Tuesday, July 22, 2008

3rd Week of July 2008

Sin City
Dumpy, frumpy middle-aged vegetarian intellectual and cultural snob is required to spend three days in Las Vegas for a conference. Here is a moment of reckoning. So am I going to find beauty and poetry or am I going to be a pill/ waste all those hours and all that airplane exhaust and money?! (Tempting.) Okay. So it is a challenge.

Ahhh. The Bellagio fountains! All those marble floors. And surprise, surprise--flopping beside one of the 9 small beguiling pools turns out to be quiet and sane and completely relaxing. Or at the other extreme--because you just have to ogle at the strange architectural and social pastiche--we link arms and walk the Strip end to end. Eating fries. Drinking a frozen margarita while walking down the street being jostled by the crowd, nudged by young parents half-heartedly steering strollers.

Back in New Mexico: rain, delicious rain, humidity -- a strange foreign force, as if someone turned up the heat and the gravitational field. "Monsoon season" is what the locals say, with a slight smile.

Backyard news:
ohmygod the tomatoes are gorgeous. and i didn't get a photo of this, but I had a second ENORMOUS bug crash land in the grass. This one a three inch long creamy yellow and black number that I'm pretty sure is a cicada. (I am NOT trustworthy in this assertion--I seem to believe that everything might be a cicada.) I'm a bit mystified because it was gone when I got home. It looked like it was on its last legs at 8am--did something eat it? Did it rally? Fly off in search of a more dignified place to die? I honestly don't know.

Add Tomato photos.
something striping my petunia blossoms.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Second week of July

Monsoons are here, even though Fruit Ave is still dry as a bone. (I'm trying not to take that personally.) For the record, we have had lovely cool temperatures for over a week, since before the 4th. Very comfortable. High 80's. Partly to mostly cloudy. I threw open all the windows last night to let in the crisp night air. Projected high today in the LOW 80's. Isn't that a long, crisp drink of water?!

What you love, you will come to resemble. (The tomato plants.) I played hymns last night. Drank 2 glasses of California Cabernet. Sprawled in the back yard and rubbed the dried lavender blossoms on my hands. Squinted at all the shapes and sizes, of leaf and pot, brick and rock, bleached wooden fence slats and the occasional lazy, vibrant blossom. Then I went upstairs, threw open the doors and let the cats bounce on the bed while I labeled flower parts and read all the fine print in my Botany Coloring Book.

Feed Creativity, Feed Creativity, Feed Creativity...
Okay. One little thing -- internet jazz radio to soften the trauma of being crammed in cages at work. With no personal space. No emotional space. Chickens peck each other to death when they are treated this way, you know? So--tune out. Go away in my head. iTunes. Radio stations. Jazz Laramie. They play great music. The DJs have lovely voices. No commercials. And bits of BBC news. Thank you Planet. But where the hell is Laramie?!

This week I heard from Susan Isley. It was just nice to see her name pop up. A reminder that I have been other places. Been other people. Done other things than now. All that geography, all those struggles. Hmmm. And Hooper wrote. Miss her terribly. She is considering Japanese Beetles.

TOMATOES. Oh my gosh I adore them. I'm watching them, can't keep my eyes off. I'm searching for little green globes like an Easter Egg hunt in mid-air. Only better.

Sarah Orne Jewett (quote pinned up over her writing desk) - 'Fail! Fail again, fail harder!'

Free Will Astrology for week of July 10, 2008
Aries (March 21-April 19)
"The only way to get a difficult feeling to go away is simply to love yourself for it," says author Christiane Northrup. "If you think you're stupid, then love yourself for feeling that way. It's a paradox, but it works. To heal, you must . . . shine the light of compassion on any areas within you that you feel are unacceptable." While I personally believe this is a crafty strategy, I suggest adding a twist in order to double its effectiveness: As you're loving yourself for your difficult feeling, literally laugh out loud at how crazily worried and wound up you are about it.

--The flip side of this: Resistance generates energy....
Course of Action? Stop running. Scream. Cry. Break down. And finally Embrace the Other.

Here are the ghosts, still shouting in my head: "Useless Intellectual" and "You think too much" ... Here are the critical voices: "Writer in a world where there are already what feels like too many words, not enough listening, not enough small righteous actions. Fearful and cautious in a world that desperately needs daily heroes.

I love myself for being an Intellectual. Another one of those quiet writerly types...

Why not just throw things away? -- There is no away.
There is no place to go. Nothing we need to become that we are not already.

liked G's too...

