Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Crib in Woodsfield

When I stay with my grandparents, I get to inhabit the apartment above the garage. It provides a country setting that is perfect for writing. It's like a cozy bed & breakfast...but with a few pictures of the Bush Family.

Yes, it is a bit frightening, but I must look past the portraits of George and enjoy the mosaic of antiques this writing haven offers.

And try not to lose my appetite when I see this picture on the fridge. Ah, the joys and pains of having Republican grandparents.

Monday, October 27, 2008

About Grandma...

She loves antiques, as you can see. She also loves to cook, but her kitchen is too small. She has to store food and pans in other rooms. She always says, "This kitchen ain't big enough to cuss a cat."

When it comes to political affiliation, she admits that she mostly votes Republican, but she says, "I vote for the best person."

We don't agree so much on the upcoming election, but she does give me some very unique blue glass every time I visit. And damn, she knows how to make the best mashed potatoes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

When asked why he is a Republican

Grandpa says, Republicans done more for the working man than the damn Democrats.

I give Crystal the poodle more of my fried steak. As long as I can remember, my grandparents have owned at least one poodle.

I like all dogs for the most part, but poodles always look like they have dirty mouths.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Every chance I get, I go visit my grandparents in Woodsfield, Ohio. Though it is only a two hour drive from Akron, it is like going to a different country. This is not a country I would want to live in necessarily. I enjoy the architecture of the courthouse (pictured above). Other than that, there is not much to see or do. But for writers, that can be a good thing.

I have not visited The Wooden Shoe in quite a few years. Grandpa shouldn't really drink with the medications he's on and he has made me promise not to go into The Wooden Shoe alone.

So I take lots of walks and runs. If I get tired I can take a break and sit on one of the many benches in Woodsfield.

There is something about courthouses, bars, and American flag painted benches that makes me think a lot about America.

And for me, being in a town where most businesses are closed, McDonald's is the center centre, and every third house is for sale...well that makes me think a lot about being a Democrat and how important this election is.

My grandparents are the biggest Republicans I know. Grandpa has plastered his yard and SUV with McCain/Palin paraphernalia. We have agreed to disagree and I know they love me no matter what. But they act as if being a Democrat is a disease. It makes me laugh as their granddaughter, but it sorta scares me as a human being.

I told them that I would like to blog a bit about some of the things they say. And, that I would like to post some pictures that I took. They have agreed to it. I would never ever want to disrespect them in any way. I know they both have a great sense of humor.

So, my next few posts will be about this place I often visit and my grandparents, two people I love despite their political beliefs.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

October Ode Challenge

I have been thinking about the Cliffs of Moher a lot lately (pictured above). This picture exhibits how I feel sometimes about my writing. I'm right on the cusp of some thing. I need to just let go and jump, figuratively of course. Sometimes I work on one line for hours, days, and maybe even months. It helps to know there are other poets who take quite some time to finish a draft. When A. Van Jordan came to Akron last spring he shared that he writes rather slowly. And we all know that A. Van Jordan rocks.

I get more neurotic as I age and I can't put the words on the page until they are ready. I guess I work in my head a lot. I accept my process for the most part, but I do think I feel better when I am producing more.

With that in mind, I gave myself an October ode challenge. Every morning I must write three odes in less than 15 minutes. This has been so much fun. Of course, 99% of what I am writing will not make it into my next manuscript, but the point is, it is a warm-up for the day. It gives me a little poetry buzz. And, it has forced me to narrow in on the tiniest of objects instead of big huge places where cliches fester. Plus, the ode is so much fun. It gives you the chance to spend more time with poets like Neruda. It also has allowed me to be a bit more appreciative of little things.

Happy October ode writing!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What Kids Are Saying About John Gallaher

John Gallaher came to work with my high school students yesterday. It was like, it was like what church should be. I could go on and on and on about how much the day meant to me...but instead, I'll share what the kids had to say...verbatim.

  • He made me want to explore my imagination and be more creative.
  • I like how he talked about his wife and children. It made him seem more like an every day person.
  • He is so funny.
  • I love how he connected art and religion.
  • I agree that schools do kill creativity.
  • I love his poems, even though some are hard to understand.
  • I think he should come and speak again.
  • He's pretty much amazing.
  • He made me realize how Sarah Palin's comments are actually offensive.
  • He is inspiring.
  • He has a natural air of being an artist.
  • I love how he says that not everything has to have meaning.
  • He taught me to not always search for the answer, but to enjoy the exploration.
  • I love how he talked about that Wally Steven guy. I want to read his book too.
  • I really want to buy Johnny G's books because he is an amazing speaker and from what I have read, an amazing writer.
  • I love that he made us write and it didn't feel like an assignment.
  • He showed us that we can be creative in all aspects of life.
  • I need to go and see him read.
  • I like when he dropped the f-bomb. It was necessary.
  • He is even crazier than Miss Sullivan.
Thank you to everyone who made John's visit possible. I look forward to having more writers come and dazzle my 17-year-olds.

I'm always a poet. It's not really a choice. I am thinking of a Henry Miller quote, something like, "The writer does not want to write: he wants the world to be a place in which he can live the life of the imagination."

Thanks John for helping me and my students return to that place. We will never forget our day together.