Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Depending On Your POV


Q. Did you have a problem with smoking crack?
A. No.
Q. Were you addicted?
A. More than likely, yeah.

Sandhill Cranes

So you're dying for one more thing to do this weekend, right? Well, maybe not. But maybe you should go here anyway. This will be the first year for me and I'm hoping to get some pics.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Benefit Reading - Sunday

This is a great opportunity for you to get out someplace close to home (Kalamazoo) and hear some great writers reading - all in one place. My goodness, it will be better than going on an African safari, much better than going to the zoo. In-between the writers reading there are going to be bands and a silent auction. And of course there is the microbrewery beverages. And a partridge in a pear tree. I have room in my vehicle for 1-2 more. Send me an e-mail. We'll leave early afternoon, approximately.

Check out the schedule. These are folks you really should see.

The Schedule:

All-Star Reading Part I (4 p.m to 5 p.m.)

1. John Rybicki

2. Rodney Torreson

3. Jackie Bartley

4. Jack Ridl

5. Susan Ramsey

6. Greg Rappleye

7?? Liesel Litzenberger

8. Gail Martin

9. Elizabeth Kerlikowske

10. Con Hilberry

All-Star Reading Part II (6 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.)

1. Bonnie Jo Campbell

2. Nancy Eimers

3. Nina Feirer

4. David Dodd Lee

5. Diane Seuss

6. Bill Olsen

7. Andy Mozina

8. Danna Ephland

9. David Marlatt

10 Julie Moulds Rybicki

Monday, October 29, 2007

Tramping Through

We've tramped through another weekend, shredded leaves are scattered throughout the lawn, beneath the bird feeders, on everyone's shoes, across every floor, and this morning, a frost christening the roofs. Fall is talking to us.

Rebecca and Ken moved to their new place on Friday, and Saturday I helped do a little cleanup, sweeping, wiping down a few walls. Their new place is beautiful, with lots of room, just what they wanted. There is something about the structure of a house where the occupants haven't quite unboxed yet. It is so full of possibility. One can imagine a whole world blossoming there.

Gloria and Jesus invited us to a Dia de Los Muertos party Saturday night. Great food, great drinks, great company, great games! And a red velvet skeleton cake for Jesus' 31st birthday on Sunday. My diet is not going too well, not too well at all. And I'm blaming it all on the Moyas.

I devoted Sunday to catching up on required reading. There are some interesting short stories in the post colonial anthology I have. "War Crimes" by Peter Carey was pretty good, and "One Whale, Singing" by Keri Hulme intrigued me enough about the author that I'm going to see what else she has out there. Has anyone else read anything by her? A few weeks ago we read an excerpt from Eureka Street by Robert McLiam Wilson that was great. I have to add that to my to-read list. Someone made the valid point in class that these stories seemed to have little to do with post-colonialism, but I'm just grateful to have something current to read.

While I spent my day reading, Gene discovered that perhaps the reason the Trooper kept leaving me stranded was because the alternator belt was absent. We do a hay run every other week, after fully charging the battery. Someone stays home near a phone just in case the hay hauling person needs to be rescued with jumper cables. So he replaced the alternator belt and everything now seems to be charging. He says there still might be a short somewhere, but that's a job for another weekend.

Now Monday again. What do you know.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Naoko says it's time. The writers group has survived long enough that we should give the baby a name. So think about it. Send some suggestions. We'll gather them all together and maybe by December we'll be able to choose. Maybe sooner.

Due to popular demand, and the terror of impending MFA application deadlines, we've added one more Friday in November to the workshopping schedule. Yes, I'll send out e-mail reminders and the lineup, as usual. And, of course, remind me of what I've forgotten to say.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Writers' Workshop

It's time again! We're workshopping Friday at The Chicory at 1:00. You know you want to come...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Work Detail

Most of my court work involves civil litigation, so money defines every last detail. Today I'm working on a case where two doctors are battling an attorney over compensation. This is the deal. Percipient (fact) witnesses can be subpoenaed and receive $35/day for their testimony. There are no time limits. The attorney can keep them there all day. This is the California rate, by the way. Expert witnesses, however, can set their own hourly fees. Often, with doctors, this can hum along to the tune of $750/hour. So today I have two doctors who are being paid the percipient $35/day rate and refusing to answer any questions except for reading from their medical records. Anything that involves using any of their medical expertise is a no-go. They won't even interpret their abbreviations.

Now, I certainly wouldn't want to be paid $35/day to talk to an attorney, as much as I do like to talk. $750/hour, however, seems to me to be a little excessive. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Harmony of Angels

My daughter Jojo is in the living room, practicing on the piano, a simple piece by Burgmuller, Opus 100, No. 21, called Harmony of Angels, and I'm dead jealous. No, not of Jojo. She plays extremely well, but I can play the piece, too. It's quite simple, the version she has. Nah, I'm jealous of Burgmuller, and the music writers in general, how well they do what they do. I can tell you all about the piece, the time signature, the key, the triplets, but it's the actual sound in your ears that conveys the amazing feel, the wings. Two measures in and you're feeling something! The sound reaches the inside parts. I think poetry and fiction can do that, but it is hard! So hard. And so few do it. I should have been diligent and practiced the piano more! I know, I know, words can take you farther, if you choose them well, but I want the meaning and the feeling! What's that line from the song we both like, Jesus? "Is it too much to demand, I want a full house and a rock and roll band." Then I want everyone to go home so I can clean up the mess and write about it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Write Right Write

