“Isn’t it terrible how dry you can be . . . I can’t seem to write a single paragraph which interests me. It’s like looking for something in the dark, there’s such a huge amount of chance in writing.” ~ Robert Phelps, from a letter to James Salter (March 1, 1969-70)

Statue of Liberty by Jeff Nesanelis (FCC)

Sunday afternoon, cloudy, not quite as hot, 86 degrees (feels like 93)

We’re supposed to get rain. We need it. Last night was quite a light show of lightning in the distance, but the rain never got here. Corey parked my car where it can be rained on because it’s so dirty. I never used to let my vehicles get this dirty.

I thought that I’d share part of an interview with writer Catherine Chung from the June 18 “Ten Questions” feature in Poets & Writers. I like this particular feature as I find it interesting to read what writers have to say about their craft. P&W is a wonderful publication, one that I really should take better advantage of, but as with most things, I do not.

Oh well . . . Know thyself, as they say.

Here are Chung’s answers to two of the questions asked:

2. What was the most challenging thing about writing the book?
My mind! My mind is the biggest challenge in everything I do. I write to try to set myself free, and then find myself snagged on my own limitations. It’s maddening and absurd and so, so humbling. With this book, it was a tie between trying to learn the math I was writing about—which I should have seen coming—and having to confront certain habits of mind I didn’t even know I had. I found myself constantly reining my narrator in, even though I meant for her to be fierce and brilliant and strong. She’s a braver person than me, and I had to really fight my impulse to hold her back, to let her barrel ahead with her own convictions and decisions, despite my own hesitations and fears.

3. Where, when, and how often do you write?
I write where I can, when I can. I’ve written in bathtubs of hotel rooms so as not to wake my companions, I’ve written on napkins in restaurants, I’ve written on my phone on the train, sitting under a tree or on a rock, and on my own arm in a pinch. I’ve walked down streets repeating lines to myself when I’ve been caught without a pen or my phone. I’ve also written on my laptop or in a notebook at cafes and in libraries or in bed or at my dining table. As to how often I write, it depends on childcare, what I’m working on, on deadlines, on life!

Here is a link to the list of P&W “Ten Questions” features.

P.S. Thought I’d post the beautiful sonnet by Emma Lazarus to which I alluded in yesterday’s post, “The New Colossus,” which is mounted on a plaque on the pedestal below the Statue of Liberty. You know, the universal symbol of freedom, that woman who greets immigrants to a better life here in the U.S.


Music by Mumford & Sons, “White Blank Page”


The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

~ Emma Lazarus

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Happy Father’s Day

Image result for picture of dad holding kids hand


Sunday afternoon, sunny, chance of thunderstorms, 79 degrees.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads, stepdads, granddads, and single dads and single moms doing the job of being both mom and dad, and all of the other unsung heroes out there . . . Hope you have a wonderful day and year.


My Papa’s Waltz

The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother’s countenance
Could not unfrown itself.

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.

~ Theodore Roethke


Music by Michael Paul Lawson, “Memories and Throttle”

Sunday afternoon . . .

(Creative Commons)

Sunday afternoon, sunny, 82 degrees.

Road trip today to Roanoke to pick up two more goats, female Nubians, so no time for a post. I’ve been wanting to use the following selection from The Upanishads, so I thought today would be a good day. One day I’ll read more of these texts (for more information on these ancient Indian philosophies, go here).

More later. Peace.

From “Eternal Stories” from The Upanishads (Tr. Thomas Egenes):

“Look Balaki,” the king said. “Do you see that spider?”

“Yes,” said Balaki, “I see the spider moving along its web.”

“We are like the spider,” said the king. “We weave our life, and then move along in it. We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream.

“This is true for the entire universe. That is why it is said, ‘Having created the creation, the Creator entered into it.’

“This is true for us. We create our world, and then enter into that world. We live in the world that we have created. When our hearts are pure, then we create the beautiful, enlightened life we have wished for.”

(Didn’t get home until almost 11 p.m. Very long day. Much hotter in Roanoke, in the 90s. Forgot to post before we left.)


Music by Aisha Badru, “Bridges”

“The other two cannot make money fortune telling. This is because they only tell the truth, and the truth is not what people want to hear. It is a bad thing and it troubles people, so they do not come back.” ~ Neil Gaiman, from American Gods

Palmistry (ca. 1850-1899)

“Girls with poison necklaces
to save themselves from torture.
Just as women wear amulets
which hold their rolled up fortunes
transcribed on ola leaf.” ~ Michael Ondaatje, from “Buried”

Sunday afternoon, sunny, and mild, 66 degrees.

