Sunday, June 29, 2008

Coffee? Oh yes, Coffeeee

Title linked to the site I copied this from, Life Extension.

June 27, 2008

Coffee lovers have less liver cancer

A report published in the July, 2008 issue of the journal Hepatology reported the finding of Finnish researchers of a lower risk of liver cancer among regular coffee drinkers. The study adds evidence to the correlation observed in other prospective studies which found a protective association for coffee drinking against the disease.

Gang Hu at the University of Helsinki and his Finnish colleagues analyzed data from 60,323 Finnish men and women aged 25 to 74 who were included in seven independent population surveys conducted between 1972 and 2002. Participants were free of cancer upon enrollment, and followed up for a median of 19.3 years. Information concerning serum levels of the liver enzyme gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) was available for a subgroup of subjects. Data from the Finnish Cancer Registry was used to confirm cancer diagnoses.

During the follow-up period, 128 cases of liver cancer were diagnosed. Liver cancer diagnoses declined as the number of cups of coffee consumed per day increased. Participants who reported drinking eight or more cups of coffee per day had a 62 percent lower risk of developing liver cancer than those who drank zero to one cups per day. Among subjects for whom serum GGT levels were available, those whose levels were among the highest 25 percent experienced over three times the risk of developing liver cancer compared with those whose levels fell in the lowest quarter of participants. “Nevertheless,” the authors note, “the inverse association between coffee consumption and the risk of liver cancer was consistent in the subjects at any level of serum GGT.”

In an accompanying editorial, Carlo La Vecchia of the Università degli Studi di Milano added, “It remains difficult, however, to translate the inverse relation between coffee drinking and liver cancer risk observed in epidemiological studies into potential implications for prevention of liver cancer by increasing coffee consumption."

—D Dye

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Holy Potomac!!! - Published

You all-- The Potomac just sent acceptance of all three poems I sent them. This is a wonderful day for me!

Click on the title of the post for a link to the magazine.

Holy happiness.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I think about you all every day. I'm typing here and you are dying there. I think about you all every day.

I think about the children of soldiers.
I think about the Iraqi children. I see their large dark eyes when I look at my children.
I think about the Iraqi mothers. I hear their voices trying to keep their children and their husbands safe.
I think about the grandparents. I see them ending their lives on a note of despair.
I think about the parents of our soldiers. The wives and husbands, lovers, known or secret. I think about the children. I think about all the books that are being laid down for the stories of heartbreak and emptiness.
I think about our President.
I think about his girls.
I think about Jenna Bush and her lovely wedding.
I think about Condeleza and wonder what she is thinking.
I think about the desert sand and how hot and hard the wind is, like a hand.
I think about IEDs. Their particular tortures.
I think about Mickey and the list of initials tattooed on his arm.
I think about soldiers going back, into a hell they just left.
I think about the babies unborn in their mothers, Iraqi babies, spilling out onto the sand already full of blood.
I think about the alcoholic soldier on ' Intervention ' whose father wept as he held his drunken son, in another stupor and blackout, running from what happened to him across the ocean.
I think about my friend James, three years old, and his older brother, who found out that their father wasn't coming home. I think about his older brother's nightmares, how he dreams of his father in pieces.
I think about the physical pain, and I stop thinking.

I wonder if this kind of thing will ever end, like everyone has wondered from the time it began- war and it's deaths and rapes and suffering and mutilations.
I am exhausted and ashamed, because all I am doing is thinking and feeling,
and none of this is happening to me. There's nothing for it. I just write and pray and tell soldiers thank you, even though it feels like the stupidest thing to say, thank you for dying and suffering and watching it all,
so I didn't have to.

Monday, June 23, 2008


George Carlin was the Devil's George Burns- old, ironic, wink-eyed, intelligent, forever on stage and massively disillusioned, eagle eying the hypocrites, liars and goddamn idiots that make up the human race- as he might have said.

E and I went and saw Carlin at the Pala Casino a few years ago. We stayed overnight at the hotel and left the Kid Rocks with Grandma. I bought the tickets for us as a Valentine gift to E. After drinking and gambling, we sat in a crowded room and watched and listened to Carlin master the boozy audience. He was caustic, determinedly iconoclastic- a thinking man's humorist, a black humorist, but whatever he was or said, always funny, always winking into the eye of fate with a big Fuck You.

