Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

In the past three days Gideon and I did four museums, a boat tour and a bus tour. We agreed that today we're just going to walk around.

The children in Stockholm seem unusually subdued. If it's something in the water, it hasn't affected Gideon. In the U.S. he's the "calm" kid. But here, he's the rabblerouser who runs down halls and needs to repeatedly be told not to press buttons. At home that's no big deal, but here it feel self-consciously American.

Gideon says cartoons in Swedish are funnier.

Pippi Longstocking!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Butter is better

"That's Not Butter" was select for the Best of MiPOesias 10 year anniversary anthology scheduled for publication online and in print November 8, 2010.

I'll have your head

View from our room

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

deadlines

Gideon pitched a minor fit this morning.

He wants an iPhone by Friday.

He needs an iPhone.

I'm reminded of a time when I was 4, in a department store shopping for school clothing with my grandmother.

That was back in the day when they let 4 year olds enter kindergarten.

Starting kindergarten at age 4 was no favor to me.

I believe it's why I perpetually feel "behind" everyone else.

Or perhaps it was a favor.

I try harder than many.

Anyhow, back to the department store, with my grandmother, school clothes shopping.

I pitched a minor fit.

I wanted a bra.

My grandmother refused.

She said I did not need a bra.

I relented, but insisted that I better get a bra by second grade.


I hate to break it to Gideon, but I did not get a bra in second grade.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Code for . . .

Today I purchased on sale a peacock-blue skirt with white embroidery for my upcoming trip.

I thought the skirt was pretty.

Gideon said the skirt was really unique.

Chris said the skirt looked Nordic.

At this very moment Chris is holding Gideon up with one hand asking "Who's the boss?" while Gideon dangles in the air squealing "Me, me, me!"

Men.

Monday, July 20, 2009

synchronicity

I find it incredibly boring to listen to or read someone go on at length about "how busy" they are.

So a simple "I'm busy" will have to suffice here.

We're headed to Stockholm on Thursday.

That's my deadline.

I'm gonna make it, I think.

Hope that doesn't sound too braggy.

But if it does, well hey, what can I say?

Don't hate me cause I got my shit together.

I told Gideon that I'm so excited about Stockholm I'm painting my toenails blue.

Gideon "guesses that's cool."

I'm gonna do it.

I took a test and found out that my aura colors are blue and violet.

Exactly the colors I suspected.

I have often thought about giving my hair either a blue or violet tint.

I just might do it.

Right as I typed that sentence above UPS delivered my blue nail polish.

Synchronicity.

I'm a longtime Police fan.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Maud Newton on Adventures In The Art World: 'American Painter'

Young artists often mistake proximity to the art world for the act of creation itself. Nowhere is this error more common than in New York City, where being able to paint and make rent is a question of finding "the right imbalance" between art and paying work. So says the disarmingly candid narrator of Samantha Peale's first novel, The American Painter Emma Dial, who is not following her own advice. Emma, in the employ of a critically acclaimed painter, hasn't visited her studio in a year. Her self-loathing is palpable; the prose vibrates with the heat of her disgust.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

a brief note on the SUN

A few people misunderstood my Some of my best friends are poets . . . post. I've met hundreds of poets from all over the place. There are a number of poets who I consider very near and dear friends. I don't think poets are (in general) awful or rotten or anything like that. I think poets are an important and good thing, like the SUN . . .

. . . and let me tell you about the SUN, cause I've been spending a lot of time in its rays as of late. I enjoy the SUN. I have a good time in the SUN. Many fond memories. I plan on going back into the SUN, often. Also, it does all sorts of important things. Without it there'd be no life. But I have to be very careful in the SUN. I have to protect myself from the SUN. I have to limit my time in its rays. I am easily SUNburned. I still have a line on my upper left arm from a SUNburn from last year. When I was at the beach last month I wore 50 SPF, reapplied throughout the day and spent 70% of my time under an umbrella and still I got SUNburn. I'd wear a higher SPF, but then my skin gets irritated from the chemicals

I realize that my skin is more susceptible and sensitive than most others', my skin wasn't always this sensitive. I would love to not have to worry about SUN exposure. But this is the skin I have now and I need to be conscious of it, else I'll get burned or possibly poisoned.

I get poetburned, if I'm not careful. On a few occasions I've been poetpoisoned.

Because I'm sociable and outgoing, people often don't understand that I'm an introvert (being shy has nothing to do with introversion). An introvert is someone who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people. I find poets to be especially energy draining. I am often overwhelmed spending extended periods at large conferences or events. That doesn't mean I can't chat up a storm while I'm being overwhelmed. I often do, and like a hangover the next morning, I pay for it. Some people have scoffed at this, but I'm not making it up. Sometimes I become physically ill.

In conclusion, poets are not bad, they're succubi.

Thank you for reading my brief note on the SUN.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Crossing my line

Poet-heavy dream weekend. Maybe they come around at night because I shun them during the day? Look, it's not me, it's you, er. it's me, all me. God help me.

