Friday, May 29, 2009

End notes

Tar River Poetry's Spring 2009 issue arrived this week. I received three copies and the one sandwiched between the other two is in perfect condition. The other two were injured in transport. I wish they would mail these in a wrapper. One is really mucked up. Consequently, it's the one I'm carrying around the house reading. It didn't help that we had some heavy rainstorms too.

TRP has a new look: color cover, perfect binding, new font design. What hasn't changed is the selection of terrific poems. There are some that just made me laugh.

If you've never sent to Tar River Poetry, you may want to consider them. They only accept electronic submissions. Reasonable reporting time too. Submission period is September-April.
They do not read May-August. You can check out their web site.


Kelli Agodon had a post about Poets & Writers. Kelli, my subscription has lapsed, which really surprised me! I've had a subscription for years. P&W has changed dramatically over the past 5 years. I read P&W in this order:

1. Call for submission pages
2. Articles
3.Call for competitions, grants, fellowships, and so on
4. The awards page

I'm happy for winners, and send notes of congratulations., or tell the winner in person or on phone, or now via email. I'm very happy for my friends' good news. I know how hard they're working.

I can certainly see how jealousy can be a motivator for someone who says, that should be me, I need to get busy. And, if that works, that's good.

But, for me, in the past (go way back to childhood) mean-spirited jealousy always poisoned my heart, which in turn, hung me up and made me stew, which turned out to be a big waste of time. I think I learned the downside of jealousy at an early age. I try to steer away from it.

I am going to renew my subscription to P&W too.


Working Class Theatre Company makes its debut with a staged reading of Waiting For Lefty by Clifford Odets. Performances are at 7:00pm at the charming and unique Yesterday's Muse Bookstore, 32 W. Main Street Webster.

ADMISSION IS FREE!!! Immediately following the performance will be coffee and dessert with the cast and producers, courtesy of WCTC.

Hope people will come out and support this.


Have you bought your ticket yet?

Writers & Books Sense of Place Gala
Saturday, May 30th. 2009, at the Rochester Academy of Medicine 1441 East Avenue, Rochester NY , beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Writers & Books is pleased to announce Julia Glass as the 2009 winner of the Sense of Place Award. Glass and other notable local awardees will be honored at our entertaining annual literary event.

175th Anniversary Award: For the City that Champions Literature and Literacy: The City of Rochester
Individual for Life-Long Contributions to Rochester's Literary Community Award: Posthumously honor Sal Parlato (accepted by Dolores Parlato)
Writer Award: Posthumously honor Frederick Douglass (accepted by Michelle Garcia-Daniels and School #12) and Susan B. Anthony (accepted by the Susan B. Anthony House)
Individual for Significant Contributions to Writers & Books Award: Ken McCurdy
Teacher of Adults Award: Len Messineo
Teacher of Young People Award: Wendy Low

6:00-6:30: Patron Reception with Julia Glass
6:30-7:30: Reception featuring hearty hors d'oeuvres and local wines
7:30 -8:00: AWARDS CEREMONY with Keynote speaker Julia Glass
8:30-10:00: Coffee and dessert reception, book signing silent auction, and Prius raffle winner selected.

Tickets: $100 patron ticket Register Online
$40 general public Register Online
$35 W&B members Register Online
$25 student Register Online

To purchase tickets online, select ticket type above, or call 585 473-2590 x107 to purchase tickets over the phone.

Signing for the hearing impaired will be provided.

I'm going to the Working Class Theatre on Fridayevening and W&B's event on Saturday evening.
Should be a busy weekend!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

It's overcast this morning and quite still. No wind. I've been puttering this weekend. Yesterday spent time weeding and clearing out gardens. Lilies of the Valley in bloom. These flowers remind me of my mother. Next, the herb garden. I looked into our small garden pond and saw at least five fish! So glad they survived the winter. Two calico fish, mostly white and orange, are quite large now. They were about two inches when we bought them last year. I think they're close to five-six inches long. The ferns I planted by the pond have survived too. The honeysuckle looks lovely-- a decent umbrella shade. I have a friend whose garden pool was discovered by herons. From their kitchen nook window, they watched(much to their horror) the herons dance and flap and guzzle down all of their goldfish.

