Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Milkbots

Robotic cow milkers.
Article

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gabriel García Márquez

Mr. García Márquez once wrote that, as a young man, he believed his bad luck with women and money was “congenital and irremediable,” but he did not care, “because I believed I did not need good luck to write well,” and “I did not care about glory, or money, or old age, because I was sure I was going to die very young, and in the street.” He learned, in reading the works of the masters like Faulkner and Joyce, he said, that “it was not necessary to demonstrate facts,” that it “was enough for the author to have written something for it to be true, with no proofs other than the power of his talent and the authority of his voice.”

Article

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thornton Wilder

But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left the earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.
― Thornton Wilder

There's nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head.
― Thornton Wilder

The test of an adventure is that when you're in the middle of it, you say to yourself, 'Oh, now I've got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home.' And the sign that something's wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure.
― Thornton Wilder

We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.
― Thornton Wilder, Our Town

The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.
― Thornton Wilder

Being employed is like being loved: you know that somebody's thinking about you the whole time.
― Thornton Wilder, The Matchmaker

Good-by, Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover's Corners... Mama and Papa. Good-by to clocks ticking... and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths...and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you.
― Thornton Wilder, Our Town

If you write to impress it will always be bad, but if you write to express it will be good.
― Thornton Wilder

Sunday, April 13, 2014

1964 Toy Guillotine Kit

My friend Peter had this toy guillotine kit in 1964 ~ trippy.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mark Strand

Poetry is about slowing down. You sit and you read something, you read it again, and it reveals a little bit more, and things come to light you never could have predicted.

You don't choose to become something like a poet. You write and you write, and the years go by, and you are a poet.

-Mark Strand

Dream

I dreamed I was on Brighton Beach riding the elevator in my Grandmother's old apartment building. The elevator was exactly the same as when I was five. I saw my reflection in the metal door plate. I looked just like them, I thought. In the dream there was a family gathering and my Uncle had black hair, black horn rimmed glasses and long black Elvis Presley sideburns. My brother had gray hair. Is that your hair, I asked him. He removed the gray yarn Raggety Ann wig to show me his real gray hair. His cheeks had little red hearts, rubbed away. Doesn't Uncle Ron look like Elvis Presley, I said. I tried to tell them about my dream of seeing my reflection in the metal door plate in the elevator. I've never dreamed my reflection, I said but nobody was listening. In the dream my postman was my landlord and he was at the party telling me how dangerous the neighborhood was but I had already rented the apartment.

Monday, April 07, 2014

A Dream

I dreamed I went to visit Robert Bly in Minnesota, imagining I might want to move out there. He had an Irish Setter that walked upright like a human, and spoke English. The dog was scratching a lot from itchy skin. This is like some weird dream, I thought and then I woke up.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Emotional Hemophilia

I hate being cyclothymic. I'm either elated or suicidal for 10 week stretches. The emotional pain is a tornado spinning within. Here it is a glorious day and I am tempted to lay down in the road so cars will run me over. Please shoot me, I want to scream at anyone who might be able to comply. I'll donate my organs! I am reminded by my patient husband that I will adjust to the downward mood switch and it won't be so bad in a week or so. I feel that I don't have that kind of time. Yet I don't have a choice so I take a long walk and that helps, and then a hot shower. I started 4 books yesterday, none of them were right. They all had false notes, bad metaphors and lies. When I need to read, I hunger for honest writing so I feel less alone in my pain. This is about tending to emotional bleeding, a bout of emotional hemophilia.

Painting Is

Painting is strange work: I walk into a room with all of the terrifying voices of fear and self doubt swirling in my head like a tornado. I pick up a brush, my sword, and start carving my way though the tangled mess to make a sketch on canvas. I enter the battlefield each day hoping to find something that might take hold. Then working on the painting becomes a game of chess with the void. I can't call it fun, exactly, but necessary.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Andrea Giovino

Well before the sun rose, the streets around our house at 689 East Second Street in Brooklyn smelled like a combination of antifreeze, dirt, the ocean, and corn chips. If poverty smells like anything, that would be it.
-Andrea Giovino, Divorced from The Mob

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

David Stuart MacLean

I am reading The Answer to the Riddle is Me, A Memoir of Amnesia by David Stuart MacLean. It is amazing scary and beautiful. Some paragraphs could be freestanding as poems. I am spellbound. Thank you David Stuart MacLean.

The Grandmothers

About two dozen Chinese grandmothers called on Wednesday for the government to protect children, and their families’ right to demand that protection, as a fourth kindergarten was discovered to be administering drugs to children without their parents’ knowledge.
Article

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Rain

Last night I had a big revelatory cry the kind where rock beds are shifting under the soil. The last time I had one of these was when I worked with 15 year olds who had been abused. It forced me to confront the pain and blame I held deep inside about my own childhood abuse.

Perhaps baking bread and feeding the hungry has forced me to see something painful; old beliefs still held dear, that I am a horrible person. A battle deep within ensues and the result is tears of spring rain.

This morning I dreamed I was in a college where we took off our shoes before class and left them in a pile on a mat. After class I walked down the hall and realized I had no shoes on, just my stockinged feet. When I went back and hunted for my shoes I realized someone had stolen them. I said to the professor This is not the roaring eighties, we can hardly afford the basics.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Terrifying

Rikers Island struggles with a surge in violence and mental illness.
Article

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Stéphane Mallarmé

There is nothing but beauty — and beauty has only one perfect expression, Poetry. All the rest is a lie.

- Stéphane Mallarmé

Is it Lonely?

This morning I got up with Bill at 4:00 AM. I started the coffee pot and by four fifty I walked over to the community kitchen. At 5:00 AM I arrived and began shaping the refrigerated dough into braids. By six fifteen the loaves were shaped and now the oven was preheating to 450. At 6:30 I baked the 13 braided loaves. Three were smaller than the others. When they were done I put them in two big baskets, cleaned up turned off the lights and went home to Lily. I loaded the washing machine with my dirty clothes and apron, took a shower, put on nice clothes and here I am. I asked myself, is it lonely to bake during the predawn hours? Maybe, but maybe not since I had a million microorganisms keeping me company.

Love Letter

In my city
of two glove karma
the porches sing
neighbors face the street to say hello
In my city of many languages we greet each other with the universal language
clasp hands and smile pointing to the sky
In my city of sincerity
the tattooed man and the toddler
wheeled in a stroller, are part of the landscape.
A couple pushes rattling shopping carts full of tin cans to recycle for nickels and dimes
there's a man on a motorized bicycle making deliveries from a black knapsack
In my city we are always dreaming from the hilltops and the valleys
staring at the river remembering the history
the brick and granite mills and towering cylindrical and rectangular chimneys
In my city I write love letters, poems to my friends
at 3AM while the dough rises and falls
and gets shaped and baked
at dawn in the big black community oven on my street
in my city it's okay to go to sleep early.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Denver David Robinson

Courage!

A Love Letter to the City

I just read this article A Love Letter to the City by Maria Popova

The world’s a big place, but as he would point out, on the road most traveled, there is no reason to ever leave home unless you are making the road better.

There are inspiring ideas here for our beloved Woonsocket.
Enjoy!

Sid Fleishman

The books we enjoy as children stay with us forever — they have a special impact. Paragraph after paragraph and page after page, the author must deliver his or her best work.
-Sid Fleishman

Penelope Lively

We open our mouths and out flow words whose ancestries we do not even know. We are walking lexicons. In a single sentence of idle chatter we preserve Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Norse: we carry a museum inside our heads, each day we commemorate peoples of whom we have never heard.

-Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Vanessa Valliere

Actress, dancer writer performer Vanessa Valliere, is featured in these clips with MUCCA PAZZA.
Here
Here.
Here.
This is an "official" video of her band. She's one of the cheerleaders:
Here.



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cedar Juniper Elm Poplar Aspen Cottonwood

Some of us are feeling the pollen from these trees. I am grateful for the antihistamine, generic Excedrin and decongestants. I am happiest when the ground is frozen. Spring is painful!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Jack Beatty

Jack Beatty’s famous critique of James A. Michener’s “Chesapeake” (865 pages): “My best advice is don’t read it; my second best is don’t drop it on your foot.”

