mynewplace: (Default)


And in other news from The Writer's Almanac:

Happy Birthday to the woman who goads me, because a stranger once compared my writing to hers:

It's the birthday of writer Jhumpa Lahiri (books by this author), born in London (1967). Her parents were Bengali immigrants from India. When Lahiri was two years old, her father got a job as a librarian at the University of Rhode Island, and they moved to America. Her mother spent all day pushing young Jhumpa around in a stroller and making friends with everyone she saw on the street who looked Bengali. On weekends, the whole family would get together with other Bengali families, sometimes driving for hours to other states for a party. The adults cooked Bengali food and spoke Bengali and reminisced; the kids all watched television together.

Throughout her childhood, Lahiri wrote stories to entertain herself. She went to college at Barnard, then to graduate school at Boston University, where she earned what she called "an absurd number of degrees" — an M.F.A, a master's degree, and a Ph.D. She loved to write, but she struggled to get her stories published. She was on the verge of going to work in retail when Houghton Mifflin agreed to publish her first book for a small advance. That book was The Interpreter of Maladies, a collection of nine stories about Bengalis and Bengali-Americans living in suburban New England. The plots centered on the ordinary details of marriages, families, jobs, cooking, and hosting parties. The Interpreter of Maladies came out in 1999, but the publishers didn't expect to sell many copies so they only released it in trade paperback. As expected, it didn't get much notice at first.

Lahiri had no idea that The Interpreter of Maladies was a contender for any prizes, and then one day she got a phone call. She said: "I was in my apartment. We had just come back from a short trip to Boston and I was heating up some soup for my lunch. My suitcases were still not unpacked. And the phone rang. It was one or two in the afternoon. The person who called me was from Houghton Mifflin, my publisher, but no one I knew, and she said, 'I need to know what year you were born.' And then she asked some other fact like where I was born. I just told her. Sometimes people need some information for a reading, for a flyer or something. And then she said, 'You don't know why I am calling, do you?' And I said, 'No, why are you calling?' And she said, 'You just won the Pulitzer.'" It was the first time a paperback had ever won the Pulitzer. The Interpreter of Maladies became an immediate best-seller. Lahiri was uncomfortable with her new fame — she said, "If I stop to think about fans, or best-selling, or not best-selling, or good reviews, or not-good reviews, it just becomes too much. It's like staring at the mirror all day." So she doesn't read reviews, and she keeps her Pulitzer wrapped in bubble wrap.

Her next book was a novel, The Namesake (2003), another best-seller about Bengali-Americans; and her third book, a collection of stories called The Unaccustomed Earth (2008), debuted as No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list.

Jhumpa Lahiri said about her writing: "I like it to be plain. It appeals to me more. There's form and there's function and I have never been a fan of just form. My husband and I always have this argument because we go shopping for furniture and he always looks at chairs that are spectacular and beautiful and unusual, and I never want to get a chair if it isn't comfortable. I don't want to sit around and have my language just be beautiful."

On so many levels she goads me.  I wish I felt less goaded into jealousy and more prodded to improve myself. 

I need to figure out how to change the way I think about her. 

And one year ago today, Brent and I left for Cape Hattaras on our honeymoon.  In commemoration of that auspicious week, it will be 95 degrees today, with a heat index of 110.  Blarg.
mynewplace: (I hear banjos!)



I am a longtime student of piano

Enthralled by those who can play.

Thus I willingly wade through Schubert

Until my ears are stopped with notes.


In which I hear what I came for )

Post time!

Oct. 20th, 2008 05:00 pm
mynewplace: (another 2 cents)

A symphony of Schubert

Eventually disintegrates

To background music

For great ponderances

Such as

“How did that woman get here?

In which my mind wanders around the stage  )
mynewplace: (my guy)

Another in the style of The Spoon River Anthology.  Brent suggested this one, and it's taken me quite a while to write it. Once I started googling, the words became clear.


