Monday, May 28, 2007

blog hibernation

The blog and I will be taking a little quiet time. We'll be back, rested and troublesome, in early June.

I don't really know where the blog will be going, but I peeked into the blog's suitcase and so far it contains sunscreen, gumboots, and badminton togs.

I will be here soaking up words of wisdom, and studying with Janet Fitch.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

The rescue at Dunkirk, WWII, May 27, 1940

by Linera Lucas
(from Pipes and Timbrels, August, 2005)

This is how it happened. It was May 27th, 1940, early Monday morning, the blackout curtains snug against the window frame, the wireless on low in the kitchen. I’m getting ready to take the boat out myself, my husband’s back being no better and we need the catch. And I’m raised up fishing and it’s the war; we all do different now.

I’d made myself a full breakfast: eggs, fried bread, and beans. Rationing is for city folks. I trade the good Dover sole from our nets for milk and eggs, so there I am at table, sopping up the last smear of runny yolk when the wireless changes.

A posh voice from the Admiralty breaks into the marine weather report, (Channel calm, north wind rising to thirty knots by evening), and he says our soldiers are stranded at Dunkirk across the Channel in Belgium. The Germans backed our troops onto the beach and are picking them off by air. The British Admiralty calls on all motorboats, sailboats, launches, tugs, yachts, fishing smacks, all private vessels of pleasure and business to go rescue our boys. Admiralty fellow says smaller boats are crucial, as they can get in the narrow mouth of Dunkirk harbor. Every boat is wanted; every skipper is urged to join the flotilla.

I sip my tea, strong, sweet, the way I like it on a cool morning. My cup clinks on the saucer. We got a boat, The Evangeline. She’s not big, but she’s yare and I’m good as any man on the water. I’ve nobody in the war, but if we'd had a boy he might have been at Dunkirk, stuck on the beach while the German Stukas screech overhead like vultures.

I look at the wall clock. We bought that on our honeymoon, nigh twenty years ago. What we thought we'd do then. Well. It’s half past four, time to get going. I open the bedroom door, lifting the handle so the hinge won’t squeak. My husband grunts, rolls over and snores. I close the door quietly.

Back in the kitchen I put the kettle on, write “Gone to Dunkirk” on the back of a petrol bill and prop it against the saltcellar. I cut bread and fill the big flask first with boiling water then hot tea, screwing the lid on tight. Good flask, that, keeps the tea nice for hours, and no telling how long this might take. I pull back the curtain and see grey light, stack my cup and plate in the sink. No time to redd up the kitchen, my husband can do that, it'll be his bit, time he learned. more


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Susan Hill

"The novelist can do anything, is all powerful. As the child says at age four or five, 'You can't make me do anything I don't want to.' It's as true for the novelist. I simply do not have to do the chores, write the dull bits. I leave them out. Leave the reader to make huge leaps. And the best thing of all is that it works far, far better. It is boring to read a book in which we are made to plod anxiously all the way from A to B. Even more boring to write one. Hop, skip and jump, like Alice over the hedges between the chess squares. Simple."

from The Agony and the Ego, edited by Clare Boylan, Penguin 1993.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Canteen Magazine

Canteen Magazine is a brand new literary magazine. Contributors include Po Bronson, Andrew Sean Greer, Julie Orringer, Ryan Harty, & Katie Ford.

Here's the mission statement:

"Canteen is the literary magazine that comes with instructions. We admire what writers and artists do, and we want insight into how and why it’s done. To get that, we ask contributors to move beyond the boundaries of genre and final draft to delve into reputation, ferocious drive, unmarketable dreams, the danger of reader takeovers, and just what makes a work important."

Stephen Pierson, PUBLISHER
Sai Sriskandarajah, ART DIRECTOR


Friday, May 18, 2007

Poetry Northwest/The Attic May Happy Hour

Friday, May 18 from 5-7pm is the last happy hour for Poetry Northwest & The Attic until the fall. Festivities are at The Empire Room, 4260 SE Hawthorne Boulevard.

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 17, 2007

John Banville

from his essay "Making Little Monsters Walk" in The Agony and the Ego, edited by Clare Boylan, Penguin, 1993

I do not think I am a novelist. As a writer I have little or no interest in character, plot, motivation, manners, politics, morality, social issues. The word psychology when it is applied to art makes me want to reach for my revolver.

