Thursday, December 06, 2007

Light at the End of the Grading Tunnel

Today was my last day of classes for the semester...sort of bittersweet. I always fall in love with my students a little on the last day. Now, I just have to power through all of their final drafts, finish an editing job, and finish up a workshop at The Writer's Center, and then I am on vacation!

Last night I participated on a panel of contributors to an anthology of DC women writers. It's the first time I've ever had anything anthologized. It was such a strange experience (not the anthologizing but the reading). The story, "Instruments of Torture" is the first and only funny thing I've written since a horrific novel I wrote in college ("Tygers and Berries: A Modern Inferno"...and no, I'm not kidding...a wild romp about two women on a road trip from New Hampshire to New Orleans, full of Dante and Zen...yikes.) Anyway, I am typically accustomed to people in the audience looking at me intently, eyebrows furrowed. But last night I felt like Ellen or Roseanne. Seriously...people were laughing! A love stories about medieval torture instruments...who'da thunk?

We also had our first feels all festive and holidayee here. We did have a mishap with the Christmas fell on me while we were watching "Dexter" the other night. TIMBER!!

Sorry for the scatterbrainy post. I promise coherent contemplations in about a week.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


..the opening was wonderful. I was really, really nervous. All of a sudden on Friday night I started to think that the whole idea had been ludicrous. But then when all of my DC friends and colleagues started showing up, it felt really right. I have to admit that watching everyone look at the pictures was a bit bizarre...but they all seemed to genuinely enjoy the show, and it also got a lot of new people into the Atlas which is always great. I even sold a few I can buy some more photo equipment. We didn't get home until pretty late though, and I had to get up to teach yesterday morning. And then last night we had company over, and I made a lasagna that had six cheeses in it. I think I can feel the blood trying to chug through my clogged arteries as I write. It was really nice though, and Patrick even fired up some creme brulee for dessert. Needless to say, the weekend was wonderfully distracting, but tomorrow my nose has got a ticket back to the grindstone. I have 36 more papers to go and haven't even started the new editing job.

Oh yeah...I've added a link to the slideshow of the exhibit on my photo blog in case you can't go see the pictures in real life:

Monday, November 05, 2007

Gallery Gallera

I feel like I'm running on fumes these days...there are no breaks in sight either. It's that mid-semester madness coupled with me taking on more than any sane person ever would that's getting to me. Anyway, here's a brief update: the pictures are up, the reception is Friday night. I am ecstatically nervous, if that makes any sense. Happily anxious? Blissfully biting my nails to the quick? Anyway, here's a picture of the space with the pictures in it. You'll have to come to the Atlas to see them up close. And we got a nice little pitch on

Check out Big Esmee!!

This week I am also getting 45 stories turned in, a 350 page novel to edit, and hope to finally really digest the editorial comments from my new editor on Two Rivers. I feel completely scatter-brained, the only thing tethering me to the world is my to-do list which is a completely full double-sided piece of paper. Yikes!
Anyhow...sorry for being so sporadic with the posts, but I am, indeed, alive here. And today I did manage to stand for an extra minute in the cold autumn sun just to watch the leaves fall like snow while the girls tried to catch them as they fell.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I love autumn. I love it, love it, love it. And, for a few minutes, it seemed like it was here. But alas, eighty degrees again today, and I'm beginning to wonder.

I went to the pumpkin patch with Esmee's class this week, and it was so wonderful: animals, a hayride, pumpkins, apples, cider. It was fun to watch her among her peers (I almost always only see her with Kicky around). She did get knocked over a log once, but other than that, she is such a sweet social butterfly.
I didn't do everything on my list, but I did everything that had a deadline. I got a portfolio off to SHOTS magazine, taught, graded papers, met with a contractor about the addition, paid bills, volunteered at Kicky's school, went on the field trip, and kept the house from exploding. I even managed to get those enchiladas made. the tooth is still in Kicky's mouth, buthopefully soon. Not a bad week. And I still have Friday.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Busy Bee

I am in some sort of crazy whirlwind these days...barely catching my breath now as I write. Here's what's on my plate this coming week:

12 student stories to grade
60 critiques to grade
6 classes to teach
3 office hours to keep
1 novel to edit (not my own)
1 novel to start editing (my own)
1 photo exhibit to prepare...only 24 days to go
1 hour of volunteering at kindergarten
1 chaperoned trip to a pumpkin patch
1 ballet lesson
1 gymnastics lesson
3 blogs to catch up on
1 storage room to clean
1 photo portfolio competition to enter
1 poetry collection competition to enter
1 pan of enchiladas I've been craving for two weeks now to make
1 harvest dummy to build with the girls
2 Halloween costumes to make (ghost and butterfly or lion or witch)
4 large piles of laundry to fold
1 call to the vet
1 call to the dentist (should have done this 6 months ago)
100's of bills to pay
74 days to Christmas
some sweaters to buy for Kicky since the weather just dropped 30 degrees in the last 2 days
1 loose tooth to nudge

What are you doing this week???

