Sunday, March 26, 2023

Hello Beautiful

OK, I'm suddenly trendy, as I'm reading Oprah's new Book Club selection! It's Hello Beautiful, by Ann Napolitano, and I started it soon after reading her previous book, Dear Edward, which I understand is now a tv series. My paperback edition of Dear Edward, a Read with Jenna selection, had the first chapter of Hello Beautiful in it, so I was twice dipped in its opening sadness and basketball escape.

Also, hello, Beautiful! Thanks for reading my blog. I ran into one of my blog readers last night in person at the theatre. What a joy, and I am so touched! He said he has read some books based on my blog accounts, and he also enjoys my chalkboard poems. This just warms my heart! And I needed warming up, as it's been cold and gloomy for a few days, but yesterday the sun came out, and there was a clear sky with stars and a fingernail moon last night!

It was a busy, but entertaining, Saturday. In the afternoon, I went to The Lost King, about Richard III, inviting my dad, who has written a play about the king and would be familiar with all the basic research and discrepancies! Delightful movie with Sally Hawkins, followed by a panel discussion of theatre and history experts from the university. And a young woman in the audience who had read the book the movie is based on. I remember the news of finding Richard's bones in a car park! That shouldn't be a spoiler! It was on the news! And it's history! The movie tells another story, too, her story!

The balance of cloudy gloom with sunshine carries on in my poetry life, too. A rejection gets balanced by a request to reprint a poem, and going over proofs of some forthcoming poems. And I just keep writing. It's all over the place: chalkboard, computer, composition notebook, notepad for grocery lists, and my shower brain, where dialogue for a script also just spouted out like water or song. Or like water up the basement drain, after saturating rain, when I'm trying to do laundry, making it a half Slattern Day in the blog. But the sun came out, and I'm happy, and the bunnies in the yard, a true rhyme, are hoppy.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Tiny...Dead Things

Well, I went to work today, not to work, but to put up a theatre-library display, due to a collaboration between institutions, library and theatre, and ended up helping patrons and talking to visitors and just hanging out! Indoors. Because it was freezing outside, still is, and now it's snowing again. Poop! Maybe March is the cruelest month.

This picture has the stage manager in it, who played a lot of bagpipes last night.

The play is Tiny Beautiful Things, adapted by Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) from the book by Cheryl Strayed. So, book and playscript are in the display, along with various versions of Wild, and a bunch of nonfiction books that relate to the topics* in the letters that people wrote to Strayed when she was Sugar for the Dear Sugar column of The Rumpus. Already, many of the young people I talk with have already read the book and are delighted and surprised to learn about the play! Tiny Beautiful Things, the tv series, drops April 7 at Hulu.

*including This Body I Wore, by Diana Goetsch, mentioned in this blog entry (where I lost my car).

When I got home, I also didn't work, meaning do any housework, making it a Slattern Day in the blog. As usual it is also a Poetry Someday, as I wrote two morning poems, one on my chalkboard, to a mouse I found dead in a trap this morning by the refrigerator (sorry, Mouse!) and one in a Lenten online workshop where lately I have been doing mostly prose, so a poem was a nice surprise. I did catch up on some computer work. Sigh... Tough week of hospital visits for my dad, so I was staying with my mom, therefore. Lost a little sleep. For escape...and because we saw the season finale of The Last of Us, I am reading World War Z. I am hoping the mouse does not reanimate.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Tiny Poems

Last night I participated in a lovely event at the Chenoa Public Library, a presentation about Fugue, an artist book with photographs by Ken Kashian and tiny poems by me. You can see a little video about it, with a fugue as background music, at Ken's website and at the Fugue link above. Part of the joy was the absolute attention of the audience, and part was conversing with them afterwards in a relaxed and cozy way on a rainy night, us warm inside in comfortable chairs donated by other libraries! In fact, Sheryl the director and I realized we had attended the same regional library conference the day before. I guess that makes it a Random Coinciday as well as a Poetry Someday in the blog! Other coincidences: the library director had participated in a theatre in town that I work with, and I went to high school with her husband and his brothers. He farmed up the road from where I lived, and my son and his hometown have the same name! 

The town and its library are very near the Weston Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve, where the poems and photos are set. Not everyone in the audience had been there yet, but they'll be visiting soon! I was so honored that people felt reverence for the place, and reverent in our space last night, thanks to the photos and poems, and, I think, the sense of community.

