Sunday, January 31, 2010

Last Day of January 2010

Last night, the dome of lake sky was so clear and the moon was so full, so large, so bright in the so very, very cold air. Pin needles that how the cold feels against your face. I had spent the afternoon with my sister and we went thrift shopping-- I bought a plate that says "Pasta" on it. She bought a full set of 1978 National Geographic maps (U.S.A.) and a red-headed troll in a sailor suit and two pins. I like fashion pins and have several really nice ones, but forget to put them on, for that finishing touch. When I dropped her off, it was dark outside, and the moon was rising. I followed it home.

Had-- you guessed it-- Pasta for dinner (homemade summer sauce) truly yum and then settled on the couch to watch a movie with Peter. We saw Gigantic, a 2009 independent comedy film directed by Matt Aselton and starring Paul Dano, Zooey Deschanel, John Goodman, Edward Asner and Jane Alexander. The script, written by Aselton and his college friend Adam Nagata, tells of Brian (Dano), a mattress salesman who wishes to adopt a baby from China but is sidetracked when he meets the quirky, wealthy Harriet (Deschanel). The story was based on Aselton's childhood wish for his parents to adopt a Chinese baby, and the film was shot in New York and Connecticut. It had its world premiere at 2008's Toronto International Film Festival and was released in the United States on April 3,2009.

It's a strong script and the metaphor is layered. So you really have to pay attention to get it.
No wonder all those wonderful actors wanted to be in it.

Also, on Friday night we watched The Invention of Lying, a 2009 American comedy satire and a romantic comedy film, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson. It stars Gervais and Jennifer Garner also featuring Louis C.K., Rob Lowe and Tina Fey. The film was released in the United States and United Kingdom on October 2, 2009.

I did laugh at this film. It was a good one to watch after the long week of work and meetings and conversations. Sometimes I come home and my earlobes are dragging on the ground. New meaning for "ear to the ground" and not listening.

I planted an amaryllis and paper whites yesterday. The bulbs were still solid, so I think they will grow. The bulbs were from Holland and the dehydrated peat discs were from Sri Lanka and now they're growing on my sunny windowsill in Hamlin NY. Travel the world to grow flowers in Winter.

C. Dale Young is coming to Rochester in a few months. I'm trying to figure out a way to go to his reading. I would like to hear him read. Strange, the U of R reading series are at 5:00 p.m. In years past, the readings were at 7:30 p.m. It's such a difficult time. I wonder if they did this, so the dinner with the guest reader after the reading is without deadline and more relaxed. That makes sense , doesn't it? How many times have you been too jazzed to eat before a reading, right? And, I have been in an audience where the reader has been sloppy because of one too many glasses of wine.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Call for Submissions: Tin House "Class in America" Issue

Deadline May 1. The well-regarded literary journal Tin House seeks submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction for their Fall 2010 issue on "Class in America". Send one prose piece, maximum 10,000 words, or 1-5 poems. One entry per person. Enter by mail or online. Editors say, "We are looking for all perspectives: from or about the rich to the middle class to the poor and those who have moved up or down. We want to know more about those who identify with a non-traditional class, or consider themselves classless, along with those who have immigrated from class-bound or class-less countries or societies. What are the new class indicators in our increasingly digitized, global, and green world?"

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rainy Rain Monday

Rain thrashing against the house all night long. . . Still going on in this early morning. Drinking coffee, making a to do list, still snuffling and shuffling around the farmhouse. Everyone is still asleep. The heat has just come on.

It's hard to believe that this is the last week of January. I hope to give my granddaughter her birthday earrings this week. She's now 8 years old and had her ears pierced. The earrings are very pretty-- garnets, her birthstone. Her celebration with us was postponed due to illness.
She wasn't sick, but most of her family was, is-- varying degrees of virus, colds, you name it -- bad bugs. So fingers-crossed, I will be able to see her very soon! Garnets are a pretty stone, and these are quite fiery. Delicate too. A lot of the 14K earrings were "too mature."

I was in 8th grade, studying for a European History exam in the kitchen nook, and my Dad (who was a doctor) pierced my ears using a large sewing needle and ice cubes. My Mom was the assistant-- she took a ballpoint pen and marked the center of both earlobes-- symmetry. It's a funny memory. I was thinking about the Battle of Hastings. No fuss. Done in seconds. No infections. I hope she has good luck too.

I don't want to face the world today. . . Need to shuffle back out to the kitchen and pour myself another cup. . . What to do, what to do. . .