Monday, September 24, 2007


Little mermommy rant here: the elementary school where Kicky goes (and where Esmee will go in a couple of years) is proposing a huge renovation. Wonderful! But during the construction phase...which will last over a year, starting when both of the girls are there...they are possibly going to relocate the students beyond the Beltway (for those of you outside DC, this probably means little to you, but to me it's RIDICULOUS) to northern Bethesda...which is an hour and a half bus ride for them or an hour each way commute for me. Jiminy crickets. Parents are talking about pulling their kids from the school. Part of the reason why we live where we do rather than in the city is because of the school. ARGH. Anyway, I've got my PTA hat on now, jamming up the old listserv with my bitching and moaning.

So, on that note, way too much going on here...between getting my photo show ready and teaching and trying to raise these crazy children, I am left with little time, energy, or general gumption. I'm mustering up some tonight though to go hear Edwidge Danticat read from her new memoir at Politics and Prose. I have only read Breath, Eyes, Memory...which I loved. I'm meeting a friend there early on to catch up and browse...maybe treat myself to a new photo magazine.

The panel discussion at The Roundhouse went nicely, and the show (A Lesson Before Dying) was really incredible.

Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Everything's Coming Up...

ROSES. My, my, my have I had a fantastic week. First, I got a two book offer for Two Rivers and the next novel. (You all know how long I've been waiting for this :) But also, a curator at a southern art museum contacted me about submitting a proposal for a possible photo exhibition. I feel like I've been at such a standstill for so long...I hardly know what to do with myself! Pinch, pinch.

This week is going to be busy...teaching and the usual ballet, gymnastics, grading etc... and on Thursday night I'm speaking on a panel at The Roundhouse Theatre in Bethesda about the adaptation of A Lesson Before Dying. It should be a fascinating discussion. My approach has more to do with what happens when a novel is stripped to its bare bones. The other speakers, I believe, will be addressing the more thematic concerns of the novel/play.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Back to School

Well summer is officially over...I am back to school again. This semester I am teaching three Intro sections...back to back two days a week. I suspect I'm going to feel like a broken record by the third class, but I like that my schedule isn't spread out all over the place like last semester.

Yesterday P and I spent the entire day re-doing our livingroom. My entire body hurts today. I painted...Pebble Path is the color. During the day it looks like Dijon mustard, and at night it looks like a latte. Very strange. P assembled four gigantic floor to ceiling bookcases, and now we are officially the "crazy people with a whole wall of books." Poor sap didn't know what he was in for when he married me. Speaking of's been eight years today since we got hitched. Some pretty great years.

On the writing/book front...some renewed interest and possibilities for Two Rivers. Also, I plan to get back to the super secret summer Scranton project this week. Too long of a hiatus.

Off to start my marathon teaching session in about an hour...writing from a brand new used computer in my office at school. Beats the hell out of the Windows 95 monstrosity I had before.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A New Blog

So, I have now created a blog that's just for my photography stuff. Check it out!

The Ephemera Files

Monday, August 27, 2007

Summer's End

Just got back from almost five weeks in Vermont. This is such a sentimental time of year for me. Bittersweet...I love the onset of autumn, but everything about leaving Vermont, about starting school again, about the inevitable end of summer makes me feel melancholy.

Vermont was wonderful, as always. The first two weeks belonged to me and the girls. Swimming every day, long hikes through the woods, pancakes for breakfast and reading half the night. I wrote over a hundred pages. And I even wrote a children's story (a story within the novel), that I think might be good enough to stand on its own. Patrick came to visit right after my parents arrived, and the visit got increasingly more busy, which was also fine. Lots of family visits. A night in Burlington, and my visit to Bread Loaf, which (though short) was everything I expected. It's like summer camp for writers. I wish I could go for the whole conference sometime. I met some wonderful people there, got some work done, and then took a beautiful ride back to the Northeast Kingdom through a part of the state I had never seen before. I took over seven hundred pictures, and wound up with a handful I'll use in my show in November.