I enjoyed Law & Order: CI last night. Goldblum was in his usual stellar form, tickling piano keys until the pathetic poetry groupie confessed. Yeah, that was pretty hot. Yeah, I know they showed poets in a despicable light, but I was OK with that. Honestly, I wished the poets were written a bit more despicable. Pimping your girlfriend out for funding? Is that really the best they could come up with?

I did not enjoy Torchwood: Children of Earth. Now after the 3rd episode I was about to write here about how it was the best thing on television. But then the 4th episode broke my heart and the 5th episode ENRAGED me. Seriously, there was no need to write that shit into the script. They could have been dark and disturbing without doing that. I told Chris that I didn't care if the show was cancelled, because that last episode ruined all of Torchwood for me. Chris was incredulous. But I know how I feel and I mean it. Torchwood is dead to me. DEAD.

Friday night after watching the last episode I was worried that I'd have a bunch of effed up Torchwood dreams. I did not. Captain Jack Harkness did make it into the next night's dream, a small role where he was trying to help the spaceship crew. Most of the crew didn't want his help. I'm not sure what all that was about. Just like I have no idea why that security dude was leering at me or why it took me so long to figure out how to close and lock the correct door so I could get a little privacy. I just don't know what any of that was about.

Friday, July 10, 2009

"God has remembered"*

Last night I dreamed that I was in a large lecture hall. A snooty, old-school, literary expert took the podium. He was somehow connected to Richard Howard. The literary expert looked around the room and decided it was too crowded so he read a list of names of poets and magazines who had to leave. They were all from smaller, less prestigious magazines.

After those poets left disappointed, a late-to-arrive poet tried to enter the lecture hall. The booted poets were gathered around the door, hoping to overhear the lecture. They told her she couldn't come in. The tardy poet interrupted the literary expert and asked for an exception.

I was furious. I stood up and said that there were plenty of chairs, everyone should be allowed to come back. Other poets in the room agreed with me.

The literary expert asked who I was -- I said I was the Paris Review.

On the second day I stayed home because it was the same speaker and I had quite enough. Gideon came home early with a note from school saying that they wanted him to be evaulated for 5 days because they believed there was something emotionally wrong with him. He flipped out at the 2nd lecture and attacked his classmates. I asked him if he did this and he admitted it. The note instructed me to call the counselor, "Zachariah," for the evaluation.

I was concerned. I understood his rage at the literary expert, I felt it too, but I didn't understand why he attacked his peers. His anger was misdirected. He should have bum rushed the podium.

* * *

I believe this dream is a critique of my post last night. Perhaps I should not voice my discomfort of other poets. Perhaps I should refocus my efforts on speaking out against the man and institution. Else I might get expelled from poet preschool.

So see y'all at the next inane literary lecture.

* I'm looking into the Zachariah reference. Biblical scholars, feel free to chime in.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Some of my best friends are poets . . .

. . . but that doesn't mean I want to spend the majority of my time around poets.

In the past two days this topic has come up several times. In an email last night a poet friend wrote, "I HATE WRITERS."

I was not offended. I knew exactly what she meant and often feel the same way.

Today I had lunch with Natalie Lyalin and her husband Joshua. Natalie's book, Pink and Hot Pink Habitat, was recently published by Coconut Books. As a rite of passage, all Coconut authors make a pilgrimage to Reston to meet the first Coconut author, me, Grandma Coconut. We have a lovely time together and at the end of our meeting, I pelt them with coconuts and rocks, basically chase them out of town.

Cause there can be only ONE and I am supposed to be the only poet in Reston. If you're a poet living in Reston, the last thing you want to do is get yourself on my radar cause I'll chase your ass all the way to Herndon.

Joshua asked me how I liked living in Reston. He asked me what the scene was like.

I have no idea if there's a poetry scene in Reston and I don't want to know. I know about stuff in DC. I live 20 miles outside of DC. I like it that way. I prefer having to go out of my way. I do not want to be in the middle or heart of anything.

As far as I'm concerned, I'm my own heart and center.

Rarely does a day go by that I do not correspond with poets via email or other electronic means. I attend readings and the occasional conference. Sometimes I travel to spend time with poet friends. When a poet friend comes into town, I try to connect. Some of my richest experiences have been in the presence of poets.

But if I had to be in the proximity of a poet every week, or lord forbid on a daily, regular basis, I would be a wreck. Pretty much the only times I have ever drank to excess in the past five years has been in the presence of poets. And 75% of those times have been at the dreaded A-let's never speak of it again-P, the conference nested in Satan's sphincter.

I don't want all my weekends filled with readings and literary events. I don't want to talk po-biz over the majority of my meals. I don't want to be immersed in the po-biz. I don't consider that to be a "literary" life. Or at least it's not my idea of a literary life. In fact, some poets come across to me as rather unartistic, uncreative, small-thinking beings. Bitching and moaning about who won what prize, got published where or got what job is not my idea of literary. Talking theory is not my idea of a good time (although it's certainly a big step up from moaning). Neither is having to suffer through someone's incessant anxiety about whether or not he's good or successful enough. I have my own anxieties to suffer through, thank you very much. And honestly, sometimes poetry readings can be absolute torture. Especially the readings by those poets who insist on explaining or setting up each and every poem. SHUT UP and just read the fucking poem. You're making me hate you! And your poems!