My Mantra

You are going to have to give and give and give, or there's no reason for you to be writing. You have to give from the deepest part of yourself, and you are going to have to go on giving, and the giving is going to have to be its own reward. There is no cosmic importance to your getting something published, but there is in learning to be a giver.
- Anne Lamott

In my Old Age

(remembering Angelo Turbesi, local saint)

I will study words, bugs and birds
and play opera with the windows open
Just like Mr Turbesi did,
I will hang paintings on my porch facing out
for everyone walking by to enjoy
I will let kids pick the raspberries and blueberries in my yard.
We'll make hand-churned ice cream at the picnic table
under the mulberry tree
in the shade

Tore Down

They tore down the magnificent three decker wrap around porch on the house next to the locksmith shop. Porches are what make the tenement architecture in our city sing! Tax credits should be given to landlords who restore the porches rather than tear them down.

What I Needed to Hear Today

No matter how qualified or deserving we are, we will never reach a better life until we can imagine it for ourselves and allow ourselves to have it.
-Richard Bach

You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.
-Buddha

Accept yourself as you are. Otherwise you will never see opportunity. You will not feel free to move toward it; you will feel you are not deserving.
-Maxwell Maltz

All wise people say the same thing; that you are deserving of love, and that it's all here now, everything you need. When you pray, you are not starting the conversation from scratch, just remembering to plug back into a conversation that's always in progress.
-Anne Lamott

Generosity is another quality which, like patience, letting go, non-judging, and trust, provides a solid foundation for mindfulness practice. You might experiment with using the cultivation of generosity as a vehicle for deep self-observation and inquiry as well as an exercise in giving. A good place to start is with yourself. See if you can give yourself gifts that may be true blessings, such as self-acceptance, or some time each day with no purpose. Practice feeling deserving enough to accept these gifts without obligation-to simply receive from yourself, and from the universe.
-Jon Kabat-Zinn

Greatest Treasure

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.
-Epicurus

We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
-Frederick Keonig

Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.
-Socrates

Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.
-Lao Tzu

There is no end of craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Therefore, acquire contentment.
-Swami Sivananda

Everyone chases after happiness, not noticing that happiness is right at their heels.
-Bertolt Brecht

Ring the Bell

Poverty is an anomaly to rich people: it is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell.
- Walter Baghot

Reclaiming Awareness

The only thing that can save the world is the
reclaiming of the awareness of the world.
That is what poetry does.
-Allen Ginsberg

Overflowing Gifts

I have been broke so long
It is like living on another planet.
I don't have a penny
This is why I bake at the soup kitchen.
I bake a dozen loaves each week
I walk for miles with my dog
I write,
I dance,
I paint,
I play my accordion and my saxophone
I don't like to feel impoverished.
When I have overflowing gifts.

Henrik Ibsen

from Ghosts, Act 2

I almost think we're all of us Ghosts ... It's not only what we have invited from our father and mother that walks in us. It's all sorts of dead ideas, and lifeless old beliefs, and so forth. They have no vitality, but they cling to us all the same, and we can't get rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper, I seem to see Ghosts gliding between the lines. There must be Ghosts all the country over, as thick as the sand of the sea. And then we are, one and all, so pitifully afraid of the light.
- Henrik Ibsen

Tracy K. Smith

Perhaps the great error is believing
we’re alone,
That the others have come and gone —
a momentary blip —
When all along, space might be choc-full of traffic,
Bursting at the seams with energy we neither feel
Nor see, flush against us, living, dying, deciding,
Setting solid feet down on planets everywhere,
Bowing to the great stars that command, pitching stones
At whatever are their moons. They live wondering
If they are the only ones, knowing only the wish to know,
And the great black distance they — we
— flicker in.


. . . We
Have gone looking for It everywhere:
In Bibles and bandwidth, blooming
Like a wound from the ocean floor.
Still, It resists the matter of false vs. real.
Unconvinced by our zeal, It is un-
Appeasable. It is like some novels:
Vast and unreadable.


When your own sweet father died
You woke before first light
And ate half a plate of eggs and grits,
And drank a glass of milk.
After you’d left, I sat in your place
And finished the toast bits with jam
And the cold eggs, the thick bacon
Flanged in fat, savoring the taste.

-Tracy K. Smith, from Life on Mars Graywolf Press 2011
Article

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Billy Collins

Litany

You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine...
-Jacques Crickillon


You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.

-Billy Collins

Rainer Maria Rilke

Pathways

Understand, I'll slip quietly
away from the noisy crowd
when I see the pale
stars rising, blooming, over the oaks.

I'll pursue solitary pathways
through the pale twilit meadows,
with only this one dream:
You come too.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

Walk and Cook

I rather walk and cook, and eat than fix my car and drive and drive.

Exploring the Space Within

Poetry is the result of exploring and, in its most liberal sense, analysing the 'space within', the infinite universe of the inner self where the galaxies move and revolve according to laws whose mathematics may be forever beyond our comprehension.

source

I am Nobody's Monkey!


I will not wait for others to validate me,
purchase me, bankroll me

All I care about is my work and my freedom
I am a mother lioness

Privileged people reveal nothing
They wait for you to chase them

Information has a high price -
dipped and rolled in power and ego

I've noticed this and it bores me

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Full Moon Names

Full Moon Names

Native Americans full Moon names were created to help different tribes track the seasons. Think of it as a "nickname" for the Moon! See our list of other full Moon names for each month of the year and their meanings.

Why Native Americans Named the Moons

The early Native Americans did not record time by using the months of the Julian or Gregorian calendar. Many tribes kept track of time by observing the seasons and lunar months, although there was much variability. For some tribes, the year contained 4 seasons and started at a certain season, such as spring or fall. Others counted 5 seasons to a year. Some tribes defined a year as 12 Moons, while others assigned it 13. Certain tribes that used the lunar calendar added an extra Moon every few years, to keep it in sync with the seasons.

Each tribe that did name the full Moons (and/or lunar months) had its own naming preferences. Some would use 12 names for the year while others might use 5, 6, or 7; also, certain names might change the next year. A full Moon name used by one tribe might differ from one used by another tribe for the same time period, or be the same name but represent a different time period. The name itself was often a description relating to a particular activity/event that usually occurred during that time in their location.

Colonial Americans adopted some of the Native American full Moon names and applied them to their own calendar system (primarily Julian, and later, Gregorian). Since the Gregorian calendar is the system that many in North America use today, that is how we have presented the list of Moon names, as a frame of reference. The Native American names have been listed by the month in the Gregorian calendar to which they are most closely associated.

Native American Full Moon Names and Their Meanings

The Full Moon Names we use in the Almanac come from the Algonquin tribes who lived in regions from New England to Lake Superior. They are the names the Colonial Americans adapted most. Note that each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred.

Link on the names below for your monthly Full Moon Guide!

Month Name Description
January Full Wolf Moon This full Moon appeared when wolves howled in hunger outside the villages. It is also known as the Old Moon. To some Native American tribes, this was the Snow Moon, but most applied that name to the next full Moon, in February.

February Full Snow Moon Usually the heaviest snows fall in February. Hunting becomes very difficult, and hence to some Native American tribes this was the Hunger Moon.

March Full Worm Moon At the time of this spring Moon, the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. This is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins.

April Full Pink Moon This full Moon heralded the appearance of the moss pink, or wild ground phlox—one of the first spring flowers. It is also known as the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon.

May Full Flower Moon Flowers spring forth in abundance this month. Some Algonquin tribes knew this full Moon as the Corn Planting Moon or the Milk Moon.

June Full Strawberry Moon The Algonquin tribes knew this Moon as a time to gather ripening strawberries. It is also known as the Rose Moon and the Hot Moon.

July Full Buck Moon Bucks begin to grow new antlers at this time. This full Moon was also known as the Thunder Moon, because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.

August Full Sturgeon Moon Some Native American tribes knew that the sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this full Moon. Others called it the Green Corn Moon.