Now, we're back. And today I took Kicky to her first day of kindergarten. I was surprised by how emotional I got...I could barely keep it together long enough to get back to my car. Kicky, on the other hand, was fabulous...calm, cool, collected. I also appeared to be the only one feeling so completely overcome by things.
School starts for me next week: three sections of 81 (back to back no less). I also become official chauffeur next week: ballet lesson, gymnastics. Oh God, I'm a mom.

Any way, here are some pictures...

The Treehouse

Painting Rocks

Lemonade and Art Stand


Twilight at Newark Pond

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I made The New York Times Book Review!

(Well, a Letter to the Editor I wrote did anyway.) Check it's online today and will be in the Sunday Book section tomorrow:

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Super Secret Secret Summer Project

So I am fully in the throes of what we've been referring to as "The Super Secret Secret Summer Project" around here. The excitement and thrill was at a high yesterday when I spent an hour on the phone with a woman whose situation is eerily similar to my narrator's. I found her on the web, and she graciously has given me the details of her story as well as invited me to her home in Scranton to look through her papers. Her generosity is overwhelming. We may have to start calling it "The Super Secret Secret Scranton Summer Project." Argh...I am so superstitious. My horoscope forbade me to discuss the details of this artistic endeavor, but I'm just about losing my mind over it.

We leave for Vermont a week from Sunday, and I am so excited to have a whole month to dedicate to working on my own work. I am going to be a writing, picture-taking fool for a month. I also plan to spend a pretty large chunk of time floating around in an inner tube with the girls.

Also, I just entered a small portfolio of work in Aperture's annual contest. I'm not expecting anything, but it was good to help me focus on selecting the best pictures I've taken so far.

Here's one:

"Sleeping Beauty"

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ohh Mermama

Ooooh am I back on track. Writing, writing, writing. Can you hear the tappety-tap, clackety-clack?? What a little Ocean Beach Street Fair can do for inspiration:

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Nose Knows

I did it.

I swear. It's there! A teensy tinsy ocean-colored gemstone,
my left side.

I will post more OB Street Fair pictures soon. I am exhausted and jet lagged and ready for beddy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What Remains

So, talk about serendipity....I was clicking through the On Demand library last night looking for something to watch while P was at a baseball game, and on Cinemax I found "What Remains," the documentary about Sally Mann. It was incredible. And it hit close to home for more reasons than I had expected. For one thing, there is this incredible scene in the film when she finds out that the NY gallery where she is scheduled to show her latest exhibit (a collection which took her four years to create) cancels. It is heart-wrenching. It made me really, really think about how very precarious an artists' ego is. And how even established artists...truly accomplished and celebrated artists...face self-doubt and the anxiety that they are no longer creating anything of value. Needless to was relevant. Besides, it really confirmed what I suspected about her both as a photographer and as a mother. What an incredibly humble and committed artist, mother, and wife. It's a great film...check it out on Cinemax this Friday (at 2:45 a.m. or some ungodly hour).

Off to teach my Intro to the Novel class tonight. I wrote almost 4000 words this week. A breakthrough for me. I hope.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Chili Cookoff!!!

Check out the party they're having for my birthday in Ocean Beach!!

I am so excited to go to San Diego. Who would have thought that what used to be home would one day be a vacation spot?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Writing Without Writing

I have all sorts of free time now, and I cannot...for the life of me...seem to get to work. I find myself googling photographers, studying pictures, making treks to bookstores for photography magazines, and suffering what may very well be carpal tunnel in my right index finger from snapping so many pictures. I have submitted CD's to two different fine arts magazines...what the hell am I thinking??? And all the while, despite this sort of manic high that taking pictures is giving me, I feel the same sort of guilt I always felt as a kid when I had to pick which stuffed animals to sleep with and which ones were relegated to the floor for the night. It's the Catholic in me...I can feel guilty about just about anything. And the fact that I am getting so much more out of images than words lately makes me feel like an infidel.

