The doorbell rang, and I answered in my jammies. It was Ginny, one of my poetry students, with blueberry turnovers for my birthday! My mom called! And a jillion people are saying "Happy Birthday!" on Facebook. I love birthdays, even though it means I am getting older. I would like to think I am getting wiser, but I think a weird other osmosis thing is going on: I am taking it all in and being affected by it all. And even as my metaphorical skin gets thicker, it gets thinner, and there is very little barrier now.
Another way of saying this, as I said to my mom on the phone, is, "I guess I'm 55. But sometimes I feel like 5."
"Sometimes you act like 5." And there, in that nutshell (with an emphasis on nut), is our relationship, both of us laughing.
It's also Presidents Day, so take the day off! And the birthday of photographer Ansel Adams, whose pix I cannot show you, unless you click the official website, here, but this picture of him is in the public domain!
Also, it's sort of the birthday of the United States Post Office, and I am pretty sure they are taking the day off, too! According to the Writer's Almanac, George Washington established the Post Office Department today in 1792. And John Glenn orbited the moon in 1962, when I actually was 5, not just 5 in my mind and on my red-high-topped feet. This may account for my enduring fascination with the moon and outer space. Or it's a random coincidence.
And Margaret Bashaar of Hyacinth Girl Press says she is going to print my chapbook, Nocturnes, today, because it's my birthday. Yay. It has stars in it, the moon, black holes, and the large hadron collider. Songs at night, some about art, Whistler's nocturnes...
Thanks to Nashay Antoinette Jones for this cover art and Hudson Rio for the graphic design. Thanks to Sarah Reck for the interior design and book layout. Thanks to Margaret Bashaar of Hyacinth Girl Press for loving the poems and making the book!
I'll be reading a couple of these poems this week at the McLean County Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., along with ekphrasis class poetry students Candace Armstrong and Janice Witherspoon Neuleib, plus guest poet Jannett Highfill, who often includes art in her poems. I'd be happy to see any of you locals there! (Must remember to wear red high-tops.)
"You must change your life," said Rilke. So that's what I keep doing. I worked as an actor and director in Chicago, wrote for an encyclopedia, edited two poetry journals, shelved and retrieved materials in several libraries, walked beans, and was an assistant professor of English. Now I serve as Poetry Editor and Editor at Large for Escape Into Life, an online arts magazine, write & edit as a freelancer, blog "eight days a week," study the random, tend perennials, and listen to birdsong.