AWP Tampa was calm. 

Didn’t see the city much, just a smudge of Tampa, the boats lined up against the water; the restaurant last night had an odd menu—raw fish and hummus, macaroni and cheese, ribs and paella.  Tampa is like that.  It’s a city of brightness and lilt, a city of dancing.  Some cities feel tight or roaring, a fierceness; some cities feel cold and damp; some feel sleepy or angry or lost, Tampa felt like a miracle of water and light.

 

Some of us walk through the world with blinders on, only seeing what is right in front of us. I have been in a deep soul lesson for much time, and I am striving to learn the big lessons of life, which it seems I need to be quiet to learn.

 

We are going to the Bay this week, a fierce growing city, not a sleepy nook of it. We are going for Allison Joseph’s reading at the Marin poetry Center and her book launch party and some meetings.  The drive to northern California is oil wells and cows, almond groves and the thick middle of California baking in the sun, wishing for rain.

 

Stay with those who wish you well.

Your tribe are those who see you and hear you.

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Published in: on March 11, 2018 at 9:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Travels on the East Coast

I like the students at Vermont Center of Fine Arts, such enthusiasm for writing and publishing. They asked the best questions I’ve gotten from a group of students in my travels.  I stayed in a small wooden room in a large wooden house with a chaos of wires in the basement; I was pleased that there was a basement.  I miss them in California, the outer areas of the house where things are hidden.  The luminal spaces of a life.  The house had a large unfinished basement with a washer and dryer and the secrets of electricity.  There were cupboards, window boxes and a fridge with a bottle of water.  The college had a cafeteria which I never visited preferring to trudge down to the grocery store in town and bring back a salad.  I’ve been searching this trip for one food item:  A gingerbread cookie.  No luck so far.  Perhaps Tampa has good bakeries with cookies? You never know.

 

In Boston, I stayed near the park, as I always do.  There was the book seller dinner at Four Spoons for Thai food and then last night, I went to a grocery store for a salad.  If left alone, you can count on me not to find out the best food a city has to offer.  I like to work and to walk.  The walking and working seem to take all my time and breath.  I also don’t like eating in restaurants alone.  I miss Jasper and I miss Mark.

 

Speaking about publishing reminded me of what a strange business it is.  Here on the Delta plane, the airline attendants treat the first class people like royalty and the rest of us like very special people. One of the problems with independent publishing is that everyone wants to be treated like royalty or at least with respect. It’s complicated, and we are still working at improving our game.

 

We are in Tampa for AWP, the Red Hen staff will have a good time.  They enjoy the conference.

 

Published in: on March 6, 2018 at 9:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bad Stories, an amazing interview

https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/bad-stories-in-america-a-conversation-between-steve-almond-and-william-giraldi/

Published in: on March 6, 2018 at 7:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Vermont, Boston, Tampa

Vermont was icy; Boston is cold, Tampa will be warm when I get there tomorrow. I remember writing once that snow banks have thighs. What I meant is that they push back at you.  I guess I was used to cold thighs.  The arms of icicles hang from trees along the street; the waterfront is mostly the edge of a pond where branches thread into the ice.  I drove right through Vermont without finding any of my favorite food:  Maple sugar candy.  This Steve Almond  book is cooking along nicely, and we hope will become this year’s big hit.

Published in: on March 5, 2018 at 5:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Water and Music

http://www.bostoncourt.com/events/387/water-and-the-future-red-hen-press-and-the-music-of-toru-takemitsu

A flit and rumble of happenings

The Importance of Being Earnest at the Globe with my friend Elise Capron. I could not stop thinking of “the love that dare not speak its name,” of Oscar Wilde and his trial, of Bosie who we only remember because of Wilde, but the play itself, with its manners and wit was well done, the staging a marvel.  And always it is great to see my friend Elise.

 

My friend Mark and I saw Hila sing at the Philharmonic Friday night in Salonen’s Wing on Wing and we saw Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major Opus 61 which I’m now buying so I can keep hearing the thrum of it.  It’s like a life awakening.

Water and Music on Saturday

http://www.bostoncourt.com/events/387/water-and-the-future-red-hen-press-and-the-music-of-toru-takemitsu

Published in: on February 19, 2018 at 9:10 am  Leave a Comment  

the greatest of these is love

People who meditate know where there soul is, know its fuzzy edges and deep wetness. Some of the rest of us dismiss all that as woo woo. You can dismiss anything as woo woo. God. Exercise. Getting enough sleep. Acupuncture. Green drinks. Dreams. Tea leaves.  We know what we’ve experienced. We know what we have entered, we know what we have left. I’ve seen down a long dark tunnel, learned hard lessons, and I know that a soul must love to grow.

Published in: on February 4, 2018 at 7:42 am  Comments (1)  

To the Beach

Superbowl Sunday, I’m spending the weekend with a group of amazing women.  Women who work hard, play hard and know how to kick back. I’m walking on the beach, resting, thinking and drinking champagne.  I am willing to take leaps of faith into the imagination.  But being around these women who do the heavy lifting at their companies is a great experience.

Published in: on February 3, 2018 at 4:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Graceland

We went to Graceland.

By California standards, the rooms feel claustrophobic and the place overdone with its white furniture, the shag carpeting, the monkey statue, the walls with smoky veined mirrors. The white pillars and large gates are impressive. The room with the pool table is beautiful with an Indian couch and Indian looking fabrics on the ceiling.  Priscilla had to stay there while Elvis frolicked with his co-stars in Hollywood. The room for racquetball was nice, the planes and the stables impressive.  But Memphis is a quiet town now.  Priscilla and Lisa are now multi-millionaires, but it’s no mystery why they aren’t still living at Graceland.  It feels like a big house out in the middle of nowhere. Elvis grew up on poverty and bought that house so his mother could live in it. His favorite food was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bacon. He did a lot of drugs and died at 42 weighing 350 pounds.  The racquetball court was nice, the pool small, the graves large.  A very American story.  A man who changed the world but was haunted by his own demons.

Published in: on January 27, 2018 at 10:37 am  Comments (1)  

Room 306

Room 306.  Civil Rights Museum today. We stood at the window looking down where Martin Luther King was shot April 4th, 1968. The whole museum was a deep experience in American history that left the three of us—Tobi, Debbie Moderow and me with layers to think about.  I can’t recommend the museum enough.  You will feel America deeply, hear MLK’s voice and see the bed where he slept, the balcony, the window, the bathtub, the jail cell.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever.” MLK

Published in: on January 25, 2018 at 8:19 pm  Comments (1)  

The Drowning Report/the Raft is a workshop

 

When you’re drowning as a writer, taking a writing workshop is a little life raft and there are other people on the raft to teach you how to swim. Join Red Hen’s writing workshops starting in February!

http://redhen.org/workshops/

Published in: on January 25, 2018 at 9:52 am  Leave a Comment