Saturday, December 13, 2008

Small pleasures

Nothing much happening. Our weather is cold (for us) -- in the low 40s, but despite fierce rain and wind overnight, the forecasted weekend of storm hasn't arrived -- or hasn't yet. I woke up last night when the rain stopped with the image of Pinocchio's burned feet in my mind.

John had to attend a function this afternoon and evening (an opera recital where he is exhibiting and possibly selling some of his opera portraits), and I really wasn't looking forward to the evening alone. But I took care of some errands and walked the dog and came home determined to neither do nothing nor do too much. I fed the pooch, put away groceries, poured myself a large glass of red wine. For dinner I cooked nahit (hot, dry, seasoned garbanzo beans) and winter squash, which I ate with butter, salt and pepper, and I had a piece of naan bread. I'm sure most people would think this a bizarre, disgusting dinner, and John for sure would not have approved -- nor of the fact that I ate all this walking about in the kitchen. But I found it delicious and satisfying and just right.

Then I messed around with putting together a wreath. We have a grapevine wreath that we bought decades ago, and I stick pieces of the fir tree in it (the pieces they cut off from the bottom to put the tree into the stand) and I tied on a red/green plaid ribbon from somewhere. I was listening to Garrison Keillor's show, and it was appropriately shmaltzy.

The dog is asleep on the couch. I've got a poem for tomorrow's workshop. Maybe I'll revise it another time.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pop Quiz Answers

Here are my answers to the currently circulating meme:

1. When was the last time you wrote a poem?
Yesterday afternoon.

2. What was its title?
"Robyn, Love You Buckets Miss You—Eric" -- but dunno, it might change slightly.

3. What was one image from the poem (if applicable)?
Graffiti on a lampost that marks the spot of a fatal accident.

4. Do you currently have a poem percolating in your brain?
Just the usual peat bog where who knows what is buried. I'm actually trying to write a memoir/essay.

5. If you answered "yes" to number four, what is one image from that poem?
The guiding image from the memoir/essay is EK walking around my husband's flat in nothing but bikini underwear with "Home of the Wopper" on the fly and also an Italian Beretta in a shoulder holster.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bit to be thankful for

Apparently, the Pushcart Prize has given my poem "Conjugated Visits" (published by Field and Poetry Daily) a "special mention" at the back of the book.

They publish 30 poems of the approx. 4,000 poetry nominations they get each year and give "special mention" to 30 others. And I'm there, along with John Ashbery, Jane Hirshfield, and so forth.

This makes me very happy. That, and the fact that I have been accepted to VCCA for 2 1/2 weeks in February-March.

And four days off! Four days in which I can sleep in!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Gray Saturday

It's a quiet, gray day here. Although I hear City College's marching band playing, it looks like rain. John has already gone downtown to work on a reshoot and won't be back until maybe 5:00. Greta is patiently waiting for me to finish with this post and take her for a walk. (Would be good idea to get out there before the rain starts.)

The house is a bit worse for wear -- everything stopped this week as we obsessed over the election. Now, change will come in Washington, but I still better wash the kitchen floor!

In the office, I have papers spread all over the floor. I'm going through my big wicker picnic basket full of old poems, printouts, old versions of my manuscript. I don't really know what I'm looking for.

Monday, November 03, 2008

One Day

After all this time. One day.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Three More Days

I am obsessed. I can't think of anything else except the election -- even though John and I already voted today. We stood in the rain and we voted early. For Obama, of course. Is there any doubt? And against California Proposition 8 and against Proposition 4. Talk about the audacity of hope. If President Obama can accomplish even a small fraction of what this country needs, it will be wonderful. It will be a start.

The thing is: I had been obsessed with my manuscript, how close it's come so many times, the totally specious reasons for which it has been rejected, the less worthy books that have been published… But this election, this campaign has really made me understand how trivial my concerns about the manuscript are in comparison -- in comparison with the bigger cause that has involved us.

It's Saturday night and it's raining. I've been soaked twice today. John is out finishing some prints he owes people. I've had a large glass of red wine, so forgive me. The wine: free, Argentinean, "tannat," 2005 vintage. John is a photographer -- you know, if he shoots it, we drink it.

