Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Where to Start . . . .

It's Tuesday, and still raining in the mornings and nights and sunny during the day.

Sunday night was Ellen Lesser's party, which was fun except that I fell down on those awful rock steps, wet, and in the dark. But no damage was done (and no, I wasn't drunk).

Last night they had a jazz band come in and an open bar. Several of us got up to read poems while Tony (the trombone player), the sax player, and the pianist did jazz riffs or various renditions as background. Everyone's work was so good heard that way. Near the end I finally let myself be talked into reading. I read "Dancing with Prozac," and I'd told Tony to play something black humorish and ironic. He did, though I have no idea what song it was. Kathleen began laughing so hard she was literally falling out of her seat, which made those around her laugh, and then I started laughing while I was reading. Cathy read a wonderful poem about her friend Jane not having a husband or even dates, and how all these men should be filling Jane's mailbox and answering machine with notes and calls and so on. And when Jane would finally get married all the other men would gather behind Cathy, holding their roses and boxes of candy, watching Jane drive off, all looking the same way. Droll and hysterical with that flat language and matter of fact tone.

Had my private conference with Baron yesterday, and it was much shorter than scheduled, which was okay. He said his instinct and based on the work I'd sent in was that I should really think about doing personal essays, that all the work I'd sent in could be "unpacked" and easily developed into essay form. He didn't imply that they weren't already poems or couldn't be poems, but that I might find the essay form a lot more freeing. I think I'll give it a try. God knows I write enough letters. Then we talked about JBH (my mentor), who Baron knows and likes.

Today's workshop was fun; we all laughed a lot. We're taking Baron out to dinner tomorrow night (our last day). I told him we were going to get him drunk and make him speak Latin. He gave the most extraordinary reading last night -- one of the best I've ever heard, and I'm not saying that because I like him. Two women from our workshop and I decided we'd do The Wave at him when he got up to read, but we all chickened out.

Tonight after the evening readings there's the "bonfire and ice cream social," only they've had to cancel the bonfire part because the ground's so wet. They mentioned Ben & Jerry's ice cream and we've decided they'd better not bring us any other kind of ice cream since we're in Vermont where Ben & Jerry's is located.

I called L yesterday to check on my babies. She said Charli bit her the first night, but she'd since warmed up and was happily playing and chirping, and that Sugar Franklin and the Bobbsey Twins were also doing great. And here I was hoping, in a way, that they missed me. Seriously, I suspect they do miss me, but L brings them lots of treats and they're certainly no fools about treats.

I found Antonya Nelson in the computer lab and asked her sign her book for me. This afternoon Sue Silverman is doing a lecture and I'm going to have her sign her book for me, too. Sue's Love Sick is an astonishingly good book, though it's subject matter is scary and risky. Antonya's book of short stories, Fun, is excellent, too.

And, of course, I bought two of Baron's books -- The Road Washes Out in the Spring: Living Off the Grid, which is good; and his chapbook about a made-up character named Carthage who's the prez of the US. And he graciously signed them for me this morning. I'm planning to read Off the Grid on the flight home.

Well, gotta go get ready for Sue's lecture on "Savory Metaphors."

1 comment:

Mary said...

It sounds like you had such a wonderful time. What a great break from work!

My friend and I were talking about how we were a little disappointed that our parrots didn't seem to miss us more when we were gone, but then we decided we should just be happy that they were not pining away and were still enjoying life :)

A lecture on "savory metaphors" sounds wonderful. Hope it lived up to its title!