When this happens, I wonder about bird/animal memory. Do birds/animals remember their good fortune? About three days ago now, a fox came and made off with two of our Barded Rock chickens. He/she went right into the hutch. We knew it was fox and not coyote because black and white feathers were scattered everywhere. The fox was plucking the feathers en route to his/her den. We're hoping that the fox won't be back. Now we have different fencing. The remaining hens were a bit traumatized and didn't lay any eggs until yesterday. We now have to worry about all of the new chicks and chickens. We have Cornish hens, which behave like dogs, eat and sleep. They are really big white birds, plump like sumo wrestlers. They're hanging with two leghorns, three Comets and three RI Reds and at least 24 baby sumo wrestlers. It's quite a scene.

Picnic today with my oldest and dearest friends. Please, no rain.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Briefcase: notes to you

Movie review:

Over the weekend, it may have been Saturday, I watched the movie Rachel Is Getting Married with my daughter Meghan. Anne Hathaway reveals herself as an actress. No wonder she received the Oscar nod for this performance. The movie is disturbing. Much like Ordinary People, does anyone remember that movie/book? The narrative is "crumb by crumb," so you have to pay attention to every detail/nuance in the movie. It's visually "raw"-- the cinematography looks like "real" time. From what I understand, the movie was shot in minimal takes. The ending is unsettling because I didn't know if it was Kym's(Hathaway) "choice" or not. The movie is about the consequence of choice. I felt the narrative was nonfiction. It's staying with me, in the way nonfiction gets under my skin. If you haven't seen this, you must rent it. I had wanted to see it when it was in the movie theaters, but it came and went in an eyeblink.

It's hard adjusting to the "free" time. I feel a bit aimless when I'm not being pushed by the clock.
The schedule was so hectic this semester. Constantly on the move. My worry or deep thought produced a deep furrow between my brows, which looks like I was hit in the head with a can of soup. It's literally a dent. I think it's starting to loosen up. I keep trying to rub it out. I think I scrunch up my brows when I'm thinking. It's quite a relief when you cross the semester's finish line.

Oh, jump up, my good friend has a built in stove for me. I can't believe it. A miracle!

This summer we're going to be sprucing up the farmhouse's interior. Time to paint. I like looking at the paint cards and picking out new colors. I actually like painting. My oldest son, ever since he was really young, let's say 7, has had painting "trim" skills. He can cut edge without a blotch or smudge. He was born with this skill. He's truly steady.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Whether versus weather

This was a strange weather weekend, in which all my plans depended on whether.

Took two of my grandchildren to see Rochester Children's Theatre performance of Beauty and the Beast RCT had moved the performance from the tent to the Gym on Nazareth College's campus. It was freezing in there. I'm still cold. A big crowd. The children enjoyed the show.

But the big thought of the day came from my granddaughter Brigid (7 years old):

B. I'm feeling weird.

MJ. You are? What do you mean?

B. I'm having a hard time understanding what it means to be human.

MJ. Me too! (She nodded her head and looked out the window) So what do you think about it?

My grandson at this moment wants to cut in the conversation, but I tell him to hold up and let B speak.

B. (still looking out the window) Well . . . it started when I was 3 or 4 years old. I was thinking about my skin. . .

Then my grandson Jack(nearly 9), who is probably going to be a doctor, began a lengthy explanation about skin and bones and blood; and, we all listened to him.

It's so hard getting words out and actually being heard, isn't it. B is an incredible visual artist.
Loves to read and think about things. I love being with her and J. J is an intellectual too. Constantly wrestling with ideas. He is sustained dialogue. We were planning on going out for a bite to eat afterward, but my son George told me to bring them home because J. had to go to Hockey practice. The children play a lot of sports. I think B was disappointed. Next time, we'll get to go out to eat. George had a beautiful meal ready when we returned to their house. The baby is so cute. Just love him. He's getting two lower teeth.

I think it was very quiet at their house yesterday. George was home with the oldest and the baby, and I had fun with the middle two. Looking forward to having them here over the summer. They like to work on the farm.

Last night went to hear my son Nick perform at Boulders comedy club. He did very well.
Meghan is going to an audition this afternoon. She's in good spirits. I live with actors and this house seems to be a situation comedy because things are always happening . . .It starts very early in the morning . . .

