January 30, 2008

An overlooked wonder

Awhile back I read the short story by E. Annie Prouix and thought it was amazing. I had intended to see the movie, never got around to it when it was in the theaters, and had it on tape forever. Finally, home sick today, watched Brokeback Mountain - and while I assume I am the only person left who hadn't seen it yet, I still hesitate giving away plot... so let me just say that it is one of the most moving, heart-rending love stories that I have seen on film. And the overlooked wonder is a woman playing Jack's mother- I held it together until her scene which she mainly acts with her eyes because she cannot say what she needs to say in front of her husband. With her hands plucking nervously at a threadbare sweater, actress Roberta Maxwell plays her brief part with such an astonishing depth, I don't know why everyone hasn't been talking about her since then - and I don't recall her being up for a best supporting role award when Brokeback was getting all the nominations. Of course, the movie carries more sadness with actor Heath Ledger's recent death which underscores his spot-on portrayal of Ennis with another layer of grief - but not until you think about it afterwards, during the film he just is Ennis and you forget all the Hollywood stuff and just get the wealth of the story. That is a wonder as well.

January 29, 2008

Tick tock...

"We must not allow the clock and the calendar blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and a mystery." -H.G. Wells.

How does one follow up such a great quote? With a food recommendation and a link to a site featuring unusual rubber stamps, of course.

First the food, naturally: Our neighbors across the way are of the Romanian persuasion and at many of their fetes and feasts, this interesting dip is featured. Called Taramosalata, it is served in a bowl along side sliced french bread and finely chopped onions. You take the bread, spread it with the taramosalata, dunk it dip-side down onto the onions, and then, if you are like me, spend the remainder of the party trying to figure out how not to look obvious as you hang around the table indulging in a taramosalata binge. I might mention it goes really well with martinis.

The tattered circus is a very nicely done website by collage artist, storyteller, and apparently finder of pleasantly unusual rubber stamps. Worth a look if for nothing else but to sigh and feel sort of put out all day that other people are really creative and talented while you just sit about thinking about whatever... http://www.thetatteredcircus.com/

And now for some Nyquil.

January 27, 2008

Contra Dance query and being prepared

A note in a drawer I am attempting to clean out asks: Contra dance - what is it? Don't know why I wanted to know at the time, nor do I remember ever writing myself that note. But for others who have asked themselves this question, here's your answer:

Among the (depressingly vast) amount of papers in (just one) drawer I was attempting to clean out was this quote by Ovid.
"Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast;
in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish."

So, pushed papers aside, made some apple cinnamon tea, and did the only thing to do - sent out some poems that have been languishing (in said drawer) and a picturebook manuscript. Drawer, of course, will have to wait for another day.

January 26, 2008

nods and breasts .) (.

Poetry Friday ended up being Poetry in the wee hours Saturday - but mostly I wanted to nod to the source where I pulled the poem - Poetry in Motion, 100 poems from the subways and buses, apparently was an MTA NYC thing - I lucked into the book at a used book sale but worth tracking down for purchase. Short (think short enough to fit on a sign), excellent and varied poetry.

On a completely different note - Mothering magazine keeps sending me free issues after they published a poem (okay by me), and in the recent one, an article about a rather brilliant idea put into action - a "breastaurant". If you are a woman and you have ever nursed a baby in public or looked for a place to change a diaper, you know why this rest area for nursing moms is a great thing and should be supported. Check it out at http://www.momsbreastaurant.com/ and applaud someone who saw a need and filled it.

Poetry Friday

For Mom on her birthday,
from The Passionate Man's Pilgramage

Give me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My scrip of joy, immortal diet,
My bottle of salvation,
My gown of glory, hope's true gage,
And thus I'll take my pilgramage.

-Sir Walter Ralegh

It shall be mine... and SCBWI in NYC

...and now it is. The most wonderful dictionary can be found at my local Borders - or currently, in my living room. Twice the size, a snazzy cover, introductions explaining it now includes more recent and current phrases, it is lacking in the sense of the true quirkiness of the library's ancient copy. And sadly, in their update, they omitted the most wonderful subtitle. However, it is still pretty fantastic. Nearly every page is a jolt sparking a new idea, a half written story sprung to mind. Not a bad thing to have hanging around.
Reading about an upcoming KidLit night in NYC on Fuse's blog and debating going - want to go, think would be fun, but am having trouble seeing myself getting into the city, the cold wintry city, after work for a late night meet-up. I am sleepy just considering it. And it doesn't start until nine. Isn't that jammies and tea time? (This could explain my lack of networking skills). The SCBWI conference is also insanely early the next day.... I remember the first thing I ever liked about the idea of writing was when I read about Jean Kerr about a million years ago, an article saying how she first wanted to be a writer so she could sleep late. So far the whole mom thing killed off sleeping late and now the full time job and mom thing kills off sleeping late. When did Jean Kerr ever get to sleep late in a house full of kids?

January 20, 2008

poem about chocolate

In the spirit of the New Year, I am cleaning up the office area or at least attempting to... thinking how my love of words is like my love for my children - I cannot imagine my life without them, they enrich my love immeasurably, and yet sometimes they are a great big freaking drag. This house does not have enough bookshelves for one thing. I would also need about a year off work to sort though all the papers and files. So to get my mind to a better place - here is a poem that actually won me a prize of some very delicious chocolates (somehow a chocolate reward for poetry seems quite fitting).

If I was an angel,
I would fly in a chocolate heaven,
and all the sinners down below
would wish they'd listened to the Reverend.

'Cause heaven must be chocolate
(the dark kind, not the white),
and when I die, I hope to see
some chocolate (and a light!).

January 19, 2008

Treasure on the library shelf

A most wonderful find - Dictionary of Phrase and Fable by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, L.L.D.
The subtitle is: Giving the Derivation, Source, or Origin of Common Phrases, Allusions and Words that have a Tale to Tell.

I mean - could it get any better? Words that have a Tale to Tell?

Some sample entries:

Pongo: The terrible monster of Sicily. A cross between a "land-tiger and sea-shark." He devoured five hundred Sicilians and left the island for twenty miles round without inhabitant. This amphibious monster was slain by the three sons of St. George (The Seven Champions of Christendom, iii.2) A loose name for African anthopoid apes.

Harpe: The cutlass with which Mercury killed Argus; and with which Perseus subsequently cut off the head of Medusa.

Barnet: An epicure who falls in love with, and marries, a lady on account of her skill in dressing a dish of stewed carp. (Edward, a novel by Dr. John Moore, 1796).

At 1440 pages, there is a lot of these sort of posts. But more to it - who was this yesteryear Schott? And what possessed him to assemble this? And more importantly, where do I get my mitts on a copy of my own? Updates to follow.