Monday, October 30, 2006

The Monday Memo

While I'm writing this, Reb and PF are at the costume shop so it should be a Burlesque reading filled with tricks and treats! I won't be donning my white body paint as I did on Saturday to transform myself into the statue of Venus. But I'm sure they'll have some goodies for everyone.

I made organic brownies last night---Whole Foods is too ritzy for Duncan Hines I suppose and I added some choc. chips, chipotle pepper, and ginger to the mix to spice it up, but still, I think it is the preservatives that make the brownie...they were good, but not Good. However, the risotto was a hit.

I also won 7 bucks last night at co-ed poker. I'll put that toward's the poets' drink fund this evening :)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Notes from the Butterfly Princess

Just a few quick lines before I run off to Teaism to meet Sandra before tonight's reading at the Folger---

I think my students are really getting poetry now, now that we're almost done with it. I think today's class was the most fun as they got to present their poets and give us writing assignments. Students who don't normally share in class are all about sharing now. Especially when they can be ironic and nasty. Thanks to Joe Wenderoth and his Wendy's poems. We all wrote about the restaurants we regularly frequent. And the thoughts that we all have but never share...oh, contemporary poets, who give us these freedoms...Thank goodness we also had Whitman and Henry Taylor for some balance. What I liked about today's class was how much fun it was, and how much they opened up to each other---perhaps they should teach more often!

At the gym, I thought about all of this and how happy I am here---bartending and teaching, how this is enough for me right now in the midst of applications and whatnot. I'm beginning to embrace this duality more---though 30 is my age to re-evaluate the current employment options. Though once I say this, I'm sure something will cause me to wonder---as Jonathan says, I'm fickle---every day a new dream, a new neighborhood, another fairy-tale I dream up for myself.

And now the princess with flowers in her hair closes her laptop and walks out into the rain thinking of jasmine tea and poery...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hearth Mother

Something about this time of year makes me want to cook and bake...when the air is chill and you want to be inside and warm. This morning I made a butternut squash soup with the leftover gigantic squash from the pizza. I think it's my new favorite vegetable because you can do so much with it. While cooking it down, it gets a mashed potato-like quality so perhaps squash sculptures are in the near future. A man Ramona can mold from her bare hands then melt into soup. I cooked it down with garlic and onions and salt and pepper and then added the broth and some rosemary and thyme. The recipe called for a blender but it was already so tender that I decided a bit of chunks would be good. I thought so and I'll have to see what Jonathan thinks. He's going to have a late night at the office so I took him some soup for dinner. Said in an ironic Donna Reed falsetto: Here's your dinner dear! And tonight Katelyn's coming over after yoga so I whipped up some cornbread batter and when we come back, I'll put it in the oven. I don't know why I'm getting so much satisfaction out of making things lately, why this new frenzy of cooking, but I think it's a sign. First comes the food, then comes the poems.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Squash Surprise

I just got back from teaching a "Master Writing Class" at Woodbridge High School. It went very well. It made me remember what it was like to be young and into writing, but not really knowing all that much, say that people could be a "poet" and what you had to do to become one (sigh). I also forgot how fun it can be when you really get people talking and to use their dreams/nightmares as a place to enter their writing. It was good to get out of my own head and just talk with them about what it's like being a writer---yes, i have another job, no I don't wear a cape. One girl even asked if I was "with" somebody. Ah, to be young and allowed to ask those questions and to have things like nail polish drawn on with a black sharpie because your mom won't let you buy the real black nailpolish!

Last night I made a great butternut squash pizza which I promptly housed when I came back. All you do is bake the squash with some onions, olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper---then put it on the pizza crust with some ricotta cheese and mama mia!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Wait a Minute, Maybe my dream is Here

A lazy Saturday makes me rethink---though maybe that's not the right word. Today I recorded my poem from Beltway Quarterly for WETA along with some of the other poets in the DC places issue. Seeing Kim Roberts again, meeting Richard Peabody (of the infamous Barbie book) and hearing that Michelle Brafman won the F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story contest makes me realize how good it feels to be rooted in DC. Maybe my seeds really are taking root here---and getting some emails from former students who want to talk about poetry--one even asked if I was teaching Poetry I (sigh, not yet). I suppose when you look towards one direction, there's always something that makes you look back. Right now I feel more like I'm playing Dizzy Lizzy, giddy with energy, the circles cycling. Not knowing which direction, but knowing it will all fall into place.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Big Excitement of the Week

My dream job---teaching creative writing at Oberlin---the job posting was just sent to me today and since the deadline has passed, I'm scrambling to get it all together. When people ask me what I wanted to do, Oberlin was always the place that I used as a reference, a small college like send your good karma my way that I can pull off a decent letter and get everything in asap.

