Friday, December 29, 2006

Countdown to the new

A hearty welcome to not-exactly-new blogger Timothy Green, who is a fine poet & editor. Stop by his place and say hi!

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Hard to remember, in this unseasonably warm weather, that the end of the year is practically upon us. Resolutions, anyone?

I have several goals for the new year, which are for the most part not so much quantifiable achievements as changes in the way I look at things. We'll see how that works out. For one thing, I want to pay attention to what's truly important and remember to make space for it.

I think the cats have resolved to take more naps. That's actually kind of a great resolution, when you think about it. (Bear is fulfilling said resolution even as we speak, sacked-out on his back next to me here on the couch. What a life.)

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Today I went to the Starbucks down the road from me to splurge on a white chocolate mocha and read Charlie's chapbook. (I'd read many of the poems before, but reading them in the context of the whole collection definitely adds something. Good stuff.) I was wearing a t-shirt from the Pacific Whale Foundation on Maui, and the cashier guy commented on it, said he'd seen dolphins once but had never seen a whale in the wild and really wanted to. That started me thinking about how lucky I am, in my life. I may drive a 15-year-old rusty car and live in a little bitty falling-apart house, but I have seen whales in the wild, have looked around to find myself surrounded by them, can summon up the sound of humpbacks breathing in my memory. In a lot of ways I guess I don't have much, but what I've got is good. It's a good life. I feel lucky to be able to say that.

Luck to all y'all in the new year!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry and bright

This year, for some reason, I am feeling particularly grateful for this odd little virtual community here. I've never met most of you who read and comment on this blog (and whose blogs I read and comment on), and probably will never meet many of you. But a bunch of you have come to feel like a real presence in my life, voices I look forward to hearing from every so often. I've been introduced to some damn good poets and poems, and some of you make me laugh a heck of a lot.
Many thanks, friends. And whether or not you celebrate Christmas, I hope this winter day finds you in a warm, comfortable, well-fed place, with people you care about.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A very merry

Santa Bear
Originally uploaded by land mammal.
Ho ho ho! Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you gotta love a jolly Santa Cat. Unless, of course, you are a mouse.

(And no, this isn't photoshopped or anything -- Bear was happy to pose with a little hat perched on top of his head. He's, uh, not a particularly tense sort of guy.)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Because it's there

Most climbers who are killed on Mt. Everest die on the way down from the summit.

Which just goes to show you something about focusing on accomplishment rather than paying attention to the entirety of the process.

Of course this post is about poetry. Aren't they all?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Two weeks left... the year. Two weeks. It's hard to fathom.

I've racked up more acceptances/publications this year than in any year past, which is nice. I had more writing breakthroughs last year, though, and the writing feels far more important than the publishing -- so my sense of accomplishment isn't quite as strong as it was this time last year. (Though I do suspect it's no coincidence to have writing breakthroughs one year and publication the next!) I hope that 2007 will be another strong writing year, whatever happens -- or doesn't -- with publication.

I've got some plans for next year -- some thoughts on how I can work to push my writing to the next level, push to a larger place. I want to think about my body of work, about what I might be doing (or trying to do -- or might start trying to do) that is larger than any individual poem.

Man, that sounds pretentious, huh? It makes more sense inside my head. Trust me on that.

And you -- what plans do you have for the next year? How will you push on to the next level? What can you do that you haven't done before? How will you continue to challenge yourself and your art?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Such a deal...

Prairie Schooner is giving away a free book with each subscription (new or renewal) while supplies last, your choice of Famous by Kathleen Flenniken or Nocturnal America by John Keeble. Since I'd already had Famous on my wishlist and had been thinking about subscribing to Prairie Schooner (it's one of the journals I subscribe to off and on), I figured it was a sign that I needed to buy myself a present.

I must think I have been a very good girl this year, considering how many presents I've bought myself lately. Poetry books, mostly. Hey, someone has to keep people like Rebecca and Ivy and Suzanne in business!

