Monday, December 31, 2007

Thesis Moonshine Madness

Telemachus and I just returned from visiting my grandma and grandpa who live in Southern Ohio. I love to visit there because I feel like I am in a completely different country.

My goals were to work on my manuscript and spend some time with my grandparents.

Telemachus is a big help as you can see from the picture. In between bouts of flirting with grandma's dogs (Angel & Crystal), Telemachus finds it useful to sit on my thesis.

In the background, Grandma and Grandpa are stomping around to some bluegrass music, a glass of moonshine in grandpa's hand.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Thank You, Santa

Santa left the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert in my stocking. I am obligated to read what Santa leaves for me though in the past Santa has pushed it a bit. I won't name any particulars, Mom (Five People You Will Meet in Heaven could have been called Five Books You Shouldn't Read on Earth).

I really love the following passage from Gilbert's book and am looking forward to finishing it.

"Traveling is the great true love of my life. I have always felt, ever since I was sixteen years old and first went to Russia with my saved-up babysitting money, that to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. I am loyal and constant in my love for travel, as I have not always been loyal and constant in my other loves. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby-I just don't care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it's mine. Because it looks exactly like me. It can barf all over me if it wants to-I just don't care."

I am remembering being so sick in Ireland that I had to see a doctor. I had somehow managed to lodge a fish bone in my throat a few nights before in Galway (a whole other story) and my throat became infected. I took the advice of many Irish friends...bread, milk and a wee bit of Jameson, but I eventually came down with a fever. I had to take the bus from Doolin to Lisdoonvarna to see a Dr. Collins. When I got there I had to sit outside Dr. Collins office/cottage until he opened up. I was so afraid he wouldn't see me because I didn't have my insurance card or an appointment. When a man opened the door at 10am I said, holding my throat for dramatic effect, "I'm really sick, I don't have my insurance card and I don't have an appointment, do you think Doctor Collins will see me?"

The man replied, "I don't know love, that Doctor Collins is a mean, nasty ole fellow." I started to dig through my purse for Euros and the man started laughing. The Irish love to make jokes. The man was Dr. Collins. In less than an hour he had me fixed up with antibiotics and cough syrup....ALL FOR LESS than 10 Euros. What a deal! And, with the hills of County Clare as a backdrop. Sweet, sweet Ireland.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays

The above picture is Telemachus pre-slumber party. Unfortunately, his girlfriend Zoey did not find his lime green polo shirt as charming as he had hoped. Zoey, a 70 lb adorable but bossy lab, spent most of the evening bullying Telemachus. She refused to let him play with any of his own toys and pretty much tried to attack him a dozen times or more. She did give him a little Christmas kiss goodbye.

Telemachus and I are having my mom and aunt over this evening. This is our first Christmas without Bubba (my grandma). Though I imagine there will be a general air of melancholy, I feel thankful about the family and friends I do have.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Telemachus and his women

Telemachus has an array of women in his life. The above picture is of his main squeeze, Lola.

How do you know you are old and ridiculous? When you and your friends are having a pre-Christmas Eve sleepover where your dogs exchange gifts. Lola doesn't know it yet, but a very large golden lab named Zoey is coming to spend the night.

On a more serious note, two more poems of mine were picked up for publication. Both of them are van Gogh poems. One is a pantoum and the other is a prose poem.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Seven Strange Things

I've been tagged by Sara to reveal seven facts or strange things about me. The sad thing is that I am supposed to tag seven people to do this same exercise, but the few people I know who have blogs have already been tagged. So, I tag seven random people, somewhere in the universe.

1. I used to make fun of dog people and I never thought pugs were cute until Telemachus.

2. One of my biggest fears is the witch from “The Wizard of Oz.” I watched the movie once when I was three or four and that was it for me. For months my mother had to take a broom and sweep underneath my bed and say, “Okay, all you witches, get out!”

3. The song “Born to Run” rips me up. When Springsteen says, “Together Wendy we can live with the sadness, I’ll love you with all the madness in my soul,” the hair on my arms sticks up. It is definitely one of the top five love songs ever written.

4. At the apartment where I grew up, I never ever ever touched the sixth step down (fifth step up). I hate the number six.

5. I make up nicknames and secret lives about all of my neighbors.

6. Once (only once), in honors English 10, I put a chain through my nose and pulled it out from my throat. Unfortunately, this is what several people from my high school remember about me.

