Sunday, December 31, 2006

2007, T - 7.5 hours

I am reading the essays at the back of Vol 1 of the Norton poetry two volume set I got the other day. I love snarky Auden! I did not know this. And the Wallace Stevens that is really very sweet. I guess neither should surprise me. But it did.

Amusingly, I like that the name Norton is associated with voluming literature much the same way that he is protecting my computer. Not a mailman any more...

Have a great NYE. You know what I will be doing. Plus marathoning Planet of the Apes. We are about to start #3.

Much love,

Vicky

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

We aren't talking about hockey here

Score!

This is where I will be!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Donald Hall

I love this poem. The formatting is mucked up, but the kernel remains.

Letters without Addresses from White Apples and the Taste of Stone will kill you dead. I don't mind the topic at all, some might. They will think it is using disaster to feed the poet; I think I have read that about Hall. But I think, and know, that when you have stared such things in the face, and reappeared on the other side, using it for poetry isn't the worst of it. It is a means to be, to frame the unframable. And when Hall can do this with such grace, all the better. I especially liked Midsummer Letter. In Distressed Haiku he says:

You think that their
dying is the worst
thing that could happen.

Then they stayed dead.

That my dear readers is one of the truest statements I have ever read. No poetics, no imagery, just a few syllables, a style, broken.

The other is from Ardor:

Lust is grief
that has turned over in bed
to look the other way.

I took a moment after that one. Poetry demands you take the moment.

Take a moment and enjoy your day.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

despite the tears

I hope to write something soon about The Road, new book by Cormac McCarthy. This book I started at the book store, but it wouldn't leave me be, so I ordered it and it came the other day. I only got to it today, and it was one of the most amazing novels I ever read. It is bleak beyond words, and McCarthy's sparse style works with these themes. I won't give anything away, but it isn't as unlikely a pre-Christmas read, as you would think.

This followed Donald Hall's poems this morning. This was grief typed into words. I will post short snippets later too I hope. Damn.

Vicky

Friday, December 22, 2006

Batches

I redid some links on the side bar. The WeBlogAlot one was a bitch. Took way to long. I also added an About Me. Short and sweet. Not like me in the first, but sometimes in the latter.

I feel like I should be writing end of year roundups in assorted places. Not the end of the year yet. It would feel premature. That is what New Years day is for, to clean up the last of the prior year. Sweep sweep.

Speaking of cleaning up, I wrote another short story. Now I think it should be dumped. Edit and more editing. We shall see if it actually gets posted anywhere. You see, in my head I have a vision of what I want my writing to be like, but what comes out of my fingers is so very different. The goal I think is to get what is inside to in some small way equate what comes out. That is my challenge. So bloody hard.

And when you read more and wider, you see what paltry offerings you are actually making. Hence the edits....

Darn. Making cookies right now. I always lose one batch, and these would be it. Standing around watching food cook is not that enjoyable, so I wander off to post or whatever. One batch every time.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

What was the name of that surfer dude vampire on Buffy?

So, every time for the past few days, that I have seen the title of this blog (last line of the finished, never finished now, sonnet I wrote a while ago) I think it should be changed to a Page of Whoa!!!... /Keanu Reeves imitation. That amuses me. Every time now that I post someone else's poem that I am particularly impressed blown away enraptured with, I will tag those page of whoa. Works for me.

Read about 20 pages of Cormac McCarthy's The Road tonight, so I added it to my Amazon cart. Once I pop a few more gifts into that, I will hit purchase and be off.

I may have to tag this tipsy post too. Just one glass. Sigh. Vampire wine rules. Good stuff.

Have a lovely evening.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

News, but not really

Just bits today. I am extremely amused by the searches that bring people to this blog. Most recent, "moms and cocktails". That would be right. Having children teaches you what it means to want a drink sometimes. But not always.

Also, when you upgrade your blogger account to the new Beta style, it doesn't bring along all of your links and other html you have on the blog. I realized this place looked a little spartan, and then I realized what had happened. Only slightly annoying.

I am reading Inda by Sherwood Smith and enjoying it very much. Neat world she has set up, and the characters are extremely engaging. Just a few chapters in, but it has captured me.

I have added a little to my story about one character. I haven't quite decided how he will work, other than some amount of exposition, and as a parallel character gone evil. Well not so much evil, as just really icky. It is amazing how much ick I can draw out of this guy. Scary that. And the parallels arising with the main character surprise me, but it works I think.

Have a lovely evening. I will be eating ginger cookies and cake for the duration of the evening, so I am quite happy with that.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bicentennial anniversary of sorts

200 posts here now.

When I started this, ::waxes philosophical:: I thought I would detail writing. I have, when I have been writing. This story I started is continuing in my mind, and I actually came to a realization about one scene just the other day! I was very pleased the two parts of the story converged the way they did. Now I just need to you know, actually write it.

All this writing I have done in several places now, often times for month long efforts, has taught me a couple of things. Yes, I do like to talk about myself. And I like to talk about my life going on around me. I am comfortable doing that it seems. It is a way for me to set stuff straight, finalize it, and make it sound.

I think the story has to proceed the same way. It will work itself out. The two parts working their way to each other is proof of that. Some say the story will tell itself, and I don’t know, but sometimes that does seem true. The imagining is the easy part. But the writing, the work of the story, I am more lazy about. I know that too. But it seems that things do take their own time, so I will let them. I mostly have taken that attitude about my writing, and life does intrude on it, and that is a fact I wouldn’t change. I do understand why writers have writer’s weekends though. Opportune time for me to write, when I actually can, is generally when I am not awake yet, or too tired late in the day to think about it. Not a room, as I have said before.

This place has turned toward poetry sometimes too. April, particularly with NaPoWriMo. Twice now, and probably a third go round in a few months. I have workshopped one of the poems, from last April, and will continue to as time allows. I also have a sonnet hanging unmetered over my head (I am picturing a diving board), that I really do want to fix. Plus others I haven’t looked at in months. They are waiting, like the apple in the tree next door. Still hanging you know, two winters now. If that apple can hang on, so can I. Wizened and gnarled. Hopefully the poetry doesn’t come out that way.

I think I am a better writer now too. Learned how much I need to learn, and that is the hallmark of learning. Once you think you know it all, you lose. I think whatever voice this is people hear when they read what I write, is clearer too. I have said elsewhere that the voice on the page, bright screen, does sound like the one I hear in my head. Most of the time. What that says about me to you, what you hear, is none of my business. Nothing I can do about that anyway so I don’t worry about it. I try, especially in the poetry I write, to get a little of my world, how I see it, in the poem. People have commented they like the “voice” in my poetry. That made me very happy. Connection!

There was more I meant to write, about this 200, but now I don’t remember. See, I didn’t write it down…

On to the next 200. Thank you for reading! Have a lovely evening.

Friday, December 01, 2006

How many months are in the year?

Oh my. I might do this here.

Round up

Well, NaBloPoMo was fun. I would like to thank Crushing Krisis for relentlessly pimping this blog. That was very sweet. Much traffic came here from your blogs, so thanks! And Pink Elephant for randomizing us all. That was very interesting. Some people live very differently than I. Certainly made for interesting reading.

Much fun, more later!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Under the brown fog of a winter dawn

I guess today is the last day of NaBloPoMo. Considering I post around frequently, this wasn't difficult. I saw one blogger who had kept a list and sooooo many people had dropped out. I can't say I had great content every day, but I did post. Quantity vs. content on this challenge. Same as NaNoWriMo and NaPoWriMo (who has my heart). Of course I prefer doing better content, but I have to say I do like hearing from those blogs I read. Voices shine.

I realized this morning, to continue the tiny theme that seems to have emerged this month, that it has been 10 years since we spent a month in Edinburgh. My daughter was 1 1/2 and I just thought doing that was the craziest idea ever. If you saw us wheeling all of her stuff around the ramps in Heathrow, you might agree. When it all toppled on a tight turn, that was even funnier. When my husband's wallet got pick pocketed near Big Ben, less so. Travelling for any amount of time with small children is like preparing for battle on some distant shore. And you won't have supply lines either. Thank goodness we had already purchased the train tickets up to Edinburgh. It became a contest to see how little money we could spend, while still trying to have a sort of vacation. Castles aren't expensive, and girl toddlers like such things, princesses and all. It worked.

I should google some of the people we met there. See where they are now. Finding where you are is a good thing. The ever important mapping of journey.