So, we're going to win, aren't we? In 1968, when I graduated high school, I was named "most idealistic." But even I could not have imagined the possibility of a win on Tuesday. Not just a win -- a landslide.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

This ain't no fooling around…

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, it's work I'm posting from -- but I don't want to come down yet from the high of last night's concert -- David Byrne at Davies Hall in San Francisco. (And speaking of high, though we weren't partaking, it seems that Davies Hall ushers are not quite used to doing liquor-and-other-assorted-other-stuff searches, because, well, let's just say that this was not your typical Symphony crowd). But it was an awesome concert -- the new stuff ("Everything That Happens Will Happen Today" music by Brian Eno, lyrics by Byrne) and the old Talking Heads stuff.

We had good seats -- second tier, but right in front with a clear view to the stage. And the acoustics were terrific. Byrne, his backup band, backup singers, and three athletic quirky dancers were all wearing white. The show was as good as the music. There were two encores, standing ovations, and at the end of the second encore, Byrne invited the "San Francisco Marching Band" -- maybe they were leftover from the Love Parade the last week? -- to come to the stage and then the Byrne band joined them (that's what this picture captures, though it doesn't really capture anything, but you can see the excitement) for the finale of "Burning Down the House."

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Roses on a rainy day

It rained last night here. First rain since, what, April? I lay in bed trying to figure out what the noise was.

Not much news in this corner lately, but I'm embarrassed by the dearth of posts in this blog. I hardly know what the point is, but anyway, today I'll post. It gives me the opportunity to show off my beautiful roses. They've opened out since Thursday, and their colors are the whole spectrum of apricot, from pink and creamy to nearly orange to hints of brown, like a sunset in a flower. This picture doesn't do any justice -- but there's only one photographer in this family and right now, he's still asleep.

We didn't do much for our anniversary (32!), but then we're going out on Monday to hear David Byrne and Brian Eno at Symphony Hall, and that was a bit of a splurge, so that will be enough. Besides, there was all that other entertainment on Thursday. (But I'm telling you, I'm going to bite my fingernails entirely off before this election's over.)

And I'm already biting them for other reasons. But I wasn't going to get into that again, until/when/if.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Not what it was quacked up to be

On Tuesday, we're getting the 78 year old furnace in our house replaced with a more energy-efficient one. The following phone call really happened: (John is a photographer and has done a lot of weird jobs in his time -- or that's his excuse.)

Woman: I'm calling to remind you of the job on Monday.
John: Uh, could you remind me what job this is?
Woman: You know, the ducks in the basement.
John: Ducks in the basement?
Woman: Yeah, the ducks?
John: Can you give me a few more details?
Woman: You know, the asbestos removal? The ducts?
John: Oh, the ducts!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Staring into the sun at whales

Yesterday evening we droveagain to Funston, the cliffs overlooking the Pacific that are about 10 minutes away from our house, with the dog. I said, offhand, that since the fog was gone, it would be nice to see the sunset and whales. It's amazing how fast you can get used to something extraordinary!

Well, they were out there again! Lest you think I'm making this up or having flashbacks to an earlier more innocent time, here's corroboration.

You probably associate whale watching with wind and cold and sea spray and possibly getting seasick. Sitting on a nice warm sand dune with your dog beside you is a much more fun way to watch whales. And hang gliders. And pelicans.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

View from here ....

I feel thoroughly put down and bested by the I-Can-Do-Anything-You-Can Do-Better barrage. I'm so not good at debate. It shoots me right back into my childhood and my father and brother ganging up to belittle me and make me unnerved by calling me "emotional." 

All I wanted to say was don't blame the victim in the Cider Press thing -- and sure, she should have been more careful early on, but hey, does this mean no competitions are legitimate? Yeah, they cost money (so do a good many of the "open" submissions -- and there are fewer and fewer of them, even so), but when people pay $4 for a Starbucks, is a $20 fee for a book contest so awful? I don't buy Starbucks and I brown-bag my lunch. So I enter some competitions -- not every damn one, but some.

All I said is self publishing smacks of desperation -- to me, for me. Yeah, a lot of crap gets published every which way, no argument there.

I'd like to publish a magazine, maybe, someday. But right now I spend my day working and driving to work. There's not a lot of time left for being human, let alone writing. That said, I'd better get back to my work.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Thar She Blows!

Whales! We were out at Funston with poochie, and there — so close you could almost touch 'em — were whales! Lots of 'em, breaching and blowing. We watched for about an hour. It was hard to tear ourselves away!

We've never seen whales from there or anywhere in San Francisco. We've recently seen dolphins from there, but these were definitely whales (John carries his binoculars, of course.) And it's not even migratory season.

I was pretty depressed this morning about stuff, but this helped take me out of myself.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Whoo-hoo! Yowza! Hurray!