September Full Corn Moon This full Moon corresponds with the time of harvesting corn. It is also called the Barley Moon, because it is the time to harvest and thresh the ripened barley. The Harvest Moon is the full Moon nearest the autumnal equinox, which can occur in September or October and is bright enough to allow finishing all the harvest chores.

October Full Hunter's Moon This is the month when the leaves are falling and the game is fattened. Now is the time for hunting and laying in a store of provisions for the long winter ahead. October's Moon is also known as the Travel Moon and the Dying Moon.

November Full Beaver Moon For both the colonists and the Algonquin tribes, this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. This full Moon was also called the Frost Moon.

December Full Cold Moon This is the month when the winter cold fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark. This full Moon is also called the Long Nights Moon by some Native American tribes.

Note: The Harvest Moon is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox. It can occur in either September or October. At this time, crops such as corn, pumpkins, squash, and wild rice are ready for gathering.

Source

Worm Moon, Sap Moon

March is the month of the Full Worm Moon. The Full Worm Moon was given its name by the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior.

At the time of this spring Moon, the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. In some regions, this is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins.
-Farmer's Almanac

George Bernard Shaw

Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
- George Bernard Shaw

Tree Pollen

I am flying! I'm having a histamine high from tree pollen; cedar, juniper, and elm. This happens every year at this time. Even with the snow, I get hit with an allergic reaction. I am contemplating my love of trees.

Poetry Devotee

dev·o·tee
: a person who enjoys or is interested in something very much
: a person who has very strong loyalty to a particular religion or religious figure
Full Definition of DEVOTEE
: an ardent follower, supporter, or enthusiast (as of a religion, art form, or sport)

Examples of DEVOTEE
The nightclub is popular among jazz devotees.
a group of religious devotees
First Known Use of DEVOTEE

1645
Related to DEVOTEE

Synonyms
addict, aficionado (also afficionado), buff, bug, fan, enthusiast, fanatic, fancier, fiend, fool, freak, habitué (also habitue), head, hound, junkie (also junky), lover, maniac, maven (also mavin), nut, sucker
Antonyms
nonfan
Related Words
groupie; admirer, amateur, collector, connoisseur, dilettante; authority, expert; adherent, convert, cultist, disciple, follower, hanger-on, votary; advocate, apostle, backer, champion, evangelist, exponent, friend, patron, promoter, proponent, supporter; partisan (also partizan), zealot; booster, rooter, well-wisher; faddist
Near Antonyms
nonadmirer; belittler, carper, critic, detractor
- Merriam Webster Dictionary

Philtrum

There's a sweet smart kid in the neighborhood that has such a huge space between his upper lip and his button nose that he looks like he stepped out of the Dr. Seuss book The Cat in the Hat. He is adorable! I finally had to find the name for this space on the face.
Philtrum
Definition:
philtrum : the vertical groove on the median line of the upper lip
Origin:
In Greek, the primary meaning of philtrum is "love potion" – which suggests that seductive powers were attributed to this facial feature.
- Merriam Webster Dictionary

Circadian Eyes

Orange light wakes up our circadian eye.Article
Circadian eye could be the key to insomnia.
More
- the girl with kaleidescope eyes

Mr. Simic is a Genius

The Road In The Clouds

by Charles Simic

Your undergarments and mine,
Sent flying around the room
Like a storm of white feathers
Striking the window and ceiling.

Something like repressed laughter
Is in the air
As we lie in sweet content
Drifting off to sleep
With the treetops in purple light

And the sudden memory
Of riding a bicycle
Using no hands
Down a steep winding road
To the blue sea.

-Charles Simic, Walking the Black Cat

Happy Birthday Astor Piazzolla

One of the prizes he won at this composition contest was a scholarship from the French governement to study in Paris (where he goes in 1954), with Nadia Boulanger, considered the best educator in the world of music at the time. At first, Piazzolla tries to hide his tanguero past and his bandoneon work, thinking that his destiny is in classical music. This situation is quickly remedied when he opens his heart to Boulanger and he plays his tango “Triunfal” for her. From then on he receives a historic recommendation: “Astor, your classical pieces are well written, but the true Piazzolla is here, never leave it behind”

After this episode, Piazzolla returns to tango and to his instrument, the bandoneon. What was once a choice between the sophisticated music or tango, now would be sophisticated music and tango, but in the most efficient way: to work the structure of sophisticated music with the passion of the tango.

Happy Birthday Mr. Piazzola!
Article

Coney Island

Cyclone roller coaster becomes the Thunderbolt at Coney Island.
Article

Tiny Blueberries

150 thousand blueberries rich
she spent the summer picking the tiny berries
while counting them, in Colbrook New Hampshire
She came home in November and gave me some berries to freeze.
Two weeks ago I knocked the bag over accidentally.
192 frozen blueberries on my kitchen floor
rolled in cat and dog hair
a winter of dirt sand salt grit
I could not throw out my friends hard labor.
Days of work in the hot sun, harvesting.
I swept them up into my black metal dustpan and rinsed them fifty times in the copper colander
my patient husband took out every dog and cat hair.
they sat in a Mason jar in the fridge until yesterday
I buzzed the berries with an over ripe banana and orange juice and yogurt in the blender
delicious purple
we will have super immunity
from drinking the floor

Pollenesia

The executive in his long black wool coat
brushes snow off his car
we are all equal in the snow, water and ice.
when we sneeze and when we laugh
and when we lay in the dirt
6 feet under

woke with a sweat
palms and soles burning
the cedar juniper and elm pollen visits me
each year at this time
asleep at 9PM,
I woke at 2:30 AM
Then ice and snow rolled off the roof
sounded like gravel dumped
over our heads
we were in bed in the dark
with the dog

I realized a poem is trying to wake me
and pollen is trying to lift me
I took Lily downstairs three flights into the snowy yard
Yesterday there were bloody wings in the snow.
The hawks are hungry, and so are the cats.
the humans want flowers to grow. I want more winter ice and snow
I love when the earth is frozen, and trees are bare, black ink branches on gray skies

black and white photographs are so much richer
we marveled at our first color TV
black and white newspapers were my preference
who needs circulars with pink hams and rump roasts of beef with yellow and green Easter eggs?
our only source of color was our lives
and then technicolor movies and Kodachrome and Polaroids

I imagined all coats were dark and gray in Russia. And sepia in Grandma's childhood.
Photo of grandma as a girl sitting on a city pony
Brooklyn cobblestones.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Edward Albee

Article

New Favorite Lunch

Chopped napa cabbage, chopped red onions, peanut butter, vinegar, rooster sauce, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce.

Rockette Dream

Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular Rockette's Auditions!
Grandma Sophie took me to Radio City when I was five. I wanted to grow up and become a rockette! Will they take me at age 54? I am ready!
Auditions

Bits

We turned the clocks forward on Sunday
I am no longer virtuous at 5 am
I am now late.

Cedar, Juniper and Elm trees
releasing their pollen
I feel you! I shout
snow is falling, I am ecstatic

The advice I gave him
I tried for myself.
in November and December when you want the pain to stop so badly
you wish yourself a death,
feed neighbors loaves of bread and hot soup

Baking loaves alone
in the big cold empty church basement kitchen
warming it up with a savory scent
attracting hungry people.

He wants to put up a fence to protect his three cats from his
neighbors dogs.
Go ahead, put up a barrier, you are not a bad neighbor,
Plant a vine to hide the chicken wire, I suggested
Once again, I should take my own advice

When she stayed over
I hid the newspaper
because a plane had crashed

She flew on a plane from Boston to Washington
just to learn how to bake a pie.
but won't visit me

Lent
My husband and I laugh,
It's been a decade of giving things up

Nap Dream

I dreamed I saw blond Labrador puppies on a porch, in the sun. I went over to say hello but they had been brought inside the house. I walked in on a naked man, the owner. So sorry. I said, and turned away, embarrassed. Then I was at the Providence train station and I noticed the brick walls had moved an inch as the train came in. This is bad, I said. We should tell someone! The next day train came in and it was tragic scene of brick and granite falling and the train bridge collapsing. Bodies everywhere. People taking photos. I carried the skinny newspaper photographer in my arms, all the way back to Woonsocket.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Dea Drug = Dead Rug

WOONSOCKET – A local man has been arrested on federal charges of distributing fentanyl and street heroin laced with the synthetic painkiller, which has been linked to a dramatic spike in fatal overdoses.

