Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tending Bar and Other Things

You'll find me at the Silverleaf tonight serving up yummy cocktails and soon you may also find me here and here! Not on Gerald Stern or Richard Peabody exactly, but you clever ones will figure it out.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Covenant: A Mini Review

My aunt bought me Naomi Ragen's The Covenant for Hanukkah. I was a little skeptical at first because of the cover design. A woman with a huge Jewish Star on her neck---I was thinking it was going to be more in the category of Judaica rather than Jewish art (the latter being what I find moving and powerful and the Judaica being more commercial and cheesy). Thank goodness I committed to reading it. While there were some passages that seemed a little cliched, overall, I loved her poetic narrative---Ragen knows how to weave in images to convey just the right sentiment. Her idea of wishing life was like a beaded necklace---if you made a mistake, you could just restring---completely apt and gorgeous. Her prose was especially stunning when describing a suicide bombing at a bus stop. She made the moment stretch on and crammed so much into a few seconds.

I'm hooked! Luckily she has 6 more novels for me to read!

Brooke came over yesterday and we made an amazing salad---homemade dressing with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and pesto and she helped me sort out an idea for another story---I'm going to try and do some fiction over the Drisha break---seems I can only write fiction when I have long blocks of time on my hands---so I'm amazed at people like Ragen who can sustain a novel. I like to draft everything in one sitting---guess I will have to change that if I ever want to write a novel...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Late Blooming Fashionista




In high school and college, I was the girl who owned fifteen pairs of overalls and make up constituted that glitter goo for my eyes. I remember when I showed up to go out for the evening in overalls and Jillian set me straight, lending me her tight cords and doing my hair.




And now, 10 years later, I'm the girl who Sandra calls a "product horse" when we roomed at AWP last year. I'm not sure what happened---perhaps it was going to grad school in New York or never feeling like one of the pretty girls of the cool click.




I don't even remember when I fell in love with Betsey Johnson as a designer. She's quirky and weird and somehow a little classic and so it was a great Hanukkah present to get a gift card on Friday and the OCD me, was at the boutique this weekend and got these numbers. (though the blue one is just a pic--mine is in green!) One will be for Erin's wedding (see, totally not frivilously dress shopping!)








Friday, December 07, 2007

A Library of Brandy

(though I went for the bourbon!)

The Brandy Library--oh, you'd thought I'd forgotten, is one of the most beautiful bars I've been to. However since I am a writer and it looks like a library (though who doesn't want to cozy up and have a rare bourbon every now and again?) I was quite impressed. The service is amazing. I was lost as soon as I got out of the subway and immediately someone from the bar got on Jonathan's cell phone to help me out. They were patient while I was crossing streets and telling them what I was standing in front of. They recognized me as the "lost girl" as soon as I opened the door, took my coat and brought me to my table without making me feel embarassed.

The shelves have moving ladders and the servers climb up to grab your rare brown liquor and pour at your table--almost like wine service. The menu is a zillion pages long and so you can get quite immersed in reading---it's a place that I would keep coming back to just to try new things. I asked my server to recommend a bourbon based on my favorites, Woodford Reserve and Basil Hayden's. She came up with Eagle Reserve! And paired with the eclairs, I was in heaven---bourbon and dessert, not an easy combo.

A bartender must do her research you know. I know, even here, it's quite academic. I mean, anyone can pour a rum and coke, but to know all the proper glassware (I'm still working on that one), and all the nuances of the various types of liquors and cocktails, that's a lifetime of learning my friends. And I take my work seriously :)

As we were leaving, we were presented with a long, small box and was told it was for our breakfast. In the cab, we found out we were holding on to a box of biscotti in a blue engraved box! It was thoughtful without being overdone.

It fit all of my bar qualifications, classy (I don't want to be around annoying drunks or even well dressed ones either), solid selections, somewhere I could sit down and have a conversation and listen to great jazz in the background. I hate to say it, but I think it's my new favorite bar in the city.

Friday, November 30, 2007

You're no Fun!

That's what I was thinking to myself lately. I've been all work and no play. Well, not exactly, but I was realizing that I wasn't taking that much time just to be. Everything was always put in the planner, go here, go there, do yoga, cook, chores, write, Drisha, bartend, etc. The actual me time besides yoga, not too often. So since yesterday at 7 p.m. I decided to PLAY!

Brooke turned 30th and so we skated at Central Park. It's not that huge of a rink, but to skate with the city lights and buildings hulking over and the trees of the park all lit up, totally something special. And to watch Brooke and Meghan cram all their stuff in one locker, priceless amount of giggles! Then Jonathan and I headed back to Kitchen Bar where all the regulars were there. Nothing like Old Bays fries and a hot toddy to finish the evening.

Tonight we're off to the Brandy Library! Jonathan just made the reservation and found the place without me. I'm so tickled and excited to get all dressed up for date night. Will it be the stinger or fuzzy ruffles for me (those are the names of the cocktails!)? Stay tuned to hear more about tonight's debauchery!

And after a fabulous yoga class at good ol' LL, I met Meghan for lunch at Buddha Bodai and then headed over to Pearl River for some crazy shopping. I now have a purple dancing buddha for my dresser remind me to raise my arms up over my head and laugh. It actually looks like one of the postures we did today. A dancing something or other and I was able to hold a tree pose in handstand today for about 10-20 seconds! I'm not even going to attempt to find photos of what I did, but it was cool and I'm sure it will happen again so go to the 10 am Friday class if you want to do it too!

I'm relaxing, enjoying my jasmine tea and the new poetry prospects---I've only been chill and collected for 24 hrs. and in that time, I got an invitation to read in Oklahoma and to submit poems for a way cool magazine with a heartfelt and wonderful email from the editor.

Here's to your weekend! Go PLAY!

KGB Comrades??

Please join us for The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel - Second Floor Release Party
Monday Dec. 3, 2007 - 7:30PM

KGB Monday Night Poetry Reading Series
85 East 4th Street., New York, NY 10003

Readers: Hugh Behm-Steinberg, Ana Bozicevic-Bowling, Bruce Covey, Jill Alexander Essbaum, Kate Greenstreet, Shafer Hall, editor Reb Livingston, Justin Marks, Gina Myers, Carly Sachs, Allyson Salazar, Evie Shockley, and Nicole Steinberg

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Holiday Season

This time of year always gets me thinking of where I am in life and what happiness means for me---being able to define what is working well in my life and figuring out how to change what I'm not so sure of. I'm not sure why I'm already thinking of my New Year's resolutions---esp. since I just assessed my life for Rosh Hashanah, but it seems to be a theme---now that I'm getting older. I've always had a combo of laissez-fare and serious ocd organization. Not sure how this dichotomy works, but somehow it does.

So my questions to myself are, where do I want to be as an artist and where do I want to be as a woman. Anyone else care to share your answers? I'm feeling both young and old, successful and not quite there yet. Carla, my yoga teacher would say, yes, these things are normal. You feel your feelings.

I'm wondering if my problem is that I've never really clarified my goals. I want to write, teach, be happy and be in love and to be healthy and not have to struggle. Am I being too loosey-goosey?

Some of us at Drisha have been talking about how women treat/view themselves---how we often appear wishy-washy and apologetic. We begin sentences: I'm sorry, I'm not sure I'm right, but I'm thinking...

And I know I've always had a hard time even deciding what to order from a menu, it all looks good. And now even with my poems, I'm not sure where they're going. I'm posting a draft below. I don't want to talk too much about the new projects because it seems that once you articulate something about a project, then you lose some of the discovery. So I'm just going to keep on trying to feel what I'm feeling.


Thanksgiving

What if I were to love you,
transfer blood from one
to the next, then does one
have a piece of the other,
breath of memory or dream
walking down, an opera
coming in from the window---

my voice or yours? Do you remember
where we began, that first taste,
you sitting in your chair,
me, with flowers
in my hair.

How then, did it come to this?
You with your stone,
me with my mirror---

for these do we give thanks?
Put the story on the table
and cut it up. Swallow
and keep it down.

The bits of blood in it.
It will not be sectioned
like a casserole, sliver
of pie or moon, the children
banging their spoons.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving

sans turkey this year! My alternative is butternut squash pizza---wonder how many members of my family will try it! I'm from the midwest where poultry seems to be the standard dinner fare. My mom can make chicken a zillion ways and is a whiz in the kitchen, but my "no meat" often finds her stumped!