Last night was the second opening of John's photography show, of characters in the San Francisco Opera. Last week was for the Bravo Club only; this week for everyone else. So the show has been up for eight (count 'em) days -- and he has sold eight prints! If you don't know how amazing that is, let me tell you: it is very amazing! But everyone has loved the work!

John has worked so long and hard for this, and I'm so happy for my sweetie! If you're in the neighborhood (Gallery 645, at Michael Thompson Framing, 647 & 645 7th Street, San Francisco CA, 94103), go see it! It will be up until September 25.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's Only Rock n' Roll ...

... but I like it! In fact, I loved it, really, the Rolling Stones move, "Shine A Light" that I saw last night on DVD. I was dancing around the living room, despite the fact that it embarrassed John and the dog. I want to see it again!

But I was up too late on a work day, and now I'm fighting off sleep.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Works for me

Greg and Leslie have written about their poetry "rules." I liked reading theirs. I'm not sure I really have rules, though I can generalize, somewhat, about what works or doesn't work for me.

First: endings. I rarely, if ever, know where a poem will end, which may be why so many of my poems end not with bangs but whimpers. Sometimes they don't end as much as they stop. But I confess that I think that's okay. If, in a sense, my poem takes the reader somewhere, I prefer not to announce that we've arrived.

Sound is important to me, as I've said here before. And texture. I like to use the syntax of the English sentence, working with breath and line endings for tension. So, an easy, colloquial speech, but not flatness. A mix of diction -- good crunchy words, but not arcane or archaic usage.

I lean to the lyric. Narrative elements are often present, but in most poems, they are subjugated to the lyrical impulse. The experience or the experiment is more important than the story.

I am very much one of the humankind of whom Eliot noted cannot bear too much reality.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Red-Headed Stepchild Endorses Tuscan Whole Milk

So yeah, I'm still in a friggin' bad mood, but this website is a hoot. Okay, it's two years old and probably everybody has seen it already. Well, it made me laugh, and that's something.

Highs and Lows

It was cold as usual, this morning, in the Ingleside neighborhood of San Francisco, but the sun was shining, and Greta was pretty perky, the Rimadyl having worked its medicine on her hips. I plugged into my iPhone (my son's gift for last Xmas, birthday, and mother's day). I'm still learning how to use it.

I've got Pandora Radio, a free app that transmits your own personal mix of music -- I mean it comes up with a steady stream of songs that it thinks you will like after you give it a few indications as to your faves. I had some reservations about joining the white earbud pack -- after all, I wouldn't be able to hear the birds, not to mention the cars that were going to run us over. But pretty soon, I was bopping down the street to Dylan and Joe Lovano and Sonny Rollins and Johnny Cash and The Who and …

But I turned a corner and lost the connection. So I checked my email instead. Seventy-five new messages since yesterday, including another rejection.

So what is it with my karma lately? I've been on a bad luck streak, drought, jinx, whatever for so long I want to scream and smash things, maybe myself included. People used to like my poems. Have I started writing bad poems? I never was Miss Popularity, but is the muse just not into me? Is it because I'm not young or not MFA'd or "the red-headed stepchild" as I read on somebody's blog this morning?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Another request

And again, it's not for me. They're putting together a catalog for John's gallery show (in less than a month) of those great opera portraits (see below). They need some words, a quote, something in front of the catalog. I would love him to use Matthews's "Night at the Opera," because I love that poem and I love Matthews. But I wonder if it's right-- its point being about the perfect note and John's shots are about costume and character. However, it's all opera. I dunno. What do you think?

Or do you have anything to suggest? Naturally I'd rather he used a poem -- not just some quote about opera. Let us know what you think.

Meantime my book is being considered somewhere. I get sick to my stomach when I think about it, I'm so anxious. Probably will bomb out once again.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Looking for Super Men

Not what you think! My husband, a super man for sure, sent me this, from the SF Opera. FWIW, it takes a real time commitment, but they seem to have a lot of fun.