Investigators also seized four packets of the drug when, armed with a warrant, they searched his apartment. The drugs were hidden in a canister of deodorant.

By Russ Olivo Woonsocket Call

Writers who Run

Article

Writing is a Life Rope

Writing is a life rope with a poem tied inside every knot.

Émile Zola

I ACCUSE…!

Open Letter to the President of the French Republic

By Émile Zola

Read Letter to Félix Faure

I have but one passion, the search for light, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul.

Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and investigate in the full light of day!

I am waiting.

With my deepest respect, Mr President.

Émile Zola

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Private Eye

I got the job as a PI because I was dating the head of the agency. He trained me and then I got my license. Those were fun days (or rather, nights). Lots of stakeouts - and donuts! I gained a ton of weight on that job. I also wrote a script during the many hours sitting in my car. It was about a woman who outsmarts her cheating husband by becoming an amateur detective.
-LMF

Care to Unlock It

Life is energy, and energy is creativity. And even when we as individuals pass on, the energy is retained in the work of art, locked in it and awaiting release if only someone will take the time and the care to unlock it.

- Joyce Carol Oates

Source

The Science of Justice

I think it's time we broke for lunch…
Court rulings depend partly on when the judge last had a snack

AROUND the world, courthouses are adorned with a statue of a blindfolded woman holding a set of scales and a sword: Justice personified. Her sword stands for the power of the court, her scales for the competing claims of the petitioners. The blindfold (a 15th-century innovation) represents the principle that justice should be blind. The law should be applied without fear or favour, with only cold reason and the facts of the case determining what happens to the accused. Lawyers, though, have long suspected that such lofty ideals are not always achieved in practice, even in well run judicial systems free from political meddling. Justice, say the cynics, is what the judge had for breakfast. Now they have proof.

Source

A Letter to my Younger Self

Please say "Hello beautiful" every time you pass your reflection, even if it is in a rear view mirror! You will understand one day.
Do not deprive yourself. And I don't mean pamper your ass. I mean don't hold back on life. We are not here forever.
Love the moment, the day the trees. Love rust and mistakes, tangles, and potholes.
Kiss the dog goodnight every night and thank him for being there for you.
If you love to bake, then bake, if you love to dance, then dance,
if you love to write then write, if you need to paint, then paint.
Don't worry about categories and don't let money or lack of it prevent FLOW.
Flow is like clean air and fresh water. It is elemental and the most important besides LOVE. Love the world and love life.

Endings are Beginings

I hate endings. Just detest them. Beginnings are definitely the most exciting, middles are perplexing and endings are a disaster.

INTERVIEWER

Why?

SHEPARD

The temptation towards resolution, towards wrapping up the package, seems to me a terrible trap. Why not be more honest with the moment? The most authentic endings are the ones which are already revolving towards another beginning. That’s genius. Somebody told me once that fugue means to flee, so that Bach’s melody lines are like he’s running away.

-

INTERVIEWER

Do you have a favorite among your plays?

SHEPARD

I’ll tell you, I’m not attached to any of it. I don’t regret them, but for me it’s much more thrilling to move on to the next thing.


Interview

Tonight a Bag Lady is in the Audience

There’s no room for self-indulgence in theater; you have to be thinking about the audience. Joe Chaikin helped me understand this. He used to have this rehearsal exercise in which the actors were supposed to play a scene for some imaginary figure in the audience. He would say, Tonight Prince Charles is in the audience. Play the scene for him. Or, Tonight a bag lady is in the audience.

Is it true that you wrote Simpatico in a truck?

SHEPARD

Well, I started it in a truck. I don’t like flying very much, so I tend to drive a lot, and I’ve always wanted to find a way to write while I’m on the open road. I wrote on the steering wheel.

INTERVIEWER

Really? What highway were you on?

SHEPARD

40 West, the straightest one. I was going to Los Angeles. I think I wrote twenty-five pages by the time I got there, which was about five hundred miles of driving. There were these two characters I’d been thinking about for quite a while, and when I got to L.A. it seemed like I had a one-act play. Then another character popped up; suddenly there were two acts. And out of that second act, a third. It took me a year to finish it.

INTERVIEWER

How do you decide that a play is finished?

SHEPARD

The only way to test it is with actors, because that’s who you’re writing for. When I have a piece of writing that I think might be ready, I test it with actors, and then I see if it’s what I imagined it to be. The best actors show you the flaws in the writing. They come to a certain place and there’s nothing there, or they read a line and say, OK, now what? That kind of questioning is more valuable than anything. They don’t have to say anything. With the very best actors I can see it in the way they’re preceding. Sometimes I instinctively know that this little part at the end of scene two, act one is not quite there, but I say to myself, Maybe we’ll get away with it. A good actor won’t let me. Not that he says, Hey, I can’t do this; I just see that he’s stumbling. And then I have to face up to the problem.

- Sam Shepard, Paris Review

Trapped in a Trailer

Can you write when you’re acting in a film?

SHEPARD

There are certain attitudes that shut everything down. It’s very easy, for example, to get a bad attitude from a movie. I mean you’re trapped in a trailer, people are pounding on the door, asking if you’re ready, and at the same time you’re trying to write.

Do you actually write on the set?

SHEPARD

Film locations are a great opportunity to write. I don’t work on plays while I’m shooting a movie, but I’ve done short stories and a couple of novels.
- Sam Shepard, Paris Review Interview

Obtuse Courage

I swam to build up courage to play the bari sax. I wrote to gather the courage to paint. I danced to feel happy in my body, I baked to share joy. Things are strange with me.

Sam Shepard

Did it take a long time to find your particular voice as a writer?

SHEPARD

I was amazed, actually. I’ve heard writers talk about “discovering a voice,” but for me that wasn’t a problem. There were so many voices that I didn’t know where to start. It was splendid, really; I felt kind of like a weird stenographer. I don’t mean to make it sound like hallucination, but there were definitely things there, and I was just putting them down. I was fascinated by how they structured themselves, and it seemed like the natural place to do it was on a stage. A lot of the time when writers talk about their voice they’re talking about a narrative voice. For some reason my attempts at narrative turned out really weird. I didn’t have that kind of voice, but I had a lot of other ones, so I thought, Well, I’ll follow those.

Paris Review Interview

Wishes and Dreams

Years ago I had an alpha dog, a coonhound named Lucy and a black Labrador mix named Ruby. I used to walk them daily through to Oak Hill cemetery, back when the Cook's lived there, in the 90's. I occasionally ran into Sargent Pion who would be parked in his patrol car in view of the distant waterfall on Privilege Street. He said his dream was to become a writer, and write a book. I hope he did! He said he would tell his rookie guys "Don't ever change, don't let police work make you bitter and jaded."

A Nourishing Muse

It is 13 degrees out and the sunshine is glorious. I love it when it is dry cold. When it is moist cold I can always get warmed up in the boiler room, or the soup kitchen or the public library. Mostly I walk miles with Lily to warm up.

I realize why am I intrigued with drug abuse and murder cases in the daily newspapers. I imagine I could've ended up there had I not been lucky to have amazing grandparents who loved me. I still have a lot of rage against an abusive addicted mother. I have compassion for the people who don't get lucky and end up swallowed up by drugs and rage which leads to crime and imprisonment. I wish all the inmates could discover poetry. Don't laugh, I really do think we can heal the world with bread and poems and Labradors!

We have to do what we love because it feeds us in infinite ways, even when there is no money coming in. We are still paid well by the cosmos.

Gandy Dancers, Lamplighters, Pin Setters, and Rat Catchers

Read

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Arundhati Roy

The only dream worth having is to dream that you will live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead. To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of the life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.
― Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living

...the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again. That is their mystery and their magic.
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

Kirsty Tinto, Polar Geophysicist

Kirsty Tinto, 34, has been awakened by screaming penguins outside her tent in West Antarctica and has plumbed the depths of the Greenland ice sheet.

