Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Reading Mrs. Dalloway

What a busy week, and it's only Wednesday! I started a new job, which may have yoga in the middle of it! I posted a new poetry feature at Escape Into Life, Julie E. Bloemeke, with figurative art by Dorothy Grostern. We did our taxes!--filed (electronically) and paid (postally). We updated our daughter's FAFSA. And I had a fantastic time working with the playwright, Peter Macklin, director, Duane Boutte, and the fine actors in a staged reading of A Different Time, "a gay-themed play," as it says on the program, sponsored by The Prairie Pride Coalition and ISU's Department of Theatre and Dance.

And I've been reading Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf, inside The Mrs. Dalloway Reader, edited by Francine Prose, which is an excellent way to read it. I particularly loved re-encountering "The Garden Party," by Katherine Mansfield, in its pages. Also, I have images of The Hours, the movie based on the Michael Cunningham book, stuck in my head. (I still need to read the book!) And here's something that makes this a Random Coinciday in the blog. In both The Hours and A Different Time a guy falls out of a window. (On purpose.)

The lovely painting of Woolf, above, is by Roger Fry. Here's Virginia in fur. She had an interesting life, with lots of suffering in it, alas, and while she did not fall out of a window, she did walk into a river with stones in her pocket. (On purpose.) Sadly, I have a poem about that, because that seems to be what happens. "A Foreign Body," in Menacing Hedge. Well, this has taken a turn. But I'll be very busy again tomorrow.

Friday, February 20, 2015

It's My Party

Background music: "It's My Party" (of course!), sung by Lesley Gore, here depicted as Pussycat, an associate of Catwoman, on an episode of Batman television series, the version from my era.

I'm not actually having a party, but it is my birthday! And I am not crying!* I am so glad to be alive and, specifically, to have survived the Internet Death Quiz. Sadly, Lesley Gore did not. That is, she died all too young, and recently, though not from taking the Internet Death Quiz.

*I was interested to learn from Jezebel that the hit song was based on a real teen, who really uttered the words, "It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to."

Last night I celebrated at Stave Wine Bar via Uptown Covered in Chocolate, a real event, having the Double Trouble special: a red-wine blend (yummy & smooth) and a dark chocolate truffle! Thanks, Kim and Willemina! Today I celebrated at A. Renee, with lunch and a fabulous dark chocolate dessert called A Hot Mess! It was hot, and it was delicious! Thanks, Marty!

But woman does not live on red wine and dark chocolate alone. Um, why not?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dirty Rice on Fat Tuesday

It's Mardi Gras, so, yes, it's actually Fat Tuesday in the blog. We had decadent pastries for breakfast (4 for a dollar at Jewel), and we're having New Orleans-style dirty rice tonight. This is a summer picture with Mardi Gras beads, not on us. But I'm not so festive after hearing on NPR about the Carnival-related deaths in Haiti. Sigh... So, since I can't dance with my brothers and sisters, I won't dance at all.

Instead, I will tell you about the fat cats--well, not so much fat as large, wild, healthy-looking--probably feral cats hunting in my back yard this afternoon in the sunshine. They worked as a pair. First there was some digging in the ground, rolling in the sun against the roots of the sweetgum tree, and eating of dried catmint. I think they might have been getting high in my back yard. It made them all the more alert and the birds! The cardinals that nest in the mugo pine. They stalked these birds. They retraced the steps of the flocks of juncos and winter starlings that graze seeds in my back yard. I did not see them kill anything, but I did think of the eternal conflict between Lavinia (cats) and Emily (birds) Dickinson.

One (cat, not Dickinson sister) was striped and blotched as if a big, beautiful gray tabby had mated with a giant diamond-backed slug. The other (cat) was also a gray tabby mix, but with a red fox. This is impossible, but appeared true. They were gorgeous cats who took over the yard on Fat Tuesday, looking for things to eat. (Or get high on.) Here are more of the 3 generations of women (sisters, daughters, moms) who met in Michigan this past summer. And here are some Presidents we met on the beach. On Presidents Day. On Facebook. Feral Presidents. Of the mind.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine With a Twist

It's been a wonderful Valentine's weekend! My husband's volleyball girls won their intercity tournament! We had (private!) champagne! He took our son to the Chicago Auto Show, an annual tradition, and I took our daughter out to breakfast! I got to meet with some women writers to read stories and poems of love, young love, and/or heartbreak. (Also with wine!)