His tone at the Casino reminded me of Vonnegut's tone in his book ' Man Without a Country '- at the end of his life and terrificly tilted toward despair over the condition of human kind, but with enough grit and humor to keep him from keeling off completely. Carlin, unlike Vonnegut, did not have a large family, but he was married and had a daughter- family to keep his heart fresh. In fact, his heart was not fresh- he has died at 71 of heart failure. The metaphor would delight his black sense of humor, were he around to rub his bristly beard and laugh his raspy laugh.

From MSN:

--In one of his most famous routines, Carlin railed against euphemisms he said have become so widespread that no one can simply "die."

"'Older' sounds a little better than 'old,' doesn't it?," he said. "Sounds like it might even last a little longer. ... I'm getting old. And it's OK. Because thanks to our fear of death in this country I won't have to die — I'll 'pass away.' Or I'll 'expire,' like a magazine subscription. If it happens in the hospital they'll call it a 'terminal episode.' The insurance company will refer to it as 'negative patient care outcome.' And if it's the result of malpractice they'll say it was a 'therapeutic misadventure.'" --

At the Casino, Carlin admitted he was feeling care-worn. He had been doing material about the destruction of Earth for a few years now, he said, and had lost the will to continue, so- he said - we were to hear brand new and uncultivated material. Sorry about your luck, he said, I have no idea how this will go.

We don't have any idea how things will go, and we continue on. Goodbye Mr. Carlin, and thanks a million for the laughs.

I wrote this for my grandfather MD Gardner, as he lay dying two years ago.

*deleted poem*

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Admirer - inspired by ESVM

i lay small and simple at your feet
your plum toes, sweetly round.
i lay like Alice in her dream state
asleep within a dream, you are found-

i will lay easily as if on air
your chest rising like clouds from blue
springing free from crafted ribs-
nothing can be caged in you.

with your Persian smile, Grecian nose
old English tricks of speech,
you slay without movement, quietly
all those awake and within reach.

restraint uncommon and admired
in your dress, your walk, your profile-
you are a poem from another time,
the rose-red ends of a Mona Lisa smile.

i lay where your eyes carry a river
into the depths of a great sea-
where one by one we slip,
and drown so gratefully.

-maggie may ethridge

The Cost of Family

add 20% worry tax.

take twenty steps further away from your own childhood and closer toward
rigid ass clenching responsibility

add 20% refusal to become your mother, take twenty steps back.

spend Undefined amount of years taking before mentioned twenty steps back and forth until your legs are hopelessly tangled and you fall on your face,
breaking your two front teeth and turning your thighs to cottage cheese, insuring that after all, you become your mother.

spend Undefined amount of years and cash replacing teeth, excercising away cottagecheesiness, and crying to your therapist, insuring that you never feel good enough, and your husband
slaps your ass and tells you, honey- remember last night? you will never be like your mother.

spend emergency fund on car crash, emergency room trips, braces and someone's gambling problem.

minus 5 years of life for the year he was a senior and thought he got her pregnant. they asked you to raise the child.

add 10% tax due to financial strain, and sex toys.

add 20% bonus for pee inducing laughter and holding vomit in your hands. (give yourself pat on the back for vomit holding. remind self it's never to late to get a nanny.)

when you roll up to the register, your hair will be thin and grey. your vagina will be stretched, but very happy. your thighs will have cottage cheese. you
will be approximately 1%-20% your mother. your father, the same. this left anywhere between 98% and 60% of yourself to blame for however you fucked up your kids.

your heart- did we mention your heart? this will be full.

no cash back.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado

I am off for a much deserved vacation with EJC and Dakota, Ian and Lola. We will frolic, play on the sand, (one of us might be ungracefully hobbling but all the same playing) swim and order room service. We live only about 40 minutes from this glorious hotel. I've lived in SD since I was four and never have stayed at this famous place. It's been very hot so the weather should be perfect if all goes well. I'm bringing my Edna St. Vincent book and plan to have EJC watch the kiddos for a bit while I bask (freckles: check. blue eyed: check. sunblock: doublecheck) and read.

I will be back and unburdened. Champagne and white sands, here I come.

(I think we will leave Blue Thunder to park for ourselves. I don't think the valet would know what to do with a large, chipped and very blue old Ford truck.)


