Monday, September 27, 2010

Last Week of September

It's chilly this morning. I have been up for a while, trying to get caught up with correspondence.
Nearly there. Small coffee break to say good morning.

The weekend went by far too quickly. Spent the whole weekend steeped in rituals. Vows exchanged. Concert heard. More tomatoes picked and processed three different ways. Roasted tomatoes are just to die for. Picked a laundry basket full of dried beans. They're drying out-- gone to mud room rehab-- it's so warm in our mud room, a perfect spot. Hope to shuck and store the beans this week.

Once again, after a wild week at school, I landed on my farmhouse doorstep, like Peter Rabbit. Everyone had blackberries and cream, except me. Exhausted by the spin of the week, I went straight to bed.

But the recap of the week's highlights went like this:

Cambridge Footlights. O, they were fun. So glad they came to Fisher. Some very funny skits, especially the origin of "Bird."

Took my Encounters class to see Amadeus at Geva Theatre. A fine production delivered to a near sold out audience. I saw this play in NYC in 1980. It was amazing then, and now. This version was Peter Shaffer's most recent version(1998). Interesting to see work evolve. I guess, with each run of Amadeus, Shaffer has had the opportunity to revisit his work. How fabulous is that!?

This week, more of the same busyness. I don't think it's going to let up.

Started to write a new poem yesterday and 86ed it this morning. I cut it, just like chopping up vegetables. Decisive. Ah, will there ever be short cake on the menu?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Birthday Week

My siblings have been visiting this week. They made me a fabulous birthday dinner at my sister Karen's lake house (her home) on Wednesday, September 15, my actual birthday. We ate and drank and talked for over three hours. It was so wonderful being with all of them. I'm so lucky to have such attention.

The teaching week just kicked my butt. So much to do. Anxious for the semester to settle into its beehive hum. I feel like I've been "woman at work" jack hammers and dirt flying-- under construction-- lots of clanging.

This week The Cambridge Footlight Players will be performing at St. John Fisher at 7:30 p.m. on Monday 9/20/2010 in Basil Auditorium, Rm 135. Free for Fisher staff, faculty and students.
$5.00 general admission. It's a comedy hour. This Troupe has been active for 127 years.
Famous for being the launch of Monty Python, Fringe and Borat. So if you like to laugh, this evening is for you. We normally host the Cambridge American Stage Tour, which is another group of players, performing a specific Shakespeare play. This year, they're doing a southern tour of the United States, and this group is touring the East coast. It will be their first time at St. John Fisher. I'm looking forward to this.

Going to spend most of the weekend with family.

September's Glitterati

Traveling alone, she fell in the Sistine Chapel–

collapsed in a whirl, as if a gust of wind
struck her weak ankle and set her spinning–
her skirt inflated, but she did not rise
to bump her head beneath God’s fingertip,
nor did she push Adam aside.

Instead, she leaned into descent
like a scarf tossed in a dance,
and onto the marble floor
she puddled, still looking up . . .

A crowd gathered; then men
carrying a canvas litter
arrived with a knock
on floor:

Avanti, she whispered,
and they lifted her up to their shoulders–
a marvelous blur moved beneath her–
and before her: God’s plan.


first published in Bryant Literary Review, Spring 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

What the Sign Says

Passing through the town of Hamlin, the sign in front of the VFW says:

Fish Fry WTF


I'm savoring the cooler weather this morning. Peter made a fire in the kitchen's wood stove, which took the chill off. The ritual of making the morning fire signals a turn of season-- the calendar's steady march towards less and less daylight. Yesterday's sky was full of billowy clouds and sunlight. It did rain in the late afternoon. It was cold gathering tomatoes for dinner last night. I must be getting into better shape because I was able to clear the garden fences gracefully, without fear of falling. It's literally high kicking over the fences, without anything to keep me steady, or keep my heels from getting hung up on the fence. I guess the constant practice has made me more agile. But, because the roving chickens are so crafty, I have to do this without them watching. Chickens are not stupid. They size things up, whereas the ducks
are secretive and constantly moving together. There are a lot of tomatoes that need to be gathered. Today is the day.


I've been thinking about what triggers inspiration. Is it reading, or looking at the natural world, or paying attention to the absurd, to the mundane, to the sublime, and knowing the difference?

I think I'm constantly absorbing everything around me, and slowly (sometimes painfully slow) or quite quickly images/ideas/situations start to scaffold into poems or prose. I do so much long-distance driving, I know I'm pre-writing in the car. So when I get settled at my desk, the work comes out fluently. Years ago, when we lived in the city, this wasn't so. I worked for hours upon hours, trying to get a poem just right. I used to have "dial a poem" poet friends, who would just listen to the latest version, give a verdict, which was usually, "No, the end isn't there yet-- keep working." And I did. I owe so much to these poets, who were willing to listen while stirring the pot of tomato sauce, or soup, or chopping vegetables for salad, or whatever. We were really good at doing many things at once. I remember getting my latest baby up from a nap, changing, cuddling, and feeding while listening to a friend's poem. All of this made possible by the cordless phone. Strange, how things change. Now I rarely speak on the phone. A chat with someone is most often face to face. Perhaps that's the richer experience, spending time with someone; discussing our art and lives.

On the other hand, the long-distance writing community is blogville, or the neighborhood I selected in blogville. So many of you post thought-provoking reviews, poetics, commentary on writer's craft, and I have valued all that you have said. My own blog was created to keep track of my daily living, but also promote and attend local art events. I think I have been faithful to that endeavor. I wanted to be able to look back over time. I've been thinking a lot about then and now. I think I'm trying to figure out what's next. I don't want to be guilty of merely shaking the bird cage, because it looks like the right thing to do. It's true, the birds flutter in a panic, but settle back down-- often in the same arrangement. I think this is why I want to be experiencing others' art-- different ways of seeing.

Tell me, what inspires you?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Welcome September

Since my last post, we have had a lot of company. Actors, musicians, yoga instructors, massage therapists-- all friends of my daughter-- all attending a wedding for a dear friend of theirs. What a terrific group. Both Peter and I enjoyed having them here. We were a Bed & Breakfast & Dinner too.

Great sense of humor. I enjoyed being around all of them. The wedding was perfect. Weather too. We've been having some very hot weather (90s) this past week. Last weekend it was just starting to heat up again, but it wasn't unbearable. Now a cold front has pushed its way into our area. Much cooler, which means I will be able to accomplish a lot more this long weekend. The heat really turns me to mush.

Last week was all about getting started. Meetings, meetings, meetings. Preparation for classes.
High hopes, just like the song. Like so many others who live in the school calendar, September is my new year, fresh start. Time to get a new pair of shoes. New paper & pen supplies ( I could spend hours selecting a new journal and pen . . .) I was hoping I would win a journal from Drew's blog. Alas, I don't think my name was picked from the hat. My birthday is in 11 days, maybe I'll get one for my birthday . . .

It's a beautiful day. I'm confused. They said rain and high winds for today. Some residue of the
hurricane system (s) ?

So far, not a storm cloud in sight. To a perfect long weekend!