Anyway, next week is my 29th birthday. Again. I'll be in San Diego at the Ocean Beach Street Fair -- my favorite holiday (the street fair, not my birthday). My forever-friend Heather and I are going to get our noses pierced at Dr. Jeffe's and then drink a lot of beer and take pictures of the freaks. It seems like a silly thing to do...the piercing not the drinking and picture taking...but why the hell not? The girls are thrilled by the prospect of Mommy having a pierced nose. I've psyched myself up for it by watching people getting it done on youtube. There's something for everyone there, isn't there?
Anyway. Just checking in. Procrastinating. Writing without writing. Maybe that's what the little catch phrase for the blog should be.
Here's a picture Kicky took of me taking pictures of her.

And pictures of Kicky taking pictures of Esmee. I've really started something here, I fear:

Friday, June 08, 2007

Change of Plans

I haven't been steamed up in awhile. It actually takes a whole heckuva lot to get me really, really going. But you know what? Sometimes that's where the good writing lives. I must (reluctantly) admit that I have, as of late, completely lost interest in the book in I wrote in November. The thought of revising it has actually makes me grimace. So...I started sketching some things out last night, and the story just came...materialized out of the great frustrated ether of my mind. For a change, I think I'm going to be hush hush on this one, but it's more personal than some of the stuff I've spent the last few years writing. Maybe I'm just getting more fickle.'s firefly season here again. But this year I've got a good camera:

Friday, June 01, 2007

Black and White?

So I just finished a book that has, in many ways, stirred up something inside of me. Lots of things actually. The timing is serendipitous, I think, and perhaps if I had read this book even a year ago I might not have reacted so strongly to it.

Anyway, Dani Shapiro...whose wonderful novel, Family History, I reviewed for the San Diego Union Tribune a few years back has a new novel out called Black and White. It is based, according to the author, on her imaginings of what an adult child (and former subject) of a famous photographer might be like in the aftermath of her mother's fame. The connections to Sally Mann are no secret...and the author makes no bones about this in her interview on NPR. But while the book truly was compelling, well-written, evocative etc... I just kept feeling like there was something wrong with what Shapiro was doing. I mean, Sally Mann is very much alive, as are her children. And while this is fiction, and (according to Shapiro) she used the photos as a jumping off place for this book, the art itself is almost identical to the actual, controversial, Mann photos: a Popsicle-stained chest, a pee-stained bed, a black eye, a child hanging (though from a rope rather than a hay hook). I don't mean to suggest that the novelist has any particular allegiance to what is now a part of our becomes, to a certain extent, part of our cultural inheritance, a part of our collective visual vocabulary. However, it is not necessarily the assimilation of Mann's now iconic images by Shapiro that bothers me. It is, rather, the premise of the novel itself...that photography, and the photography of one's own children, is, by nature, exploitative. Of course, she does not come out and say this explicitly, but the story is told via Clara (the grown daughter of the fictional Ruth Dunne) who, in her early thirties, is reunited withe her estranged mother after fourteen years. She is so angry, so paralyzed, so stunted by her mother's "work," that she can barely function. The now dying Ruth is depicted as a manic, egotistical, and impossible artist who is completely unable to see beyond her own nose (or camera viewfinder). Fine, fine, and fine. But what really irks me, is that we side with Clara. We have to. She is the heroine of the novel, and the victim or her mother's art. The end of the novel...I won't give it away...means to offer some hope, some resolution for Clara, but, to me, it lacks credibility, because we never really see Ruth as a mother. Not really. We see her through Clara's very own viewfinder...distorted, warped, and larger than life. Now, fine, fine, fine...but what about Sally Mann? I mean, the real woman. The photographer. The mother. What does this mean when an author takes an artist's work, a living artist's work, and then fabricates a life, full of motives and agendas, for that artist? Never mind that in addition to the familiar images Shapiro borrows, there is one fictional photo (published in Vogue) which makes Ruth's character just plain wicked. And there is no such photo in Mann's portfolio...not that I know of anyway. If I were Sally Mann, I would be furious. Indeed, I am so curious to see if there is any fall out from this. Besides, and I hate to knock what is, for all intents and purposes, a very well-crafted and riveting's been done before. Exposure by Kathryn Harrison is a terrific novel based on the shattered life of a child muse. And, more recently, The Effects of Light by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, examines what it means when childhood and art reside together. Beverly-Whittemore, who herself has modeled for Mona Kuhn, gave a much more compelling argument for the inherent complexities, the gray areas, if you will of the photographer's ethical responsibilities: to her subjects, to the truth of experience, to art.