But regardless of the fare, we're all really celebrating each other and all the joys we do have. I have a lot to be thankful for, I am very lucky to have the family that I do, the friends that I do, the fellowship, apt. etc...

but does it get any better than this? Here's to you Moira!!! A hearty virtual Mazel Tov!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Weekend Palms

Tonight at dinner after the reading, the great swami MP read my palm. Apparently, I have a writer's fork, will not have children and will live to be close to 100. She read everyone else's hands at the table and was pretty right on. J also had no children on his hands too. Hmmm.

While I do believe in this kind of knowledge---a woman earlier today read about how the Turkish women in the village where she had lived knew she was having twins before American medicine was able to pick up on that---I'm also a believer in that nothing is ever 100%. Lines and people can lie. Though I have to say, I wasn't too shaken about the news. Even a certain someone has indicated that I may not be the right type to mother. I'm not sure what that type is, or really, how do any of us know how we will shake out in the long run.

I don't really think anyone could have put a damper on my weekend. This actually confirmed some of my own thoughts and fears about the future and the kind of life I will have. I used to think it was my feminist lit. course in college, but perhaps it was destiny in a weird form. Though, yes, I know you can be feminist, and a writer, and a mother and an artist and...

Reb is proof that one woman can do it all and we talked about how people are perceived via their blogs and how we all think everyone else has a fabulous life. And of course, if we're our own editors, why not? I mean, who really wants to read about my fabulous time of sorting the recycling and watering the plants? Or how many asses she wipes a day? She gave a fabulous reading and looked good in my panty hose! And we had a fantastic decadent brunch at Rose Water before she had to jet set back to DC.

And if that wasn't enough of a weekend, that only covered half of it. Saturday night I heard Pharoah's Daughter for the first time. I know Basya from my classes at Drisha, but to see her on stage was really awe inspiring. I've been realizing how amazing Drisha is---all the incredible women---I had had much trepidation about being judged and feeling like the black sheep, but these women are cool as hell.

And then the reading today at 440 gallery where I met even more incredible writers---it was the real deal, not people pretending to be hip and writerly, but the writerly I love. The ones who really mean it, the people who open up their lives, our lives and help us to see the world from all angles. In yoga we bent our heads lower than our hearts so that we honor the feeling part of us, rather than the thinking part.

Carla tells us to be with our feelings and Reb tells me I blog too much after yoga that I sound like a new age chic. But whatever, her camera turned up and I was right so there must be something there right?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

First Reading in the City as a resident!!!

JOIN US FOR A READING AT PARK SLOPE'S 440 GALLERY!

WHEN: Sunday, November 18th from 4:30-6:00 pm
WHERE: 440 Gallery, 440 Sixth Avenue (at 9th St., F to 7th Ave.)
CONTACT: Brooke Shaffner at brshaffner@hotmail.com
Admission Free

WHO:

CARLY SACHS Carly Sachs is currently an Arts Fellow at the Drisha
Institute. Her first book of poems, The Steam Sequence, won the 2006Washington Writers' Publishing House First Book Prize. Her secondbook, The Why and Later, an anthology of poems that women have writtenabout rapeand sexual assault, is forthcoming from Deep Cleveland Press.

R.A. VILLANUEVAR.A. Villanueva holds graduate and undergraduate
- Hide quoted text -degrees from Rutgers University. Twice awarded a Geraldine R. DodgeEducator scholarship to the Fine Arts Work Center, he is involved withliterary outreach programs as a teacher of composition and creativewriting. His poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review and RATTLE. AKundiman fellow and a semi- finalist for the 2007 "Discovery" / TheNation Poetry Prize, he is currently a MFA candidate at New YorkUniversity, where he serves as Poetry Editor of Washington Square.

JOLIE GUY
Jolie Guy, November's featured artist, is a sculptor whose works arecomposed of a series of lines, like a drawing. Each piece begins witha piece of paper cut into a single line, to which other lines areadded. Each line is cut by hand. With each cut, the paper gentlyarches. Each new line of paper is placed on top of the previous lines,resting on, and sometimes threading within, these, to form a pile. Theearliest of these sculptures utilized collected paper tags fromcandies. A subsequent series investigated the building up of lines ofonly one color. In this most recent work, different colored papers aremixed, affecting the weight, lightness, and temperature of each form.

About 440 Gallery: Park Slope's only artist-run gallery, a jewel boxspace offering an alternative venue for nine Brooklyn artists. 440Gallery seeks to present surprising, unexpected art to the communitythrough exhibitions, talks, readings and events centered around directcontact with the artist. Open Thursdays and Fridays from 4-7 pm, andSaturdays and Sundays from 12-6 pm, or by appointment.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Accidental Meat

Last night I almost had meat again. It was a misorder on my part. I didn't read the first line of the dish---pancetta in the pumpkin pasta. It sounds like some crazy alliterative cook's concoction. Luckily, Jonathan had ordered the fish and so we traded! What a prince! Ramona was batting her eyelashes all night. Maybe I should lay off the old fashioned--all that chai infused bourbon went straight to my head!

Luckily, I came out unscathed and we got to see Natalie after her reading at Bluestockings. She is such a champ--coming into the city for the reading and taking the early am train so she can be back at her desk this morning (I'm in my pjs writing this). I always knew she was an amazing person and poet, but something about holding the anthology that features her along with 35 other amazing women, made me realize how lucky I am to call her a friend.

Since I arrived too late to even fit in the door for her actual reading, I sat in Starbucks and proofed the bluelines for my anthology and should hopefully finish that up this morning. The t-shirts that Kristina made arrived and I can't tell you how excited I am to see how all of this work is coming together.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Shame on me...

I realize I've been lax with the blogging. I don't know if it's because I'm adjusting to my new life here in New York and I'm not home as much as I used to be---so there's less time of day that I'm actually online and I'm wondering if maybe I'm getting less interesting as I find myself struggling about things to write about. Or maybe it's just that so much is happening in my life, I haven't quite caught up with myself. This month's theme at Jaya is about binding and release and as usual, it got me thinking about my own life and how I'm often very hard on myself. I get very focused and it's hard for me to just be. I think instead, I have a lot of do. For example:

1. I start bartending this week at The Silverleaf Tavern. Back to work for Uncle Kimpton, even though I'm only a fill in.

2. Found out that Nextbook will be taking 3 poems (and getting paid for them!) Their poetry section will be new and hopefully up on the web soon.

3. Cut down my lecture classes at Drisha so I could focus on writing on Tuesday mornings and Fridays (so perhaps more time online afterall...though I was very strict with myself on Friday and did all my AWP applications and submitted some poems and fiction)

4. The blueline is in markk's hands and so I'll be getting my copy this week and then it's officially to press for the why and later!

And there are two amazing readings next week:

~November 8: NYC Release of Word Warriors, hosted by Eve Ensler at BlueStockings Books. www.bluestockingsbooks.org

~FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 6:30 P.M.
Reception afterwards * Broadsides for sale

Center for Book Arts
Broadsides Reading Series
Poets Amy Lemmon and David Lehman. Organized by Sharon Dolin Suggested Donation $5 CBA members/ $10 non-members

http://www.centerforbookarts.org/events/default.asp#94
28 West 27th Street, 3rd Floor New York, New York 10001 (212) 481-0295

And going back to the bartending---found a great liquor/wine store in the neighborhood---and the shopkeeper let me taste some of his favorite vodkas from Poland. Elderberry and Honey! I have to admit, that even this bourbon girl went home a little happier yesterday afternoon!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Beauty or Braun?

I broke our ceramic trash can tonight, by just putting the lid down...quite a feat for someone 5'0"!!! I feel like the hulk in Joan's house...I'll add that to the tally of plates, cups, and blenders! Maybe I should be Blunderpants instead for Halloween...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Private Yoga Class


Well, not really...but due to the sucky weather, only 2 of us trekked out to yoga class. We were rewarded by getting to pick the cool poses we wanted to do and have much of David's attention. I was also able to get into a full handstand and balance for a little while! I know a true yogi wouldn't gloat about her accomplishments, but there's something about being able to do something that you weren't able to do very well before. Especially b/c I feel like at some point I want to do yoga teacher training.
I know, I know, when will I settle down and stop all this nonsense and get a real job. Truth be told, I hope never. I know that's a strange thought, but after a little soul searching, working, trying different things, you get to know what you like and what you don't. Besides bartending and being a professor, I don't think I've kept any job longer than a year. But neither has another friend of mine and he also seems to get along fine. He did point out that I will have two books out before 30! Too bad I can't redeem all those gold stars from grade school for cash because being a writer (at least not yet) doesn't seem to pay the bills as well as I wish it did.
Today I also got back in touch with a friend from high school who is also in New York. We talked a bit about the old days and my new/old friend remarked about how so many people are married and have kids and how there's not even a goldfish in his life. I told him that happiness doesn't have to be the way everyone else sees it.
My fortune today reminded me of that.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Something and Nothing

I spent the weekend doing a whole lot of nothing. Something I haven't done in a long time. I remember once telling a yoga teacher that I don't relax well---I have a hard time breathing and being still. I always want the wild poses. Being upside down, walking up a wall. Something that feels like I've accomplished something. But today Carla talked about everything being a meditation. From just standing still to picking out a cute outfit---everything can be a meditation. And that the most important part of our practice is how we take our practice off the mat and into our lives.