July 22, 2008 from 6:30pm – 8:30 p.m.
Zellerbach B Rehearsal Hall
Located at the corner of Hayes and Franklin Streets in San Francisco CASTING MEN ONLY FOR THE 2008 – 2009 SEASON
We are looking for men of all ages to be supernumeraries. Referred to as “supers,” these are the people who volunteer their time in non-speaking roles on stage. While non-speaking and non-singing and often seen in crowd scenes, as soldiers, or in a variety of service roles such as maids, butlers, and ladies-in-waiting, they are essential to the production.
• Flexible schedule – planned rehearsals change frequently and often take place during daytime working hours
• Acting/performing arts experience preferred but not essential
• Children under age 18 require work permit

If you are interested in auditioning, please call 415-565-3200 and leave your name and phone number. You will not receive a return phone call unless there is some change to the audition schedule.
Please be aware that super roles are limited and are cast at the discretion of the stage directors. San Francisco Opera will not be able to use all people who apply.
Time commitment varies per production.

Operas in the 2008 Season with available male super roles include:

Simon Boccanegra
Die Tote Stadt
Boris Godunov
The Elixir of Love
La Boheme

Monday, June 23, 2008

Got my goat(s)

So there I was, walking Greta Garbo near the old reservoir by City College, and lo and behold! Goats. I attempted a cameraphone pic, but as I'm extremely stupid at such things, I assumed it didn't work. But I guess I got something.

Nice weekend. Did some po biz, went to dinner at friends' up in San Anselmo, worked in the garden.

Fog is back.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Back from the park and ready to get to work (despite little glitch in Internet connection, now resolved.) Oh, but I'm feeling good, having got a full 8 hours of sleep. Yes!

Sun is fighting to break through the fog this morning, but earlier, at Pine Lake, the mist was rising from the lake. A cormorant glided toward the edge and disappeared. A large turtle swam just under the surface. Later, the cormorant could be seen drying its wings, as is its wont, on the float in the middle of the lake.

Yesterday, I wanted to post about all the metaphors newscasters (on NPR) use to discuss the news: the fire metastasized. There was a seismic shift in public opinion. I never got around to post yesterday and have now forgotten the other examples I heard. Feel free to add others you've heard in a comment.

I know the posts have been few and far between on this blog of late. Robert has been busy moving and I have just been busy. (And no one else in the group seems to want to post.)

But I have a favor to ask the blogosphere. John (husband) attended a portfolio review (photography) in Santa Fe last week: big deal juried conference. Despite the fact that he was maybe the oldest there and everyone else seemed to know one another from graduate school, he, or rather, his work, got a fantastic reception. A major SF gallery is interested, and a well-known New York (name withheld) art publisher wants to do his book. This book will be his photos of principals, chorus, and supernumeraries in the SF Opera, in costume and in character. But he needs someone to write text to accompany the photos. I know zilch about opera, and the publisher wants someone, preferably, not only knowledgeable, but "with clout." So, if you or someone you know is this person, could you contact us? His website , which usually shows his commercial work, has been refurbished with some of these portraits (even more impressive as large prints). There you will find contact info as well.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Back home

Back home again, since about midnight last night. Totally jetlagged but pleased to be back. The flight was very long, especially since we spent an hour on the tarmac in NYC.

It was a beautiful, eventful, trip — but it was not relaxing. I must have been out of my mind to think that it would be relaxing. It's never relaxing when we're with John's family. We were all in Maine — from Texas, from NYC, from Boston, from SF (our contingent), from Ireland — and there was antiquing and pingpong and cards and art galleries and a boatride to Monhegan and lots of eating and a whole lot of drinking, but it was not relaxing. Although I did spend some time in the Adirondack chair pictured here reading John's Dublin cousin's novel manuscript.

And there was the wedding of course. "Your typical Maine Irish-Hindu wedding overlooking the ocean" as the minister said. Dramatic clouds and wind, but the rain held off. The bride and groom did a great Argentine tango!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Maine chance

Yeah, I'm sure that's the first time that pun was used. Anyway, if all goes well, we'll shortly be off on the red-eye to Maine, for our lovely niece's wedding and a week in Port Clyde of Doing Nothing. Of course my version of doing nothing means: reading, writing, long walks. We're sharing a house with my brother-in-law and his wife and a cousin from Ireland.

I'm excited about the whole deal -- well, not the flight; that sucks. Tomorrow morning we'll have breakfast with my son on his 26th birthday -- in Boston. He and his wife are doing a baseball vacation Back East, and are all set to go to Fenway at noon. Then we drive up to Maine with her sister, our other niece.

The bride is marrying a Indian-Canadian and will be wearing a green sari. There is to be Indian food and music and events all weekend -- clambake on the beach on Memorial day.