But on Saturday, an offer to explore closer to home lured her out into the wintry wastes of Brooklyn to read the snow.

Article

The Novelist

The novelist “of all men cannot think only of himself or for himself. And when the last page is written and the ink crusts on the pen-point . . . he will be able to say: ‘I never truckled, I never took off the hat to Fashion and held it out for pennies. By God, I told them the truth. They liked it or they didn’t like it. What had that to do with me? I told them the truth; I knew it for the truth then, and I know it for the truth now.’”

—Frank Norris
World’s Work, October 1901

Il Mio Papa (My Pope)

Article

Thinking Outside the Borders

La Santa Cecilia, a Band With a Message
Article here

3AM March 5th

The pain was so severe I had to go to bed at seven
I dreamed of dusting skinny white vertical Venetian blinds at City Hall
I held on to my anchor hoping to return to sleep
My dog heard me thinking, I was wide awake, so we both got up and went downstairs
I fed her and the cat who was surprised, he had been asleep on a pile of sweaters in a box next to the boiler.
I turned on the light and the classical music radio station in my office and started hunting for poems to match my mood

Fear Is What Quickens Me

by James Arlington Wright

1

Many animals that our fathers killed in America
Had quick eyes.
They stared about wildly,
When the moon went dark.
The new moon falls into the freight yards
Of cities in the south,
But the loss of the moon to the dark hands of Chicago
Does not matter to the deer
In this northern field.


2

What is that tall woman doing
There, in the trees?
I can hear rabbits and mourning doves whispering together
In the dark grass, there
Under the trees.


3

I look about wildly.

- James Arlington Wright

A Winter Daybreak Above Vence


by James Arlington Wright

The night's drifts
Pile up below me and behind my back,
Slide down the hill, rise again, and build
Eerie little dunes on the roof of the house.
In the valley below me,
Miles between me and the town of St.-Jeannet,
The road lamps glow.
They are so cold, they might as well be dark.
Trucks and cars
Cough and drone down there between the golden
Coffins of greenhouses, the startled squawk
Of a rooster claws heavily across
A grove, and drowns.
The gumming snarl of some grouchy dog sounds,
And a man bitterly shifts his broken gears.
True night still hangs on,
Mist cluttered with a racket of its own.

Now on the mountainside,
A little way downhill among turning rucks,
A square takes form in the side of a dim wall.
I hear a bucket rattle or something, tinny,
No other stirring behind the dim face
Of the goatherd's house. I imagine
His goats are still sleeping, dreaming
Of the fresh roses
Beyond the walls of the greenhouse below them.
And of lettuce leaves opening in Tunisia.

I turn, and somehow
Impossibly hovering in the air over everything,
The Mediterranean, nearer to the moon
Than this mountain is, Shines. A voice clearly
Tells me to snap out of it. Galway
Mutters out of the house and up the stone stairs
To start the motor. The moon and the stars
Suddenly flicker out, and the whole mountain
Appears, pale as a shell.

Look, the sea has not fallen and broken
Our heads. How can I feel so warm
Here in the dead center of January? I can
Scarcely believe it, and yet I have to, this is
The only life I have. I get up from the stone.
My body mumbles something unseemly
And follows me. Now we are all sitting here strangely
On top of sunlight.

-James Arlington Wright

A Secret Gratitude

We are a smear of obscenity
On the lake whose only peace
Is a hole where the moon
Abandoned us, that poor
Girl who can’t leave us alone.


If I were the moon I would shrink into a sand grain
In the corner of the poet’s eye,
While there’s still room.

- James Arlington Wright
from A Secret Gratitude

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Poem in your Pocket

Save the date: Poem in Your Pocket Day 2014 will be held on Thursday, April 24.

On Poem in Your Pocket Day, people throughout the United States select a poem, carry it with them, and share it with others throughout the day.

You can also share your poem selection on Twitter by using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

Poems from pockets are unfolded throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. Create your own Poem in Your Pocket Day event using ideas below or share your creative ideas with us by emailing npm@poets.org.

56 Lives Taken

Seven more heroin overdose deaths have been reported in Rhode Island, bringing the total this year to 56.

A spokesman for the State Health Department says two of the deaths took place over the weekend.

Health Director Michael Fine has called the overdose deaths an epidemic and says more resources should be devoted to substance abuse prevention and treatment.

source

Flour Power

World peace through bread!

Last night I scooped 6 cups of medium grind whole wheat flour and a teaspoon of Fleishmann's Instant Active Dry yeast, some of my sourdough starter goop, and a tablespoon of Kosher salt into a big bowl and added about 3 cups of wrist temperature (warm) water to moisten. I stirred it and set it out to rise overnight in the bowl covered with a wooden cutting board. In the morning the dough had risen to the top of the bowl. I shaped the dough into 4 grapefruit sized balls and fit them snugly in my pre-greased dutch oven. I covered it and let it proof in my warm oven while I took a shower and then baked it at 450 until done. (about 50 minutes) The dough rose beautifully and has segments from the 4 risen dough balls. The dough remembers!

Two 'I Love Woonsocket' Stories

Friday I met sweet patrolman Anthony when he was standing guard over the rotorooterish truck cleaning the storm drains on our street. He was surprised when I said that I loved the city. I told him "Let me count the ways." After listening carefully he smiled in agreement and said, "I have a new friend."

After my MIRACLE SOUP cooking class Father Dennis came in to the kitchen and I offered him my freshly made corn chowder and a slice of warm braided wheat bread, and he loved it! We chatted about the neighborhood. "The police are excellent in this city," I ventured. "I agree," he said, "although I am not inclined to like the police after living in New York." I nodded, I understood. He told me a story. "One night I was standing here at my window on the third floor, holding my cat. When I looked out I saw a body in the street below. I reached for my cell phone," he said, tapping his thigh pocket. "When the police drove up, I watched them very closely," he said, "and they were very good with her. I was impressed. The woman was very drunk and I guess she had decided to take a nap in the street." He smiled.

Police Station Mural

RiverzEdge team brightens police station with mural
March 3, 2014
By
Russ Olivo
rolivo@woonsocketcall.com

WOONSOCKET — If walls could talk, the lobby of the police station would say they’re part of a cold, institutional space without a lick of distinction from a million other government buildings.
Or at least they used to.

Thanks to a group of young volunteers from RiverzEdge Arts Project, the mint-green, cinderblock lobby is in the midst of a transformation that will soon have it speaking a new language. They’re painting a mural on the walls that will feature colorful, positive images of the Woonsocket Police Department and give the lobby a look like no other building anywhere, government or otherwise.

“It’s very bright, very welcoming, and I think it does show off the pride the chief has in his police department,” said Brad Fesmire, project director of RiverzEdge. “Before, it was kind of industrial-looking.”

No Accidents

Last night a friend told me this story. Her brother asked her if he could store his gun at her home. Only if you take it apart the weapon in as many tiny pieces as possible and place one piece in the attic, one piece in the cellar, one piece in the garage, and one piece in the tool shed, and no ammunition whatsoever in my house, and you can't tell me where you hid the bits. Then I'll let you, she said. You're crazy! He said, but he complied.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Dawn Dance

At 5:30 am hot in a cold house
I get out of bed
I dance in the mirror like an indian goddess fluid arms and legs snaking and swirling
I put on on my gray long johns, blue jeans, white jog bra, black shirt, black vest, black sweatshirt and red blanket wrapped and tied at my waist, black shoes.
There's a beautiful body under there, I say to the reflection
We'll be back later.