Mom's in town and she met me after yoga class for a movie. We slid over so that the older couple could sit closer to the aisle---no one else offered them their seats---not realizing that they wanted to be on the aisle so they could get up and go to the bathroom. We saw Tyler Perry's Why I Got Married. A wonderful portrait into the ins and outs of relationships. A perfect Sunday movie.

I think we've had one of the most relaxed weekend full of nothing with a whole lot of something.
And the big something is that the anthology is going to the printer tomorrow. I should have the mock up in a few weeks. So, it will officially be published in Nov.

And a secret someone wants to publish another book of mine in 2010! Looks like I've got to get something together.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Under the Weather...

I so so hate being sick! Though it often informs me of when I need to slow down and pace myself. I had to cancel my first reading which totally bums me out, but the upside is that I will most likely be able to reschedule and that two days off isn't the end of the world. Though when you're stuck on the couch, it seems like forever.

So, yesterday I was so happy when I got an email from Dan to let me know that his review of the steam sequence is online at The Growler!

And looks like we're getting close to go to print with the anthology---and Joan, my lovely land lady stopped over to visit, pick up some things and she brought me medicine from the pharmacy. Turns out our neighbor downstairs is sick so I'm going to drop off some non chicken chicken soup. I think it's working as I'm feeling much better...or perhaps it's the community and having people to talk to that makes me feel not as pathetic as I think! Perhaps mind over matter really does matter!

Monday, October 15, 2007

F Scott Fitzgerald

The workshop went really well---I even had some of the participants come up to me afterwards and thank me and ask me where else they could take classes with me. I was so honored. And I had been so nervous---not sure how people would take me, this young thing walking into the room. I've always been someone who gets funny about age. I think that comes because not only do I look young, but I act young. I still see myself as someone becoming who she is, someone who is a student, and someone who isn't sure of exactly what she wants yet---though I'm wondering if this is more a product of my personality rather than my age. Though, things are shifting. I feel a bit more comfortable in my own shoes after this, a little more on top of the world---though as soon as that happens, I always slip up. I've always told people, these things are like a wheel. I wasn't too happy with my workshop at the Havurah Institute, so it makes sense that this one went so well. Winning and losing always seem to be a balance, you just have to trust that the wheels will keep turning.

And speaking of slipping up---I've never been someone who jumps to join causes, but this little game will blow you away. Even with all the recycling and vegetarianism, I'm still not doing enough for the earth. Play this game and find out how you do!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

OCHO #13 and Saint Ann's Review

The thirteenth issue of OCHO magazine is now available! As it was guest edited by Word of Mouth Host and Curator, Meghan Punschke, you can find new work from many of the WoM poets you know and love in print! http://www.lulu.com/content/1286797

OCHO #13 Features:- Cover art and Introduction by WoM Curator, Meghan Punschke-
Poetry by WoM Poets: Jefferey Morgan, Carly Sachs, Peter Moore, Matthew Thorburn, Eva Salzman, and Kate Greenstreet.-
Plus... Poetry by Laura Van Prooyen and Geoffrey Gatza.
And, the magnificent illustrations of Joseph Lappie.

What are you waiting for? Get your copy today!!! (Click on the link below to purchase through Lulu online)
http://www.lulu.com/content/1286797

~

And just found out that one of my poems from August was accepted for the next issue of The Saint Ann's Review!

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Monday Report

Left the house at 8 and just now getting home! Such is the life of a Drisha girl...had an amazing first class in Talmud---so much that now I have a new poetry manuscript in play. I'm not going to talk about the work yet as it's just doodles in my margins, but it will be a series. I think I'm definitely someone who likes to work with poems that I know are interconnected and work with each other to create something larger. I remember when I couldn't do this---when each poem was entirely its own entity.

Honor Moore has these amazing long poems that really feel like fabric unfurling, packing so much metaphor and dream imagery with sad and sexy lines. In some ways, her poems feel like the nude painting she sometimes writes about. Both exposed, but hidden, something felt, but not seen. She gave an incredible reading at the KGB tonight.

Found out more about the crazy man who drives around our neighborhood playing Oldies music violently loud. His name is Frank and he's bored. That's according to Pineapple, Peach, and Hamburger---the neighborhood kids who hang out on our stoop. (Apparently ours is the best on the block!) I told Pineapple (she's the ringleader) one day that I'll grab our car and follow him around playing my music. She told me she'd ride shotgun if I ever did it :)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I'm an Outlaw!

And so is Ramona. I'm towards the very end of the show, but you should listen to the whole thing anyway!

Friday, October 05, 2007

F Scott Fitzgerald


I fell in love with him in 10th grade English when we read The Great Gatsby. There are so many memorable moments in that book---The eyes on the billboard, the drinks in the hotel in the city, Gatsby's clothing, and that green light at the end of the dock. I think what I love most about the book is how much the images deepen the novel...so much meaning packed into things so much so that the entire world is made up of millions of symbols.


So, I'm so excited to be teaching the poetry workshop! But the bigger news is that on a whim, I had entered the short story competition, and will be getting an honorable mention for my entry. Not a bad welcome into those murky waters of fiction!


So, if you're in DC next weekend, drop by the author tables, take a workshop, or come watch me try not to trip as I climb the stairs. I'll be heading out to a bar on U street to celebrate my cousin's birthday as well as my first fiction cash prize. Dare I spend it all on bourbon!?


**********


12th Annual F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference, Inc.
William Kennedy Honored; All New Workshop Leaders Featured in a Unique Opportunity to Learn from the Pros

ROCKVILLE, Md., October 3, 2007 – The 12th Annual F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference will take place on Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Montgomery College, Rockville Campus from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The event includes workshops, discussions and salons featuring leading instructors and professionals in the international writing world. Areas of discussion include fiction, non-fiction, screenwriting, poetry, mysteries, sports writing, the short story, curing writer’s block, children’s fiction and more. Jay Parini hosts a keynote address entitled, “Landscapes: A Writer’s Map into Fiction.” All new workshop leaders will be leading discussions and award-winning author William Joseph Kennedy will accept the prestigious F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for outstanding achievement in American literature.

Event activities include a tour of Fitzgerald’s Rockville haunts and a screening of Kennedy’s movie Ironweed. There will be many opportunities during the day to visit with writers, have books signed, and share ideas with fellow literature buffs and writing enthusiasts.

The evening awards ceremony begins at 7:15 p.m. with opening remarks by Dr. Judy Ackerman, vice president and provost of Montgomery College, followed by an address by Kennedy.

For information and registration, go to www.peerlessrockville.org/FSF or call 301-309-9461.

Sponsored by: the City of Rockville, Woodfin Suites Hotels, Montgomery College, Gazette Newspapers, Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Peerless Rockville Historic Preservation, Ltd., and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Shake that Lulav!

Today I decided to get up early and attend a prayer service at Drisha for the holiday even though we're technically on holiday break. I had remembered shaking the lulav and etrog at my college's Hillel, but that was way back when. Sometimes I contemplate how much religion matters in daily life, what it offers to us. Sometimes I wonder if my yoga has seeped into that realm. Maybe I'm a simple person. The body is the realm I can relate to---to feel and see movement, to be more involved in a process. I think that's why I like cooking as well---the idea that something is being made. It's much less tangible in prayer. So I offer up this:

Prayer, Hoshanah Morning

What prayers are ours,
we women carrying
lulav and etrog
this Hoshanah morning
Devorah wraps her tallis
tighter and we pray for
Judy, recovering from cancer.

I watch the way her arm bends
as she moves, almost pointing,
telling us: Here, there,
in front, behind, right, left.
The world is around us
and I think then to those
small acts of ours:

smacking willow leaves
against the floor for rain,
the man standing in protest
outside the embassy, or
the way you press your lips
to my forehead when the D train
goes over the bridge, rocking us
toward the city,

what possesses us to do these things,
what difference does it make,
my hand perfumed with etrog’s shadow
the sweetness worn off by the time
I get home, the one I hoped would
kiss my fingers, still, as I turned the key.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Find me back in the Beltway!

