I’ve spent half of the past week sitting on the couch with a cold-y, not-at-school three-year-old, attempting to work while holding my neck cocked to the right at a 45-degree angle because she wants to hold a hank of my hair and smell it while she watches Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. We’ve all three got whatever’s been going around, the cough and constant need for Kleenex and now, naturally, a sore neck. It could always be worse, I remind myself; it could be the stomach flu. My hair could be shorter. I could, yet again, have that one Daniel Tiger song stuck in my head.
After somehow forgetting about it for a couple of months, I made a fresh batch of Granola No. 5 last night. This morning, June announced with grave indignation that she wished I had made oatmeal instead. You win some.
On the upside, she’s back in school today, and Brandon just texted to say that he won the latest round in the game of Whack-a-Mole that is our soon-to-be new bar, Dino’s Tomato Pie. And I motored down to Elm Coffee Roasters to have a very, very good coffee and work for a couple of hours, and while I sat there, they played Astral Weeks, and when I sang/croaked along, no one even complained.
Small victories! My friend, she of the small, graceful hand pictured immediately below, she became a mother this week! For most of my life, I wasn’t much moved by baby announcements. I wasn’t a baby person, and I didn’t put a lot of thought to parenthood, the metamorphosis of it, the gravity of it, the wild miraculous mess of it, until I decided to attempt it. Now a baby announcement arrives and I feel everything. My advice to new parents: never run out of oatmeal.
I finished the second season of Transparent in one great gulp last weekend, and I miss it. I haven’t loved a show that much in a long time. Also, Hari Nef, who appears in this latest season, is a sensational and very foxy human. And this Fresh Air interview with Jeffrey Tambor is wonderful.
Likewise, the TED Radio Hour show called “Quiet.”
From the New Yorker, a story I keep thinking about a solid month after reading it.
I spent a Saturday in early December at Hedgebrook for their “winter salon,” a day of small-group workshops in their cottages in the woods. On a whim, I signed up for poetry workshop with Priscilla Long, though I hadn’t written poetry in more than a decade and wasn’t sure I even wanted to. And it was great. I came home determined to follow through on Priscilla’s suggestion that we each keep a notebook of our favorite poems, each one written out by hand, as touchstone of sorts, a way of gathering words, sounds, and feeling to feed our own work. A couple of weeks later, I started my notebook, and I’ve been slowly adding to it. First I wrote down Donald Hall’s “Letter in Autumn.” Then Mary Oliver’s “Humpbacks.” This afternoon, I think I’ll add Frank O’Hara’s “Steps,” because why not.
The first time I went to the Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain was in the summer of 1995, a few months after a fire destroyed the lodge, its rooms and dining hall and library. I was sixteen, one of about a dozen high school students from across the state who’d been accepted to the summer program in poetry. Quartz Mountain is beautiful, an isolated chain of red crags along a lake in the southwest part of the state, but my introduction wasn’t poetic: because the library was gone, our class met in a trailer, with a limping air conditioner, folding tables, and a couple of electric typewriters that we shared. But our teacher was the poet Peter Fortunato, brought…Read more