Friday, August 10, 2012

Today, it was like the postcard senders knew me

I received my fifth and sixth postcards today as part of the Poetry Postcard Festival.  The first one I looked at featured a lovely illustration of a girl blowing the fluff off a giant dandelion: really pretty!  And then the second one was a flower fairy postcard!  I'm not sure how well-known of a fact this is, but I absolutely adore flowers and fairies, and I have a deeply entrenched childhood love of Cicely Mary Barker's "Flower Fairy" books and illustrations.  Alas, the postcard was not one of her images, but it was one of Amy Brown's, which I also like.  The poem on the second card was also really lovely.  And, by a nice conjunction of her card being late and me still trying to send mine early, the sender was on my list to send postcards to today, so I got to include a little note saying I loved her postcard.  That's the kind of thing I was looking forward to when I signed up for this whole poetry postcard exchange. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

1 out of 4

That's how many poetry postcards I've received so far: one out of the four days of August.  I don't expect to get one every day or to get them all on time, but I'm a little disappointed not to have more to respond to.  I did write one of my new postcards in response to the one I received (about the recent derecho storms). 

I'll be dropping three more postcards in a mailbox this weekend and hoping to get some more poems next week.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Poetry + Postcards

So much for being a more regular blogger this year . . .

Regardless of my recent blog slacking, I'm participating in a new poetry project and planning to blog about it.  I've decided to join the August Poetry Postcard Fest this year.  The idea is simple; poets sign up in advance and then each receives a list of names and addresses.  Every day in August, participants should write an original poem on a postcard and mail it to the next name on the list.  Theoretically, they should also be receiving a poem postcard every day as well. 

I love poems, and I love postcards, and I love collaborative projects, so this sounded right up my alley.  It reminds me in a vague way of a project we did in an art class in college, where each student began making a collage postcard and then passed it on to another classmate who add on to the image, and so on.  I remember my final postcard has a row of mismatched shoes along a beach.  It was pretty cool.

Now I confess I'm cheating a bit.  I actually wrote my first five postcards this past weekend and sent them out yesterday in the hope that one or more will arrive on the right day.  I used postcards I had at home already: a vintage vacation postcard, two vintage postcards of downtown Columbus, a free pug postcard I received from an Etsy artist when I ordered a batch of holiday cards, and a Penn State postcard featuring the Lion Shrine.  That last one yielded the most interesting poem, I think, given the clusterf*&% that's been consuming Penn State recently.

I have a few most postcards sitting around, waiting for poems, and I ordered a batch of vintage architectural postcards on ebay to round out the month's worth.  I am looking forward to receiving my first postcard(s), and hoping that they will inspire my next batch of poems.  I will probably post pictures of some of the cards I receive and possibly images of some of my poems as well.

Monday, February 6, 2012

How Sweet It Is

The new issue of Sweet: A Literary Confection is live, lovely, and free online! And I am oh so honored to have two poems included, alongside work by other awesome people like Nin Andrews and Michael Martone. Seriously, how cool is it to appear in the same journal as people whose work you've long admired? Pretty freaking cool.

Anyway, go check it out!

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Selection of Random Links

After Wednesday's blackout, it appears the interwebs are buzzing with interesting stories this morning. Or perhaps I should credit my friends' Friday procrastination instead; I've found all of these posted by my facebook and/or twitter colleagues. Regardless, because I've come across such a diverse array of interesting things this morning, I don't have a coherent idea to post about; instead, you get a smidgen of many different ideas.

So, in no particular order, I offer you:

A proposal to eliminate university tuition
-- With all the crazy shit that's happened at the UC schools recently, this is actually positive information. From the article, "On Wednesday, a group of students at UC Riverside presented a proposal to UC President Mark Yudof that would abolish tuition - and he’s actually considering it." The best thing about it, at least from this short article, is that the plan actually makes sense.

An indicator that I truly am old -- Nothing says "you're not a kid anymore" like the news that your favorite childhood movie is being remade. And now, The Princess Bride is the victim. I'll grant that this cast/director could be a lot worse, but still, they're messing with perfection and I am not pleased.
Comedy, satire, and politics -- and the hazy borders between them. Some of my former Penn State colleagues and I recently had a long, involved discussion on facebook about Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart and political satire. It started with this article, and then this one, which I'd read a few days before, and the link I started with addresses some of the issues we'd been discussing. I will say that I'm not 100% sold on Colbert in many ways, that I prefer Stewart's approach; but I also acknowledge that Colbert's recent "long-form journalism" (as this article calls it) re: campaign finance, super PACs, etc is pretty effective in showing a non-expert audience exactly how fucked up the system is.