History + Haunting in the Hudson Valley

My writer pal Joe Doherty sent me this quote today:
...the final factor that enabled Irving to turn a romantic eye to his home ground was that in England his perspective on America became informed by distance. Nostalgic and homesick, Irving could write about ghosts in the Hudson Valley, not simply because the Hudson was haunted, but because he was haunted by the Hudson -- by a sense of estrangement from it, and by the certainty that it was being transformed in his absence.
- Judith Richardson, Possessions; the History and uses of Haunting in the Hudson Valley

Anti-Bio (in the First Person)

by Cecilia Woloch

I drive a pick-up truck and can climb into and out of it in a cocktail dress and high heels. I can dance salsa and cha cha cha and speak fairly decent French. I’m currently learning Polish and can fake it in a couple of other languages. I know maybe more than is healthy to know about eastern European history, the Bolsheviks, WWII and Hitler and Stalin, and the history of the Roma (gypsy) people in Europe, but way less than any academic specializing in those things would (I hope) know. I’m an excellent parallel parker. Good navigator and map-reader. I have expertise in making complicated travel arrangements and in getting small children to laugh, if not getting them to go to sleep. I can ride a horse with a Western or English saddle. I can do splits, but not cartwheels. Double pirhouettes but not triple. My grammar skills have advanced to the point that I know how and when to use the subjunctive. I can braid my hair with my eyes closed. I can explain the history of English prosody with a couple of coconuts. I make a perfect cup of coffee and a mean omelette, but that’s the full extent of my culinary skills. I know the names of many wildflowers. Can still do “figures in my head” and balance my checkbook to the penny. I’m addicted to novels. I’ve never owned a television. I’ve taught creative writing to the criminally insane and line dancing to the elderly. I’ve crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border on foot in the company of smugglers and journalists. Have been robbed by a Russian gang in Warsaw and rescued by off-duty police in Paris. I’m not talking about Havana. I prefer to live out of a suitcase. Once gave myself a haircut with a breadknife. Can build a fire and bathe in a bucket. Can apply lipstick in a rearview mirror.

My Home is Within Myself

Poet Cecilia Woloch Interview Here.

The funeral was the next day, I think, and it was the first funeral I'd ever been to. That night, back at my own parent’s house, I wrote a poem about the drive up there, for Ms. B. I remember when I finished it feeling a little bit scared about what I'd done—the end of the poem was a surprise to me, I didn't even really understand it—and I remember feeling that, after writing for years, this was the first real poem I'd ever written. Maybe I knew, at that moment, what I was in for. I knew I'd have to try to do this again and again, to get to that place of not-knowing and beauty and loss, where I could say something to someone I loved that couldn't say in any other way.
-Cecilia Woloch

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Jacob Knight

Article

Opera: La Wally by Alfredo Catalani

I swoon when I hear opera. It proves I must have been adopted.

La Wally is an opera in four acts by Alfredo Catalani, composed on a libretto by Luigi Illica, and first performed at La Scala, Milan on 20 January 1892.

The libretto is based on a hugely successful Heimatroman by Wilhelmine von Hillern (1836–1916), Die Geyer-Wally, Eine Geschichte aus den Tyroler Alpen (literally: "The Vulture-Wally: A Story from the Tyrolean Alps"). The Geyer-Wally is a girl with some heroic attributes. Wally is short for the name Wallburga. (There may have been an actual young woman Wallburga Stromminger on whom the legend is based.) She gets her 'geyer' or 'vulture' epithet from once stealing a vulture's hatchling from her nest. Von Hillern's piece was originally serialized in Deutsche Rundschau, and was reproduced in English in "A German Peasant Romance",in The Cornhill Magazine, July 1875.

The opera is best known for its aria "Ebben? Ne andrò lontana" ("Well, then? I'll go far away," act 1, sung when Wally decides to leave her home forever). American soprano Wilhelmenia Fernandez sang this aria in Jean-Jacques Beineix's 1981 movie Diva – a performance at the heart of the thriller. Catalani had composed this aria independently as Chanson Groënlandaise in 1878 and later incorporated it into his opera.

The opera features a memorable operatic death in which the heroine throws herself into an avalanche. It is seldom performed, partly because of the difficulty of staging this scene, but Wally's principal aria is still sung frequently.

Living Literature

Living Literature will be the guests on GoodNEWSRI, the weekly cable public access television program featuring RI people, organizations, places and events that are of local interest and contribute to the quality of life in RI. Featured Living Literature performers Tanya Anderson, Kelly Seigh and Sharon Carpentier, along with Artistic Director, Barry Press, sharing the the basic idea and history of Living Literature, wityh host, Juliana Anderson, using 4 pieces to demonstrate their work in participating in Women's History Month, from 2005-2012. There is also a moment regarding their upcoming presentations for Reading Across RI, beginning at the end of March continuing through May, 2014. The program is scheduled for:

Monday March 10th and 17th Providence 5:30PM Channel 18 (Cox) or Channel 38 (Verizon)

Wednesday March 12th and 19th Providence 9:30PM Channel 18 (Cox) or Channel 38 (Verizon)

Saturday March 15th and 22nd Statewide 6:30pm Channel 13 (Cox) or Channel 32 (Verizon)

Dream Machine

I dream all the time because Lily pesters me to get up! She is my dream machine and poetry maker.

Migraines

Migraine Article
Food Triggers
Abdominal Migraines

Crime Punishment Calesthenics + Redemption

Article

My Family

They practice a rather commonplace form of social control: You are not what you think you are. You are what we think you are. You are what we choose for you to be.
-Philip Roth

Philip Roth

It is my comic fate to be the writer these traducers have decided I am not. They practice a rather commonplace form of social control: You are not what you think you are. You are what we think you are. You are what we choose for you to be. Well, welcome to the subjective human race. The imposition of a cause’s idea of reality on the writer’s idea of reality can only mistakenly be called “reading.” And in the case at hand, it is not necessarily a harmless amusement. In some quarters, “misogynist” is now a word used almost as laxly as was “Communist” by the McCarthyite right in the 1950s — and for very like the same purpose.

*

Everybody has a hard job. All real work is hard. My work happened also to be undoable. Morning after morning for 50 years, I faced the next page defenseless and unprepared. Writing for me was a feat of self-preservation. If I did not do it, I would die. So I did it. Obstinacy, not talent, saved my life. It was also my good luck that happiness didn’t matter to me and I had no compassion for myself. Though why such a task should have fallen to me I have no idea. Maybe writing protected me against even worse menace.

Now? Now I am a bird sprung from a cage instead of (to reverse Kafka’s famous conundrum) a bird in search of a cage. The horror of being caged has lost its thrill. It is now truly a great relief, something close to a sublime experience, to have nothing more to worry about than death.

*

The novel, then, is in itself his mental world. A novelist is not a tiny cog in the great wheel of human thought. He is a tiny cog in the great wheel of imaginative literature. Finis.


-Source

Leaders and Adventurers

Once you understand the logic behind modern schooling, its tricks and traps are fairly easy to avoid. School trains children to be employees and consumers; teach your own to be leaders and adventurers. School trains children to obey reflexively; teach your own to think critically and independently. Well-schooled kids have a low threshold for boredom; help your own to develop an inner life so that they'll never be bored. Urge them to take on the serious material, the grown-up material, in history, literature, philosophy, music, art, economics, theology - all the stuff schoolteachers know well enough to avoid. Challenge your kids with plenty of solitude so that they can learn to enjoy their own company, to conduct inner dialogues. Well-schooled people are conditioned to dread being alone, and they seek constant companionship through the TV, the computer, the cell phone, and through shallow friendships quickly acquired and quickly abandoned. Your children should have a more meaningful life, and they can.

First, though, we must wake up to what our schools really are: laboratories of experimentation on young minds, drill centers for the habits and attitudes that corporate society demands. Mandatory education serves children only incidentally; its real purpose is to turn them into servants. Don't let your own have their childhoods extended, not even for a day. If David Farragut could take command of a captured British warship as a preteen, if Thomas Edison could publish a broadsheet at the age of twelve, if Ben Franklin could apprentice himself to a printer at the same age (then put himself through a course of study that would choke a Yale senior today), there's no telling what your own kids could do. After a long life, and thirty years in the public school trenches, I've concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress our genius only because we haven't yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves.
- John Taylor Gotto
Source

Erika Lutzner's New Book

You Were My Death, is here!

Heroin Overdoses

Sadly the heroin epidemic in New England continues.
Read

Safety by Social Isolation

The only problem is, the more your ego fights, the smaller your point of view gets. For a while, I needed to take great pains to make myself feel safe, to the point of extreme social isolation, so I wouldn’t feel like I had to fight. The angry engine quieted down a bit, and I began to learn about other points of view.
- Mary Gaitskill
Source

Dazed Dancer

There's a sad and mysterious East School Street woman who walks and walks without warm clothes, wearing just a lavender leotard and black tights with ankles exposed.

