Friday, December 25, 2015

Red Rooster Farm, Merry Christmas to All!

Design and photo by P. Tonery.  Homegrown peppers, 2015. Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Photo K. Iuppa

It's been a green December, thus far. Unusual weather, especially after two very cold winters.  Some sputtering snow yesterday, but nothing to speak of on the ground.  The wind blew it all away.
The semester is officially over.  Grades are in.  I am trying to relax.  It seems to be impossible to find that zone of quiet, with my arms loose at my side. I don't want to hold anything; not a pen, a book, a fistful of paper.  I want to wander in the orchard's crisp air. Clear my thoughts of all the words that I've ingested over the semester-- some tender, some wise & thoughtful, some full of heartburn.  I taught five writing intensive classes, 147 students (the most I've ever had) and  directed an Arts Minor Program  that sponsored over 8 Lecture & Art events over the semester that were so successful.  Our audience attendance (Rochester and St. John Fisher community) ranged from 60-180. I'm grateful for all the collaborations, for all the people who said yes.  Now it's time to imagine something else, but before I do, I plan on having a bit of good cheer.
Without expectation,  I can be free of practically everything. Imagine that.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

December 5, 2015: The Fall Semester Is Nearly Over

Have You Had Your  Free-Range Egg Today?

An eyeblink. Setember to December. The silence on this blog.
Too long.  Time to dust it off and put on some writing music.  Fill you in on what has been happening.
We've had an exceptional growing year. My root cellar is full of jars of tomato sauce, jams (strawberry, blueberry, apricot, peach, raspberry),
verde sauce, sweet pepper sauce,
pickles, applesauce and so on. Freezers full of fresh veggies.
Exceptional year for tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, garlic, peppers sweet to hot-- all kinds, tomatillos, eggplant, cabbage (purple and green),  butternut squash, acorn, green beans, dry beans (which I still have to shuck!) pumpkin, zucchini, yellow squash; not so good for cauliflower or broccoli, onions (fair).  We're in good shape, though.
Our Thanksgiving meal was  all farm produced, with exception of wine and beer.  It was quite a moment for all of us gathered round, realizing that we did it.  We had a big gang of family here.  Such fun.


On November 14, 2015, I received a Big Pencil Award from Writers & Books, for Lifetime Achievement.  My family and friends were at the award's ceremony. It was a wonderful evening.  My sister Karen made me a pencil tiara, which is so fantastic!  It sparkles in my silver hair!


On November 21, 2015 at Writers and Book, we celebrated the life and writing of friend and mentor Jusith Kitchen, and the new CNF anthology Close Encounters edited by Judith Kitchen and Dinah Lenney.  It was an evening of beautiful readings by Sonja Livingston, Bill Capossere, Alicia Hoffman, Carol McMahon, Jenny Lloyd, Monica Gilligan, Bruce Bennett and  me. I am grateful to all of these fine writers for saying "yes" to participating in this event and making it happen seamlessly.  To Joe Flaherty and Al Abonado  for giving us the space to celebrate and ordering the anthology. To everyone who came to be there and listen and remember Judith.  It's so hard to believe that a year has passed since she left us physically, but her spirit and energy is everywhere.  I share her words daily with my students.  She is in my thoughts, always.


This semester may be busiest yet.  I have a 147 students, all doing a significant amount of writing.  I have been keeping up with my usual 7-10 day turnaround on  papers (critical and creative). It's been challenging to say the least.  I have a World Lit class with 43 students, who love to read! Somehow, this class has been mostly discussion based. They have been such a gift, in so many ways, and a majority are freshmen, so they will only get better and better and better. I hope I'll get a chance to work with all of them again.

Actually, all of my classes have been a joy.  I raise my cup of coffee to them all!