Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A very fine Fine Madness

This issue, possibly the last to be printed, provides much to recommend: poems by Beth Bentley and Melinda Mueller, two stunners from Mercedes Lawry, Tina Kelley’s hilarious “Bob and Sally Laminate Are Moving Out,” Elizabeth McLagan (mercy!), “Helen’s Tears,” by Marc Hudson, and the Mark Benchley Anderson Award winner, “Dear Sir Who Declares ‘I Am Going F------ Fishing’ ,” by John Bradley.

I admit: I have not made it all the way through the issue. I can read only about five poems at a time—and then, it’s too much. Overwhelming. Full.

My husband is this way with art museums. He races through them to avoid being swept away. He fills up quickly, whereas I want to linger, absorb, let each image and color and angle—as much depth as possible—soak into me. I guess my art skin is thick.

Back to the idea of chronobiology—a time for everything and an optimum time for writing—I realize that my peak times, mornings and afternoons, coincide with the times when I read. So maybe, for me, it’s influenced less by the clock and more by suggestion, especially in the afternoon.

And now I have misplaced this husband, who went into town for picnic supplies, having become Master of the Champagne Lunch. I may have to go in search of him.

In the meantime, I have been taking pictures. And yes, finally, I did write.

In the meantime, pick up a copy of
Fine Madness.

P.S. Husband returned.

P.P.S. There’s a machine outside our door that sounds like my ice cream maker, so every time I leave our hotel room, I think about making ice cream.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Who has their time?

On Writer's Rainbow, Tamara asks about writers who don't write. She continues:

They mess with their writing schedules, or they go to readings clearly to put in face time with friends, or they spend lots of time in coffeehouses answering email or playing around on Facebook (which is what it really means to be on Facebook for 95% of its users, let's face it), or they say "When this or that happens, I'll get back into writing."

I would like to be a writer who writes every day, without fail. At times, I have been a writer who writes every day. Not currently. I think that I write more than I think I'm writing, but I'm not writing every day. I'm not even messing with my writing schedule. I'm thinking about messing with my writing schedule. (I'm planning.)

Continuing with this schedule idea:
Kelli posted an excerpt from Gretchen Roberts who quotes Marcia Conner's writings about chronobiology—the body and its clock. My quick summary: Even though we tend to think of ourselves as morning people or night owls (larks or nightingales), really we're cycling throughout the day between brain time (brilliant), body time (sleepy), and butt time (in between).

Although I describe myself as a morning person, I've noticed that my peak creativity times are both 7:00-10:00 in the morning and 3:00-6:00 in the afternoon. Oh, that's when I'm on my commute. That's when I'm in transition. (I rebel against transition, but it looks like it's good for me.) Unfortunately, it's harder to write something down when I'm in transit. I can write it on paper, but it often stays there and never moves beyond the initial free write. Now that sounds like an excuse.

In the
most recent issue of Weber, Carolyn Forche talks about the writing advice she gives her students: Sit down and write anything for half an hour—and if that anything starts to look like it could become something, stick with it as long as possible until you have to start the rest of your day.

I'm excited by this approach. It isn't new, and yet somehow it is new.

Now, I just need to fit that half hour into a time when I'm really ready for it.


Monday, March 17, 2008


After Sunday family dinner

family math homework.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

One little silver lining

Most poets don't make a lot of money, or maybe any money, by writing poetry. It is largely an unpaid art.


Even as the rejections have been arriving, steady as the gray rain, I realized in one moment yesterday that I didn't have to care all that much. I can take comfort in the writing, the act of creating, the doing of it. That is a lovely luxury.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I swear I am not making this up

No stopping!

(The movie crew has come to town.)

And just when you finally have time to sit down and write

all those ideas that have been knocking at the door,
pulling at your ear, brushing your face like cat whiskers,
enticing you like the pictures in a travel brochure,
shadowing you on the city bus or in the coffee line,
and generally sticking to you like gum on your shoe
suddenly vanish the way a spring rain arrives
and then moves on, evaporates, leaves only
the sharp, electric smell, and then even that is gone.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

One crocus!

Back in December, I planted many bulbs. I envisioned a meadow. I saw parking-strip grass. My mother pointed out that December was not so long ago and I should be patient. I pointed out that evidence indicated the neighborhood squirrels had feasted on my dreams.

Lo, this week, I saw a bloom. Just one, but it made me so happy.

(Next year, I shall follow Laurie's example and put red pepper and black pepper right in the holes. They shall be well-seasoned flowers.)

Is there a poetry connection? Yes!

Sending out the many, many poems is like planting all those bulbs. Maybe only one work is accepted, but how exciting it is! And, as with planting, I always hope that the yield may increase next year, just as I hope that my work will grow.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Feed the muse

I haven't been writing, but I've been cooking up a storm. Even dessert.

Here is just a taste:

Honey-Bay Ice Cream

Combine 1 pint heavy cream with 1 pint half and half with 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of honey. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, add two fresh bay leaves (fold them in half to crack them and get the flavor out), put the lid on, and wait 30 minutes. Then take the bay leaves out and add a little vanilla. Chill completely and freeze in an ice cream maker.

Tuesday's Pasta

Saute onions, garlic, eggplant, and mushrooms. Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and then a tablespoon or so of tomato paste and a splash of marsala. Just before serving, fold in some pieces of goat cheese (to taste). Serve over pasta, and then top with a little crispy pancetta and parmesan cheese. (I also added slices of herb-crusted chicken breast.)

Buono appetito!

Monday, March 3, 2008