Musings about music, writing, Portland, my new house, my travels, my family, politics, whatever.....

Thursday, April 26, 2007

You have to like it better than being loved

I recently began reading So You Want to Write, by Marge Piercy and Ira Wood, because I am seriously considering taking a writing workshop with them at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY based on this book.

The book began with this poem, and I was immediately sold. I wanted to share it, and I looked online and didn't find it, was all set to type it up myself. But then I perused her web site, and lo and behold it was the one poem from the book The Moon is Always Female that was posted there.

I should also note that she has a memoir called Sleeping With Cats. I find it unfortunate that that title is taken.

For the young who want to

Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don't have a baby,
call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.'s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else's mannerisms

is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you're certified a dentist.

The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.

Copyright 1980, Middlemarsh, Inc.
Alfred A. Knopf, New York

Saturday, April 21, 2007

beautiful girls and dr. seuss

well, i was inspired by a sort of photo essay on another blog i love (which is full of all kind of interesting insightful things in addition to pictures). and inspired by a new camera (ok, jonah's...) and by the fact that every friday i get to spend all day with my friend holly's daughters. there's not so much to say except they are both ridiculously smart and beautiful (not shocking, their mom's pretty cool, too).

so, here is my sunny afternoon with amelia and josie. a break in our front lawn dr. suess marathon. amelia has "Your Favorite Seuss: A Baker's Dozen by the One and Only Dr. Seuss." we've almost read all of them over the last few weeks. and i am loving them (most i hadn't read in at least 20 years). today we finished with "Happy Birthday to You" (which i had not read before) and we all took turns yelling, "I AM I" at the top of our lungs.

come hang out with us sometime.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Darfur Diaries

Went to a reading at Powell's tonight. A woman named Jen Marlowe who wrote "Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival." She also made a documentary based on the same material. I had met Jen just about a year ago at a Peaceworks conference in Olympia, WA. Peaceworks was started by the Rachel Corrie Foundation. Rachel Corrie being the 23-yr-old activist from Evergreen State College who went to Palestine in 2003 and stepped in front of an Israeli tank to try to prevent them from demolishing a house and was killed. Jen had done a lot of work with Israeli and Palestinian youth and got to know the Corries in the years following Rachel's death. So she spoke at the conference about the situation and her work. She was a really cool thirty-something woman from Philadelphia, and we ended up talking, having some beers together, etc. I knew at the time that she had also been doing some documenting of the crisis in Darfur, but she didn't talk about it as much since that's not what we were there for at the time.

When I saw Jen on the Powell's calendar this week, it seemed like a great chance to see her again and learn more about her work in Darfur, as well as the general situation, which I'm fairly ignorant about. She gave a great talk and read a few passages from her book, also showed a very short bit of the documentary. She's very down-to-earth, and doesn't get into a lot of esoteric political stuff (though she did explain things well), which I appreciate. I learned a lot, bought the book, and we had a nice chat. I'm too tired to get into the whole issue here, but go to the web site and check out what Jen and her colleagues are doing, go to a reading or screening near you, buy a book, learn a little about it.

Jen is also the co-founder of Rachel's Words and still involved in activism around the Israel/Palestine conflict. There's an amazing play being staged in Seattle right now called My Name is Rachel Corrie. I have read some of and am hoping to go up there for it. Info about that on the Rachel's Words site.

And stay tuned for some plugs of other books by people I know that I highly highly recommend, as soon as I have time to write about them. (They would be Monica Holloway and Ariel Gore. Ariel is reading at Powell's on Thursday night.).

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Pesach!

So this was the first (and maybe only?) year I attended two Passover seders. One in Bethesda, Maryland at my cousin Bob's house (two days after his wedding), and one in Portland at Kate and Brandan's house. Very different occasions. There was much more family bonding at the first one, and much more drinking of wine and playing of silly games at the second one.

But the important thing, I realized this year, is that there was plenty of maror . That would be bitter herbs, aka horseradish. And suddenly I realized I love horseradish and I need to eat more of it (even if it's not homemade). Not only is it yummy, but good for your health and prevents cancer, too.

So I bought two kinds at New Seasons tonight. And I'm eating it on bread while I listen to Natacha Atlas, my favorite Egyptian pop star. Because I like to celebrate Passover with good bread and good Egyptian music. Don't you?