Beltway Poetry Quarterly is now online--and what a terrific issue it is! "The Evolving City" is an anthology of 36 poems that address the multiplicity of ways that cities change over time.

http://www.beltwaypoetry.com

Co-edited by Teri Ellen Cross and Kim Roberts, the featured authors are:

Abdul Ali * Joseph Awad * Kimberly L. Becker * Japheth Brubaker * Rick Cannon * Kenneth Carroll * Grace Cavalieri * William Claire * Ramola D * Heather Davis * Mark DeFoe * Greta Ehrig * Mark Ftizgerald * Martin Galvin * Brian Gilmore * Fannie H. Gray * Daniel Gutstein * Jessica Haney * Joyce Latham * Grisella Martinez * E. Ethelbert Miller * Kathleen O'Toole * Jose Padua * Linda Pastan * John Peacock * Elizabeth Poliner * Katy Richey * Joseph Ross * Carly Sachs * David Salner * Kate Powell Shine * Tanya Snyder * Dan Vera * Joshua Weiner * Rosemary Winslow * Katherine E. Young

We hope you enjoy it!http://www.beltwaypoetry.com

Thursday, September 27, 2007

trying for namaste

If only I could take my yoga practice on the mat, off the mat and into real life. Since I've started doing yoga, my body has become more flexible---more able to stretch itself and see new possiblities and to play and to make the most out of postures, movement, breath. To go with the vinyasa. But why can't my life be more like a dance? Why can't I flow as well when there's no mat under my feet?

*

I had a wonderful conversation with the famous E. about diversity and why our press doesn't have more of a representative author base being in the D.C. area. And how we have to change that immediately for the betterment of the press. We also talked a lot about voice and character and what naturally occurs in our writing and how direct or indirect everything can be. We also talked about the idea of writing as bringing the voice of the other closer to your own and how we can see both similarity and difference while remaining true to the story and what in fact does this kind of truth imply. I'm completely not doing justice to the conversation, but it was wonderful, relevant, and productive. Guidelines for the book contest can be found here.

*

I think I accomplished enough to feel satisfied for the day---yoga bright and early, new plans for press stuff, started those wheels turning. Worked on my workshop for the F. Scott Fitzgerald festival, interviewed by a reporter for an article about said literary festival, did email interview for didi's fabulous contribution to women in publishing, worked on Ramona poems, but somehow, it just doesn't feel right...

Though maybe that's part of it. Sometimes it just won't feel right. Or enough. Or gold star worthy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

WWPH Update and My Kitchen

Bruce's book is out! And it's gorgeous. The poems have been sitting with me for a while and in a way, Bruce reminds me of the sage heart, Maj Ragain. These men know the bones of words. Lick it clean, y'all.

And also out of the oven, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, one of my favorite fall things to bake. There's just something about making your own food. I'm realizing how busy my schedule is and how much I'm running around the city. Everything is a compromise. If I want to do yoga with my Drisha schedule, it will mean dinner in the city most nights a week, which will mean cooking will only really happen 3 nights a week. So these next weeks while I'm off for the Jewish Holidays, it's hearth mother rockin' the house!

There is a butternut squash on the counter for tomorrow!

Monday, September 24, 2007

AWP--Save the Date

Just found out the time of my panel over the weekend!!!

Event Title: Speaking Through Silence: Women respond to Rape and Assault
Participants: Carly Sachs, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, Amanda McGuire, Molly Fisk, Alice Anderson, Harriet Levin
Scheduled Day: Friday, February 1, 2008
Scheduled Time: 12:00-1:15PM

Thursday, September 20, 2007

In Summary

Snippets from Brooklyn:

Used the men's room at Drisha with my rebel friend Rachel. The rabbi told us to. It was like Lilith Fair!

Have found that I have more time to work on things when I'm busy. I love the noise of the train and just all the lives unfolding around you. Privacy becomes redefined.

Today in yoga class a woman was discussing her divorce very openly before class. According to her, around 13 is the perfect age for kids to go through a divorce because they're old enough and young enough...

Had the best yoga class ever! I go here!

After class yesterday I got my favorite falafel and Magnolia cupcakes. Made an awesome dinner at home last night: Salmon with a honey mustard sauce, green beans and cous cous.

Am in love with Kate Blackwell's first collection of short stories. I'm at the last one and I'm sad this is the end of the book :(

Tomorrow it's back to DC for Yom Kippur...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Literary Life

I've been working on a new short story all week and I think it's finally come together tonight! It sort of plays with the idea of Midrash and is loosely connected to the Dina story in the Bible. Since I got some good news about another story getting an honorable mention in a short story contest, I've been on a fiction high. Though, this could also be beginner's luck.

Either way, I'm noticing how different fiction is---how much I've been thinking about it/Dina all week. Who is this character and why is she doing what she is doing. It's so different than poetry---or at least a single poem when you're not in book/manuscript mode. You write the poem and you're done---I'm definitely steeping much longer in my fiction.

But I'm also writing poems too! I have two Ramona's in the works! Maybe it's all this NY water or air. It makes the bagels and pizza better so maybe the same can be said for writing?!

I went to an amazing reading on Friday for Kate Blackwell and you have to buy her collection. I'm only one story in, but I can already tell that this is going to be one of my new favorite books. She is one of the most real writers---she said these stories have been with her for 20 years. And not only all of this, but the reading was at a swanky gym and all of us literary types got a coupon for a free week of membership. How amazing is this city?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thoughts for the Rosh

One of the things that I'm thinking about for the new year is patience---how to be a better waiter. Yes, I've already mastered the art of cocktail serving and bartendering, but I'm talking about the more natural process of letting things develop without rushing them along. For the longest time, I thought it was best to accelerate and to excel, doing as many things as possible and getting them done as fast as you could. However, my second book---an anthology of poems women have written about rape and sexual assault has been over seven years in the making and is due out by the end of the year. It's been difficult for me to turn it over to the wonderful hands of my publisher, the many hat wearing Markk Kuhar. Even though I know he has it all under control, I find myself having a difficult time of letting go and always wanting to check in and push things along. I also find myself doing that with other people--always trying to be on top of things, sometimes to the point of utter annoyance. I picked up the phrase No Worries while working at summer camp a few years ago and people always ask me about it and tell me how laid back I seem. Which is a crazy contrast---totally chill and OCD at the same time! How is this possible?? I don't know, but that's me. Often my "no worries" is more of a reminder to myself. If I say it enough, maybe the worries will go away. It's my OCD way of being relaxed I suppose, always checking in with myself to see how I'm progressing towards not worrying.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Weekend Update

Here's where I'll be!

Poetry at Drisha

One of my first lectures at Drisha was a talk on this week's parsha (Torah portion). The portion is called Ha'azina (Deut. 32). What was really exciting for me was that this portion is written mostly in the form of a song or poem. Not that I liked the poem---though perhaps if I could understand the Hebrew, it may have been better---but it was exciting to find my art in the core of the text. What we talked about is how this poem is what was given to the Israelites to commit to memory---to become oral Torah---the poem takes on much significance, not just to be a reminder of the text---but to move beyond the text of the Torah, much like a good ekphrastic poem would do. What this means is that there is a key place for art and for the power of language in the realm of Jewish law---not that I doubted this---there's so much Midrash and room for interpretation. But this passage demonstrates the value of using the arts in correlation with Torah.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

So Long Coney Island

Luckily Shana, Jonathan, Jack and I got to spend our Saturday at Coney Island---we had no idea that this was the last weekend (sigh, sob). We had some crazy times the last time we were there for the 4th of July when she had first moved in!


She remembers yards of rum and late night pizza runs. I have no recollection of the affair. So, this was Coney Island, the sequel.



T
The butterfly princess is back! And bad ass! The boys were equally bad ass in the arcade. Wee! Jonathan wussed out for the Cyclone---not so bad ass :(













But I still like him anyway!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Good News!

Sometimes you find cool things when you google yourself. This is my first longer review and it's been a year since the book has been published. Am I impatient? Is this normal? Either way, I'm giddy! Thanks so much galatea ressurects #7!!!