Have a great day. Enjoyed this effort, hope you did too. Stay tuned to see what happens next. Ha.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I don't know

I was thinking of doing a post of things today that I did know. But those around me did not seem to know. Although they were the ones that should have known. But I am not a vindictive person, particularly, so I won't. But in my mind, I am jumping around with a bunch of nananana's. Yes, a certain part of me will always be three.

I don't particularly like when I feel like this, this assuredness really doesn't suit me when it is only putting down others. So I speak not of this sort of thing, except here. That is amusing too. It is too bad that in some places, the only glee is vindictive. Sour seeds to sow and that sort of idea.

Have a great evening. Now I will wander off to the just noticed boiling water for noodles.

Advice

This is just really very good.

More later.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Things I have learned today

  • I am not ready for my daughter's teenage years. I will never be. Given that she isn't one yet, it worries me some. It should. That is OK.
  • William Shakespeare's 17th sonnet is more brilliant every time I read it. That is wonderful.
  • Not speaking correct Danish in Denmark will result in double breakfasts. That is amusing.
  • Blogging is misperceived by some people. When they have some influence, that can be troubling, but when they don't they just look stupid. When their view is discounted because it is so wrong, that is even more amusing.
  • A story about camping trips to Alaska, written by a 7 year old, that reach to 17 pages, are impressive. The dialogue even moreso.
  • Windy trickster weather that starts out warm and humid, but plunges to cold and dreary isn't my favorite kind. But I knew that already.
  • Keeping a laptop Word file open in front of the tv, while watching same, to keep a running list of possible Christmas gifts to suggest to Santa, is brilliant.

Have a great day.

Monday, November 27, 2006

To blopo, or not to blopo, that is the question (not really)

The highlight of the morning, so far, was my son acting out Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy with my Shakespeare puppet. And pretending to write some of his story with my Shakespeare doll, the one that holds a quill. His commentary on Hamlet's whining was amusing too. I don't know what brought that on, maybe just the dolls.

The lowlights will not appear here, now.

At 10:12, I still have a long day a head of me. Wish me good shopping, because we are off to do that momentarily.

Have a good one!!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Time again

For those that celebrate it, 30 days until Christmas.

Yesterday this blog passed 2000 page loads. Boggling to me. So thank you.

This morning on Meet the Press Arnold Schwarzenegger actually seemed reasonable regarding this country's future. More boggling. Maybe the less than reasonable Republicans are being or will be cast aside. Can only hope. Oooh, first time I have ever talked politics here.

I opened several Word files yesterday to work on my story, but then my son needed, wanted, to work on his. How could I let that pass? I couldn't. I have a room of my own, but more time, time is needed. How long is a day again?

Twenty year chunks seem short now. They never used to, but now they do.

Proust, yes, I am still reading him, in bits as it is very rich, has somehow worked his magic on my memory. So much is coming back lately. The gist of this month's Nablopomo has been on account of that. Dresser drawers and such. Four more posts after this one, and I will have spent a third month here, posting every day. April 05, April 06 and now November 06. Marking that time.

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Best of's

Hold overs from Thanksgiving I think.

Best new idea: realizing I can post music elsewhere.

Best new word heard: mathemagical

Best meltdown: my daughter realizing we were Christmas shopping for others

Best stuffing: with tarragon

Best pie: not sure because I didn't have it

Best lemon curd thread: over on PFFA

Best work slam: Tuesday, still floating with glee on that one!

Best poem read: This Is All by Pam Brown

Best hug: my son because he offered a back rub too!!

Have a good day filled with several best of's!

Friday, November 24, 2006

New centuries

Or something.

Just used eBay for the first time. Not for me. I don't feel the eBay urge. But I am glad I could bring some of my husband's childhood back to him. He found a few games he used to play that were for sale. We bought three.

Other than that slow morning. Uploading music, I really am enjoying that. I ate a Nutella puff pastry too. From yesterday's breakfast.

I think other than this afternoon's attempt at the mall (help me!!) this is going to be a lazy dazy day.

Have a good one, no matter what you choose to do!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Things between

Between cleaning the turkey, and making jam filled puff pastry for breakfast, I read a poem that was lovely. Sometimes really harsh events are made [insert word as I can't decide] by writing about it. I just read a poem that did that. It was so lovely, filled with longing, even after many years. Merging the pain and the love and the loss and doing it well is very difficult. I know, I have tried. This person did. So yay.

Nice way to start the morning. Sometimes when you have seen hell, and survived, and didn't know why you could survive, the change it causes is almost bigger than that hell. Or longer lasting anyway. Muted over the years a little, but not really.

In other news the doctor who is working on the syndrome that claimed our son has a few new papers out. Gotta read those. Not a scientist here, but the bits I can glean help a little.

The turkey is soaking, and the bread for the stuffing is drying. So between those I have gotten a little writing done here and there. More later today I am hoping.

Have a lovely day. Make it worth it.

Vicky

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Challenges, cornucopia runneth over...

I think the greater challenge for Thanksgiving is not to give the standard thanks, or be grateful, because most of us are or at least know we should be, but to place the wants in a more proper place. Maybe to not to be beholden to those wants in a way that lessens the gratitude for what we already have. Selfishness has a place, definitely, heck survival sometimes, but for most of us, what we have is so very large, the ability to actually be grateful is even more icing on that cake. If you have time to be grateful, you are even luckier you do. Some people don't have that.

In some ways none of us really deserve anything, no giant spreadsheet in the sky making sure we get what should be due, but that also negates the good stuff. The accounting of life means that we have the time and ability to actually add it up. Probably time that would be more wisely spent elsewhere.

The what we deserve concept has been eating up some of my time lately too. I realize that as much as the kind and the good should be rewarded, because hey, fairness, it is only sometimes given that expression. So it becomes a concept of reward. And that is accounting again.

Once again I am running in circles. Like the lucky, filled with received desires, Thanksgiving cornucopia, spewing its contents. Have a great evening.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Turning

I don't think no matter how old I get, I won't be surprised by how a day can turn. With no expectations, of anything really, or maybe expecting the same old same old, which gets really old, very quickly, the day will change, and give you the most unexpected surprises, none of which you could have ever imagined. For some days, that is the reason you can get out of bed. Because you know that it might change. Might is a mighty strong word.

Today was one of those days. And for that I am very glad. And grateful too. The weariness that can hold you back, can't keep you back. There is a big distinction between those.

I guess this is turning into a Thanksgiving post. Gratitude is pretty heady stuff too. I have written about that before, so I won't again. But I wanted to mark it here today.

Song and wine, is how this day will end. That is a good thing too. Have a lovely evening!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Frustration

Soft Cell was right you know. Sigh. The last 24 hours have been filled with frustrations of assorted kinds. Amazing in their variety really.

Well not the last stanza of the song at least.

I need to revise a few poems. I really should be doing that. A sonnet I posted elsewhere I took down because there was no metre. It was pissing me off with its lack of any metre. I have to fix that. Glaring.

Still waiting for repair people. I love how they give ranges of times. Wouldn't that be a nice way to live? Oh, I be there when I can. Sorry.

Will stop now, because this is just adding to my annoyance.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Shocking I say, shocking!

Ya wanna know how to shock your kids senseless? Put some makeup on. Just had a lovely thrill doing that to my children. They both agreed that they prefer me "plain". Ha!

I usually don't wear makeup, I can't be bothered to do that. Because the makeup coming off is too shocking for my system. I would prefer not to have that thrown at me every day. I think that is a danger of getting older, the shock of sudden change, rather than the gradual wearing away, plus I think the makeup just exacerbates the wrinkles and stuff anyway.

But shocking the kids was fun. I will keep makeup for that special treat. Yes, I can be a very mean mom. The dirty little secrets of good mothers, is that sometimes their kids drive them nuts, and these little passive/aggressive albeit harmless games does a heart good. I tend to think that if a mom, or dad, can't admit that, then they just might be holding on to the bad for a little too long. Which does no one any good. Being a parent shows you who you really are, brings out the very best and the very worst in any one. Hence the difficulty of the task. And the reward.

Have a great day! Go shock your kids ;-)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Whipper snapper, Max the dog who would be king

Seussian FYI. They have plush Dr. Seuss Christmas toys at Kohl’s. We just bought Max, the dog that would be king. Or at least rides a sleigh as if he was. The store was packed but my daughter and I maneuvered around the throngs like the Grinch going down the mountain. ::snaps whip::

Plus we got a few gifts too. Gone just for an hour or so, but we got a good start. We did a budget earlier today to show the kids who much Christmas costs. My daughter added up the total and was surprised. Yeah, I know how she feels. I do love Kohl’s for inexpensive, trendy and useful gifts.

