Thursday, November 30, 2006

No school today!

It's like Houston before a hurricane--people out buying snow shovels, propane, salt, etc. in preparation for the big snow expected later today (20 inches!) Old hat to Midwesterners but an adventure to us city slickers. I'm about to go out for supplies which probably should include a snow shovel but how are we going to shovel .2 mile of drive? I just hope our power doesn't go out which is a not uncommon occurance in a storm. Without a storm, it went out on Thanksgiving Day. Maybe too many turkeys in too many ovens? Candlelight is always fun but it could get a mite chilly in here. Stay tuned for snowfall photos! Unless the power goes out...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Incubation Station

Ever since The Glen conference last August, when I was taken with the stunning assemblages created by the visual arts workshoppers, I have been collecting bits and pieces with vague ideas of how I wanted to use them. That, and having recently read A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit which set me spinning over the idea that parts of ancient maps labeled "terra incognito" are where I now sit and type. How that mapmaker would long to see what we have seen, how nearly or not things resemble his wildest imaginings. And that centuries from now my descendants will have intimate understanding of time and space in ways we now only inkle at. So I am gathering copies of ancient maps, birds and bird cages, old wooden boxes, dolls, and other assorted bits to grapple with all this visually. It's been fun combing old junk shops and antique stores, stumbling on things that you know will be the perfect whatever for whatever. I love the chain reactions all forms of art create and how no one can predict what their song or painting or poem will inspire in another. Nor can the one who will be creating it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Joy of a Dirty House

The Thanksgiving week has ended. The last visitors (my parents) disappeared around the bend in the drive this morning, headed back to Texas as we waved a final goodbye. We wandered slowly back inside and the state of the house gradually registered: there were dirty sheets on every bed, dirty towels in every bathroom, trash in every bin, the 100th round of clean dishes awaiting removal from the dishwasher, there were crumbs where no crumbs have been before, leftovers towering in the fridge, left behind items amassing on the dining room table. In a word, a glorious mess. Glorious because that mess represented a week chock full of laughter, squeals, meals, bonfires, gifts, journeys, hikes, neighbors, friends, chatter, burst frozen cokes, skinned knees, door slammed fingers, pumpkin bread, movies, recitals, country roads and sunsets. My sister and her family returned to Baton Rouge, my 101 yr. old grandfather returned to Florida. Our house is relatively quiet once again and in the morning we’ll return to work. We’ll slowly work on restoring the house and remember as we change the sheets who recently nursed a dream there. I can only hope, as you gear up for demands of the week ahead, that your house is half as dirty as mine is.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Self Portrait as a Bovine

I can only attribute that last post to the fact that my computer went down and after not having it for 4 days, had to reload all software and thus lost all my email, addresses, calendar, etc. which, theoretically, if backed up, should not happen but did, and then I got strep throat. So there.

Monday, November 13, 2006

4 legged solidarity

I can only attribute this to the opening of deer hunting season.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Relief coming soon

Relief: A Quarterly Christian Expression is a new literary journal set to debut in mid-November. My literary amigos Karen Miedrich-Luo and Mark Bertrand serve as creative nonfiction and fiction editors, respectively. The first issue of Relief will feature poetry by Scott Cairns, fiction by Al Haley and Michael Snyder and nonfiction by Luci Shaw and Anthony Connolly, as well as many others, including poetry by yours truly (though I'd submitted my work before Karen or Mark were twinkles in the editor's (Kimberly Culbertson) eyes--promise!) I have it on good authority that the first issue rocks. Full disclosure: due to the referral of a certain newly appointed Relief editor of the nonfiction variety, Relief approached me about designing their first cover. (Lest you think I traded services for publication, it happened after my work was accepted! I swear! I knew this would look bad!) Nevertheless, you may judge the quality for, order now! (This was NOT a paid political announcement...)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The forest sans the trees

For the last two months I’ve experienced the sensation of living within a Polaroid. We arrived here the first of June when to describe this place as green and verdant would be to expose a severe deficiency of superlatives in one’s vocabulary. Our property, unattended for a mere two weeks, was shoulder high in grass and weeds and hay and whatever else grows green and sky high. A machete, had we had one, would have been the garden tool of choice just to clear our front walk. There had been a big hill rolling up toward the western horizon, we’d even walked it in February, but it was nowhere to be seen. Instead, in every direction, thick peninsulas of trees enclosed us like a walled city. Lush underbrush filled in any chinks in the solid walls of green, a haven for the wildlife that regularly ventured from their protective cover: deer, fox, rabbit, turkey, snake, birds and owls, Bigfoot.

But for the last two months it’s been as if the woods are melting. Little by little, as the leaves fall, more comes into view. There’s that hill! Oh, we have neighbors! Look, a creek! In the night I look out the window at low slung stars that turn out to be lights on a nearby home. We’re not as isolated as it seemed. Day by day new vistas appear, a gift still being unwrapped.