Blog .:. May 2006 4 Entries

Spontaneous Outpourings Recollected in Tequila

30 May 2006 Comments

There’s a new face on the literary scene: Quick Muse. The concept: two poets are given a prompt and fifteen minutes to write. Their keystrokes are saved, so on the QM website you can watch the entire poem unfold, including edits and erasures.

Editor Ken Gordon explains the project in an article in Poets & Writers: he wants to know whether poets can produce their best work under spontaneous circumstances. According to a New York Times article on Quick Muse, reactions from poets have been mixed. Mark Strand (politely) declined while Robert Pinsky is set to face off with Julianna Baggott today.

I think the intimidating part of the project isn’t the time limit so much as the expectation of quality. Robert Pinsky is quoted at the end of the NYT article as saying “You may not write your best, but you should be able to write something that is memorable.”

Are you kidding? I have poems sitting in the draft stage for eighteen months while I try to create something memorable. The thought of trying to do that in fifteen minutes? Terrifying. There’d better be a big shot of Tequila waiting for me if you want me to try that.

Oh, all right, then. It’s two a.m. There’s no one around to see and there’s a bottle of whiskey in the kitchen. I’ll give it a shot. So to speak.

Rather than steal Quick Muse’s prompt, I’ll use an excerpt from Sherod Santos’ A Poetry of Two Minds:

Seen from one perspective, Eurydice serves a crucial role in the fate that Orpheus must undergo if he’s to gain full powers as a poet. She comes to represent the descent into the poet’s unconscious, the knowledge of the depths indispensable to artistic authority. As Hélène Cixous has observed, “We need a dead (wo)man to begin. To begin (writing, living) we must have death.”

All right, then. Off to set a fifteen minute timer and begin writing.

Tagged: Hélène Cixous, Julianna Baggott, Ken Gordon, Mark Strand, News Articles, Orpheus, Poetry, Poetry of Two Minds by Santos, Robert Pinsky, Sherod Santos, Sites to See, Writing, Writing Exercises

I have discovered ponies

29 May 2006 Comments

I went to the show today to hang out, see how everyone was doing, that sort of thing. While I was there, I was asked to take Pony out for a walk—she’s young, was getting experience, that sort of thing.

We walked, and when I was tired of walking, Pony turned out to be the perfect arm rest size—you can prop your elbows on her back and watch the riders in the show ring. It was very comfortable. And then, if you wanted to ride, you could just hop on from the ground. No sticking your foot in a stirrup up by your ear so you can swing up, as on a horse… nope… one hop and you’d be on Pony’s back! (Not that I got to ride Pony, but she’s that perfect size, you see?) Plus, there’s the Pony Attitude, which… there’s nothing else like it—it’s the combination of a smart brain testing the limits of what it can do all multiplied by the Pony Cuteness factor. Pony Attitude. It’s very cool.

Oh my. Forget buying a horse: I want a pony.