Another serious-comic piece -- which I relate to all too well. Maybe is running out of ideas, but this one on "The 5 Stupidest Habits You Develop Growing Up Poor" is really on-point. I've had this conversation with a couple of friends of mine, one of whom grew up with less than I did (and I grew up firmly working class, if not "poor" exactly) and the other who grew up in a privileged suburb; the insidious effects of poverty are easy to under-estimate, especially for people who've never been there as well as those who've gotten past that income level. This piece, which is humorous in many places, does a great job of explaining some of them.

And a bit of bad news from India -- I adore Salman Rushdie. I first read him in high school, and my mother disapproved. I've read nearly all his books. I even used a quote from one of his essays as an epigraph for my MFA thesis. I follow him on Twitter. And I find it so ridiculous, and sad, that his life is still being threatened. This article is interesting as well in its discussion of literary festivals, and the question of what happens when these events (or any events) grow too big too fast. It also makes me both sad and relieved to be missing the AWP festival next month.

And I believe that's it for today. I need to get off the couch, run some errands, clean my apartment, and get ready to meet up with friends this evening where I get to hear about L's trip to Costa Rica. Yay! Have I mentioned how much I love my life?

Afterthought: in an effort to not be too "cheery," I'll also give you this morning's small stone:

the furnace works
for two solid hours
warming the morning rooms
enough to move
I don't get up until I can feel my nose

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Feeling Privileged

I went grocery shopping yesterday. I read labels, compared ingredients, did my best to choose healthy foods and beauty products that were not tested on animals. And I thought as I drove home that those kinds of consumer choices, as important as they may be, are not available to everyone, that being able to make those choices is a mark of economic privilege.

* * *

I feel lucky in so many ways these days. I love where I live. I love what I do. I have an amazing group of friends here in Columbus. I still have wonderful friends back in Pennsylvania. I have so much freedom in my schedule and in my life. I have time to write and to read and to work out and to cook.

* * *

I was out with friends the other night and I couldn't stop thinking how happy I am to be back in Columbus. I'd gone to a hockey game earlier (free tickets through a friend's boss), we walked from the arena up to the Short North, then went to a bar where we made friends with a bunch of girls dressed in 80's costumes for a birthday party. I was with a group of lesbians, some of whom were couples and being visibly affectionate; we were not at a gay bar, yet no one batted an eye.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Some Thoughts About the Drive Home

This quarter, I have a much shorter commute, though sometimes more frustrating. I don't have to get on the highway. I begin by driving out Bryden Road, past all the lovely old houses (some in good repair, others much less so). I jog up Nelson and then turn right on East Broad, where I stay for the next 10 miles or so: past the ornate houses in Bexley at first, then through a wilderness of strip malls in Whitehall, past the outerbelt, more strip malls, and then I arrive at the college, housed in a building that looks to me like an old bank, but used to be an event center (the ballroom still has a removable dance floor).

* * *

I spend a lot of time on my way to campus sitting at traffic lights. On my way home, I catch the majority of them green.

* * *

I sometimes think as I'm driving that this stretch of road is what gives Ohio a bad name -- the strip malls, the presence of almost every type of fast food imaginable. There are the typical ones: Taco Bells, McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King. There are two Tim Horton's, an Arby's, a KFC, a White Castle, a Skyline Chili. There are the faux ethnic options: two Mark Pi's, one Panda Express, a Chipotle (which I do love, in all honesty). There is pizza of multiple varieties, Subway, Penn Station, as well as two Bob Evans, an Applebees, a Tumbleweed, and two different chicken wing joints. It's disgusting sometimes to think about just how much bad food is available on that journey.

Because I'm teaching evening classes, I'm generally hungry when I leave campus at night, but I've made it my goal NOT to stop for food on the way home. Instead, last night I came back, boiled some udon noodles and tossed them with kimchi, thawed frozen spinach, soy sauce, a smidge of sugar, and sesame oil. It was delicious! Tonight I opened a can of vegetarian baked beans and heated up some leftover mashed potatos. Can't win them all, I guess.

* * *

The first couple of times I drove back, I almost missed the turn onto Nelson Road. This week, I realized that as soon as I can see the lights of downtown Columbus appear ahead of me, I need to make the next left. It makes perfect sense, and it makes me smile to make that connection, to feel like I'm coming back through the suburbs to where I really live.

* * *

And, finally, today's #smallstone

the lights that seem white

as I drive past them
darken to yellow
up ahead
leaning in to each other
a bell ringing gold