The list is long but not unwieldy. We do gift exchanges amongst my side’s siblings so that makes it easier too. No great plans for Thanksgiving. Just hang out and maybe cook a turkey product of some kind. I think Thanksgiving here is too close to Christmas. The Canadian choice of timing is more conducive to keeping the turkey love alive. With American Thanksgiving it really does feel piled on.

Have a lovely weekend! We are three fifths of the way done! Keep it going!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Break

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_heaven

I can't remember if I have posted about this before. I think I have. Either way, I love the name and history and noxiousness of this plant. With a name like that you would think it would be luscious and a plant every gardener would want to grow.

I was stunned when googling for my story to find the real name of what we always called a stinkweed tree. I love that incongruity. Very much. I do tend to like to be surprised about facts such as this. Long history this plant has.

When I was a kid there was one next door that the owners had allowed to reach huge heights. Eventually some sort of bug infested it, and it was finally removed. The bugs were so numerous that my parents couldn't even sit on their porch in the evening. A true infestation that affected the surrounding areas. This tree I am using in my story. Yes, Trapper still resides in this blog, despite my recent NaBloPoMo efforts. Trying to round it back here. I started rereading the yet unnumbered chapter, and found the link. I don't number chapters until I know where they shall go. Still undecided on the parental death chapter. Partly flashback, partly not. Hence the unnumbering.

Also noticed upon rereading this bit in this chapter, seems to be a theme in my writing. Scary that. I really do pull back from that. I am not yet comfortable with seeing the themes emerge. I thought this was supposed to be fiction. I am making it up, but alas, stuff surfaces. I guess I can't go forth until I get a hold on that. The fact that I do broken children comfortably scares me a lot. I have seen broken children, so I know. I wish I didn't. But not really, either. They need their story told too.

Oh, and the Serephim name is lurking around too. Plot bunnies with fallen angels, multiple wings, heh, I might have to do something with that too!

So little time. Have a great day!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wishes and spice

I finally officially started my Christmas shopping. I had purchased a few things in the summer, forgot I had purchased those things, bought the same people new gifts but all of that wasn't official. I now have officially begun. Went to the mall and everything. Some luck, but ugh, the mall. Really kills the Christmas spirit.

Plus the war and all, that doesn't exactly do much for it either, given that people are dying. Focus shouldn't be on commercialism. Kind of galling.

But now started. A few good ideas for a few people. Imagine that, actually lining up wants with the actual findings. One gift purchased already in the non-official phase, is the most perfect gift I may ever buy. I peaked early this year.

And it isn't even American Thanksgiving yet. I guess if I go by Canada's Thanksgiving, the timing is a little better.

Now to think about other stuff, and um, dinner. Oh, the chili feed, good news update. They had a shaker of spice, so the chili actually had some flavour. Who knew?

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Chili feed, and no, I don't know if that is a verb or not

We are off to a "chili feed" shortly. The name is disgusting I think. When I eat I don't want it to be referred to as a "feed". It sounds like something you feed to chili to make it grow, sort of like processed american cheese being referred to as "cheese food". In addition to the chili, which is pretty standard bland stuff, they serve baby carrots with ranch dressing, oyster crackers, and a mix of raisins and candy. Oh, and a cinnamon roll. That combination of foods is the tradition here for large group dinners at grade schools. Until I moved here, I had never heard of chili with a cinnamon roll. Cinnamon in my chili but never with a roll. Cinnamon rolls are for breakfast, not dinner.

The problem with serving large groups of people, is that a common denominator needs to be achieved, and then no one is happy. Well, not me anyway. That is why I never host a potluck. If I have guests, I will feed them. I don't need to have them bring food, wine yes! but never food. I will do that. Plus, half the time I go to potlucks, I get food poisoning. No luck there.

Wish me luck! Off to the feed! Urghh.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Blue

Normally I don’t like posting on blogs in the evening. I am tired, I am a little pissy but mostly I feel rushed. I really hate feeling rushed. So as the day ticks down, here I am at 6:40, post dinner, thinking about what to write. Before the kids need to get to bed, and before husband needs the computer. Rushed.

There is a "10 weird things about me" meme going around. I think I did that before. One thing I did note about that meme, is most of the items people list I don’t think that weird. Not really anyway. The texture that makes us, us.

I was also contemplating blue again. My favorite colour for most of my life. I have changed shades, but never really lost the blue joy. My favorite of the blues is what I call midnight blue. That inky, but not purple, blue shade that is the colour of the sky right before sunrise. It isn’t black, and it is lit just a certain way.

People always complement me when I wear clothes the colour of the baby blue sky, but I really don’t like that shade of blue very much. People say it brings out my eyes. Granted, but I think when I wear grey that does excellent things to my eyes. A deeper darker blacker blue shade. When I was in college, I found a shade of nail polish that was exactly the colour of my eyes. I posed a lot when wearing that colour. Would kinda freak people out that the colour was such a match. Much fun! It gave them something to focus on rather than my spiky ever-changing hair colour.

For a while when my children still had blue eyes, for a month or two before they turned their final hazel colour, their irises were ringed with gold. The best eye colour ever. I have only seen that a few times in my life.

Have a great evening.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Newton update

Newton is still hanging in that tree. I can't believe that. A whole season, one winter, through the spring and now after all of the leaves on that tree have fallen, I can still see him. He is still there!!

Talk about dedication and commitment. Wow!

Seraphim

My son is doing a family tree for his class project for Thanksgiving. They were given a clothespin that they have to dress in their family custom. Since most his family tree is Scottish, he elected to dress this pin with a kilt and a bagpipe. The idea of a man in a skirt was very amusing to him. We printed out the appropriate tartan and I pleated it into a skirt for this doll. He did the rest. It looks adorable. We printed out a bagpipe and he taped it to the doll.

What surprised me about this exercise was the family history I learned. I wasn’t sure of my great grandfather’s name (mother’s father’s father). My mum wasn’t sure either, but she called her sister and found out that his name was Seraphim. How cool is that? Highest rank of angels!! I love that too much. His wife’s name, I haven’t gotten a handle on yet. Everyone called her Mimie (pronounced Mim me). I was supposed to be named after her, Victoria, but the pronunciation my mother uses, doesn’t work. The French translation for Victoria is Victoria, yet she pronounces it like Vitolynn. I have to find out why that is.

There are so many blades of grass lurking around our family tree, each small, hidden amongst the masses, but waiting to be found.

How cool is that?!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Randomness, moms and wagons and cocktails

The NaBloPoMo randomizer has let me see a few of the other blogs participating in this effort. Surprizingly to me at least, there are many tales of woe about completing this and apparently many have fallen off the wagon. Hmm. We are at day ::checks:: 12, and I feel I have barely started.

Others have also commented on the number of moms doing this. Yes, moms have much to say, but not always anyone to say it to. This is perfectly logical to me. When you are happily at home with your children, the need to speak to adults is like chocolate decadence. Wishes and dreams. Teh internets give them this chance. I wish I had this tool when my kids were young. Woulda been nice. So yay moms on the internet. Go you!! Like a playdate without leaving the house. And without all those extra kids.

Playdates with cocktails are also now the rage apparently. When we lived in CT 5 years ago, there was one group that I knew about that did such things. Their membership was closed. No wonder. Women would friend others just to get invited. That always made me laugh. We would have our own, less organized, version of the same thing. Again, less with the mess.

Have a great day. Write people, the world is waiting!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

More remembering for today

My dad is a veteran of the Korean War. He was 20 when he came home from that war. So very young. My dad would call it a Police Action. Still does when he talks about it. He never talks about it. When we were kids, and prowling around our basement, we knew we could never touch “the trunk”. My dad had a trunk that held his uniform, his photo album from the war and some other things we didn’t know about. And his medals. The wooden photo album was a black lacquered, stitched together Asian enameled book that held pictures of him and his buddies. Once every few years he would bring that album out and he would talk about his friends. He never gave us details of war. Ever. He told us once that he and his friends diverted a small stream through the bottom of their tent, so they would have running water. He also said that they caught a snake once to eat because they wanted fresh meat. I am not sure what he did in the war, something about mapping the course of the troops, from the back, never at the front. I always knew we were getting a very edited view of his experience. He was 17 when he went. He lied about his age.