I went to the VOA on Saturday and bought a German "YOU ARE SPECIAL" plate. It was made in 1979 and it's my favorite color red-- true red. I have always wanted one of these plates. Since I was in my twenties-- actually the year it was made. But could never afford it. The plate was $50.00 back in the day. This plate has never been used. Still has the original papers. Sad. No one was special in the original owner's house. Or maybe the owner could not bear to use it because the occasion wasn't special enough. Fools. This plate is all about fun. This is what Picasso meant when he said," When I run out of blue, I'll use red." I have big plans for this plate.
I'm so excited and it cost 3.99, which my sister K would probably say was pricey, but I really wanted it. I'm so happy.

Our forty-year-old oven died. It's that goldenrod color appliance of the mid 60's. Peter and I have to go and look for new appliances. I'm sure what we buy won't last 40 years.

The adventures never stop. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

All Done!

Recap of the past two weeks:

Went to St. John Fisher's graduation. It was 3.5 hours long! Congratulations Graduates!

Later that evening went to the Lilac Festival, Rochester has over 550 varieties of lilacs in Highland Park, and saw Rikki Lee Jones and Dr. John. Rikki Lee Jones played songs from her upcoming CD, which will be released in September (just in time for my birthday!). One song "Bonfires of Hell" was so soulful. She's a terrific lyricist. We heard about 4 Dr. John songs before the wind started to pick up. Peter thought the clouds were going to rip open and pour rain, so we walked the distance downhill to our car, and as soon as we opened the trunk to put our chairs away, it started-- ice cold drops. Those poor people at the concert. Dr. John's voodoo didn't keep the rain away.

Last night went to see Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy band at the lilac festival. This was a free concert and it was packed. They were amazing swing band, played a lot of Cab Calloway. People were dancing the jive. Perfect weather too. It had been warm yesterday. No rain. This band is from California and they look "great" -- They've been together, original band members, for 16 years.

SUNY Brockport is done this week too. My students looked so happy turning in their portfolios and final exams. Everyone is anxious for the summer. Me too.

So many people are traveling. I wish I were going somewhere. No plans yet. I would really like to write a few more essays this summer. Slowly, my collection of essays is coming together, but I need so many more pages . . . I think I need to write a few longer essays . . . we'll see what happens.

Saw Steve Fellner yesterday and he "jolted" me with an essay idea (thanks, Steve) while we were talking about movies. I saw The Soloist on Mother's Day with my family, and we went out for a bite to eat afterward and talked about the movie the whole time (slow service too, so this is significant discussion). I rate this movie 5 stars. It's thoughtful and poignant. I'm not going to spoil it for you. Acting is terrific.

The orchard looks like a procession for first communion-- the blooms are white and pink and full of light. It's planting time! Haven't put anything out yet because of frost warnings. Mostly south of here. The lake is a buffer, which can be good or bad news, depending on the weather.

Also, I have Justin Evans' poetry collection! Hope to read it this week. Michael Czarnicki came to my class on May 4th and brought a bunch of books from Foothills, and I bought Justin's book and a book for each student in my class. They made their own selections and loved Michael's visit.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Moving On

Yesterday, on the way home, I was tuned into a live radio show that was featuring James Taylor. His daughter Sally Taylor was there accompanying him. They sang "Close Your Eyes" together. Their harmony made me think about the years when we'd listen to that song nearly every day. Her voice is a true combination of her parents-- the best of both of them. So this morning I thought I would look her up on the internet. She's so beautiful. A great smile, sparkling eyes. She's married and has a beautiful baby boy. He's two years old now. There's a video of family portraits with the baby. "Imagine" is the soundtrack. It's just gorgeous. So if you want to smile check it out. It's on her web site. She has a lot going on. She's a social activist, musician, and has a raw food mobile called Sally in the Raw.

I've started bicycling again. So much fun riding along the lake. Bright headstrong blue skies, trees hazy green, dandelions sprouting everywhere. Blankets spread out. picnics. Extreme frisbee with that exceptional dog that always out runs, out jumps, out wits everyone. A lot of laughter. The good weather just shook the cobwebs out of my head. A new perspective, or maybe just a new angle.

Peter has turned over the garden. Soon we will be planting. Hope this year's garden is as successful as last year's. Anxious to start. Anxious for fresh produce.