I'm trying to deal with leaving my pooch. Someone is coming to look after her, but leaving her is so hard. Your should see her poor pathetic pooch face.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Islands Apart

I’ve been terrible about blogging. Blame the fact that, as Eavan Boland puts it in an essay I loved in the current Poetry, “Whether we like it or not, the contemporary poet is increasingly skill-based. Or expected to be. He or she can — or should — lecture, lead a workshop, run an introductory class, teach composition, write a review, give a conference paper [and blog!]. But there is always a fraction — even if it’s just a small minority — of poets out in the world who don’t want to do any of these things. If there’s a conversation, they’re having it with themselves, with their own poems. They don’t want to extend it, share it, structure it. They are private, inward, and dissociated from the skills on offer or in demand. Once I thought there was a broad tolerance for this. Now I’m not so sure.”

Meanwhile, we’re finally moving next week to our “new” home across the Bay! “New” is in quotes because it’s the home where I grew up. You can see the booties we’ve been ordered to wear to protect the newly refinished floors. Just wait till our cats move in, though: you won’t catch them in no damn booties!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sunset on daffodils = yellow

Greta in the tall grass (Brooks Park)

Squirrels and Turtles and Ducks ...

Oh my! Well, sorry bout that. Not much profundity lurking in this noggin of late. Yeah, I'm depressed, and yeah, what else is new. Didn't sleep very well last night, but this morning, as it's Friday and my day to work at home (instead of commuting an hour+ to Mountain View), I didn't get up in the dark to walk pooch, but took her by car to Stern Grove-Pine Lake.

Spring has sprung. Small birds zipped around. (For all I know, it was the same bird!) You could hear, though not see, an industrious woodpecker. The ducks were paired up, the turtles, a whole bunch of 'em, stretched their necks all the way out as they sunned on a log. Greta, whose squirrel-hunting days are over -- was very excited by their scent nevertheless.

It was really very lovely. Fluffy stuff, like snow, blew on the breeze.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Slut for Sound

Haven't had anything terribly profound to post -- but really, why should that stop me? Life has been, well, not very stressful for me (way less stressful than last year at this time), but somewhat difficult -- physical things, irksome things that are not worth talking about, but take up a great deal of time and brain space all the same.

But I want to talk about poetry. C. Dale asks "What makes us choose what we choose when we write?" My answer is definitely music. I don't think that's such a great answer, but it's my answer nonetheless. I play by ear, that's all. More than images, more than ideas, I'm a slut for sound -- and often the beat and vowel sounds will fill my ear even before the words are shaped. Strangely, this is not only what gets me writing poetry -- although it's a heightened experience for poetry. As I'm typing now, I hear the shape of the words before I know precisely what it is that I want to write.

Which is to say that it isn't necessarily gorgeous sounds that I seek -- no, that seek me. Rather, they are like chords that needs one note behind them that insists on being played. I think I may be a victim, more than most, of sound worms. A theme song I hear on the radio on the way to work will be in my mind for a week or more. More than that, in a compulsion almost like Tourette's, words take shape in my mouth and need to be uttered. These words are often names I hear: Moktada al-Sadr, Sylvia Poggioli, Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- all, regardless of who they are, that are like candy in my mouth.

There's an answer.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wild! Check This Out!

This is so wild! Take a look:

There used to be a group in SF (called the Cacophony Society) that would do off-the-wall things. Don't know what happened to them. Maybe (sigh) they grew up. So half of what intrigues me here is that the people who did this did it in Grand Central Station in NYC. Very cool. And interesting how unnerved people got. This could almost be considered subversive, dangerous.

In other news: In a Salon article this evening, I came across the headline:

Headless Body in Topless Bar

It cracks me up. Okay, life hasn't been much fun lately. But Spring is coming, and I'm jazzed. Hehe. I want to write a poem with this title!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Vanishing Point

Hey, I've got a poem in Blackbird.


And a happy Valentine's Day to you. This quote, by Matt Groening, was in this morning's Chronicle. "Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I have the Fever -- Post-AWP Sick As Dog Post

Don't know where that expression came from, but my dog is in much better shape than I am right now -- except that loud coughs and sneezes spook her and she's keeping herself out back. I have the fever, sore throat, the works, and by now, even with the honey tea, my chest feels like it was scrubbed with a copper scrubbee. I've been like this since I woke up at home on Sunday.

Still, I'm hesitant to stay out of work another day. (I dragged myself in on Monday and Tuesday, but today I just couldn't.) John brought me home some Japanese vegetable udon (noodles) from the corner before he went to his Advanced Photoshop class.

