Friday, May 29, 2009

Brain Plastic

This is a (mildly belated) birthday card for a friend I haven't met yet. She's met me, kinda sorta, as her eyes & consciousness connected with the words in my novel Growing Wings. Her aunt told me her birthday was Tuesday, the day I flew back from Wiscon, & I am getting going now with sundry & various accomplishments, including this blog.

Wiscon & Madison & State Street & the farmer's market around the state capitol (someone told me it was the largest outdoor farmer's market in the country) & the food & the conversation & the friends new & old--I am very appreciative. I had fun reading poetry with 3 other poets & the panel I moderated on the workings of consciousness went VERY well. Richard Russell, who is an experienced moderator & was one of my panelists (the panel was his idea), later told me I used a technique for identifying 3 or 4 audience participants in advance that really let the conversation & information flow. He hadn't seen that used before & is planning on utilizing the technique himself. I brought art supplies (placemats & colored pencils) to the signing, so was very happy creating during lulls. Delia Sherman & Ellen Kushner sat at my table, so I had very good company indeed.

I am about to play some cards--a game that my business partner & I invented, which stimulates brain plasticity--so I shall ta ta for now.

Blog alternative:
173. Take a walk or a drive. Admire license plates that have cool numbers or letters on them. Make up a vanity plate for yourself.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

From skull sutures to distal phalanges--I love thee so, dear skeleton

A few weeks ago I had a phone conference with a lovely bunch of girls in Nebraska, who read Growing Wings in their school book club. In appreciation for them & their attention, I offer this drawing! (I don't want to ignore Maryam & Nancy, the book club coordinators, but I didn't find out their favorite colors...)

It is absolutely gorgeous today. Sunny & breezy & brisk. (66 degrees as I write this in the midafternoon.) Just the sort of mountain day that lets you know it's still spring. I have nothing against summer, but one of the things I so love about living in the mountains is that even in summer, you get the cool-downs that let you appreciate the warm-ups more.

I just purchased an interesting thing--an iron creation with 12 large cups on it designed to hold bottles of wine. It hangs on the wall & looks like a vine. Now, currently I have just 1 bottle of wine in the house & I doubt I've ever had 12, so why did I buy it? Simple: art supplies! Paint brushes & colored pencils & markers & pen & glue sticks & scissors. Oh, what fun. I might even reserve 1 or 2 cups for tea lights, if I get some LONG matches to light them with. Probably cast some pretty fascinating flickers from deep inside the cups. It was on clearance because the top cup is very shaky & not wine-worthy, but a few paint brushes won't stress it out. I'll probably put cups of supplies inside the metal cups, so I can lift them out as a unit & set them on a table. Of course, a couple bottles of wine will be good to have as well....

(Yeah, I know, this is perhaps as deeply satisfying as a description of watching paint dry; but hey, remember my theory that you're better off doing something personally satisfying rather than reading blogs, so if I'm boring it's probably all to the good.)

Now it is time for me to go pack for Wiscon. Perhaps I shall see some of you there.

Ooh! I forgot to mention that Skritter has officially launched. Check out the website at & be sure to look at the comic. (My connection with Skritter, which is a program that helps people learn to write Chinese characters, is that it is the brainchild of my offspring Nick.)

My other offspring, Zach, recently drove to Montana for the graduation of my lovely niece Crystal, who managed to be both valedictorian AND homecoming queen. Plus she's nice. So many beautiful people on the planet. (You among them. I'll claim you all as relatives.) The word on the street is that Zach represented us splendidly, which surprises me not at all.

Blog alternative:
171. Lie down in a quiet place (or sit in a noisy place, if that's what's available to you) & appreciate your bones. Think of them as the tree in the center of the garden that is you. Thank them for making your blood. Thank them for being a cosmic transmitter-receiver of energy. Thank them for making sure that you're not just a puddle of goo, blurping about on the floor, unable to throw a football or hold a paintbrush, unable to make love, unable even to make a sandwich. Rah, rah, rah, Yay Bones!
inspired by the word "Bones"
172. Go see the new Star Trek movie!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Busted Theramin Cherry--& Hi Mom!

The title refers to the fact that I--she blushes modestly--am no longer a theremin virgin. Yes, at Hatchfest Asheville a few weeks ago, I got up close & personal with a theremin. & it was fun!

In the last month I attended parts of 2 great festivals: the aforementioned Hatchfest (which was, btw, born in Bozeman, MT, where I went to college 30 years ago. Coincidence--well, maybe, but I doubt it) which is an innovation incubator, & Wordfest Asheville, which is a poetry festival. I was able to hear & speak with Li-Young Lee, who I have had the pleasure of hearing twice before (once in Rochester, Minnesota, during my birthday week when I was 25ish & at the National Federation of State Poetry Societies annual convention in Oregon in 2002) & other fabulous poets new to my now, including Valzhyna (kinda like Regina) Mort from Belarus. & the amazing Alan Wolf (who presented a workshop/reading for & by young poets, including his amazing son Simon, coincidentally at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Center.)

Today is Mother's Day. I was well-wished by my sons (one of whom had challenged his Skritter co-conspirator to think of a single other woman who would happily let her child eat off the floor) & I am about to do the same for my mother. But I would like to extend the well-wishing to you all, of whatever age or gender or parturition status. Happy Mothering Day. Congratulations on the daily (or momently, if you want to break it down further) birth & nurturing of you, yourself.

Blog alternative:
170. Appreciate yourself as your own child, & as your own mother. Make yourself a card. Buy yourself dinner or flowers. Take yourself to a movie. Thank yourself.