The Moon is One Day Old

Balsamic Moon phases are the time when we dream. It is the ultimate energy for inspiration and creativity. Beautiful things come from Balsamic months. The veils between the worlds are thinner all month long and we reach heightened states of awareness and intuition. We are “tuned in.”
source

Dream

I dreamed I was asleep snoring loudly and the police chief was next to me, waiting to take me to get the industrial bread dough mixer in the abandoned school. I woke up embarassed.

My Town

I was once at a coffee shop eating breakfast alone when I noticed a woman standing and talking to a table of people. She was young but prematurely aged, with badly dyed hair and lined skin. She was smiling and joking, but her body had a collapsed, defeated posture that looked deeply habitual. Her spine was curled, her head was slightly receded, and her shoulders were pulled down in a static flinch. She expressed herself loudly and crudely, but also diffidently. She talked like she was a joke. But there was something else to her, something pushing up against the defeat, a sweet, tough, humorous vitality that I could almost see running up her center. I realized that if I hadn’t looked closely, I would not have really seen this woman, that I would not have seen what was most human and lively in her. I wondered how many people saw it, or even if she herself saw it…

That kind of small, new, unrecognized thing is very tender to me, and I hate it when it gets ignored or mistaken for something ugly. I want to acknowledge and nurture it, but I usually leave it very small in the stories. I do that because I think part of the human puzzle is in the delicacy of those moments or phenomena, contrasted with the ignorance and lack of feeling we are subject to.

- Mary Gaitskill
Source

Mary Gaitskill

Writing is.... being able to take something whole and fiercely alive that exists inside you in some unknowable combination of thought, feeling, physicality, and spirit, and to then store it like a genie in tense, tiny black symbols on a calm white page. If the wrong reader comes across the words, they will remain just words. But for the right readers, your vision blooms off the page and is absorbed into their minds like smoke, where it will re-form, whole and alive, fully adapted to its new environment.
― Mary Gaitskill

My ambition was to live like music.
― Mary Gaitskill

Saul Bellow

It opens life up down to the pit; when I read that, I can’t ignore how extraordinary it is to be alive.
- Saul Bellow The Victim

Mary Gaitskill

When I start writing a story, I don’t feel like I’m integrating anything; I feel like I’m marching through mud. But at least some of the time when there comes a moment when I feel I’m carrying all the elements I’ve just described and more in a big, clear bowl. It doesn’t feel like I’m containing them. It feels like I’m bringing them into being and letting them be, exactly as they are. My perplexity and upset may still be there, but they are no longer the main event. I feel sadness because much of what is in that bowl is sad. But because of that tender sadness, I also feel humility and joy and love. It’s strange because much of what I write about does not seem loving. But to write it makes me feel love.
-Mary Gaitskill
source

Interesting Questions

Here.

Make your own Fabric!

I must try this!
http://www.spoonflower.com/welcome

The Invisible Middle Child

Dr. Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychoanalyst, first brought the effect of birth order to light. He suggested that birth order has a strong affect on a child’s character. Dr. Adler was a middle child himself.

Middle children often feel left out and invisible, a contrast from their older and younger siblings. While older children get the benefits of all of the “firsts” a child accomplishes, younger children benefit from the emotional impact of being the baby of the family, often being spoiled and coddled. Middle children, however, often feel as though they have nothing special that is just “theirs.”

- Source
A great Psychology Today article by Katrin Schumann here.

Sholem Aleichem: A Dream for the Wise

It's the birthday of Sholem Aleichem born Solomon Rabinovich in Pereyaslav, Ukraine (1859). He adopted a pen name because many of his friends and relatives disapproved of his decision to write in Yiddish, the colloquial language of Eastern European Jews, rather than in Hebrew, the language of intellectuals and liturgy. So he chose the name Sholem Aleichem, which comes from a Hebrew greeting meaning "peace be with you." He gave us the character Tevye the milkman, who was the inspiration for the 1964 musical Fiddler on the Roof.

Aleichem said, "Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor."

Robert Lax Poem

We talked about the fact...
by Robert Lax

We talked about the fact that
it wasn't the danger,
it wasn't the skill,
it wasn't the applause
that made the act what it was.
It was principally the grace;
the bringing into being,
for a moment,
the beautiful thing,
the somersault,
the leap,
the entrechat on horseback.
The skill,
of course, has something to do
with it. It is pleasant
to know you can do anything
so difficult. It is good when you
have mastered it, and you are
really in competition with yourself.

"When we make a mistake in
the ring we are very angry. The
audience doesn't know, but we
know."

But it is a pleasure
to do anything
so difficult
and do it
gracefully.

- Robert Lax from Circus Days & Nights © The Overlook Press.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Snow Queen

An evil troll ("called the devil") makes a magic mirror that has the power to distort the appearance of things reflected in it. It fails to reflect all the good and beautiful aspects of people and things while it magnifies all the bad and ugly aspects so that they look even worse than they really are. The devil teaches a "devil school," and the devil and his pupils delight in taking the mirror throughout the world to distort everyone and everything. They enjoy how the mirror makes the loveliest landscapes look like "boiled spinach". They then want to carry the mirror into Heaven with the idea of making fools of the angels and God, but the higher they lift it, the more the mirror grins and shakes with delight. It shakes so much that it slips from their grasp and falls back to earth where it shatters into billions of pieces — some no larger than a grain of sand. These splinters are blown around and get into people's hearts and eyes, making their hearts frozen like blocks of ice and their eyes like the troll-mirror itself, only seeing the bad and ugly in people and things.
from Wikipedia The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen About the Mirror and Its Pieces

Keeping Track by Melody Moezzi

For about a year now, I've been using a bound paper planner. I still do most of my scheduling online, but my paper "planner" is special. I don't actually use it to plan anything. Rather, I use it to keep track of things that significantly affect my life.

It all started with a neurologist who suggested I keep a migraine diary to keep track of events (eating cheese or smelling coffee, for example) that preceded a migraine. The diary helped and got me thinking that if such documentation could identify migraine triggers, maybe it could do the same for mood. Keeping track of my sleep and excercise--as well as positive experiences, blessings and accomplishments has helped me enormously with mood regulation. So today I thought I'd share some of the things I track every day in my "planner" in the hopes that some of you might find this practice as useful as I have.

* Sleep: When did you fall asleep last night? When did you wake up this morning? Any naps?
* Mood: How would you rank your mood today? [Create your own scale.]
* Exercise: Did you exercise today? If so, what did you do and for how long?
* Pain: Were you in pain today? What kind and for how long?
* Medication: What medications (including dosages) did you take today, especially new or as-needed (PRN) medications?
* Spiritual Practice: Did you pray or meditate or engage in any other centering activity today?
* Gratitude: What are at least five things for which you are grateful today?
* Accomplishments: What did you accomplish today? Nothing is too small.

It's entirely possible to keep track of all of this in a regular weekly planner. It takes only a few minutes a day and can truly improve your life. And if that's not enough incentive to at least try it, most 2014 planners ought to be on sale by now.
Source

Juliet Macur

The mad scientist conjured up what he called “weird concoctions” of substances like ephedrine, nicotine, highly concentrated caffeine, drugs that widen blood vessels, blood thinners and testosterone, often trying to find creative ways to give a rider an extra physical boost during a race. He’d pour the mix into tiny bottles and hand them to riders at the starting line. Other times, he’d inject them with it. He wasn’t alone in this endeavor. Soigneurs all across Europe made homemade blends of potentially dangerous mixes and first drank or injected those potions into themselves. They were their own lab rats.
Article

Oscar Wilde

The Model Millionaire by Oscar Wilde

A note of admiration
Unless one is wealthy there is no use in being a charming fellow. Romance is the privilege of the rich, not the profession of the unemployed. The poor should be practical and prosaic. It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating. These are the great truths of modern life which Hughie Erskine never realised. Poor Hughie! Intellectually, we must admit, he was not of much importance. He never said a brilliant or even an ill-natured thing in his life. But then he was wonderfully good-looking, with his crisp brown hair, his clear-cut profile, and his grey eyes. He was as popular with men as he was with women, and he had every accomplishment except that of making money.