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Call for Submission: Cezanne"s Carrot

Cezanne’s Carrot has reopened for submission: Current needs: fiction, flash fiction, creative nonfiction. No poetry or visual art, please.

Complete updated (and simplified) submission guidelines, including the email addresses for submitting work, are available at the website

Please note that Cezanne’s Carrot is now a paying market!

Cezanne’s Carrot publishes high-quality literary work that explores spiritual, metaphysical, transformational, visionary, or mind-expanding themes. We are most interested in stories that push us into a transcendent realm, that give us a higher understanding of our expanding, multidimensional selves.
We look forward to reading your work!

Snow, going, going, gone . . .

20 days ago we had over two feet of snow. Now the promise of 47 degrees, mud and matted grass. Today will be a good day for walking. Open the windows to air the house out a bit too. In a matter of 24 hours, the weather promises to be bitter cold again-- winter as we know it in Western NY. We usually have wild storms in February and March, so this reprieve must be relished.

Today, I'm at last feeling better. Last dregs of my cold show up when I start laughing and that hitches to a terrible coughing jag. I must be suppressing the cough through shallow breathing, and laughing makes me take gulps of air-- a near death experience laughing and coughing at the same time-- I sound like a squeeze box!

Today will be a baking and cleaning and writing and walking and reading and painting day. Yesterday I paid all of my bills !! Nothing is lurking around the corner, which is a huge relief.
In this recession, agencies and individuals have delayed paying me for contract work. In business, especially when cash flow is tight, the vendors can become the bank, and consequently wait more than 60,90, 120 days to get paid for their services (sounds a bit like waiting to hear about submissions, doesn't it). Unfortunately, I over-anticipate the money, appointing it to pay this and that and that, when in truth it can only cover this. And when the checks finally arrive and I do a jig in the kitchen, I know I can start clearing out the bills and then something major happens like the car . . . It's my one ambition to get my head up and out of the water and swimming forward. Right now I'm standing flat-footed with water up to my lips. Will 2010 see me swimming? That's the plan.

But today, I'm feeling relieved because everything is in order. Linked to this I've been thinking about my productivity. My productivity depends on inspiration, intrigue, awareness of my life in action . . .With a cold, none of these things happen with verve. I think I used 8 boxes of lotion treated tissues in the past 25 days. My cold was consuming me. I would begin the day strong and wilt by early evening. So everything I have been doing has been a bit slower than usual, or so it seems.

Now to begin this day . . .

Call for Submission: Crab Creek Review

Passing the word along . . .

Special Editor's Portfolio edited by Guest Editor, Susan Rich
Theme: Ekphrastic Poetry

We begin with the visual. Ekphrastic poetry is a response in words to a painting, photograph, dance, building, sculpture, Ikea catalogue, children's drawing, or bumper sticker. An ekphrastic poem begins with inspiration from another piece of art and with the intuitive understanding that art begets art.In a sense, the art object becomes the rough draft of the poem.

We are looking for the best ekphrastic poems, 30-lines (or less) to showcase in an upcoming issue of Crab Creek Review.

For this project, we are accepting email submissions to the email address below. To submit to this special portfolio of ekphrastic poetry, write your name and title of the submission in the subject line and then send your previously unpublished poems in the body of an email to Editor, Susan Rich at:

Please send 3-5 poems at the most.
Also, include a short bio and contact info as well.

Deadline is May 31, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January Thaw

This will be a snippet post:

Haiti is on my mind. So glad we're sending help. I've been watching the news updates.

Day 17-- can't seem to shake this cold. Friday was just miserable, but today . . . dare I say it, feeling a bit better. Our printer died and we've been having a horrible time replacing it. The new one that arrived was defective. Had to be sent back. Now waiting for the replacement. Hopefully, will be up and running soon.

Seems like I've been waiting for weeks to hear about my fall submissions-- then a rejection arrives, which was eerie, because the note carried a signature from the editor who has been deceased for several years now. Strange, right?

I've been watching cooking shows. Going to make a Lydia meal tonight. Comfort food.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tracks in Snow 2

Okay, time to talk about this . . . I have new work and I have been revising steadily over this break. I have been reading the work to Peter, who has always been my first reader, and I've been wondering, after each new poem, prose piece, essay-- is this it? Is this it ? Not sure if the cold has me foggy, or if I'm just not sure, and keep coming back to the work. Thinking "fresh eyes"-- what else? Often I think the obvious comes before the genius or truly evocative thought. Sometimes it's elusive and annoying, because I'm stuck and trying too hard.