I finished ' Flesh and Blood ' and would recommend it. The pacing is pretty incredible and the undercurrents of the book feel real and threatening for their sad weight. However, I would not, as I did, read this book at night before bed. Bad dreams.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Book Review: The Vice-Consul

The Vice-Consul by Marguerite Duras - originally in French
*Click on post title for NYT article on Duras*

This slim and beguiling novel caught my eye at the small bookstore in Ramona that smells strongly of urine and has a fantastically eclectic and old store of fiction.
I had seen the movie ' The Lover ' but never read any of Marguerite Duras' books, and I immediately pulled the pink book from it's fellows and stacked on top of my pile.

The novel is of a kind that would find it near impossible to be published here and now, as it meets little of the random and stifling criteria for ' good literature ' that is often taught or picked up through reviewers and critique. There is little in the way of plot. Characters have random, odd conversations we do not understand which lead nowhere:

excerpt pg. 113

' I know you, ' she says. ' There's nothing more we need to know about one another. I think you may be mistaken about me. I hope not. '
' I am not mistaken. '
' I do not take life very seriously '- she tries to withdraw her hand- ' that's my way. As far as I'm concerned, the things everyone says are true, completely, profoundly true. '
' It's no use going back on it. It's too late now. '
There is a silence. It is she who breaks it:
' That's true. '
' You are close to me. '
' Yes. '
' Stay with me, ' he begs her, ' now. What did you say? '
' Nothing that matters. '
' We are going to be separated. '
' I am close to you. '
' Yes. '

End excerpt

The opening of the book is as enigmatic, following the ramblings and horrific but muted story of a young pregnant girl in India rejected from her home and sent off to birth her baby in the wild.

The story follows this girl's increasingly disjointed and bizarre path, distorted with hunger she becomes more and more removed from humanity- intermixed with the 'story' of the Vice-Consul and his interactions with the French ambassador's wife in Calcutta, India.

In addition to lack of action, the book is written in a romantic style, thick with atmosphere and subconscious rumblings, mysteries hinted at but never revealed, lives lived but never understood--

This is it's 'great and terrible beauty'. As a poet, I am enamored and enslaved to the mystery of life, a constant interior understanding I carry of the magnificence and horror of the enormous mysteries surrounding us, inside of us; this modern time has no patience for mysteries. We want to disassemble, re-create, formulate, explain and subject the very essence of life to our total comprehension and creation. Many modern novels are hyper-text of this great subtext: listing and naming and labeling and verbatim of societies frills: the ' Corolla ' from Don DeLillo's White Noise. Even much modern poetry seems to fear the mystery- all must be revealed and explained; what if the reader does not immediately understand?

Marguerite Duras' great genius is her lack of concern for our understanding- instead we get the beautiful, evocative and magnificently created world of herunderstanding. There is much not explained in this novel, thankfully, for it is the mystery that sent chills up my arms as I read passages that swept me away to another place, another sensibility, another life.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mickey, a Soldier in Iraq / Iraq poem

I was taking Math last semester. I hate Math. I was happy to immediately find something else to think about, when Mickey's shoulder tattoo of soldier boots with ominous circling of initials caught my eye.

He was 23, new father of a son and recently back from Iraq. He had been in Afghanistan; he was there at Fallujah. (Click on the title of this blog to see and hear an account of Fallujah from a soldier. WARNING: the youtube this connects to contains images of war. Please be advised, your heart will suffer.) His eyes are electric blue, piercing and direct, and his body never stops moving. Here- fingers tap, here - feet dancing underneath the desk, here- another joke, witty aside, loud laugh during lecture. He is whippet thin and strong, built like a soldier and young- very young, like an American soldier.

I asked about his tattoo and he pulled up the tee shirt sleeve, peered at the boots and dangling dog tags, ran his fingers over the initials. ' These are my boys,' he said, not looking at me. ' They're dead. ' There were about seven sets of initials.

' I'm so sorry, ' I said. What else? ' What about these? ' I pointed to the three silver cuffs circling his right wrist.

' My closest friends, ' he said. ' They're dead. '

' I'm so sorry, ' I said.

' It must be really hard, ' I said.

He nodded. ' One of em, my friend, he died on his last day. Got caught in a IED and his leg was blown up. He bled to death. We wrapped his leg up and all, but he bled to death. '

' I'm so sorry, ' I said.