I prefer working in (relative) solitude. I'm most creative and productive by myself. Some of my best friends are poets because they don't live in Reston. I prefer long-distance correspondences with occasional in-person visitations. I prefer spending my evenings and weekends with my husband and son. Those are my kind of people. We're a tight, exclusive tribe and no, you may not join our movement.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What I did during a recent late evening

can be read here at Nic Sebastian's Very Like a Whale.
Saw an orange moon tonight.

Had a disagreement about it with Gideon.

"It's a sun, I promise you that."

Even after I pointed out that he once "dreamed" of an orange moon, the same dream as Quack, he was so adamant that the sun was out at night, I let it drop. Not that my being quiet stopped him from an additional 20 minutes of continued insistence that it was the sun. This kid should join the debate club.

During the summer, I'm doing very little work during the day. I'm keeping busy with Gideon. Today was the waterpark. I suffered some sun exhaustion, came home and napped in bed with next to me, Gideon "working" on his laptop.

Gideon "works" too much. He's going to be shattered when he realizes he won't be allowed to work on our trips to Stockholm or the beach.

This weekend I ordered two books. One is a book on fairies and elves. I just realized he had no idea what a fairy was!!!! How did I allow that to happen? Well, I did bring home a fairy book from Dublin last year, but he never wants me to read it to him. So I'll blame the teachers. What are they teaching in that fancy preschool? What do they have against fairies? Why do Methodists hate fairies so much?

The second is a book of unsanitized fairy tales, a reprint from the '50's. He has other fairy tale books, but they're totally whack. The wolf doesn't kill anybody and never dies himself -- they just never "hear from him again" like he got a little rowdy so the bouncer tossed him out and now he's too humiliated to return. Grandma doesn't get eaten, she hides in the god damn closet. I think the Gingerbread man gets eaten, but he is a cookie after all. The whole point of fairy tales is to prepare children for the cruel world. These over-edited versions really cross the line.

Anyhow, I used to strive for balance but my inner fairy told me I was doing it wrong. Now I focus on boundaries and that brings me closer to the elusive balance. This summer, I only work on No Tell and other projects during the late evenings. That's it. If work doesn't get done, it'll get done the next day or next week or next month or whenever. I'm using boundaries with the succubus-types too. I used to feel obliged. I don't feel so obliged anymore. They can go drain somebody else's soul. I offer Grandma and the Big Bad Wolf.

Part of the reason I changed blogs is about boundaries. If that's not obvious to you, that's OK. It doesn't have to be.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009

On scrubbing away magic

For a very long time Disney productions so sanitized fairytales and myths in their films, that they came close to portraying life without a dark side, or, at best, one so weak that it had no real potency. At the same time, children in their connection to the archetypal realm know there is a dark side to life because their night terrors and dreams. And indeed, this is the true significance of fairytales: To stimulate an inner psychic struggle on the part of the child that will compel him or her to learn to manage the tension between those opposites, i.e. the light and dark sides of life, and to prepare him to face the outer world and its formidable challenges into which he will emerge full time with decreasing parental protection. This is why the fairytales are often so dark and grim(m).

One of the main attractions at Disney World is MGM Studios, visited by over one million children every year, a large proportion under age 7. This "attraction" proudly presents the technology behind the magical effects in films and other entertainment arenas. The subtle, but quite effective, message behind these "entertainments" is that there is no real magic, there is no real magical realm, and that the things to be ogled are the worldly wonders of technology. On an even more subtle level the message to the child is that you should not be in the imaginal world in your mind, you should know that cognition, not imagination, produces the simulation of magic. Subtle, the awe realm in which they live, is debunked as fake. In its place is offered the "awe" of technological prowess. Typically for children, this technological prowess "impresses," but it does not awe because it is devoid of "magic." So much for some of our future artists, architects, musicians, writers, etc. -- the impact can be that profound!

Living in the Borderland: The Evolution of Consciousness and the Challenge of Healing Trauma by Jerome S. Bernstein (Routledge)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My muscle man

Early this morning Gideon came into our bedroom and announced that women are soft and men are strong and can lift heavy things.

I agree.

Guess who's carrying the groceries from now on?

CUE Online Debut

I have poems along with Elizabeth Willis, Richard Siken, Matt Hart, Sarah Manguso, Tony Mancus, Dorothea Lasky, Tim Peterson, Chaz McCallahan, Mathias Svalina & Julia Cohen, and Jason Labbe in the newest (and now online) issue of CUE. Guest-edited by Mark Horosky

Also, if you're looking for summer reading suggestions, stop by No Tells for lists by PF Potvin, Shane McCrae, Nathan Logan, Martha Silano, Marcela Sulak, Adam Deutsch, Piotr Gwiazda, Steven Karl, Cati Porter, Elizabeth Bradfield, Evie Shockley and Jessy Randall.