Monday, January 28, 2013

how you got from sixteen to here

Sometimes you’re 23 and standing in the kitchen of your house making breakfast and brewing coffee and listening to music that for some reason is really getting to your heart. You’re just standing there thinking about going to work and picking up your dry cleaning. And also more exciting things like books you’re reading and trips you plan on taking and relationships that are springing into existence. Or fading from your memory, which is far less exciting. And suddenly you just don’t feel at home in your skin or in your house and you just want home but “Mom’s” probably wouldn’t feel like home anymore either. There used to be the comfort of a number in your phone and ears that listened everyday and arms that were never for anyone else. But just to calm you down when you started feeling trapped in a five-minute period where nostalgia is too much and thoughts of this person you are feel foreign. When you realize that you’ll never be this young again but this is the first time you’ve ever been this old. When you can’t remember how you got from sixteen to here and all the same feel like sixteen is just as much of a stranger to you now. The song is over. The coffee’s done. You’re going to breathe in and out. You’re going to be fine in about five minutes. The Winter of the Air via Old Time Friend
Photo by victoriahhhh

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

what are you looking for?

For the past few years, leading up to the birth of my daughter, I have spent five mornings out of the week standing in a small walk-in freezer, unloading and organizing food products. Before that, I was a fishmonger in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve often stopped to muse, as I unload packages of frozen Pacific cod and salmon pieces, on the sad tomb these fish have arrived at after their monumental struggle against the open ocean. In a way, it also helps cast my new role as a parent, no longer at loose in the northern wilds among freshly caught whole fish, but in the quiet domesticity of an environmentally controlled storehouse with processed blocks of bland, solid-colored cubes of once wild animals.
I take solace in the discovery that my daughter appears to be at least as feral as anything stalking through the Columbia Gorge. Excerpted from Caveat Emptor by Jason Novak in The Paris Review

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

it is still

It is still news to her that passion
could steer her wrong
though she went down, a thousand times
strung out
across railroad tracks, off bridges
under cars, or stiff
glass bottle still in hand, hair soft
on greasy pillows, still it is
news she cannot follow love (his
burning footsteps in blue crystal
snow) & still
come out all right.

Diane di Prima from Loma
Photo:  at  2011 via Christian Polout

Saturday, January 19, 2013

working as a railroad brakeman

On my own website, in my worryingly thin “About” section, I make no mention of the fact that I work full-time in the marketing department of a software company. Why? Maybe for the same reason that pop singers used to hide that they were married — it just doesn’t fit the image. It’s far more romantic to think of Jack Kerouac working as a railroad brakeman, zipping through the American landscape on the California Zephyr, than it is to ponder Eliot in the basement, Dr. William Carlos Williams treating a dying woman or the former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser (2004-2006) working as an executive at Lincoln Benefit Life Insurance Company in Nebraska. That’s why I’ll stick with denial, thank you very much. Robert Fay via a favorite: The Average American Female. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

now i want to stay in bed and listen to the dogs snore

The book comes out a week from today and it's been thrilling and odd and unsettling. Lots of bloggers and reviewers got the book early, including this sixteen year old reviewer.  And you guys have been kind, unbelievably kind and supportive. I'm grateful.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

now let's go over this again

The process of writing books is somewhat akin to a very long police interrogation in which the detective leans over the table littered with the butt ends of cigarettes and cold coffee in Styrofoam cups and says for the 87th time, "Now let's go over this again." It is a study in repetition, the ability to read the same page, paragraph, sentence until it could be recited backward and in French in hopes of figuring out which detail is missing, which idea is false. What my days lack in being touched by the muse they make up for in the steady picking of the miner's ax, chipping out a tunnel that may well lead to nowhere. Ann Patchett in the Washington Post 
Photo: Lee Miller and Tanja Ramm in Miller’s Paris studio, 
wall hanging by Jean Cocteau, by Theodor Miller, 1931 via the gf

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

and I say pleasepleasepleaseplease

Daily Beast: Describe your morning routine.
DH: Wake, shower, shave, dress, put music on, double espresso, fresh-fruit smoothie, oatmeal, read the comics in The San Francisco Chronicle to the child, readThe New York Times to oneself, agree to show the child one YouTube video in exchange for the vigorous brushing of teeth (current favorite: Of Monsters And Men, “Little Talks”), vigorous brushing of teeth, kiss just-waking wife, walk child to school, small talk with other parents in schoolyard, put on headphones (current favorite: Fire!, You Liked Me Five Minutes Ago), take bus, walk to Jewish Community Center, swim 50 laps, take bus, arrive home to begin working day.
LB: My husband nudges me at what I feel is the crack of dawn—after he has already gotten up, showered, prepared breakfast for himself and our kid, and made me coffee. Then I say “five more minutes,” and he comes back in five minutes and I say “five more minutes,” and he comes back in five minutes and I say “five more minutes,” and he says no, and I say “pleasepleasepleaseplease” and he says “you are pathetic,” and I go upstairs and drink my coffee and kiss the kid, and my husband takes the kid to school, while I slurk around the house, pretending that I will go to the gym. I eventually get to my studio, post some stuff on Tumblrtweet a bit, and then it’s really not anything close to morning anymore. From How I Write Husband and Wife with Lisa Brown and Daniel Handler in The Daily Beast