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!