My name is Elizabeth Reed
Has been and always will be
In some form or another
I have been Esther
And Sarah and Carrie
I am a doctor
An author – a storyteller
A Teacher of teachers
But merely a vessel.
I have gained such knowledge in my lives
When I was married to an evil man in Crawford County.
I sang on the way to my hanging
The first and only woman to swing
In Illinois, because I served my evil man
Sassafras tea, with a little arsenic.
Last time Dickey Betts merely called me Elizabeth Reed.
Honored in soaring music, which I hear from time to time
AsRose Hill is blanketed with the beautiful strains
Of the tune that bears my name.
You see they laid Duane here in seventy-one
Now a tall, hard man wanders the rows
And as he nears them
A glorious golden thread fills the ether-world
Spidering toward every source of music within range
Spirits rise, join in
And the web vibrates
With the music of their souls.
Sometimes I wonder if the tall man can hear it
But mostly I just lie here
And bask in the glow of recognition.
Waiting for the next
Elizabeth Reed.


mynewplace: (Default)

My yahoo poetry group provided this prompt last Friday and I have very much enjoyed filling in the blanks and learning about myself.

Thus I am posting it here, and inviting each of you to give it a shot. You certainly don't have to be a writer or poet to complete this meme! It's a lot of fun, so give it a shot and maybe even post the results on your own journal. Or just share them here in comments.

"If you don't know where you're from, you'll have a hard time saying where you're going." Wendell Berry

There are many quotes in the literary world implying we need to understand our roots in order to recognize our place in the world. George Ella Lyons wrote a poem entitled, Where I’m From (you can read the poem here: http://www.carts. org/staff_ poem2.html). A template to prod your own poetic license follows.
“Where I'm From”
I am from _______ (specific ordinary item), from _______ (product name) and _______.
I am from the _______ (home description. .. adjective, adjective, sensory detail).
I am from the _______ (plant, flower, natural item), the _______ (plant, flower, natural detail)
I am from _______ (family tradition) and _______ (family trait), from _______ (name of family member) and _______ (another family name) and _______ (family name).
I am from the _______ (description of family tendency) and _______ (another one).
From _______ (something you were told as a child) and _______ (another).
I am from (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.
I'm from _______ (place of birth and family ancestry), _______ (two food items representing your family).
From the _______ (specific family story about a specific person and detail), the _______ (another detail, and the _______ (another detail about another family member).
I am from _______ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several more lines indicating their worth).

My personal concoction.... )


Jun. 25th, 2008 02:38 pm
mynewplace: (jake ooh!)
 Two lines from a song made me pick up my pen:


Lipstick on your collar
Told a tale on you.
No one wears lipstick any more
Except your mother
And the old woman
At the front desk.
But you stayed
At home all day.
You've been trying on
My makeup again
Haven't you?

mynewplace: (bitch please)
I'm a post-ho today.  Don't care.  Here's another one, spawned by inspired use of the word "ruinous".

Love must be painful
Ruinous and wrong.
You will be battered
Bruised and broken.
Your heart in pieces
Like some song
That makes you roll your eyes
And change the station. 
You don’t learn
Without mistakes.
You must be loved badly 
To love well.


Apr. 30th, 2008 10:00 pm
mynewplace: (Awesome!)
I'm alive, and I'm in pretty good shape. Very woozy, and already been in bed once, but Holly called me and told me THIS!

I am pleased to announce the Beltane edition of The Oracle is ready for viewing and you will find it on our “interactive” web site.
Go to  and select The Oracle tab at the top of the page and then select the Beltane 2008 Issue from the menu on the left. 

You will find articles by: Byron Ballard, Bendis, Gayle Goldwin, Mut Danu, Mary Lyons, Anita Chapman, Karen Thoms, Mama Donna Henes, Barbara Ardinger, Courtney McLaughlin, and Dawn Thomas. 

All articles on our new web site may be viewed by visitors. However, if you are a member of Global Goddess we have also provided you with your very own blog plus access to blogs and comments made by other members. Access to this part of the web site is password protected. You will need to write and request your password. Please provide the name you wish to use when you write.

We hope you enjoy the new issue of The Oracle. We would appreciate feedback and welcome your comments.

Dawn, Bendis, Heather and The Oracle Staff 
mynewplace: (Default)

I put various foodstuffs on the back porch for the birds and squirrels. This is considered cheap cat entertainment.  So far I've seen deer tracks - indicating they've jumped over my 5 foot deck railing to lick the stuff until an ice crust forms.  I spotted a squirrel Saturday, while Suzi watched from between the vertical blinds, tail twitching manically.  I couldn't get Mitzi to look out the window at all!  So I finally picked her up, and stuck her head between the blinds until she saw the squirrel.  She made the strangest Scooby Doo sound, with a question mark at the end, and was promptly fascinated.  Their tails twitched in tandem. 