Tagged: Horse Shows, Horses

Visiting Alaska? Be nice to the locals

12 May 2006 Comments

  1. We realize the roads do not have lane lines. Ice and snow and studs and a whole winter of plowing tends to rip up the paint. We know where all the lanes are; we leave the roads unpainted because we know it frustrates you.
  2. Downtown construction. It’s not necessary; we just like seeing your panicked looks when you realize MapQuest is useless and you must navigate The Maze blind. Here’s a hint: the roads are designed on a one-way grid system, except when they aren’t.
  3. Passing. We pass on the left. You and your motorhome are not capable of driving over 45 mph—your motorhome because it’s a motorhome and you because Oh! My! God! There are Animals! And Mountains! And Nature! out your window. Yeah, yeah. Admire it from the right lane; we have places to go.
  4. Driving south. Notice there’s only one lane in each direction? Notice the signs that say “State Law: You Must pull over if there are more than three cars behind you?” In no known language does that translate as “It’s ok to have a caravan of cars backed up behind you for three miles; the law doesn’t apply to you since you have Florida license plates.” Move your motorhome off the road.
  5. Driving south, continued. Despite the fact that it’s only two lanes, it really is a highway. This means it is definitely not ok to a) stop in the driving lane because you saw a moose; b) reverse until you are next to the moose; and c) get out of your car, leaving it parked in the driving lane and stopping all traffic going in that direction.
  6. Alaska is not a petting zoo. The moose will charge you, and we will laugh.
  7. We spend a good portion of our winter in below-zero weather. If you are acclimated to higher temperatures, don’t put on a sleeveless tank and shorts and then complain about how cold you are. 70 degrees is a heat wave up here, and we will wear what we want. Put on a sweater if you’re cold.
  8. Do not complain about the price of gas. You’re the nitwit driving a motorhome.
  9. Sleeping in your motorhome is not camping. Camping is parking your car and carrying everything you need for the weekend in a nifty contraption we call a “backpack.” It’s sleeping in a tent (horrors!). It’s forgetting your water in the car and six people trying to survive for two days on the one liter that Mr. Conscientious put in his pack. It’s knowing to bring extra ropes to hang both garbage and food from different trees and knowing where those trees should be in relation to the tents. It’s carrying a gun to scare off bears and any tourists who may have wandered out of their carefully manicured RV parks. We laugh at your “roughing it.”
  10. Do not reach your destination and then ask the Alaskan who spent the last three hours crawling behind your slow vehicle for directions to the next place. The Alaskan is pissed off that you never pulled off the road and let them pass; they will lie to you, and you’ll have no way of knowing it until you hit Canada.
  11. Alaska is part of the United States. Even if you come from Florida, you don’t need to change your currency. Or show the grocery-store clerk your passport. Or ask us if we speak English.
  12. We don’t really do the whole merge lanes on the highway thing, except in town. We know this can be confusing to some people, but it is never a good idea to turn onto a highway right in front of a car going 65 mph, especially if it’s going to take you the next four hours to accelerate your motorhome up to 40 mph. We have cell phones and know how to call the Troopers.
  13. If you ask someone for directions to “the best place to catch a fish,” don’t think they hate you just because they send you to the most touristy, people-packed fishing hole in the area. We really don’t hate tourists—we’ll bend over backwards to help the ones who show they have a shred of common sense—but we’re under no moral obligation to give up the location of our secret fishing spots.

Tagged: Moose, Travel, United States, United States - Alaska, Zoos

Why do I bother trying?

5 May 2006 Comments

I switched to diet sodas, and now I crave snacks/candy/sweet stuff more than ever.

At first I thought it was just the calorie drop, since I was trying to be really careful and make sure I didn’t make up the lost calories in snacks.

But it’s been weeks now, and I still crave snacks all the fricken time. I mean All. The. Fricken. Time.

I finally had to stop buying snacks, more or less. Don’t get me wrong—I still buy junk food. But now I have to actually go to the store and get it, where before I usually had something on hand. It helps, although I thought it wouldn’t.  But if I’m watching TV and want to snack, I’m not very likely to miss the show just to go buy chips. And if it’s 2 a.m. and I’m working on a site and get hungry… I’m also not likely to drag myself out of the house just for some candy. I mean, I’d have to get dressed. And let’s admit it: I’m a very lazy person.

I’m pretty sure I’ve lost weight in the last few months. Not a lot, but a little. I attribute that to the barn work more than anything, though. When all is said and done, I eat about the same as I did, except for the diet soda replacing regular. I’m actually fairly pleased with myself; I wasn’t sure if I could keep up the diet soda thing.

I just wish I didn’t crave snacks as much as I do. It doesn’t do any good to cut calories one way if my body’s going to try and trick me into getting them another way. After several weeks, I don’t think I can blame it on my body getting used to the slightly lower calorie intake. It’s like it’s just going to keep on going forever… Ugh.

It’s not like I’m trying to go on a diet. I hate diets; you never stick to them. I’m just trying to slowly change things around so I eat a little healthier and maybe wean myself off soda. But what do I replace the soda with? And don’t say water; I hate the taste of water. And yes, water does have taste; that’s how I know I hate it.

So why is the universe conspiring against me? Couldn’t the cravings ease up just a little? I mean, I’m trying here! Throw me a bone! Not dreams of cheese smothered crackers!

Not that I’m craving snacks right this minute, or anything. Oh, no. Not me. Not one bit.

I’m going to keep telling myself that. Don’t mind me.

Tagged: Cooking Eating & Food, Living & Eating Better

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