Taurus (April 20-May 20) According to Harper's Index, 97 percent of us believe that following our own conscience is a sign of a strong character. On the other hand, 92 percent of us think that obeying authorities shows strong character. What that apparently means is that most of us feel we can and should heed the dictates of our own conscience and please the people who control things. In the coming weeks, I think that might be possible for you to do once or twice. But most the time, I suspect you'll have to decide between being either an impeccable rebel or loyal devotee.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Solar Fountain - the adventure begins.

For her birthday, G wanted a solar fountain pump. So I shopped around and ordered something in plenty of time (allow for delivery). What I didn't factor in? Back-ordered supplies.

A month later, it finally arrived! And as with most things we touch, it seems to have brought us mysteries. Conundrums. Puzzles. Minor construction problems and major aesthetic dilemmas. So far, we have a small black plastic catch basin/ reservoir, an old black nylon stocking to protect the pump from detritus, a cement-sized plastic bag of 1-3" round river rock, a roll of hardware cloth, a terracotta Azalea pot to serve as a pump cover/ and general behind the scenes support, a 12" length of 1" copper plumbing pipe for a decorative spout, and 4 chunks of rubber and vinyl tubing of various diameters. We tentatively chose a spot. And we have been experimenting with pots (and stoppers for the pots so the vessel will fill and gurgle over in a soothing sing-song voice). My expert DIY buddy Kerry Renshaw says: a tube of silicon caulk. 1,001 uses. Hmm. And there is still the issue of how and where to mount the solar panel.

I know Gloria looks a little underwhelmed in the photos, but it really is just the intense afternoon light. Really.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Publishing Poetry

Last night I had a little time, so I went looking. My plan was/ is to follow the trail of poets and poems I like, to see where my work might fit in. Where would it make sense to send things? Things=Albuquerque Sketch; Hot Summer Evening (sketch); and some of my zippy haiku.

I started with Dana Roeser (UOregon/ NorthWestReview).
"If You Step Off Now" reprinted by Versedaily.
Books: In the Truth Room, and Beautiful Motion.
I visited Eugene once. My ex and I thought we might like to live there, but when we arrived it seemed a tad tired, dumpy--muddy. It was NOT love at first sight. The publication has a gorgeous web site. I wrote down all the submission information, and the name of the poetry editor. What is holding me back? Well, I don't know how I feel about asking for a spot in a publication that I don't subscribe to. Seems dishonest. Or cheap. So I am sitting with that struggle for now. In general, magazines either intimidate or bore me: the beautiful high culture small circulation rags worry me. So many voices. So much yearning. So little listening. Who is their audience? What is their purpose? And frankly, my mental health, my grip on happiness always feels precarious. Tenuous. I don't trust them not to say something that rips me apart unexpectedly. Brave twisted souls handing me devastation. Dumb huh? I guess my grip on Defense Mechanisms is shaky too. Blam! There went 40 years of Avoidance under the 18-wheels of a gorgeous, wrenching, anguished, metaphorical paragraph.

Next I thought, I really loved Allan C. Fischer's poem: "Firebirds." But I couldn't find hide nor hair of him or it. (Okay. Maybe dig around and come back to him.)

How about "Starfish" by Eleanor Lerman?
[I believe I ran into her poem through the Writer's Almanac. Not a regular haunt for me...]
This search was surprising. She turned out to be extremely colorful. Google handed me a listing at the American Academy of Poets (poets.org), several long interviews, a personal web site, and several blog entries by people who were intriguing in their own right. What a strange journey.

Funny details noted in passing: "Stumbleupon" is a great blog name.

When I have something to say for myself I will say it.
Until then, another poet, a cellist, a saint--
their words will do nicely.
-Kate Horowitz

I wanted to cry after awhile. So many lovely words strung together. So many energetic, creative people. And so much posturing and striving. Such a perilous mountain range. It made me sad to think EL. was tossed up and then stomped so thoroughly. ("A sadder and a wiser man, he rose the morrow morn.")

Gandhi said to Be the change you want to see in the world. I want to live in the world where creativity is valued, nurtured, shared, celebrated. Crushing people, falling into despair or hiding behind ego armor--that is Pure Evil. Murder of the soul. The theft and pawning of joy. Where are my people? What is my work?

And speaking of Gandhi, this morning I stumbled onto his list of Seven Deadly Social Sins:
  • Wealth without work
  • Pleasure without conscience
  • Knowledge without character
  • Commerce with morality
  • Science without humanity
  • Worship without sacrifice
  • Politics without principle

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

To Ma Toes

Tomatoes in Transit by varun taken August 12, 2007.
Tomato surprise! By lucycat taken July 28, 2006 (the groggy frog).
Silly tomato head by flower alice taken July 1, 2006