February 29, 2008

Leaping across a winter sky on fragments of poetry

" Now I know
I have been eating apple-pie for breakfast
In the New England
Of your sexuality."
-Orrick Johns (from "Olives")

"...But I lack calm, I lack rose
Though I do not lack extreme delicacy of rose petal
Who is it that I wish to astonish?"
- Kenneth Koch (from "Alive for an Instant")

"I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from your dream, from the grief
at the center."
-Margaret Atwood (from "Variation on the Word Sleep")

"Be undisturbed - you heard only half the story.
But be compassionate - do whatever you can do
and learn to swim if you live near the ocean.
Many have drowned even in tiny rivers."
- Ann Stanford (from "Watching The Breakup")

So, inspired, hunt down the full beauty of these poems and happy Leap Year.

February 28, 2008

...and then the great wave came...

Cool t.v. show the husband and I were into - mysterious sea creatures off the coast of North Carolina, he thinks it was called "Surface" but I don't think so...at any rate, it was cancelled to our dismay just after a giant tidal wave hit Wilmington, NC and stranded the lady scientist and her buddies in a high building - that you see here. The town was awash in sea monsters. What happened we will never know since the rat finks cancelled the show at that critical moment...but we drove up the hill on our vacation and saw this, the exact shot where they were running before tidal wave hit, and geeks that we are, we were THRILLED. Yeah, it doesn't take much.

February 25, 2008

Jumble sale, two for one or more for free

Cleaning up some files invariably leads to finding great stuff; here are some of my favorites:
http://www.sfwa.org/members/butler/ thanks to Stephanie for introducing me.
http://www.locusmag.com/2000/Issues/06/Butler.html and a nice interview, too.
http://www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/Jun2000/feature1.asp nice interview with Madeleine L'Engle. I know there are a lot of us out there who miss those yearly potlucks.
essay by one of my favorite writers.
http://www.donorschoose.org/homepage/main.html help out teachers.
http://www.operationsmile.org/aboutus/history/ help out children.
https://www.catholicfs.org/donation/benedictinesjc/ help out nuns. http://www.kiva.org/ do some good with your money. http://www.evilmadscientist.com/staticpages/index.php/AboutEMSL have fun with evil mad scientists.
Just in time...Medium is apparently on. Alison DuBois rocks (her portrayed version and I assume her real self as well).

February 22, 2008

snow and mermaids

A snow day here but elsewhere - dark currents, aqua streaks, mermaids making their way along the rind of a somewhere coast. Large flat leaves bed to a squiggle of lizards, sun hot on stone paths, full cotton skirts careless over tanned legs, oranges and limes, yellows. Yup, it's late February and it's snowing and I am getting my late winter stircrazy, craving sun and heat and green leaves and something outdoors, open sky, breathing space.

February 19, 2008

Cake thoughts

Somewhere along the way when you are hacking up seven sheet cakes and stirring icing and cramming action figures into icing, you realizes that the image you have held in your mind of what the cake will be is not remotely what the cake actually is. At this moment you can choose to freak out or you can think in terms of Peter Reynold's great book, Ish, and understand that the cake before you is a cakeish image of what you were aiming for and that ishness is good enough. When you reach that state, you are in the cake zen zone, a blissful place equaled perhaps only by dark chocolate.

February 16, 2008

cake tips, paper folding, and bendy girls

Tomorrow is cake day. Oven not being delivered for several days more. So - tip of the day - you can buy uniced, ready for your creative magic sheetcakes at the grocery store (Stop & Shop at least) for about seven bucks. Semi-frozen which is the way to go according to the bakery gal -makes it easy to ice. And I assume, cut up. I bought six. I need a lot of cake when the muse gets going (no, not to eat, silly! To shape into stuff.)
Speaking of shaping the mundane into the magical - I was following a crafting link on the blog ElizabethGenco.com which led me to this excellent piece: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/886805/diy_mini_8_page_pocket_zine/ which I intend to try tomorrow after assembling the cake (and hopefully not struck down with whatever horror illness the 8 year old has, poor kid. He missed a birthday party, too.). Of course, in the time honored tradition of online distraction - I then clicked on bendy girl: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/929551/oksana_bendy_girl/
Now that you feel the need to go boneless - click on ergocises (under list of interests) and stretch it all out...

February 15, 2008

Poetry Friday. Joan's wall, high school.

"Deathman, do not follow me
Deathman, do not follow me
you may be good
you may be evil
but do not follow me
you may be clouds
you may be sun
But do not follow me
you may be blood
you may be water
but do not follow me
you may be blood.
Deathman." - Jay Bennett

February 14, 2008

Happy Heart Day

My youngest son doled out his Valentines first thing this morning. Inside everyone's card was a pasted on pink heart and on the hearts was written a description of love. My husband's read "Love is true." My daughter's read "Love is mysterious" (only it was spelled a wee bit differently). Mine, hands down fave, read "Love is mice." With a slash through the word "mice" and underneath a scribbled correction "nice".
I think he got it right the first time. Love - mysterious, true, but sometimes, well, sometimes love is just mice.

