Friday, February 26, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Not-Really-Review: The Green Mile by Stephen King

I can't remember if I've written this before, so I'll write it down again. Percy burned my britches about as bad as my infection, and Coffey said he was a bad man. Have I said this before? I'm getting on in years, I can't quite remember. Delacroix was like a kid with that mouse. And did I tell you about Brutal? Forgive me if I repeat myself.

The Not-Really Book Club meets each month in Sacramento.

Movie Monday: Oscar Picks

My uninformed, purely instinctive picks for the big night:

Best Picture
As a horror/sci-fi fan, I wish District 9 had a chance. But, sadly, it doesn't. Between the two front runners, I'm going to go with The Hurt Locker. Though Precious has a chance for an upset if Oprah gets involved.

Best Director
Kathryn Bigelow. Or anyone other than Quentin Tarantino.

Best Actress
If Julie and Julia had been just Julia, I think Meryl Streep would have had a lock on this. And Carey Mulligan is just too young. Like everyone else, I'm sticking with Sandra Bullock, if only to hear her acceptance speech.

Best Actor
The Dude abides.

Best Supporting Actress
Is there really a choice here? Penelope Cruz in panties: no. Vera and Anna in business suits: uh, no. Maggie Gyllenhaal: it's not your year, sweetie, although we all love you and know that golden boy is coming your way someday. But this year, it's going to Mo'Nique.

Best Supporting Actor
I love Woody Harrelson, and I love that he was nominated. Also, love that Leo Tolstoy...I mean, Christopher Plummer...was as well. But this may just be the year of obvious front-runners, because Christoph Waltz has got this.

Other categories:

Best Animated Film
Up, on the strength of its incredibly moving opening sequence. And because if our dog could talk, it would sound like Doug.

Best Film Editing
Inglorious Basterds was a mess, I don't understand why it's even in the running. If District 9 wins anything that night, it might be this.

Best Costume Design
Period dramas are almost always a shoe-in, and The Young Victoria is no exception. But a movie about Coco Chanel (hello? famous clothing designer?) could trump the Queen here.

Best Original Song
Ok, I've got a big issue with this category. Academy, why wasn't Bruce nominated for his song for The Wrestler? And why were all of Eddie Vedder's amazing original songs from Into the Wild shunned? If Randy Newman wins another f-ing Oscar I'm gonna scream. My hopes and prayers are with T Bone Burnett.

Best Makeup
Really? Star Trek?

Best Adapted Screenplay
I'm pushing for Precious, based on Sapphire's Push. Awkward pun intended. But what I'd really like to see here is the author up there with the screenwriter. Where were Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx on the big night? I want writers to go to the Oscars, dammit! I want to go to the Oscars!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Clifton, Chard

Our swiss chard patch is growing like crazy, choking out the weeds that are supposed to choke out everything else. It's lovely. Deep red and delicate green. The baby leaves on their yellow-streaked stems. It's like a promise of things to come: abundance, verdancy.

So sad, then, and yet somehow appropriate that in this time of growth we have lost a poet who embodied abundance. Lucille Clifton wrote with an energy that overflowed from her poems and imbued her readers with joy. One of those rare poets, both accessible and accomplished. She will be missed.

cutting greens
by Lucille Clifton
curling them around
i hold their bodies in obscene embrace
thinking of everything but kinship.
collards and kale
strain against each strange other
away from my kissmaking hand and
the iron bedpot.
the pot is black.
the cutting board is black,
my hand,
and just for a minute
the greens roll black under the knife,
and the kitchen twists dark on its spine
and i taste in my natural appetite
the bond of live things everywhere.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I Heart...

Beautiful flowers, straight from our (finally!) sunny patch of land:

Narcissus, wild mustard, sourgrass, and a couple of mystery blooms. Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Spring, dear friends and readers!

Friday, February 12, 2010


It's cold, gray, and foggy on the farm this time of year. Rainy, too. We haven't seen the sun in months, and we have come to accept the trail of muddy paw-prints in our entryway as ubiquitous. It's no wonder, then, that I find myself dreaming of getting away to someplace warm and exotic. The Mediterranean, perhaps. The Florida Keys. Tahiti. Unfortunately, actual travel is out of the question. What a welcome surprise, then, to discover this week a couple of blogs that fulfill my desire for both travel and literature.

Chantal Panozzo is a Writer Abroad. She moved from Chicago to Switzerland to follow her husband, a big leap of faith. Chantal now chronicles her new life as an expat freelance writer, interviews others like her, and offers tips for a successful writing life in a foreign setting. Her companion blog, One Big Yodel, describes the daily life of Switzerland, her adopted home. Apparently, the trains really do run on time.

Book Around the World is a blog maintained by Bonnie Jacobs, but many write in with suggestions. The blog provides an ever-expanding list of international reads, books which represent countries as diverse as Wales, Sri Lanka, and Finland. Already, I have discovered many additions to my "to read" list. Bonnie also has a sister blog, Book Around the States, which offers the same type of list for the U.S. if you're not interested in traveling too far.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Of Note

As Perpetual Care gets ready for a birthday, it's getting a little recognition in the online world. Coldfront, which previously published this review by PJ Gallo, has included the book in its list of Best First Books of 2009, along with Arda Collins' It is Daylight, Michael Dickman's The End of the West, Farrah Field's Rising, Kate Hall's The Certainty Dream, and James Shea's Star in the Eye.

And Karen Weyant, author of Stealing Dust has published a wonderful review of Perpetual Care and Patricia Smith's Blood Dazzler over at Poet's Quarterly. Thank you, Karen and the folks at Coldfront, for your support of the book!