When I think of the Korean War I ponder that black trunk in the basement that my brother and I would sneak a peak. It was forbidden and smelled that way too. Rotted and dank. Our basement flooded every once in a while when we were really young, and I think it finally had to be thrown out. He kept the medals.

He remembers even if he doesn’t speak of it often. My brother-in-law has tried to elicit information. Sometimes he is successful but not frequently. Some of us will continue to try. We can’t forget.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Dressing table update, and sour cream

Dressing table update. I just asked my mum from whence it came, (fittingly archaic given the age of this table) and she said it was in their house when they bought it 41 years ago. She said that she figured it was in the bathroom, because the bedroom would have been packed tight with the huge number of children the previous owners had. So mystery from day 2 of this writing exercise deepens.

Also, she said that her dad, my grandfather, for a treat, would put sour cream on crackers, and then sprinkle it with brown sugar. Eww. A recipe that should be lost to the ages. That story prompted by her asking me if I put sour cream on burritos. I do not. I would never ravage a delicious burrito in that manner. The flavours from the burrito itself should be enough to carry the taste. If not, why would one bother eating it in the first place? For some things, yes, I am a purist. Not most, because the world is never that black and white, but for others, completely.

This looks to be a ramble, and I have to leave to go and get said burrito –black bean and guacamole, OMG it is delicious. Maybe shredded beef with that, I don’t know what my mood will be.

Have a great evening!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Gangster of Blop

Pie. Bad song lyrics. “I really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree.” !!! Ya, stuff like that. All possible topics considered earlier today for this post. Heard The Joker, Steve Miller song on the radio driving home from work. What was he thinking? He isn’t Solomon. Heh. Song yes, but that is as far as I would go with that.

Book group tonight. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Was my favorite novel for quite some time. Even now, rereading it for the who knows how manyith time, it still grabs me. Not a fan of the Card much any more, but I have to say the man can write characters and plot.

I started reading it to my son. He didn’t see Ender as a victim, he saw him as a cutthroat little kid. Interesting that. I always empathized with Ender for a variety of reasons. But my son has had a very different life experience so he is unable to make that empathetic jump. No problem, I am just glad he is able to read at that level.

Yesterday I suggested to my daughter that she sign up for NaNoWriMo because the story she is writing is already 20 pages, single-spaced. Impressive IMO. Puts me to shame would be more accurate.

Lalala. Um, Pie. ::considers:: Yum pie. /Homer moment. I may make a key lime pie later today or tomorrow. Or more aptly named, 5 Minutes To Pie pie.

Have a great day. Maybe more later as I am home from work now. Pie.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Change is in the air.

There are changes a foot. Political, yay, personal too in that work changes will happen soon, and weather today is warm and 80+. No pigs in the sky just yet. But the day isn't over yet.

November is usually one of those months I don't notice because I am looking forward to Christmas. April used to be like that also, because I was looking forward to Spring and Summer. April isn't like that anymore, ::looks at Napowrimo:: so maybe change in November will become a way in my life.

Short post today, because so much is happening. Maybe tomorrows will have a little more substance. Maybe not. You just never know.

Have a great evening.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Smarties boxes

Yesterday I was reminded of a childhood memory. In Canada there is such a candy called Smarties, much like M&M’s but sweeter. And without the copy written m of course. I usually pick up a box when we are back in Canada. Just one because I am rather partial to Aero chocolate bars. Freeze Aero bars and then you have a smashingly icy chocolate shard treat. I digress.

What I was reminded of yesterday was the musical activity associated with those Smarties boxes. I had completely forgotten. My brother, sister and I used to form musical bands using the Smarties boxes as instruments. We would stretch our lips around the opened end of the box and use it as a wind instrument. Squeezing the box would alternate the sound’s pitch. We would march around the loop through the vestibule, kitchen, dining room and living room and then back to the vestibule pretending we were in a marching band. There may or may not have been other instruments.

Another aspect to eating Smarties is the variety of ways you can actually eat them. You can:

  • Pour half the box into your mouth and crunch down on all of them. Choking hazard high.
  • You can eat one at a time, slowly letting it melt. First the candy comes off. You check its colour progression, as it turns white. Eventually it is soft enough that you can press down, flattening it into nothing.
  • You can hold it upright in your fingers, and try to crack it in half flat ways and vertical. This is the most difficult of the styles, but success allows you to eat the chocolate without eating the candy coating. You then can save up all of the candy to crunch through later.
  • You can just simply chew them one by one, but the flavour sensations are decreased without the tactile crunch or smooth.

Have a chocolate-coated day!

Yes, you

Americans. Vote.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Moonlight

Some nights when I go to bed, I notice the light of the moon. Nothing out of the ordinary with the moon shining of course, as it does that most nights of the month.

I noticed a brighter light last night. The light captured my eye as I was rounding the banister to go upstairs. Even though it was late, I opened the front door and stood on the porch. I leaned forward and looked overhead and around the porch roof to see the moon just past full. The thinnest wisp clouds softly buffered its brightness. They lent a tinted glaze that erased the bright edges some. I leaned forward for just a moment and held the view. I knew at that moment I would write of it this morning.

So this morning, about 20 minutes ago, when I sat up in bed, I could see still streaming moonlight, this time in the back of the house. I came down stairs to make coffee. But before I turned on any lights, I looked out the kitchen window. The moon, this time in the west, was just over the back tree. There were more clouds, puffed black and grey in the shadow of the light. They were fat and dense. No light got through these thick clouds. They were holding back the moonlight for the morning sun. The light that fell between the clouds lit the back yard, the play structure, and the now empty garden. The fallen leaves were bright moon facing, yet the deepest black beneath.

How the light strikes its target in the night has always captured me. So different from daylight, that we are used to. The blue hue that moonlight shines upon everything is my favorite colour. I don’t know what it is really named, but I call it midnight blue. Not black, not inky purple, not even just at midnight, just a shade, a moment, that needs the moon to be.

Sometimes, even in the dark, we are given a light, to be.

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Run or hold

“Starry night in my bedroom” at the bottom of the stairs. Or imagine with song, "Starry starry night".

Since I seem to have a theme going, I will run with it carefully.

When my daughter was in kindergarten, each week they would study one artist, and then be allowed to attempt to replicate that artist’ work. Toward the end of the year, they studied Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The kids then did a drawing using Starry Night as their inspiration. My daughter did one, a drawing of her bedroom, with the starry night sky as backdrop. She named it “Starry night in my bedroom.” It had her ceiling hold the stars. When we moved here I didn’t want it to be stuck away somewhere but she didn’t want it in her room any longer. I put it on the wall at the bottom of the stairs so we could continue to enjoy it. Unintentionally humourous, and because the kids had moved onto the next artist, she signed it XXX Picasso. Moving on.

This morning when I came downstairs to sign on online there it was as it has been for five years. Since I have spoken about memories at the top of the stairs, I thought this at the bottom of the stairs would be fodder for another day. Fodder, that which we have that can we use.

I am a packrat for this reason. Each object has memory that it elicits. Some have a famous cookie, or for me, a vanity placed in my eye view or a daughter’s drawing. Cleaning out old things is very difficult for me. I get caught in the item’s snare and it holds tight. Sometimes, the object is all that remains, and the snare keeps the memory a little more tangible. I am very aware this is true for me. I think the running part from the sentence above was more true rather than the carefully.

Have a great day.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Perpetually preterit

Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

My daughter had a sleep over last night. She and her friend traded Neopet cards, ate pizza and popcorn, and with no effort at all convinced her brother to be boy-sterous. She and her friend did finally “sleep”. But kids don’t really sleep at sleepovers. It has that name only to assuage the parents into allowing them to do this event. I went to bed at midnight, so I await their waking for news of their unadulterated bedtime. My son had a goal of 2 am. He was determined.

Sleep in heavenly peace. A Christmas entreaty and certainly one to which all parents can relate. Somewhere once I read parental advice that counseled parents to look in on and at their children sleeping at least once a night. Not for the child’s well being, but for the parents. The deceleration and quiet slowing that descends upon a child when they are sleeping is medicine for a weary parent. Their lashes fringe their cheeks, their hair muddled up askew, one arm thrown indiscriminately upon their pillow, their stuffed creatures of the night held next to their face, this a gift, the sudden inhalation of pride and love.

Your breath catches for a moment in the darkness and you know forgiveness, empathy, beauty and a pull stronger than any steel or rock and as timeless. All fortified with a kiss of remembrance and yearning for the moment to continue forever, all the while you can’t wait for morning.