7. Every time I go to Ireland I end up kissing the Blarney Stone even though it is the most touristy, American thing to do. And I know the locals pee on it at night, but I get caught up in the moment and can’t resist puckering up to the germ soaked slab.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Viggo Sunday

It's a blizzard outside and to make things even better, TNT is playing all three Lord of the Rings. It doesn't matter that I have them all on DVD. I have a little tender spot for Viggo Mortensen, maybe because he is a poet as well as one stunning Aragorn. I also heard somewhere (though probably a rumor) that he may play the father in The Road. Who knows...but I wonder who would be directing that. I'm not sure how well I think The Road will translate onto the screen, but I was impressed with what the Coen brothers did with No Country for Old Men.

Friday, December 14, 2007

No excuses for this mess

The semester is officially over so there is absolutely no reason for this mess. My writing space is littered with books, notebooks, receipts, pictures, you name it. I could at least stack the mess in a neat pile. It is to the point where I am tripping over things and crinkling papers that are important. For example, as I was kicking a manila folder underneath this bookshelf the other day, something caught my eye. It was my birth certificate. The scary thing is that the above picture only shows one of the four bookshelves I have...and every single one of them has a junkyard of paperwork surrounding it. I wish I were the type of person who slid a book from the neat bookshelf, read it, and put it back, but I'm clearly not that person. Instead I snatch a book, read part of it, and then put it on the floor (perhaps even on the washer or dryer).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

MFA not as good as law school?

Brainstorming ways to afford summer travel, I ask my mother, "When I graduate this spring (with an MFA), will family members send me money?"

She looks at me like I'm crazy (not unusual), says, "Well, your cousin Russ never even sent out announcements and he graduated from law school."

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The good and the bad


Congrats to my NEOMFA friends who graduated, especially my homegirl Sara Tracey. She gave a great reading on Friday. I am thankful to have had the chance to get to know her through the NEOMFA program and look forward to a lifetime of friendship.

In other good news, I got word last week that two of my poems have been picked up for publication. One is a van Gogh poem so that makes me thrilled. I worry about the van Gogh poems being too dependent on one another. The other poem is one of only three poems I have ever written about Ireland. As much as I think about Ireland, I am incapable of writing much about it. It's almost unreachable. Everything comes out in cliche, usually green cliche.


After celebrating my friend Kelly's birthday last night, she slept on my couch...and so did my sweet Telemachus. He ditched me for my friend. This has never happened before. I guess my boy is all grown up. I hate it. As I type this sorrowful news, Telemachus is attempting to snuggle close to me, but I am not giving in just yet. He is only trying to get close to me because Kelly is gone. I'm on to his tricks.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Travel Fever

Usually my travel mania doesn’t set in until March or so. It’s early this year. I am ridiculous. I imagine that one of these nights I will get the backpack out and stare at it, maybe even search the compartments for old bus tickets.

The only holiday music I have been able to subject myself to is my “Irish Christmas” CD.

I wish I could find my tin whistle but I think someone hid it from me. I can’t imagine why????

Monday, December 3, 2007

It's that time again...

...when I can actually get away with dressing Telemachus.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Writing Space Ramble

This is a picture of one of my favorite writing spaces I have ever inhabited. I wrote at this spot for nearly a week this past July when I had the opportunity to travel to Bisbee, Arizona, and work with other writers while being spoiled by the Wick family. It was stunning and I wish that I were there right now.

Writing space is important to me. I normally write at my desk in my writing room/bedroom which overlooks my charming creek/sewer. But this morning I am sitting at my very small, very tall IKEA table, working on my laptop. I don't like to use my laptop much. I never feel like I have as much control over it. But, I am closer to the coffee machine right now.

It's not quite 9 am on Saturday morning and I am taking a short break from working on my manuscript (I have been up since 6). Right now, I love the third section so much. And it's driving me crazy. I want to love all three sections close to the same, or at least love them all a whole lot but for different reasons. I wonder if everyone feels like this when assembling a manuscript. It's only natural to have a favorite, right? Yet I have read books where every single section is just as moving as the previous. I guess this just makes me have to rethink things for the 587th time. I am trying to get a "close to ready" draft by January 1st so that the other two professors on my thesis committee can give me some helpful feedback. I am really excited to be working with three of my favorite writers/professors.
Okay, back to the future book.