Not a whole lot to say today, so something a big different.

The desire to predict and know the future is as old as human history. The ancient Assyrians, among many civilizations, consulted their mystics before battle. The Romans revered their astrologers. The oracles of the ancient Greeks relayed the words of the gods. Soothsayers, prophets, augurs, astrologists, palm-readers, pyromancers, phrenologists, tarot readers, clairvoyants, and fortune-tellers—the categories are near endless, and people have claimed to divine the future from peering into everything from animal entrails to urine.

Regardless, whether you believe or scorn, the idea of fate features prominently in poetry and fiction, and in this post, I’m featuring the words some of my favorite authors and poets: Neil Gaiman, Michael Ondaatje, and Louise Glück.

Enjoy.


Theory of Memory

Long, long ago, before I was a tormented artist, afflicted with longing yet
incapable of forming durable attachments, long before this, I was a glorious
ruler uniting all of a divided country—so I was told by the fortune-teller
who examined my palm. Great things, she said, are ahead of you, or perhaps
behind you; it is difficult to be sure. And yet, she added, what is the difference?
Right now you are a child holding hands with a fortune-teller. All the
rest is hypothesis and dream.

~ Louise Glück


Music by Diana Krall, “Simple Twist of Fate”

Sunday afternoon . . .

How my books look . . .
found on bookshelf porn

 versus

How I’d like my reading room to look . . .

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away” ~ Emily Dickinson, from 1286

Ugh. Just ugh. Complete lack of energy and numb headache make for a very blah day. I did complete my book bingo, though. At first I was going for the first things that popped into my head, but then that got really hard as nothing was popping into my head; I’d remember a plot, but not the title . . . remember a title, but not the author. Goodreads to the rescue again.

Not sure why resolution is off or why some words appear to be in bold. Let me know if it’s unreadable. Enjoy.

reading bingo

More later. Peace.

                   

Music by Patrick Watson, “Turn into the Noise”

                   

Ode to the Book

When I close a book
I open life.
I hear
faltering cries
among harbours.
Copper ignots
slide down sand-pits
to Tocopilla.
Night time.
Among the islands
our ocean
throbs with fish,
touches the feet, the thighs,
the chalk ribs
of my country.
The whole of night
clings to its shores, by dawn
it wakes up singing
as if it had excited a guitar.

The ocean’s surge is calling.
The wind
calls me
and Rodriguez calls,
and Jose Antonio–
I got a telegram
from the “Mine” Union
and the one I love
(whose name I won’t let out)
expects me in Bucalemu.

No book has been able
to wrap me in paper,
to fill me up
with typography,
with heavenly imprints
or was ever able
to bind my eyes,
I come out of books to people orchards
with the hoarse family of my song,
to work the burning metals
or to eat smoked beef
by mountain firesides.
I love adventurous
books,
books of forest or snow,
depth or sky
but hate
the spider book
in which thought
has laid poisonous wires
to trap the juvenile
and circling fly.
Book, let me go.
I won’t go clothed
in volumes,
I don’t come out
of collected works,
my poems
have not eaten poems–
they devour
exciting happenings,
feed on rough weather,
and dig their food
out of earth and men.
I’m on my way
with dust in my shoes
free of mythology:
send books back to their shelves,
I’m going down into the streets.
I learned about life
from life itself,
love I learned in a single kiss
and could teach no one anything
except that I have lived
with something in common among men,
when fighting with them,
when saying all their say in my song.

~ Pablo Neruda

 

Sunday afternoon . . .

“My brother once showed me a piece of quartz that contained, he said, some trapped water older than all the seas in our world. He held it up to my ear. ‘Listen,’ he said, ‘life and no escape.’” ~ Anne Carson, from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry

Sunday afternoon. Drizzly and cool, 64 degrees.

Corey is outside with the chipper shredder processing all of the trees and shrubs that he and Mike cut down yesterday. It was a massive undertaking, but one that had to be done.

The pain from my trigger point injections on Friday is finally receding, which is a good thing because I have so many things that I need to do. We’ll see how much I’m able to accomplish. I have to say, though, that I’ll be really glad when that noise is over. Two days of really loud equipment going all out right outside my bedroom window is really hard on the head.

But then again, what isn’t?

Here. Have something pretty . . .

More later. Peace.

