Thursday, September 26, 2013

avah poems, 2

Inspired by her own poems in Whole Terrain, Avah wrote some new ones this morning:


purple flower

purple flower and your white leaves
the pink in your petals and the orange and the white
when it blossoms again you come to renew
the new world


kitty

kitty sleeping by the fire
we gather around pouring
from the tea and kitty
laying around the fire
where we warm our cold hands
and they lie, warming, sleeping,
falling, their dreams drift in their backs,
their fire glows and it shimmers
and it is white when it comes to you
kitties. 


xx

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

the long road turns to joy




Pleased this morning to say that my story "The Long Road Turns to Joy" is in the current issue of Alaska Quarterly Review. It's one of my favorite journals, birthed from one of my favorite states (albeit one I've never been to).

From what I've seen so far this particular issue looks to be a stunner: Afghan American Diptychs by Andrea Bruce, a short story by my neighbor Castle Freeman, Jr. (who happens to live in the old red farmhouse my great-grandparents, John and Olive, moved to in Vermont in the 1930s), and much more.

I'm not yet fully at ease seeing my words in print and the public exposure that entails (i.e. naked dreams) but this is my chosen vocation so...it's yours!

May your day be filled with good things and fine particles of light.

x
R


Sunday, September 22, 2013

the avah poems

Remember Avah's poems, which I shared here a while back? (Back when she was a mere pipsqueak?) Well, thanks to my friend and the editor Michael Metivier, those poems are in the current issue of Whole Terrain, a journal dedicated to "reflective environmental practice," accompanied by a short essay by yours truly.

It's the "heresy" issue, and no-doubt full of other good things (my copies haven't yet arrived in the mail). I know there's an essay by Michael P. Branch in there, which is always immensely promising.

In other news, we're headed apple picking today, and will probably hike a mountain too.

It's just one of those September days.
xx
R

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

be here now

Happy Wednesday morning. Today I woke at 5:50, slipped downstairs and put water on for tea. Five minutes later I heard small footsteps heading for the bathroom, then tiptoeing down the stairs after me. I'm trying to be less invested in being a good writer and more invested in being a good mother. This is not easy for me. My daughter and I sat at the table as the sun rose and drank honey-sweetened, milky tea. We cut leaves out of pink and green and yellow sheets of paper and giggled quietly while our cohorts slept in under warm covers upstairs. She just hopped onto the bus and in five minutes T will leave for work and my day with O will begin. Be here now the mantra I sing. Let the rest go, woman. For now. There will be a nap at some point this morning. There will be a morning or two sometime next week. There are long years ahead. Be here now. Be here now. Okay? For the love of yourself and the ones you love, Be. Here. Now. 

And maybe listen to this, too:


Friday, September 13, 2013

postcards



I hope you'll read this essay in Gwarlingo, Postcards from a Prison Teacher, that my dear friend Jennifer Bowen Hicks wrote about the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshops.

It's one of those stories that renews one's faith in the world, at least a little. And one's faith in writing and teaching.

It's also a kick in the butt and deeply humbling.

To top it all off, it's written by JBH herself, which means it's so beautifully and tenderly and honestly written it's got a whole subtext going on that will engage your chest along with your head. What do I mean?

Lines like this:

I don’t believe we ascend after we die unless through soil that feeds Jack pines that make oxygen that encourage breath and birdsong. 

What are you going to do with your lives? (And by you, I mean me.)

Morning to you all,
R

Thursday, September 12, 2013

porous, take 2

As I was reading the quote from Rebecca Solnit below it got me thinking about porousness again, and how it defines so many of my aesthetics and beliefs (which are, what do you know, remarkably linked).

Here is the essay I wrote a few years ago on porousness and why my little house full of drafty windows is just fine. The house is growing, and the new sections are by-far less porous, but one has to make environmental sacrifices now and then (not to mention how nice an un-drafty room feels in the dead of winter). 

Here is Rebecca Solnit's quote, again, which is my new touchstone for writing fiction:

Listen: you are not yourself, you are crowds of others, you are as leaky a vessel as was ever made, you have spent vast amounts of your life as someone else, as people who died long ago, as people who never lived, as strangers you never met. The usual I we are given has all the tidy containment of the kind of character the realist novel specializes in and none of the porousness of our every waking moment, the loose threads, the strange dreams, the forgettings and misrememberings, the portions of a life lived through others' stories, the incoherence and inconsistency...There are other ways of telling.   