My First Day as a Fellow

Besides having a bit of a sinus infection, things are going swimmingly in NY! Last night I made my famous meatless lasagna with an argula salad, went to the gym with Jonathan and had lunch at another cute cafe---here's a question, why is everything so good in NY? What is it about food and interior design that is so superior here? Are New Yorkers that elite or that good or just have better taste in general? Anyway, we had sorbet and went to bed early. It's actually fun having the whole morning. Started reading Primo Levi's The Periodic Table on the train (did I mention Joan's house is a fellowship in and of itself?! and that my commute allows me to read about 50 pages a day! Maybe this is why NY-ers are superior--more time for reading, hee hee). I thought I had to be at Drisha the whole day, but it turns out, it was only for an hour or so, so I went to Yoga Works and had an ok class. The studio is much bigger and way more Manhattan than Tranquil Space or Jaya. It wasn't bad, but it just didn't feel right---ah well, I'll try more classes and wait to totally rule it out since it's only a floor below. Then met Jonathan for lunch at the ridiculous Stardust diner where the staff sings. Cheesy and fun, then took the train home, took a bath and a nap after working on a new Ramona poem about some bad ass burrito magic.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Snippets from Life in Brooklyn

Just returned from yoga class---Ben already remarked how settled I am---that I'm doing what I usually do, or at least trying to---just ate my same post yoga snack---yogurt and a smoothie. I had ordered from Fresh Direct so that there would be food in the house and that was one of the smartest things to do. Saturday we were able to have our first dinner at home: broccoli rabe and raddichio sauteed in garlic, lemon, and olive oil served atop spinach pasta with fresh grated parm. cheese. It was very green and very good.

One of the things about class today that I liked (there were many) was that she talked about the poses as art making. It's about the process, not the product. You don't need to get anywhere, it's the making that is the journey. It was a good and welcome reminder of why I am a poet---it's really only about you and the page.

Fresh Direct gives you free cookies for trying them! Right now I'm practicing restraint! There's a bowl of granny smiths next to me for encouragement.

Joan's house feels like home. I remember why I fell in love with the place when I worked for her when I was a grad. student. She's also got one hell of a cd collection (downloading them to my iTunes now). We also have a grape vine so perhaps there will be some wine making or at least grapes for the smoothies.

Found a great burrito place that delivers that kicks Chipotle's butt. Also found a great local bar and restaurant complete with beets and a sassy bartender, Gina, who also happens to be a bourbon girl too---too bad it's Maker's, Jack, and Wild Turkey. Ah well, you can't have it all.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lolita Yeshiva-Bound

My last Take It Off before I head off to the world of long skirts and girls named Shoshanna! Guess which item Jonathan bought for me!!! You can put the girl in the yeshiva but not the yeshiva in the girl...hee hee.

It's really hitting me what I'll be leaving here, but in a way, it's not really leaving, it's more like a pause, though I know things won't be the exactly the same, but I'm hoping that the people that I love will still be in DC when I come back, but as we all know, opportunities and life comes knocking. I've been lucky to find all that I have here. Gilda, pink roses will always remind me of you now! Whether they're in a vase, or well, you know where!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

August Poems

Perhaps a new direction for Ramona for those of you who know her---I had intended to be funnier and have more puns...like usual...

Grocery List

It’s more than the possibility of oranges and arugula,
the promise of endives, someone to hold.
Mystery is the banana ripening, the suggestion
of peeling, the melon ready to be cut, the juice
of a day running down your chin. It’s the sizzle
of letters, the garlic hiss of the pen as Ramona composes.
It’s not a list, it’s a lifestyle, a hieroglyphic
of recipes, raspberries born between your teeth,
the surprises she hides in fresh baked brownies
so you’ll remember her.

The chakra of potatoes sing to her in sleep so she writes
it down on scratch paper. It’s as if the foods are calling
her, not that she needs them, but they need her.
There’s a prophecy in her pantry.

She goes to open mics and reads her produce of poetry,
each item a secret, a kernel of memory, of strawberry
picking late summer, taste of childhood, of love,
the onions of possibility, layers and layers to peel,
a tear from long ago, something you thought
already shed. Hopes and idiosyncrasies to husk
and shuck off.

She’s a firm believer in the mantra: you are
what you eat. She breathes peanuts into the microphone
and it’s grade school lunches and baseball, homerun
of meatless protein, Thailand and Reese’s Cups.
A lemon is a door back to that stand where you saved
enough for your first dream, vinaigrette
of something foreign and familiar, kiss of sun,
small enough to hold in the heft of your hand.
In another time and place you’d be Rosemary,
the woman who will bake bread in the mornings
and sing when it rains.

Check Out These Naughty Boys!!

right here!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Grace Paley Passes

I think it was Honi Jeffers who told me I needed to read Grace Paley---she had made me a list of who I should read---Linda Pastan, Muriel Rukeyser, Rita Dove---Honi had known who would speak to me---she recognized that voice within me as a young writer and what it needed to grow. I heard Grace read here in DC---how still we sat at the JCC, hanging on to every word, our own hearts, silently nodding along as if she had reached into us and pulled out a story we didn't know we had.

She was the grandmother I think many of us younger writers wanted also to call our own. To read her work, was almost to be standing next to her at the stove or sitting next to her. She will be much missed, but she will live on through her words.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

My Poor Cleveland Indians





















Here are some photos from the Indians game---which they lost---maybe we had cursed the game by cutting through the cemetary to get to the stadium from where we parked!? We tried to cuddle up to slider during a boring inning, but that didn't help the Indians rally :(. Ah, well, tomorrow's Burlesque promises to be a guaranteed home run!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Wow! Five Hello Kittys!!!

I don't think I've had much luck getting formal reviews but when you get ones like this---it makes me remember why we write---not for the careerist in us (we poets can be quite the get it done frantic types---minus the investment banker salary) so thanks to Amanda who always reminds me where my heart should be.

Wednesday was our Fringe performance and it went over better than I could have imagined it---especially seeing JohnMark sign "Long Time Traveller" by the Wailin' Jennys. Which incidentally has become my new favorite song!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Intersections

Fred Joiner runs one of the most meaningful reading series in the city. It reminded me of readings in college---either the Wick readings or the ones at the Brady. This is when poetry was really about connecting with people and the world around you. It didn't matter where you came from, we all have that same well inside us. Last night was a reminder of why I write. I remember when Katherine wrote in a poem of hers back in college: "Maj has taught us to address things by name" and so let me say here, Sarah and Jehanne, to read with you was honoring and inspiring---I was so awed by both of your readings and so nervous to go up after you. Fred, the space and the environment that you are creating is already blooming. Last night reminded me that poetry was about life and embracing everything---the children, the struggles, the deaths, the music, the loves, and the language, each other.

I woke up with a poem this morning!

After the Reading

Anacostia sounds like
a Russian shtetl,
same beginning, same vowel
opening, ana, delicate
lace of streets, handiwork
of dreams as we writers
gather on good hope
road, mid-summer
DC cries Ana, the woman
I could be or the one
I won't be, or the one
I want to be.

Anacostia is my mother's
hand on my forehead
or the slips in her drawer
and trying them on
when she's not there.
Anacostia is lifting
what belongs to you
to your face and closing
your eyes.

What is the bridge between
hearing and understanding,
the difference between sympathy
and empathy? Ana, ana, a, a,
pastel blue, pink and
bone in my hand.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Stayin' Strong

That's what Cornell West said to me as I served him his Courvosier! Gotta love working at a place where the occassional famous person will make a cameo. Jonathan was a sweetie and ran home to get my copy of Race Matters so I could have him sign it! 10 Boyfriend points for him!

Just as I thought I was in the middle of a writing dry spell, something came back tonight at 2 Amy's. For dinner I had a rapini salad, shared the fried zuchinni, and had my own margareta pizza. The poem arrived with the blackberry cake.

Sandra has inspired me with her daily poems so I'm going to try my own version of it.

This is what I wrote on the take out box:

Rekindling

The blackberry cake
has eyes. We called it

ordinary. The blades
of the fan remind me

of wings, or rather, a bird
stuck in a house.

The crusts like bones
on my plate.

This is what remains:
tomorrow,

a day of leftovers,
last night's dinner

spun into a different
monotony reheated,

micro rays of it---
I don't know what

is harmful
anymore.

A hair brushed
to the other side,

the jeans arise
from the back of the closet,

the fit that surprises.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Hot Summer

Last weekend, I went to two bars---and found Hangar One Chipotle vodka! Great in Bloody Mary's and with chocolate for a Mexican chocolate martini---though I only had the former, not the latter.

We don't have it (yet) at Rouge but it seems like it would be a shoe in. I'm actually going to be a bit sad when I turn in my shaker for a Talmud---though perhaps I'll be able to find a good bar job in Brooklyn. Or maybe then I'll start work on my bartender poems...

Monday, July 02, 2007

Stray

Tonight a stray appeared outside the window. Or maybe he or she belongs to someone. Or maybe he or she is feral. Frank was meowing up a storm. I decided to feed the stray, who I've named New Kitty even though I know I can't keep him or her or even take her in. My guess is New Kitty has claws and poor Frank would have to sit on her to protect himself.