I’m Venezuelan and I’m in the opposition

“I’m from 23 de Enero,” the sign said. “I’m not bourgeois, before all I’m Venezuelan and I’m in the opposition.”

His wife, Francis Bosch, an unemployed teacher, who is from the working class area of Catia, where the couple lives now, said: “The idea is to make people realize we’re all together in the same fight, we’re all going through the same things. If there’s crime, there’s crime everywhere.”
Article

Dreams

I dreamed one blue lens of Bill's eye fell off and his eyeball was all white. I said, Wear a patch until we go to the eye doctor.

I dreamed Oscar Hijuelos was telling us about his new book, he said it was about racial prejudice.

I dreamed I was in my Subaru as a passenger friends were driving and we drove along a pond and flipped over onto the beach. I said First, let's empty the car. It was full of clothing, dresses and stuff. We righted the car and it was fine.

It has been nightmares all week!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Dead Rugs

The New England division launches an initiative to give community members an anonymous and easy way to help clean up the streets.
Article

Urban Planning

In our little City people travel on foot many of whom are elderly. I urge them to wear bright colors so they are visible.
We have roadways designed around the car, in a city teeming with ever more people on foot.
Article

Rutland Vermont Heroin Epidemic

A Call to Arms on a Vermont Heroin Epidemic NYT

Article
By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE FEB. 27, 2014

“You can’t separate child abuse, domestic violence and opiate abuse because in many situations, it all resides in the same house,” Chief Baker said. “Now we’ll set up an intervention, not just wait for something to happen.”

Two-thirds of the homes in the target area are multiunit apartments; Project Vision hopes to reduce that number to 50 percent within three years by buying back properties, perhaps having nonprofit groups restore them and resell them to owners who would live in them.

Mayor Christopher Louras has been going door to door with work crews as they install brighter streetlights.

“A byproduct of that outreach is to talk to neighbors and let them know that we’re interested in their quality of life and giving them a greater sense of security,” said the mayor, whose own nephew was arrested in 2012 on drug-related charges.

Greg Hampikian

Article

Cold Dough Rising

February is my favorite time of year. When the ground is still frozen and the light is coming back.

Cold dough rising.

The last few times I've baked bread I set up my previously refrigerated dough to rise as grapefruit-sized boules inside a cold oven, and then when it warmed to room temps (which is 50 degrees in my house), I turned on my electric oven to 450, rather than preheating. It worked! If you have a gas oven it might heat up too fast to do this method so try this: turn to 200 degrees place dough in oven for 20 minutes and then turn it up to 450.

The slow kill reminds me of my grandmother cooking lobster. She placed a live lobster in in a big pot of cold water and then turned on the gas flame below. As the water temps heated up the lobster became uncomfortable so he crawled out of the pot. You can't blame him! My grandmother, never having cooked a lobster before freaked out, she climbed onto her yellow dinette kitchen chair and stood there screaming in her Brighton Beach apartment until my grandfather rescued her. The fact that Jews are forbidden to eat lobster is another story.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Leonard Cohen

On That Day, Dear Heather (album)
by Leonard Cohen

Some people say
It's what we deserve
For sins against g-d
For crimes in the world
I wouldn't know
I'm just holding the fort
Since that day
They wounded New York
Some people say
They hate us of old
Our women unveiled
Our slaves and our gold
I wouldn't know
I'm just holding the fort
But answer me this
I won't take you to court
Did you go crazy
Or did you report
On that day
On that day
They wounded New York



Villanelle For Our Time
by Leonard Cohen, Dear Heather (album)

From bitter searching of the heart,
Quickened with passion and with pain
We rise to play a greater part.
This is the faith from which we start:
Men shall know commonwealth again
From bitter searching of the heart.
We loved the easy and the smart,
But now, with keener hand and brain,
We rise to play a greater part.
The lesser loyalties depart,
And neither race nor creed remain
From bitter searching of the heart.
Not steering by the venal chart
That tricked the mass for private gain,
We rise to play a greater part.
Reshaping narrow law and art
Whose symbols are the millions slain,
From bitter searching of the heart
We rise to play a greater part.

-Leonard Cohen

Canary in the Coal Mine

Etymology

An allusion to caged canaries (birds) that mining workers would carry down into the mine tunnels with them. If dangerous gases such as methane or carbon monoxide leaked into the mine, the gases would kill the canary before killing the miners, thus providing a warning to exit the tunnels immediately.

1. (idiomatic) Something whose sensitivity to adverse conditions makes it a useful early indicator of such conditions; something which warns of the coming of greater danger or trouble by a deterioration in its health or welfare.

-Wikipedia

Targeting the Johns

Article

Nathaniel Rich

Article
The first time Ben Novak saw a passenger pigeon, he fell to his knees and remained in that position, speechless, for 20 minutes. He was 16. At 13, Novak vowed to devote his life to resurrecting extinct animals. At 14, he saw a photograph of a passenger pigeon in an Audubon Society book and “fell in love.” But he didn’t know that the Science Museum of Minnesota, which he was then visiting with a summer program for North Dakotan high-school students, had them in their collection. He was shocked when he came across a cabinet containing two stuffed pigeons, a male and a female, mounted in lifelike poses. He was overcome by awe, sadness and the birds’ physical beauty: their bright auburn breasts, slate-gray backs and the dusting of iridescence around their napes that, depending on the light and angle, appeared purple, fuchsia or green. Before his chaperones dragged him out of the room, Novak snapped a photograph with his disposable camera. The flash was too strong, however, and when the film was processed several weeks later, he was haunted to discover that the photograph hadn’t developed. It was blank, just a flash of white light.

- Nathaniel Rich, The Mammoth Cometh, NYT

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Anita Long

We have to practice getting older so we can do it well. I am lucky I have a wonderful mentor Anita, who is 98, sharp as a tack, writes letters daily, and does crossword puzzles all the time. I met Anita years ago at the YMCA pool. She began swimming at age 40 and swam fifty minutes a day for forty five years. She is still amazing and beautiful. I love her.

Jose Quintero

Mr. Quintero was born in Panama but came of age in the theaters of New York.

Mr. Robards, considered by many critics to be the quintessential O'Neill actor, recalled how Mr. Quintero, an avid gambler, picked horses. ''Jose said, 'I always bet on a horse with an Irish name and a Panamanian jockey,' '' Mr. Robards said, drawing hearty laughs.

Mr. Robards also recounted how Mr. Quintero's eye for detail helped add to actors' performances. During rehearsals for the 1956 production of ''The Iceman Cometh,'' Mr. Robards said, he snapped his fingers into an open palm in a moment of frustration over forgetting a line. Mr. Quintero noticed the gesture and asked Mr. Robards to add it to his portrayal of his character, the unhinged salesman Theodore Hickman.

''He said it was like the rattle on a snake,'' Mr. Robards said. ''It's the only note I never forgot.''

One by one, speakers told of Mr. Quintero's piercing eyes, deep, rumbling laugh, and his almost psychic connection to O'Neill.

Barbara Gelb, an O'Neill biographer, said the parallels between Mr. Quintero's life and O'Neill's were so ingrained that Mr. Quintero's sister had once berated her brother after seeing a performance of O'Neill's ''Long Day's Journey Into Night.''

''She screamed at Jose: 'How could you write such a terrible play about our family?' '' Mrs. Gelb said. (Mr. Quintero patiently explained that he was not the author, but was flattered.)

Mrs. Gelb also said Mr. Quintero swore he had been visited by O'Neill's ghost during his production of the playwright's ''Moon for the Misbegotten'' and that cutting O'Neill's writing caused him ''nightmares.''

Several acting and directing students who had studied with Mr. Quintero also spoke of his influence, a fact that Mr. Albee took note of. ''All of the rest of what Jose has done is extraordinary, but I don't know many other people that can claim that profound effect,'' Mr. Albee said.
Article

Eugene O'Neill

The Last Will and Testament of Silverdene Emblem O'Neill
Here.