February 11, 2008

Grace, SCBWI, Heaven

You can find so much in what a person says when they talk about their lives. What they are saying and what they omit, how they say it, whether you believe them or not. Listening to Hector Black tell his story on StoryCorps is an act of receiving grace, of feeling a touch of God in a fellow human. http://www.storycorps.net/listen/

Attended the Saturday session of the SCBWI conference in NYC. My first conference of this type, was amazed at the number of people there and that so many of them had come great distances. The speakers were great - Nikki Grimes, David Wiesner, Carolyn Mackler - I took all Wiesner's books off the shelf today to look at with the new perspective from his talk on how he went about creating them, then displayed them so others can share in his astonishing art.

A long cold Monday with many crying babies, crabby toddlers, cranky adults, and an overheard interaction between father and young son that made me want to hold an intervention - sometimes the public library is just too painfully full of the public. But nearly closing time and in pops a regular, a girl about ten who scoops up armfuls of books each time, and as she headed to the stairs, I heard her remark to her father "the library is heaven". Yes, sometime it is, even if just for a moment like that.

February 8, 2008

Poetry Friday

They are Calling
They are calling Nan come at once
But I do answer. It is not that I
don't hear I am very sharp of ear
But I am not Nan Go and wash. But I
don't go yet their voices are quite clear
I am humming but I hear But I am not
Nan I am poet They are calling Nan come
to dinner! And stop I stop humming I
seem to hear clearer now that dinner's
nearer Well just for now I am now and I say

-Yvonne Ventura
(from unlabeled yellowed newspaper clipping, late '70's, saved in an old notebook.)

February 7, 2008

It's all about the cake

February is cake time in our house. By tradition, one of the children always gets a fancy cake. Yes, the others get cake on their birthdays, but the Pisces lad gets a special cake. How special? Some of the past confections include the island of the doomed survivors cake, the monster that ate all the power rangers cake (featured in a Japanese children's magazine that I am sure gave their readership a confusing view of American party cakes), the evolution cake, the sacrificial virgin cake (with melted lollipop lava), the Surrender Earthling cake, and the robot invasion cake.
Apparently I am not the only one who gets a little cake crazy. Follow the sugar spattered links:
http://www.englishrussia.com/?p=851 and http://bertc.com/kitty.htm and http://www.rainbowsugarcraft.co.uk/novelty.htm (I particularly like the gaping trout one). I have less than two weeks to dream up a new one - I have a vague idea but if I told you, I'd have to kill you - these are top secret cakes. And the oven is broken to boot. Oh, pesky details. Nothing stops the cake.

February 5, 2008

Let Art Fun be your umbrella

An overcast sky for much of the day here in my northeastern corner of the world - although I was fairly sunny. If your morning schedule includes leading a pack of two year olds around a library with instruments and a dinosaur puppet in a rowdy stomp as you shout out the lyrics to the rockin' Laurie Berkner's "We are the dinosaurs, stomping, stomping, we are the dinosaurs, whaddaya think of that?", the rest of your day is guaranteed to be pretty decent. Karmic payback for making two year olds happy.

http://www.janetbolton.com/ Janet Bolton's work always makes me happy as well. http://www.lmstudio.com/cruger.htm I want the mermaid, bad. Real bad. But his other stuff - pretty swell, too.
http://www.squidfire.com/ Why does putting a squid on something just make it better?

February 3, 2008

February 2, 2008

Prose Saturday

As I didn't make it back for Poetry Friday (tea and conversation won out), here's Prose Saturday:

"He would disapprove of Muriel's mother, too. She's an irritating, opinionated woman, a type Buddy can't stand. I don't think he could see her for what she is. A person deprived, for life, of any understanding or taste for the main current of poetry that flows through things, all things. She might as well be dead, and yet she goes on living, stopping off at the delicatessens, seeing her analyst, consuming a novel every night, putting on her girdle, plotting for Muriel's health and prosperity. I love her. I find her unimaginably brave."

-J.D. Salinger

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters.

February 1, 2008

Purse art, restlessness

Imagine walking down the street and you do a doubletake because there is your book hanging over someone's shoulder in the form of a bag. http://repurposed4you.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=10 . Better than a remainder bin? Don't know.
Talking to a friend the other day who has always lived in the same area deliberately and with great contentment. I find that both curious and enviable as my restlessness always makes me want to be somewhere else. My restlessness is bigger than a different neighborhood, town, state, even country. Doesn't it feels so shortchanged that with all the amazing places and interesting lives in the world, we should be limited to just one, a random dart thrown in time? How fantastic to have a life like Woolf's Orlando, change lives, times, genders, mindsets. I think that's why I like blogs. A peek into other lives in other places. Although it's hell on a restless nature sometimes on days when an artist's life in Tasmania or a punk rocker's stint in Bristol or a crafter mom's posting in Maine make my inner wheels spin. Poetry Friday poem to come, have to hunt one down, but first have to make tea.