Have a great day!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Day two: Dressing tables

The dressing table at the top of the stairs

When I was a little girl, my father obtained a dressing table. I don’t remember from where, maybe from a family member, or maybe from a friend. The vanity was dark brown, mahogany we presumed, with a carved mirror top. It did not sit high enough for an adult, as it was smaller than required for a woman to sit at comfortably but probably too large to be meant for a child. It had four drawers, two on each side. My sister and I filled the drawers with our trinkets and treasures and of course many pencils, pens and small pads of paper. The years passed and eventually we forgot to use it. In time, the drawers emptied. The table sat in my parent’s guest bedroom. It became a shelf for the items mom stored in that room. Eventually the stationary bicycle was put in front of it and no one talked of it anymore.

Years later, after my daughter was born, I realized that this table would be an excellent addition to her room. Little girls like gazing at themselves in the mirror. Wrapped in a soft blanket to cushion its long journey, we carefully hauled it back from Canada. I placed it in her room. She filled the drawers with trinkets and treasures mirroring my conduct when I was a girl. She hung her purses off of the carved mirror frame, her jewelry and other items she valued. The top of the mirror held her hair bands and scarves. But as with my sister and me, young girls forget the magic puffs of their past play, as other thoughts begin fill their mind.

Last week I took the dressing table from her room. She wanted to make room for a lounge pillow arrangement so she could listen to her music. Space for those activities are now more valuable than for dressing up. I placed the dresser in the upstairs hallway. I decided not to put it in our guest room. I think I want this dresser to be where I can see it, enjoy it again. So every time I climb the stairs, I can see these memories. I can look in the mirror of memory, and see this table as it was. Sadly, I can’t see the table, as it first was, years and years ago, before it came to me, to know the first woman or girl to use it. Maybe to preen and place a hat gently upon her head, with her headed tilted pleasantly, or use a powder puff that would scent her lightly, softening and dusting her skin. Or the pearl handled brush which she would brush her long hair. This table lends itself to the imaginary and to the actual. Old objects succeed with that, their history is both the story they can tell, and also that which is too intimate that they hold it close and never reveal. Those they hold close, open the viewer to what was, even if it wasn’t.

Have a great day.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

NaBloPoMo



I think I am doing this. Yes, I know, as if April isn't enough. I can't do Nanowrimo for a number of reasons, but this is something I might be able to do to jumpstart working on my story. Considering that the affectionate name for doing this blog posting is blop, I think that exactly right. Rather than drip drop, the royal we shall blop. Bigger and more long lasting than just drips, how does that sound? And since I actually did post yesterday, I have a two day success! It could be a dance too! Do the blop!

I do want to work on some of the poems from last April, and I do want to work on my story, and I maybe even could do book reviews. We (again!) shall see.

So have a great day, and I look forward to this newest adventure. Sometimes you need to place adventure in your life, rather than wait for it to find you! I have been learning this recently! [Dislaimer: only healthy and happy adventure, thank you very much!]

Vicky

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tags now

I think I have tagging now. ::tries::

Monday, October 30, 2006

Dreams, dream books and dreams

Damn! http://books.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,329612246-110738,00.html

"The difficult thing is to be your dream book's implied author."

Still working on it.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Fears and wishes

I hesitate to post because I don't want feeds elsewhere to burp back 25 entries. Even I don't like seeing what I have written that often.

I am continuing to work on the wiki for the story. I do like the linkability this affords. I just realized I could put links from that right into the Word document. So much possibility.

I am also thrilled that Caught is being workshopped. Lots of excellent suggestions so thank you. I was worried it would languish but that hasn't happened. More good.

Seeing your own words through the eyes of others is an excellent exercise in getting to the point. The poem I see is obviously not read that way by others. Naturally of course. This will make for a much better poem. More yay!

Have a great day. Here's hoping!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Just playing around, or ...never look in the mirror

lines slope from her face
like boughs on a Christmas tree
hung heavy with snow


I should do a seasonal thing with this. Has possibility.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Marking a first

Just now when writing a scene for my story, the vision of it, in my mind's eye that I was trying to capture with words, moved me to almost tears. You know, when your eyes fill, but don't overflow. That place.

I have read about this before for writers, but never had it happen. I have been moved to tears after the fact, rereading something I have written, but never while.

Just marking this is all.

Hopefully this post won't spit up, like an unburped baby, a bunch of old posts on the rss feed elsewhere. I don't know why that happened. Ooh, a little pun. Hehe.

Have a good one!

Friday, September 29, 2006

This is the second attempt at typing this. The first one quit unexpectedly with the help of IE. Thanks so much. But sometimes I have a clue. I hit the print screen button and was able to open a view of it before it closed in Photoshop. So this is the retype:

I have been thinking about POV lately. How much weight to give the narrator in my story. Layers of the narrative have been pinging me lately. This is Trapper's story, but really only the narrator in the story. It's view of Trapper. From me. Political narrative, where the stories have been truly shocking lately, to recent news and how news dribbles out to reveal the horrible whole, and many of those, to the personal.

I just went through my chapters, organizing the layers. I don't know how writers keep track. That is so difficult, with backups and corrections, paper copies, and those saved in multiple places. Each reveals a little. Gathering the bits seems the challenge. I wonder if writers use one long Word document, or individual chapters I have so much to learn.

A poem line came to me yesterday. Don't know when I will use it, but it is sticking. That is a good sign.

Have a great day.

Vicky

Sunday, September 17, 2006

It took two years...

Finally a question on the profile page that I can answer:

Please describe how you could take the peel off an apple all in one go:

Carefully.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

QOTD

From Choriamb:

"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." Anton Chekhov

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Naguib Mahfouz has died. He was one of my favorite writers. The Cairo Trilogy was brilliant.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

And there it is

To be/ or not/ to be/ that is/ the quest/

...ion.

Not a question but a quest!! The "ion" is the unstressed syllable. Now isn't that a better reading? Not that there is a bad reading here. That boy William plays with words so very well. Thank you Stephen Fry!!

I need to count my iambs marching more often. I really do.

Back to tapping. Have a great day.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Scan this!

I just picked up The Ode Less Traveled by Stephen Fry. Read this book. Not only is he a funny actor and writer, but he is helpful too. I am only about twenty pages in, but I have learned so very much about scanning.

I don't see feet or metre well. I have to tap it out. But this book really teaches you to learn to see it. I am thinking in iambic pentametre. It is starting to be come natural. Sort of. Hah. We might be driving to Omaha today, so I will have time to practice.

Have a great day!!

Monday, August 21, 2006

I am still here

Yes, but alas life has taken time I hadn't expected. Vacations and visitors, filling the hours and days.

I thought about two poems to write, remembered one I had started, about train tickets. I read a Rilke poem that inspired me to write one about my father. And a few other ideas I did take notes to remember.

So this isn't out of my realm of thought (just not action) despite 5 weeks having passed since I wrote here last.

I think by September things should have smoothed, velvet-like we (the royal we, me and my pen) hope, so that I can begin my fall in the way I would prefer. A room of ones own is nice, but the time to be able to spend writing there is much more valuable.

Hope your summer has passed in a way you would have preferred. Have a lovely evening!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Honest, I don't count words...

but when I do, it is fascinating to me. So far this "what ever it is" is at 27,661 words. I really don't think in terms of count, but every couple of months I count the words, just to see. Because I want another base to compare this to. A gauge of sorts. The story in many ways has just sorted itself out, the background is taking up more and more, because for the action in the present to happen, and be clear and have motivation, the backstory has to grow. I wonder if the story is there in the past, rather than the actual one I am telling. I feel more clear on the backstory.

I just printed out Ch. 2 to see where that is. What needs to be added. See, backstory. What a process. The coil of the story, each new thing clarifying the backstory. I can totally see how writers feel they can never finish, because there is always something new.

I know I have to go forward, because the drive back from the vacation in the story is happening. I have to rewrite the vacation too because there is stuff there I need to change. I know that. I have to add more backstory for the kid also, because the next pulse of the story will be a result of that.

Circles really.

Have a great day!

LitRefs: Tim Love's literary references

LitRefs: Tim Love's literary references Just spreading the love!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Collated again

Chapter 1's are collated from the one restored dead hard drive. Still needs so much work, but at least I am working from one place now.

I am still fascinated by what I have forgotten and the surprise of its retrieval. Good times!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Surprise

I was going to work on more of my story earlier today at the library but I read a poem by WS Merwin entitled Place that threw me, and I ended up writing a poem in response.

