04 May 2011


Came back to much hoopla on Sunday after being out with the Mazamas at Smith Rock over the weekend. Prefer the rock.

My dad called last night while I was doing homework and watching Oklahoma beat Memphis to tie the series 1-1. Multi-tasking is the story of my life. Admitted to not having enough time to watch the playoffs last week. I told him I even took my homework camping. He just laughed and said there was this crazy guy in his medical school class who took his homework everywhere with him - lunch, work, church, even to football games.

"What happened to him?" I said.

"He graduated top in our class."

Oy. I am just hoping to meet deadline.

As part of my ongoing commitment to stay connected to my writing people in a tangible, face-to-face way, tonight I went to the First Wednesday Readings at the Blackbird Wine and Atomic Cheese Shop (4342 NE Fremont, Portland). Some of my favorite writers were there, some of them even reading.

Bruce Barrow read some flash fiction. Bruce and I worked across the Pinewood Table in workshop for awhile, and I always love his stories. He did not disappoint - loved each one tonight.

Scott Sparling read from his new novel "Wire to Wire" set to be released next month from Tin House. I originally met Scott also through the Pinewood Table, although we never sat in workshop together. I was honored to read with him last year at the Press Club. His new book has received some notable reviews, including one from my other friend, Laura Stanfill. It's such a small world.

Michele Longo Eder read from her memoir, "Salt in our Blood - the Memoir of a Fisherman's Wife." If you know me at all, you know how I love anything about crab fishing, so of course this was wonderful.

Elizabeth Austen read a few poems from her new collection, "Every Dress a Decision" from Blue Begonia Press. Her poems hit on the familiar and intimate in language clear enough to tell a story. Beautiful. I am looking forward to reading her book front-to-back.

Shout out to Steven Allred and Joanna Rose for having guided me at the Pinewood Table and connected me to other writers. It's good to have these friends who are writers - they make a difference in my life.


18 April 2011

sounds a full moon

There was a full moon last night. At the peak of summer, it rises at the head of our street over a stand of tall firs where every year hawks nest. For now, it pushes up behind the neighbors' rooftops before clouds take it.

My youngest child once told me the moon was closer here in the Pacific Northwest than in other parts of the world. That's why it's so big, she said.

Its sound is as beautiful as its size: full moon. Reading poetry this week, and my favorite line is complete with sound:
The moon hung orange as any sun
Just before it faces evening,
Like a flaming breast in the sky
Calling my name, and I walked out

Under it and rubbed the moonlight
All over my face and hands the way
The old folks used to do with sunlight

~ from The Night Richard Pryor Met Mudbone by A. Van Jordan

Jordan knows how to use the sounds of words, make the mundane beautiful, sensual, forbidden.

Have you ever fallen
Into the vowels on a dark

Woman's lips as she blew
A simple phrase like Good Morning
To a man she's just met?

Nothing, maybe, to the naked ear,
But close your eyes and listen
To the dark sounds rounded

Off in the shadows of her mouth—
There lies the secret to end
All wars.

~ from Morena by A. Van Jordan

Cup your hands and press some moonlight to your face on a night like this. Breathe it in. You can do this here where the moon is so much closer.


04 April 2011

fine balance

The tipping point either way is often something so unexpected that you don't notice until you've passed it. Yellow leaves. A shut door. The fine silk of a tulip.

There is light in the mornings now as I head to the office. Even though the progression is the same, the return of light in spring seems to happen more quickly than the winter spread of dark. Perhaps the sun simply draws our gaze.

But I flew too close once and am lucky to have made it back. If you believe in luck.