Off to the Sequoias



Big trees.  Great family time.  

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Published in: on August 28, 2014 at 12:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thoughts for today

We spend too much time on the freeways in Los Angeles.

My brain is crowded.

Vacation is long over.  

I like to have jelly beans in my office to sustain me, but I don’t have any.

Jelly Bellies.

There are many things that are not good for you. Like chocolate cake. 

But so yummy.

Or sleeping instead of getting up early to exercise. 

Sleep is yummy.

I do Pilates at 7 am on days when I am not teaching. 

And I run and go to the gym.

Still, I’m not skinny.

Which brings us back to the problem of chocolate cake.

I never eat cake. We never bake except for holidays.

It’s just that I eat. 

Los Angeles is hot.

We are always on a diet.

It hasn’t rained here in forever.

The fig tree seems to like the drought but the avocado tree does not.

We go camping in the redwoods tomorrow.

With seven kids in their twenties.  So there will be nine of us.

Not very restful.

When I’m there, surrounded by trees that have lived since Christ was born, I think there is a God.

When I am in Los Angeles, there is no God.

Published in: on August 27, 2014 at 1:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

I want to breathe more

But it isn’t easy. It’s crazy here. I’m working hard. I’m hanging on to my health. I’m saying to people around me, don’t drink too much. Breathe. But they never listen.

When I wake up I see light coming through the grilled curtain. The sun is rising. If you live with very few people, it’s easy not have anything to be embarrassed about.

It is in our private moments that we are craziest.

If alone you eat tongue and fried onions. Have you seen tongue in the store? Have you thought about what it means to eat a creature’s tongues or loins or belly? It’s enough to make you a vegetarian. Good bacon comes from little pigs.

Something is coming apart here.

I can’t see the end of it and there is no snow. Or rain either.

Today I went to the doctor. He wanted to go to Barcelona because he’s never been there.

Tonight there was broccoli. Every time I go to sleep I tell myself stories. Every time I go to sleep, I wonder.

Published in: on August 26, 2014 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

let’s go fly a kite!, why I love kites



You don’t need kites.  They’re completely useless as an object to get you from point A to point B.   They’re really impossible to play with indoors.  You have to get out to some open place or the kite is not happening.   They’re not really useful in getting you exercise which you need if you are going to stay in shape for all those dates you are going to arrange through those online dating sites.  For all these reasons, I like kites. 


There are lots of things you can spend money on that get you from Point A to Point B.

  1. Cars.
  2. The right clothes. Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.
  3. The right purse. (I don’t know what this is but I know lots of people think you are more important if you have the right purse. Do not try to impress me by having the right purse, I won’t know it when I see it.)
  4. The right coat. Keeps you dry/warm.  Gets you noticed.  Again, I have no idea what coat.
  5. Having a house. If you’re a single guy and you have a house it’s easier to attract females.  A castle is even better.  A castle with a moat is the best.  And turrets.  I love a good moat and some turrets and parapets just make my head spin.
  6. The right dog. Many a man has gone for a walk in the park with the right poodle or hound and gotten a girl to sidle over to “ask about the dog.”
  7. A boat! Never underestimate the power of being able to invite females out on your boat. There are few sexier questions you can ask than, “Would you like to go out on my boat/yacht/clipper ship?” And once you have the girl out on the water, you’re halfway there.
  8. A plane. Even a little plane will definitely get you some wows from people.  Seriously? You have a plane?  Is it a Cessna or a Gulfstream?  Either way, owning a plane will not only get you from one point to another but it will also get you some respect.
  9. A horse. Okay, not everyone likes horses but having one can get you around, plus, horses are cool.  I love horseback riding, so if you have a horse, let me know, we can be friends.
  10. An island house—it’s nice and can get you to a relaxed state of mind.


Which brings us back to kites.  They aren’t important. They don’t have a purpose; that’s what I like about them.  I like the magic of something that floats off into the sky.  You hold it by the end of a string and imaging yourself to also be floating at the end of a string and someone you love is holding the other end.  I like the idea of kites.  I’m leaving here and going to the Seal Beach Pier where they have an amazing kite shop.  I’m going to check it out.  I haven’t flown a kite for a very long time.  A kite is a dream at the end of a string.  Up there, it’s wet and the air is cold.