He shrugged. ' Yeah. '

' How is it over there, ' I asked.

' It's bad. The fucking rules of conduct...fucking gone, no one knows, it's not the same as it was in the beginning, you gotta survive, I've seen kids killed at checkpoints because the car they were in didn't stop in time. The soldiers, they're just shooting at will now, nobody's following protocol, it's fucking insane. It's insane. '

I sat in silence. ' Thank you, ' I said. ' For serving. Thank you for everything you guys do. '

He shrugged. ' Yeah. ' Tap, tap, his fingers. His feet. He grinned. He talked about his son and wife, told a graphic joke.

I bought him a cup of coffee, told him thank you again. There's nothing I can do.
Vote. Buy a cup of coffee. Pray.

This poem does not represent my typical voice, or style. However, it represents my feelings well, so I am pasting it here anyhow.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Progressive Book Club & Rejection

Click on the blog title 'Progressive Book Club' to be linked to the page.

Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Chabon and Dave Eggers are on the editorial board

Is there nothing, nothing that Dave Eggers can't think of, can't make happen...

He is turning into the Oprah of literature. Seriously. I love the man.


Received first rejection from Diagram. Sigh. However, the editor was nice enough to say he enjoyed the 'sparks' in my poem, and to keep submitting.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Alice Walker and Daughter: Motherhood and Artists

The discussion over Rebecca Walker's remarks on her famous mother, Alice Walker ( The Color Purple ) is a macrocosm - ballooned for public eye because of the fame of AW and the public remarks of her daughter - of an issue facing mothers every day : Can a woman be a good mother and a successful artist? Is it possible to successfully balance the traits inherent to artistic endeavors with the traits associated with good mothering, and if so, what does that look like?

As a poet and novelist, I think about this often. I am currently finishing my second novel, ' Agitate My Heart ', submitting my poetry en masse for the first time, and editing my first poetry book. I recently finished a night class and will be taking another soon, as well as returning to work at the end of the month. My son, DW, is 13 rocketing toward 21 and suddenly aware of the disturbing differences between ' the other moms' and ' you, mom. '

First of all, I had my son at 20. At 33, I am much younger than any of his friends mothers.
I also tend to look younger, maybe because of my freckles or round shaped face, or my outfit of tight jeans, tee shirts and Converse. Perhaps it's my ' tramp stamp '. ( I am so thrilled my beautiful tattoo with my children's name has that lovely title due to it's positioning on my lower back. Who knew? SNL did a hilarious mockmercial on these. )

In addition to these apparently dubious characteristics, I just don't act like the other moms. I sing, for one thing, out loud, for no reason. OH MY GOD. I make stupid jokes. I have been known to snort occasionally when laughing. I do not make dinner every single night and (direct quote: enjoy it) as, apparently, all the other moms do. Sometimes we even just have a handful of veggies and a sandwhich and call it a night. Men whistle at me, and to my poor son's horror - I can feel his pain on this one - boys close to his age whistle at me. * In my defense I promise I do not wear belly shirts or short shorts or mini skirts or tops plastered to my breasts, because I know where you're going, reader. * I don't work on a schedule with our free time, which drives him nuts. I hate to explain what we are going to do for the next ten hours, and he hates that I won't. I am typically a few minutes late to everywhere. I procrastinate getting ready, often plastered to my poems or book or reading, and then rush around getting ready. I have been known to spend entire weekend days working on my book or poems. Our dishes pile up, our floors get clotted with dog hair. But hell- I ALLOW my kids to have animals (two dogs and four cats! for christs sake!) and most of his friends parents won't let them have even a cat, because they shed and takeeffort. Our house has bookshelves full of books and stacks and piles of books everywhere, although they are organized and look cute, in my opinion. Yes, books can look cute. I spread out art supplies and Lola and I make big arty messes. I laugh at farts. I kiss my kids all over their bodies and giggle crazily. I dance in the living room. I water at midnight. You get it. You see now. I'm wierd: so very very wierd.

And lastly and most upsettingly to my son, I passionately care about something other than him, his sister and his step-brother. This would be writing. I actually make room for what I care about in my life, and sometimes-- here it is -- it's just not convenient for him.