Personally, I think my writing is closely related to the way I paint with watercolor, and I have to tell myself, light hand, light hand-- don't go too far. In watercolors, it's so easy to ruin the landscape.

I love winter. I love the snow and the way the air smells and how sound is carried in snow.
I've been writing some dark and not so dark work. I've been staring at a photograph of a King Penguin balancing an egg on his feet. Steve Fellner trigger this idea for an essay when we were yakking about March of the Penguins.

I did love the part in that film, when the females returned from sea and the males howled in delight, so glad you made it back. Is that what I'm waiting for? Who ever really makes it back?

Tracks in Snow

I disappeared for a bit. Trying to get myself situated for the upcoming winter months. Yesterday, I proof-read my manuscript Within Reach latest version. It's nearly perfect! So excited about this ! Just a few more months . . . Once the manuscript was accepted (April 2008), I decided to put it away, so I would be excited about reading the poems when the book was released. Most books are in a 2 year queue, or so it seems. I didn't send this manuscript to a lot of competitions. Three places in total. 1. Tupelo Press. The manuscript was so close to being published by them-- it was fifth on the table and they only took four. I still have the letter from Jeffrey Levine. Then I submitted it to Backwaters Press, who also wrote a lovely letter, then Cherry Grove Collections. Big thank you to Kevin Walzer! It's been quite wonderful seeing these poems again. My rediscovery-- thinking about why I wrote them (time and place), and I've enjoyed the editing process too. In this latest pass, I read the manuscript six times, including backwards-- literally reading the lines backwards. To make sure I "saw" everything. It's amazing how our brains fill in the blanks. So, hopefully, the next pass will be, perfect!


Have launched a winter poetry project with 29 poets from the Just Poets membership.
This year we're doing chained Hay(na)ku. Following the form's rule of tercet (3 lines) and 6 words total, this is going to be quite a challenge. In its origin, the form is one word, two words, three words. or the order in reverse, or any word combination in three lines, such as:

3,1, 2

In our teams, one person will create a hay(na)ku, then the second person will read the poem and select one word that will be repeated in the linked poems. That word may be modified by other team members to be plural or singular or -ed, ing

example: wing. Could be modified to: wings, winged, winging.

Our teams have captains who are in charge of the completed linked hay(na)ku poems. There will be 5-6 completed poems. Most of our teams are 5-6 members. Each participant will have the opportunity to begin the Hay(na) ku chain and be the second person who selects the repeat word.

Last year we did a linked cinquain project and it was wonderful. I've given copies of the anthology to quite a few people. When it was read at our celebratory reading, I thought it was better than church. I felt spiritually moved by the poems.

This week I have to prepare for the semester's start on Wednesday! I know, the time off has been an eyeblink. Hope your new year is off to a terrific start.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I Fell Off the Face of the Earth

I came down with a miserable cold/flu on 12/30/09 and slept right through to today. It's snowing double negatives outside. Below zero. Happy New Year ! I've been blog jumping, catching up on the moods in Blogville-- mostly cheerful stuff. No one is as sick as I have been these past few days, which must mean you have wisely stayed inside your houses. Not me. I went out with two of my grandchildren and inhaled a bunch of germs. Let's see, we went to a movie at the Strand Theatre in Brockport. Saw The Princess and the Frog. This was a bit uneven. Music wasn't as exciting as Little Mermaid, and the story was muddled with cross- current ambitions. It had a lot of loose threads in the narrative. And, we went to the Rochester Museum & Science Center and spent several hours there-- could have stayed longer, so much to do and see.

I took them to Lift Bridge Bookstore and they picked out some new books. Brigid bought her first mood ring. Jack bought some capsules that housed a variety of foam aircraft. He had fun watching them "grow" in front of his eyes; not quite as large as he imagined though.

The children left and I went to bed for four days. Feeling a bit better today. I should be inspired by all the plans everyone made while I was sleeping. Yesterday I watched a lot of cooking shows on PBS. Bean soup. It looked really good. I'm hoping we'll make it this week.

You should see all the snow. It's coming down like little arrows. Meghan is suppose to leave for NYC this morning. Maybe she'll wait a day, until this storm system passes. I think it will be a white knuckle drive all the way to the city. She finished a show last night and has decided to go to the city to audition, audition, audition. She's going to be in a production of the Vagina Monologues. Esler's work has become a tradition (end of January-beginning of February), at least eight years now, right? I think it's great that the shows' revenues across the country are donated to women organizations, shelters, and so on. So wherever you are, try to attend or support one of these shows. It's a very good cause.