Published in: on August 25, 2014 at 10:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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We Will rock you ran for twelve years in London, but it can end in LA any time now


We saw it last night and it was good times especially the sushi before hand in Little Tokyo, and there were a few songs that were fun but the whole show was a miss. Mikael Wood said it best in his LA Times review when he said it wasn’t just the lame plot for the musical, or the trivializing of rock as a genre but the whole thing. Ruby Lewis is a great singer and all the singers were amazing so it wasn’t that. It was just a tragically badly written musical. What we wanted it to be was Mama Mia which was fun and each song sort of surprisingly fit into the whole fun musical. This had a weakly strung together plot and too many one liners that fell flat. My favorite one liner was, “Oh, I’m a groupie and a roadie, so I’ll have to have sex with myself. Well, no change there.”

The musical was about an escape from a dystopian world of Facebook and computer generated music back to the time when rock and roll was king but there was also a lot in there about how sexist rock and roll was. I think sexism is alive and well today too and feminism is still a bad word in most circles. Most of the time when I have a conversation with a woman we both talk and when I have a conversation with a man, it’s mostly me listening and I’m a chatty one. I hate to think how few words I’d fit in there if I were an obedient woman. I know very few feminist men my own age. Wait, I can think of two: My husband and my friend Lisa’s husband. I meet more feminist men the age of my kids, but men in their fifties and sixties who grew up with rock and roll? Not so much.

Well, we have no upcoming tickets to plays for a while because the semester is starting and it’s time to buckle down and work. That said, we are all going to the Sequoias and going camping this weekend. Which will be super fun. I’m going to try to stay relaxed this fall amid the travel, Red Hen stuff, getting back to running, keeping Pilates going, finishing another book and getting enough sleep. That’s the plan anyway. I’m getting a little tired reading the plan. Onward.

Published in: on August 24, 2014 at 1:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Beatles at the Bowl

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Dave Stewart has ridiculously talented kids. His fourteen year old daughter Kaya could give Miley Cyrus a run for her money just in dress alone. Kaya was in tall slick slutty boots, but she has a ridiculously amazing voice. It’s crazy. And Django is so talented and good looking, it’s like, get out of here. Stop it. You are twenty-one and Kaya is only fourteen. Stop it both of you.

They sang Beatles songs and the crowd seemed pretty sedate and to be quietly enjoying it. The Bowl was completely packed. The only song that got the whole crowd going was Billy Ray Cyrus doing “Hey Jude,” and instead of lighters everyone holds up their lit cell phones. Very twerky generation we live in.

And Billy Ray Cyrus in Los Angeles? We are not a country town but he had the crowd going and he made the Beatles sound country and down home.

Tonight we go to Queen. We’re on a mission. I’ll let you know when I figure out what the mission is.

Published in: on August 23, 2014 at 6:53 am  Leave a Comment  

This is TOP SECRET! I just received this email! I kind of love the poetry of this.

Hello, Beloved One

I decided to write you this proposal in good faith, believing that you will not betray me.

My Name is Mr Alhassan Andani, a Banker (Manager Foreign Remittance Department in Standard Charted Bank Ghana.) I have a financial transaction that will benefit both of us. On the 4th of August 2009,a foreign prominent Oil consultant/Merchant by name Mr. Chris Peppers made a fixed deposit of Six Million Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand United State Dollars ($6,850,000.00) in my bank. Upon maturity, I have been sending notification letter to him as his account Relationship Officer via his address but got no reply. After a month, I sent a reminder and finally discovered that Mr. Chris Peppers is dead. He died on a ghastly motor accident after few months he deposited this money,and late Mr. Chris Peppers did not mention any Next of Kin/ Heir when these account was opened because he was not married and no children and since then all attempts made to trace his relations were fruitless neither has anyone shown up as his next of kin to claim his money.

