Friday, December 18, 2009

heavenly host

The "Shop Local" craft fair was a blast on Saturday, due in large part to the pleasant atmosphere of The Raw Deal (a mostly raw food restaurant, though I had a most fantastic muffin there) and the fabulous live dulcimer music of Debbie Peters throughout the afternoon. It was my first shot at a craft fair, and though I ended up spending more than I earned, it was still a nice afternoon. Here are pictures of my table, which I'm pretty proud of, along with these lovely little knit "dishrag angels," currently decorating our apartment for Christmas.They go well with one of the poems from my chapbook, ("Community") which I will put up soon.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Going through an old box of my elementary school writings, brought out, I think, to show my now husband on an early visit home, we came across a "book" I wrote in probably first grade. It was about a king and a queen, as most of my stories were, and they all stood pigeon-toed because I can't draw feet. I only remember the ending, because Matt and I quote it often:

"And they lived happily ever after, with books."

I am currently bookless. Oh, there are plenty on my list, including a number to preview before I start teaching a new lit course (American lit post 1945--woo hoo!) at the end of January. But last night, Matt and I finished reading the Prydain series. If you have never run across this wonderful 5-book children's series written by Lloyd Alexander and based on Welsh myth, find them. Read them. The second book The Black Cauldren, is the most famous. I first read the series through when I was in elementary school. I found the books at my grandmother's house, and I liked the colors on the covers. The Black Cauldron was a favorite of my mother's. These are high adventure books, filled with vivid characters who each have their own speaking patterns--quite a skill--and who live on beyond their pages. The second time I read them through was in high school, and when I finished the series, I cried. Then I wrote a poem about how that world (at least as far as it was written) had come to an end. I doubt the poem is any good, though I probably still have it somewhere.

Now, more than 10 years later, Matt and I have been reading them through at night before bed--and any other chance we get. We finished yesterday, Matt reading while I made supper.

And I cried again. I'm still sad. To be immersed in a world and have it be bookless...sigh. I know I'll start another one soon. But I don't want to launch in just yet. Leave a little space to honor a beautiful creation which has been, deservedly, in print for decades.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sample Poetry

Follow the link to see the new edition of on the literary journal Astropoetica: Mapping the Stars Through Poetry. Or, you can go straight to my poem "Beyond These Thin Apartment Walls," which appears there. Thanks, Ed Bok Lee, for giving the writing prompt that inspired it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Film Recommendation: Into Temptation

I never would have watched the film Into Temptation if my sister weren't an extra in it. Something about the title just didn't excite me.

But, duty bound, I did watch it now that it's available on Netflix, and I was impressed. Filmed in Minneapolis with several familiar scenes in the background (including the inside of the beautiful Mpls Basilica, the neighborhoods of Lake Calhoun, the outside of Chino-Latino, and the scuzzier parts of Hennepin Ave.), the film opens with a young Catholic priest (Jeremy Cisco) listening to a litany of rather mundane confessions and concerns from his parish. Through the confession box, a woman enters and asks if she can be absolved for a sin she has not committed. "I'm going to kill myself on my birthday," she tells him. "And I'm an Aries, Father, so I don't have a lot of time." The woman is a prostitute, and after she leaves--without really having received an answer from him--he cannot get her out of his head. He wants to find her, wants to help, but he does not know who she is and cannot break the bonds of confession. You can imagine the awkwardness of a priest walking downtown streets at night trying to find a prostitute--but not like that.

There are many ways this film could go wrong in a hurry, but it avoids them. The script is tight, the piano music interspersed throughout is lovely, and the make-up artist succeeds in making the beautiful Broadway star Kristin Chenowyth (the prostitute) look like a woman whose life has aged and emptied her beyond her years.

Bits of the priest's sermons and the characters' actions combine in a study of what it means to live a godly life. The ending, which, again, deftly avoids several pitfalls in order to strike the perfect note, emphasizes the importance of small acts of kindness. I've been thinking about the film all day.

If you are looking for the talented actress Stephanie Bright, by the way, she's the dark pony tail and blue scrubs that passes Kristin in the hospital scene.