Friday, May 29, 2009

Teaching summer quarter July 27 - August 17

My summer class at the UW Women's Center will be on Mondays,
July 27 - August 17, 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.



"The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he came to see."
-G.K. Chesterton


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Alice Munro wins the Man Booker

Amazing. That's what this is. The best living short story writer in English is actually being recognized. Alice Munro has won the Man Booker Prize. If you haven't read an Alice Munro short story, now is the time. What? You say you don't like short stories, you only read novels? Well, you are in luck, because Munro short stories are like novels, only a bit shorter. Everything is there, the characters, the setting, the plot, the complications. And, like Chekhov stories, the characters live on after the reader finishes.

I suggest starting with "What is Remembered" and then going on to "Nettles." Both are in Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage.

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Richard Brinsley Sheridan 1751-1816

(Sheridan was a noted Anglo-Irish playwright. His most famous plays are The Rivals, and The School for Scandal.)

Two royal dukes, meeting Sheridan in London's Piccadilly, greeted him familiarly.
Said one, "I say, Sherry, we were just discussing whether you are more rogue or fool."
"Why," replied Sheridan, taking each duke by the arm, "I believe I am between both."

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


Friday, May 22, 2009

Pet Project

I'm a fan of Pet Project, a swell blog by my pal Sarah. Stop on by! Lots of good advice on cats, dogs, and other critters, as well as product reviews, DIY, and news from the pet frontier.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It Will Come To Me by Emily Fox Gordon

I just finished reading It Will Come To Me by Emily Fox Gordon, which is an excellent novel, funny, insightful, sharply observed, and a pleasure to read, but such a poor choice of title.

The cover is, if possible, even worse than the title. The cover is a baby floating above some undistinguished red brick buildings. The cover image made sense once I had read the final chapter, but not before. The title is too easily forgotten, and should have been something else, something indicating wit and and academic satire.

Random House calls the novel "A sharply observed comic novel about a writer straining against the role of faculty wife." Hmmmm. Fine, as far as it goes. Every time a book is actually amusing there seems to be something disparaging about that fact, as if only dreary seriousness were to be accorded real respect.

However, I enjoyed the book, found it well-written and well-constructed, with searing conflict and dead-on descriptions. Here's Gordon on a gathering of local writers:
"To catalog the rivalries, grudges, betrayals, lapsed friendships, divorces, feuds, and physical assaults that had severed past connections between the people in the room would require the kind of mind that finds histories of the Balkans comprehensible." And then, amazingly enough, Gordon goes on to provide concrete and hilarious examples.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Awakening by W. Thomas Edwards

A soul is made to sing, and sing it must.

It must to other things attend, also, but when its shape is done

It sings.

And sometimes when the vessel that it moves knows that it’s there,

The singing breaks the bounds of clay

and can be heard.

What shape its song, it matters not

The reason for the singing is the key to understanding

What it is the soul is singing.

The greatest gift I know is grace

And is not won,

But poured upon us like some ancient Greek libation on the ground

Where some soaks in and some runs off the rocks.

Just when that soaking fills the soul to bursting out

The vessel sings

In joyous praise of grace and Giver.

Three times it sings each song in laud of

God the Three-in One.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Greg Palmer 1947-2009

My old friend Greg Palmer died on Friday, May 8th. We went to high school together, and later Greg hired me to do radio theatre when he was the Station Manger and Program Manger at KRAB Radio, in the early 1970s. My first day at work he was fired by the board.
"Hi, Greg," I said, coming in the door.
"Bye, Linera," he said, grinned at me, and left. He knew I'd be fine. He was, of course, correct.

Greg was a writer, TV producer, host, presenter, and commentator extraordinaire. I last saw him at the signing of his most recent book, Cheese Deluxe, a memoir of his high school job as a short order cook at the Samoa, a burger joint on Mercer Island in the late 1960s. The signing was at Island Books, and the reading was jammed with old friends from his year and my year and the ones in between and around. I knew he was ill, but still, his death is a loss. Greg was a good person, and the world is poorer for his leaving.


Saturday, May 09, 2009

Elinor Lipman's newest book

Elinor Lipman has a new book out, called The Family Man. I'm eagerly awaiting it. I've loved her other novels, her funny, wry sense of character, her impeccable plots, and the clarity of her voice. And also her actual voice, as I listened to the audio book of The Pursuit of Alice Thrift in the car, and she read her own words.

Here's the link to her readings.
Unfortunately, Seattle is not on the current schedule, but perhaps in the future.


Friday, May 01, 2009

Paul Muldoon reading Monday May 18

Paul Muldoon, poetry editor of the New Yorker and Princeton professor, is reading at the UW on Monday, May 18 at 8pm, as part of the Roethke Reading series. The reading is free. Mr. Muldoon won the Pulitzer in 2003 for Moy Sand and Gravel.

From the website:

"Paul Muldoon is the Howard G. B. Clark '21 Professor at Princeton University, Chair of the Peter B. Lewis Center for the Arts, and the Poetry Editor of the The New Yorker. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His major works include New Weather (1973), Why Brownlee Left (1980), Meeting the British (1987), Madoc: A Mystery (1990), Hay (1998), Horse Latitudes (2006), and Moy Sand and Gravel (2002), which was awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize.

In addition, Mr. Muldoon is the recipient of the 1996 American Academy of Arts and Letters award in literature, the 1994 T.S. Eliot Prize, the 1997 Irish Times Poetry Prize, the 2003 Griffin International Prize for Excellence in Poetry, the 2004 American Ireland Fund Literary Award, the 2004 Shakespeare Prize, the 2005 Aspen Prize for Poetry, and the 2006 European Prize for Poetry."