I'm trying to figure out if there's some meaning to this as I often feel like I dig or make paper chains, linking one event to another, an image, a sign, a conversation, an action, a feeling. I often wonder if this is a trait of a writer, to constantly be looking for links and meaning and how that affects our lives. Sometimes I think that what's good for writing is not always what is best for you as a person. I'm often in my head and it's good to get out of it. Today I swam with Janeil and watched a snippet of John Tucker Must Die and ate Chips Ahoy and Goldfish before heading out to a cute little French cafe with Sandra and Jonathan to play the part of the hip city crowd who talks about poetry and politics and drinks foreign beers and champage cocktails on lazy Sunday evenings. Honestly, I wouldn't trade either one. After all, the Sophia was in a can. That's my kind of classy.

So far, I haven't found a meaning for the stray, though I did get to meet a neighbor---Stephanie and her cute dog who were out walking and walked into my dilemma of what does one do when they find an animal. I called the shelter and they said that I'd have to bring the New Cat to them, there's no Prince of Cats to come and rescue them. Though, Stephanie seemed to think that having a cat around ouside to catch the mice from the dirty restaurants at the top of the street is a good thing. Tres Chic for us on Hopkins!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mid Afternoon Rain

Amanda makes me want to be better---and her latest blog post explains why I want to write and what writing can do. Yesterday I was talking with Marcela about the poems you write because you have to and the poems for poetry audiences and the poems for your own friends and family and how often times these poems are not one and the same and never could be. Though Amanda seems to unify it all into something for us all---friends, family, strangers, all readers.

Something about her post speaks to something inside me---much in the way that Charlotte Kendrick songs do. Just saw her in concert and North of New York is a must cd for anyone---how someone can name something inside of you and just offer it to you without you knowing it was yours.

I would write something personal about Jonathan here, but I'm afraid. So I'll just say sometimes I just want to curl my arms and legs around him, but not in that way. In the way as if we were roots or potatoes, in the way of love being something not tangible that everything curls and sways in the dance of it. A memory of motion and semblance of holding.

I'm not yet at the heart of it. I'm trying to find my way back to a memory of who I was. Perhaps in Kent.

Outside is a storm. Frank is growling. In this way, I think we're sensing the same thing. I had been thinking of tears and now drops.

It's all coming down...

Monday, June 25, 2007

My Sweet Chick Pea


Even though Frank has a fun carrot to play with, he's not really a vegetarian. But I am and since I've gone veg. again, I've felt like I've had more energy. Though DC in the summer will keep you from eating heavy foods anyway. Lately, my favorite thing to make has been a chick pea salad. I mix a can with chopped parsley and dill, celery and red onions, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper and either use fresh squeezed lemon and olive oil or red wine vinegar and olive oil.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Kitchens I've Loved


Sometimes I wonder how much coincidence and fate plays into our lives. When I was a grad. student in NY I met a woman who was an assistant to various writers about town. I thought that was my dream job so she told me that when she was offered a job she couldn't take, she'd pass along my name. Months later, I was working for Joan Larkin.


Grad. school was going rough. The poetry world in NYC was a far leap from Kent, Ohio, but as soon as I set foot in Joan's kitchen I felt like I was back in Ohio. The light was coming through the window. It was winter, you could see snow on the tree in her yard. I think we even had tea before we got started.


And now, years after that first day and wonderful job of assisting Joan, our paths cross again. While she's off teaching in Florida, I'll be cooking in that kitchen that felt like home so long ago.
It's funny how much time I've spent looking on craig's list and etc. trying to find a place, and here it was, already in my frame of reference.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Internet Craze

This morning, the internet went down and it threw me for a loop. I was going to have breakfast and relax at home and read my students' work via Blackboard. Instead, I had to actually put on shoes and head to my office on campus. What I learned is that I am much more productive when there aren't cabinets to organize, snacks to be had, laundry to do, Frank to play with.

So, I came home after reading everyone's stories and am back online--how it comes and goes is a mystery---but now, somehow, back online and procrastinating, I've stumbled across an Israeli poet and filmmaker who is my age---Netalie Braun. Here and here are some links. I have to find a way to see her film, Metamorphosis. Any ideas anyone?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Frank vs. The Scale

Frank went to the vet today to get his shots and it turns out, he's gained weight...he's now a whopping 16+ lbs. And that's with eating diet cat food. No snacks or anything. Maybe Frank should start coming to yoga with me!

Ah well, he'll be in good hands with cousin Leslie while I'm off in NYC---no cupcakes for the Frankster though :)

Things are humming along with poetry stuff---working on Bruce's book, the anthology and WWPH stuff. I seem to be doing much more administrative things---even sending some of my work out, but not as much writing as I'd like---though I did manage to work on a poem for 30 minutes when I woke up. I still work off of sheer inspiration and lately lines have been coming to me. Nothing finished yet, but just lines all over the place. It's a poem about Dinah. And that seems fitting b/c I'm getting more ready for Drisha mentally I think.

Someone joked around about me becoming Shomer N'giah today. As if! But who knows, I have gone back to being a vegetarian and I've been in a serious relationship for over a year now and I know that's not where many of my college friends could easily picture. I was the Baskin Robins of dating back then. But after working on that essay about Suzy's wedding weekend, I've realized how much we have all grown, that we're not those girls who stay up reading and laughing and wearing slutty tank tops---though on occassion we will slip back to those days, we are not those same girls, nor should we desire to be them.

Frank is licking the last little bit of his kibbles---he crunches and I'm clicking the keys before I try to even figure out what I'm going to wear for the reading...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

To Be or Not to Be!

Got the proof sheets from deep cleveland so the anthology of poems is one more step closer to being an actual book! I was trying to proof some while bartending last night but that proved to be too difficult to move from one emotional space to another. Even after sitting with these poems for seven years, I get chills reading them even though I know most of them by heart.

Friday night Jonathan and I saw Hamlet at the Folger and while it was really cool to see stage combat for the first time, I wasn't overly impressed with the performance. The way Hamlet was portrayed was really annoying---though perhaps any angst-ridden teenager wouldn't be all that likeable and overly dramatic.

I'm off to NYC to read at Bluestockings bookstore next Thursday! Magnolia cupcakes await!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Shameless Endorsements


My new favorite little spot in DC is Domku. I'm hoping to be able to get over to this cute cafe more often and get some writing done. They've got all the good Eastern European fare and beer so it will remind me of when I was the young expat writer in Prague.


I've also just ordered Rosemary Winslow's Green Bodies (Word Works) and Jehanne Dubrow's The Painted Bride (Finishing Line Press).


And I've found a new whiskey, Elmer T. Lee, though do they really need to have their web address be greatbourbon.com? Really!


I liked Jury Duty even though I didn't get picked for the case. Thanks to my end of the alphabet status. Finally it pays to be in the back of the room. I even watched some of the political debates this week. Hmm, what's going on?


The asana of the month is navasana, boat pose (pictured above)! I'm feeling a little iffy about it, but maybe I'll warm up to it like I did to marichyasana.


And Rouge has a new menu---and plenty of vegetarian and healthy options so if you haven't come to visit me at the bar, now you have a whole new reason to. Can we say grilled caesar salad, all kinds of sliders (mini sandwichs), main courses--yes! you can eat dinner here and the salmon comes with two sauces---spinach pesto and tomato. Not quite as good as my mango salmon, but after one dirty martini or perfect manhattan and you'll never know!



Saturday, June 02, 2007

Shoulding all over my Saturday

David Lehman once wrote to me in a Letter to Younger Poets (published in Teachers and Writer's Magazine a while ago) Carly: The enemy of poetry is a should.

I'm not exactly sure what he was trying to tell me. Maybe he knew how goal oriented I was or how I always needed to be doing something, moving towards some greater goal. Which is funny, because I have never looked at myself as someone who was a "should" person. But when I take a step back, I realize I've always been an organizer, a planner and someone who wanted to do something. And lately, a lot of my friends have been pointing that out. Telling me I'm driven and successful. I haven't seen it that way. Instead of seeing where I am, I see where I "should" be. A part time teacher and part time bartender doesn't seem to be as successful to me as it does to them. Though maybe that's because I'm already thinking of the next step. The next should thing to do---be a yoga teacher because at some point the only time I'll wear tank tops will be on my yoga mat. Although, I'm not sure should goes with yoga and perhaps less than it goes with writing.

