Random photo of me in high school

November 17, 2017

Rich Ostrander on the left.
I remember that sweater & skirt set so well—they were a deep gold color & very heavy.

I remember less well why the photo was taken.

Not true, I remember perfectly well but am embarrassed that, almost 50 years later, I know it was for being a National Merit Scholar.

Embarrassed because I was so proud of my superior knack for taking standardized tests. I didn't even know I wasn't smart, because I was officially smart.

Books x2

November 16, 2017

Tags: Snowbound

A very quick mockup of what our chapbook will look like.
I sent the manuscript for my new & selected to my publisher, finally having decided on a title: Now That I Know Where I'm Going. I have wanted to use that for a long time, & meant it for American Guys 20 years ago, but Murat quite rightly talked me out of it. But this time it fits much better & I'm excited.

Not only that, Steve Willis, my friend of nearly 50 years, loves snow as much as I do, if not more, & we are putting together a dos-à-dos, or more properly, as I just learned, a tête-bêche book, where you'll flip his to read mine & vice versa. Nothing fancy, just a fun way to collaborate & get our work into a few hands.

Hola, España!

November 15, 2017

For some reason, I have been feeling strongly that I HAVE to go to Spain. So I bought a ticket. I'll go for 8 days, leaving in 2 weeks, & stay with my friend Mercè, who lives near Girona (she's from Barcelona). Our plan is to go up to Toledo for a couple of days, where neither of us has been.

I wish I could remember the Catalan I was learning before I went there a couple years ago, but I've moved on to Hiragana, which is so frigging hard; at best I'll be able to say a few polite phrases in Japanese & identify the characters.

Myron Floren

November 14, 2017

Tags: Myron Floren (1919-2005)

Wow, when did you get Myron Floren's autograph??

He was the guest of honor at a Sons of Norway lutefisk dinner, held in the basement of the Nordic Hall, a small building where my dad had his office for as long as I remember. I was probably 10 and very shy about asking—probably someone asked on my behalf. (more…)

Psychologically healthy

November 13, 2017

In my blog on October 15, I told the story of a guy who exposed himself to me on the train. I burst out laughing. When my younger sister was little, her friend's uncle exposed himself to the two little girls. Their response? They put peanut butter in his shoes. "He was bad, so we (more…)

Lady Bird

November 12, 2017

Tags: Lady Bird

Clearly I'm in a tiny minority for not loving Greta Gerwig's new movie, Lady Bird.

The Times for example:
You might think you’ve seen this all before. You probably have, but never quite like this. What Ms. Gerwig has done — and it’s by no means a small accomplishment — is to infuse one of the most convention-bound, rose-colored genres in American cinema with freshness and surprise. The characters can look like familiar figures: the sad dad and the disapproving mom; the sullen brother and his goth girlfriend; the mean girls and the cool teachers; the too-perfect boyfriend and the dirtbag boyfriend. None of them are caricatures, though, and while everyone is mocked, nobody is treated with cruelty or contempt, at least by Ms. Gerwig. (Lady Bird is not always so kind.) (more…)

What a week!

November 10, 2017

The women of America fought back & the world of elected officials looks a lot different than it did a year ago.... I finished a book.... I got a cellphone..... Something big that I can't talk about yet....

What Home Is

November 8, 2017

Tags: Ginevra Kirkland

Fall in Minnesota.
What Home Is
for & with Ginevra Kirkland

I’ve lived so many places I don’t know where I’m from. Everywhere seems like the town I could have lived & died in, & maybe I did.

I was there in the POW camp with the German soldier who only wanted to get back to his herring, beer, & fraulein. I was in Otis, Colorado, a town so peaceful the only bar was on the second floor of an old hotel. I was a Mainer, or Mainiac, & lived 3 years in its white, bright, unmoving postcard. (more…)

Vote early, vote often

November 7, 2017

If anything, there's more at stake in today's election than in last year's, at least in the sense that we are now activated. It's fair to say we dropped the ball last time, but I don't want that to be said tomorrow.

The Double Yews

November 6, 2017

Tags: The Double Yews

I have to admit, it's fun to say "my band" & it's fun to be in a band, even a half-assed poets' band, where I can't really play an instrument or sing. Annabel Lee & I mostly match poems to familiar tunes and sing them accompanied by her on guitar, me on various amusing rhythm instruments (more…)