I started reading this book after I spent the afternoon photographing my own children gleefully running naked through a sprinkler in the backyard. And it plucked a raw nerve. I truly believe that artists, particularly photographers, look to capture moments. To preserve them. I know that I do the same as a writer. Art, for me, is the beauty in my life. And I have spent my entire adult life trying to replicate that beauty with words, and now with pictures. I would hope that Shapiro, as both a mother and a novelist, might understand this too, but I fear that the revelations Clara has come too late and without nearly enough to evoke them. And lastly, I worry what people might infer about Sally Mann, who strikes me as a terrific mother, based on this novel and its sometimes uncomfortably close comparisons to the real artist's work (if not life).

Then again maybe this is all intentional...the author distorting the truth, "staging" the picture, to her own ends? Is writing a novel of this sort any different from the photographer who exploits or manipulates reality in the name of art?

Rant/review over.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Home Again

Just what I needed. The lake was exactly what I needed...a little bit of quiet, but mostly a change of venue. Strangely, this photography kick has made me realize how very similar one day is to the next around here. (How many pictures can I take of my children jumping into an inflatable pool or lounging on a cushy couch or examining bugs on leaves?) The three hours in the car, trying not to hit any bumps which always seem to piss off the temperamental dual mini-DVD players that are strapped to the headrests like mental patients, the juice bag disasters (I will never, ever buy a bag of juice again), the fruit roll-ups stuck to the upholstery, the "are we here?"'s (Yes, we're here, I said every time. Where else would we be??) -- none of it mattered when we finally pulled up to -- no joke -- Serenity Now -- the haven on the lake. My pulse slowed down to a crawl the second I got out of the car and the kids were free.

The girls were delirious. I had some nice grown-up time with old friends and some cool new folks, and then twenty-four hours later, we left again to return to the city...but I feel salvaged somehow.

My beauties...

Friday, May 25, 2007

To the lake

The reading last week went well...though I didn't know anyone in the audience. Everyone I knew who planned to attend had things come up, and actually it was nice, because my nerves disappeared looking out into a see of unfamiliar faces. I read some of my poems, and realized, about mid-way through the first one how very intensely personal my poetry is. My fiction is so, I don't know, fictional. This felt weird. You know how you're supposed to visualize the audience naked? Well, I kept envisioning myself naked. Anyway, I have a new respect for poets. And strippers.

We're headed off to Deep Creek Lake this weekend. The girls are so excited to go to "the beach." I'm excited to be near the water again too. It's been hotter than hell here, and a lake will be a nice change from the kiddie pool. Though Esmee and Kicky don't seem to mind our suburban beach much at all:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The One Trick Pony's Lament

I am struggling trying to figure out what to read at my reading on Sunday at The Writer's Center. I know they'll be selling books and I should read from one of the novels, but to be honest, I am so tired of reading from those three books. They're old. They don't really even represent who I am as a writer any more. I imagine it's (on a smaller, less rockstar- oriented scale of course) what The Rolling Stones must feel like when they are asked to play "Satisfaction." I'm tired of them (my novels not the Stones). I actually found a discussion about my work on a website (yes...I search every so often to see if anyone is still reading my books. All of you writers do it. Don't pretend you don't care), and someone referred to me as a "great writer but not very prolific." I've written three whole novels since Undressing the Moon was published! (Granted one was a real stinker, but still.) I want people to hear/read what I'm writing now. I think I may just throw caution to the wind and read my poetry. What have I got to lose?

Monday, May 14, 2007


So I am having a hard time getting back into my book. I actually knew this was going to happen...maybe this is why I've been Martha Stewarting the house for the last week instead of revising. It's ironic really, since I am just finishing up teaching a Revising the Novel workshop this week. I mean, I know how to do's just daunting, and, frankly, no fun at all. The characters are inconsistent. The pacing is off. It is, indeed, a bit maudlin, and I am second-guessing every single word. It's not that I'm giving up. I actually got up at 5:30 a.m. filled with good intentions. I even sat down, coffee in hand, by 6:45. BUT, I should have known it wasn't going to happen when I heard the pitter patter thump of two pairs of feet at 6:05. Yes, that's right...twenty-minutes of uninterrupted work. Jesus. Anyway, wound up doing nothing this some of the book I'm editing, ate four muffins, watched "The View." Jesus. It doesn't help that I got two poetry rejections this week: The Iowa Review and Tor House. I expect they'll come pouring in soon.