So, to stop shoulding, I had coffee with a wonderful writer, Michelle this morning and I'm really lucky to have someone older and wiser to bounce off life questions as well as fiction questions. I think one of the reasons I'm really into the fiction right now is that there's no pressure---no where to feel like I have to submit to yet. The goal is just to write. I miss that. I've been sending around a version of an essay to my girlfriends about where we are in life, and they've helped to reconfirm that we all need to stop playing the should game. There is no place, no dream job, relationship, apartment, house, etc. we should have. We should just be. Though really, who does that anymore?

After that, I met Jonathan at the gym and we sat outside and had lunch afterwards. He just finished cutting the watermellon for tomorrow's dinner party. Staccato cuisine---food inspired by poems with the word "staccato" in mind. I'll post more on this after the fact.

Oh, and I made the Wick news!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Good GABA!!!

Study Finds Yoga Associated With Elevated Brain GABA Levels

(Boston) - May 22, 2007-- Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and McLean Hospital have found that practicing yoga may elevate brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels, the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter.

The findings, which appear in the May issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, suggest that the practice of yoga be explored as a possible treatment for depression and anxiety, disorders associated with low GABA levels. The World Health Organization reports that mental illness makes up to fifteen percent of disease in the world. Depression and anxiety disorders both contribute to this burden and are associated with low GABA levels. Currently, these disorders have been successfully treated with pharmaceutical agents designed to increase GABA levels. Using magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, the researchers compared the GABA levels of eight subjects prior to and after one hour of yoga, with 11 subjects who did no yoga but instead read for one hour.

The researchers found a twenty-seven percent increase in GABA levels in the yoga practitioner group after their session, but no change in the comparison subject group after their reading session. The acquisition of the GABA levels was done using a magnetic resonance spectroscopy technique developed by J. Eric Jensen, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an associate physicist at McLean Hospital. According to the researchers, yoga has shown promise in improving symptoms associated with depression, anxiety and epilepsy. “Our findings clearly demonstrate that in experienced yoga practitioners, brain GABA levels increase after a session of yoga,” said lead author Chris Streeter, MD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and neurology at BUSM and a research associate at McLean Hospital.“This study contributes to the understanding of how the GABA system is affected by both pharmacologic and behavioral interventions and will help to guide the development of new treatments for low GABA states,” said co-author Domenic Ciraulo, MD, professor and chairman of the department of psychiatry at BUSM.“The development of an inexpensive, widely available intervention such as yoga that has no side effects but is effective in alleviating the symptoms of disorders associated with low GABA levels has clear public health advantage,” added senior author Perry Renshaw, MD, PhD, director of the Brain Imaging Center at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital.

This study was supported in part by grants from the national Institute of Drug Abuse; the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; the National Center for Research Resources, and the Gennaro Acampora Charity Trust to the Division of Psychiatry, Boston Medical Center.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Om! Orange!


In yoga, there has been much quoting of Thich Nhat Hanh. The first time I had read him was in Dr. Wattles' Intro. to Philosophy class freshman year of college. I had no idea what it was really about or even how to say his name. I was 18 and not very well read. But it spoke to me the most. It wasn't worded like Western Philosophy. It felt more like poetry in a way, more rooted in nature. It wasn't preachy and it didn't over simplify.


My practice today was full of ease. For the longest time, I didn't think I could bind because my arms seemed short to me---at least shorter than everyone else's. But lately, I've been able to do this pose here!
I'm learning that ancient wisdom of that little engine, that if you chug a little each day, you'll get there. Today we were reminded not to be tied up in the sorrows of the past, or to think too far into everything we have to do in the future. But to be in the moment and enjoy it.
Mark emailed me and told me were chugging along with the anthology and perhaps I'll even have a sample cover to post soon. And finally, good food and even better company in Chicago. Len and Jenn took Jonathan and I to Orange where I got to mix juice combinations to Ramona's heart's content.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Chi-Town, The Next Round!




Here's a picture of mom and I at Hot Chocolate in Chicago---check out my new 'do! Tomorrow I'm off to Chicago again---went with mom last week for Mother's Day and these are the pics...the dessert looks good, but the company was better. Though today, it was all about the dark chocolate cake at Leopold's. Sorry Hot Chocolate, the hometown takes it!
Reb and I will be reading here at 7 p.m. on Tuesday May 22nd. I haven't done a reading in a while---seems as if I've almost forgotten about the book with teaching, writing fiction, wwph stuff---did a little bit of grant work so hopefully we'll get a small projects grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Maybe then we can afford an ad in Poets and Writers or get a table at AWP---though it always seems like these "big" and "established" places are more resume builders and I'm not sure if this is the best way to spend money. As I was running back from the "meeting" in Elizabeth's Ford Aspire, parked illegally outside the Mansion at O Street---I actually ran out in my pajama pants and had a college flashback---but I'm digressing---I ran into my neighbors across the way and we talked about how much work artists put in and it being such a labor of love. Luckily for me, I still love what I do and the bartending pays the bills.

Though as much as I like getting propositioned by drunks, getting tequilla spilled on me, and sweeping up broken glass, I wish for more big tips for writing---maybe that just means submitting to more contests and grants though! Ok, I'm ready for the next round.

Bottoms up!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Good News!

WWPH in the City Paper!

Larry Larry Bo Berry....

Last night was the awards ceremony for the Larry Neal Writing Awards. I really felt like I was taken back to high school speech and debate competitions. While it was exciting to be there, it just didn't seem like it was a night geared at all for adults. Sarah Browning and I took Honorable Mention while Regie Cabico and Fred Joiner took third and second respectively. Some woman none of us knew snagged the big prize. The best part was that my cousins were there cheering me on and we had dinner at Cafe Belga afterwards.

Sometimes I wonder about how much we have to go through as writers. There are so many contests and awards and it feels like there is always more you could be doing to promote yourself and get your work out there and garner enough fellowships and honors so that you're perceived as "qualified" and "talented." Though I know this is something everyone laments, that we all could do more, no matter what our professions are. What ever happened to Art for Art's sake?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not all bent out of shape about this---this is a minor ding in the frame, means it's time for me to just write and not think about sending things out, except for that big NEA grant :)

Now, if only I lived in Portland, I could have one of these ice cream sandwiches and feel better. Maybe I'll stop by Larry's on the way to Rouge---get out the bad Larry and in with the good Larry!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Law Prom Cat and Mouse!

While we were off dancing the night away....

Frank was throwing wild cat parties at home!!!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Prose by Any Other Name

What I just realized about my fiction is that it is most often autobiographical in some nature--which is how I started writing poetry in the first place. Now, there's not so much "I" in my poetry. I think this is how writers begin. You start with the nucleus of yourself and move outward. This makes sense as my fiction writing is much younger than my poetry. I've been feeling guilty that it was National Poetry month and I was deep into my affair with prose. On Friday I told Jonathan I wanted to write a novel that made it into airport bookstores. I never had that ambition as a poet. That world was so much smaller---more sacred in a way. Or at least, less ambition. I keep turning out prose, but so far am keeping most of it to myself or at least only letting friends and family read it.

Last night we had a wonderful Burlesque--pictures will be up soon so check them out. I finally got to meet Alison Stine! Her chapbook came out of Kent State and she was a year older than me and for the longest time I wanted to be like her. Her poems reminded me of the narratives I wanted to tell. And watching them grow---they slip more into the surreal now---moving away from that epicenter of truth, meaning easy facts, stories, and memories. I wonder if this is how we all journey as writers. Starting out more grounded and tentative and then off into the swirling and twirling regions that lack the characteristics that compelled us to write in the first place. Jordan Davis and Mairead Byrne made me laugh, taking seemingly boring and daily objects and infusing them with humor and life. I had needed some good cheer and they really worked their magic on me. I also watched Jordan and Ali hold hands much of the night. It was their first reading together as a married couple. *Awww!*

This week is the big LAW Prom. This year my dress was on sale, but it's still designer and I can wear those fabulous silver shoes I bought on impulse because of the brand name, United Nude.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Pink Lady and Lady in White


The other day, I watched that Southern Lady on the Cooking Network make Pink Ladies. They sounded gross to me---gin, grenadine, and cream. And if you're daring, an egg white. So, Thursday being my first bartender shift in a while (I usually cocktail), I thought, what the hell. And like the MR 4 Sandwich at Tommy's in Coventry (falafel, bananas, spinach, and curry), all that nonsense came out delicious. So the Buddha lesson for the weekend---looks can be deceiving. Sometimes what appears hideous is actually sensational! Try it, I dare you!!!