Some background: I stayed with my son for the first three, almost four years of his life, and then he went to preschool only part-time. After kindergarten, I got a job where he could come with me when his day ended. We have always been extremely close, being a mother has been, hands down, the most central and important fact of my life. I was an Attachment Parenting mom, still am, and this means he nursed until almost three, co-slept, and was held often. He was an independant and happy fellow and went off to his various schoolings and play dates happily and without drama- no ' momma's boy ' at all, as some friends who rolled eyes at my parenting feared.

Now he is in middle school and obsessed with maintaining status quo. I am NOT keeping up with the Joneses. The mothers in my suburban neighborhood are strange to me. I find it very hard to understand them or relate to them. Their concerns are not mine, their lives are not similar. The fact that I write is apparently as strange as if I had a finger growing out of my forehead, flipping them off every time they spoke. When I mention that I write (usually in answering a question) the looks I get would be funny, if I had a better sense of humor about it. ( Hmph. ) This does not mean I'm unfriendly. I know it's important to my son to feel ' normal ' and I am very friendly and gracious to all his friends and their parents.

When I'm working on a poem, and I cannot stop or else the entire poem will slip through my fingers like rain and I will feel traumatized, and my son wants something from me and I hold my finger up ' Just a minute... ' it is clear that he is highly disappointed with my parenting skills. It's not just a desire for me to be attentive, it is a resentment that I care so deeply about something else. He has no one to compare this too, and I suppose it's lonely for him in a way that I can relate to if I think of how lonely I occasionally feel doing what I'm doing here in suburbia. We like to have someone to relate to, to understand, and when we don't, we can feel worried about what that means.

When I am working on my novel and won't let him play video games and he is bored, it is clear that he believes I am failing my duties as a mother, because I am not tidying the house and serving him a snack. Seriously.

When I am taking notes in my journal and he wants me to take him to XXX and I won't because I am working, the eye rolling and sighing is legion. And it's not just that he is demanding at this age; he has told me directly (we do talk a lot) that I am just not like his friends moms. I feel a fissure in him: he is proud of my talents and accomplishments, but terribly worried that he won't ever fit in properly because I'm different. And in middle school, if your family is wierd, YOU are wierd. Remember? Middle School is one of Dante's hells, if you recall.

I realize many children critisize their parents at this age, and this is not a monopoly for moms who write, or paint, or... but I do feel that it is absolutely heightened by the fact that I do write, that I do care about something so deeply and that I do insist on time and focus in order to do it.
"Working" a regular job is one thing. That's more common now. But devoting time and effort to something as Oz-landish (to children) as writing is downright strange.

So when I read the exchanges between the Walker women, I feel a great sympathy for both. Mothering is an all consuming job if you let it be, and that is what 'children of a certain age' ;)
expect it to be. The other end, neglectful parenting, emotionally or otherwise, is painful and damaging and not something I would ever make light of, artist or not. Finding a balance is very difficult. Absolutely challenging. As is being a child of a parent who isn't like all the others. The pain of being different or feeling so can be truly horrible for children. It's their life- friends and school- and what matters to them may seem small to us, but it's not small, only small to us.

I am struggling to push my passion for writing forward with parenting the amazing, hilarious, intelligent and intense bunch of kids I am lucky enough to call my own ( ' all mine, all mine / and never mine ' as my poem about my daughter Lola says).

God forbid one day my daughter is a writer and let's the world know the various ways I failed her. All I can do is face the truth. I'm NOT like all the other moms. I hope one day my children appreciate that.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Sopranos, Greatest Show Ever on Television

The Sopranos, Greatest Show Ever on Television

I have never been so sad to see a show end- HBO's The Sopranos ended with it's fine nod to the mystery, the closed and darkened eye, secrets kept behind the lid.

As Norman Mailer said, the Sopranos was like
great literature. Large in scope, as a VF article said, like many octopus arms, each long tentacle reaching outward toward some other facet of being human.

Tony Soprano. The acting by James Gandolfini was so magnificent it floors me. I have never seen anyone inhabit a character like that on television. His physicality was an enormous part of his role, in a way usually reserved for stage.
The heavy breathing, shuffling in bathrobe, large shoulders bowed in grief, rubbing of bald forehead in times of stress, the way his face could swerve wildly from looking piggish and fat to dangerous and intense, even sexy, was thrilling to watch. I couldn't take my eyes off him in a way that does not happen to me with other actors who are proported to be magnetic for their sheer beauty. Tony Soprano was made magnetic by JG because he brought the internal struggle to the outward feature. A twisted mouth, a belt adjustment, the pull of a sweet cigar- each gesture was revealing.