Lastly, I am still obsessing over my new love. I can talk f-stops and exposure all over the place. I got shutter speed and white balance on my brain. No room for writing???

Oh, I almost forgot to mention Mother's Day. It was soooo nice. Patrick gave me a tripod. Kicky made an art installation on the front door. And Esmee? Well, just look at her. that's gift enough. We all went to The Capitol Lounge for brunch and then spent the afternoon in the backyard. I even fell alseep in the hammock...though I awoke to a size 11 toddler foot in my face. All in all, I'm happy to be a mermama.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

School's Out for Summer!

I'm done! I'm done, I'm done, I'm done. I am in vacation mode...but first, I had to make order out of the chaos that was my home. I just waded through six months worth of crap that had piled up on my dining room table and "office." What remains is a beautiful workspace. Novel-writing worthy! I have a few more organizational things I want to get done before I implement my new summer writing schedule, but I'm getting there.

Meanwhile, I am obsessed with my new camera. I have two pictures that I am certain will be included in my upcoming "show" at The Atlas. Here's one of Esmee.

I am trying for a Sally Mann sort of feel to these pictures...I just adore her work, and there are so few photographers who approach children in the way she does. I feel like I'm starting to capture something with the girls...though I'm not sure what. Lucky for me, they are both quite at ease in front of the camera.

Anyway....I am on a summer vacation high right now. How many grown-ups get to have that??!!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

And then there's maudlin...

Finally heard back from Henry...he likes the beginning of the new book, though he warned against being too maudlin. I think maudlin might be my specialty. Anyway, we had a nice chat about it, and I plan to dive in again soon.

Good news here is that school is OVER come Friday. I actually teach my last class tomorrow morning. I have a hell of a lot of grading to do, but at least I can park myself in the hammock to do that.

I am always buzzing with a sense of possibility this time of of many carryovers of childhood, I think. I am making lists all over the place...summer projects, reading lists, writing goals, etc... I am so excited to work on my photography. The new goal is to have an exhibit of work up at the Atlas's gallery by the end of the year. Poetry is not going so well, and I am debating whether or not I should quit. I'm actually starting to dread writing the poem a day (and, to be honest, I'm a few days behind). I have over a hundred poems, and I think I miss my novel. Would that just be terrible? I hate quitting things, but I also don't want poetry to become a sort of torture either...

Oh yeah....other big news here is that I got my hair cut. A lot. It's the best haircut I've ever had. I feel like some sort of sassy mama now :)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Option, options

So, the ball is rolling. Today the film producer optioned Nearer Than the Sky... I have a great feeling about this. That's the good news of the day -- and a seriously welcome change to an afternoon spent watching the madness at Virginia Tech, imagining my own classroom, my own children in theirs. I can't get any sort of handle on this horror. There was something portentous about this whole day...frigid weather and violent wind. I spent most of the day examining the trees around me, wondering if any of them might come crashing down.

Anyway, here's a lovely picture of our garden before the storm:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Little Easter Surprise

So Easter was one helluva a gluttonous event; check out the carnage!

Kicky, on the other hand, exercised remarkable self-control (probably after last year's hard-boiled chocolate barf fest). Esmee wound up with an all-night bellyache as well as an earache which was later diagnosed as a giant acron-size ball of wax in her ear. Beats a jellybean, I suppose.

Three weeks until the semester is over.

Friday, April 06, 2007


I am too busy. There. That's all I'll say...the edivence is in these sparse mermanderings.

Anyway...a few big bits of news here. The first is that I finally bought the new Digital SLR camera I have been coveting for nearly a year now. It's my new favorite possession. It takes amazing pictures...already, and I don't even know how to use it yet. Here's one of Miss E.

Secondly, I booked my flight to San Diego for the Ocean Beach Street Fair and Chili Cookoff. It's one of the things I miss most about OB. And this year it's on my birthday! What a present.

Lastly, I have a producer and screenwriter who really want to work on getting Nearer Than the Sky made into a film. Lovely, lovely people. I am so excited.

Last night was a crazy night, a rockstar night (well as close as I'll get to a rockstar night anyway). I joined a few of the GW faculty at dinner with Vikram Chandra before his reading. His new monster of a book, called Sacred Games (900 plus pages) came out not that long ago. I haven't read it yet...but it sounds fascinating. Vikram was very kind and friendly. Joining us at dinner was Howard Norman who is married to Jane Shore (whom I adore). They have a home in Vermont, and they invited me to swing by this summer. I love hanging out with writers. I got a chance to catch up with some of my other colleagues who I haven't bumped into yet this semester, despite my taking up residence in my office.