                   

Reblogged from All That is Odd:
source
Five Fascinating Beaches Around the World
Glass Beach – Fort Bragg, California

Fort Bragg residents used to throw their garbage (including glass bottles) over a cliff onto the beach before it was outlawed in 1967. Over the decades the waves and sand have broken down the glass into smooth, rounded pieces.
(Photo: mlhradio/Flickr)

Jokulsarlon Lake – Iceland

The glacial lake is located in the Vatnajokull National Park, and the shore is filled with huge pieces of ice resting on black volcanic sand. But what really makes this beach unique is that during the winter, it is the perfect place to see the breathtaking northern lights.
(Photo: Ingo Meironke/Flickr)

Bowling Ball Beach – Schooner Gulch, California

The rocks at the Schooner Gulch State Beach are almost perfectly round due to a natural process called concretion.
(Photo: John K/Flickr)

Shell Beach – Shark Bay, Australia

This beach is home to billions of coquina bivalve shells instead of fine grains of sand. The water has a high salt concentration that attracts the shelled creatures.
(Photo: Stefan L/Flickr)

Maldives Beach – Republic of the Maldives

This beach in the Maldives lights up at night, thanks to microscopic organisms called bioluminescent phytoplankton. The organisms respond to changes in the water. Any movement will leave an impressive trail of bluish lights.
(Photo: Exilism/Flickr)

                   

Music by Sleeping at Last, “Ruby Blue”

“. . . the reason all these smart people are chilling their brains is not some new health fad but to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the lethal neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The original idea was that when the gauntlet was thrown down in the ice bucket challenge, you either need to give $100 to ALS or dump ice water on your head.” ~ Matthew Herper, Forbes (8/19/2014)

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

 

Sunday afternoon. Cloudy and cool, 70’s.

Hello folks. Long time, no write.

I know that I’ve been missing for a bit. It’s been very hectic around here, things we’ve been doing and taking care of, and I just haven’t had the time to sit and gather my thoughts. I’m hoping to remedy that this week.

For those of you who have recently begun following this blog, I wish you greetings and thanks.

Here is a little something I’ve been wanting to share ever since I saw my son Eamonn’s video of his own ice bucket challenge. I love how my kids can still amaze me with their kindness and thoughtfulness.

Enjoy.

                   

From the Huffington Post:

There’s been such a deluge of videos made of these ice bucket challenges (some of which have been hilarious, others more serious) that you might be tempted to skip this new video that was uploaded Monday by a man named Anthony Carbajal. But as Upworthy put it, this is one clip that “you really should see.”

The video begins humorously as Carbajal, a photographer, dresses up in a neon bikini top and soaps up a car before being doused with ice water. “OK, that was probably the most embarrassing thing that I’ve ever done in my entire life.”

But the clip, at around the two-minute mark, takes a somber turn as Carbajal explains why he chose to take the challenge. “I’ve been so terrified of ALS my entire life because it runs in my family,” he says, breaking down. “My grandmother had it. She was a second mother to me. My mother was diagnosed when I was in high school and five months ago, I was diagnosed at 26 years old. ALS is so, so f—king scary, you have no idea.”

Carbajal says he’s already started losing movement in his fingers. Eventually, just like other ALS patients, he will lose the ability to walk, talk, eat and breathe on his own.

In the video, Carbajal shows footage of him caring for his mother who cannot walk or eat without assistance. “I hate talking about [ALS],” Carbajal says in the clip. “That’s probably why nobody talks about it because… it’s so challenging to see, and to talk about. Nobody wants to see a depressing person that’s dying… they don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want their day ruined.”

But we need to keep this discussion alive, says Carbajal, so pharmaceutical companies and others will continue to be pushed to find a cure for this fatal disease. According to the ALS Association, more than $31 million has been raised so far for ALS research and patient care thanks to the ice bucket challenge.

“This is the first successful advocacy [ALS has] ever really… had and I’m so, so, so grateful,” he said. “You have no idea how every single challenge makes me feel, lifts my spirits, lifts every single ALS patient’s spirits. You’re really, truly making a difference.”

In Carbajal’s video, there’s a suggestion made that viewers should watch all the way to the end.

Please do.

Anthony Carbajal Ice Bucket video:

For more information:

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Blows Up Social Media

What is ALS?

                   

Music by Laura Jansen, “A Call to Arms”

                   

Alone With Everybody

the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and the men drink too
much
and nobody finds the
one
but keep
looking
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than
flesh.

there’s no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular
fate.

nobody ever finds
the one.

the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill

nothing else
fills.

~ Charles Bukowski