Thursday, April 11, 2019

Road Trip/Redacted

I just wrote an entire blog post that I--oops!-- deleted. It was about driving cross country to move my daughter and her boyfriend to Portland, Oregon (right before 10,000 writers and writing teachers descended on the city for the annual AWP Conference). My husband and I drove her sturdy little used Miata (not this one), and she and her boyfriend drove his car, the backseat and trunk full of their essential belongings. (We unloaded their heavier belongings from a U-Haul pod, delivered to their new apartment.)

 Our country is beautiful, just as the song says! Spacious skies! Purple (purple?) mountain majesties!

When we got home, our reliable but broken red Ford Focus wagon still sat in the driveway, falling apart. New tires! Still starts! But the bottom might drop out. My little old (1991) blue Ford Escort wagon still sat in the garage awaiting me, its license plates not yet electronically redacted. It was time to get another reliable used car. In Peoria, via Craigslist. As you can see, it is a two-toned Miata. Somewhat tensely, I drove the little blue wagon to Peoria and back, not sure it would withstand 65 miles per hour. It did! But I needed the glass of wine.

I have yet to drive the Miata.

Portland, by the way, is also beautiful! We saw both sun and rain, we hiked a forested trail, we visited the Saturday market and Powell's City of Books and all 4 of the city's quarters. We drove to the coast and walked the beach and hiked another forested mountain trail. I remained awed and grateful.

At Powell's I got Fall Back Down When I Die, by Joe Wilkins (hardback, signed!), and The Pisces, by Melissa Broder (paperback, funny, fishy!).

This is basically what I wrote before, but shorter, so better! The images were still available to me, but the words had flown the coop. Now I am reading The Life of Objects, by Susanna Moore, from the library book sale! And writing a poem a day for April, National Poetry Month!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Fat Tuesday with Abe

It's almost like I've given up everything for Lent and as if Lent is all the time. I am behind in my blog, poetry writing, poetry submitting, letter writing, and all things me. Except that I was in a play, so that explains my absence in January and February, 2019, but it doesn't explain anything else. Tuesday, I was downtown and saw Abe Lincoln all dressed up for Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday. Here he is.

The play I was in was Marjorie Prime, by Jordan Harrison. I played a human and an A.I. (artificial intelligence) version of Marjorie (Marjorie Prime.) It was a wonderful experience--the process, the performances, the cast, the crew, the audiences, all of it! People keep stopping me to say how much they liked it, how thought provoking it was, how much they appreciated Heartland Theatre Company for doing it. So, yay! And, strangely, I learned a lot about what it is and what it means to be human. There are four characters in the play. One is A.I. throughout, one is human throughout, and two of us got to be both, and we both felt the difference. I felt not just like A.I. but, in a way, like a Buddhist. I like the play better than the movie, though the movie has a stellar cast, in case you ever seek it out. I advise seeking out a live theatre production, though!

Then I went to Chicago for four days to discuss human nature with a lovely bunch of coconuts via a wide array of readings (excerpts). We also visited the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie--to ponder again what humans do to other humans--and asked questions of a survivor who is, for museum purposes, also a hologram.

Now (again, forever) it is snowing, and I must decide whether to go out in it and for which reason: candidate forum or volleyball regionals. Sigh....

And it's not Tuesday, fat or skinny. It's Thursday.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Towns

I have a new chapbook out, The Towns, from Unicorn Press, and I just did the first release reading for it at the fabulous Ryburn Place, on historic Route 66, thanks to Terri Ryburn. Terri will also introduce me at the next release reading, November 15, 2018, at the Normal Public Library, which I hope will also be a release reading for Spiritual Midwifery, due out from Red Bird Chapbooks before the end of the year! (here is my Author Page at Red Bird from my previous book with them, ABCs of Women's Work, the one with the perfect cover, where I am invisible! See alphabet sampler below.) And here is the cover of The Towns, in a picture taken by Terri Ryburn.

I loved reading to a room full of attentive, warm, loving people in Terri's Route 66 shop, full of interesting arts and crafts and Route 66 doodads. I was wearing my Route 66 earrings, made by Marcia Hirst, who was in the audience, with more of her handmade earrings dangling close behind her. The Tingleys were there, a couple who lived in Towanda, Illinois when I first knew them, and the first poem I read was "Towanda." Family came, women I write with, lovely people from our community. I got to refer to the towns in the poems on a map right behind me, showing that some are are Route 66 and some require you to exit. The audience also enjoyed and/or got chilled by my accounts of outlaws along the Natchez Trace, also represented in The Towns.

And I was pleased that my listeners enjoyed learning about my process, and about how the poems connected to two other books: The Triggering Town, by Richard Hugo, and The Outlaw Years, by Robert M. Coates. And those of you know how much I love random coincidii will be delighted to know The Outlaw Years was published in 1930, the same year the structure I was in, originally a service station on Route 66, had been built. I did not read the title poem, since it always makes me cry, but I might read it at the library, anyway.

Sorry I've been so silent here. I swam all summer, often with a duck, and went to Santa Cruz, California. Life has been busy. And wonderful.

Monday, May 28, 2018

I Was a Miserable Failure

...in terms of keeping up with poetry blog challenges in April, National Poetry Month. Sigh...

I did manage to write a poem a day, and soon I must 1) revise and 2) send some of these out! But I do have two poems just out in online venues: "Vintage Hunger" in Redheaded Stepchild, a home for rejected poems, and "In the Future Library" in Poetry Porch, a virtual porch.

Meanwhile, my first roses opened today, Memorial Day, like sudden wounds. The blue and the purple spiderwort are blooming. The white anemone. The cottage pinks. The long, long cold, snowy April caused many shorter plants this spring, I see, but I am glad they are blooming. I am still sprinkling perennial seeds where I can, and zinnias, and we'll see what happens later in the summer.

And there is poetry up at Escape Into Life, too, where I am poetry editor: a Mother's Day post, and a between Mother's Day and Father's Day feature by Susan Slaviero! So I kept at it, though absent here, alas. I feel very busy and spread thin. But very happy it's finally spring, and hot, and flowery.

The rose above is a past rose, a photo taken by my daughter!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

I love it when I read a book at exactly the right time (for me)! For me, it was exactly the right time to read Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, by Kathleen Rooney. I've been wanting to read it since it first came out, and though I did read the hardback, the paperback has just come out, and Kathleen Rooney will be presenting it, via Surprise Bookshelf series, at the American Writers Museum in Chicago today, at 5:30 p.m.! Wooee! I recently (St. Patrick's Day) visited the American Writers Museum, and it's wonderful. Kathleen Rooney and her husband, Martin Seay, also a novelist, are coming to our town in August to read from their work at the library. I'm sure I will read Martin Seay's book, The Mirror Thief, at exactly the right time (before he comes to town), too!

Also, it's National Poetry Month, and Lillian Boxfish is a poet and an ad writer, the highest paid woman in advertising in America! She is based on the real highest-paid woman in advertising of her day, Margaret Fishback, who was powerful and respected and well paid before the era of Mad Men, to give us some perspective. But it was still the era of having to leave work if you got pregnant, as there was no maternity leave and employers did not hold jobs for women who had babies or men who went to war. To give it further perspective.

This is an utterly charming book. The end papers of my hardback edition show a map of where Lillian walked. As a child, Lillian was inspired by another career woman, her aunt Sadie, a nurse at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City in the early 1900s, which is crucial here due to the flu epidemic of 1918. And Edna St. Vincent Millay got her middle name from that hospital/saint! She's a favorite poet of mine. On with poetry month!