Three and a half weeks left of school...and then I will be finally be able to get back to work on the novel. Still writing poems, though lately they've been pretty crappy.

Why do my children look so sad???

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Eight Arms

I am not dead.

I was simply luxuriating in the blissful nothingness of an uneventful springbreak, and now I am a single mother while P globe hops with his buddies. He is in Amsterdam until Wednesday night, and (can you believe it??) his cell phone is for the first time non-functional. This is good for him. I suspect the beers and everything else are good for him too.

I actually managed to get a lot done last week. I collected fifty pages of poetry for a contest...the collection is called "Small Sorrows." I'm as proud of it as you would be of a homely child. I mean, I made it, even if it's not perfect. I also painted an octopus for the girls over E's bed (see below). I revised the novel a little bit, watched a lot of movies ("Half Nelson," "Sherry Baby," and "LoverBoy" -- as well as "Barbie Princess and the Pauper," "Peter Pan," and, tonight, "ET").

But the nose will be pressed back against the old grindstone again tomorrow. Ah well....six weeks until summer break.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Second Story

I finally sent Henry some of the new book...and after re-reading it tonight, I feel good about it. Really good. It's requiring some research on stalkers...who'da thunk. I always wonder what the lady at the Circulation desk thinks of me. Hunger, Starvation, Fasting, Stalking, Salinger. Light reading fare...

The poems are coming along nicely...54 and counting. Today I wrote a nasty bad-love poem using each of the twelve Chinese horoscopic (is that a word?) animals.

I've been reading a lot lately. I finished The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood which just made me cry -- maybe too close to home. I am reading Chris Bohjalian's newest The Double Bind now, which I am amazed by. I'm not sure how he's going to pull off the sort of literary high jinks he seems to be up to in this one, but I'm just along for the ride.

We're talking about putting a second story on the house, and I've been fantasizing about a new office/library. That and a tub that doesn't require the contortionism our existing tub does. Not in the library, I don't think. Though that that might be an idea...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Freezing Rain Allelujah

Amen, it's raining ice! Just when I thought I might lose my mind, the weather went berzerk, and I got a grown-up snow day (and suspect I'll get another tomorrow). Time to catch up on all my work. Time to catch up on the house which is falling into massive disrepair around me.

Today was a weird day. I finally got confirmation from UMD that the position I applied for has been filled...a disappointment, but good to know I made it so far along in the selection process this time. And, the director of the search committee is also the director at Breadloaf, and asked me to join them for a night and a day this summer while I'm in Vermont. So exciting!

I've submitted my poems to two contests so far: The Iowa Review and The Florida Review. Both have a $1000 prize. Now wouldn't that be a treat??!! I am fairly certain my poems aren't quite the caliber they're looking for, but I swear I'll get a poem published before the year is out. All part of the resolution.

I sent Henry the first 40 pages of the new book. God, my heart just aches that Two Rivers is dead in the water. Move on. That's all I can do.

Sorry this is so schitzy. My brain is fractured and fragmented these days.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


This semester will kill me.

Sorry for the delay. Here's the last month in a flurry...Flagstaff was wonderful, lots of snow and sunshine. Esmee's birthday, a ride on The Polar Express, belated Christmas celebrations, a night out at Kama Sushi...the best sushi ever. Lots of great times with both sisters and all the family. Then, to San Diego. Oh, my heart. That's where I belong. Every time I have to leave, it feels like I'm tearing off my own skin. We caught up with all of our friends, got a chance to show the girls off, and then spent lots of time at my super duper girlfriend, Heather's house with her husband and her own two beauties. So hard to come home. started. talk about biting off more than you can chew. I'm like a crazy cave man gnawing on the leg of an elephant this semester. Three classes at GW and one on Saturdays at the Writer's Center. I have sixty students. And I KNOW THEIR NAMES. It's nuts. I didn't think there was room in there for sixty more names.

Since we got back, I have thrown a belated class birthday party for Esmee (which went great until I gave a Reeses to a little boy with peanut allergies...he's fine, no reaction, what does that say about what's in a Reeses though???). Here is my birthday lovely...

I have also managed to write 31 poems in the last 31 days. Some suck. Some don't. If I get gutsy I'll post a couple.

But for now, I need a beer and some American Idol.