with the vehemence of his views about poetry
he said the great presence
that permitted everything and transmuted it
in poetry was passion
passion was genius and he praised movement and invention
I had hardly begun to read
I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can't
you can't you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don't write
Friday, October 12, 2007
But the best part of the Futility Review is their merchandise: When your best just isn't good enough t-shirt. Nothing says "poet" more than this.
Ode to the Midwest
by Kevin Young
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest—Bob Dylan
I want to be doused
& fried. I want
the aisles, my heart's
supermarket stocked high
as cholesterol. I want to die
wearing a sweatsuit—
I want to live
forever in a Christmas sweater,
a teddy bear nursing
off the front. I want to write
a check in the express lane.
I want to scrape
my driveway clean
myself, early, before
that'll put em to shame—
I want to see what the sun
sees before it tells
the snow to go. I want to be
the only black person I know.
I want to throw
out my back & not
complain about it.
I wanta drive
two blocks. Why walk—
I want love, n stuff—
I want to cut
my sutures myself.
I want to jog
down to the river
& make it my bed—
I want to walk
its muddy banks
& make me a withdrawal.
I tried jumping in,
found it frozen—
I'll go home, I guess,
to my rooms where the moon
changes & shines
Kevin Young is the author of five books of poetry, most recently For the Confederate Dead (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007), and the editor of four others. His book Jelly Roll (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003) was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Paterson Poetry Prize. He is currently the Atticus Haygood Professor and Curator of the Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University.
Al Gore & UN Panel wins Nobel Peace Prize
Former Vice President Al Gore and the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their work to raise awareness about global warming
Read about it here.
Oh there is a part of me that knows he wouldn't be receiving this honor right now if he were president. He would have been too busy with America's problems and not the world's, but there is a selfish part of me that wishes these last seven years weren't the Dingbat and Ratty show.
I still hope Al Gore will run for the 2008. So do many people here.
Anyway, good news in the world today. At least one superhero was recognized for his important work without trying to steal his cape and for once no one turned the camera to the WonderTwins coming out of rehab.
* * * *
Diet, Curse, Hate (the Unhappy Suburban Mom version)--
I've started reading EAT, PRAY, LOVE. I'm probably the last woman in America reading this book. I think my copy has been in the hands of many others.
Right now, I'm enjoying it though I still want to know why their marriage broke up and she said in the book something like "it's too personal to write about here..." Did I miss something? Isn't this why I'm reading this book, for the personal? I can get the watered-down version of people's lives in my own town.
Still, I like it.
* * * * *
Li-Young Lee Groupies Unite--
I'm glad others enjoyed the Li-Young Lee interview. He's also a favorite of mine. And it looks as if his new book will be out in a few months... It's called BEHIND MY EYES and comes with an audio CD! Now how cool is that. This will knock him into rockstar status, well, rockstar for poets, which means none of our friends will know who he is, but plan on arriving early for any reading he does.
I'm surprised other poets haven't done the book/CD thing. I have Billy Collin's Best Cigarette and also a reading a friend gave me where Bill Murray introduces him. I had the Language of Life on cassette and I loved listening to that. Local poet Elizabeth Austen has a lovely CD of her poems.
Maybe this is what we should all move to, book and CD. Or maybe just save these for our poetry superstars.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I think that there's nothing more you can do than to make art. To write poems. And I came to the conclusion that aesthetic awareness—or aesthetic consciousness or aesthetic presence—is the only possible ethical presence we have. And so I went from thinking that the practice of aesthetics was a complete waste of time to thinking that aesthetic awareness is the most complete form of awareness we have.
This headline made me smile this morning: Jimmy Carter calls Cheney a "disaster"
I like this new use of the word "disaster" and I've been seeing it a lot more in reference to people--Britney Spears, I think Donald Trump called Rosie O'Donnell a disaster--and it brings me back to high school Driver's Ed when Mark, my ridiculous driving partner panicked in the Sears parking lot and started swerving in and out of cars. All he could say while Mr. Stoddard tried to press down on the teacher's brake located on the passenger side of the car was "I'm a disaster. And I'm causing a disaster." As frightened as I was for my life, I was impressed with Ridiculous Mark's way of finding the right words.
What I've been Googling--
Sometimes I think I could write a poem from the phrases I've googled. Maybe this should be a challenge. I realized yesterday I googled "insects in space," "planet Yellowjacket," and "bee satellites." All would make intriguing titles to poems.
Sherman Alexie News--
FROM THE SEATTLE TIMES:
Sherman Alexie among National Book Award finalists
Seattle author, film director and essayist Sherman Alexie's young-adult novel based on his life,
"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," is a finalist for the National Book Award.
Alexie, 41, is one of five finalists in the young people's category. Reached Wednesday in Miami, where he's on a book tour, Alexie said, "I'm ecstatic. My editor woke me up with the news. I thought I was dreaming."
Alexie said the book, about a young Native American who survives a harrowing upbringing on his reservation and leaves to pursue his dreams, has touched a chord like none other of his works.
"The response from the road is larger than anything in my career," he said. "My wife and I are calling it the hug-and-run tour. People are coming up in tears, and hugging me and running. There is no jaded literary response among the audience. It's so validating."
Alexie said the "very, very autobiographical" nature of the book makes the attention even more gratifying. "It's scary to put a very close version of my story out in the world — there's a lot of emotional capital at stake. I keep thinking of my mom and dad years ago, who somehow had the bravery to let me go."
Read full story here.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
|You Are 45% Left Brained, 55% Right Brained|
The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.