Too bad, I didn't put the Pink Lady on the menu for Suzy's wedding, it would have been a pretty Florida cocktail---but I have other recipes up my sleeve. She even asked for a poem, so for those of you not able to go, here's a taste. (Sandra has been inspiring me with posting poems on her blog)


Epithalamium
for Suzy

I remember the night of your twenty-first birthday,
how you mooned me from our driveway.
Your bare ass lit in the streetlight,

you would be the first one of us to become mother,
before bride, that so often I thought it was you,
not me, who had it backwards,

or how we all tried to make sense, some kind of order,
as you, our girl in track suits
swished into a womanhood

none of us ever doled out for you,
the way we tried to predict each other
down cul-de-sacs into marriage

and pregnancies, all of us spinning
our own delicate dreams,
making promises over pitchers

in darkened bars---
we knew some things would change,
but we promised we wouldn’t change.

I think of you now as my plane lands in Dallas,
asking for this, your wedding poem from me,
for me to weave your life into symbols

and images, to collect grade school notes folded
into swans or faded snapshots of bright-eyed
freshmen, the way we painted stars on the ceiling

of a room we shared or tried to coax butterflies
into landing on our fingers at the conservatory
in Niagara Falls, the way the ocean rises to meet

the sky, or sky lays itself down, either in prayer
or slumber, rapture or necessity---
something unlocking as everything blurs

at the horizon and we cannot help our eyes,
fixed at the vanishing point,
trying to figure out this---
the ordinary magic
we call love.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Otherwise, An Iris, Wild....




I do love tag and since Sandra tagged me, here goes---Amanda McGuire first introduced me to Jane Kenyon when we were in Maj's Poetry class back at Kent. Amanda was one year older and was someone I admired greatly, so when she said I should read Jane Kenyon, she became my new favorite poet. What I continually love is the quiet flare. Her poems are like a favorite pair of jeans or simple cotton tank. Basic, but not boring---poems about living and really seeing the immediate world around you.


*


I also remember when I read Louise Gluck in graduate school. I was mesmerized by The Wild Iris. I was sitting at this coffee shop on Christopher Street and really felt pulled page to page---this was the first time I was introduced to a poetic series. Needless to say, I don't think my steam would exist if it weren't for these poems. In both of these women, I love the connection to the earth and to the process of growing.






Saturday, April 21, 2007

Spinning...

Last night I had a fantastic Shabbat dinner at Marcela's house. I remember when I met her and was so in awe of everything she has done---all of her travels, her ability to speak multiple languages, write beautiful poetry, and now I can add make the best chocolate mousse ever! A dinner like this makes me realize why I love Shabbat, because it brings people together, it creates a natural rhythm to the week. A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with Bobby about the importance of circles in Judaism and I had a similar conversation about the moon with Rabbi Muller and even yesterday in yoga, Rob talked about the fluidity of our bodies. I'm not sure where I'm going will all of this yet, but something is definitely spinning...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Shifts

My friend Sandra has been going strong with National Poetry Month---me, I've turned to the dark side and have been focusing on my fiction. I had thought I had been working on short stories, but silly me, it's a novel in stories. At least that's what Tammy has to say about it. I remember when I feared fiction, the precision of sentences coming after each other and having to construct a plot. The world of it seemed too large for me. With poems, a page or two was the largest world I could handle. And now it seems I like the deep end of the language pool---or maybe not even pool, but ocean, the way it pushes me to keep going towards that horizon that you know keeps moving further and futher away the closer you think you are getting.

Another new thing to announce, something that I have been hording and holding close is that next year I will be an Arts Fellow at the Drisha Institute in NYC. I mailed in my acceptance yesterday so it's back to big city, bright lights come August!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Rainy Sunday Poem

Since it is National Poetry month and so goes the saying, April showers bring...here's the poem for the day from poets.org:


From "Far and Away"by Fanny Howe

The rain falls on.
Acres of violets unfold.
Dandelion, mayflower
Myrtle and forsythia follow.

The cardinals call to each other.
Echoes of delicate
Breath-broken whistles.

I know something now
About subject, object, verb
And about one word that fails
For lack of substance.

Now people say, He passed on
Instead of that. Unit
Of space subtracted by one.
It almost rhymes with earth.

What is a poet but a person
Who lives on the ground
Who laughs and listens

Without pretension of knowing
Anything, driven by the lyric's
Quest for rest that never
(God willing) will be found?

Concord, kitchen table, 1966.
Corbetts, Creeley, a grandmother
And me. Sweater, glasses,
One wet eye.

Lots of laughter
Before and after. Every meeting
Rhymed and fluttered into meter.
The beat was the message. . . .

(for Robert Creeley)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I'm all about the Squash

and so is Ramona!

I think it's funny how much yoga has started creeping into the Ramona poems! Kimberly read a great quote about contentment today, about how we all have everything we need inside of us to be happy and it's a matter of using the resources we have to make ourselves the best ourselves we can be. And that we can only be ourselves. We can't be other people, so we should cultivate that which is already there and learn to re-see who we are.

I've been thinking about rabbinical school actually---again---I had actually gotten into the Joint Program at JTS and Columbia for undergrad but ended up at Kent State. Then I applied to HUC but got into an MFA Program so didn't finish my application. So I think it's interesting that like the yoga in Ramona, Judaism, is beginning to pull me back in some ways. This Friday, I'm going back home for services at Rodef and to visit with the Rabbi at Heritage Gardens before services---then back to talk to the Haddasah Brandeis Book Group in B'More. I've also got a Hebrew School visit lined up and will be teaching at the Havurah Institute this summer. And here's the icing---I was awared an Arts Fellowship at the Drisha Institute!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Busy Bee


A good friend of mine gave me a new nickname---Busy Bee! And as you can tell from my lack of blogging this week, I have been flower hopping or something. Was home for Passover and then immersed in my students' writing and then I was a serious Barfly this weekend working three shifts in a row!


On Friday morning I had a nice chat with Rabbi Muller (get ready for my rockin' synagogue reading on Friday April 14th at Rodef Shalom in Y-town!!! 5:30 p.m. for services)---he told me that the Talmud says that in a lifetime, you should plant a tree, have children, and write a book. I really like this idea of leaving a part of yourself behind for generations to come and doing this on different planes---the personal, the intellectual, and the environmental.


I think it is challenging to be aware of giving back and making the world a better place on a daily basis, so I like the idea of having a lifetime to essentially do good. And assessing yearly on the high holidays who you are and what you want to do in the year to come. I suppose one can do this without the thought of religion---and looking at springtime as a chance to clean and plant. This month's article from Real Simple by their amazing life coach challenges us to throw away 50 things---meaning that making yourself lighter physically will help you to become lighter emotionally. So here's to gardens everywhere, even if it is snowing in April!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Lolita and Gilda do it again!

We're everywhere!!! We even had a Burlesque dancer show up Monday night...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Burlesque Beckons!!!

What could be hotter than three women taking it off?

W-A-S-H-I-N-G-T-O-N D-C!!!

A great song by the Magnetic Fields, an also how my day went---started out with a wedding brunch at the Mansion on O street---talk about gaudy and the pairings of ham on the same table as Matzoh Mall soup. Oh, the horror, OY! And then on to a gathering of small press people at the lovely and talented Kim Roberts' house where I met a whole slew of folks who share the good work of the word and love of no money and no fame!!! (aside, amazon just asked for 3 more of my books). We're on our way...

It was sunny and I drove and walked around the city and was surrounded by wonderful people, especially the guys of VRZHU Press who seem to be as fascinated with me as I am with them. Here's what they have to say about lil' me.

And you all thought you knew!

And here's a new side of Frank that I witnessed this morning. He chases his tail. Perhaps he and I are one and the same, going in circles and chasing what you already have. My Frank, a bastard whirling dervish!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ahh!

Last night I had a great reading in Annapolis. Ahh Coffee reminded me a bit of readings at the Brady---it really seems like they have a tight knit community of regulars with a good influx of newcomers joining in. It made me a bit nostalgic for the less professional side of what we do. It made me feel more grounded in a way---and then when I got home, my fall teaching schedule was in my email...classes on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Ahhh roots! And just found out that one of my former students was accepted into the Creative Writing minor. And don't forget, Burlesque is on Monday!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It's G'Vine!

You can find me over here today!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Vacation Story Board

Frank is glad we're home. He came out from under the bed to greet us.
A view from Sausilito after a 3 hour hike in Muir Woods.


Above the Redwoods!


Jonathan doesn't like the dark beer in the Saturn Cafe in Santa Cruz :(



Carly likes the Argonaut at a SF Kimpton Hotel but hopes the uniforms at Rouge aren't this extreme!




Jonathan and the pretty ponies at Fisherman's Wharf!