To those of you who at this point are about to stop reading, let me hasten to say that this is not an anti-humanist attitude I am striking, not even, really, a postmodernist one. I do believe that the art of fiction does deal with the world, that world which in our arrogance we call 'ordinary', but that it deals with it in very special and specialized ways.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Last night at Janice Gould's reading I met Maureen Michelson, who runs NewSage Press, a local publishing company that specializes in nonfiction.

"NewSage Press books cover a myriad of interests and social concerns, including the animal and human bond, environmental issues, nature, women’s issues, and more."


Monday, May 14, 2007

Janice Gould at the Gresham Library Monday, May 14

Janice Gould is reading her poetry tonight at the Gresham Library at 6:30 pm with Barbara Drake and Leanne Grabel.

They are all part of the Deer Drink the Moon anthology, published by Ooligan Press.

Labels: ,

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Ogden Nash


At another year
I would not boggle,
Except that when I jog
I joggle.

from You Can't Get There From Here, 1953


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Write Around Portland, Thursday May 24th, 6:30pm

Write Around Portland is holding a reading of works from the newest anthology, Called to Speak Stories, on Thursday, May 24th, from 6:30-8:30 pm at First Congregational Church on SW Park and Madison in downtown Portland.

from the website:
"Write Around Portland runs volunteer-facilitated writing workshops for people affected by HIV/AIDS, survivors of domestic violence, people in recovery from drug/alcohol addiction, people in prison, seniors in foster care, people with physical or mental disabilities, teen parents, low income adults and others who might not have access to the power of writing and community because of income, isolation or other barriers. We organize readings where participants share their writing with the greater community and publish anthologies of participants' writings."


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Technology quizz

Where do you fit in the spectrum? Here's the link. I'm a Connector.

"Connectors, which make up 7% of the population, have a median age of 38, with a majority (54%) in the 30-49 age range. Ethnically, it is mostly white (72%); 16% are Black and 12% are English-speaking Hispanics. The typical Connector has been online for 9 years, which suggests they were a second-wave of late 1990s adopters. Most are women (55%) and they rate above average in educational attainment and income."

As usual, the whiz kids who set up this show have underestimated the technology use of women over 40. Sheesh. I'm an early adopter, but not a geek. Get a clue, boys!

Labels: ,

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Nature of Words 2007

The lineup of faculty at The Nature of Words in November 2007 includes Debra Magpie Earling, Timothy Egan, Craig Johnson, Ted Kooser, Kathleen Dean Moore, Benjamin Percy, and Pattiann Rogers. The conference is held in Bend, Oregon, November 1-4, 2007. The director is Ellen Watson.

Labels: ,

Friday, May 04, 2007

Stephen Fry alarm clock

The VOCO Clock wakes one up with the gently modulated tones of the perfect valet. Mr. Fry has also recorded a sleep message that is lulling and restful.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Susan Meyers

My pal Susan Meyers is a finalist for the Southern Independent Booksellers Award for poetry. Her book Keep and Give Away, was selected by Terrance Hayes for the South Carolina Poetry Book Prize in 2006.

Here is the beginnging of one of my favorites:

Trying to Get It Right

At ten I thought popular girls had everything
to hide, at least the older ones. They spoke
a language the rest of us wanted to learn,
a vocabulary all the boys understood. If only
we could decipher what we lacked, we could correct
the bad grammar of our elbows and knees.

On the bulletin board one September I saw adverb
and thought the teacher would never let us in
on the secret. She didn't mention the word for days
while it sat there like a perfect body. I knew
it spelled what I needed, something gorgeous
or an action I could learn to perform, a long verb

we hadn't been ready for at six: Don't run, Spot-

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

more Hilary Mantel

"It is not so much plot as shape we have to find: something which offers dramatic satisfaction, which offers a slight improvement on what we perceive of the messiness of real life. Though actually, I don't believe real life is messy at all. If you keep a diary for a few years you'll see the order emerge. In a novel you simply proffer this order in a short form."

again from her essay in The Agony and the Ego (see previous post)