Thursday, September 27, 2007

E-Mail Angst

Okay, so today AOL hates me and returns every piece of mail I send to an aol recipient:

"I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out."

How comforting. My relationship with AOL has its ups and downs. This is not a new occurrence. It usually relents after a day or two and begins delivering my e-mails again.

In the meantime, would someone in the workshopping group please hit the "reply all" button and let everyone know that the workshopping is starting next Wednesday at The Bucket and not tomorrow at The Chicory? I might be out of touch for a few days. I'm not sure.

As a side note, the poems are pouring in! E-mail difficulties aside, we're off to a good start.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Workshop Update - The Chicory & Whatnot

Good news! There's a lot of interest in workshopping. Poems are being circulated, et cetera. It looks like we're going to have a great time, maybe get some real work done. Thanks to everyone who has already sent something out. If you want to join this group and didn't get an e-mail, drop me a line. I'll fold you in. If you know someone who would like to join us, same deal.

Bad news! The meeting at The Chicory is cancelled for this week. Well, go if you want to, but there probably won't be anyone there. But there might be. Scheduling nightmares. Just do whatever. I'm not your mother.

Good news! Everyone (yes, everyone - well, not Talia, something about a teaching degree) says they will be at The Bucket next Wednesday night. You'll have more time to work on a poem to circulate. No excuses. Yes, I know, I need excuses more than anyone. So The Bucket will be our workshopping launch place.

Uncategorized news! I'm trying to figure out, with everyone's input, the best times and locations for the workshopping. Talia suggested we might try and get a room at IUSB. Jesus suggested the downtown library as a possible location. Help me out here. Let me know what times/days/places work for you.

Okay? I'm sure I've forgotten some important things. Someone will tell me, surely. Or not and we'll all just go around bumping into walls.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Ninety-one degrees and no one is sleeping. September has lost its cool. We’re in the middle of our stories.

Last week Tom’s trajectory took a hit and turned. He wrote his letters and met with his advisor. So far he’s ignored angry cell phone calls from his prof, but sometime this week he’s got to meet with the guy again. The battery for my cell phone finally came, (Ebay! Two weeks!) so now I’m in electronic reach again. But mainly Gene and I are background support, which is the way it should be.

The good news is Tom’s already achieved a minor in music and the prof can’t drum him out of any bands this year. He’s a section leader for the jazz group he made it into. The advisor agreed the prof stepped over the line and assured Tom she’ll help him out. We’ll see. The biggest fallout is Tom is looking for a new major so he never has to work with the guy again. He’ll just work around him, take private lessons from a grad student he likes, do his music, work with who he wants to work with, do it his own way. The parents’ patterns haunt the children, but perhaps this time it won’t be a bad thing.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tell Me Again

The story
The rocks acquired words
The wind shed its burden
Fish means hunger
Strike that rock
The water will come

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Gorilla Versus Bear

I keep meaning to post this: Gorilla versus Bear. Music, et cetera. Now I've gone beyond meaning...

Friday, September 21, 2007


A short mother’s rant. One of Tom’s profs at WMU, his main prof, infamous for his arrogance, told him this week, at the end of a discussion, “Tom, I’ve never hit a student before, but you’re pushing me.” In a few hours I’ll feel better, I’ll have some good plan about how to handle the jerk, but right now I’m a little hot. Conflict is not a Keranen strong suit. Tom thinks he’d be better off switching schools. Me, I want to torch the guy, burn his famous little pants off his ass. But certainly a kinder, gentler plan will come to mind. Suggestions?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Plan

The writers had a great time last night. You should have been there. Six of us showed up, Rachel, Chris, Naoko, Neil, Mark (new link to the left) and myself. You could even say we made a little progress. That is, we decided to evolve a tad from trading books, telling stories, and mourning the loss of our professor to, yes, making a workshopping plan. Writing. Making little scribbly marks on others' writing. The plan is this: Write something. Circulate it around to the e-mail list I'm going to send out. It's easy. Just paste it into the message portion and hit "reply all." Don't post your masterpiece to your blog quite yet. Don't send old stuff. When you get stuff from others, scribble your comments on it. Bring it to the next gathering. We'll talk about the piece, return it to its owner, then the owner can post it to their blog. How does that sound? A little more intriguing than just sitting around and drinking beer/coffee? Of course we'll still drink and eat and be merry...

Start circulating anytime (or as soon as I get the e-mail out.) I can't make the next meeting at The Chicory, but we might as well start the process now.

We're also looking at the logistics of going to David's next poetry reading in Michigan, which we'll talk about next time. It's a bit far, on a Monday night, but perhaps we can swing it. It always fun to go driving around in a car.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I gave a neighbor kid a wire coat hangar last week. From there the story goes downhill. It was early morning coffee time. He said he was locked out, cold, mosquito-bitten, wanted to slip into the neighbor’s car until they came home. I applied my powers of intuition, looked him over thoroughly (I didn’t recognize his face, but his demeanor was true), and handed over the coat hangar.

Not everyone follows the same belief system that I do. Others have a belief system that involves calling the cops first and asking questions later. Perhaps they believe it is neater, it might save time. For whatever reason, the cops were called, two cars full of them, flashing lights, et cetera, and the kid hauled out of the safety of the neighbor’s car and handcuffed until his complete identity could be ascertained.