Since it's been this long, don't know if it's worth posting my AWP impressions, but here goes: It was interesting to be in New York, and even though I've lived away from it longer than I lived there, I had all these atavistic memories, like the dried brown leaves along the roadway and the water seepage in the subways. Then there was the each-person-for-himself drivers, the body slam I got when I hesitated on a corner trying to decide which way was east -- apparently I was in her way -- the person declaiming to himself/the entire baggage carousel that if he heated his house that hot, his wife would beat him with a baseball bat. Ah, New York!

The conference itself was fun but might have been more fun if I had a home base, an organization where I belonged. Oh there were a few people/organizations who said come and see me, and there were the celebs whom it was fun to see -- Bly, CK Williams, Billy Collins, others. And hanging with Robert, as I said, I was made to feel at home where he was welcome. I saw Greg Rappleye, as he mentioned, and C. Dale, who I don't have to go that far to see. I saw Paul Guest from afar, but he was always surrounded by admirers, and I doubt he knows me. I wish I saw Eduardo. We could have talked about Upstate NY -- I went to school in Rochester. Snow anyone?

I'm happy I stayed in the Hilton. When it just got too much, I could always go up to my room and take a break. I think the rate I got was half price -- and anyway, I just stayed for two nights. That was okay -- I'm not much of a party girl, and the music was loud!

Aside from Robert and Greg's panel, I went to and enjoyed the Graywolf one and the one on UltraTalk Poetry. David Kirby is a blast, and he looks like Steve Martin. If his poetry were ultra-serious, that might be a problem, but as it was ...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

On My Way Home

Will be boarding in five minutes. But it's going to take a long time to process everything that happened here in NYC at AWP. No big news, but a lot of encouragement. Mostly it was fun -- including, maybe especially, seeing my buddies Dennis and Billy from high school days and eating at an amazing Korean restaurant in the East Village. Robert and I hung out a lot, and that was great. I met a great many people. Oh, boarding.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Off to AWP

Well, I'm going. I'm working all day tomorrow and not leaving until 11:00 -- on the redeye, but I'm going. I figure I will be in the air 10 hours and in New York, from touchdown to takeoff, a total of 37 hours. (I could only take so much time from work, and even at reduced conference rates, could only afford two nights at the Hilton.) I am looking forward to my Hilton stay. I mean I can't remember the last time I had a bathroom all to myself.

Well, other than a spiffy bathroom and a room of my own for two nights, why am I going? Hell if I know. It's just I figured if I were ever to go to this thing, I might as well go to it the year it's in NYC. I'm from the New York area, though after 31 years in SF, the Big Apple (do they still call it that?) is only a dim memory. I mean, the twin towers were only there a few years before I left. I guess I'm hoping to make the acquaintance, if only in passing, of people I know in print or on blogs. I'll go to Robert and Greg's panel. I'll sneak out for drinks with a couple old friends. And then it will be time to return. Maybe I'll meet someone who will ask me to send my manuscript. Maybe not.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Kitsch: Thought for the Day

I’ve been reading The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross and was struck by this in a chapter on the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius:

“Mainstream audiences may lag behind the intellectual classes in appreciating the more adventurous composers, but sometimes they are quicker to perceive the value of music that the politicians of style fail to comprehend. Nicolas Slonimsky once put together a delightful book titled Lexicon of Music Invective, anthologizing wrongheaded music criticism in which now canonical masterpieces were compared to feline caterwauling, barnyard noises, and so on. Slonimsky should also have written a Lexicon of Musical Condescension, gathering high-minded essays in which now canonical masterpieces were dismissed as kitsch, with a long section reserved for Sibelius.”

Friday, January 04, 2008

Pink Ocean

I really should fire up my work computer and see if there's any work for me. I am glad to be home! I did take Greta out in this storm this morning. My jacket kept me dry down to my thighs. The rest of me looked and felt like I'd slipped into the Bay. So I'm not any too anxious to shower and get all wet again. I'm sitting here at the table, dawdling over a second cup of coffee.

I just read the Stuart Dybek piece in the new Poetry. They call it "fiction," because it isn't really comment, though it's in their Comment section, and it's not shaped like a poem. But it is the most incredible piece of writing I've read in, what, years? Ages? I can't think of an appropriate hyperbole. It is absolutely wonderful. It has so many levels -- the aural and oral and tactile and visual and psychological and critical (as in literary) -- and narrative as well.

I don't know if it's on their website. Wait, I just checked. It is called: Pink Ocean. Read it now!