Friday, May 30, 2014

Watermelon (noun courtesy of Sarah)

I sat in my friend Ceri's stunning garden last night with my stunning friend Ceri discussing foods we can't eat now because we associate them with illness.  You know.  Like that time in St. George when I ate an entire key lime pie (BY MYSELF!  BRING IT, TAKERU KOBAYASHI!) from Croshaw's and then came down with an epic case of the stomach flu.

Anyway.  The other night I offered Ken Cannon some tasty cold watermelon and he shook his head because you know.  THE HEPATITIS.  Many years ago when we had the Yellow Disease, the only things we ate were watermelon and popsicles and basically we lay on our bed, watching the Cubs play and wishing we were dead.  And wishing the Cubs were dead, too, because they stink so much.

As it turns out, I can now eat and enjoy watermelon--especially on a hot day.  But Ken Cannon?  Not so much--even though (oddly) he can still watch the Cubs.

Who (it must be said) still stink.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Light (noun courtesy of Blue)

I love this time of year because of the light.  Light, light, light.  It's all around me.  First thing in the morning until late-ish at night.  And when it's like this I want to be outside.  All. The. Time.

Today I took a bike ride in the light of Liberty Park with all that green dappled sunshine falling on my hair and everywhere.  I saw a young man strolling his baby and walking his pit bull and he was covered with tattoos.

Here's the deal with me and tattoos.  I'm always interested.  Emma, when your mother and I went to SF when we were 19, she was afraid that I'd fun off and get one (I didn't), but since I am old now, you can see from this that my fascination goes back for forever.

Anyway.  I always ask people about their tattoos.  At first I used to worry that the people would think I was being too forward, but what I've discovered is this--the tattooed ones like to talk about their ink.  So I always ask why they chose what they chose and I hear interesting stories.  Which brings me back to today's young dad.  He had a huge portrait of Karl Marx's head tattooed on his calf.  When I asked him why Karl Marx, he said, "Unfortunately there aren't many serious socialists around these days."

But  hot damn!  I met one today.  In Liberty Park.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What excellent nouns you all have!

Thank you.  I'll start free-writing tomorrow.  But first here's this week's column along with a photo.  FYI this bird hates having his picture taken as much as I do.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I need your nouns

Every now and then I feel like the old idea well is empty.  In fact I feel like that right now!  So I've decided to do the free write thing for a few days wherein I get you to send me nouns and then I do quick messy riffs.  In the past I even got a few columns out of your suggestions.

Thank you in advance.  I love you and your nouns.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

9/11 Memorial

This week's column is about my and TRQ's recent visit to the 9/11 Memorial.  The museum wasn't opened yet--just the grounds.  And, of course, that controversial gift shop.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Thoughts on blogging and bloggers

So apparently by the time I started up, everyone else was winding down.  I'm referring to blogging, of course, and how it's supposed to be passe and everything.   BUT.  I hope blogs don't disappear.  I hope bloggers don't stop blogging--especially bloggers who are telling real stories about real life.  I think at some level, personal narrative has always been my favorite form--both as a reader and a writer.  And what else is blogging except exercises in the personal essay?

Last week I read a piece written by my friend Megan who keeps a blog, chronicling her life with four boys--two of whom are special needs.  Her writing is always entertaining--Megan is as wry as she is observant.  But this particular post sent my heart into my throat.

Do not stop blogging, people.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Ann Dee Ellis

The other night at the bookstore I had the privilege of introducing Ann Dee Ellis, who read from her new book The End or Something Like That.  And here is that introduction!

If you were to ask me as a teacher of creative writing what the hardest thing to teach is,  I would immediately respond “voice.”  We all recognize it when we see it—a narrative style that makes you sit up and take notice, one that feels fresh and wholly original—a style that is as unique and individual as an author herself.  Voice elevates an ordinary story and makes it memorable, even extraordinary—and when a voice feels authentic, we as readers feel like something so natural must also be easy to pull off.
            But take it from me--it’s not.
            That’s why when I read Ann Dee Ellis’ work for the first I was blown away.  I cannot think of another YA writer who has the gift of voice in the way she does.  She has it in spades.  Pick up one of her novels, start reading it, and you’ll see what I mean.  Ann Dee’s voice draws you into fictional words that simultaneously ring both eccentric and true.  Her use of language is startling.
            “Voice,” however, without heart can feel like mere novelistic wizardry, which Ann Dee’s narratives never do because her work always resonates deep within us.  We truly feel for her characters, young and vulnerable, as they struggle to make sense of a world that can be both capricious and cruel—a world where everything is not always fine.  And yet these very struggles somehow manage to take Ann Dee’s characters to a place of hope, a place of possibility. 
            Please join me and the staff of The King’s English in welcoming the very gifted Ann Dee Ellis.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The trouble with happiness

One of my boys self-identifies as a BuMo--a Buddhist Mormon.  When I asked what took him to this place, he said that in his experience, Mormonism doesn't address the problem of suffering satisfactorily--at least for him.  And, in fact, there's a lot of pressure to BE HAPPY in our culture:  Adam fell that man might be and man is that he might have joy.  You can, of course, talk about the difference between "happiness" and "joy," but it's not likely to make you feel any better when you're suffering both physically and mentally.

Anyway.  I've been thinking about this lately, and a lot of what my son says makes sense to me.  Feeling happy is fab.  I love happy!  I love happy so much I want to marry it!  But when you don't feel happy, should you really feel guilty about that?  

Why not just make peace with your sorrows and acknowledge that yes-- they have a place at your dinner table, too.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Column, column! Who's got the column?

Well, TRQ and I have been on the road.  Good times.  So this one, frankly, was written on the fly.  At first I thought it kinda sucked.  But on re-reading it, I think it works okay.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Another sighting on South Temple

Over the years we've encountered all kinds of things on our early morning walks down South Temple, including men with pants issues.  As in they can't keep them on.  But today we saw a guy with no pants at all.  Instead he was wearing a hospital blanket held up with a leather belt, and he was carrying a catheter.  The weird thing about this is that he was also wearing a nice dress shirt and he'd combed his hair.

So it was hard to tell exactly what was going on.

I said hello.  I always say hello to people carrying catheters on South Temple.  But he didn't respond.  He just kept right on walking past us with a scowl on his face as though he was saying, damn.  I didn't expect to run into people while not wearing pants this morning on South Temple.

We didn't know what to do.  Check in with the various hospitals nearby to see if someone has gone missing this morning?  Ask if he needed help?

But instead we just walked on by.  Marveling.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A love letter to TRQ

I know, I know.  My blog has as of late turned into a tiny showcase for my Trib stuff.  UGH.  I can NOT get my act together.  Light a blogging candle for me so I can get my mojo back.

Meanwhile!  This!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hey, look at this!

Trib piece already up!

One of the authors I asked recommended The Road by Cormac McCarthy because there's lots of crap ahead.  I didn't include her response.  But it totally made me happy.