Turns out he was telling the truth. And Gene has asked me to stop handing out coat hangars to anyone I see, regardless of the genuine need.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Building Materials

I planted a man outside my living room window, a seven-foot tall stick figure with wavy, wiry hair. I found him at Mathy’s Garden Center and conscripted him to hold my new bird feeders. It wasn’t what he was designed for, but he doesn’t seem to mind. I still fill the old bird feeders, but they’re too far away from my window to get the best view. All my bird books are out on the coffee table, along with a pair of binoculars. Although the neighbors across the street probably think I’m perverted, I’m just trying to learn all the visitors’ names. So far I’m still very generic, warbler (very yellow on the belly, but kind of mottled about the head), hummingbird (green back), flycatcher, chickadee, finch, woodpecker (downy or hairy, I’m not sure). The juvenile cardinals look hilarious, with their half-mohawk style. Maybe by next year I’ll get this bird thing down. Or the neighbors will call the cops on me. Either way, it will be something learned.

Book news:

The Liam Rector book finally came today. I’m ready. Simic is technically perfect, I think, but not pulling me hard enough to dive in. Ferlinghetti is growing on me. Tom has borrowed all my Denis Johnson, fiction and poetry, along with the Anchor Book of Short Stories, and taken the lot to Kalamazoo. I’m happy with what he’s reading and at the same time hoping he finishes them up soon. I’ve grown attached to those books and hate to have them travel so. Children are the great appropriators of the trappings of their parents’ lives. So it goes.

Time for the Bucket Again

Yes, Wednesday night at the Bucket, although I will admit it's a little soon. But we'll try it. I hope to see you there.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Aging Passion

The world ages.

Talia loaned me Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind. This is my first taste of Ferlinghetti. The copy she loaned me is 50 years old, and I can feel it. Back then it cost $1.00. The Beat flavor is unmistakable. There’s a photo on the back of the book, Ferlinghetti at 38. So he must be around 88 now. I found a recent photo of him. He is rounder. He has white hair. I want to read something recent that he has written, to see how his insides have changed. The heavy alliteration from the fifties drives me crazy, as do the rhythms, but still, I like what he has to say. I’m reminded of what Tom’s jazz improvisation prof told him last week after his first solo, “That was just amazing, for the thirties.” No, no, I’m not dissing on Ferlinghetti, just remarking on the passing of time. I want that passion, but not that old style.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Morning Alone

I've been neglecting the blog. There is no lack of desire, simply a lack of time.

I have to pass my fourth semester of French in the spring, so I'm sitting in on the third-semester French class to review something I haven't thought about in 25 years. The memory of how to speak that language is buried under so many layers of life. Pulling it up from the bottom of that well is taking a bit of effort. Reading French is going well, but trying to compose a sentence... It's a lot like my poetry writing, painfully slow.

Creekside, everything is as it's always been: in a constant state of change. The August floods rewrote the banks. Giant tree snags unanchored briefly to sail downstream. The duckweed is regenerating. My thoughts are turning towards fire, socks, and burning leaves.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Weather Permitting

Astride a jagged black gash,
a gerrymandered line, women vice
in wielding eraser thighs.

Screw the context. The weather bites
fine. Flay pumpkinseed. Dust
cornmeal. Cast your net
on the other side.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Facility of Mind

Haystack Dinner

My family and I are heading out to Middlebury tonight for an Amish haystack dinner and auction, an annual fundraising event I can't bear to miss. A couple of years ago I bought a rain barrel out there for $5! In my eyes, it's a writer's dream (including a very cheap meal - donation only.) If anyone is interested in going with us, send me an e-mail today. We'd love to have you come.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Stamping of Hooves

Talia is stamping her foot, waiting for a report. What went on out in the field? Wait, wait. That's another story. Where was I? Did someone say something? What went on inside the Bucket? Or outside the Bucket? Really, there is not much to say. We are continuing our quest to take over the world. From the outside. It will either be an insurrection or a resurrection. There were eight of us. We are all sworn to secrecy. A few books were exchanged. The pedigree of the white stallion has been established. We have an outpost on the moon. Margie lives there, with her bastard son who doesn't wear shoes. We all wore black, either for obscurity of mourning. No one was sure. There was some talk of late payments, some talk of dreams. Prostitution on the railroad tracks is not a pretty thing. I would have taken pictures, but that would be absurd.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Dr. Juma

Jesus and Gloria sent me this pick in July. I couldn't bring myself to throw it away. Click on the pic and all will become larger than life... If you haven't run off post haste to Dr. Juma, I expect to see you at the writers' thing.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Oaken Bucket Writers' Get-Together!

Yes, we're still on, so get your hineys over there. We're meeting at 7:00 at the Bucket, outside in the ungodly heat, with the bugs, all that stuff. There are pending publications to celebrate, promotions, lots of reasons to come together and be.

Summer's Gone

I am different than the girl you knew
two years ago, one year ago, six months ago...

New poetry books are on their way.
Liam Rector, Charles Simic, and Michael Dumanis.
Yes, I intend on sharing.
Poetry? Who knew?

The last wedding dog was hung on Saturday. The groom, twitching, dropped the ring, which rolled down the aisle to rest at the feet of the bride’s father. Later, the groom’s face refused to find a suitable position to kiss the bride. The bride finally grabbed him, held his face firmly, and took matters into her own lips. Good.

The kids are both back in school. Tom left for WMU last night, forgetting half of his important belongings, including his tennis shoes. He did all his own moving, packing… Yes, Jesus, I’m not exactly cutting the apron strings, just untying the knots. It seems apparent he’ll be back, again and again.

Gene has run off to Chicago for a couple of days, working on his first solo assignment for his new job.

And that’s the news.

Summer’s gone.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Cow Aid

I almost forgot - forgive me, cows - I promised my cousin Jennifer I would pass this plea around. Two cows in Chicago are looking for a home with a sympathetic vegetarian farmer type that will not turn them into food. They are currently located at a petting zoo outside of Chicago. Their names are Snowball and Coco. If you know of anyone...