And I had a great class today with teaching odes---I think it was the mysterious bags I passed out filled with something they should write an ode about. I think finally today my students saw so much joy and fun in writing. Perhaps I'll introduce these odes earlier next semester. I'm looking forward to reading Ode to Ranch Dressing, Ode to Plastic Silverware and the like...

and finally, Justin Timberlake tickets go on sale tomorrow!!! Yes, I am 27, just so we're clear.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fish Returns to her Five Foot Pond

Yesterday I got some great advice from a friend---why be the biggest fish in the small pond, when you can be the smallest fish in the big pond---let the others bring you up to their level---and then Richard who comes into the bar every so often noticed that I always look down when talking about my book and what I'm doing. And here, I thought I was good at shameless self promotion. Well, good enough to sell two books at my bar shift! And for some reason, I was having good poetry karma as Richard is an avid reader and next to him was Dan who got his undergrad in creative writing. Richard also gave me a letter from Lawrence Ferlinghetti about subletting his house in Big Sur. I'll tack that right next to my photograph of Gertrude Stein! And Ohio, what can I say. It's always amazing to go home and to really feel connected to a place and the people there. Just having Gillian, Krista, Jon, and Melissa there meant so much to me. And of course reading with Gianmarc---to have a friend there right along with you experiencing this book adventure. And Brian Taylor who wrote a Carly poem for the open mic. And my family, who got to see this other world---my grandma who listened to some guy read about getting beat up and dropping f bombs in the basement of Mac's and saying she was glad she got to experience all that, well, that was reason enough. And Jillian's wedding on top of all of this. To move through time with those we love and watch them grow and change. I could rattle off a ton of cliches now, but I think Jonathan said it best when I came home---I looked so relaxed and content. Which I think is pretty good considering how busy I am---in the thick of readings: Saturday on the radio, Sunday the Writer's Center in Bethesda, and Monday at Woodbridge High School in VA. Swimmy, Swimmy!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Off to Ohio

Yesterday's word of the day was fierce. That's how I feel, getting all of these submissions for the anthology and having email exchanges with all of the poets who are offering up their lines for my consideration. It's thrilling really, to have such warm responses and such support for what I'm doing. I had spent all yesterday morning with permissions before going to yoga. I really feel like I'm making progress, finally doing what I had imagined when I was in college and wanting to make poetry a profession. I may have been a bit naive then, but I think I'm as close as I can right now. Even had a good bar shift last night and today it's talking about repetition---how fitting to read Paul Celan and Sylvia Plath on Friday the 13th. Then it's off to Cleveland for my readings. Poetry midwest jet-setter!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

the why and later update

It's one of those sunny late fall days when you just want to be outside---when you feel re-energized. While walking home from the gym, I had three messages from Markk who thought we were meeting today in Coventry---ah, if only travel really was that easy, but next week we'll be talking about the anthology and with any luck, I'll have two books out in a year. It's been a long time coming but my undergraduate thesis is going to be in print soon. And having the experience of my own book come out is going to shape a lot of what I do with this one. I'm trying to think of what I want the cover to look like---any input would be great. What kind of cover would one want on a book of poems about rape and sexual assault? I'm thinking something abstract but simple, something perhaps more understated. I'm still waist deep in permissions, but it's nice to know, we're ready to roll forward with the next phases. Maybe just a simple photo of the sun on a day like today, maybe something with a flower, maybe something with a fence and a field, something Ohio? Maybe even one of mine...I just dropped my film off and will pick it up when I come back from Ohio. These are the things that strike me today.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Nod to Sylvia

I think I recall a line from Plath that went something like: Today is a good day to die. Today was actually sunny and nice and I lost my caramel apple to a bee, but a small price to pay for a day at the farm, homemade cider, and an oblong pumpkin to sit outside my door. Leave it to Reb to get me in the morbid poet girl mentality. Check out the quiz---what will your obituary say about you at

Remind me never to give this as a writing prompt...sheesh!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