If you're the sort who keeps up with this kind of thing, the turnout at The Bucket last night for workshopping was wonderful. Ten people came and we workshopped seven poems! We endured the juke box. We ate and drank and smoked and laughed and talked about many things... And we even ended by 10:00! I'll post the new schedule shortly. While you're waiting with great anticipation, write something new!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

No Till Gardening

Jojo is holding this awesome snake that Tom disturbed while mowing today. Jojo is giving him a pep talk about finding someplace to lie low for the winter, preferably not in the middle of the yard. And to think, whenever my grandma saw one of these babies she'd start screaming, get the hoe! Then she'd get the hoe.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Always a Sucker for Another Quiz

Thanks to Greg Rappleye's site for another fun quiz to confirm what we already know about ourselves. We are the ones answering these questions, right?

You Are 60% Left Brained, 40% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Workshop Friday at Chicory Cafe

Don't forget! The weather is perfect for cafe'ing it. So drag yourself over there, or whatever it takes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

At Two

(Thanks for the help, everyone!)

Because you fall awake
at two with the dogs,
the stars, the absence
of the moon, the other, you

------------------------brood over

the lack of gravity,
the turning from,
the cavernous want
of turning to.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Consumption Blues

Check out What if Everyone Consumed Like You. Unfortunately, if everyone consumed like I do it would take 5.3 earths to support us all, and I consider myself a fairly conservative consumer (good thing they didn't ask how many books I buy.) Play the game and let me know how many earths your clones would consume.

I've already made a change, though. The dumping of over five million pounds (I'm behind times times, the figure today is 21.7 million pounds) of E. Coli-tainted beef last week by Wal-Mart (and others) sickened me so much I can't think of eating cow, or pig, for that matter. All those animals slaughtered and then thrown away. (In case there was some lingering doubt which way my political winds blow...) Now I'm looking at chicken and fish (okay, yes, and yogurt. I'm working on it.) Of course, not everyone in the world has the choices I do. The fish seem to be gone in Nigeria. Thanks to Dr. Scanlan for this link.

Speeding Through the Fog

Friday and I've been descending for a few days into the fog of a fall cold. I'm somewhere deep inside a cave in the middle of a mountain. Hibernation is setting in. Where's that box of Kleenex I saw last spring? Last night I dreamed a home repair man was trying to remove a bear from my backyard, but I chastised him, saying, Are you crazy, that bear belongs there. If you would have looked harder you might have noticed the lion, too. I'm not sure what that's all about, but animals are frequently prominent features in my dreams.

Workshopping is off to a good start. Our group managed to eat and drink (with some smoke) our way through five poem in three hours. Faster than a speeding bullet we have begun. A good time was had by all. The most serious discussion involved future location/time. Some of us want a little more quiet, some of us don't want to give up the beer and snacks. Chris O'Brien has offered a compromise for Bucket nights, come to her house, close to downtown, enjoy the quiet, drink/eat whatever you want to bring, sit around her large kitchen table. It sounds great to me, but let me know what you think. It's also a good deal cheaper, which most of us don't mind. Time is still up in the air. There seems to be no night that suits everyone, so we'll stick with Wednesday for the time being, perhaps move it to every other Wednesday or something like that. Maybe next semester we will have some relief.

If you didn't make it Wednesday, come next Friday and we'll workshop at The Chicory. In case you hadn't noticed, we're making this up as we go. Isn't that what writers do?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Workshop at The Bucket

Yes, the day has finally arrived! We're going to workshop tonight. 7:00. I'm going to get there early and try to reserve a large table inside downstairs. Send away all the butterflies, it's going to be fun.

So you didn't send out a poem or any small piece of writing of any sort (like me). Come . So you didn't write on anyone else's writings because you weren't sure how, or you got busy, or something, never mind. Come. So you're broke. (I'll share my onion rings with you.) Come. So you have to wash your hair tonight. It's not going to help your looks. Come.

Warning. This post has a subtle underlying message. Come.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Snail Vision

I slid down to southern Indiana for a few days. The mosquitoes are still rampant in Michiana (don’t even think of rolling down the window while you’re waiting for the train), but down by McCormick’s Creek they’ve vanished. Everything is dry, dry, dry. No matter where I travel this year, the signs say “fire danger high,” sometimes “very high.”

The water in McCormick’s Creek is still flowing, but it’s shallow. The bigger fish are holed up in scattered deep-ish pools. I wish I knew their names. Next book purchase, a fish field guide. I’ve been reading Pilgrim at Tinker’s Creek for a while now. Like Dillard, I’m in no rush. I want to travel slowly enough to appreciate the fossils embedded in the creek bed, or all those black dots in the water that turn into snails in my hands, or the hawk (which one?) above the glade circling, circling, circling, until whoosh, a plummet, a meal, or the gray antennaed caterpillar crawling up the handrail (who in the heck is he/she going to be?). This must be the middle age craving for second childhood. I want to touch things, but this time with eyes patient enough to see.