The rest of the cast were brilliantly convincing in their roles as well. Edie Falco as Carmella, the wife of Tony, was never stamped out by the enormity of her husband, neither in size nor in the role he played in the family- or families. Even during times of quietude, Carmella was clearly not serene, but forcing her fears and unhappiness underground. This, in fact, was a running theme of the show- the way we try to compartmentalize our emotions; the way we fail.
Tony's deep unrest at his lifestyle gave him panic attacks in the form of fainting, and large eruptions of rage under duress; some of the most painful scenes to watch were Tony's transformations to his demons, when his face would slide from conflicted to remote, a dark still water in which his eyes went dead and black. This was the signal that he was no longer connected to himself as a whole person, but only to the part of him that was a thug, a murderer, a brutish businessman with decisive and murderous violence at his beck and call.
His enormous, bear like hands made fist.

Again, struggle- the dominating theme of The Sopranos. Tony struggled the entire show to understand and control himself; his therapy sessions with Dr. Melfi were fascinating to watch as the blunt repression of his mind came up against the sharp, painful knives of memory from his childhood, his dead father, his psychotic, manipulative mother- another brilliant characterization. There were moments in therapy, rare but precious for the depth given to such an unlikeable man, when Tony was overcome with the past, when the reality of what he had grown up in dawned on him, and the pain brought a gravity to his thuggish face that was a fine piece of acting, a slender thread of humanity Tony fought to hold onto, and ultimately failed.

As the show moved forward, the theme of death became pervasive. Death in all forms- small daily deaths of character, large sweeping deaths of hope, human death in the toll a mob life takes from all it's participants. When Tony's mother dies, he goes through a profound struggle trying to accept that this means he is indeed completely adult, ie- the next in line to die. Life moves swiftly through even the most dangerous currents.

The murder of Adriana, Tony's cousin's girlfriend and a highly entertaining, hopelessly sad character, propelled the show forward in a gruesome, heartbreaking scene in which Adriana, over the period of a pick up and car ride, realizes she is to be killed. She runs through the forest, sobbing and tripping in her heels, as she is gunned down by a man she has known and socialized with for years. The forest swallows her in it's great silence, and we understand at that moment that there is no recovering these people. Occasionally they try to run away and make a new life, to build something new- a massage parlor, a homosexual life in a new town- but they never escape. You see-- no one gets out alive.

Most of the characters in the Sopranos seem to be functioning on small intelligence. The depth and accomplishment of the show lies in the writer's understanding that keen intelligence is not necessary for a full range of existence. The dullest characters still suffer, struggle, reach for mysteries they cannot understand. Tony's son A.J. is perhaps the most shallow of characters, but his sluggish life, devoid of passions, still runs on the small pools, hitches, reverses and sudden understandings that occur in life. Even he cannot escape some internal desire to understand his life.

The mystery that is pervasive throughout this entire show is what captivated me entirely. As a poet I operate on the presumption that there are mysteries everywhere and inside myself, mysteries I try to explore or trace in poems, and these mysteries were touched here in this show, with great reverence in the attention to detail, honesty, and respect for the ultimate loss of each and every character. In the end, even Meadow, possibly the most intelligent and modern of the group, becomes entrenched in the dogmatic sublimation of humanity that the mob demands. She protects her father, and loses herself in doing so.

The dream sequences were the most profoundly moving scenes I have ever seen on television. The grey, wet cold chopping of ocean. Boats rocking. The sky, remote and removed, all seeing and uncaring. Sounds that transport us to somewhere else, another time. Faces that become other faces. We are confused, we are lost, we know not what we do. We love. We hurt. We fumble and reach for things beyond our grasp. We find consolations. We endure. We fear.
We weep and we laugh, we hold on to what we can never hold on to. This is life as we do not understand it.

Sopranos, you were the greatest show I have ever known.

Thank you David.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Reading List and Who Reads Books?