I had a good weekend, but started getting sick again on Sunday.  Couldn't get my antibiotic filled because it's a penicillin derivative and I'm allergic.  I've taken amoxicillin before but the pharmacist didn't recommend it, so I decided to wait and call the doctor again today. Maybe a Z-pack?  I don't know which ones are good for sinus infections.  siiiiiiiiiiigh

Got to type up the meeting notes from the WV Poetry Society board meeting Saturday.  It was interesting, educational, fun and a bit frustrating.  The older women are very negative.  

Let's see.  I wrote the following last week, based on a prompt in my Yahoo poetry group.  I sometimes think that these are the types of things I'm meant to write, reminisces about my life, especially my childhood and parenting experiences.  I believe they'd be interesting in a memoir or perhaps a compilation of combination fiction/nonfiction.  I don't know.  I still have trouble using the words "writer" or "poet" when someone asks me about myself.  I'd like to fictionalize some of the stories of my family - like the time I went creeping around in the dark with my aunt to see if her boyfriend had a woman at his house. Or the way my great grandparents split up due to Civil War arguments, but never divorced.  Years later they both told the census taker that they were widowed.  Just poignant interesting stories like that. 

So here's my latest story.  It's true, but I do need to check some facts. 


Chauffeured past rolling green hills and modest brick homes in our sturdy Pontiac, I would see the white fence begin and sit up straight, scanning the fields in search of familiar faces. Gentle brown eyes would gaze over the fence. An Army surplus jeep bounced up a rutted track, my cousin sun-kissed, her red hair flying as she shifted gears.  I had finally arrived at my favorite place in the world, my Uncle B.B.'s farm.
The successful beef farm was buried in hills at the heart of West Virginia, on acres owned by generations of Canfields. My favorite visits lasted a week or more in summer, when there were both fruit and blossoms on the trees, and lots of fuzzy chicks to chase and cuddle. My sisters and I spent hours with our cousins, climbing the crooked apple trees or sitting in the velvet grass beneath, quoting a rhyme to the ladybugs.
These people were comfortable and dear. Attic bedrooms smelled of old cotton quilts and books, the sheets were cool and the sun beamed into the windows much earlier than it appeared in the city. Try as I might, I never quite rose early enough to follow Uncle B.B. to the henhouse to help him gather eggs. The chickens intimidated me anyway. I didn’t like being pecked! I preferred to romp with Shep, the big black and white collie. I far preferred to ride along with Debbie as she drove the jeep like a wild woman through the rutted hills. I chose to walk the cattle paths for a mile or more, wading the creek that curled throughout every farm in the valley and up the hill to the bent "horse tree". Every year we girls climbed aboard for a moment. It was ritual just as much as breakfast with fresh baked bread and homemade grape jam from the arbor, or beef roast with carrots and onions on Sunday afternoon.
Need I say life was real on the farm?  Real with a capital "R". Hogs really did root in mud, and weren't pink as much as black and white and a little bit mean. There were no lap cats - the manx family caught mice for a living and were content to accept the occasional head scratch or offer a rub against my dirty knees. Hay had to be baled and loaded on a trailer, then hauled to the barn. The men would throw bales onto the conveyor belt and we kids would catch them as they fell into the loft three stories up, the smaller girls stacking the hay in the corners, building the occasional fort, or hunting for kittens.  Cattle were occasionally shot between the eyes right in the corral, and I was encouraged to watch - to "harden me up". There was the occasional trip to the barn in nightgowns and muck boots under sparkling stars to watch a sweet-faced calf slip from her mother's dirty red hindquarters. 
It was hard on a little girl with severe allergies to everything that moved on four legs or two, but it was divine! I still love the smell of a barn more than any other scent. When I drive past the farm, still in Canfield hands and still bustling, my heart aches for a moment. What I wouldn't give for one more whiff of Aunt Jessie's kitchen, or the antique quilt where I snuggled on a cool morning.  Just one more climb over the fence, please?