My proposal is that hence nobody has showed up as a next of kin to Mr. Chris Peppers, I will like you as a foreigner to stand in as the next of kin to Mr Chris Peppers to claim this fund since your a foreigner. There is no risk involved; the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law. I will give you all the detail information on how you will officially Claim the Money without any financial risk and by the help of a Legal Attorney who will assist You,I am not a greedy person, so I am suggesting we share the funds accordingly, 50% for me, 50% for you that is equal,Hope this is a fair deal for both of us, My share will assist me to start my own company which has been my dream.

Let me know your mind on this and please do treat this information as TOP SECRET. We shall go over the details once I receive your urgent response strictly through my personal email address ( We can as well discuss this on my personal phone No;+233230761855 In the light of the above, I shall appreciate an urgent message indicating your ability and willingness to handle this transaction sincerely. I’m awaiting your urgent and positive response. Please do keep this only to yourself as top secret,do not disclose it to any person. There is no risk involve, provided you are honest with me.

Thanks and regards,

Mr Alhassan Andani

Manager Foreign Remittance Department, Standard Charted Bank Accra Ghana. .EINFACH .KOSTENLOS .SICHER
Sicher dir jetzt dein kostenloses E-Mail Postfach.

Published in: on August 22, 2014 at 1:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lots of music in my life

The Bowl last night was great. I had this idea of catching up with Nicelle but there were six of us and it was kind of melting thing with the Mozart and wine. It was so great to hang with my San Diego poets. San Diego is a more relaxing place to live than LA, I’m pretty sure because they didn’t seem uptight.

My son and his girlfriend are pretty relaxed in LA but they’re kicking back, playing chess and checkers and riding the bikes. Waiting for the piece of crap car to emerge from the garage with a set of working brakes.

Luke, one of my San Diego poets was already there with Aimee when we got there. He announced immediately when we brought out the dinner that he’s a vegetarian, kind of like we should have known that. I don’t think he ate dairy either. I like that kind of forcefulness that is so hard to achieve if you’re female where you just enter a party and say, You should know, I like champagne. You should know, I don’t eat meat.

I don’t have the moxie for it but in my next lifetime, I will put my needs out there right away. They were all so much fun to hang out with even if our food selections were far from perfect.

We are going camping next weekend in the redwoods. I think six or eight of us are going. It’s a good thing because LA is already making me tired and I need a little vacation.

We’re going to the Bowl tonight to hear Beatles music. Billy Ray Cyrus is going to be there. Country music is not my thing so hopefully he sticks to the Beatles music.

Then we are going to see Queen the musical tomorrow night. Mark hates musicals so I haven’t stressed that word with him. I’m using the euphemism, “music by Queen.” Margaritas first should help. Spoonful of sugar or in his case salt.

Rocking in the free world.

Published in: on August 22, 2014 at 1:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Back from NY/DC, up and running

I can’t even remember what I did the last couple days. I got to NY on the train and then raced from the New York Times to New Yorker, to Library Journal, Barnes and Noble, Book Forum. I don’t even remember all the meetings in two days and then a spectacular reading at Bryant Park.

I am glad to be coming home and this weekend is going to be busy. Thursday night we are going to the Bowl to hear Mozart, then Friday we are going to the Bowl to hear Beatles music and then Saturday we are seeing We will Rock You with Queen at the Ahmanson.

I am going to Pilates and running and generally getting on top of my game. Back to work/fun/reading/writing.

Next week we’re going camping in the Sequoias. I like the green thick forest with trees rushing together and the waterfall in the back ground. We always go in the water. I wonder how much will be flowing this year. The girls are bringing their dog who I think will love the woods. She’s been in San Francisco, she needs to smell the forest floor.

I need to smell my own bedroom. I hope I’m hitting the ground with energy at 110 %. A lot to get done this fall.

This fall I have a lot of readings. Time to rock and roll.

This fall’s readings:

September 10 at 7:00 pm – New England College, Henniker NH
September 11 time TBD – River Run Bookstore, Portsmouth NH with Alice B. Fogel and Leia Penina Wilson
September 13 at 4:00 pm – Poets House, New York NY with Nicelle Davis and Gregory Orr
September 14 time TBD – McNally Jackson, New York NY with Brett Fletcher Lauer
September 15-16 – Workshops at Walter Reed Hospital, Washington D.C.