Here's A List I Found on another's blog. You are supposed to highlight the ones you have read. Gives me some great ideas for a reading list :)

Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart- today i realized i *had read this, my grandma had it years back and i read her copy. it makes you think about all the books you might have read and forgotten.!
Agee, James - A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane - Pride and PrejudiceBaldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel - Waiting for Godot- need to read this!
Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March
Brontë, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
Brontë, Emily - Wuthering Heights

Camus, Albert - The Stranger
Cather, Willa - Death Comes for the Archbishop- have read 'My Antonia'Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales
Chekhov, Anton - The Cherry Orchard -
Chopin, Kate - The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness

Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
Dante - Infernode Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote
Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment
Douglass, Frederick - Narrative of the Life of Frederick DouglassDreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss

Ellison, Ralph - Invisible ManEmerson, Ralph Waldo - Selected Essays
Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying - reading him right now!Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury
Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott - The Great Gatsby
Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary

Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier )
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von - Faust
Golding, William - Lord of the Flies
Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d’Urbervilles
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter
Heller, Joseph - Catch 22- have tried twice and just can't get into this/ try in a few years!
Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms
Homer - The Iliad
Homer - The Odyssey- partial
Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hurston, Zora Neale - Their Eyes Were Watching GodHuxley, Aldous - Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik - A Doll’s House
James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady
James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis
Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt
London, Jack - The Call of the WildMann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel García - One Hundred Years of Solitude- read half! does that count!Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman - Moby Dick
Miller, Arthur - The Crucible

Morrison, Toni - Beloved
O’Connor, Flannery - A Good Man is Hard to Find
O’Neill, Eugene - Long Day’s Journey into Night
Orwell, George - Animal Farm
Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago
Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allan - Selected Tales

Proust, Marcel - Swann’s WayPynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac
Roth, Henry - Call It Sleep- i have read half twice and get stuck in the accents!
Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William - Hamlet
Shakespeare, William - Macbeth
Shakespeare, William - A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard - Pygmalion
Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein
Silko, Leslie Marmon - Ceremony
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles - Antigone
Sophocles - Oedipus Rex

Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of WrathStevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver’s Travels
Thackeray, William - Vanity FairThoreau, Henry David - Walden
Tolstoy, Leo - War and PeaceTurgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire - Candide

Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. - Slaughterhouse-Five
Walker, Alice - The Color Purple - i love this- and did anyone see the article in Salon this week about her and her daughter? interesting...Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth- half!
Welty, Eudora - Collected Stories - someWhitman, Walt - Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray

Williams, Tennessee - The Glass MenagerieWoolf, Virginia - To the Lighthouse
Wright, Richard - Native Son

so there it is- my literary inadequacies out there for all to see! well crap, i haven't even got my associates yet so it's not too bad for reading on your own.
where's Mailer on this list? or Henry Miller? Nabokov! Anais Nin? Emily Dickenson? Truman Copote- 'In Cold Blood'-- etc?

it's depressing- E moves people, and he says he almost never ever ever sees anyone with BOOKS to move.
you know what people have? enormous collections of DVD's.


Wit of the Staircase, Two Suicides

I visited this blog, Wit of the Staircase, (see link at bottom of post) for it's beautiful layout and eclectic entries and photos. It is one of the wonderful things about the internet- I was able to peer into the life of a young, intelligent and very talented woman living a very interesting life.

When I received my edition of Vanity Fair that had the story of her suicide, and then her boyfriend's following suicide, it took me a bit to realize this was the same woman whose blog I had been visiting.

Theresa Duncan swallowed pills and left a brief note. Not long after, her boyfriend walked into the sea and drowned himself. Both were artists, Theresa had been trying to get a film made. They had a friendship with Beck that is explored in the VF article, a bizarre and confusing tale that leaves more questions than it answers.

The Vanity Fair article is fact packed and still gives no concrete answer what happened here, with Theresa or her boyfriend. There are theories abounding but no conclusive event or issue anyone points at to say 'this is why. this is why she killed herself'.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Probiotics and Allergies

Great little study about Probiotics helping quell allergies. Probiotics are becoming major players in the health/disease prevention/treatment areas. Your immune system resides in your gut, and it is becoming more understood how the healthy gut equals the healthy person- well, more understood scientifically, whereas it's something that has long been held true in natural healing, especially Asian healing. Probiotic balance is also a known player in the development of certain diseases and their treatments.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Hillary Clinton and the Sexism of America

Something I don't understand regarding the national debate over Clinton v. Obama is why it was acceptable, as they were campaigning, to attack Clinton for gender. No one would think of nationally revealing bigotry toward Obama, and ( gratefully ) there would be enormous outcry if this did occur.

