Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Terrible news

Few details so far, but terrible news today that fiction writer and Indiana U. creative writing faculty member Don Belton was found stabbed to death in his home.

Here's the story from an Indianapolis tv station.

I didn't know him personally, but this kind of crime is not usual here in Bloomington, and to hear that it was a fellow writer...

This following the awful news a few days ago that singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt took his own life. Just very, very sad.

I'll try to check in at more length in the next day or two as I catch up from holiday travels.

Update, early Tuesday morning: The local paper reports that a suspect has been taken into custody.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Solstice stillness

I can't figure out whether tonight or tomorrow night is the longest night of the year. It comes down to seconds; tonight the sun set at 5:25 and will rise at 8:01, and tomorrow the sun sets at 5:26 and rises at 8:02 Tuesday morning. The actual moment of Winter Solstice happens around midday tomorrow. Tonight feels like Solstice Night, though, with darkness and stillness and just a bit of snow.

And fleecy blankets, and a cat on my feet. That'll enforce a little stillness.

* * * * *

I continue to trace the roots of this stillness. I feel like I haven't got anything to say, but when has that ever stopped me? I think, perhaps, I need to go back to the details. To just being awake, and noticing deeply.

I like Twitter. It's good when you don't have much to say.

And so, I'm going to use the avenue that has felt most hospitable recently. Beginning tomorrow, I'm going to try to notice three things each day. I don't need to force those things into poems; I just need to pay attention to them. Full attention, even if only for the length of time it takes to compose a 140-character description. And I'm going to tweet about them.

We'll see how that goes and whether it wakes me up again.

I bought a new phone a couple of weeks ago, and it has an adorable little slide-out keyboard and a bright shiny touch screen and it has Twitter and Facebook and Gmail and Outlook and a camera and maps and navigation and even a lolcat application.

So if I notice things, I don't even have to be near my computer to record them, to put a few words out into the ether. I just have to grab my little phone, my little portable brain.

Three things a day. I can do that, right?

* * * * *

In other sort of writing-related news, I've signed on as one of the contributors to Blogness on the Edge of Town, which is, yes, a Bruce Springsteen-related blog. Mostly news and tidbits and suchlike. Should be fun, and a nice way to stay connected to a community that's become important to me.

Lucky for me, as soon as I took this on, Bruce did a lovely and newsworthy thing (in case you haven't heard): he posted a statement on his official website in support of marriage equality. You have to scroll down past the cute picture of him at the White House for the Kennedy Center Honors a couple weeks ago, but the statement is still there, and it still gives me the warm fuzzies to read it. He doesn't post political statements very often, so the fact that he felt this one was important enough to comment on makes me really happy.

Why should I (or anyone) care what some wealthy heterosexual rockstar thinks about this, or any, political issue? That's a fair question. And it's an age-old one, really - can someone's art be compassionate, authentic, truthful if the artist is a weasel? Not going to even try to answer that one tonight. I'll just say that it did my little heart good to see someone whose work I have respected for over thirty years demonstrate, not for the first time, that his heart is in the right place. And considering how much of my money has ended up in his pocket, I feel like I have more than an artistic stake in this, heh.

I will say that his statement has not met with 100% support in his own fan community. There are people who listen to his music who disagree pretty strongly with a lot of his politics. So I guess he took a certain risk in posting that statement, though at this point I think most people who'd stop buying his music or going to his shows because of something like that have already stopped long ago.

I'm rambling. It just made me really happy, the night that statement got posted and I stumbled across it. Fangirl that I am, I'll leave it at that.

* * * * *

Watching the news, where they're talking to stranded travelers in the airport. I hope those of you who got blizzarded on this week are digging out without too much drama, and if anyone's traveling, I hope you get where you're going okay.

Hope it all clears up before Thursday, when I am getting on a plane myself. Till then we just have a little snow, and enough cold to make me bundle up trying to stay warm (except when I suddenly have to try and cool off - you middle-aged women know what I mean there) but not so cold as to be dangerous. It's not so bad. Though I confess I wouldn't mind being snowed in for a few days, so long as I had heat and people food and cat food and the Internet and a few books to read. And maybe somebody with a younger, stronger back than mine to shovel me out eventually!

May you have a happy holiday, if you celebrate one of those Decemberish ones. Peace and joy and goodwill and light, and all that.

Yes, light. Here's to its return.