Monday, March 30, 2009


If you were thinking bout doing NaPoWriMo, and were looking for a venue, my pal Deb has one at Read Write Poem. Check it out, nice site.

NaPoWriMo is for April, National Poetry Month. Kind of like NaNoWriMo, write a novel in the month of November. In NaPoWriMo, you write a poem every day for the month of April. I did it a few years ago, and it was a great way to generate a heap of rough work. Much of it dreck, but a few things worth revising.


Saturday, March 28, 2009


"To have in general but little feeling, seems to be the only security against feeling too much on any particular occasion."
-George Eliot, Middlemarch.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Toby +++++ December 30, 2001 - March 25, 2009


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Writing Your Story, Finding Your Voice

My class at the UW Women's Center will now be on Mondays,
April 20-May 11, from 7-8:30pm, $45.

Register by calling the UW Women's Center at 206.685.1090.

Writing Your Story, Finding Your Voice
Every woman has a story to tell, in her own voice. In this four-week session we will release our stories, silence our inner critics, and have a good time! Come prepared with pen and paper, your imagination, your fears and joys, your secret expectations. We will focus on short pieces of prose and poetry, using lively free-writing exercises. For those new to writing, and those who want to revisit the freedom of the beginner. $45.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Horton Foote, 1916-2009

I just saw the movie "Tomorrow," made from the Faulkner short story. Amazing movie. Cinematography was like watching Walker Evans, or Margaret Bourke-White in motion. And the ever pleasing Robert Duvall in the lead. Horton Foote wrote the screenplay, which goes part way to explaining how it came to be so good.

"I believe very deeply in the human spirit, and I have a sense of awe about it. I look around and ask, What makes the difference? What is it? I've known people the world has thrown everything at-to discourage them, to kill them, to break their spirit. And yet something about them retains a dignity. They face life and they don't ask quarters." -Horton Foote


Friday, March 13, 2009

Mae West 1893-1980

"Goodness, Mae," said a friend, on greeting her, "where did you get those beautiful pearls?"

"Never mind," said Mae West, "but you can take it from me that goodness had nothing to do with it."

from The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes, edited by Clifton Fadiman.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Somewhere Towards the End

I just finished reading Somewhere Towards the End: A Memoir written by Diana Athill when she was 89. It is just what it says, a memoir about being at the end of life, written by someone who has had a lively and vigorous life, full of joy and strangeness. Athill was for many years an editor at Andre Deutsch, a fine publishing firm in London. Her earlier memoir, written when she was a mere 82, is called Stet, and it is on my list to read as well.

This is not one of those hearty, backslapping memoirs about hale nonagenarians who are still bounding over peaks and tiring out youngsters. Nope. This is much more real, but neither is it a recounting of hospital visits and gruesome operations. Athill has pretty good health, but hey, she is old, and deserves her rest. She has lived, and she has payed attention, and her thoughts are well-written, and worth reading.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

I've Loved You So Long

I watched "I've Loved You So Long" last night and I am still captivated by it. The script, directing, acting, editing, costumes, sets, all were in service of the story. And what a story. I don't want to say much about it, because to come to the movie knowing nothing is such a gift. So I'd suggest avoiding the trailer, and not reading reviews, until you've seen the movie. Why the movie was not nominated for Best Foreign Film by the Oscar gang is completely peculiar. The movie was recognized by a number of serious film organizations,including Berlin International Film Festival, Cesar Awards, London Critics, Chicago Critics, Toronto, Telluride, and BAFTA. All of which is irrelevant.

Kristen Scott Thomas is superb. But it is the director and writer, Philippe Claudel, who is my new hero. This is his first film; he's a lit professor and novelist. I look forward to more.

I watched the special features on the DVD, and during the deleted scenes, the director's comments were the most interesting I have heard in a long while. Ah, such pleasure in seeing a really fine film. Such intelligence, and respect for the audience.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

UW Classics Dept Lectures

The UW Classics department has free lectures at 210 Kane Hall. Tonight is Michael Hoff (Nebraska, "Lord Elgin and the Parthenon Marbles: Two Hundred Years of Controversy." Be there or be rhomboid.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Margaret Atwood

"If the act of writing charts the process of thought, it's a process that leaves a trail, like a series of fossilized footprints. Other art forms can last and last - painting, sculpture, music - but they do not survive as voice."

Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing. 2002.


Monday, March 02, 2009

Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard

Of course, the Nordic Heritage Museum is in Ballard, what, you think it would be in Fremont, or Duvall? The current exhibit features the artistry of Elsebeth Lavold, and is called "Knitting Along the Viking Trail," which gives me the image of those rough and ready boys with their wool and needles, furiously knitting, perhaps saying, "must get this row done before the raping and pillaging, oh, damn the cables, full sail ahead!"