God mine is depressing.

I haven't decided if I am going to post it or not. I was completely surprised by the severity and the rapid response to his poem. It didn't have to build, there it was. In about a minute and a half.

I guess the effect is the point. Ha!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Collation successful

Good morning. I have successfully collated the previously lost parts of Chapter One into the more recent Chapter One. It didn't add very much but a few images and ideas that I had forgotten. Some of the original C1 I have since moved into Chapter 2 and beyond. That will still require some placement.

Mostly what this has shown me, is the evolution of what I have done, how I have played with the characters, and changed them. This collation has taken the character to a new sort of third place, which I think collates him, them, a little better too. The initial pulse of this endeavor has changed over time, and I think this retrieved material helps me remember what I first was thinking. A gift from time.

I haven't looked at my notes in some time either, so perhaps that should be the next step. This process is all new to me, so I guess this path will be wrought with change. The story will change as I do. That is ok. I guess. Nothing I can do about that anyway.

Have an excellent day!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Reason 47

Reason # 47 why editing is so important. I just reread, after an almost two year absence, the name of the bookstore in my story, found in the files of the previously dead hard drive. It was really very bad. Somewhere in that time, the name was changed. That was a good thing.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Ask me please!

I was talking to a friend yesterday and she asked me if I had been writing. I told her that I hadn't, not really, but I had been thinking about it. /excuses

I am very pleased that she insists/reminds/cares enough to ask this of me. I appreciate it very much. She can see what it means to me, and when people can see that for you, ‘tis a great thing.

I have been doing some writing, just not on the story that this blog chronicles. I have written a poem or three, and I do diary. I just haven't put much effort into the actual writing of the story. Rule #1 of writing, is to actually write. Otherwise, it is thinking, and imagining and preparing. I do enjoy the creative preparatory part, which is where the fun is I think. I have the day off today, so I am hoping I actually get some writing done.

Some one challenged me to write a cookie poem, so that has been brewing/ recipe-ing too.

Have a great day!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Back

I am back. I was vacationing and now I am back. I had a glorious time and look forward to catching up reading the various poetry blogs to the left.

Vacations are good for the soul.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Character changes

Reading the lost, now found, earlier section of my story, reminds me how much my characters have changed since I started this. Trapper was much meaner and dismissive of the world than he is now. Character interactions account for some of this, but I know that some of it is that I have come to like him. I have a hard time being mean to my characters, galley slaves perhaps, but it is still hard.

I think I might need to mean him up again! The sliver of the story this story was based on had a much meaner guy. I don't want to write that guy, but some of his traits are useful. I will need to contemplate this a little more. I think that some of the ickier traits have siphoned themselves off to other characters. Those characters are more disposable, and I don't like them as much, so I can do to them what I wish.

I find this is really a fascinating process...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Completely off topic, but I found some of my lost story, and poems and essays

If you have a dead hard drive you are using as a paper weight, it is possible you could retrieve some of the stuff on it by freezing it and then hooking it up like an external hard drive, as a slave as it is called. I read about this technique a few weeks ago.

I had my IT guy at work do this today, after we froze my two dead hard drives. I was able to get everything off of one, but had less success with the other. I popped the second back in the freezer and we are going to try again tomorrow with that one. I can't believe this worked, but am telling everyone. I found parts of my story, poems, essays and family photos. Today was a good day. Cross posted almost everywhere ;-)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Napowrimo lives

I just got my chapbook. It is beautiful. You did a stunning job Maureen. Thank you again. Now I am off to read.

Monday, June 05, 2006

It continues, holy jeez

I have been struggling with how to show the change in the character, how he does what he does and why. The "why" is so important and I had the how but not the why. And I just figured out how to do that. This will make the opening action of the story, (I wrote book, and erased it, carts and horses please) make sense. I have had all but the genesis of what begins Trapper's story. This is wonderful!!!

The turn

I believe I might have an out for my plot angst. He has been on vacation since the fall, and today, I have thought of a way to bring him home. I won't kill the character I had planned on, I will make him live. And we know that is always harder. LOL I can always kill him later if I need to.

It will give the lead character a motivating place for his arc, and will test everyone involved. Sometimes, killing them is the easy way out. Now that I have realized this, I am actually writing. Not well, but it is a draft, and they suck anyway. This is the place for the plopping of the story upon the page. See, not well ;-) By only having the expectation of suckage, I have no where to go but up.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Spaces

There is something about living on the prairies that is partly contributing to the writing of my story, not that I have done any actual writing lately. There is a feel of space, a feel of the wind blowing through the severe sunshine that produces the muse of Trapper’s story. Yesterday we were driving around, and later walking through the prairie, and there it was. The hay bales, the beaten barns in the distance, the space between absolutely everything and nothing, really does contribute to this. If feels here like nowhere else I have ever lived. It is wide open and I love that feeling of potential, something the pioneers really worked to their advantage. But it has a lonely cast about it also. Nothing is near. Everything is distant, in the distance. Except the humidity that sticks fast.

What I also noted was the necessity to look close at what there is here. There will be only one flower growing in a field of grass for example. Just one. We were on the Platte River. Literally on it, as it is only a few feet wide now. The braided river as it is known because it is so dried. And there was one flower, a little reddish pink flower. Low to the ground, like it was hoarding supplies. It was. Rain is scarce. It makes do. Even in the middle of a river. The leaves were wiry and almost alpine in glow. Very beautiful. There were little tiny fish in the narrow straits of the braids. Their sparkles lit the water. Watching them dart out from the seaweed into the flow and then back again was hilarious. Spunky little creatures. We missed the cranes by a month or two. We will have to go back next spring to see them.

So much of this is the inspiration for the story, both in content and feel. I hope I can capture that. It has captured me.

Friday, May 26, 2006

What's next?

Sometimes when I read poetry, I just see the work of the poetry, rather than poetry. I ask myself then, “Is this still poetry?” Sometimes the poetry has been worked out of it completely. And then even as prose, as it seemingly appears to be, it isn’t enchanting either.

I need to find myself a good definition of what exactly is poetry (for me). Whatever it ends up being, it should be transparent. If the work exclaims itself ever so loudly, then it isn’t. The more poetry I read, the less the definition is finite. I am losing the boundaries of what it was for me, and I am hoping that this blasts away my preconceptions to allow for surprise.

What will be next?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Wallace Stevens

It is almost overdue, but on the way to the library to return The Palm At The End of the Mind, I decided I would renew it. I had to keep reading. Plus, I found someone's train ticket in the book. Torn into bookmarks, each piece a placeholder for a span of travel and reading between here and Denver. That will be a poem in the next few days I think. I have liked The Snow Man (that I think of as Mind of Winter) for some time, but now there are several others. Now Of Heaven Considered as a Tomb has a place, and I need to think about On the Road Home for so much longer.

I have really come to like Stevens.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Annotations Caught

April 7: Caught

When I was a child, my father would take my brother, sister and I to the Detroit River to fish. We sat at a parking lot that was adjacent to the river. We enjoyed this time very much. We would wander about; fish sometimes, play, roll down the hills and frolic. There were a few other people that would be fishing. We didn’t talk to them very much. Most people fish for the quiet we learned, not for the actual catching of the fish. Plus, this was in the early to mid 1970’s, so eating the fish from the Great Lakes and Detroit River was not necessarily a good idea.

There was one man with whom my dad would have random conversations - the man depicted in this poem. He never said very much, but when he did, it was both amusing and profound. He was very tall, very gaunt and probably poor. He may have been fishing for food, I am not really sure.

What I first noticed about him were his shoes. He wore Converse high top running shoes. He cut away the top part over the toes. I don’t think he could afford shoes that actually fit, so he would cut away the front to allow his toes to have room. I remember thinking how sad that was, that he couldn’t afford proper shoes.

He would talk sometimes about living in Detroit, then Windsor, the immigration north of his family from the south to Detroit. He talked about his grandparents (I think he said, maybe great grandparents) being slaves. To a white Canadian girl, this was frightening and exotic and saddening. Seeing someone who knew that life really touched me. Sometimes history isn’t that far away. I learned that from him. This wasn’t long after Detroit burned during the riots, so it really struck me. A collision of history past and history in the making, but it was more than a historical exercise, he was a very nice man. I am sure that he would have preferred not to be bothered by this white girl that was always asking him questions. He and his friend (a woman who showed up less frequently than he, but was always very kind) would very lovingly answer my naïve questions.