Jul. 12th, 2007 10:00 am
mynewplace: (Default)

Good day so far, despite a mild headache. It's probably from taking too many pills at once.  No matter - the little bit of Adderall keeps me on my toes. 

Last evening was nice, although we did have a bit of a scuff over something I got in an email.  Someone found a group of my nudes posted on Greatest Journal, and pointed it out to me.  Of course they trashed me, folks always do, but I've gotten to the point where a peons opinion of me is worth nothing, so I ignore it.  However, my knight in shining armour is not so good at the ignoring.  Especially when he's had a few.  He ranted and stomped and INSISTED that I allow him to answer my critics.  I did, and of course they ridiculed him as well.  I'm just glad they haven't travelled over here for anything more than a look at my journal and a subsequent look at his.  We all know what a mess a troll can make if they get their panties in a bunch.  And don't worry Jess, I'm totally cool with you sending that. It's probably hard to believe that I don't care, but I really don't. I don't care what ANYbody else thinks now - I have my admirers, and the one that means the most is the sweetest. 

In other news, I was prompted to show Brent the journal I set up for him because he was nosing through mine last night.  Instead of being offended as he used to, he sighs and agrees with my more harsh assessments of his faults.  Poor thing.  I know it bothers him to read those opinions, but he is very secure in the knowledge that I love him - he often mentions it as one of the reasons he's so protective of me.  I've considered setting up a friends filter and leaving him off it - which makes me laugh maniacally - but I haven't decided yea or nay.  

Ruthie, I put the book in the mail on Monday with Delivery Confirmation tracking, but there's no further information about it yet.  I hope you get it this weekend.  Brent thinks I should get it published as a chapbook, but I don't know if he's prejudiced, or if he's right that it speaks to human emotion on a widespread level.  Most of the pieces were written a couple years ago, so they're kinda hard to find here in my journal.  And of course they're polished since they were originally posted.  Maybe I could just publish it as an e-book.  Maybe I have delusions of grandeur.  

I would kinda like to see some of my essay/flash fiction thingys printed.  Again, I have NO idea how to go about that.  Holly and I need to have several sit-down sessions, maybe in her new house, or at mine. We could discuss it and have a snack and play with the animals. I'd like to see what she's had done to her place - it sounds great.  

Scarlett's coming home tomorrow for a day or two.  She has been at a music camp this week, but she called me at quarter of nine this morning. She didn't go today, she had a tummy ache.  I don't know, it sounds like she just doesn't want to go.  She's kinda homesick, and I miss her.  I need to make a grocery list, so mom can give me some food.  I have very little left to feed Scarlett while she's there, and no grocery money until Monday.  Maaaan, I will be wandering around Kroger and Aldi for HOURS Monday evening.  I'll probably spend $200-300.  My cupboards are THAT bare.  Eep! I'll have to get milk. The kid goes through a gallon in less than a week.  Brent says he's gonna take us to Fazolis this weekend - Scarlett's excited.  Hell, I am too.  mmmmmmmmbreadsticks with loads of garlic butter

I still see the occasional roach when I flip on the light too quickly in the kitchen.  Haven't seen it in a couple days, so it's due to make an appearance.  I've never seen more than two, and I manage to kill most of them, but I KNOW it means there are loads more wherever they're hiding.  I need to find out what to use, and then sprinkle something behind the fridge, and maybe behind the counter, or between the counter and the stove.  Sometimes Mitzi crouches and stares for the longest time under the stove.  Suzi takes one look and high-tails it outta there.  She's such a little coward.  ha  They're both getting kinda used to Brent now, which softens his opinion of them somewhat.  He still says "snakes with fur" on occasion.  But he HAS stopped whistling for them.  I swear I believe Mitzi rolls her eyes when he does that.

First Love

May. 14th, 2005 06:37 pm
mynewplace: (Heart)
I was a tiny girl, a week shy of seven, small for my age with dark hair, big green eyes and horn-rimmed glasses when I stepped into Mrs. Hunt’s classroom for the first day of school. I was scared. My mommy had just remarried and we had just moved to a new house a month before I started second grade. I had two new friends who were older than me, who lived on my street. They each had little brothers who were in my class, and for some strange reason, these two boys didn’t like me. Not like the boys I’d known at my old house.
To avoid messing up your friends page )


mynewplace: (Default)

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