And I came home to find 2 of my poems in Flyway! I guess my "Hawk on the Fence" poem is sort of a sad valentine, or anti-valentine, or valentine with a twist, but be sure to read the contributor's note. Despite the pink in "Japonica," nothing's really blooming outside yet here...but it will, it will.

The next love-poem feature, "Love, Itself," went up at EIL, with fabulous art by Jesse McCloskey, including The Lovers, with green love climbing in the window, and Magic Horse, reminding me of Pegasus, the winged horse of poetry!

Has anybody invented the Valentini! Or did I? Oh, yes, it exists. In several variations. But without a twist....

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ready for Love

I'm doing a play reading later this month for the Prairie Pride Coalition, a human rights group in our area. I love it when the arts and social justice come together, and I get to help out! Titled A Different Time, it's a play about how hard it was to be a gay man in "a different time" than now, and it's still hard. But it sure makes me glad of and grateful for all the advances in human and civil rights during my lifetime. If you're local, come hear the reading on Monday, February 23, at 7:30 p.m. at Kemp Hall. It's free. The playwright will be present!

In the meantime, I will be celebrating Valentine's Day by attending the intercity junior high volleyball tournament. Yes, that's what the love of my life will be doing, coaching his still undefeated seventh grade team, and I'll be there! That's another wonderful thing about the times we live in: girls'/women's sports!

There will be chocolate. Beautiful Uptown Normal is having a chocolate walk next week, and I plan to find some chocolate by walking around. I hope I find it at the wine bar! Next week is also my birthday week, people are taking me to lunch the next two Fridays, and I'm gathering with some women writers on Sunday to share love poems and stories--funny or sad--so it's going to be a good February, indeed, even if the bitter cold comes back instead of the annual February thaw I used to enjoy in my college years and beyond.

Speaking of love poems, we have plenty at Escape Into Life, in two features already up and another coming up on Valentine's Day itself. The first was Looking for Love, and the one that went up today is Ready for Love, with paintings by Maude McDonald, including the one you see here, View from Within, and, above, This Piece of Me. I hope you have a lovely Valentine's Day, ready or not.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Bride of the Monster

Happy Groundhog's Day and Valentine month. I am celebrating with the Monsters issue of Snakeskin, guest edited by Jessy Randall, in which I have a love poem called "Bride of the Monster." Many monster poems for you to peruse here at the table of contents. This is Elsa Lanchester seeing the Groundhog see his shadow. Which he clearly did this morning, as the sun was shining boldly on heaps of white snow.

As I recall, I wrote this poem last February with a random poem generator as a Valentine's Day game! I promise I have actually accidentally made banana glue many a time, and now that my oven doesn't work I cannot make banana bread. Sigh... But I could possibly apply the banana glue to my hair in order to shape it permanently into this hairstyle.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

In Delirium Influenza

Many thanks to actor and classical scholar Mark Gerard de Veer for the title of today's blog post and my recent state of mind! Many thanks to EIL artist Victor Rodriguez for the panting, which also seems to get at it. His work is found at his solo feature, here, and with the poetry of Katherine Riegel, here. I'm feeling much better, as is my husband, but, thanks to delirium insnowenza, we are all staying put today, enjoying a visit from our son, who has to brave the roads later to make it back to Chicago for a big presentation tomorrow (although, who knows, Chicago might be closed tomorrow!). We hope you all stocked up on your blizzard/Superbowl supplies and can also stay put as long as possible. Try not to get mad at the snow. To help with that, here are some gorgeous up-close pictures of snowflakes by Skye Sadowski-Malcom!