Friday, October 22, 2010

Four-legged Friday

Anyone who talks to me for five minutes knows how much I love my dog. I also love poems about dogs, and therefore it stands to reason that I love the current poem up at Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry. Mark Smith-Soto must have a dog obsessed with coyotes, like mine. Or maybe all dogs just love to bark at things in the night.

The Coyote-Whisperer

There will be no new posts next week as I will be on a business trip. But don't fret. One of my poems from Perpetual Care will be up Monday at American Life in Poetry. And on Thursday, The Learning Network, a New York Times-affiliated blog, will be pairing it with a news piece (like these). Enjoy, friends and readers.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Workshop: Under 30

I'm getting ready to coast into a new decade soon, and I'm pretty excited. I'm also pretty excited about these microfictions under 50 words up at We Who Are About To Die. I like microfiction because it seems like something a poet like me with little patience to get beyond the first page can write. So, keeping this post short, the workshop is simple: write a microfiction under 30 words. Go!

Monday, October 18, 2010

On Tomatoes

We currently have three paper grocery bags full of tomatoes on our counter. They are heavy...about 10 pounds each. They are beautiful and delicious and I have no idea what I'm going to do with thirty pounds of them.
My mother recently sent me the Ball Blue Book, a guide to canning and preserving absolutely anything. Wondering how to process rutabagas? Or how to make green grape marmalade? This book tells all. Apparently, you can even can chicken, seafood, chili, and a lot of other meat-based foods. But one of the trickiest items to can, it turns out, is tomatoes.

I recently made up my own tomato-canning recipe which, unbeknownst to me, cut out a lot of the botulism-killing steps. Like boiling them in the jar for 45 minutes (I think I boiled them for about five...oops). Don't be scared, though, dear friends and readers. I froze those puppies rather than let them sit and develop disease on my shelves. But it seems that, with even three years on the farm, I haven't learned everything.

So here's my tomato-canning mantra. As I sterilize my jars and peel my tomato skins, I will do so carefully. My cook times will be precise. I will be neat. I will be mindful. And when I open a jar in the deep, deep winter and hear that sacred "pop," I will thank the canning gods, the Ball Blue Book, and my mom.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Movie Monday: Who Would Play...

James Franco inspires me. Well, at least, he inspired me to write this post, a new feature of Movie Monday. It was the magazine cover in drag that did it. I instantly thought of Tim Curry. And if they ever (they shouldn't, but they might, those kooky Hollywood types obsessed with remakes) redo Rocky Horror Picture Show, here's who should play:

Dr. Frank-N-Furter -- James Franco

Brad Majors -- Zac Efron

Janet Weiss -- Dianna Agron

Rocky Horror -- The Rock

Eddie -- Jack Black

Riff Raff -- Rhys Ifans

Magenta -- Milla Jovovich

Columbia -- Katy Perry

Dr. Everett Scott -- John Lithgow

The Criminologist -- Terry O'Quinn

Friday, October 8, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

On Peas

My dear friend is having a baby, and to celebrate we threw her a party. For the favors, I bought pea seedlings...the metaphor may be obvious, but there's hardly anything subtle about pregnancy, so why not go all the way? We wrapped each little cup in cellophane, tied with a ribbon, and stuck on tags that said "cute as a bug." And they were.

The night before the party, I panicked. What if the seedlings were wilted the next day? What if they died? I was in a state. My dear, dear friend just could not have dead things at her party. So in the early hours of the next day, I dragged my man along to find more pea seedlings...just in case.

After more than a few wrong turns and moments of further panic, we made it to the party. The peas were fine. My dear, dear, dear friend was fine. The only one who wasn't fine, apparently, was me. See, I have a tendency towards worry. It's mostly unnecessary and often inappropriately overdone, especially when it relates to things such as party favors. The downside is that I spend many nights sleepless and feel foolish the next day. The upside? We now have plenty of seedlings for a kick-ass winter garden. As long as the slugs don't get to them...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Movie Monday: Banned Together

I hope you celebrated Banned Books Week in an appropriately revolutionary way. As the week wraps up, I feel the need to keep that freedom alive, so I urge you to check out The Huffington Post's great list of (mostly) award-winning movies based on banned books. Here's some others that didn't make it on the list:

Based on: the novel by Jodi Picoult
Banned for: drugs, suicide, violence, sexism, homosexuality, offensive language.

Based on: the children's classic by Katherine Paterson
Banned for: death, New Age religion, occultism and Satanism, offensive language (including frequent use of the word "lord" outside of prayer).

Based on: the book by David Guterson
Banned for: sexual content

Based on: Roald Dahl's masterpiece
Banned for: occultism and Satanism, anti-feminism, violence

Based on: S.E. Hinton's classic
Banned for: depictions of dysfunctional families, drug and alcohol use, violence, offensive language

Friday, October 1, 2010

Banned Poetry #3

When I was little, my favorite book was Where the Sidewalk Ends. I still have my original copy in which I have carefully marked with lime green crayon all my favorite poems. These include "Hector the Collector," "Poem on the Neck of a Running Giraffe," and, of course, "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out." Is this why I have such a problem with my own trash-management?

I have written before about what a profound affect Mr. Silverstein had on me and my poetry. I'm sure others have similar feelings. And this time every year, I revisit my bewilderment that the man who gave the world The Giving Tree and A Light in the Attic could be banned. But it's true. For reasons as varied as encouraging disrespect of authority figures to promoting drug use, the occult and cannibalism (you know, cause "someone ate the baby"), Shel's books have been pulled from schools across the country.

So what to do? Read a little Shel for yourself this beautiful Friday. Visit his site for kids, which includes Shel-centric games and drawings (fun for adults too!). Or visit Sarah Weinman's Shel Silverstein Archive, which includes information on and links to his complete catalog, including the stories he wrote for Playboy and some of his naughtier songs.

Thanks for celebrating Banned Books Week with me. And Happy Friday!