Porousness. Or, as Leonard Cohen would say: "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."





my first leaky vessel

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

morning



Morning. I'm back. The children are no longer sick (I am, but that's okay). The sun is shining. There is tea in this cup and I'm alone. Sweet, generous hallelujuh.

My sweetheart, Ty, bought this here dream trailer a new domain name yesterday (since woodbirdand thensome.com was snatched up by some corporate domain-name-stealer trying to charge me lots of money for a name, clearly, no one else would ever want).

So welcome to themmornings.com. It has a nice ring, no?

I feel I've made vague reference to my new "job" recently but now that it's fall and I actually have ( a little) time to dedicate to it, I'll be more clear: I've become one of the editors at Green Writer' Press, a start-up press dedicated to green (and local) printing, giving a portion of all of its proceeds to environmental organizations (including 350.org), and giving voice to writers who will make the world a better place.

I.e: dream job.

My first project will be editing an anthology, which I'll tell you more about later. For now I hope you'll check out their site and "like" them on Facebook.

And while we're at it, a couple other good things to like, in one way or another:

This stunning essay by Leath Tonino about an encounter while biking through the backroads of Vermont.

This essay, also on Orion's blog, about using our wordsmith skills to help fight climate change (or at least die trying). This is something I think about all the time. It's part of the reason I'm in some re-gestational phase with my own creative writing. What, at a time like this, is the most important thing to write? To say?

Lastly, this interview with our friend Sam Amidon on VPR yesterday. His stuff is just lovely.

May your mornings be sun-filled and productive (in the broadest sense of the word), too.

x
R

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

the secret lives of quiet girls


I love this (unidentified) photo and all it represents: my nerdy back-to-school reading heart, the way it springs to life in cooler weather, and the quiet, secret lives of introverts (of which I'm a bonafide).

There's been lots of chatter of late about introverts, but it's real and our gifts (and needs) are not always readily acknowledged in this world. Which is another reason why I like this photo: the confident, self-loving smile upon that girl's lips, and the rich inner life implied therein.

Are you one?



Monday, September 9, 2013

The Faraway Nearby

Today's Menu: The Faraway Nearby, by Rebecca Solnit

Drinking: sweet black tea

Thinking: I've always loved the work of R. Solnit and this book did not disappoint. It's the only book I managed to read this summer and it was like taking a long walk with an old friend from college, dipping back into that place of intellectual curiosity and adventure that I used to inhabit. 

It's been a week (well, month) of tending sick children pretty much 24/7 so this book was my respite, my exit and my ticket to both elsewhere and inside. 

You know what I mean? 

Here is one of my favorite paragraphs, particularly relevant to me as a fiction writer deeply conflicted about fiction: 




Listen: you are not yourself, you are crowds of others, you are as leaky a vessel as was ever made, you have spent vast amounts of your life as someone else, as people who died long ago, as people who never lived, as strangers you never met. The usual I we are given has all the tidy containment of the kind of character the realist novel specializes in and none of the porousness of our every waking moment, the loose threads, the strange dreams, the forgettings and misrememberings, the portions of a life lived through others' stories, the incoherence and inconsistency...There are other ways of telling.   

Or this: 

A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another. 

Good, right? May you someday find yourself enwrapped in these Scheherazade-esque, nested pages. 

-R


Saturday, September 7, 2013

megan's




I can't remember the last time I went and had a glass of wine with someone sans kiddos. Really, I can't remember. I know it was at least fifteen months ago, before Owen was born.

Yesterday I walked up the road to my aunt Megan's house, one of the most beautiful places in the world. Her gardens radiate peace and reverence. She's a spectacular creator and tender of sacred spaces and knows how to utilize those spaces, too. We sat in the late afternoon sun and drank chilled wine out of Mexican glasses and talked dreams and schemes. She gave me a fresh plum from her tree, the chickens clucked, the sun made its way down, and then I walked home.

When I got there the house looked post-tornado but there was homemade pizza and the kids were happy. And that garden had lodged its peace and goodness in my heart.

It's pretty, no?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

this girl




this girl heads off to kindergarten today. these photos are from yesterday afternoon, home from the guilford fair with her grandpa, missing one tooth and about to lose another, with her "Laura and Mary" dress on backwards, being her big hearted, passionate, beautiful self. oh, love.