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.

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.