September 19 at 6:30 pm – Building Bridges Art Exchange, Santa Monica CA with Kim Dower and Brendan Constantine
September 24 at 7:00 pm – E-Verse Equinox Reading Series, Fergie’s Pub, Philadelphia PA with Ernest Hilbert, Quincy R. Lehr, and CA Conrad
September 26 at 7:00 pm – Magers & Quinn, Minneapolis MN with Ron Koertge

September 28 at 7:00 pm – The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles CA with Brendan Constantine and Nicelle Davis

October 18 at 7:00 pm – The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City UT with Nicelle Davis and Katharine Coles

October 23 at 4:00 pm – UCSC Living Writers event, Santa Cruz CA with Andrew Lam

October 26 at 2:00 pm – op.cit. books, Santa Fe NM with Ron Koertge

October 30 time TBD – Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe AZ with Peggy Shumaker and Cynthia Hogue

October 31 at 7:00 pm – Antigone Books, Tuscon AZ with Peggy Shumaker and Cynthia Hogue

November 13 time TBD – Colorado College, Colorado Springs CO
November 19 at 7:00 pm – Left Bank Books, St. Louis MO with William Trowbridge
November 20 time TBD – Wayne State College, Wayne NE

November 21 at 7:00 pm – Sidedoor Lounge, Omaha NE

November 22 at 7 pm – The Book Cellar, Chicago IL with Ron Koertge and Elise Paschen

November 23 at 4:00 pm – Book Passage, San Francisco CA with Maxine Hong Kingston and Shelley Savren

Published in: on August 21, 2014 at 3:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Who are we if we forgive? Who are we if we don’t?

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I have a friend who was attacked as a child and her attacker went to jail but he’s due to get out. She has to walk back into the dark and remember that girl, that child, that man. Who was she? Who is she?

We all, who are asked to forgive, have to make that choice. The girl who was attacked. The men accused of attacking–those five men who spent years in prison for the Central Park rape. They were teenagers when they were imprisoned for a crime they did not commit. Nelson Mandela. Every kid who’s been beaten by his or her father, cursed by the grandfather, shunned by the mother.

I can say, I had a terrible childhood but that would not be true. I can say, some of my childhood was absolutely terrifying. I was that child, stripped down to torn shorts and a t-shirt, being told clearly what to do to stay out of trouble and ignoring that. Over and over. My parents chose not to raise me. And once you take parents out of the equation, it’s hard for anyone to feel surges of love for a child who simply tears back at the world. I remember canoeing around Lake Winnipesauke and even then in the calm twilight with enough mosquito repellant to drown my skin in oil I beat the water with my paddle and wished I could fight the powers of the adults who threatened us. I wanted to fight much more than I wanted to simply paddle around that lake hearing the loons.

To forgive your parents is one thing. They made decisions with the information they had. To forgive as Nelson Mandela, Gandhi or the Dalai Lama did is an act of grace that many of us will never experience.

To forgive a singular act of violence is bigger than most of us can imagine. We do not say, in some other world, that could have been me. If you don’t possess that degree of pathology, it could not have been you. Not in any world. So how do you not simply say, He was an animal, an inhuman monster. I forgive nothing?

If we do not forgive, we stain our own soul. We leave ourselves ripe for poison. Open to all the black toxin of creation. There is evil in the world and if we do not forgive, the evil is in us. It’s that simple, I want joy, I want love, I want grace; therefore, I forgive my father. I forgive my mother. I hope I too will be forgiven for all my wrongs in this and every life. Forgiveness is what gives us largeness of heart. I have known a few people whose hearts are big enough to birth a planet. Open your hands. Open your heart. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you’re saying what they did was okay. It was not okay. Ever. It’s you. It means you are no longer holding this dark sick poisonous thing in your hands. Turning it over and over, examining it like a treasure until you have nothing else. Forgiveness is dropping the dark thing and saying, I’m free of it. Drop the ring. You never needed to disappear. Just drop it and then the eagles pick you up and then you’re flying.

Published in: on August 18, 2014 at 5:12 am  Comments (1)  

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