Anyway, here's the link, in case you've been a good girl/boy/other and deserve some presents too (and happen to like this kind of stuff).

Now I need to print out the packet o'poems I've been putting together & get it ready to mail out tomorrow. I'm trying to get a few packets shipped out before the holidays, just to have them out there. Mainly I just don't want to get out of the habit -- when sending stuff out starts to feel like a big deal one way or the other, and not something as routine as paying bills, that's when I put it off and don't get around to doing it.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Triple Breach

I am watching a documentary about humpback whales, which I taped several weeks ago from the Science Channel. Susan Sarandon narrates it, which makes it maybe ten times better than a normal whale show. There is a moment where three whales breach at once, leaping out of the Alaskan water, one of them flying up so high even the tips of its tail flukes clear the surface. I just now watched that bit six times, hitting the back button and watching them leap backwards and submerge, the back and forth arc, stitching the sea with the great curve of the breach.

Did you know a whale's heart beats only five or six times a minute? And it is the size of a Volkswagen, that great slow heart. A small child could easily crawl through its aorta.

Today I was supposed to run errands. I stopped at CVS and bought some things, but then I was hungry so I went to the Village Deli for a Paxton's Patty Melt (a grilled chicken breast with delicious grilled onions, lots of melty Swiss cheese, bacon, and some kind of orangey Thousand Island-ish sauce, all between slices of perfectly-toasted rye bread) and some of their wonderful fresh hot potato chips. I started reading Radish King and before I knew it I had my journal out on the table and I was writing a poem, the first one I've written in almost a month. Rebecca's poetry is more contagious than the plague. (And, while I've never had the plague so I don't know for sure, I suspect the poetry is a lot more fun.)

It was starting to get a little dark by then, and I wanted something hot to drink, so I walked over to Soma but they were closed so the staff could have a bowling party. So I went over to Starbucks where I had a white chocolate mocha, finished my poem (well... finished the first draft anyhow), finished reading Radish King, then watched a little boy pick up a snow globe while his parents paid for their coffee, then wrote another poem, this one about a broken snow globe.

And then it was dark and cold and it was Sunday night, which means laundry, so I came home.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Have you seen this?

Just the fact that this book exists makes me giggle with delight: The Rap Canterbury Tales.

I haven't read it -- our library has it, but it's apparently checked out at the moment -- but since, like all good English majors, I was forced to read the original Canterbury Tales until I wished the English language had never been invented, I think I am going to have to get my hands on it at some point. Hee! Have any of you seen it? Is it as amusing as it should be?

Also, Lee Chapman (the composer who set my little poem "Door" to music last year) has written a sorta-kinda Christmas song called "Don't Tell Mom," which you can hear on his Myspace. (It should start playing automagically; if, like me, you have a slow-ass dialup connection that does not play nicely with streaming audio, you can hit the "Download" link and it will eventually make its way to your computer where you can listen to it using your audio player of choice.) It starts out funny, but in the end it doesn't go in the direction I thought it was going to go.... Worth a listen, anyhow.

(And you can see his picture here too! Sorry boys, he's taken. ;)

I suppose I should join Myspace at some point, but I'm avoiding it.

Work is nuts, and my to-do list is out of control in my unpaid life as well. I miss writing. After Christmas I will have a few days free, and I am planning a veritable orgy of reading and writing, and napping in the sun with a cat or two sprawled out on top of me. I'm really very much in denial about how close to Christmas it is already. This is the last week of classes at the university here (next week is finals week); today when I came in to work I heard some poor student in the middle of the library proclaiming, "I haven't been outside in 23 hours!" Perhaps it really wasn't any favor to the students to make the library be open 24/7. They've gotta go outside SOMEtime, right? Heh.

Friday, December 01, 2006

December 1: World AIDS Day

Support World AIDS Day

In memory, in solidarity, and with hope.

red ribbon