The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
The Explorer Writes in Her Journal--
Well, yesterday was Columbus Day and I celebrated by trying to mail a letter and going to a closed library. A perfect way to commemorate a faux-holiday. My daughter has known the phrase "Euro-centric" in regards to Columbus Day since she was three. I think Chris Rock said it best regarding Columbus-- "The land he discovered had occupants on it. That's like discovering someone's back yard."
So yesterday stumbled upon a new shop in my town I've never seen and claimed it for my family. I also took ownership of a latte stand, an acre of blackberry bushes, and renamed Puget Sound, Puget Kelli. I feel good about what I accomplished in the new world and look forward to other discoveries I will make in my lifetime.
Not Poetry, but Dessert
We made Halloween funfetti cupcakes yesterday. Revised: My husband and daughter made funfetti cupcakes, I helped decorate them.
Poem With Attitude
I'm working on a poem right now that is trying to torture a confession out of me. I put the poem on a pedestal and it falls off. I hold the poem up to the light and I can see through it. The poem laughs off my revisions. I tell the poem to stop talking so loudly so I can work and it whistles the theme song to Mission Impossible. I tell the poem I can hear its sarcasm. The poem tells me to stop, relax, and come back later. I tell the poem no better time than the present. I tell the poem, now now now. The poem puts a bag over itself. The poem becomes the Unknown Comic. I tell the poem that I mean it no harm, but it can't hear me as I snap it with my pen. The poem reaches for the gong and I leave the stage.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Sunday, October 07, 2007
This morning it was me against the hedge. I can't say the hedge won, but I didn't win either. Rematch on Tuesday with better tools. Note to nature lovers-- You may love nature, but if you want to privacy between you and your neighbors, build a fence. A fence doesn't try to eat your house.
My Favorite People Get GAP Grants--
I just received my ArtSource magazine and was browsing through I saw photos of several friends who received GAP grants this year.
Washington State has the coolest organization -- ARTIST TRUST. They support all artists--writers, visual, media, performance, etc. Every year they give out Artist Trust GAP grants and this year, four writers I know all received one: Jeannine Hall Gailey, Ronda Broatch, Martha Silano, and Susan Rich. You can see their photos as well a brief description on what they are working on here.
Other impressive writer friends who have received GAP grants are: Annette Spaulding-Convy (also a Floating Bridge Chapbook winner) and Jenifer Lawrence whose first book just came out from Blue Begonia Press. As well as Jeannette Allée, Molly Tenenbaum, Erin Malone, Ted McMahon, Melanie Noel, Derek Sheffield, & Frances McCue. Artist Trust does a great job of supporting such important work.
But of course, poetry lovers need to also be taken by what's inside. And I was. The book is a series of prose poems, each one offering surprise and wit, intrigue and story. And while each poem balances off the other poems, they are uniquely different. Like "Aspirin," which begins, The day I ate two bottles of St. Joseph's baby aspirin, my mother was out of town. . .
MAKING THE SUN RISE
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Oct. 5, 2007 -
Peter Cole, a Jewish poet, translator and publisher, received a MacArthur “genius” award of $500,000 last week, and the timing couldn’t have been more apt. Cole is cofounder of Ibis Editions, a small Jerusalem press dedicated to translating Arabic, Hebrew and works in other Mideast languages in to English. (His MacArthur was announced as the same time that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was making headlines when he spoke in New York at Columbia University and the United Nations.) Cole’s latest volume of translations, “The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry From Muslim and Christian Spain 950-1492," celebrates the Sephardic medieval culture in which Hebrew and Arabic influences intermingled. He spoke to NEWSWEEK’s Temma Ehrenfeld. Read the interview here.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
"OMG," this is the "funniest" thing. You won't "believe" how often "people" "misuse" quotation marks. Check out this "blog" to "see" "in a manner of speaking" how quotation marks can change the way you "read" signs. "Hilarious."
The "Blog" of "Unneccessary" Quoatation Marks
Back on October 3rd, 1993 --I'll do the math, it's 14 years today--these were the ring bearers at my wedding (actually Eric got sick from nerves and only Todd made it.) Now they are soon to be 21 and incredibly talented. Here they are singing "I'll Be." Aren't they the cutest? (I guess I should probably change that to "handsome.") And yes, they're identical twins.
If you like their singing, there's another one of them doing Britney Spear's "Gimme More."
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Best Online ZenHabit--
Here's a great article on 72 Things to Do to Simplify Your Life
Of course, if they were really in touch with simplification the article would be only 7 Things to Do to Simplify your life. I know I felt a little overwhelmed by the time I reached 26 (Create a simple mail & paperwork system). So ultimately to simplify my life, I had to stop reading the article for awhile. It's still a good article.
Last night I met a librarian named "Anne Sexton" and when I said, "That's the same name as a famous poet" she said dryly, "I've never heard of her." I'm pretty sure I was talking to Anne Sexton.
Here's my favorite quote I heard this week--
"If you're not happy with what you have, you probably won't be happy with what you want."
It just slightly beats my favorite quote from Caddyshack,
"You'll have nothing and like it."
or my favorite quote from my MFA program--
"There's no crying in grad school." Wait. I may have got that wrong...
Mini Gratitude Journal--
1) 14 years: 10-3
2) all of us
Please speak clearly this week.
It's been an interesting week, drama has buzzed around me. Miscommunication. I said, "I'm sorry I must be leaving," but instead the card arrived "Join us." It seems what I say isn't heard or is it misheard? I'm interrupted or misinterpreted. Constructed or misconstrued? Miss Led. Miss Spoken. It makes me wonder from what drawer I'm chosing my words. The drawer of mismatched socks. The drawer of blunders.