Over the years I have thought about him. He has stuck with me. He was this ordinary man whose family lived through extraordinary times. Yet he still just fished at the river. He was so peaceful when he could have been so angry. His life obviously wasn’t very gentle with him, poverty and all, but here he was chatting with this young girl. He didn’t need to, and yet he did. He very gently changed the thinking of a naïve girl, who only knew safety. He opened my world a little. Anyway, this poem stems from all of this. I can only hope the rest of his life was as peaceful as the kindness he showed to me.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

April 5 and 6 annotations

Continuing annotations. Where did I leave off?

April 5: How to “make a Poem” (7 year old’s advice). My son is sweet. He told me one day about the stuff his teacher suggested about writing. I knew immediately that would be the next day’s poem. And what is so funny to me is that it was all excellent advice. What you learn in first grade is useful. He also was the first one, last year, to point out me as a poet. He was trying to remember the word poet. And he said, “You know, what you write on the computer.” When I said poetry, he got excited and agreed that was what he was thinking about, me as poet. Mouths of babes. I will take that stance. So it made for what I think is a cute poem. And all of the quotes in that poem are his. I still don’t know what he meant by “tap into your poem” but I love the nuance and depth that conveys. And the “permission” was just so interesting. I think he meant critique, allowing others to read, but I really think a writer/poet does give a certain amount of permission by the making public of it.

April 6: Still. The lines you say nothing / is wrong has been floating around for months. I love the line break because it gives one impression and then the break flips it and tells you so much more. I have tried to put it in a few other poemy bits, but nothing worked. It works well enough here, but I am still not sure. In front of the building in which I work, there are many juniper bushes with the best blue/grey/white blushed berries, like midnight. They are so beautiful and the bush branches hold the berries just so. Magpie: this is a reference to what Elizabeth Bishop said about her debt to Marianne Moore, “Perhaps we are all magpies.” Magpies steal nests, toss eggs of other birds. Heh, so do writers. A friend pointed out the snake imagery, she asked who it was. I hadn’t even realized that when I wrote it. I was just thinking about the speaking/not speaking the poem relates. Then it turned as I wrote it, and became about something, someone else completely. Fictional (actually) toward the end. My imaginings about any manipulative person and how they would be. The manipulative people who only views themselves because they are unable to see beyond that. Grumble grey popped one day, and I knew I had to use it. Sonics and tone. It worked perfectly here I thought.

I will stop here because the next one will get an entry of its own I think.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

While I still remember

Annotations of my April poems. What I still remember, while it is fresh and warm.

April 1: Price of a Muse. Shakespeare’s folio was up for action. I was concerned that it would just go to high bidder rather than someone who would respect it for what it was, for what it is, and all it means to the world. What they have come to mean to me. I tried to use the words he chose in this, to describe what was happening to the folio. Winds of heaven is his, I can’t remember which play. The folio is so frail, like the tentative muse. The one he constructed in his sonnets beguiles me, so part of the reference is to that. So much is unknown about Shakespeare and this folio was a peek. Not even a firm grasp of a peek. Like a poem. So much is unknown. The use of Will has always cracked me up. I contend that if you taught teenagers about Shakespeare via the use of his “Will”, every entendre implied, they would love Shakespeare all the more.

April 2: Place. I was dusting my shelves a week or so, more or less, I don’t remember now exactly, before Napowrimo, contemplating Napowrimo. As I was adjusting the books, edging them as it is called in the trade, I noticed that Lolita had fallen up against Little Birds. Little Birds I bought in college, all of the women I knew bought Anais Nin. LOL. There were many little girl issues in the 1930-50’s for writers it seems. Not sure why that would be, the war maybe, power issues, I haven’t the faintest, an a resurgence of interest in Nin the 80’s. Anyway, I was surprised by their similarity and proximity in tone. One edged gently against the other. They seemed to be friending one another. Then I saw Proust between Plath and Rushdie. Then I started wondering about how they would have thought about each other. Their style, their content. Rand fallen on Roth. She wouldn’t have like that at all. I laughed. James Joyce has the largest stack. Ya think? LOL So they were in front on the top shelf with the A’s. Next to those are the how to write books. I have several, as I hold no assumptions about any of this. I will take any and all advice. Some of these books have been useful, some less so. Then when I dusted my way down that shelf, all in order alphabetically by author (Virgo and former librarian here) I saw Evanovich pressed up to Fforde. Now I was on a roll and ran to get a piece of paper to scrawl these findings. I sat on the carpet next to my Swiffer and wrote it, almost completely as is. I had to play with the sentences some, because I wrote them very hodgepodgy.

April 3: Pissed. Yes, this story is true. Exactly as happened. This cute dog I have watched grow from a puppy. Every morning the owner would be outside watching her dog do its morning business. Winter, rain, snow, and ickiest weather she would be out there watching her dog. Not how I would want to start my day. Getting the coffee made is tough enough. There are no fences dividing the yards so until the dog learned the boundary lines, she would be out there. I was standing at my kitchen sink rinsing my coffee pot, about to fill it with water, and I watched, once again, this dog piss the day into being. Just as he did this, the sun broke between the houses and shone. Sometimes the day just hands you the image to use. Reading through this entry I completely forgot I lost the first version of this poem. Wow.

April 4: Hustle. I had no idea what to write that day. None. I sat at my computer for quite a while, trying to think of something. So I just started writing images. That is why the form of the poem is the way it is, with ellipsis points. I wanted to show no beginning or end. Yes I know I was cheating, but since they were dancing, it worked I thought. The music has no beginning or end. Disco did though, thank goodness. Ugly clothes, but I do remember the ones I referenced. Just remember the sails reference came from a Kooser poem I read. When he was in the hospital (I think, I has been a month) he described his nurses' caps as sails.

hair / layered like a cake left out / in the rain

I nearly caused my car to run off the road with this realization. I was trying to think of an image for the layered hair of the time. Then MacArthur Park came on the radio while I was driving. Sometimes ah ha moments can be dangerous. Luckily no writers were hurt in the writing of this poem. I will stop here for now. I am certain I will think of more to add. My memory works like that.

Thanks for reading, and I miss April too.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Newton update, oh, poetry commentary too

Newton is still hanging in my neighbour's tree. It was a dried sort of red, year old red, but now is glistening red. I am so very impressed and amused that he? is still present. Able to survive winter, and now spring. The white blossoms of this year's crop of apple flowers wreathed in the green is making for a spectacular backdrop for Newton. He? is watching his children (I guess more accurately, his? nieces and nephews) bloom. Something I can appreciate.

I need to contemplate a poem now. The past few day's offerings have really not been what I would prefer to give, but time, place and opportunity have all been working against my poetry goals. 9 more days. Given that I didn't think I had poetry to offer during this month, I am very pleased with my progress.

If Newton falls the last day of NaPoWriMo, I will not be sure how to evaluate that. I will have been happy to have him? along for the ride.

Have a great day!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Nabokov on showing rough drafts

In Strong Opinions, the interviewer asks Nabokov:

Would you agree to show us a sample of your rough drafts?

I'm afraid I must refuse. Only ambitious nonentities and heart mediocrities exhibit their rough drafts. It is like passing around samples of one's sputum.


I guess he wouldn't have participated in NaPoWriMo!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Blurring

All but three chapters have been updated and collated. This doesn't mean they don't need rewrites, oh my, they do, but I am caught up. I think this morning's plan to scan the rest at work will be successful. Tuesday that will be. So in the meantime now, fresh story. Funny, or maybe not, but the more I think about this, the more I retain. I need reintroducing to what I remember sometimes because it disappears in the blur of life. So now I will reread everything just to know. I don't always remember what I write. Actually that works because then I can look at it more critically. Which is always necessary. Always. I know this to be true.

Yes indeed, this day has been full.

Scanning and other tortures

It just occurred to me that I can scan my story, what I have already printed out that has the edits I lost in the hard drive death, into an editable PDF and then cut and paste into a word document saving me the hassle of retyping all of the edits word by word, line by line.

I may have to do this rather than wasting time with the picking. Although the story could probably use that attention too. I just don't want to get frustrated with typing. I really don't enjoy that part at all.

I think then I will do fresh writing today rather than the edits I had planned. I like today's new plan.

Perhaps Trapper is ready to come home from vacation now, or maybe Chad will have to suffer a little more. Heh.

Speaking of Chad, I read this yesterday, and #5 immediately made me think of Chad. I will need to read Hal Duncan more often.