Remember ' nappy headed ' basketball players and the end of a radio career?

So why is it that commentators or columnists can attack Clinton based on points directly related to her gender?

- The scandal with Bill Clinton and her continuation of the marriage.
- The picture of Clinton with her mouth open and finger raised repeatedly being evoked as a negative trait. God FORBID a woman look aggressive or terribly passionate when fighting the fight of her life.
- The discussions over her hair style.
- The words 'shrill', 'stubborn', 'aggressive' etc - used to point out that according to the commentator, Clinton is too forceful. To this I point to how damn hard, how exhausting and depleting and depressing it must have been at times for Hillary Clinton to achieve what she has achieved- the national recognition as a forefront contender for the Presidency. Without this 'unfeminine' force, she would not be where she is, absolutely not.
- What I have heard, over and over again from those who do not like Hillary Clinton, is a catch-all bunch of passe and lazy adjectives used to sum up the structure of the dislike, which is that she is a woman with traits associated with the success of men.

This entire critique is an expression of the microcosm of this issue in American family life.
Let's set it up: Mom and Dad work full-time and have four children. The family has been through a lot of stress in the last year, health issues, financial strain, a fight to keep the family functioning well. Dad and Mom are both hard working and stressed to their limit. Mom, however, is culturally mocked (where those expectations come from and how powerful they are is an entire other subject) for the changes this stress brings in her appearance, her tone, her face, her ability to provide 'femininity' to her role. Raised finger and face intense... she becomes what? A leader? A strong role model? A fighter, a survivor, or any of the other words we can associate with continuing to enact your responsibilities when under great stress? Or is she a hag, a shrew... a bitch?

Sound familiar?

I support Obama- he's my guy. But I find it depressing and intellectually lazy that so many people who are experts in political debate fall back on these kinds of criticisms when explaining why they do not support Clinton. The entire structure of political commentary is set up on the premise that the people writing and speaking on the issues are educated about them and their veiwpoints are created via facts and information, not a Legally Blonde critique on the behavior and appearance of women in politics.

So thank you, Hillary Clinton. I know you did what you did for yourself, of course, but I know what you did for me and my daughter and her daughter, as well. And so do you, and your daughter.

May their hair be messy and their faces be lit with passion.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Novel Idea

First, The Beginning

I broke my foot, thank God.

If it weren't for the broken foot, I wouldn't be sitting here, at my computer, writing the opening stanza in a blog. I wouldn't have completed twenty poems.

I wouldn't have had words and worlds falling from my fingertips into my novel, filling it up like
the malnourished, hungry thing it was. Full time work, marriage, children and one heinous math class equaled a novel left in the crib, sucking it's proverbial thumb, waiting to be picked up.

So I did, and ' Agitate My Heart ', my second novel, is coming along beautifully, half way finished and flourishing.

After I broke my foot, I set up a routine- take kids to school, pick up iced coffee, feed dogs and cat and kittens, and set up in the sunroom at my computer, writing.

And as Norman Mailer says in his book, " The Spooky Art " , the routine indicated to my brain that at a certain time every day, I was going to write, and apparently, if you sit it, the words will come. Sit on it, Potsie.

I am a prolific writer of poems, whereas the novel comes along at a slow pace, with constant editing.

Then, the Middle

What Will Be Posted?

- book reviews
- various rants
- poetry
- links to other far off places
- dispatches from parenthood
- recommendations for books, movies, art

and of course, notes on the writing life, and all it encompasses.

Interlude for Lists

We have one cat, Kagome, and three kittens: Hermione, Harry and Hagrid.

Yes, we love Harry Potter here.

Two Dogs: Bodie Muchachas and Wolfgang Mozart.

Children: Lola Moon, Dakota Wolf and Ian Oliver.

Ambitions: Published poet and novelist, quit my day job, travel extensively, love well, help children in any way possible, conquer fear, cultivate a flourishing garden, swim naked in the ocean again, touch a dolphin, own horses, live on a farm, raise a puppy, watch my children grow, write as a journalist, experience joy, be of good use.

Begin Again

' i am tired. i am true of heart. you are tired. you are true of heart.'
-dave eggers