Also, I finally read Educated, by Tara Westover, that everyone had told me to read. Wow, were they right. What a story! Right up there with Women Talking, by Miriam Toews, about women overcoming oppression and violence and being uneducated, and finding a way out, a way to live their lives. We hope. I read a good article--where? LA Times?!--about how Women Talking, the film, won't win Best Picture at the Oscars, but that the real "win" was being nominated. I think it ends (paraphrasing here), But wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where it could win? Yes. 

And, by the way, can I invite myself to anyone's Oscar party? My tv doesn't get ABC. Well, if not, I guess we could watch the season finale of The Last of Us! But I do love watching the Oscars live.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Real ID

Speaking of cars, my Real ID arrived in the (damp) mail today, shortly before the rain turned to icy snow. It was raining when I went to renew my license before it expired on my birthday, and I eagerly awaited the safe arrival of the Real ID, signed by a new Secretary of State, recently elected. But it still has Abraham Lincoln's face on it, as well as my own. I look OK in this picture! I am smiling. And it's all thanks to the DMV women; they took my picture twice, as in the first some hair had fallen into my eye, and the one woman knew there might be trouble if both my blue eyes were not evident. Ironically, 1) I am not wearing glasses in the photo; they don't let you--glare, eye color, etc. even though 2) the license requires me to wear glasses. So, in a way, it's not the Real ME!

Chalkboard poems continue. Reading continues. I read a sort of magical realism short novel, The Crane Husband, by Kelly Barnhill because the description reminded me of a poem I had written a couple years back where a woman marries a sandhill crane. This was darker than that, though the poem is also about a cryptid, the Mothman, who might actually be a sandhill crane. I love my life, but it is sometimes hard to explain to people who are not me. Let's just say I used to live in Kearney, Nebraska, and also passed through there on a trip west during sandhill crane nesting season.

I think there was more I meant to tell you, but it's Friday, it's snowing, and I am already drinking wine (in hopes of a nap...have I mentioned my weird sleeping patterns during the pandemic?)

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Dude, ...Car?

I had a "Dude, where's my car?" moment today. I left work carrying two bags and a  large framed photograph of a gorgeous egret and went up to the 4th floor of the parking garage and on up to the unroofed deck, sun shining, where I had left my car. It was not there. There was this long, unhappy, awkward moment, a little drift into the future, police station, trying to explain, insurance, etc. Then I thought, "Maybe that was yesterday."

It is very strange that tomorrow will suddenly be March. Yes, February is a short month. Yes, it can have wildly variable weather. Often there is a lovely thaw right around my birthday, with warm temperatures and sunshine. Sweater weather, even. A feeling of spring!

Will March come in like a lion or a lamb? We've already had a wind advisory. (See chalkboard poem above!) I am still writing a poem (or more) a day for Lent. The chalked-in date should help me keep track of day, month, year. But, dude, I lost my car.

It was in a ground lot. Back down I went, on the convenient parking-garage elevator, found my car, secured the art, and drove home, stalled for a time by a freight train, pretty common in my little town. We got lots of work done on the tracks and crossing signals, to make way for a bullet train, but it hasn't quite come. Instead, these long freight trains. My excellent plan, were I in transportation power, would be for laborers to build tracks around the town for freight trains and save the in-town tracks and crossings for passenger trains. Jobs for rail workers, peace and convenience for the town, financing from the railroads. The government already paid for the previous work.

I got some of my work-at-home done before family chaos ensued. I don't know yet whether that has been resolved, or ever really can be. I'm sad about the falling apart of everything. And joyful and grateful about all the rest--the ongoing love, the sweet memories. The shiny green Mardi Gras/ St. Patrick's Day beads.

Meanwhile, alas, people are suffering from so many things. Another earthquake! Ongoing pandemic. Political tension, divisiveness. And those wild, private eruptions, where someone somehow thinks murder is the only answer. It isn't. But you have to have some empathy and imagination to find another. And maybe your upbringing prevented that...for a while. But now, hey, aren't you a grownup? Couldn't you take some responsibility? I don't know. I haven't been driven to murderous impulses, but I did lose my car.

Also meanwhile I was reading This Body I Wore, a memoir by poet Diana Goetsch, who previously lived and wrote as Douglas Goetsch. I so admire her transition! I am grateful to have learned so much from her book, and so glad she got to be who she really is! Again, so many of us are suffering, and some of us find a way through to joy, freedom, and light!

Meanwhile, as well, I have elevated Fat Tuesday into February itself, gaining winter's usual 1-3 pounds in one short month. Need to resume walking and swimming soon, so this body I wear won't get too heavy to carry around with me up to the 4th floor of the parking garage...