Have a great day. Off to torture the darlings.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Pinpoint now

NPR : The Making of Poems

I believe this to be true. Orr has it right. There are as many reasons for the makings of poems as poets, and this is a very good one.

Monday, March 13, 2006

On a wing and a prayer

I just signed up for NaPoWriMo over at PFFA. May the gods help me now. Or rather in April when I will need it.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Pale...butterflies

I am reading Speak, Memory by V. Nabokov. He tells of frolicking through gardens and woods, both as a child and as a grown adult, attempting to catch butterflies with a net.

I cannot get over the image of the man who wrote Lolita frolicking with a butterfly net.

I highly recommend this book. I love being in his head, his life.

Interesting, the spell check on Blogger wants to change Lolita to "lilied". Keeps with the garden theme anyway.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Images and memory

I put up a new image icon. My word cloud for this blog, a few nice words.

In other news, I finally checked my story. When my hard drive died a few weeks ago, I wasn't sure how much of the story I lost. I have hesitated to check, because I wanted to get over the HD death before I fell into what I may have lost. Well, I just checked, and I think I didn’t lose any huge chunks of story, but I did lose all of the corrections and edits I have done recently. I still have the paper copies so redoing these won’t be so bad. I really hope there were no huge chunks amongst those corrections.

I checked several of the chapters and that appears to be the bulk of the damage. The cute little purple jump drive I use to back up my story, seems to be corrupted. There are a few unreadable pages. This is why I started sending the chapters to myself in gmail. Good storage and doesn’t cost anything. Being paranoid sometimes does save your butt.

My method of editing requires printing out everything, after each update, for more revision, but this does insure having a paper copy available in case of death. Heh. Now collating each of these will be taking my time getting one correct copy. Merging of the words. Kinda what I am doing anyway. I guess because I lost so much of this story in my first hard drive death, Thanksgiving ’04, I am less frightened of it. I came back from that. Yes, it is true, that you do come back from such things. It really did amend what I was doing and writing. It turned out to be not a bad thing although I do grieve a few good sentences, a few good images.

Speaking of images, I love My Giant Sticky. See side bar link. What a fun concept to keep those images I want to remember available and not just in stacks where they might be lost or breezed away in the bustle of my life. When I come upon something that becomes a nascent idea/image/plot point for my story, jumping off point, I need to remember it. Probably doesn’t mean a thing to anyone else, but those bits are how I remember. The curtains being closed notation, for example, is how I am going to show a specific scene that, honestly, I wouldn’t know how to write. But that image will work to allow for privacy of character, revelation of character. The one thing writing has shown me, is how much I can’t write, don’t know how, but really want to try. My writing expands, ’tis grown...inspired by...heh

So hopefully today I will get some of that organized. We shall see.

April is impending too. The flowers grow, as do the thoughts of the task of NaPoWriMo. I haven’t seen any takers yet. I haven’t decided it I am going to till that garden. We shall see about that too.

Thanks for reading, and have an incessantly joyful day!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Pendulum arms

…he says nothing
is wrong…

I have been waiting months for the rest of this poem to show up. I wrote some stuff around it before but it wasn’t working. It took away from the strength of this rather than complimenting it.

I will wait some more I guess.

The hard drive death was my clean sweep I suspect. I will resist both domestic and sport metaphors that could follow this.

April is teasing me and getting closer. I doubt I will participate in NaPoWriMo in any daily sort of effort. That will be too much I fear. Maybe...make it a weekly effort. Or who knows, I will change my mind and jump into the grind. It really did wear out my poetic muscles last year. It taught me so very much, all for the good, but I was spent. Spent!! Poetry shouldn’t cost that much, emotionally or viscerally. Or maybe it should. Specific poems should. Watch my indecision. My indecision as pendulum. I am picturing a tall tower now. Long arm. What is the arm on a pendulum called? I wonder if it enjoys the travails its lead takes. That is so me!!

Off to my day. Have a great one!

Friday, February 17, 2006

The death of rejection

It just occurred to me that with this second hard drive death that happened last week, that my rejection letter emails are gone too. That is funny.

I haven't had to guts to compare my printed pages to that which I have saved ...in several places. But no guts to find out what I have lost. There is something to be said for the printed page. Tangible at least. I have a fireplace, but don't feel the need to dispose of it that way any time soon. And no wife to yank them back out again too. I am not that dramatic! /silly comparisons

Maybe this weekend I will take a peak. To see what poems I have lost too.

They really ought to make a hard drive that lasts more than one year and two months. It would be helpful.

Have a great evening!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Early Valentine

I got my valentine from Ted Kooser. Each year he sends women a Valentine. Last summer I gave him my address at a reading he gave here after he suggested that anyone who wanted to do so could. I did. I called myself brazen. I was going to include a poem of mine with the address but thought that a little to much.

I am not sure if it is copyrighted. I suspect it is. So I don't know if I should post it before Valentine's day!! Maybe I will google around and see if it is posted any where else.

Vicky, enjoying Valentine's Day early this year

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Making of a Poem

By Stephen Spender

Collections of essays about poetry. I am reading the second chapter "Greatness of Aim" right now and it is filled with much common sense regarding the poet's aim, using Dylan Thomas and WH Auden as examples to do so. Nice follow through after the first chapter's discussion of poets stuck in the "cage of contemporary attitudes".

He closes the second chapter with:

The most important task is for the poet to grasp at as much of modern life as he is capable of imaginatively digesting, and turn it into his rich and strange poetry, through channels of form which he can only discover for himself. We do not live in an age of shared values, and a universally recognized style. Talk of universitaires being able to decide the future of poetry by brushed-up academic standards got from lectures on criticism is a trap for the unwary, a trap which all too easily might result in second-rate poetry about second-rate lives.
He saw the decade of the 1960's clearly on the horizon and was seemingly open to its possibilities. I haven't read enough of him yet to know how he would judge what a second-rate life actually is. Next chapter is the title chapter. More later.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Lost amongst the layers

Yes! I found my maps. I had made maps of buildings and the town in which my story takes place. I had misplaced one of the building maps and the house map and just found them as I was paging through some notes. This pleases me greatly. I like the visual advantage the maps give me, allowing me to remember, plot time and path.

I have multiple copies of the printouts of the story. As I edit, I make the corrections and then print a new fresh copy for later and file the defiled copies. The maps were lost amongst the layers.

Also, sidebar. Nabokov wrote many short stories. I picked up a copy of his stories today at the bookstore. I have read two so far. He writes a Russia that I would want to know. Often times, I cannot connect with Russian lit, it just doesn't seem welcoming for the reader. His stories do very much. The people are so wonderfully human. Recruiting, specifically. Now I just have to figure out his acrostic at the end of The Vane Sisters (without children dropping parachutes around me) and I will be set.

So back to my notes. At least the binder is open. It is a start. A small start back to this story.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to this blog who turned a big shining one year old yesterday. Yes, its mom missed its birthday, but dealing with one year olds is much work. And it was Jan 7 when I made my first real post, rather than a cursory testing, testing post. /excuses

I assumed I would have more to say about such an important date. I wish I could say I was busy writing but that would be wrong. I wish I could say the story is flying to me, me catching the words and capture them permanently in ink, or pixels, but that would be in error also. I am reabsorbing. I have been off the writing game for a bit. I realized that when I sent Trapper on vacation, I needed one too. To fill up again. I can’t spill forth without a little pressure from below. And when I don’t fill the pressure, not much flows. So here I am, one year plus, November really when this all started. This blog began last year as a way to track the story’s progress. I have. April interrupted that but not in a negative way. It showed me many things, April did, spring flowers and other clichés I will refrain from drawing upon.

It is funny because although I am not writing much more than bits for this story these days, these bits are floating around and gathering and winnowing. I am working out where I want this to go by these floating chunks. They tend to be blocks of text rather than dialogue. So they feel weighty even if they do float. So I will leave them to their business doing the work they do. I can give up this power, delegate it to whatever is prompting my connection to these characters. I do trust this. I really like these characters. I think their interactions are interesting and common and beautiful. What we all have. Just a guy. I said this elsewhere today, and I think it epitomizes my lead character. It is how I start the story also. Oooh spoilers. We can only be who we are, mingled with the joy of learning and striving and leaning on those we know and love to help us along our way. I have known this all along, but Trapper is just learning that fact. I am pleased to be able to help him along and maybe even hold his hand.

Thanks for reading!

Vicky