Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Cats & Orphans

There are more poems this October, not by me, and these with cats in them, up today at Escape Into Life, in the CatOber 2017 feature. (We have Dog Days in summer, poems with dogs in them, and give equal time to cats in October.) Poems by Catherine Moore, Jessy Randall, and Rob Carney, with links to more!! Meanwhile, I am reading--and about to finish--When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro, who just won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Here is a New Yorker piece on him that refers to "the itch of wanting to know" which is what I experience when reading Ishiguro. I had read Never Let Me Go and seen the movie of The Remains of the Day, which I also need now to read, or to read again...and some shorter pieces. There is a mastery in this writing. I want to keep turning the pages, not just to find out what happens, but to keep being told the story.... I like how this cover is a blur.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Poems in October

This has been a slow year for poetry for me--writing, submitting, publishing. I guess I was too busy with other things, or it could be a general winding down. (I hope not.)

My poetry tally is shamefully low; perhaps I will tally before I go... But on October 1, two new issues came out with poems of mine in them:

Rogue Agent with "We Ruined Our Teeth"
the museum of americana with "Sunset with No Motel in Sight" and "The Red Car"

Palindromish coincidence: Rogue Agent is issue #31 and the museum of americana is issue #13. (See creepy coincidii from yesterday here.)

Red herringish coincidence re: images. It is not really a No Vacancy problem but instead a "no motel in sight" problem, as that poem states in its title. And while aspects of each poem may be true or autobiographical,

1. We might not have been looking for a motel at all.
2. "The Red Car" is based on a dream and a myth.
3. Our teeth are not now constellations.

But it is true that the song "Drive" by The Cars makes me cry. The line, "Who's gonna drive you home...tonight?" I don't know why, really. I guess it evokes a time gone by...the 80s. Watch out: this is a sad, creepy music video (in case you don't know the song.)

2017 Tally:
Sent: 18 Rejected: 7 Accepted: 5 Pending from present or past: 10

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Magic for Beginners

I am creeped out. What are the odds that I would read two books in a row that contain a character named Ransom? Granted, in one, The Bostonians, by Henry James, Basil Ransom, is a major character, and, in the other, Aiding and Abetting, by Muriel Spark, Roy Ransom, a detective, is merely a mentioned character. (And his name might have been "Ranson," as it was printed the second time he was mentioned, though that might have been a typo. Or was it an intentional mistake, as he was mentioned in a character's notes, to lend verisimilitude. But does that happen? I found it weird.) And I did not read this particular edition of The Bostonians, but I liked this particular couple. They look ghostly or like they are made out of Hollywood ectoplasm, adding to the creepiness of it all. I read instead an edition with a good introduction by A.S. Byatt and excellent footnotes at the back, so I read with two bookmarks, to keep track of them.

The Bostonians is creepy as Ransom, a Southerner, not too long after the Civil War, is sort of stalking a feminist from the North (Boston)--or rather a lovely young woman with a talent for public speaking, who can be used by the feminist movement of the time. It was particularly creepy reading it in our times, in the context of the current prolonged backlash against feminism and the resurgence of Confederate flags and related controversies. And now I do want to see the movie with Christopher Reeve as Ransom, to ponder his charm, though I read the book casting the remake in my head, and Ransom was played by Adam Driver. Henry James describes Adam Driver's long, thrown-back hair, I kid you not. Creepy.

It is October, which adds to the creepiness. Now I am reading Magic for Beginners, a bunch of surreal short stories by Kelly Link. I just finished the story with many rabbits in the yard, so, if you have read it, you know why I am creeped out. Not only by the story, but also because my yard is full of rabbits, too, as we don't spray lawn poison, and I leave plenty of things in the yard for animals, birds, squirrels, earthworms, and insects to eat all year long. I mean seed heads, vegetable compost, and bread crusts.

And up this month at Escape Into Life is my review of Travel Notes from the River Styx, a book of poems by Susanna Lang, that is sort of a dreamy road trip in the Underworld. You can read it here if you want more creepiness! Meanwhile, the annual Evergreen Cemetery Walk continues in Bloomington, Illinois. I wrote a couple of the scripts for it, and the actors are doing a great job. The unifying theme this year is World War I, as this is the centennial of the USA's involvement in that sad, sad war. The ghosts of soldiers, Red Cross nurses, and hard-working, generous people of our community do walk again....

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Something About Mary

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been reading a biography of Mary Martin, Some Enchanted Evenings. I always learn a lot from actor biographies, sometimes more than I ever wanted or needed to know, but I love finding ways to connect to other human beans. Like Mary Martin, I get good ideas in the shower, and, also like her, I don't like to see myself on camera or videotape. Here, on p. 316, the two came together: "So I said to myself one day in the shower--that's where I get all my famous ideas, like washing that man right outta my hair--I never saw myself on stage, so there really is no need for me to see myself now, or I might never go back on television." She was a hit on live television, as Peter Pan, and on various taped TV specials, but people loved her dearly onstage, alive and natural, full of energy, in that ephemeral art that is theatre. I think I hate seeing myself (taped live) from my basic shyness and introversion, and I sort of don't want to know how I do what I do. I don't want to be any more self-consciousness than I already am! A great thing about live theatre is to disappear into the moment that is shared--with other actors and with the audience and in & with the world imagined and created by the playwright first and then interpreted by theatre artists. Now, back to Siri Hustvedt, whose fiction and essays I have been reading all summer. Also reading & reviewing poetry for EIL, most recently Whirlwind @ Lesbos, by Risa Denenberg.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Earnest is Over

The Importance of Being Earnest, the play I was just in at Heartland Theatre, is over, and we struck the set on Sunday, and I am still catching up with my rest and my laundry! It was fun to be Lady Bracknell, and audiences had a great time discovering or rediscovering this very witty, utterly ridiculous play by Oscar Wilde. My daughter was surprised that such an old play could be so funny!!

I have been reading a biography of Mary Martin--Peter Pan! the original Maria in The Sound of Music on Broadway, Nellie Forbush in South Pacific!--and am comforted to know that she got just as nervous as I do! It almost makes me want to do a musical again. Almost...

Meanwhile, the world and our country have been falling apart, devastated by weather, politics, violence, and idiocy. Which is why we do need musicals and ridiculous plays sometimes....