Sunday, November 25, 2007

Picture me down in that far corner chair, my feet in wool socks curled underneath me, my pile of manuscript pages open on my lap. My four nights at the Sylvia Beach Hotel start tomorrow. I'll be without internet or phone or tv. I'll be alone except for the characters I bring with me, the poor struggling fuck-ups that they are. They could probably use a week at the beach as much as I could. Though, for them, it will be more like extraordinary rendition. Where are we? Why is this woman torturing us? What have we done wrong?

Friday, November 23, 2007

I've started listening to the Celebrity Lecture Series put on by Michigan State University and posted on their website. Yesterday, I listened to an old lecture by Kurt Vonnegut and he had these wise words:

"Get yourself a gang any way you can and make it grow."

Hope you and your gang had a great Thanksgiving. I know we did.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Xiao Lao Mao (Little old cat) has put our lives into a funny new pattern. Because Sean and I are home a good deal, we frequently announce that we're "going out to see that cat." Our days don't revolve around this activity, but they are punctuated by it in an oddly tender way. Because the cat is old and not all that well, this feels, in some remote way, like the caregiving we will someday have to give to our parents.

Sean has his own cat hospice rituals, but as for me, I rise early, sometimes at the first blue tinge of dawn, and go out through the drizzle to the back studio with containers of cat food and water. I turn on the heaters and the comforting, soft lamp, lie down on the floor and wait for that little old cat to make her rattling cries, stretch, and come crawling onto my chest. Sometimes, while she eats, I read. In this way, we try to give comfort and find a little joy.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

cash advance

Cash Advance Loans

Apparently, my blog is posting at an elementary school reading level which fills me with ebulliance and gratification. My tutelage in journalism at Boston University, though brief, was also arduous and my fine professors often expounded on the necessity of writing in a manner that was both unadorned and comprehensible but at the same time captivated the reading audience. It's not entirely clear that vocabulary alone is the sole determinant in assigning the above reading level or that any one post would be sufficient to skew the rankings, however, I have made a worthwhile effort to reveal the machinations lurking behind this anonymous and largely inexplicable ranking system.

Xylophagous. Frondescent. Barghest. Fooey.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Lulu was the constant companion of my best friend, Joe and one of the only dogs I've ever liked, let alone loved. This morning she moved to California and she will be sorely missed.

Apparently, when Mr. Hooper died on Sesame Street they struggled with whether or not to say he moved to California or to deal directly with his death. They went with the latter but I'm sticking with former.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"I like feeling at home, but I wish I didn't feel it here."
Mary Robison from the story "In Jewel"

These, of course, are not my sentiments about my beloved Portland, but when I was reminded of this quote the other day I realized it is the exact sentiment of one of my characters. Okay, so Mary Robison has already summed up my whole novel in a brilliant five page story. Damn her. Nothing new under the sun.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I spent the weekend across the street from the Virginia Woof Doggy Daycare (really? REALLY?) at Wordstock, a big loud mess of a book fair/literary festival/workshop/fundraiser. For me, it was more like a collision course of old and new bookish friends. Some I called out to, eager for reconnection. Others, I dodged down aisles to avoid. Other than the good connections, the only thing I really learned was, as Steve Almond said, "The path to truth is through shame" at least when it comes to writing a good sex scene.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Read the Times article about the Booker Prize winner Anne Enright.

"Oddly enough, Ms. Enright said, having children — she has two, 4 and 7 — has made her work easier.

“I find that the whole sense of anxiety and largeness, the sense that you’re writing everything, the allness of it, disappears completely,” she said. “You have just three or four hours a day, and you’re going to write a book, and it just shrinks the work into its proper proportion.”

Even though I have no kids and never will, I appreciate how practical and balanced this statement is. It helps that this woman looks almost exactly like my friend if he decided to do frumpy, Irish drag.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Whadya say? I have no doubt that Kucinich's resolution to impeach Cheney will fall flat in the Judiciary Committee, but why not make a little noise about it?

Read up if you need to, click here and sign the petition to impeach the motherscratcherwarmonger.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Wahclella Falls/Latourelle Falls

It's an easy hike into Wahclella Falls and on a late fall afternoon it's easy to lose the sun behind the canyon walls and lose yourself in the perpetually wet blue-brown-green of the place. Definitely a surreal landscape, one that would have convinced me of the existence of otherworldly creatures, both benign and sinister, if I'd seen it when I was six.

Latourelle Falls is an even easier dip off the Columbia Gorge Historic Highway. In the summer, the patch of neon lichen (or is it moss or fungus or something else altogether?) is nowhere to be seen. So go in the fall and marvel at the things that nature can come up with.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Funk Shui played the big, bouncy Crystal Ballroom last night. They get in the door there by being the chosen opening band for Super Diamond, a Neil Diamond tribute band. Don't question how this happened. Nobody in their audience has.

Here's Funk Shui playing Boss Bossa at their last Crystal show where a wide stage, bright lights and a giddy audience served them far better than the microphone on the video camera.

I'm sorry I missed last night's show, too tired to push myself downtown, too fixated on getting some writing done to be a good band girlfriend. This meager blog entry is my penance.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

This picturesque scene, repeated throughout New England, does nothing but fill me with a sick, creepy feeling. My early Sundays were spent inside the squat stone walls of the Episcopal Church so the slender white towers of Methodists and Lutherans have no particular connotations for me other than a general sign that I'm back in the land of dread and loathing. I keep expecting to be over it, that I'll roll into town and feel sweetly nostalgic or at the very least, neutral, but my gut refuses to let go. No matter how pleasant my stay is, the old hate lingers.

The good thing about going back east, of course, is that it never fails to refresh my love for all things HOME, where I've got a cat and a couch and a few final days of sun.