Auld Lang Syne

Saturday, September 3, 2011

School starts and projects

I have gone on blithely for years not at all thinking about the first day of school. My kids have been out of school for longer than I care to admit. (OK, since 1992). Heck, I have grandchildren in college (3 of them). But now I am on the local school board. The first week was a nightmare of bussing messes. Some people are distressed that the combining of two high schools has "violated" them in terms of the memorabilia from their past achievements at the old high schools. Really. I am not making this up, folks. A man stood up at our last board meeting and said that when he walked through the "renewed" high school, he felt "as violated as ever in my life." While I do understand his pride in accomplishments of himself and his kids who also attended there and while I also understand that change is hard for some people, I must say if this is the most violated he has ever felt or been, he has a pretty charmed life, a very blessed life. So what do we do for people who are sad about the trophy case and the banners and the mascots? We must be sensitive and empathetic and kind. That is number one. But we must also encourage them to realize that change can be good too. Who hasn't felt the pang of seeing someone else live in and/or modify the house where they grew up? Who hasn't seen their old playground or the blueberry fields behind their childhood home turned into a parking lots? Who hasn't seen their old high school become something else? It is how the world works. We cannot un-ring bells and we cannot turn back time. We are in the midst of a political arena wherein some folks want to do exactly that (get bread prices down to 10 cents a loaf, roll back our thinking to Leave-It-To-Beaver days when life was in deed a whole lot simpler). But this is not the 50s. Not even those glorious 60s where everything seemed like one big sit-in. Where the office of President was respected and honored even if we didn't like the guy. Sigh.

At this point, I can only keep on being respectful of the poor man who was violated by lack of a trophy case and his son's name painted on a wall at the former high school, and stand firmly on my political soap box and decry those who disparage the president because he is black. I can only shine a positive light wherever I go in order to perhaps give HOPE and KINDNESS to others. It costs us nothing to be kind. A smile spent brings back a million good vibes for the smiler and the "smilee." This is my project: smiling GENUINELY at at least five people a day who don't expect my smile. It might have a BIG impact. It will not create anything by which someone could feel "violated." Not a bad human project, eh?

Oh of course I always have a writing project or two underway. I am busy packing for my yearly junket to Star Island for Writers in the Round. I have a couple projects I will take along to work on while I soak up all that sea air. I can hardly wait to get there. I feel really good to have mailed off my manuscript, Native Moons, Native Days this week. Fingers crossed on that one. I have two manuscripts off into the literary ether right now. But of course I am not twiddling my thumbs. Have The Boyfriend Project manuscript to finish and the novel in early stages. I have all the poems done for TBFP and only a smattering of work on the novel (including I have no title for it and this is hanging me up a bit). So I will look at the arc of TBFP and attempt to organize the poems into manuscript format while I am on Star. I hope to come home with that DONE and with one more chapter of the novel written. Did I mention this is a writing workshop? So in the midst of the two projects, I will be writing new poems. See why I am jazzed to be going?

Well, guess this does it for me this morning. I was up WAY too early (4AM) after going to bed WAY too early (8PM) so I expect my day is going to be a nutty one in terms of energy. Better take my vitamins!!!

What projects are YOU undertaking right now? Are you jazzed by some upcoming event? Do tell.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Porch Blog

The storm has passed, and passed us by largely unscathed. I worry about my friends in Vermont who are pretty soggy and floaty right now. We took more precautions than were needed, but better over-prepared... This morning we returned the porch to the porch and I am now sitting in a pale blue rocker with my laptop and a ginger ale. I feel lucky to have the time and space to do this as so many are mopping up and checking the damage and their insurance policies.

So what is on my mind today? I am of course thinking about the trip out to the Isles of Shoals on the 8th. A poet friend, Eileen, is going along this time and I am happy for her to have that first Star Experience. It is a magical place. I am looking forward to the project I've set for myself (to finish The Boyfriend Project manuscript and to work on poems for the novel I am doing ... VERY SLOWLY doing) OK so you're scratching your heads now and thinking how come I need poems for a novel... did you THINK I'd write a novel without a poet in it??? Really, people?

One thing I learned today came from a person who teaches memoir... have you heard anything about an "immersion memoir" in any of your circles? I'd never heard of this at all until today. It is apparently where one immerses in another's landscape or adventure or life and revisits by way of memoir. I had a HUGE epiphany that this is exactly what my manuscript The Boyfriend Project is, an immersion memoir in verse! Now I need to revisit the manuscript with that idea in mind and see where it stands.

So today my porch project is to

1. decide on 3 narrative poems to send to Naugatuck River Review's contest and actually get them into the mail
2. decide on and print 10 copies of a poem to be workshopped at my poetry group tomorrow
3. send off my manuscript (Native Moons, Native Days) to Bowman Books

It's a little after noon... what are my chances? I want to go downtown to the coffee shop too... hmmmm. I REALLY want to go to the beach.... hmmmmmm.

But I have to give the porch its due and stay put. I can work from here and not have to find a parking place, a table, deal with tourists, etc. Sexy husband not distracting me right now... I'm on a roll.