Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Readings and Such

I've been having a great time over the holidays, catching up with old friends and making new...just like the song says to do, which is why I think we've named two of the kittens Silver and Goldie. The other kitten is a black/calico named Phoebe Bear, after a great great great relative, and b/c her paws are black like a bears. So, you can see what I'm consumed by right now. My daughter Jackey and I caught three "feral" kittens up at the high school, along with their mother (currently named Noelle). They are living in my writing studio so that I can have a reason to turn the heat on and go out there. They're so much fun. Momma cat is a little too wild, but she's well-fed. We're sending them to fix our ferals in January and then, I don't know. Mom will go back in the wild once she gets fixed and the kitties? Anyone want a beautiful gray and white or a gold or a black/calico kitty?

As for writing, publishing, and readings: I had a wonderful reading in November at Books and Bookshelves reading for Switchback. That story is near and dear to my heart--"If It Hasn't Already"--a story about those of us living in the suburbs, our children, and how we're dealing with the war. It's a collage story. Still so grateful to Crab Orchard Review for publishing my story "Goat Herder."

I went to a wonderful reading last night, seeing an old friend Ken Rodgers read from his new poetry book Passenger Pigeons. I can't wait to dig in. Ken and his wife Betty are producing a documentary about one of the worst battles in the Vietnam War. It's on-line at, if you're interested or want to get a heads up on this soon to be great indie film. Ken talked about interviewing many people from the war and the effects of war on these individuals. I think it's a wonderful and compassionate project--a story that needs telling and retelling.

Went to a terrific b-day party at Alia Volz's place and met a lot of writers there. Great party and great to be in the mix. Check out the Portuguese Writer's Reading Series...more on this later.

I'm hoping to read friend's and colleague's books over the break and to continue with my little self-publishing gig of an older collection of my short stories. This is for personal reasons only. I'd like to get copies into the hands of friends and family. A student of mine gave me a book about Asberger's Syndrome that I want to dig into and want to read Some Things That Meant the World to Me by Josh Mohr, a fellow teacher from the Writing Salon.

I had a great time teaching the Raw Writing class this go-round at the salon and am looking forward to helping people generate writing in the next series of classes (March for my class). I also attended a meditation/solstice/writing retreat at Clara Rosemarda's place in Santa Rosa. It was possibly the best thing I had done for myself in a long time, braving the rain to honor my commitments to my own writing. I encourage you to find Clara on Facebook and take one of her classes. She's amazing and it's worth the commute.

And now, I'm finally done X-mas shopping, sort of. My teenager Del went with me this year and picked out most of her own gifts. That was the best shopping trip ever. I get so much anxiety about getting the right gift. I hate being unoriginal or wasting my time with gifts people are going to take back. So, it's time to turn back to writing and reading good books. I appreciate those of you who have time to go on to and register the books you read. I am still reading that first short story collection of Anthony Doerr's and hoping to read Cutting for Stone--my sister said it was great. Clara Rosemarda said that the new Jonathan Franzen novel Freedom was pretty damn good, so I'm going to download that onto my Nook. I wanted to wait, like friend Andy Dugas said to do, until all the hype died down, but I appreciated Clara's opinion of this bestseller.