City Girl, Country Girl

Bryan Gattozzi said that writers write about four things: place, love, death, and work at our reading at the jailhouse in Fred Fuller Park this past Thursday in Kent. Going back reminded me of what the Ohio poetic is---the praise of the landscape, of flatness and sun, winter and industry. One of the scholarship winners had a poem with a line about carrying Ohio in her eye. Going back made me realize, I have it in my eyes too, even though I think I have shifted away from a certain kind of narrative, there is a thread of images, trying to tell a story in some way. Alice and I talked about community in her office and what it's like when your radius is a small town, how you run in to the same people, how you naturally have the seeds, and yes, you have to nurture them, but the soil is good. The bigger the place, perhaps the more you have to tend. Jillian really loves Kent and after walking around in the community garden at the apple orchard, I can see why. And late at night, watching the clouds roll across the moon at my father's, and the sun set while driving with my mother, I can think of nothing better than an Ohio sky. Here is where I come from:


Sorry for the lack of linking--the anti-virus is preventing pop ups and I haven't quite figured out how to remedy this on my computer yet.

Though I have to say, I think I've found something here in DC--there is a DC poetic (Kim Roberts of Beltway put together a special issue of poems about DC) and Rod Smith and Dan Gutstein among others have an epicenter of avant garde (dare I use the term) poetics. For more on this, there's a great interview in this issue of Beltway. And then there's No Tell Motel and Burlesque with Reb, and Natalie has Mother Tongue and Washington Writers' Publishing House. I'm so lucky to have met Moira, Piotr, and now hearing about the Annapolis scene, so I'd have to say the soil in DC is pretty good too. Ripe for pumpkins, that's Sunday's plan.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Changes in Thai

Tonight Mom and I had dinner at the Thai Gourmet back in Kent, the place that I swore has the best food ever and which is why I don't go out for Thai in other cities that often...I always say, there's no place like Stow---in a way, I mean home, for this was the first Thai place I've eaten at. Home to college graduation dinner and many others. But tonight, only the soup was as good as I remember. And of course, our fortunes were lame. Mom was disappointed. Last night I told her about what I learned in yoga, how we are always looking at the world with dream glasses, so much that we are always putting our own spin on things. Rob, Mr. Yoga asks us to remove our dream goggles and really look around and see what is actually there. I think we often mis-focus and emphasize a part and not the whole. I tossed my leftovers in the trash on the way out. But sometimes it's not about the food, but the company and the conversation, that sometimes going out to dinner is not really about consuming food, but feeding another fire altogether. That maybe it isn't about the good Thai food, but the good times and good memories that linger, and keep you coming back to the table.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

from the Baltimore Book Festival...

This weekend was my debut at the Baltimore Book Festival, the first time reading the steam sequence. I was super super nervous, but I think everything came across very well.

While at the festival, I had my handwriting analyzed. It turns out I'm a very erratic person and go through moods very quickly, sometimes I'm moody, sometimes I'm warm and inviting. I crave my own space and don't respond well to criticism about myself and am impatient. And I also have a hard time communicating how I really feel about things, What really amazed me is how long the line for this booth was, how fascinated we all are with ourselves and how much we want to know something more, find deeper meanings in our birthdays, our zodiac, numerology, handwriting, etc. We need explanations, rational and otherwise. Easpecially around this time of year (I'm about to head back home for Yom Kippur), I always find myself wondering if I'm doing alright, if I'm a good enough person and how can I be better next year. I'm also wondering what sort of a coincidence is it that the book is really debuting at the beginning of the Jewish year. Moira had brought some wine to celebrate and what I really liked about the festival was really her, her wonderful friends in Baltimore, hanging out with Piotr and Molly.

I also met the fiction winner, Denis, and I'm very excited to read with him again and to get my hands on his novel Nora's Army when it comes out in October. After the reading we headed over to the swanky engineer's club and he toasted me there and we all felt really good about books. And on another note, I'm also realizing I need to watch what I say here as I found parts of a blog entry quoted in the Festival bulletin. It was the post about me having a poetry crush on Piotr and how wonderful it was to find someone near you whose work you really love and how you can get to know them if you're not too psycho or stalker-esque. Luckily for me, he was my editor so I didn't have to work any angles, I had a natural in. Before the reading he told me to pause. And afterwards, I got a big hug from him, from Jonathan, Moira, everyone. Something happened while I was reading that has never happened before---I felt almost trance-like, how the sequence read me, not the other way around. Something ghostly and beautiful. As if this woman I created could now speak.